Archive for February 2017

Columbia Heights Budget Engagement Forum Well Attended

February 28, 2017
Full house at the Feb. 27th Budget Engagement Forum.

Full house at the Feb. 27th Budget Engagement Forum.

The third and final budget engagement forum was held last night (2/27) at the Columbia Heights Education Campus and was very well attended. The meeting was organized as a series of round tables, each with a facilitator. The goal of the discussions were to come to some consensus on how much of the Districts operating dollars should be allocated to six key areas — Housing; Public Safety; Government Operations; Retirement Costs & Other; Jobs & Economic Opportunity; Education; and Health & Human Services (chart below shows current allocations).

Each participant was given a form with the budget areas and asked to allocate $100 to each of the six areas to show their priorities. After this exercise, the same information was discussed in each group with the highest allocation documented on a separate sheet. In my group adding these number up came up with a total of $140 ($40 over budget). This followed with the group then discussing how to reduce allocations in some areas to balance the total to $100.

Overall, to me, the most value in the exercise was listening to each participant explain why there were giving some categories higher allocations than others. I advocated for money for Education because teachers have not had raises or even cost of living increases in a while and because parks and recreation improvements also fall under the education umbrella. One member of my group was advocating for decreasing the public safety allocation as they see the police as reacting to crime rather than addressing causes of crime (which may be addressed through other budget areas).

While the forums can help the Mayor decide how much of the budget needs to go to these priorities, the real opportunities to advocate for specific needs will be at the coming DC Council budget oversight hearings.

budget engagement chart(Chart from budget engagement forum presentation showing current allocations to budget priority areas.)

Columbia Heights Initiative Holds Meet & Greet with Area ANCs to Talk Main Streets

February 27, 2017

main-streets-meeting(Participants from Main Street/ANC meet & greet. From l. to r.: Brad Gudzinas (1B02), Sharon Farmer (1A07), Christine Miller (1A05), Brianne Dornbush (Columiba Heights Initiative), Kent Boese (1A08), Jack McKay (1D03), and Zach Rybarczyk (1A03)).

On Saturday, February 25th, Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners from Columbia Heights, Park View, and Mount Pleasant were invited to meet with Brianne Dornbush of the Columbia Heights Initiative and discuss the new Columbia Heights/Mt. Pleasant Main Street that was recently awarded to the Initiative. The Main Street is still in its early stages of organizing, so much of the conversation centered on how to share information, how to have the local ANCs work with each other and the Main Street, and suggesting priorities on where the Main Street could focus its efforts in the coming year.

One issue that was discussed was how to brand the main street, as Columbia Heights/Mt Pleasant Main Street is long. I suggested that a possible name could be the Mid-city Main Street as Columbia Heights and Mt. Pleasant are located within the Mid-city element of the Comprehensive Plan.

Another issue that was discussed was how to bridge the gap between Columbia Heights and Mt. Pleasant. Whether on Park Rd or Irving Street, the two business areas of the Main Street do not abut. The gaps between the business areas don’t encourage pedestrians to continue from one area to the other unless one already has a specific purpose in mind. Here, I suggested that public art could be one way to unite the areas, much like Capitol Hill did with their Alphabet Animals project a couple years ago.

Among the other issues that were mentioned was the relationship between the area Clean Team and the Main Street. Currently, they are two separate efforts that cover roughly the same area. In other main streets, the clean team is under the umbrella of the Main Street which helps with organization and ensures that both efforts are serving the same area. Several participants were of the opinion that the two should be combined in Columbia Heights/Mt. Pleasant too.

It will be interesting to see how the newest Main Street effort evolves and what its first projects will be. Future opportunities are sure to be scheduled soon to continue the networking and collaboration that are necessary for a thriving neighborhood Main Street.

Third DC Budget Engagement Forum to be in Columbia Heights, February 27th!

February 24, 2017

The third and final District Budget Engagement Forum is Monday, February 27th, at the Columbia heights Educational Campus [RSVP here]. The forum is scheduled to fun from 6:30-8:30 pm. Mayor Bowser’s budget engagement forums are where residents can share some of their ideas, suggestions, and budget priorities for 2018! As the forum on Monday is the one most convenient for Ward 1 residents, it is the one I’ve signed up to attend.

budget-engagement-forums-2017

Checking Progress at the Linens of the Week Development on Lamont Street

February 23, 2017

Thus far, my review of the development that is turning the old Alsco/Linens of the Week plant into new housing for the area has been from the front of the buildings on Lamont Street. Taking advice from a friend that past weekend, I checked out the development from the alley. Below are some photos showing the significant progress they’ve made so far.

img_2085

img_2086

img_2102

img_2107

img_2100

 

Another Neighborhood Alley Getting Rebuilt

February 22, 2017

Another local alley is in the process of getting rebuilt. This time, the alley is on the block surrounded by Princeton, Park Place, Otis, and Warder. I’ve been asked by a few neighbors as to why this alley is being constructed strictly of concrete. The short answer is that DDOT has a policy of replacing alleys in kind — meaning that if the alley was originally constructed as a brick alley, the new alley will be brick. If the alley was originally a concrete alley, then the new alley will be concrete.

While alleys in Park View were replaced in both the Fenty and Gray administrations, the reconstruction/replacement rate has increased significantly due to Mayor Bowser’s focus on the issue.

Below are two photos of the work in progress.

img_2083

img_2082

Colony Club Hosts WTF Spokefolk Open Bike Night on Wednesday, February 22nd

February 21, 2017

SpokefolkOver the weekend I learned that Colony Club will be hosting WTF Spokefolk Open Bike Night tomorrow, Wednesday, January February 22 from 8 pm to 10 pm. Sign up time is at 7:30 pm.

In looking at the Facebook Event page, here are some additional details:

“Join us for Open Bike Night with WTF Spokefolk at Colony Club! This is an open mic to share bike stories, adventures, fears, dreams, traumas by way of story, poetry, song, etc.

“This is an open event (all may attend but the mic is open to women, trans, and femme folk). New and seasoned storytellers are welcome. Come with your friends, date, boo thangs, and neighbors 🙂

“WTF Spokefolk DC is a group for women, trans, femme folk to learn everything bike. For more information about WTF Spokefolk DC, visit the WTF Spokefolk DC Facebook group.

Pedestrian Scramble Coming to 14th and Irving Streets

February 17, 2017

scrambleYesterday, I received a notice by DDOT of their intent to install a pedestrian scramble at the intersection of 14th and Irving streets. This was one of the recommendations to come out of last year’s Crosstown Multimodal Study.

According to the notice (NOI 17-37 TOA), “the intersection of 14th and Irving streets, NW is controlled by a traffic signal. The Crosstown Multimodal Transportation Study conducted in 2016 recommended installation of an all-red phase to reduce the conflicts between pedestrian and vehicular traffic navigation through the intersection. Following the planning study recommendations, DDOT conducted further traffic analysis and subsequently completed the intersection design to implement the recommended all-red phase. The all-red phase, also known as “Pedestrian Scramble” will be implement along with diagonal crosswalks and “No Turn on Red” restriction. New traffic signals, curb ramps and signage will be installed at this intersection to complement the Pedestrian Scramble.”

Comments on this matter must be filed in writing to DDOT no later than 30 days after February 16th.


%d bloggers like this: