Archive for October 2014

Happy Halloween Everyone

October 31, 2014

Here are a few more photos from around the area showing some Halloween spirit. Have a good night tonight everyone.




New Crosswalk Median Installed on Georgia Avenue

October 30, 2014

A new median was installed  on Georgia Avenue last week just south of the intersection with Newton. It is intended to make it safer for pedestrians to cross the street at this intersection. I also understand that it has caused a little confusion for those driving south on Georgia as it required a slight lane change to accommodate the median. It appeared to me that new street markings still needed to be painted when I reviewed it over the weekend, though my inquiry to DDOT has not yet been answered.

Below are photos of what to expect.

IMG_7474(View of new crosswalk median from the northeast)

IMG_7466(View of new median from the southwest)

Redevelopment of 619 Newton Damages 617 Newton Place, NW

October 29, 2014
619 Newton Pl, NW, as it looked in April, 2013.

619 Newton Pl, NW, as it looked in April, 2013.

The property at 619 Newton Place, NW, has long been a troubled property. For the last couple of years, it was vacant and blighted. When it finally looked like it would be developed a year and a half ago, progress was slow. After much of the building was demolished, a Stop Work Order was issued on March 26, 2014, leaving nothing but the front facade on standing.

DCRA finally issued a permit on September 4, 2014 allowing for the remaining structure to be razed and full scale excavation ensued. Now, I’ve learned that on Monday, October 27th, the adjoining house at 617 Newton Place has been imperiled by the project and the residents of 617 have been informed that their house is unsafe to enter.

619 617 Newton Place(The work-site at 619 Newton showing 617 Newton beyond. The porch is clearly being propped up.)

Thus far, I’ve reached out to both Councilmember Graham’s office and DCRA trying to find out more about this situation. I’m critically concerned to find out what is being done to repair the neighboring property and find out if the residents of 617 Newton are alright and have shelter. I’m deeply disturbed and angered by the thought of anyone being displaced from their residence for any reason, but even more so due to the work of a developer that has already exceeded the scope of their permits at least once.

Danger sticker on front of 617 Newton Place, NW.

Danger sticker on front of 617 Newton Place, NW.

In retrospect, I’m not particularly surprised that a problem arose on this site. The original building permits for this duplex were issued on March 14, 1893, making this structure one of the oldest buildings remaining in Park View. Based on the exposed wall, this wood frame structure appears to have central brick columns in the center that would have been part of a shared support for both structures.

I’ve yet to get a detailed summary/response from DCRA on this, but am definitely pressing them for a solution. Based on the DCRA Property Information Verification System, the developer is listed as EDGE Investment LLC and is based out of Bowie, MD.


Summary of DDOT’s Ward 1 Projects Meeting

October 28, 2014
DDOT's Interim Director, Matthew Brown, answering community questions.

DDOT’s Interim Director, Matthew Brown, answering community questions.

The District Department of Transportation’s (DDOT) Ward 1 Projects Update meeting, held at the Columbia Heights Community Center on October 27, 2014, consisted of a broad rundown of the projects DDOT currently has in the pipeline for Ward 1. With DDOT’s Don Edwards acting as the facilitator, different DDOT staff members got up in turn to speak about their part of the presentation. Community questions were reserved for the end of the presentation.

The meeting began with an overview of the Transportation Development Process as a framework for the life cycle of a project. This was followed by an introduction to the goals and status of moveDC, DDOT’s long-term vision plan. The final moveDC document was released on October 21, and those wanting to review it can find both Part 1 and Part 2 available online.

For those interested in north-south transportation, DDOT stated that they are undertaking a transit priority planning study for 16th Street, which they hope to have under contract before the year is out, and which will take at least 12 months to complete after they are allowed to proceed.

The status of the north-south corridor street car wasn’t discussed in much depth either. It was noted that there were four possible north-south routes identified and that the next phase of the project is the environmental study. No reference was made with regards to funding. The main routes being considered in Ward 1 consist of Georgia Avenue vs. Sherman Avenue. One proposal has the route also on U Street to 14th Street.

The improvements to 15th Street will not only make the intersection with Forlida Avenue safer, but also include bioretention bumpouts and the creation of additional greenspace.

The improvements to 15th Street will not only make the intersection with Forlida Avenue safer, but also include bioretention bumpouts and the creation of additional greenspace.

Among the identified improvement projects that will be occurring soon in the Ward were:

  • The creation of dedicated bus lanes on Georgia Avenue between Barry Place and Florida Avenue;
  • Safety improvements on 15th Street, NW, in the vicinity of Florida Avenue, W Street, New Hampshire Avenue, and V Street;
  • Resurfacing and Streetscape improvements on 7th Street, NW, between N Street and Florida Avenue;
  • The reconstruction of U Street between Florida Avenue (west) and 14th Street, NW; and
  • The reconstruction of Florida Avenue between 9th/U Street and Barry Place, NW

During the discussion of traffic improvements one that will be of particular interest to residents on Monroe Street, NW, will be the addition of skip lines to the intersection of Monroe and 14th Street, NW. These are planned for the Spring of 2015 and intended to improve the interaction between the two-directional turn movements from Monroe Street — something residents on Monroe Street have been seeking for quite a while now.

The presentation on green infrastructure was interesting, where mention was made that more efforts are being made to create tree box spaces that will allow street trees more  room to grow by making larger earthen areas under adjoining sidewalks, giving street trees’ roots more room to grow.

