Posted tagged ‘trees’

Community Meeting on Warder & Park Place Bike Lanes this Wednesday, Nov. 7th!

November 5, 2018

DDOT has been working on plans to install protected bike lanes on Park Place, Warder Street, and the 400 block of Kenyon St. as part of their implementation of the Crosstown Multimodal Transportation effort. These bike lanes would connect Park View to Brookland by expanding the current bike lane network.

In collaboration with ANC1A, DDOT will be the featured guest at the Wednesday, November 7th Park View UNC meeting where they will provide an overview of the project and be available for questions and feedback on their current proposal. Among the ideas that DDOT is considering is additional on-street parking on Park Place and tree bump outs on Warder Street.

Please see the flyer below and check out https://www.dccycletrack.com/crosstown for additional information.

Sustained Advocacy Results in More Trees for Park View School Project

October 3, 2018

I’m happy to report that I’ve been able to get 10-13 new trees added to the landscaping plans for the Bruce-Monroe @ Park View School project. But it took a lot of doggedness and refusing to take no for an answer for nearly a month.

While one would think that the landscaping plans would have been discussed at a School Improvement Team (SIT) meeting, of which I’m a member, they really weren’t. Furthermore, it has been a few months since the last SIT has met. This is an area that I’m extremely interested in as the school grounds have long been on my list of places where we could potentially get large shade trees to help address the tree desert in the middle of the neighborhood.

Site plan of the school showing location of new bioretention areas to be added at Bruce-Monroe @ Park View.

I was surprised when I inspected the school grounds in late August that bioretention areas were being added to the grounds at the front of the building, prompting me to request a copy of the landscaping plans on August 30th. After four requests, a copy of the plan set was finally shared with me on September 6th. A quick review of the plans showed that no trees were being added in the front of the building.

Immediately upon seeing the lack of trees on the site, I contacted the construction team, and later the DCPS project team, and asked about adding trees to the landscaping plan. The initial feedback I received was that trees would interfere with the bioretention areas, and that the bioretention areas were required by the Department of Energy and the Environment (DOEE).

Refusing to give up, I also contacted DDOT’s Urban Forestry Administration and requested a site visit. I also had a long conversation with DOEE which informed me that green infrastructure elements are required, but that bioretention areas were one of four ways that a project could meet that requirement. Another way was to plant trees, and that in many ways DOEE has a preference for trees but leaves the selection of which way to go to the project team.

Armed with this knowledge, I shared with DCPS that trees were an option and that if push came to shove trees would be the better choice on Warder Street.

Following DDOT’s site visit to the school, and after nearly a month of dedicated oversight, I was finally informed on September 21st that both the Warder and Newton Place sides of the building could accommodate trees without disturbing the bioretention areas already planned. This will include three trees on Warder Street and one on Newton that will mature between 60′ and 70′, helping expand the tree canopy. See the illustrations below for approximate locations and suggested species.

The illustration below also helps provide an idea of what each of the recommended trees will look like when mature.

DDOT Bike Lane Pop-up on Kenyon Offers Good Insight

September 24, 2018

 

The pop-up bike land on Kenyon, 9/21/18.

As part of Parking Day on Friday, September 21st this year, DDOT constructed a temporary pop-up bike lane on the 400 block of Kenyon Street, NW. This was an extremely valuable experience as DDOT is looking at ways to incorporate a permanent protected bi-directional bike lane on Irving Street between Michigan Avenue, NE, and Warder Street, NW. The temporary bike lane on Kenyon offered a good opportunity for DDOT to get feedback from residents as well as watch how traffic adjusted to accommodate the lanes.

Overall, I believe the bike lane pop-up was a success due to the information learned to help inform the next steps. As expected, comments related to DDOT’s plans are mixed, with some strongly in favor and others opposed. In addition to making Kenyon one lane during rush hour, some are concerned that a protected bike lane will reduce on-street parking. All of this would still need to be worked out.

Although, based on the boards that were shared with the community, it does appear that there is room for protected bike lanes, bump outs for new trees on Warder Street, and new parking along Park Place IF the suggestions proposed by DDOT meet with approval. Its difficult because every opportunity is accompanied by a trade off.

(Discussing the crosstown protected bike lane project with DDOT during the pop up event.)

Bump Outs

I was really exited to see that DDOT has been paying attention to much of what I’ve been suggesting over the years, especially with regards to incorporating bump outs on Warder Street to create new locations for street trees. See plan below.

(Proposal to incorporate bulb outs on Warder Street, creating areas for new trees.)

In DDOT’s proposal, they suggest 11 areas where bump outs could be created. But, this would remove 20 on-street parking spaces. As it is, the bike lanes may also reduce on-street parking spaces. This is a difficult trade off considering that demands on parking are increasing rather than decreasing. I’ve already met with the members of the project team at DDOT’s offices to review the plans and will be going over them block-by-block to see if there are missed opportunities or better locations for bump outs, and hope to get an initial survey completed before the end of October.

Potential Increase in Parking

In order to counter balance the impact on parking along Warder and Kenyon, DDOT is looking at the possibility of placing parking on both sides of Park Place, NW.

(DDOT’s updated plan showing parking on both sides of Park Place, NW)

The benefits of placing parking on both sides of Park Place would be that cars in addition to bollards would help protect the bike lane along the Soldiers’ Home. Additionally, it would reduce Park Place to a single travel lane, greatly reducing the speed of traffic along the street which has long been a problem. It would also increase neighborhood parking by more than the spaces lost elsewhere due to other aspects of the project. The biggest negative would be that it would limit the vista of the Soldiers’ Home along Park Place.

While there is much to consider, DDOT is still working to get to a 30% plan by the end of the year, and presuming the development of a winning plan, implementation by the end of 2019 at the earliest.

To help the community get more information and provide more feedback, I’ve invited DDOT to be the guest at the November meeting of the Park View UNC. That will give them time to incorporate the feedback they receive during their pop-up trial last Friday.

Construction at Park View School Could Create Opportunity for More Trees

August 23, 2018

The current construction at the Bruce-Monroe @ Park View school is still going strong, and while most of the results will primarily benefit the students and teachers at the school, I think there is an opportunity to create a significant benefit for the entire community. I’ve noticed that the majority of the grounds in the front of the building have removed the landscaping from the Warder Street side of the property. When it is time to replant those areas, we need to include new trees that will mature to provide shade for that block. A few years back the law was changed to allow DDOT’s urban forestry administration to also plant on public property like schools and recreation centers. Based on my quick review, we should be seeking to get an additional 3-4 trees on this block.

I’ve already reached out to both DDOT and the construction crew to begin this conversation.

(The frontage of the Park View School is currently being used to support the construction at the school. New landscaping can and should accommodate new shade trees.)

Laws to Protect Large Trees Sometimes Fail to Do Just That

August 10, 2018

The District of Columbia is making a real effort to protect, maintain, and increase the city’s tree canopy. This includes large trees on private property. Private property trees between 44” and 99.9” in circumference are considered Special Trees. Trees that are greater than 100” in circumference are considered Heritage Trees.

The removal of Special Trees requires a Special Tree Removal Permit. Heritage trees in healthy condition cannot be removed. Yet, despite these protections I’ve seen large trees removed without permits on more than a single occasion, and often in parts of the neighborhood that can ill afford the loss of tree canopy.

The two cases that come to mind immediately are one that just occurred in the rear of 430 Manor Place. In this case a developer cut down a healthy special tree without a permit. Upon inspection, DDOT confirmed the special tree status and will be issuing a fine.

(All that remained of a special tree when DDOT was able to inspect the property on Manor Place, NW)

The other case occurred ca. 2015 when two large trees were cut down on the 800 block of Otis Place, NW, without permits. That case was particularly sad as they were the only two large trees on that block, and there is no public space available for new street trees. In both cases I alerted DDOT for inspections when they came to my attention.

The Tree Canopy Protection Amendment Act of 2016 is now in effect. It amended the law passed in 2002 known as the Urban Forest Preservation Act. The new law raised the fines for unlawful tree removal from $100 to no less than $300 per circumference inch. In simple math, if you cut down a tree that has a 50-inch circumference you could be fined $15,000.

Considering how long it takes trees to grow to maturity, the challenges we have in developing a tree canopy in many parts of the city, and the benefits that trees provide to neighborhoods, it is in the community’s best interest to protect our large trees. While the money raised through fines is significant and can help plant new trees … there really isn’t anything that can replace a mature tree for the current generation.

