My newsletter this week is focused on our continued response to gun violence, as well as our upcoming community listening sessions and lots of neighborhoods news.
Community Safety Update
Twice now in one month, individuals have recklessly shot and injured young children in our community. It is unconscionable that children making their way home from school or walking down the block to get pizza have to worry about being struck by a bullet, but that is the reality our city faces right now and not a single one of us should accept it. Every neighbor I spoke to this week at the scene of the shootings, at community meetings, and out in Ward 4 feels the same way: we are sick and tired of gun violence in our community, and we want concrete actions to make our neighborhoods safe.
In partnership with community organizations and public safety agencies, we have had several public safety meetings this month, each one focused on a specific area — including Brightwood and Riggs Park this week. By zeroing in on individual neighborhoods, we can work with neighbors to take action that addresses that neighborhood’s specific safety needs: police patrols, security cameras, violence interruption, nuisance properties, abandoned vehicles, substance abuse, mental health, resource gaps, or any other issue that neighborhood faces. Bringing together neighbors from the same area can also help ensure that there is consistent follow up from agencies. All too often, we see a surge of resources in response to an incident, only for progress to stall once the situation has calmed down and resources have been diverted elsewhere. Neighbors deserve both urgent action to improve safety immediately and steady engagement to implement long-term solutions.
In Brightwood, Fourth District has changed its patrol pattern to assign an evening shift unit to the upper 14th Street corridor where the recent shootings have been clustered. MPD has arrested one person who was involved in the MetroBus altercation that led to Wednesday’s shooting, and it has released footage of two persons of interest to the public. Please call 202-727-9099 or text 50411 with any information that could aid the investigation. MPD is also receiving support from the FBI and the ATF in its investigation of last week’s shooting on Georgia & Sheridan NW, and Fourth District will coordinate with my office to place new CCTV cameras that we secured in the DC budget. My team and I have also been engaging the families who were hurt in these horrific incidents to ensure that they, their families, and their school community receive the support they need. I will keep working with neighbors, ANC Commissioners, and public safety agencies to further strengthen the response to safety issues in Brightwood.
In Riggs Park, Fourth District has assigned officers to patrol the area for every shift. The most recent safety issues have focused on Riggs LaSalle Recreation Center, so DPR has placed two security guards at the center during regular operating hours on weekdays and weekends to ensure safety. Also, DPR and DGS have worked together to repair damaged doors and windows. Additionally, the agencies have restored functionality for all 34 security cameras installed at Riggs LaSalle, which are monitored by both rec center staff and DC’s Central Communications Center. My team will partner with neighbors and agencies to take further steps to improve safety in Riggs Park, such as increasing streetlights in the blocks around the rec center and advocating for violence prevention programs to serve the community.
The majority of gun violence in our community stems from conflicts between neighborhood crews and gangs, which spill onto our streets and put everyone at risk. Addressing these conflicts is critical to stopping this cycle of violence. That’s why today I brought together Ward 4 faith leaders, credible messengers, our Cure the Streets team, and concerned neighbors in a community press conference to call for a cease fire between crews and an end to the senseless gun violence in our neighborhoods. Each community leader present committed to drawing on their community ties and their own life experiences to help make a difference here. And we put out a call for all neighbors to find ways to support our young people and the programs and resources they need to thrive. With so many guns being trafficked into DC from other states, we know that not every shooting can be prevented. But persuading even a small number of people to put their guns down will undoubtedly save lives.
I want to thank our first responders and every neighbor who is stepping up to support our community during these difficult days. One heroic example is the MetroBus driver who quickly transported shooting victims and other passengers to safety after shots were fired outside of the bus. Another example are the hundreds of Ward 4 community members who came together to raise funds for the family impacted by the shooting on Georgia Avenue last week. And today — with just a few hours’ notice — faith leaders, coaches, and neighbors set aside important commitments to come together and take a stand against gun violence. It is hard to feel hopeful on weeks like these, but it brings me comfort to know that our community is so compassionate and selfless.
Listen As We Climb
I am grateful to share that later this month we will host our third annual Listen As We Climb community listening sessions across Ward 4.
These conversations give Ward 4 residents the opportunity to shape our work on the Council when it comes to legislation, budget priorities, constituent services, and community initiatives. I am looking forward to hearing your ideas, the issues you face, and your hopes for our community. It is also an opportunity for you to meet other neighbors and learn more about what is happening in our Ward. I am offering in-person listening sessions for each Ward 4 neighborhood, as well as a virtual option on February 2 that anyone is welcome to attend.
