New Trees Pop Up as Part of Annual DDOT Tree Planting

Posted February 14, 2017 by Kent
Categories: Streets and Trees

Tags:
One of two replacement trees on Otis Place.

One of two replacement trees on Otis Place.

As someone very interested in maintaining and increasing the neighborhoods tree canopy, I like this time of year when new trees are planted in our empty tree boxes. I also recognize that not all streets have tree planting areas, which is why I worked with Casey Trees last year to make trees available for residents in central Park View as part of a community tree planting. I’ll continue to look for ways to bring trees to treeless streets to help with the neighborhoods tree desert.

I’ve noticed a number of new trees planted in the past weeks around the neighborhood and thought I would highlight where they are. In looking at the official 2016-2017 tree planting map (below) one can drill down to find both locations of new trees and which species of trees have been planted. In reviewing the map, I’ve also noticed that some of the new trees aren’t on the map. For instance, and oak was planted in an empty tree box in front of 610 Rock Creek Church Rd and two new trees were planted on Otis Place by the school. The Otis Place trees replace two of the eight new trees that were planted last season. Even with community efforts to water those trees last year, the two at each end didn’t make it and have been replaced. I think we’ll see better luck next year.

One of the reasons why the tree planting map appears to add so few trees to our area is precisely because we’ve been  so successful in reporting empty tree boxes and getting them filled in the past few years. I suspect that the map will continue to include few new trees in the near future, again because of this reason.

2017-tree-planting-map(Screen capture from 2016-2017 DDOT Tree planting map showing locations of new street trees this planting season.)

Checking Out the Respect the District Installation at 14th & Irving

Posted February 13, 2017 by Kent
Categories: Art, Public sculpture

Tags: ,

Over the weekend I saw the following installation at the southwest corner of 14th and Irving streets, NW, which I guess has been there since January 10th. In checking out @RespecttheDistrict‘s Twitter profile, it states the following — The Respect Flag at 14th & Irving in DC. Designed by emzki. Connect your stories & selfies taken through the stars. Respect!

This art installation  is connected to Vision Zero DC, and is their 2nd public art installation aimed at preventing Street Harassment.

respect-the-district

Efforts to Redevelop Hebrew Home Property Still Moving Along

Posted February 10, 2017 by Kent
Categories: Development, Historic Landmarks, Housing

Tags: , , ,
The former Hebrew Home and Robeson School site at 1125 Spring Road.

The former Hebrew Home and Robeson School site at 1125 Spring Road.

The District’s efforts to find a developer for the former Hebrew Home for the Aged at 1125 Spring Road are making progress. Two public meetings were held to solicit community input through the OurRFP process, one on April 9, 2016, and a follow up meeting on June 2, 2016. Following these meetings, the RFP was issued July 1, 2016.

The Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) received nine proposals from the following development teams in response to the RFP:

  • Borger Management and Spectrum Management
  • Gilbane Development Company and NHT-Enterprise
  • Duball and Bundy Development Corp.
  • Community Preservation and Development Corporation (CPDC) and NVR
  • Telesis Corp.
  • Mission First, UrbanMatters Development and Lock7 Development
  • NHP Foundation, Fivesquares Development, and Warrenton Group
  • Victory Housing and Brinshore Development
  • Bozzuto Homes and The Menkiti Group

The next step in the process will be for DMPED to coordinate with ANCs 1A and 4C, and the community, to review the concepts and garner comments on which proposals are considered most promising. This could happen withing the next few weeks with the ANCs considering formal positions at their March meetings.

Community Conversation about Diversity Scheduled for February 21st

Posted February 9, 2017 by Kent
Categories: Community Involvement

Tags: ,

As a continuation of the SEE/CHANGE project that was along Georgia Avenue in November, Walls of Books will be hosting Salon Contra: “An Open, Honest Conversation about Diversity” of February 21st. As this may be of interest to many in the community, I’ve posted the flyer below so that people have plenty of time to RSVP.

salon-contra

Could Bioretention Bulbouts Increase Safety and Parking at Park Place and Quebec?

Posted February 8, 2017 by Kent
Categories: parking, streetscape, traffic

Tags: ,

Recently I began thinking about how to improve safe access to the small triangle park at Rock Creek Church Rd. and Park Place after a neighbor asked if it would be possible to close the street or add speed bumps to the small section of Park Place that directly abuts the neighborhood on the west of the park. After giving it much though, I think the best solution would be to add a few bioretention bulbouts to the area. However, it would require buy-in from the neighbors and a lot of sustained advocacy from the community. Below is a quick and dirty illustration that conveys the idea.

park-place-bump-outs(Areas outlined in green could be reconfigured as bioretention bulbouts, adding additional green infrastructure and calming traffic.)

