Posted tagged ‘Park View’

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.

Heads Up! Kick Off Bruce Monroe Park Meeting is Tuesday, September 10, at 6:30 pm!

September 9, 2019

Tomorrow at 6:30 pm, the Department of Parks and Recreation will host their first community meeting to begin the conversation on what a permanent, 1-acre park could look like on the Bruce Monroe site located at Columbia Road and Georgia Avenue, NW. A 1-acre permanent park was one of the components agreed to as part of the overall effort to rebuild the Park Morton community which identified the Bruce Monroe site as the first phase of construction.

The build-first phase of Park Morton was challenged in court, and while the case was heard in February 2019, we are still waiting for a decision to be handed down. While that has delayed the timeline for construction of the build-first structure, other aspects of the project continue to move forward — like the permanent park.

See the flyer below for details, and I will post a report of the meeting later this week for those unable to attend.

Construction at 3622 Georgia Avenue will Result in More Housing and Commercial Space

August 14, 2019

Here’s another long-vacant building on Georgia Avenue that is now actively under construction. 3622 Georgia, next to Lion’s Find Wines & Spirits, is an active construction site.

According to the building permit, issued in June 2019, the construction is for an addition and renovation of the existing two story and basement commercial building into a new R2 condominium with 8 dwelling units and a commercial/retail space on the first floor/basement level. The renovated building will be four stories above grade with a cellar and a mezzanine/equipment platform.

For a little history of the building, it was the office of Dr. Ephraim Edgar Ruebush, a successful veterinary surgeon, from 1925 until 1941.

The Sweet Mango Property Finally Headed for Re-development

August 13, 2019


Four years after the neighborhood first learned of re-development plans for the former Sweet Mango property at 3701 New Hampshire Ave, NW, it seems those plans may finally be moving forward. Last week security fencing went up around the property. Based on a conversation with the developer a couple months ago, I initially thought this indicated that the structures would be raised and that the lot would be vacant pending a decision to move forward.

However, in connecting with the development team, I’ve learned that the current plan is to raze the buildings and then begin construction of the new building following the completion of the demolition. The development team is currently working with ANC4C and DCRA to get approved building permits.

Once construction begins, the schedule for completion of the new building will be 14 months.

Below is the rendering from 2015 on what the new building would look like.

Proposed 21-unit building at 3701 New Hampshire Ave, NW, from 2015

Park View Community Movie Night is this Friday at 7:30 pm!

July 31, 2019

This Friday, August 2nd, at 7:30 pm there is a free outdoor movie night at the Park View Recreation Center. Come one, come all to this family friendly event with popcorn and sno-cones. The move is Aquaman!

Movie night is sponsored by the Park View UNC, DPR, and ANC1A.

Mr. Braxton is Open on Georgia Avenue: I Highly Recommend!

July 26, 2019

One of Park View’s newest restaurants, Mr. Braxton, has been open for nearly a week at 3632 Georgia Avenue. Last night I finally had time to check it out and I’m happy to report all my expectations were exceeded. Its a beautiful space, had a good crowd from both the immediate neighborhood and some farther away (I saw a few folks arrive by Uber), and the staff were extremely attentive.

It is a comfortable space and the credit goes to owner Booker Parchment who has focused on many of the small details (hint: if you are looking for a an under counter hook for a purse or bag, you can find them under the tables as well as at the bar).

The Divers Scallops.

But I have to say, the real star of the night was the food. I had the black Angus slider with fries to start, followed by the beet salad and the Diver Scallops. My partner had the buffalo wings and the New Zealand Rack of Lamb. Everything was attractively plated and delicious … I’ll certainly be back.

The only area where some may be concerned is that the space has a lot of hard surfaces which results in a level of chatter that increases as the restaurant gets busier. That aside, it is a fairly intimate and welcoming space and my sense is that most visitors are going to love this new addition to the neighborhood.

Here is a photo of the menu I took so people can get a sense of the choices and pricing.


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