- Thursday, Jan. 19 at 6pm: North Portal, Colonial Village, Shepherd Park, and The Parks at Walter Reed
- Sunday, Jan. 22 at 3pm: Lamond, Riggs Park, and South Manor Park
- Tuesday, Jan. 24 at 6:30pm: Sixteenth Street Heights, Crestwood, and Brightwood
- Thursday, Jan. 26 at 6:30pm: Takoma and Manor Park
- Monday, Jan. 30 at 6:30pm: Petworth and Brightwood Park
- Tuesday, Jan. 31 at 6pm: Chevy Chase, Barnaby Woods, and Hawthorne
- Monday, Feb. 2 at 6:30pm: Virtual, all are welcome!
WMATA Seeks Input on Parking and Bus Bay Changes at Takoma Station
Metro is seeking public input on proposed changes to parking and bus facilities at Takoma Station as part of the 435-unit proposed development that will replace the current parking lot at Takoma Metro. Proposed changes include relocating the bus loop and Kiss & Ride, adding one drop-off only bus stop, removing 144 Kiss & Ride spaces, and adding a traffic signal on Carroll Street NW at the bus loop and Kiss & Ride entrance. The changes are intended to promote transit-oriented development and increase Metro ridership. Through engagement with ANC 4B, WMATA, and neighbors, the development will also bring significant community benefits, including permanently affordable housing, green space, sustainable design features, and safer pedestrian facilities. Visit WMATA’s web page to see how you can weigh in on these changes to parking and bus facilities online, by phone, by video, or in person.
Shepherd Park Library Survey by DCPL
In 2020, DC Public Library released its 10-year Facilities Master Plan, which outlined recommendations to maintain, adapt, and grow the city’s public library system. As part of this early planning and with no final decisions made, DCPL is gathering community feedback on the possibility of relocating the Shepherd Park/Juanita E. Thornton Library to the Parks at Walter Reed, retaining the existing site, or moving it to an alternative location. Residents in Shepherd Park, North Portal Estates, Colonial Village, Takoma, Brightwood, Brightwood Park, Manor Park, and other nearby neighborhoods are encouraged to weigh in on this with DCPL’s survey.
Modified DC Services for MLK Weekend: Trash Collection to ‘Slide’ Next Week
Because of the MLK Holiday this Monday, January 16, trash and recycling collection next week will slide one day later. That means that collection that usually happens on Monday will take place on Tuesday, Tuesday collection will take place on Wednesday, and so forth until Saturday. Check out this roundup of how DC government services are being modified during the holiday weekend. And WMATA will operate a Saturday supplemental schedule on Monday.
Honoring Martin Luther King Jr with DC Public Library
Two of our local DC Public Libraries are commemorating Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as part of upcoming MLK Day celebrations. Shepherd Park (Juanita E. Thornton) Neighborhood Library is creating a collaborative community display that neighbors can visit and contribute to from January 3-15. Meanwhile, Petworth Neighborhood Library is inviting young people ages 5-19 to submit essays celebrating Dr. King’s life and vision by January 20 at 6pm. Selected essays will be displayed at the library.
DC Public Library Hiring Event with On-the-Spot Job Offers
Ever wanted to work for our incredible public library system? DCPL is hosting a hiring event with on-the-spot offers on Monday, January 30 from 9:30am-5pm and participants must register by January 19 to participate in the hiring event. DCPL is hiring for fifteen types of positions ranging from entry-level to executive positions. Learn more on DCPL’s website.
Composting Your Tree or Holiday Greenery
DPW is collecting Christmas trees and holiday greenery for composting this week through March 3! Place your tree or greenery in front of your home on the curb or tree box — or drop them off at Benning Road Transfer Station (3200 Benning Road NE) or Guy Mason Rec Center (3600 Calvert Street NW) during their regular business hours. Remember to remove all decorations from the tree and do not bag your tree and greenery. You can submit a 311 request for trees not collected within five days under the category “Christmas Tree Removal – Seasonal.” Trees and greenery collected through March 3 will be composted, and DC residents can collect up to five 32-gallon bags of the free compost year-round (while supplies last) at the Benning Road Transfer Station by bringing their own bags.
Ward 4 Mutual Aid Grocery Distribution Dates
In 2023, Ward 4 Mutual Aid is continuing its important work supporting our community. On the following dates and times, the first 100 families that arrive at Brightwood Park United Methodist Church (744 Jefferson St NW) will be able to receive gift cards, diapers, food, and other items as available: Wednesday, January 18 at 5pm; Saturday, January 21 at noon; Wednesday, February 15 at 5pm; Saturday, February 18 at noon; Wednesday, March 15 at 5pm; and Saturday, March 18 at noon. Ward 4 Mutual Aid also offers limited home deliveries on Saturdays. If you physically cannot make it to the church on a Wednesday or Saturday, please call or text the Ward 4 Mutual Aid Hotline at 202-681-3098 to sign up for delivery. Learn more on their website, and thank you to all our neighbors who support these efforts.