If you think a large tree is in danger of being cut down without a permit, you can reach out to DDOT, request an inspection via Twitter, or reach out to me for assistance. I’ll give the Ward 1 arborist a heads up.

(These large trees on the 800 block of Otis Place were cut down without permits around 2015, leaving the entire block absent of large, mature trees.)

DDOT Kicks Off Tree Planting Season

October 9, 2017

The District of Columbia’s Department of Transportation announced the kick off of the 2017-2018 tree planting season last week and aims to plant more than 8,000 trees throughout DC.

A quick look at the tree planting map shows where new trees will be planted in our area. Each year, DDOT plants new street trees in empty tree boxes based on tree planting requests.

(Detail of 2017-2018 tree planting map.)

The full DDOT press release is below:

(Washington, DC) — The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) Urban Forestry Division (UFD) kicked off the 2017-2018 tree planting season this week and set an ambitious goal to plant more than 8,000 trees.

“DDOT maintains more than 215,000 trees throughout the District,” said DDOT Interim Director Jeff Marootian. “We are committed to planting new trees, while simultaneously maintaining our existing ones. Urban forestry improves the environment and enhances quality of life. The District is recognized as a national leader in urban tree canopy and currently enjoys a 38.7 percent urban tree canopy. Our goal is to reach 40 percent by 2020. This planting season will move us even closer to that goal.”

DDOT employs a team of 25 arborist who plant and care for the District’s trees, partner with interested organizations, and educate residents on the benefits of urban tree canopy. Tree planting season runs from mid-autumn through mid-spring, depending on weather. This past season, the team planted more than 8,200 trees, exceeding its 8,000 goal.

In June, the team also introduced its DC Tree Watering Application, which helps users locate trees in all eight wards that need watering, tag trees they water, upload photos, and report trees in need of care (e.g., a tree has a beehive). The app also includes a story map with information about tree species found throughout the District.

For more information about the Urban Forestry Division and the tree planting season, and a map of the planned tree planting locations, visit DDOT’s Urban Forestry website.

Mayor Bowser Launches DC Tree Watering Application to Identify Trees Needing Community Watering Assistance

June 22, 2017

With the hot temperatures and lack of rain we’ve had recently, I wanted to highlight the new DC Tree Watering Application which Mayor Bowser announced last week. Many residents in the neighborhood have worked hard to add new trees where we can, and are still actively doing what we can to increase the tree canopy in the area. It is particularly important in our current weather to keep new trees watered, and this app helps identify where those trees are. The text of the Mayor’s announcement follows the screen shot below.

(Screen shot of Web app, click to enter.)

News Release:

(WASHINGTON, DC) – [June 12, 2017], Mayor Muriel Bowser launched of the new DC Tree Watering Application during her Ward 6 community walk. The event, which featured a demonstration of the District Department of Transportation’s (DDOT) innovative new app, highlighted the value of and need for community assistance in keeping newly planted trees hydrated. The Mayor was joined at the launch by DDOT Deputy Director Jeff Marootian, DDOT’s Urban Forestry Division (UFD) team, and members of the community.

“We are committed to embracing smart technology across city government, and with the launch of the new DC Tree Watering App we are encouraging all District residents to help support our urban forestry,” said Mayor Bowser. “This past planting season, as part of DC’s commitment to protecting and enhancing the environment, we planted 8,200 new trees throughout the city. Now, we want to see them flourish and we invite everyone to help. Watering is the easiest and most affordable way for residents to help, and this app will allow us to coordinate our efforts.”

Through the DC Tree Watering App, users can locate trees in all eight wards that need watering, tag trees they water, and upload photos of the trees being watered. In addition, users can report trees in need of care (e.g. a tree has a beehive), and the UFD will review all reports to determine the best means of care for each tree. The app also includes a story map with information about tree species found throughout Washington, DC.

The District maintains more than 215,000 trees throughout the city. During the last tree planting season (October 2016 through April 2017), the city planted 8,200 trees, increasing urban tree canopy coverage of the District to 38.7 percent.
The launch of the app is part of Back to Basics DC, a multi-week celebration of the day-to-day work that keeps Washington, DC moving forward. Follow Back to Basics DC on social media using #backtobasicsDC.
Residents can find the app at treewatering.ddot.dc.gov/treewatering, and visit ddot.dc.gov to learn more about the District’s urban forestry.


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