Archive for the ‘City services’ category

Georgia Avenue’s Open Streets Happens on October 5th! Here are the Logistics and Bus Detour Routes You Need to Know

October 2, 2019

The Mayor’s Open Streets DC event on Georgia Ave (Barry Place to Missouri Ave) is coming up this Saturday, October 5, from 10 am to 2 pm. While I’m sure many will come to Georgia Avenue to enjoy lunch, shopping, or just hanging out on Georgia Avenue, here are some details about the day that everyone should be aware of.

Activities: All activities will be free with a focus on fitness and the Mayor’s Vision Zero agenda. The day’s schedule is available online and you can check out an interactive map for locations.

Parking: No parking will be allowed on Georgia Ave from Barry Place to Missouri Avenue starting at midnight on Friday. Cars parked after that time are at risk of being ticketed and towed to another location in the neighborhood. Those whose cars are towed should call (202) 541-6083.

Motorized Access: Unauthorized vehicles will not be allowed to drive on the impacted area starting at 8:00 am (NOTE: This time has changed from 6:00 am). The route and cross-traffic will reopen as soon as it is determined safe by MPD but no later than 5:00 pm.

Sidestreets: Residents and approved vehicles will be allowed to drive and park on side streets one block off of Georgia Avenue. Other cars, including business customers and visitors will be allowed to enter only at the discretion of the MPD officers posted at the entry points.

Crossing Georgia Ave: No unauthorized vehicles will be allowed to cross Georgia Avenue 8:00 am to 5:00 pm except at the discretion of MPD.

Emergency Vehicles: All emergency vehicles will be allowed access to Georgia Avenue and cross streets and a 20-foot fire lane will be maintained on Georgia Ave throughout the event.

Bus Detours: The best source of bus detours is the WMATA website. Below are the detour maps for Routes 62, 63, 64, 70, 79, H2, H4, and H8.

Do You Support Adding Street Trees to the 800 Block of Princeton Place, NW?

September 30, 2019

As anyone who has lived in Park View for a while knows, we have a lot of hot, treeless streets due to a lack of planning when the neighborhood was originally building out. I have had numerous conversations over the years with neighbors who would like to see more trees, and have worked to get more spaces for street trees where ever I find an opportunity.

While out walking last week, it dawned on me that an ideal place to add more trees could be the 800 block of Princeton Place, NW. While it is a short street with only two rowhouses on it, I think every treebox we can create improves the entire neighborhood.

The 800 block of Princeton Place has conditions favorable for adding trees in public space.

What makes the 800 block of Princeton Place promising for adding tree box bump outs is its width and configuration. Currently, it is designated as a one-way street (east bound). It also currently does not allow parking on either the north or south side of the street (although I have seen people park on the south side on more than one occasion). The street is also just over 35 feet wide, meaning that is is over built for the two lanes of traffic it allows.

Measurment in ArcGIS indicates that Princeton Place is 35 feet wide, more than enough for two lanes of traffic and tree box bump outs.

An onsite visit to the street along with reviewing maps indicates that there may be utility infrastructure on the south side of the street, so that leaves the north side open to potential reconfiguration — which is actually better as southbound New Hampshire buses turn onto Princeton Place to travel north on Georgia Avenue.

Below is a rough outline of where curb bump outs could occur on the north side of the street. Depending upon tree selection and planting location, this should create room for 4 to 6 new trees.

Bump outs on Princeton Place could create room for 4-6 new trees, depending upon tree selection and planting location.

While cost is always a factor, when I mentioned this opportunity to some folks at DDOT during a recent meeting, there was some excitement about this. Narrowing the street would improve vehicular safety, narrowing the crossway at Georgia would improve pedestrian safety, and the new trees would increase the overall tree canopy — all DDOT goals.

So what are your thoughts, shall we make this a priority in 2020?

 

Hot Spots in Park View are MPD Priority; Non-police Services Need to Step Up

September 27, 2019

Violence, and in particular gun violence, in Park View is something that many residents are deeply concerned with right now and with good reason. With 4 homicides in the neighborhood compared to 1 in 2018, crime has become notably more deadly — not just in Park View, but also in Columbia Heights and other neighborhoods across the city. Many neighbors question just what is being done to restore public safety in the community, and what is being done to address longstanding problem areas like the 600 block of Newton Place, NW. In order to get a better handle on how crime in Park View is being addressed, I met with MPD’s Patrol Chief Lamar Greene and the Fourth District Commander Randy Griffin to discuss what MPD is doing, and where other agencies or services may be falling short.

