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.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

CCDC Bertie Backus Campus Update

   Everyone knows that battling intermittent fits of boredom at work is best accomplished by wandering across the vast ocean of nonsense known as the the interwebs (thank you Al Gore).  Well, as we sit and try to think of ways to best avoid getting pinched by the boss for wasting time, it was noted that an update was well over due for one of the most exciting developments in ANC5A...the CCDC (or Community College of the District of Columbia for the un-initiated) expansion to Bertie Backus.
   When we first reported the news of the City Council's transfer of the property to UDC in December, no firm plans had been laid out for the exact use or time-line of the once proud but now vacant building.  Well have things changed!!  It seems as if the now (semi) autonomous CCDC is moving with a speed very seldom seen in the Nation's Capitol, and are projecting an ambitious August 2010 opening date.  With finalized design and budget plans only being released in March, the new CCDC Campus not only has a plan for completing the renovations, but also a purpose for the facility.  The once proud Backus building used to educate pre-teens, will now be utilized to house CCDC's practical nursing, nursing assistant, and home health aide programs as well as the fashion merchandising and construction management degree programs (with continued expansion planned to utilize the entire structure inside and out).

"The CCDC Campus Complex is planned to open in three phases. Phase 1 involving a Design-Build Renovation of approximately 45,000 Sq. Ft. of space in the facility is being renovated under a separate agreement and will open in August 2010. Phase 2 and 3 will entail the complete renovation of the remaining 85,000+ Sq. Ft of the facility. This full service design effort is a major part of the renovation of the space, scheduled to be completed in January 2011 (Phase 2) and August 2011 (Phase 3). The University has completed a CCDC programming effort." 
Appendix A of  Design of a Community College Complex for the Bertie Backus Campus 
   The current plan for Phase 1 looks to utilize a single corridor on the first and third level of Backus, with each consisting of classrooms, faculty office space and common study areas.  The second floor is currently listed as PCS space, which is assumed to mean Public Charter School (although nothing has been confirmed).  Plans for Phase 2 and 3 have yet to be finalized, but are thought to improve on the buildings exterior structure and outside common areas as well as expanding to utilize the buildings entire interior space. 
   Not only will this bring some much needed attention to the quiet neighborhood, but the potential community outreach and perks aren't bad either.  Along with access to education events, job fairs and special presentations, community members will also be able to reserve space for non school related special events (although we are sure this will come at a cost).  The potential boom to the NE economy could be a bonus also...especially considering the open store fronts at the Ft. Totten Metro (can you say coffee house or cafe?) are a stones throw away from the Campus. Hopefully CCDC will stay on time and on budget with this project, and truly utilize the site to it's full potential!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Brookland Food Beat

As the heat of summer imposes it's will on the DC area, it is time for a quick update on the food front.  There are two items to note  in particular taking place on 12th Street NE. 
  First is the long awaited ABRA decision regarding the Brookland Cafe.  We are happy to report that after a 6 month long battle, the Cafe has finally received it's ABRA Liquor License and is once again serving it's signature drinks and other alcoholic wares along with their wonderfully crafted food.  Although the Cafe has yet to update it's website menu, they have been  posting drinks specials on their Facebook page, as well as outside their establishment.  Congrats to the management, and we look forward to seeing what you can do to wow us!
  Second is the renovation and official name change of Bobby Q's restaurant to Optimism.  The ever changing store-front location, on the corner of Kearny and 12th St. NE, seems to be a revolving door for the restaurant and bar industry.  The long time location of  Nate's Comfort Zone became Bobby Q's Restaurant  about a 2 years ago (a barbecue and take-out location, turned bar/lounge), in which the bar was more acclaimed than the BBQ.  Recent refurbishment and renovation of the site showed an official change to a new name, Optimism (completed by new signage on the building).  Owned and operated by the owners of Bobby Q's, Optimism is billed as an upscale Bar/Lounge featuring live music, sporting events, late night drinks and a limited bar menu. 
  It is always good to see new ventures taking off on the Brookland Main Street, and we look forward to the contnue success of these two re-vamped establishments!