Monday, November 15, 2010

Make a difference in the fight against HIV/AIDS in DC and Ward 5!

The HIV/AIDS epidemic in our Nations Capitol is always a hot point of contention among our leaders and citizens.  It touches almost every aspect of our lives, whether we realize it or not.  Currently more than 3% of D.C.'s population is living with HIV/AIDS- a prevalence rate higher than West Africa. According to the 2009 HIV/AIDS Epidemiology Report, this rate has increased 22% from 2006, signaling that a dramatic response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in D.C. is necessary. It is important to note that the disease is not limited to a specific sexual orientation or demographic. D.C. residents of differing races, sexes, and levels socio-economic status have all been affected. Men having sex with men is the leading mode of transmission however; heterosexual transmission and injection drug use are not too far behind in numbers.  These sobering facts often leave people helpless and unsure of what they can do to help.  Well here is your chance to have your voice heard and help fight this menace to our society!
  The D.C. HIV Prevention Community Planning Group (HPCPG), along with the Department of Health’s HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD, and TB Administration (HAHSTA), is looking for people who are interested in finding a solution to the local HIV epidemic. HPCPG is looking for new members to sit on the committee to help guide the city’s approach to HIV/AIDs detection and prevention.  HPCPG members serve two year terms. The HPCPG is currently recruiting new members from all backgrounds, and welcomes unique and differing perspectives on the issue, as we work together to find a solution. Applications for the group are due on December 2nd; therefore it is best to get your application out sooner rather than later.
  The District of Columbia HPCPG guides HIV prevention in the District, along with the DC Department of HAHSTA. Members of the HPGCP are from local communities and/or HIV/AIDS prevention specialists and reflect the District’s diverse population.  The HPCPG is responsible for deciding which populations are in greatest need of HIV prevention services, as well as deciding what the best ways to meet those needs are. HAHSTA, in turn, is responsible for funding programs and services that match the HPCPG’s decisions.
  How can you become involved?  Easy!  There are two ways to participate in the HPGCP...join the HPCPG or come to meetings! The membership application can be downloaded from  Even if you do not join, you are always welcome at any of our meetings. The HPCPG meets monthly on the second Thursday of the month from 5:30-8:00 PM at Department of Health facilities. Meeting dates and times are posted on our website:  If you have the time, or can make the commitment, please take the time to get involved.  Let's make it a priority to help control the HIV/ADS epidemic before it's too late.

Broadway Comes to CUA: Presenting "Nine"

Catholic University’s Benjamin T. Rome School of Music presents the musical, “Nine”, based on Federico Fellini's semi-autobiographical film, “8½”. The 200 square foot back drop depicting the Grand Canal and the Rialto Bridge is painted by local artist Jeff Wilson. The show is directed by Kurt Boehm, with musical direction by Denise Puricelli -- straight from Broadway! The show is loaded with energy -- superb costuming -- stunning vocals-- great dancing -- ALL PLAYED BEFORE A LIVE ORCHESTRA!
  Tickets are $15 for general admission and $10 for students, seniors and CUA alumni, faculty and staff.  Performances are Nov 12, 13, 14, and 19, 20, 21; Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30, Sundays at 2:00. Presented in Ward Recital Hall, just north of the Basilica on Harewood Road, next to the Hartke Theatre. Ward Recital Hall is an intimate space with real charm -- exposed old brick, heavey construction beams, chandeliers, and nice accoustics. A perfect period location for a period Venetian piece. Call to get your tickets because some shows have been selling out! For more information, contact the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music at  202-319-5414.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Early Morning Shooting Near Ft. Totten

  Shots rang out in the early morning near the Ft. Totten Metro today.  The MPD and US Park Police were called to Fort Circle Park at the intersection of Galloway and 11th St. NE at around 3 in the morning.  The victim appears to be an adult male who suffered a gun shot to the head, but details beyond that have not been released.  What makes this particularly disturbing is that the area this violent crime took place in is know for a having very low crime rate.  This raises the question of what could have caused such a violent crime in such a quiet and safe neighborhood.  Currently the MPD is leading the investigation, and the Park Police have closed Fort Circle Park indefinitely.  A statement is scheduled to come from the MPD regarding the crime shortly and will hopefully shed some light on the incident.  One thing is for sure, however, and that is the entire neighborhood is on edge as the investigation continues.

-UPDATE- reports that "D.C. police have identified the man who was fatally shot in a Northeast park early Friday as 29 year-old Keith Banks. 
Banks, of the 300 block of Quackenbos Street NW, was found unconscious in the 1100 Block of Galloway Street NE about 3 a.m. by officers responding to a report of gunfire.
Banks had been shot and was unresponsive, police said. He was taken to a hospital, where he was later pronounced dead, police said."

Anyone with information is asked to call (202) 727-9099 or 1-888-919-CRIME (1-888-919-2746).

Thursday, November 11, 2010


  That special time of the month is almost upon us, the monthly ANC 5A Monthly Community Meeting.  This months meeting will take place next wednesday, Nov 17th, from 6:30 - 9:00 PM at the Church of Our Savior (1616 Irving Street, NE). 

The agenda will include the following:
· Councilmember Harry Thomas, Jr.
· MPD – 5D Police Report
· Community Concerns
   (1) Renewal of Liquor License for Lace
   (2) Renewal of Liquor License for Eclipse
   (3) Ronald McDonald House Special Exception Approval limitation
· FORUM: Helping Our Elderly and Incapacitated Neighbors in Hard Times
· Guests: Representatives of resource agencies
· Advisory Neighborhood Commission 5A:
(5A-01) Sandi Washington, (5A-02) Patricia Roberts, (5A-03) Angel Alston, (5A-04) Herman Preston,
(5A-05) Stephen McCoy, (5A-06) John Feeley, Jr, (5A-07) Carolyn Steptoe, (5A-08) Timothy Thomas,
(5A-09) Shirley Rivens Smith, (5A-10) Phillip Blair, (5A-11) Janae Grant, (5A-12) Robert (Bob) King

The next ANC 5A Meeting is scheduled for wednesday, Jan 26th from 6:30 - 9:00 PM with the location still to be determined.

Friday, October 15, 2010

McMillan Sand Filtration Planning Meeting

  This Saturday there will be a panel introduction meeting of the design team that is in charge of the final design plan for the McMillian Sand Filtration Site.   This is the first of a three part series discussing the project, and will give the neighborhood a chance to voice their comments and concerns, and gain a better understanding of the project's scope.  The development of the site has been a point of contention among many groups, so the meeting should be action packed!