For context, I am including the 2019 year-to-date data for violent crimes report from DC Crime Cards below. While it shows overall violent crime is down, it also shows significantly that homicides and robberies are up in the neighborhood. It is also important to note that shots fired with no victim is typically not a category represented in the results, so this isn’t truly an accurate snapshot of gun events.

Violent crime in Park View for 2019 year-to-date (captured on 9/27/2019)

Following the shooting on the evening of Tuesday, September 24th, PC Greene shared the following:

Our team has and will continue patrols in the very challenging areas of [the] 600 blocks of Newton, Princeton and Park Morton.  The team has made many arrests in that area working along side our citizens.  The victim has even been arrested within the block as well.  Our investigative team is working the case and will determine all facts leading up to this shooting.  I will keep you all informed as the investigation progresses.  The Narcotics and Special Investigations Division, Commander Griffin and the Fourth District members will continue their efforts in this area.

Adding to this, Commander Griffin responded:

I can assure you that there is regular patrol in the area and the officers have been very busy.  In the past 6 months my team has affected 18 gun-related and drug-related arrests specifically in the 600 blocks of Morton St., Newton Pl, and the 3500 block of Georgia Ave.  My patrol members will continue their efforts and will investigate, apprehend and arrest the individuals in the area who have shown a blatant disregard for public safety.

What is particularly interesting with the latest shooting is that the person who was shot on Tuesday night had been arrested days prior as one of the people responsible for the significant graffiti that was painted in the area of 6th and Newton Place on September 13th. He was also the target of the shooting.

This provides insight into the broader challenge that exists when it comes to public safety and violent crime. MPD has made the trouble spots in Park View a priority, they are patrolling the problem areas, and making arrests. What appears to be broken are 1) Sentencing Guidelines and the court system; and 2) The need for non-police agencies and service providers to step up and deliver on their promises.

To provide an idea on why patrols and arrests alone, while helpful, don’t seem to be making the impact many in the neighborhood expect, here are the 2018 Homicide Victim and Known Offender Statistics as pulled in January 2019.

79% of 2018 homicides were firearms-related

2018 Known Offenders

  • 93% have an arrest history in DC. The average number of arrests per offender (adult and juvenile) is 10.
  • 49% had prior gun arrests.
  • 43% were under some sort of supervision at the time of the homicide.

2018 Homicide Victims

  • 82% have an arrest history in DC. The average number of arrests per victim (adult and juvenile) is 10.
  • 45% had prior gun arrests.
  • 36% of the victims were under some sort of supervision at the time of the homicide.

In short, this indicates that a relatively small number of individuals are repeatedly involved in homicides, and those who are either the perpetrator or victim of a homicide has a significant history as a repeat offender.

In relation to this, it was noted that residents who want to see violent crime go down, and who may be frustrated with the revolving door of the court system, may want to review DC’s sentencing guidelines and advocate for updating guidelines if they are misaligned. DC has local control of the sentencing guidelines. The value of Community Impact Statements were also noted, and there is a general sense that they do make an impact at sentencing.

I think it is important to note that no one I have talked to is dismissing the value of social services and violence interrupters, but it is also important to understand that the work they do requires a significant investment of time to build relationships, they will not be able to connect with everyone, and success may be difficult to prove as success is often a non- event (i.e., a shooting that didn’t happen). It is also notable that in order for intervention to work, there needs to be something better to offer.

This is why equal effort and investment from the Department of Behavioral Health and the Department of Employment Services (DOES) (to name two) also needs to be a focus for blocks like Newton Place. Participation in DOES’s Summer jobs program has resulted in permanent full-time jobs in places like the Department of Public Works — and job training and employment is something that has come up frequently in the discussions I’ve had with community members and Park View Rec Center staff familiar with the young people that are either involved or impacted by violence in the community.

Ground Maintenance Request Now Possible Via 311

September 25, 2019

On September 13th, the Department of General Services announced that residents can now request mowing, fallen tree removal, and hedge trimming for District properties via the city’s 311 system due to a new partnership with the Office of Unified Communications (OUC). This partnership now allows residents to use the District’s 311 Call Center  to request grounds maintenance services for District-owned properties including schools, municipal facilities, and parks and recreation centers.