The main problem with Park Place minor as it is configured today is that cars using this street take little heed for pedestrians and others as they travel from Rock Creek Church Road to Park Place major. The street is necessarily wide, and the crosswalk and stop sign at the southern end are set back, so as that anyone stopping at the stop sign is too far back from the road to see traffic on  Park Place major. Driver that do stop have to creep to the end of the street to see oncoming traffic — both cars and cyclists in the bike lanes — and this is if they stop at all. Frequently, drivers on this small stretch fail to stop at the stop sign and do a rolling stop as they turn to head south.

Closing the street doesn’t seem to be a good solution either, as the residents who live on the street would lose three parking spaces and it would make it necessarily difficult for delivery vehicles, moving vans, fire trucks, and ambulances to serve the these houses.

Strategic placement of bioretention bulbouts could narrow the entrance and exit of the street to a single lane. The benefit of this is that is would calm traffic and make the crosswalks shorter (and safer) to cross. A bulbout on the southern end of the triangle park would remove one parking space, increasing viability and safety for drivers and cyclists … and the bulbout on the southern end could be configured to add street parking by one to three spaces depending upon configuration.

The only significant down side I see is cost, so there would need to be both consensus among the neighbors most impacted and a sustained advocacy.

Perhaps the way to “sell” this to DDOT, DOEE,& the Council would be to bundle a number of these smaller projecting into a pilot program.

Brief Notes from Paid Family Leave Panel Discussion

Posted February 7, 2017 by Kent
Categories: Community Involvement, Community Meetings

Tags: , ,

paid-leave(Tom Sherwood moderating panel on Paid Family Leave Act.)

Last night, NBC4’s Tom Sherwood moderated a panel discussion at Busboys and Poets (14th Street) organized by the Ward 1 Democrats on the District’s new Paid Family Leave Act. The legislation was approved in December and Mayor Bowser has until 5:30 pm February 16th to act on the bill. While many are of the opinion that she will not veto the bill, there is a possibility that she may allow it to move forward without her signature. After February 16th, Congress has a 30 day passive review process. If they take no action, the bill becomes law.

The panel consisted of Phil Mendelson (DC Council Chair), Joanna Blotner (Jews United for Justice), Maria Gomez (Mary’s Center), Vincent Orange (DC Chamber of Commerce), Jonathan Cho (Sakuramen and Bul Korean), and Jonetta Rose Barras (Barras Report). Mendelson, Blotner, and Gomez spoke in support of the legislation, and Orange, Cho, and Barras were critics of the legislation.

Mendelson opened the discussion by stating that the goal of the Act was to help local businesses by making employment in the District of Columbia attractive and competitive to employees. Even so, implementation will not take effect until 2020 as money can’t be collected for the program until an agency is set up to administer the Act.

Those opposed to the Act stated they were not opposed to universal paid leave, but rather how the leave was being funded. As enrolled, the funds to support the program are raised in the form of a tax paid for by District businesses. Cho stated that the money should come from employees in the form of a payroll deduction and be administered as an insurance program as other cities and countries are currently doing this. Barras was critical that residents from Maryland and Virginia who work in the District will benefit and that the Act excludes Federal and District of Columbia employees. Orange stated that he preferred a mandate that employers provide leave when needed by employees.

Blotner stated that mandates don’t work and expressed support to increase the leave from 8 weeks to a longer period in the future. Gomez acknowledged that the Act will have a significant cost to Mary’s Center, but that providing universal paid leave to take care of District families is the right thing to do.

Mendelson did acknowledge that he would have preferred the structure described by Cho (payroll deductions), but that the District’s unique relationship with Congress and the Home Rule Act prohibits payroll deductions — an issue that has frustrated the Council for many years.

Overall, I left the discussion with the impression that the Act will be implemented and the city will move forward to set up the agency in support of the program … but that the Act can also be amended to make the legislation and program better.

Panel Discussion on Paid Family Leave Act Tonight!

Posted February 6, 2017 by Kent
Categories: Community Meetings

Tags: ,

If you’d like to know more about the Paid Family Leave Act, the Ward One Democrats have organized a panel discussion that will focus on this recent legislation. Below is their announcement and details.

The Paid Family Leave Act was passed by the DC Council after a contentious debate last month. This bill gives universal paid leave to employees of District-based businesses, creates a new agency to manage the program, and levies a new tax on local businesses to pay for it.

A lot is still unknown on how the Mayor and Executive Branch will implement the legislation, and how our community will be impacted.

To help residents and businesses better understand what’s to come, we are bringing together a rock star panel moderated by NBC4’s Tom Sherwood at Busboys and Poets on 14th Street on February 6 at 7pm.

You can RSVP by clicking here.

ward_one_dems_feb_6_invitation


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