Meeting Details:
Date: Saturday, October 16, 2010
Time: 10:00 AM
Where: St. Martin`s Church
1908 North Capitol Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001
The Deputy Mayor for Planning & Economic Development
Ward 5 Council-member Harry  Thomas, Jr.
Vision - McMillan Partners Design Team

  If you are planning on attending the meeting here is a brief history of the facility.  The McMillan Sand Filtration site is a 25 acre decommissioned water treatment plant located at the intersection of N. Capitol and Michigan Ave, adjacent to the Washington Medical Center.  The complex dates back to1905 when it's completion signaled a milestone in DC public health  through the use of  sand, rather than chemicals, to eliminate communicable diseases.  The original design of the site was dual use, also serving the city as a walking pedestrian park.  Two paved courts lined by regulator houses, tower-like sand bins, sand washers and the gated entrances to the underground filter cells provided a promenade for citizens enjoying the parks unique beauty.  The complex served the city until 1986, and then in 1987 the District of Columbia purchased the site for $9.3M in order to develop the sight.  In 1991, the D.C. Historic Preservation Review Board designated McMillan Park a Historic Landmark.
"The site has been described as an imaginative combination of landscaped park, with promenades, sculpture, curving carriage drives, careful grading and the placement of trees planned and personally supervised by Olmsted. The heirs of Senator McMillan personally financed the landscaping. Crowning the park was a pink granite fountain, designed by Adams and Platt and dedicated in 1913 as a memorial to Senator McMillan. Featuring three nymphs representing faith, hope and charity, the monument was funded by contributions from every Michigan county. The fountain has since been removed."**
Also, here is a youtube video we found from BloomingdaleNow regarding the site.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Dog Found...Are you missing a Yorkshire Terrier???

Reader S.R. sent us the below message this morning regarding a Yorkshire Terrier she found this morning.  If you, or some one you know are missing a dog, please read below and help this little guy out.
Hello There,  
I'm hoping you can post something for me. I was out running at about 7:30 this morning on Puerto Rico Ave NE and I found a little stray dog who kept wandering into traffic. He (or she?) looks like he may be a Yorkshire Terrier. He has a pink harness on but no collar. I got him to follow me home and now Animal Control is on their way to pick him up. Unfortunately I can't keep him here because I have my own dog and a cat. Animal Control will only keep him for five days, so I'm really hoping that if you can post this information and some pictures on your blog, whoever lost him can go pick him up before it's too late. AC's phone number is: 202-576-6664.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Vince Gray's Ward 5 Town Hall Meeting Video

Take a look at this very informative, yet somewhat lengthy, Town Hall Meeting video.  It is a really good look at what our incoming Mayor has to say about not only our city, but also Ward 5!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Ft. Totten Square: Finally Getting Squared Away

 The Ft. Totten Square (FTS) project has gone through many phases since it's announcement in 2006.  The once proud and highly anticipated community changing project had lost it's financial and community support, and saw a project site sit and decay for over three years.  Just when things couldn't look worse for the FTS project, the clouds parted and the sun began to shine.  Cassidy Turley Commercial Real Estate Services took on the major task of finding investors who have capitol available to refinance the project, and within months of coming on board they were able to close the refinancing deal for Lowe Enterprises.   
  For those of you that have been distracted by the massive road construction project at the intersection of Riggs and South Dakota in NE, or who haven't ventured up into this quiet section of the city, the demolition has finally begun on the former strip mall that sat on the project site. In a city feeling the economic strains shared with most of the country, the project will give a much needed economic boost to the City and Ward 5 economy.  This project will not simply create a temporary boost for blue collar jobs, but more importantly will create long term sustainable jobs in the massive mixed use project.  When we sat down with Ward 5 City Council Representative Harry Thomas last month, he noted the fact that Ward 5 job set asides are always at the top of his priority list when it comes to discussions with new commercial establishments.  Second on his list would be assisting locally owned business, especially restaurants, acquire the funding they need to gain a foothold in the new neighborhood markets. 
   While the new time line has not yet been revealed (both Lowe and Cassidy Turley had been contacted serveal times but provided no response), the future surely looks bright for the FTS project.  The coming retail and culinary additions to the neighborhood landscape will be closely followed, and hotly debated (most exciting of which could be the new full service grocery slated to anchor the retail side of the development). But only time will tell how the project pans out, and what direction the project ultimately takes.  One thing for sure is that the project is moving forward at a brisk pace, and regardless of the final product it has removed a growing eyesore from the neighborhood.

Artist's rendition of the finished Ft. Totten Square project
(Ft. Totten Metro and S.D. Ave at top right of image)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Capital Bikeshare Hits Brookland

  The proposed expansion of the Capital Bikeshare program has finally arrived in Brookland!  For those of you unfamiliar with the Capital Bikeshare Program, it is a network of 1,100 bicycle located at over 110 stations across Washington, D.C. and Arlington, VA.  The daily, weekly, monthly or annual membership allows a member to pick up a bike from one Bikeshare locations, and drop it off at another.  The way it works is members are sent a Capital Bikeshare key allowing them access to bikes at every location.  Once you have arrived at one of the locations, you insert your key into any bike dock with an available bike and remove the bike for use.  Once you are done you simply return the bike to an open slot at any location.  The system is not meant for all day or week use of a single bike, but rather short term point to point use of bikes for commuting like purposes.  
The Brookland location can be found along the 12th St. side of CVS (below the intersection of 12th and Netwon St.), and is already operational, and is in perfect position for a quick trip down the Metropolitan Branch Trail to Union Station!

Information and membership information can be found at the Capital Bikeshare website.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Action Packed Weekend in 20017

  On this first beautiful weekend of October, there is surely no shortage of things to take up your time in the wonderful neighborhoods of 20017!  First get your weekend started off with the unveiling of the newest addition to the Brookland Neighborhood Street-scape.  In recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Brookland Cafe will be  unveiling Joel Bergners latest mural.  The event, sponsored by DASH(District Alliance for Safe Housing) and Lovebus Events, will feature free food and Live Performances at the Brookland Cafe from 4-6 PM. 
  On Sunday,Oct 3rd, a fundraising 5k will be taking place around North Michigan Park, Brookland and CUA to benifit the Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Institute.The Office of Disability Support Services is hosting a 5K to raise money for the Kennedy Institute's Infant and    Toddler Program. This program serves three to six year olds, with and without development delays, in an inclusive setting. The race will take place on October 3, 2010 at the Dufour Center, with check-in beginning at 9:30am. Registration is $15.00 per person for CUA and Kennedy Institute Affiliates ($17.00 day of the race) and $20 for the general population ($25 day of the race). The race will be followed by a fun fair at the Dufour Center fields. To sign up to walk or run, please visit the Disability Support Services website ( and follow the link for the registration website.The 5K Fun-Fair from10:00am until 2:00pm on Sunday, October 3, there will be a will feature carnival games with prizes, a moon bounce, and food courtsey of DC Slices Pizza, Red, Hot, and Blue BBQ and Rita's Water Ice.  There will be a "donation fee" of $5 to enter the fair.  The race and fair will also impact those of you who choose not to participate, through the closing of several local streets for a period in the morning. 
  If you are more of a pet person, then we have something for you as well!  The Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America, located at 1400 Quincy St NE, will hold its annual Blessing of the Animals as part of the celebration of the Feast of St. Francis this Sunday at 1:30 pm.  The event is open to all, and is always a very festive and entertaining event!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

NFI Brews Up Fundraising Success for Ft. Totten Community Garden

  The Neighborhood Farm Initiative's "Home Brew Harvest Festival" held last weekend at the La Casa Community Center (in the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood of DC) was an overwhelming success.  The event hosted by NFI (with support from DC Brau and Bread and Brew) could only be described as part seminar part Oktoberfest! Not only were five very tasty home brews featured, but a great spread of locally sourced fresh food -courtesy of the Petworth Community Market, Mount Pleasant Farmer's Market and the Bloomingdale Farmer's Market- and a beginners lecture on home brewing from Aaron Lavallee and Morgan Pinnellmade truly made it a Festival!  With the small La Casa Community Center filled to the brim with eager supporters, brewers and staff, the festival gave some much needed exposure and monetary support to NFI's efforts across our fair City.  The time and care each backyard brewer spent to craft their specialty brews was evident with each sip; and the featured home brewed adult beverages were a great compliment to the cornucopia of pesto, salsas, raw veggies, dips and spreads prepared from local ingredients of the highest quality.
  While this fundraiser was a casual event, it was also a contest.  So as is the case with many things, there can be only one...or uhhh three winners.  After the polls closed and all the ballots were accounted for, the grand champions were crowned.  Terry Chang took home the prize for best overall brew, with second place going to the Cutting Edge Brew Team - Bea Trickett, Dave Cahill and Jaime Garay- and third place went to the first name only brew team of Aaron and Morgan.  Perhaps the best outcome of this event was NFI raising $830 to put them well on their way towards installing a deer fence around the Mamie D. Lee garden at the Ft. Totten Metro.  A big shout out goes to Bread and Brew and DC Brau for their support in making this event happen.  Hopefully we will see this event become a yearly tradition, celebrating a wonderful harvest and some great local home brews!

For more information on the Neighborhood Farm Initiative please check out their website or their BLOG for up to date info about events and harvests! 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Another accident on South Dakota Ave. NE Near Ft. Totten Metro

As the rain trickles down, yet another accident has taken place on South Dakota Ave NE near the intersection of Galloway St. NE.  This new crash is less than 100' from where a devastating accident occurred less than 2 months ago.  This newest fender bender took place between a commercial gardening truck and a compact pick-up, and appears to be far less severe than the July 22nd accident.
  Yet another shining example of why there needs to be stricter traffic enforcement or new traffic control measures put in place on the main thoroughfare.  South Dakota Avenue is currently closed at the Ft. Totten Metro, right next to the new CCDC Backus Campus.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Clear Those Election Blues With A Home Brew Fest Benefiting The Ft. Totten Community Garden

  As the District sits back and holds their collective breath as the the Poll results are calculated, we have a wonderful event to take your mind off of the potential change in leadership of our fair District...a home brewed beer fest!!!  To make it even sweeter, or maltier perhaps, the particular Home Brew Fest is being held as a fund raiser for the Mamie D. Lee Community Garden at the Ft. Totten Metro.  So break out your carbouys, fermentation locks and hydrometers and show the local green thumbs what you can do!
  This wonderful home honed fermented potables (that fancy speak for home brewed beer) contest will be held this Saturday Sept. 18 at the La Casa Community Center in Mt. Pleasant (3166 Mt. Pleasant Street NW).  The Home Brew Harvest Fest will run from 7-10 PM and cost $10 per person to enter.  The contest is open to all levels, beginner through expert, and will be judged by the paying attendees.  All entries will be judged on overall popularity, and brewers are encouraged to enter as many subcategories as they would like to(with prizes to be awarded in all categories).  There will also be a home brew workshop from 7-8 PM, explaining the process of home brewing to all those interested!   If you would like to enter your home brewed concoction, details can be found here.  All proceeds will go towards installing a fence around the 68 plot community garden located at the Ft.Totten Metro Station, to fend off those pesky deer from eating the gardeners hard work.  

Thanks to reader Jessica Lombardo for the heads-up on this looks to be a really great time!

Friday, September 10, 2010

CCDC Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

  With the daily construction going late into the night (and sometimes through the morning), CCDC's Backus Campus looks ready to open it's doors in time for scheduled classes to start on Sept 13th.  Tomorrow in particular is a very important milestone for the new campus, as Ward 5 Councilman Harry Thomas, DC City Council Chair Vince Gray and other CCDC and UDC representatives host the ribbon cutting ceremony.  The event is scheduled to take place tomorrow Sept 11th at 9 AM at 5171 South Dakota Avenue, NE.  The ceremony will also serve to commemorate Bertie Backus student Asia Cottom and teacher Sara Clark who were victims of the September 11th terrorist atacks.

For information regarding layout and history of the project check here.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

New North Michigan Park Neighborhood Signs

Proposed Sign Design
  The Friends of North Michigan Park Civic Association is making a push for community beautification and  identity retention.  With the projected increase in both pedestrian and vehicular traffic to the growing area, the FNMPCA want to make sure the neighborhood of North Michigan Park is well defined, and not just lumped in as part of the Ft. Totten Area t.  How do they plan on accomplishing this, well  through the installation of 30 metal banner signs similar to those found in Dupont Circle and Capital Hill. 
   Currently the FNMPCA has submitted plans for approval by the neighborhood ANC's, which need to sign off on the project, in order to get a DDOT permit to install the signs.  The current plans has the 30 signs lining the major thoroughfares of the neighborhood, including South Dakota Ave, Gallatain and 8 St along with others.  Pending ANC approval, which the plan already seems to have, the signs will be fabricated by Gelberg Signs on Washington, DC and delivered for installation.  Not set time line appears to be in place, but it is assumed that once DDOT approve the installation permit the signs should be up in no time.

View NMP Banner Pole Locations in a larger map

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

On Pancakes, Politics and Progress

  Last Friday, DC Council Member Harry "Tommy" Thomas Jr. invited Ward 5 bloggers to "break bread" (well more like giant pancakes) with him at the Cap City Diner for his Blogger Breakfast.  The Council Member's goal was to share his vision and plans for Ward 5, and allow the community bloggers a chance to get answers on specific questions regarding their individual neighborhood.  The informal event was a unique opportunity for local bloggers representing Brookland Avenue, In BloomRhode Island AVE NE Insider, Frozen Tropics and of course us from The Totten Life to get some answers for our readers. 
  For many of those in attendance, the increase in violence by youth (and in particular around and near metro stations) was a major concern, one shared by Councilman Thomas.  He identified the need to engage the various police department jurisdictions that oversee the metro stations and surrounding areas, and create better communication as well as better cooperation.  He also stated that he will working with the City Council to create a better metro by drafting a Public Safety Amendment which not only addresses crime at metro stations, but doubles penalties and fines for crimes perpetrated around metro stations.  The goal is to create a form of strategic deterrent for criminals targeting commuters by having a better organized law enforcement effort and heavier fines.  In order to address youth crime, Councilman Thomas believes that prevention and engagement of youth in other activities is the best way to stop the problem before it happens.  In a city where youth programs have been slashed, children must be engaged and given options for activities that nurture them both physically and mentally.  He also identified the fact that he was (and still is), in support of the youth summer jobs program, that were recently severely paired down, being extended (a program Mayor Fenty also supported the extension of) to all summer long.  The Councilman felt the way to reduce youth crime is not to throw them in youth correctional facilities, but to try and prevent them from getting to that point in the first place.
  The Councilman then addressed Ward 5 economic concerns, most notably the increase and need of business in Ward 5.  Mr.Thomas identified the fact Big Box stores (like Target, Costco, Best Buy etc) are looking to open their doors in Ward 5, however he does not believe this should be the sole focus of economic development in the neighborhoods.  While the increase of jobs in our ward created by these major retailers (Mr. Thomas indicated that there are set asides for ward 5 jobs with these companies) is an excellent perk, the focus should be on opening community based enterprises that are there to serve the neighborhood.  The Big Box retailers should be viewed as the hub of the retail center's and used as a means to attract "white table cloth restaurants" and businesses owned and operated by community members.  There is also a need to incentivize small business growth in the district in the form of tax breaks and zoning changes that will make it easier for the average person to open a business. 
  Outside of business growth around the major box retailers, Councilman Thomas shifted focus on the neighborhood business corridors.  Focusing particularly on H St, 12th St, and Rhode Island Avenue, the Councilman stated that "Our goal is not to make the neighborhoods new economic areas, but rather to return them to what they used to be.  Many of the long term residents once enjoyed and want to see the same amenities that newer residents want." He also supports an increase in smaller Community Grocers and Farmers Markets as a means to to get fresher and healthier choices into the city.  Through the use of  incentives (like tax cuts), the Councilman would seek to ensure the right businesses for the community are brought in.  However, the need for educating and training workers goes hand-in-hand with any long term business development.  Mr. Thomas explained how the new CCDC campus near Ft. Totten is an essential piece of this puzzle, one that will "provide workforce development in the community, as well as lifelong community development programs."
  Councilman Thomas also identified the need to have effective communication between the different ANC's, Civic Associations, MPD and himself.  The Councilman stated the importance of community input on any issue effecting its residents.  The ANC, MPD and SMD meetings are one part of this process, and he frequently attends the various meetings held by these organizations.  Councilman Thomas, however, singled out the importance of Civic Associations in gaining community support and input.  The end goal Councilman Thomas would like to see is joint communication and cooperation between the various organizations in order to get the most information out to the residents of Ward 5.
  We would like to take a moment to thank Councilman Thomas in identifying the value Neighborhood Blogs add to the dissemination of information in a quick and hyper-local manner.  The Councilman was very attentive to all of the questions thrown at him, as well as confident in his platform and his vision for making Ward 5 a better place to live and do business.  Thank you Councilman Thomas for taking time out of your schedule to answer the questions of a few concerned citizens, a shout out to our fellow Ward 5 Bloggers (if you haven't been to their sites, check them out Brookland Avenue, In BloomRhode Island AVE NE Insider, Frozen Tropics) for participating and making this event meaningful and a special thanks to CapCity Diner for hosting and providing a delicious start to our mornings.  If you haven't been to the Diner over in Trinidad, it is a must go.  When you do stop by, maybe take a page out of Councilman Thomas' playbook and dive into the Super Fat Boy Breakfast which looked killer!!!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Dog Found...Help us out!

Once we woke up this AM, we let our dogs out to pee before their walk as usual  and saw a little white dog scurry up the street. Then around 11 while out walking the two of them, we were approached by the same little white fella (looks to be a Bichon Mix) and were followed for about five blocks up 8th to Buchanan. We then spent the next 2 hours scouring the neighborhood all the way up to Providence to see if anyone knew him.  Alas, we had no luck,  If you know this dog or he looks vaguely familiar, PLEASE send us a message.  We already have two large dogs and can't handle a third.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Breakfast with a side of Politics...

 The Totten Life has been invited to attend Ward 5 Council Member Harry Thomas' blogger breakfast tomorrow morning at the Cap City Diner.  A few other Ward 5 bloggers will be attending as well, as Harry shares his vision and plan on how to make the city better.  Any questions issues you would like raised regarding Ward 5, here is your chance to try and get them answered.  We will do our best to get answers for all legitimate questions answered as well as sharing Mr. Thomas' vision for creating a better DC!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Gangland: ANC5A

The History Channel's show Gangland focuses on gang issues in cities
across America.
  This past Sunday morning a 23 year old CUA student was attacked as he got off the metro in Brookland.  The graduate student was being followed by a group of teens as he was walking away from the station.  After alerting the youths that he was aware they were following him, one member of the group tackled him to the ground.  This was the end of the confrontation, and no money or personal items were taken.  This comes on the heels of a CUA student being shot and killed near Petworth, and throws salt in a wound that has not yet begun to heal.
  Youth incidents are not new to the Brookland Metro Station, or ANC5A as a whole.  Kids have often been witnessed tagging benches or signs, as well as knocking over garbage cans and other items around the neighborhood.  This is the first assault to take place at the station in quite some time.  However, recently there has been an increase in what appears to be teen gang activity in the neighborhood (and the city as a whole).  Most notably the tagging of cars and trees on and around Providence Hospital (some rep'ing the Riggs Park Crew and Big 30). 
  While gang activity  in DC is nothing new, and even the "Riggs Park Crew" is not a new entity (2004 blog posting appraising the DC gang situation), the city lacks the strong presence of the national gangs.  Most gang activity in the District is perpetrated by smaller neighborhood street gangs, and recently groups of 15-19 year old teens.  Although these small neighborhood street gangs are usually preoccupied by beefs with other gangs, the teen groups seem to be far less introverted and secretive with their activity.  This increase in (what appears to be) gang and youth related criminal activity in the neighborhood is disturbing, and should not be overlooked by authorities.  The proportion of violent crimes committed by teens in DC is alarmingly high.  While there does seem to be a recent decrease in the use of weapons in these incidents, they are none the less still taking place.  What the police and neighborhood leadership are doing to quickly and efficiently address these issues is not clear.  But perhaps the emphasis in the media should be focused more on what can be done to help curb youth violence in the District, rather than focusing on the personality differences between two major mayoral candidates that hold fairly similar platforms.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Brookland, The District's Craft Beer HQ?

  There is no hotter trend in the country right now than the home and craft brewing movement.  A month doesn't go by where the Mid-Atlantic Brewing News doesn't run an article on a group of old friends whose love of suds has turned into a budding business.  Often these small batch, craft or artisan (a word we think is thrown around way too much these days) brewers are responsible for creating some of the most uniquely inspiring beers available.  It seemed that this country wide trend, however, was skipping over DC. 
  The Nation's Capitol has no shortage of brew pubs and beer spots (i.e. Cap City, District Chop House etc...), but a true brewery has been absent from the landscape...until recently.  The much publicized start up, DC Brau, has pumped life into a DC Beer scene that has laid dormant since the Heurich's ceased production in the late 50's.  As the buzz around DC Brau gradually turns into a dull roar (and deservedly so...the promise is all too exciting), it seems that the emerging beer culture sprouting in Brookland is going unnoticed. 
Mount St. Sepulchre
  Known more for it's plethora of Roman Catholic institutions, hence the "Little Rome" moniker, Brookland is not the first name that comes to mind when you think of brewing.  This may be changing!  The active home brewing movement seems to be growing each year, with more and more residents deciding to take the plunge into back yard fermentation chemistry.  This however, is not what qualifies Brookland to be the new home of brewing in the District.  This distinction is being formed by two fledgling brewing operations, one by a Brookland resident, that could move the quite neighborhood into the brewing spotlight.
  Brookland resident Nathan Zeender has turned his passion for beer into more than just a simple home brew operation.  DesJardin Brewing is a small batch brewing operation taking place in NE, that attempts to bring traditional monastic brewing to life in DC.  What makes Nathan's endavour more unique is that he is utilizing ingridents he cultivates himself on the grounds of Mount St. Sepulchre Franciscan Monastery (if you have never visited the monastery it is a must for any DC'ite)  He has planted and maintained a decent sized crop of hops as well as several bee hives to use in his creations.  While this fermentation endeavor has gotten some press, there is yet another newly announced operation that could bring even more attention to Brookland.
Enter Chocolate City Beer.  The name itself causes people to do a double take and look a little harder.  The brew operation named after the 80's era moniker for the District has just laid down roots in Brookland (ok technically Edgewood but who's really keeping track) in the last two weeks.  The brewery was the brain child of friends Ben Matz, Jay Irizarry and Brian Flanagan and was originally slated to be located in Anacostia.  The brew team however, has just signed a lease and began renovating a property at the head of the Metropolitan Branch Trail. The former Stone Cutting facility (then briefly occupied by a machinist), appears to ooze cool.   The planned micro, err...nano, brewery will look to distribute it's products regionally and hopefully have a nice tap room for tasting.
Chocolate City's Location in Brookland
  One thing is for sure, between DC Brau and what is taking place in Brookland, the brewing scene is alive and well in the District.  Only time will tell, however, whether the "Little Rome" moniker will be replaced with "Little Milwaukee!"

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

New Mural Going Up In Brookland

A new mural has been started on the side of Brookland Cafe/Inn on 12 St. NE.  The mural will definitely add some character and color to the developing street scape. Many residents are excited to see this mural go up and add to the distinctive aesthetic that Brookland already has.  However, some locals are not too thrilled with the way mural is turning out and question how well it represents the community.

What do you think of the 12th St. Mural?

Monday, August 16, 2010

CUA South Campus Redevelopment Advances

As we continue working our way through the twist and turns or ANC5A redevelopment, next on the list is Abdo Development's Brookland/CUA project.  Interestingly enough, as we began to dig in and get updates, CUA must have read out minds and made a release via their website on the projects status.  So rather then duplicate work, and mostly out of sheer laziness, here is the article for you reading pleasure.
"The redevelopment of Catholic University’s South Campus into a vibrant mixed-use, transit-oriented community advances with today’s announcement that Abdo Development has teamed with The Bozzuto Group, a Washington D.C. area-based residential real estate company, and Pritzker Realty Group, a Chicago-based real estate investment company, to finance the project.
“I am so pleased to welcome The Bozzuto Group and Pritzker Realty Group to the partnership that The Catholic University of America initiated earlier with Abdo Development,” said CUA President John H. Garvey.
“The redevelopment of the university’s South Campus — so important to CUA’s long-held goal of transforming the gateway to the heart of our university — has moved another step closer to fruition. These two new partners will bring an added dimension of expertise and resources to the effort, making us even more confident about the positive changes that await CUA and its neighbors.”
Jim Abdo, president and CEO of Abdo Development, said, “We are thrilled to have secured financing for our Catholic University redevelopment project. Through this partnership, we will achieve our vision of creating a new community made up of vibrant residential housing, artist studios and community space, as well as a main street with eclectic, local retail — all just minutes from the emerging 12th Street retail district and three Metro stops from Union Station.”

The multi-phase development is located on five city blocks in Washington, D.C.’s Brookland neighborhood, adjacent to the Brookland-CUA Metrorail station and just three miles north of the U.S. Capitol. The community will ultimately consist of a progressive mix of uses: approximately 720 residential units, 45 townhomes, 83,000 square feet of street-level retail, 15,000 square feet of artist studio space, a 3,000 square-foot community arts center, and 850 parking spaces.
Approved plans also include streetscape and hardscape improvements that will greatly improve the South Campus’s walkability, creating a lively, pedestrian-friendly atmosphere and significantly improving traffic patterns and pedestrian crossings along Michigan Avenue.
“We couldn’t be more delighted to be a part of the team working with Abdo Development and Catholic University to move this tremendous project forward,” said Tom Bozzuto, CEO of The Bozzuto Group. “Jim has created a great project, in a terrific location, and we are honored that he’s asked us to co-develop, build, and ultimately manage the community.”
Penny Pritzker, CEO of Pritzker Realty Group, noted that “The Catholic University South Campus redevelopment project is a prime example of mixed-use, transit-oriented, urban infill development. Coupled with Washington, D.C.’s favorable supply/demand outlook and the nation’s lowest unemployment rate, we are confident that this is a remarkably sound investment. We very much look forward to working with Catholic University, Abdo and Bozzuto to create a dynamic new community for the Brookland neighborhood.”
The development, scheduled to break ground by the end of next year, represents the first equity commitment by the recently-formed $75 million Bozzuto/Pritzker Realty Group joint venture."

Courtesy of  CUA Public Affairs (

Friday, August 13, 2010

CCDC Construction Update

CCDC, the newest announced construction project in the local area, is proving to be the most rapidly advancing of the set.  With it's doors scheduled to open in the Fall of 2010 for classes to begin, the face lift of the Backus Building is progressing along nicely.  Classrooms that once taught the pre-teens of DC their educational building blocks, are being completely gutted to make way for state of the art teaching tools for Associate Degree candidates.
A room that could train the Districts nurses, undergoes major surgery
1970's era security windows are being popped out left and right, completely changing the facade of the seasoned institution.
1970's windows hustle on out.
New operable windows will shed new light on potential Construction Degree Recipients
Contractor vehicles and dumpsters full of debris show the progress being made. Not even the monsoon's that rolled through the area yesterday could hamper their efforts.
Construction well underway
Windows dropping like they're hot.
A new entrance is next on the list. Hopefully the old school security doors will give way to a modern entry way with a welcoming feel.
Bad picture, but you get the idea...better one to come soon, we promise :/

Open in only a few months, the new CCDC Backus Campus will be the crowning achievement of the area redevelopment.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Ft. Totten Square: Back to Square One

Fort Totten Square...what was supposed to be the first of the major redevelopment projects completed in ANC 5A, now looks to be in a permanent holding pattern.  The proposed redevelopment project was planned for the10+ acre site at the intersection of Riggs and South Dakota, at the former location of the Tiger Market Shopping Center.  The once promising, and grand, plan was going to convert the quite community into a new metro centered hot spot.  In fact, the current traffic pattern redesign for the Riggs Rd. and South Dakota Ave. intersection was conceived in response to the needs of the potential development
  In summer of 2007 the property was vacated, fences went up and the new advertisements proclaiming the arrival of the monstrous mixed-use facility were up and running.  Throughout 2009, several local news outlets reported on the acquisition of several city owned parcels adjacent to the lot, an old apartment complex was demolished...things were moving along quickly.  However, just as fast as the project seemed to be moving forward it suddenly came to a screeching halt.  As the economic state of the country became more uncertain, so did the economic future of the Ft. Totten Square project.
  Enter today, almost a full year since planned ground breaking and the massive lot sits vacant...ignored.  After speaking with Ward 5 Neighborhood Planner Deborah Kemp regarding the construction near the site, it was revealed that "The developers (Lowe Enterprises) have had difficulty getting financing during this challenging economic times.  The equipment and activity that you see is related to the reconfiguration of the intersection at Riggs Road and South Dakota Avenue."  Further evidence was recently made available online through real estate broker Cassidy Turley's website, where the following is stated:

"Cassidy & Pinkard Colliers is seeking an equity recapitalization for the Fort Totten Square project located at the intersection of Riggs Road and South Dakota Avenue in Northeast Washington. The Fort Totten Square project represents a unique and rare opportunity to develop a successful large scale residential and retail development at a strategic Metro station location in Washington, DC. The 10-acre urban mixed-use development will include 850 residential units and 100,000sf of service retail, including a full-size grocery store. The much needed grocery and other service retail which will accompany the residential project will also serve new and pending developments by Clark, Cafritz, K. Hovnanian, and others in the immediate neighborhood. As the largest mixed-use development in the area, Fort Totten Square is a landmark project in a high-growth market that is quickly attracting large scale residential and retail development due to the significant paths of development progressing along the Red, Yellow, and Green Metro lines as well as North Capitol Street."

  So as the investment group seeks to find new sources of capitol, the site sits ignored...decaying...becoming an eyesore.  Rather then being the centerpiece of the new community, it is a blight that reflects poorly on the hard working and proud residents of this neighborhood.

Monday, August 9, 2010

ANC 5A03 Community Meeting Tomorrow

Do you live in Single member District ANC 5A03?  Maybe you want an update on the UDC Community College Project or current crime stats in Ward 5?  Want to meet some other citizens from ANC 5A?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, then tomorrow night we have something for you!!!  Angel Alston (5A03 Neighborhood Representative) will be holding a Community Meeting tomorrow night (8/10/10) at the North Michigan Park Rec Center from 6:30 - 8 PM. Come out and meet the voice of District 5A03 to the City Council, and get the low down on things going on in the neighborhood...we'll be there for sure also!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

MGM Roast Beef with a side of politics

MGM Roast Beef has flexed their might in the NE food world with their amazing hand carved sandwiches and excellent breakfast platters.  However, the newest challenger for the DC sandwich crown is flexing their muscles in a different ring...the political one.  Tomorrow, August 5th, MGM will be hosting a fund raiser for DC City Council Member Harry "Tommy" Thomas Jr's re-election campaign.  The event will run from 6:30 until 8 PM and will feature complementary hors d'oeuvres, beer and wine. Councilman Thomas is currently running for re-election as the Ward 5 Representative of the DC City Council, and is currently the favored candidate to win the seat.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

National Night Out

Get out and meet local law enforcement tonight around the city!  ANC 5A is part of the 4th and 5th District.

Fire in the Sky!

Photo of the 8/2/10 Coronal Mass Ejection From
NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory
Departing from our traditional coverage of local events, The Totten Life has decided to take on a global...err...galactic topic. CORONAL MASS EJECTIONS (we are totally nerding out right now).  A coronal mass ejection is basically the sun "burping" (for lack of a better word), and violently releasing plasma and other materials from the surface of the sun.  Now, this enormous solar storm is not simply a solar event that has little impact on us earthlings.  The CME, once initiated travels at speeds close to one million miles per hour and if timed right (as in this case), will impact earth in about 2-3 days. 
  Now don't go and worry just yet...this isn't Armageddon.  The earth's magnetic field acts as a shield to protect us from most of the radiation and magnetic impact. However, for particularly violent CME's and solar storms, we can be impacted...not physically but technologically.  The initial signs a CME is impacting earth is the appearance of  very intense aurora (like the famous Northern Lights) across the globe.  This aurora is basically the visual evidence of the trillions of watts of power created when the CME comes into contact with the magnetosphere (magnetic field surrounding the earth) protecting our delicate bodies.  Once the aurora begin, the next impact could be on our telecommunications system.  As satellites orbiting earth get bombarded with electromagnetic waves, we could experience temporary comunication loss or even see equipment  permanently damaged.  For extremely violent CME's, scientists theorize a potential impact on our power grid, causing long term black outs due to power surges overwhelming our aging infrastructure (as many might be unaware our electric gird in the US and Canada is completely integrated, so potentially a massive surge in one area could trickle down the line blowing transformers we don't have replacements for). 
  Now will this gloom and doom scenario play out in the upcoming days?  Most likely not.  This is a fairly small CME, and will probably only create an amazing light shows for us in the northern hemisphere.  Scientists think that tonight and tomorrow night will be prime viewing time for the Aurora across the Northern United States (mot likely we won't be able to see anything due to the forecasted cloud cover).  However, don't go blowing this off just yet!  The sun operates on an 11 year cycle of surface activity, in which we are currently heading towards the peak of activity.  What this means is these solar flames,storms and CME's may become more common. This doesn't mean the end of the world (or does it), but it does make for some interesting office talk!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Deer Oh Deer!!!