I was both pleased and disappointed to learn that Ward 1 will only receive 300 new trees this planting season. This is because 97% of the known tree boxes are already planted. However, I pointed out during the later question and answer period that Park View has tree deserts that require long-term planning so that more tree areas can be considered during infrastructure improvement projects such as new sidewalks and bioretention bumpouts.

Tree planting map(Click on image to launch 2014/2015 tree planting map)

Lastly, in 2015, DDOT will continue their work of bringing sidewalks and crosswalks into ADA compliance. The majority of  the Ward 1 crosswalks that will be improved this fiscal year will be along 16th Street between Euclid Street and Spring Road, although I was happy to see that they will be redoing the crosswalk at New Hampshire Avenue and Rock Creek Church Road.

For a good sense of what was included in the meeting, I have scanned the presentation materials and made them assessable below.

DDOT 2014 Ward 1 Updates

Be on the Alert for Two Mischievous & Destructive Neighborhood Youth

October 27, 2014
Stolen, and recovered, holiday decorations.

Stolen, and recovered, holiday decorations.

Yesterday, as I was walking home from Georgia Avenue up Princeton Place, I saw two young African American boys, around the age of 7 or 8, riding bikes south on Warder making a commotion and carrying Halloween tombstone decorations. Upon looking closely, I realized that the tombstones they were carrying were, in fact, from my yard. I followed them onto the Park View Rec Center grounds, confronted them, and recovered the decorations. Initially, they denied stealing them, but finally fessed up when I wouldn’t let it go. They also indicated that other decorations had been stolen and blamed an older youth for that. I had them show me where the youth lived, and along the way I was shown another tombstone that they had destroyed. I also called the police to report the theft. All in all, five tombstones were stolen. One was destroyed, three were recovered, and one is completely gone.

In talking to another neighbor on Princeton Place I was informed that these two boys are trouble and have been riding their bikes around the area recently. The neighbor on Princeton relayed a story on how the boys have been digging around in a construction dumpster on the street and leaving their bikes in the street. He confronted them, made them get out of the dumpster for their safety, and watched them ride away. Later, the boys came back, went onto his property and pulled construction debris off of his yard and dumped it on the sidewalk to get even.

While these may seem like simple issues, in both cases the boys came up into the front yard of the property as far as the house and maliciously destroyed or removed property.

As a word to the wise, be on the look out for these two youth and be mindful of anything you may have in your front yard that is unsecured. Also, don’t hesitate to call the police if you see them destroying private property.

DDOT Hosting Ward 1 Projects Meeting at Columbia Heights Community Center

October 24, 2014

As you can see from the flyer below, DDOT has scheduled a Ward 1 Community meeting for Monday, October 27th, to update the community on several of their projects, including the DC Streetcar and dedicated bus lanes on Georgia Avenue. The meeting starts at 6:00 pm with an update on the projects at 6:30 pm at the Columbia Heights Community Center, 1480 Girard Street, NW.

DDOT Ward 1 meeting

Book Talk & Signing on Saturday of Interest to Petworth, Park View History Buffs

October 23, 2014

There is a book talk and signing on Saturday at the Martin Luther King Jr. Library that may be of interest to those who like genealogy or neighborhood history. According to  co-author Linda White, part of the story has roots in Park View … and the other co-author, Marietta Crichlow, is a 65 year resident of Petworth who moved there in 1950.

I recall speaking with Linda after a Humanities event at Room and Board a few years ago, and found her very interesting and engaged. If you happen to be in the area of the library you may want to check it out.

Back there then

Process Restarted for Development of Armed Forces Retirement Home’s Zone A

October 23, 2014
From Washington Business Journal, The Armed Forces Retirement Home is planning to seek developers to remake part of the Old Soldiers Home in Northwest D.C.

From Washington Business Journal, The Armed Forces Retirement Home is planning to seek developers to remake part of the Old Soldiers Home in Northwest D.C.

According to an article published in the Washington Business Journal on October 21st, the Armed Forces Retirement Home (AFRH) could be ready to select a team in 2015 to redevelop the southeastern area of its campus near the intersection of Irving and North Capital Street.

The AFRH has been interested in developing this area of their campus for about a decade. Despite a few false starts, it seems the AFRH is now in a good position to get things moving again. The area open for development is about 80 square acres and the original concept was to develop it with a mix of residential, retail and public park space.


It’s Beginning to Look Like Halloween

October 23, 2014

Below are some signs that Halloween is around the corner. These examples are from Rock Creek Church Road.




Early Voting Has Begun, Voting at Columbia Heights Community Center Begins Oct. 25th

October 22, 2014

On Monday, October 20th, early voting began in Washington for the offices of Mayor, several councilmember seats, members of the school board, and several others races. This week, early voting began at One Judiciary Square (441 4th St, NW) and will continue through November 1st from from 8:30am to 7pm, (Closed on Sunday).

All DCBOEE early voting locations will operate starting on Saturday, October 25, 2014 through Saturday, November 1, 2014, from 8:30 am to 7 pm; excluding Sunday, October 26, 2014.

Early voting locations at DPR sites are as follows:

Ward 1 – Columbia Heights Community Center (1480 Girard St., NW)

Ward 3 – Chevy Chase Community Center (5601 Connecticut Ave., NW)

Ward 4 – Takoma Community Center (300 Van Buren St., NW)

Ward 5 – Turkey Thicket Recreation Center (1100 Michigan Ave., NE)

Ward 6 – King Greenleaf Recreation Center (201 N St., SW)
– Sherwood Recreation Center (640 10th St., NE)

A sample Ward 1 ballot is below.

Ward 1 Sample ballot

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