Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Adjustments to H Street treeboxes

DDOT Implements Community-Backed Option, Launches Work To Change Treebox Cobblestones On H Street N.E.

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) has adopted the community-backed option for changing the placement of H Street N.E. treebox cobblestones and directed its construction contractor to begin the work.

The contractor, Capitol Paving of D.C. (CPDC) started work Monday, October 10, in the 300 block, and will proceed eastward block-by-block until the work is completed, probably by the end of October.
During work at each treebox, street parking spaces are likely to be unavailable for one or two days to provide a safe work area for the CPDC crew. On the nearby sidewalk, traffic cones and caution tape will guide pedestrians away from the work zone. Except for small areas around the treeboxes, the sidewalks will be completely accessible.

In accordance with the original design for the H Street Construction Project, the 4-inch cube cobblestones were installed at an angle to facilitate drainage. Jumbo cobblestones, measuring 10 x 7 x 4 inches, were installed around the treebox perimeter.

alter 2 - c Flush, croppedIn the new plan, shown here, the jumbo cobblestones will be removed and the cube cobblestones will be laid flat and even with the height of the curb. The cube cobblestones will be placed less than 1/4-inch apart and the gaps will be filled with a 50/50 sand/soil mix to assure drainage. Around the trunk of the tree, there will be a mulch area of approximately two feet by three feet.

Of three options presented in a community survey carried out between September 29 and October 5, this was the option favored by 59% of respondents. The survey was conducted by e-mail to H Street businesses and community leaders and more than 100 visits to H Street business establishments.
In initiating the survey, DDOT promised to implement the option favored by the majority. Of 81 respondents (65 businesses, 16 community leaders and residents), 48 (59%) voted for the plan DDOT is implementing, 20 (25%) voted for the option of laying the cube stones flat within the treebox and leaving the jumbo stones in place, and 13 (16%) voted for the option of leaving the jumbo stones in place, removing the cube stones, and filling the treebox with mulch.

DDOT initiated the survey, and is implementing the change, to solve problems that developed since installation of the angled cobblestones. DDOT received reports of two incidents (and a third attempt) by vandals who seized cobblestones and hurled them through windows, trip-and-fall incidents involving individuals getting out of cars parked next to treeboxes, and damage to car doors banging into jumbo cobblestones. The majority of the survey respondents expressed the view that removing the jumbo cobblestones and placing the cube cobblestones flat, flush with the curb, and firmly in place is the best option to solve all three problems.

This work is part of DDOT’s H Street Reconstruction Project. More information about the project is available on the DDOT website, at under the Ward 6 Projects.
As always, thank you for your patience, and please call on us whenever you would like additional information or assistance.

Margaret Gentry
Community Relations Specialist

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