  Living in a major metropolitan area affords little interaction with wild animals...not including the all too common rodent scurrying out from trash cans.  The District, however, is dealing with an animal problem that seems to be popping up in other cities (including Detroit and New York City)...White Tail Deer!  While many residents of Chevy Chase and neighborhoods near Rock Creek Park are used to seeing deer on a regular basis, the sighting's outside the heavily wooded sections of DC were nearly non-existent.  The past two summers, however, have shown a change in the typical range of the deer population in the City.  In August of 2009, several local news outlets reported on the recent explosion of the once negligible White Tail Deer population in Rock Creek Park.  The "Summer of the Deer" was capped off by deer encounters in a Silver Spring grocery store, as well as the now infamous doe that leaped into the lion's den ar the National Zoo.  However, it seemed as though much of N.E. DC was spared run-ins with the antlered terrors.  This is true no longer.
Deer at Ft. Totten Metro 7/20/10
   Starting as early as late April of 2010, deer began to make, what were thought to be extremely rare, appearances in and around the Ft. Totten Metro, Ft. Bunker Hill, and Queens Chapel.  As spring ran into summer, it seemed as if the sightings became an almost weekly event in much of the ANC 5A area.  Looking at aerial maps of the city shows how the lightly wooded strip park that runs from CUA right up through Queens Chapel and into Maryland lacks any connection to Rock Creek Park.  The same goes for an aerial view of Ft. Bunker Hill, which is almost an island of green alone in the suburban neighborhood of Brookland.  This means that deer are traversing through extremely urban neighborhoods in order to make it to their new homes in NE.  As common sense would dictate...this is not a very safe combination for any party involved. 
  Many residents enjoy walking through the park areas and encountering an animal often associated with the country.  However, the issues associated with a growing population of deer in a heavily urban area were quickly realized.  In late May, a deer was struck and killed on South Dakota Ave. causing a twocar accident that shut down the street for two hours.  Several homes in the area also report disappearing flowers (impatiens seem to be candy for the invading hordes) as they look to find new foraging grounds.  As the deer become more acclimated to interacting with humans, they also have a tendency to become non-responsive or even aggressive towards them.
Aerial Map of ANC 5A
  Any time you see the increase of an animal population, there is the  inevitable outcome of an increased presence of their predators.  "What would possibly prey on deer in the city ?" you may ask yourself.  The answer is simple...Coyotes!!  Many people don't associate Coyotes with the east coast, but area biologists now place the Coyote population in the DMV area over 1200.  Often a quiet night in Rock Creek Park is pierced by the howl of the wild canine.  As the deer population in the city increases, so will the potential for Coyote predation...and not just on deer (evidence of which can often be seen in Rock Creek).  Northern Virginia has seen an increase of coyote attacks on house pets as well as humans in past years, and it is no coincidence that this appears to be proportional with the increased deer population.
  The National Parks Service, which administers much of the green space in the city, is in a tough spot.  Culling the population seems to be necessary but very unpopular.  The question remains at how do you decrease a wild animal population in an major metropolitan area?  Suggestions have been numerous, and ranged from sharpshooters in RCP to catch and relocation programs.  Perhaps DC can take a note from the play book of Helena, MT (yes, we did suggest for the nations capital to follow suit with Montana) or even the booming mecca of Oshkosh, WI!  No matter what the ultimate solution is, the city needs to act soon before the negative impacts of deer interactions with humans become too great.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Turkey Thicket tabbed as Heat Relief Center

As the oppressive heat continues to have it's way with the Mid-Atlantic States, the DC Government continues to keep operate Heat Relief Centers throughout the city.  Turkey Thicket Rec Center in Brookland will remain open tonight until 9 PM to provide relief to local residents and citizens from across the city.
Turkey Thicket Recreation Center
1100 Michigan Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20017
(202) 576-6414

View Larger Map

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

NTSB Hearing on Red Line Crash Today

The NTSB is holding it's board meeting today on the horrific June 22, 2009 redline crash at Fort Totten.  Live streaming of the meeting can be found HERE, and is available free.  So far the findings indicate a scary mix of operator error (violation of operator policy), poorly executed track sensor maintenance and poorly maintained right of way.  A sad situation, but an interesting and somewhat scary look into our Metro System.
Also, the NTSB explanatory animation of the crash can be found HERE, and help understand what went wrong.

Update 07/27/2010 @ 3:30 PM

The collision between trains 112 and 214 was caused by a a failure of the  track circuit module, causing train 214 to be undetected and allow train 112 to operate at full speed. This was caused by WMATA's failure to institutionalize their Enhanced Circuit Test created in 2005.

Contributing Factors:
1) Lack of safety culture in WMATA (safety is sacrificed over schedule)
2) Failure to effectively maintain it's track signal system
3) GRS/Alstom's  failure to supply maintenance plan to prevent signal failure
4) The Tri-State Oversight Committees lack of effective oversight and lack of authority to drive change
5) The FTA's lack of federal and safety oversight

1) Seek to gain authority to enforce safety track and equipment authority more effectively,and create review reports
2) Seek toxicological reports from employees fatally injured in accidents similar to that required by the Federal Railway Association's in the Code of Federal Regulation Part 49

1) Provide NTSB updates on recommendations and corrective action plans created by findings above
2) Establish a program to remove and replace all old audio track signals from metro system
3) Plan to Identify and remove any signals showing signs of parasitic oscillation int he metro system
4) Remove all WMATA wayside maintenance communication stations
5) Conduct safety audit of Automatic Train Control System
6) Upgrade Preventive Maintenance System
7) Review recorded operational data to identify possible operational and safety issues
8) Non-punitive safety reporting program across company
9) Periodic Review of all Safety Audit by WTA Chairman and staff
10) Remove all 1000 series cars from service immediately, and replace them with new cars that have crash and safety features equivalent to the 6000 series metro cars
11) All train cars operating in lead car service shall be equipped with event recorders

1) Develop Peridioc Inspection guidelines of all GRS Audio Track Signal modules
2) Conduct a comprehensive analysis of all audio track signal modules to determine if Parasitic Oscillations are present in other models

Mass Bay, Penn Metro, Cleveland Transit, Atlanta Metro, Caifornial Metro and Chicago Transit:
1) Work with Alstom to establish GRS Audio Track Signal module periodic inspection  standards to identify and remove all modules showing parasitic oscillation from service in their systems

Monday, July 26, 2010

DDOT Visitor Parking Permit Program Launches in ANC 5A

 Tired of pesky meter maids ticketing and towing your visitor's cars from in front of your house? 
Don't have time to stand in line at your local district Police Department to get a temporary visitor's pass? 
Well, all your worries and troubles are about to end!
The District Department of Transportation, producers of such useful products as "the courtsey tow" and "the emission inspection station," unveil their newest product the Visitor Parking Permit.
Following the success of DDOT's other pilot VPP programs in other areas of the city, ANC 5A is the newest neighborhood to be issued the nifty annual passes.  The first set of passes were mailed out to eligible residents on the 19th of July and just started showing up in mail boxes today.  Keep an eye open for the new parking passes in your mailboxes in the upcoming days, and as usual be sure to follow the rules...or DDOT will make you pay (more). 

You can find out more about the VPP program HERE.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

DDOT Updated Bike Sharing Map

 As DDOT unveils it new proposed Bike sharing locations, it appears parts of ANC5A are deservedly included while others were completely ignored. Although CUA (at the Brokland Metro) and Downtown Brookland (12th and Newton) will soon boast new bike sharing locations, they remained the only neighborhood local's that were included in DDOT's expansion plan. DDOT hopes to have the mix of Bixi, Smart Bike and other bike sharing programs available to the new locations by fall of 2011, but only time will tell if DC will become the new Cophehagen.  Below is the newly updated DDOT Map showing the current and planned expansion sites for Bike Sharing.

View Capital Bikeshare in a larger map

Friday, July 23, 2010

Reports of new location for DC Walmart in NE.

Although this is not totally new...we meant to post this report from Channel 8 a few weeks ago. Better late then never right. Walmart has been trying to open up shop in the district for years. With failed proposals for locations in NE, SE and SW the renewed interest of the box store giant appears to be focused in our own backyard this time.
Although nothing is set, and plans are far from being finalized, this could be a great economic boost to not only NE but the city as well.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Another Terrifying Accident on South Dakota Ave

It seems like it is a semi-annual custom on South Dakota Avenue . The screech of brakes followed by the explosion of metal and glass. This time the horrific incident took place at the intersection of Gallatin St. and South Dakota at 9 PM this very evening. The collision, between what appeared to be a full size Land Rover and loaded Ford Passenger van, required the presence of several ambulances, DCFD, MPD and PEPCO to settle the situation. The accident was so violent, the Land Rover had to be winched off the telephone pole it was pinned against to free the driver. No matter who was at fault, it was evident that the passengers of the Land Rover was lucky to be in such a bulky veichle.
The lights and sirens of first responders on S.D. Ave is all too common of a sight in the northeast neighborhood. If you ask any resident they will be able to list off several fatal or violent accidents that have occurred in the past few years. The stretch of SD Ave. in northeast between Riggs Rd and Michigan Ave has become a dangerous gauntlet run by locals and commuters alike. With a rarely observed posted speed limit of 25 mph, large trees lining the roadway and dozens of local side streets emptying onto the road, it is a sure fire recipe for disaster. Drivers are routinely seen traveling at speeds in excess of 50 MPH, and even with 3 different police departments making traffic stops (MPD, Transit Police and US Park Police) the danger continues. The increased police monitoring of speed has done little to remedy the problem, and the "Current Speed Limit" radar signs seem to do little but show new land speed records for the 4 lane road. Perhaps this is the time for DDOT and MPD to consider a new course of action. Whether it be more lights, traffic cameras or speed abatement devices is unclear...but something needs to be done.

**Note - Pictures were deliberately left out as they were deemed inappropriate**

UPDATE 7/23/10:
The Washington Post Article on accident report 6 people were injured in the crash
WJLA 7  reports  7 people were injured in crash (HERE).

Thursday, July 15, 2010

DDOT Far-Northeast Tranpostation Viability Study Saturday

From DDOT:
"  The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is inviting residents to participate in a public workshop this Saturday to help identify comprehensive solutions to improve transportation in Far Northeast DC. The workshop is an important component of the Far Northeast Livability Study, which was launched last month to address issues that impact mobility, accessibility and traffic safety.
Meeting Information:
What Far Northeast Livability Study Public Workshop
When   Saturday, July 17, 2010
10 am – 1 pm
Where Friendship Public Charter School - Collegiate Academy
4095 Minnesota Avenue NE

The school is across the street from the Minnesota Avenue Metro Station on the Orange Line, and is also accessible on the Metrobus “U” routes.
More information about the Far Northeast Livability Study is available online at The project website includes an interactive Comment Map where residents can pinpoint issues and suggest locations for transportation improvements.
Livability Program Overview
Far Northeast is one of 3 multi-neighborhood areas DDOT is currently evaluating as part of its new Livability Program.  The studies will take into account recommendations from previous studies and meld them with ongoing efforts detailed in DDOT’s Action Agenda [PDF]. The studies support not only DDOT’s desire to create more “livable” spaces for residents but also US DOT’s recent Livability Initiative which includes goals to provide more transportation choices, provide more sustainable alternatives, safer streets, and improve the quality of life for citizens.
 A website is available that links to each study, provides information on the public outreach component, highlights discussions and recommendations, and allows for further interaction from the community. All three studies and future information on the larger Livability Program may be found at Click on the Livability Program icon."

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Olympic Swimmer Teaches Life Saving Lessons at Turkey Thicket

Olympic gold medal swimmer and current men's 50-meter USA record holder, Cullen Jones, was at Turkey Thicket Rec Center today providing a potentially life saving lesson to local youths.  Jones, teamed with the Make A Splash Foundation, are taking a grass-roots approach to decrease the number of drownings in urban areas across the nation.  The program teaches local youths the fundamentals of swimming, as well as provides essential education to parents on the essentials of safe water play.  This all comes less than a month after the drowning of a local youth at Turkey Thicket...a subject all too close to Cullen.  At age 5, while playing in a city pool, Cullen nearly drown himself.  After this shocking moment, his mother enrolled him in a similar program and his love for the water began. 
The event has gotten a lot of media coverage, both locally and nationally, and has showcased one of the cities most modern recreation and swimming centers right in our own backyard.