DGS manages approximately 840 buildings within the District’s owned and leased properties. Users of DC 311 should provide as much information as possible to ensure DGS can complete the ‘grass mowing’ request in a timely and accurate manner, contingent on weather conditions. DGS aims to maintain grass levels at approximately 3 inches, with the exception of ‘no mow’ areas. While mowing season for the District will conclude on October 1, DGS will continue to respond to other requests for grounds maintenance. Additional information on District grounds maintenance services performed by DGS is available here.

Mowing the park at Park Place and Rock Creek Church Road, NW.

Update on Pepco’s Capital Grid Project & Summer Construction Areas

May 24, 2019

Last night, Pepco held a community meeting to update residents in the general area of Sherman Avenue and Harvard on the status of their Capital Grid project and where to expect construction this summer.

Below is the map that was shared during the meeting. It shows streets where construction has already been completed (green), and where construction will be this summer (blue).

(Pepco maps showing status of completed and future construction.)

The map identifies Sherman Avenue (between Euclid and Girard), Girard Street (between Sherman and 13th), Harvard Street (between Sherman and 13th), and 13th Street (between Girard and Columbia) as the streets where construction will occur. Work will begin between the first week to mid-June 2019 and is expected to be completed by October 1st at the latest.

During construction, each impacted  street will have at least one lane open for traffic. Additionally, on-street parking will be impacted during construction hours, but will be returned to community use when construction ends each afternoon and overnight. Steel plates will also be used to cover the trenches each night.

Here is their list of construction activites:

Pepco Substation No. 13, at Harvard and Sherman Avenue, with 2914 Sherman in the background.

The purpose of all of this work is to transfer the energy service to the neighborhood from Harvard Street to Florida Avenue so that the Harvard Street substation can be brought off-line to be rebuilt.

The current plan is for the Harvard substation to begin construction early in 2020. It is not expected to be completed until late 2022 or early 2023.

It is also important to note that a future section of Pepco Construction will include Georgia Avenue from New Hampshire Avenue to Girard Street, though that is still in the future and not currently scheduled.

(Residents gathered to learn updates from Pepco about their Capital Grid project.)

Park View UNC Public Safety Meeting Scheduled for May 1 @ Park View Recreation Center, 7-8 pm

April 30, 2019

The May 1st meeting of the Park View United Neighborhood Coalition will focus on Public Safety following the tragic loss of 16-year old Princeton Place neighbor, Breon Austin on April 19th. Below is the meeting announcement:

Although violent crime rates in the city and our neighborhood overall are on a long-term downward trend, recently gun-related crime is on the rise throughout the city, including in Park View. A little over a week ago, our neighborhood experienced the tragic loss of 16-year old Princeton Place resident Breon Austin to gun violence.

Please join the Park View UNC for a community discussion this Wednesday, May 1 at 7pm about how we can help ensure that all residents of our neighborhood are safe and secure. We’ll be joined by Earl Davis from the DC Department of Parks and Recreation to speak about the group he runs for neighborhood teens each week at the Park View Rec Center, and by Captain Sean Conboy from the Metropolitan Police Department, whose district includes Park View.

As usual, we will also have updates from our elected officials’ offices and time for community announcements.

We are also working to schedule speakers from the Attorney General’s office and other public safety-related agencies for future meetings.

UNC Monthly Meeting: Public Safety in Park View
Wednesday, May 1, 7-8pm
Park View Rec Center, 693 Otis Pl. NW (entrance on Warder; we meet in the room at the back)

More Bike Racks Installed (and Coming) to the Park View School

April 29, 2019

For the past month, I’ve been working to get more bike racks installed at the Bruce-Monroe @ Park View School on Warder Street. This was in response to a request from parents and school administration. I’m happy to report that two new bike racks were installed about a week ago in front of the building on Warder Street.

(The two blue bike racks are new additions and double the number of racks currently serving the school.)

I’m happier to report that the racks are already being used, as you can see from the photo below sent to me by one of the happy parents.

In order to get the racks, I met with DDOT’s Bicycle Support Specialist and walked the grounds. We identified about four different locations where new racks could be installed, with some locations requiring more time due to needing to order equipment.

In addition to the two new racks on Warder Street, I’m continuing to work with DDOT to get an additional rack or two on the south side of Otis Place just west of Warder in the parking area. It shouldn’t create any issues with the street trees, but does require a different type of rack than what DDOT had on hand. These racks could be installed later this spring.

(Area were additional rack can be added in the near future.)


%d bloggers like this: