Admiring the Tree Boxes by Casey Trees

Posted November 9, 2015 by Kent
Categories: Streets and Trees, streetscape

Tags: ,
The tree box area outside of Casey Trees on 12th Street, NE.

The tree box area outside of Casey Trees on 12th Street, NE.

Yesterday, I was by Casey Trees on 12th Street, NE, and noticed the tree box area outside of their location. I was impressed with the mix of trees, liriope, pebbles and other plants arranged in a way that becomes a green oasis where grass generally is. I also liked that the curbing was cut in places to guide storm water into the planted areas for drainage and watering.

This is an example I’m going to make a note of with the hopes that something similar might be possible in our neighborhood during street improvement projects.

I’ve also been taking note of bioretention areas and bulb outs when I see them, which more frequently happens when I travel west of the Park.

Visiting DC Treasure on Upshur Street

Posted November 6, 2015 by Kent
Categories: Retail, Small Businesses

Tags: ,
205 Upsur Street, now home to DC Treasure.

205 Upsur Street, now home to DC Treasure.

I finally had a chance to check out DC Treasure, which opened recently at 205 Upshur Street just to the west of Slash Run in Petworth. DC Treasure styles itself as a vintage and antique furniture/accessory shop. Currently, the hours appear to be by appointment or chance.

Based on my visit, I feel that the shop has a lot of potential.

DC Treasure interior(Some of the items currently offered at DC Treasure.0

Mayor Bowser Visits Park View — Topics Include the Bruce Monroe Site

Posted November 5, 2015 by Kent
Categories: Community Meetings

Tags: ,

Bowser(Mayor Bowser taking questions from community members at the November Park View UNC meeting.)

Mayor Muriel Bowsers attended the November Park View UNC meeting and took questions on a number of issues including crime, school modernizations, vacant and blighted property, bike lanes, and the redevelopment of Park Morton.

Prior to the Mayor’s arrival,  the Park View UNC took up two orders of business. They were:

  1. The election of officers for the following year, and
  2. A resolution opposing the parking variance for the development at 3701 New Hampshire Avenue unless the building is denied parking passes for street parking (editor’s note: ANC 1A supported the requested variances).

Upon the Mayor’s arrival, the meeting settled into a question and answer session after opening remarks. Early questions related to school modernizations, recreation center improvements, and the Pepco-Exelon settlement agreement. There was also a notable focus on crime, public safety, and sustained law enforcement initiatives. During the public safety discussion officers of both the Third and Fourth districts spoke specifically about actions they are taking in the community.

As expected, the subject of the Park Morton redevelopment — and the use of the Bruce Monroe property as part of the project — arose and was the focus of much discussion. Mayor Bowser stated that the redevelopment of Park Morton is a long standing commitment and part of the New Communities Initiative. A major part of the New Communities goals is to not displace residents from their current neighborhoods by building replacement housing first.

Leading in to the discussion on the selection of the Bruce Monroe site as the best available option for the build first parcel, the Mayor asked if people had looked up and down Georgia Avenue for available land? The room erupted in many people shouting out suggestions of privately owned and/or alternative parcels as alternatives. Order was quickly regained and New Communities Director Angie Rodgers provided an overview of where things currently stand with the process. The Mayor also stated that whatever happens at the Bruce Monroe site it will include park space as part of that plan and that she wouldn’t support any proposal that didn’t have park space in it. As the planning is still in the very early stages, there is no timeline for breaking ground as yet.

In the course of the dialogue, the Mayor stated more than once that the current use of the Bruce Monroe site is temporary and that the property has always been intended to be developed. She also offered that it is a large parcel and can support a lot of what the community wants on the site. Additionally, the Mayor stated that the neighborhood is not realized the full benefit of the parcel because it is falling short of the full benefits that could be achieved there.

In response to those suggesting that 1125 Spring Road or 965 Florida Avenue include some replacement housing for Park Morton, two themes came through that caught my attention. The first was that neither of these locations are in the Park View community. The importance of this goes back to the goal of avoiding displacing residents from their current neighborhood. The other theme with regards to 1125 Spring Road was that that development has become more complicated than originally anticipated and that it would be inappropriate to have a conversation about its redevelopment without the residents who live around it as part of that conversation.

Despite all the work that went into redevelopment plans for 1125 Spring Road in 2014, Mayor Bowser shared that the city has encountered some legal hurdles to transferring the property to the Housing Authority. Instead, the property is going to need to have an open bidding process and that the community engagement process will need to be restarted. Most likely, the property will go through an Our RFP process.

The evening closed with Ms. High speaking about her concerns with the redevelopment of Park Morton. As a resident of the complex, Ms. High expressed concerns about being displaced and being safe, and commented that all the residents of Park Morton deserve to be treated fairly.

A community meeting focused on the topic of redeveloping Park Morton has been scheduled for November 16th at 6:30 pm. It will be held at the Bruce-Monroe @ Park View Elementary School.

DDOT NoMa Circulator Study Includes Potential Ward 1 Service

Posted November 4, 2015 by Kent
Categories: Bus service

Tags: ,

Thanks to those who made me aware of this, DDOT is currently looking a potential options to expand Circulator service to NoMa. Two of the options look like they could provide some additional service to Park View and Columbia Heights. I’ve included the maps and the announcement from DDOT below. You can also comment on the proposals here.

Noma circulator routes

From DDOT:

Last year, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) conducted the DC Circulator Transit Development Plan Update. During this study the NoMA, “North of Massachusetts Avenue,” area was identified as a top neighborhood for future DC Circulator service.

NoMa is one of the city’s fastest growing neighborhoods with more than 40,000 employees, 18,000 residents and more than 16 million square feet of new development planned for the near future.

Although NoMa is already served by Metrobus and Metrorail, participants in the study stated that long travel times and/or multiple transfers make it difficult to use current public transit options from NoMa to other popular destinations in the District.

NoMa is also the largest DC activity center not served by a DC Circulator route. Taking all these facts into consideration, DDOT is studying the potential of expanding the DC Circulator system to connect NoMa with neighborhoods that could be better served by transit. Before creating a new route, DDOT is seeking input from NoMa residents, workers and visitors to help determine a route that could best serve the greater community’s needs. DDOT is also researching the projected growth in NoMa that could influence where residents, employees and visitors would like to connect and enjoy access in the future.

DDOT created an online comment form to collect feedback on preferred potential NoMa Circulator routes. The comment form will present any NoMa resident, employer, employee and/or visitor with the opportunity to participate in focus-groups scheduled for December 2015. At each focus group, DDOT staff will present potential route options and ask attendees for their thoughts and opinions about the potential service.

Bio-retention Area of Bruce Monroe Site to Remain Closed to Dogs

Posted November 3, 2015 by Kent
Categories: Sports leisure and entertainment

Tags: ,
The area at Bruce Monroe Park closed to dogs recently.

The area at Bruce Monroe Park closed to dogs recently.

In early October, the fenced in area on the Bruce Monroe Site near the community garden was locked and closed to dog owners who’d been using the area as a dog run. Since that event, ANC Commissioner Rashida Brown has been working with the Department of Parks and Recreation and Ward 1 Councilmember Nadeau to learn more about the decision to close the area.

Over the weekend, Commissioner Brown released information to provide some background on why the area was closed.

What follows is Commissioner Brown’s statement:

I’m providing clarity on some concerns from the community that came to the attention of Council Member Nadeau and I regarding the dog run at the Bruce Monroe park. City officials confirmed that the fenced in area on the southwest end of the park is a bio-retention site that is used as a storm water run off for the community garden and must be not be used as a dog run. I’m sharing a handout that the Department of Parks and Recreation developed providing more background about the site.

It indicates that “foot traffic (by both humans and dogs) degrades the function of bio-retention areas by compacting the layers of soil that serves to absorb storm water, eventually leading to erosion issues and reduced function of the bio-retention area.” Furthermore, dog waste transferring over to the garden area creates transmittable diseases and is hazardous to both humans and pets.

Health and safety are paramount and must come first. Therefore, the padlock and “no dogs allowed” sign on the gate around the bio-retention site must not be removed. Trespassing laws also apply to this area. The attached handout also provides details and codes on dog park rules and regulations.

Council Member Nadeau’s staff and I are working with the dog owner network to help identify a feasible space and connect them with resources to start an official dog park in the neighborhood. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me or Elizabeth Horn, Council Member Nadeau’s Constituent Services Specialist, if you have any questions.

Mayor Bowser to Attend Park View Community Meeting on Wednesday

Posted November 2, 2015 by Kent
Categories: Community Meetings

Tags: , ,

Mayor Bowser PV UNC flyerAccording to announcements on area listservs and community meetings, Mayor Bowser is scheduled to come to the Park View United Neighborhood Coalition meeting this Wednesday, November 4th, at 7 pm (see flyer to the right and annoucement below). Questions are being requested in advance and I’m sure there will be many.

For me, my hope is that Mayor Bowser will provide answers to questions related to two key developments in the area. The first is the redevelopment of the old Hebrew Home at 1125 Spring Road. This property consumed a significant amount of community engagement from June 2014 to the end of the year. Yet, few to no details have been shared since the beginning of 2015.

The second area I hope Mayor Bowser will spend some time on are details related to the Park Morton redevelopment. The redevelopment of Park Morton will be truly transformative for the entire Park View community. However, news that this project would include a portion of the Bruce Monroe parcel was greeted by both support and opposition in the community. The meeting on Wednesday would be a great opportunity for the Mayor to speak to this issue.

The announcement from Park View UNC president Chris Waldmann follows:

The Park View United Neighborhood Coalition is excited to announce that Mayor Muriel Bowser will be attending our next meeting next Wednesday, November 4th at 7 PM at the Park View Recreation Center (693 Otis Place NW).

This will be a great opportunity to ask the mayor about issues that affect Park View and the entire city!

In order to let the mayor answer as many questions as possible during the forum, we are asking neighbors to submit their questions in advance. To submit a question please send an email to parkviewuncdc (at) with the subject line Question for the Mayor.

Questions may be anonymous or not, that is up to you. Also, we will accept written questions at the meeting.

Spanish language translation services will be provided.

Abra traduccion en Español.


Looking at Pepco’s Anacostia Substation

Posted October 30, 2015 by Kent
Categories: Architecture, History

Tags: ,
Pepco substation No. 8, located at 2415 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, SE.

Pepco substation No. 8, located at 2415 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, SE.

While Pepco is on most minds these days  due to the proposed merger with Exelon, I’ve been taking some time reviewing Pepco’s substations. There was a time when Pepco actually generated power, sold electrical appliances, and was part of a larger corporate structure that included streetcars. Today, all of that is gone leaving Pepco focused on distributing power to homes and businesses throughout the metropolitan area. The distribution of electric service is accomplished via Pepco’s many substations, which generally transform power voltage up or down between the electricity generated and the voltage needed for consumer needs.

One of the reasons I’ve been looking at substations is because some of them may be rebuilt, closed, or renovated in response to changing technology and the growth of Washington in the coming years. This will eventually include the substation at Harvard and Sherman Avenue, designated as substation No. 13. I’ll write more about this substation in the near future.


The Anacostia Substation (No. 8) was constructed in 1927, and is the third oldest substation in operation in the District of Columbia and the oldest operating substation east of the Anacostia River. The oldest is actually the one on Harvard Street (dating to 1907) and the second oldest is No. 21 located between 16th, 17th, K, and L streets NW (dating to 1923).

What is particularly noteworthy with the Anacostia substation is that it has survived 88 years with little to no loss to its architectural integrity.

With regards to the numbering of substations, I’ve also learned that while lower numbers may give some indication of age you can’t rely on them to help place substations in chronological order. Numbers can and have been reused. For example, Anacostia is substation No. 8 and was built in 1927. However, the original substation No. 8 was located in a building next to the Trinidad streetcar barn on Bennings Road.

Anacostia substation(A view along the east side of the building showing electrical equipment.)


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