DC School Lottery Applications Are Open
DC school lottery applications are open for DC families. The application deadline will be February 1, 2023 for Grades 9-12 and March 1, 2023 for Pre-K through Grade 8. Check out the My School DC website for more info on how to apply. And be sure to check out the calendar of open house events for all of our schools throughout the coming months.
Visit Our Great Ward 4 Public Pools
Indoor swimming is a great way to get your exercise and recreation during the winter months. Many neighbors don’t yet know that Roosevelt High School Pool is open to the public every Monday through Friday from 6am-8am and 5pm-9pm with a public entrance on the 1200 block of Upshur Street NW. I secured funding in the DC budget to staff Roosevelt pool so we could open it last year for our Ward 4 community to enjoy. We also have our great Takoma Aquatic Center (300 Van Buren Street NW) as the only public pool in DC that is open seven days a week. And our neighboring Wilson Aquatic Center (4551 Fort Drive NW) is now back open after a few weeks of repairs. Visit DPR’s website for a full list of pools and operating hours.
Weekly Update on the Status of Leaf Collection
Next week, DPW anticipates starting the second round of leaf collection in Area B, which includes Crestwood, Sixteenth Street Heights, and Petworth west of Georgia Avenue. If you live in these neighborhoods, please rake your leaves onto your curb or tree box (not in bags or on the street) so they can be collected. This weekend, DPW workers hope to complete the second pass of leaf collection in Area A, which covers Shepherd Park, Colonial Village, North Portal, Brightwood, Hawthorne, Chevy Chase, and Barnaby Woods. And if you live in Area D (Petworth east of Georgia Avenue or Brightwood Park) and your first pass of leaf collection was missed, please contact my constituent services team so we can ask the agency to circle back to your block. I plan to raise the significant issues with leaf collection in DC at upcoming oversight hearings with the agency.
Walmart Wellness Day in Ward 4
On Saturday, January 14 from 10am-2pm Walmart stores in our community and across the country will host a Wellness Day to offer free health screenings, affordable immunizations, no-cost COVID vaccines, and other wellness resources to residents. Visit our Ward 4 Walmart locations in Brightwood (5929 Georgia Ave NW) or Riggs Park (310 Riggs Rd NE) to participate in Wellness Day.
“Diff’rent Strokes For Different Folks” Closing Reception
On Saturday, January 14 from 3pm-6pm Art of Noize Gallery in Petworth (821 Upshur St. NW, Rear, #2) will host one last viewing of artist Jay Durrah exhibition “Diff’rent Strokes For Different Folks” at the closing reception. Come meet the artist while viewing his great masterpieces! This event is free, family-friendly, and open to the public.
Naked Soul Live Music Showcase at HR Records
On Sunday, January 15 from 6pm-8pm melodist, singer, and songwriter Mpho Sebina will put on a live music showcase at HR Records at 702 Kennedy Street NW. Her sound is rooted in Soul fused with various elements from Setswana Folklore, RNB, Hip Hop, and dance music.
Grant Circle Community Cleanup for MLK Day
On Monday, January 16 at 10am Steve Feingold and neighbors will gather at Grant Circle for an MLK service event to clean up trash that has blown into the park recently and remove invasive vines growing in the planting beds. This is a kid-friendly event, and no gardening experience is required. Many hands make light work!
Piney Branch Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) 049 Storage Project
On Wednesday, January 18 at 7:30pm DC Water is hosting a virtual public meeting on the Piney Branch Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) 049 Storage Project with the National Park Service. The project proposes building a 4.2-million-gallon underground storage tunnel to capture sewage, combined with stormwater, that would otherwise overflow into Piney Branch during heavy rains. This will keep millions of gallons of sewage out of Piney Branch and Rock Creek. Check out the meeting notice for details on how to attend.
Weigh in on Plans for the Rock Creek Park Golf Course Rehabilitation
On Thursday, January 26, 2023, from 6:30pm-8pm the National Park Service (NPS) and National Links Trust (NLT) will host a virtual public meeting on initial concept designs for the Rock Creek Park Golf Course Rehabilitation project and invite public comment on potential impacts to cultural and natural resources by Wednesday, February 8. In 2020, NPS signed a 50-year lease with NLT to operate three historic golf courses in DC, including the Rock Creek Park Golf Course. The NPS and NLT are proposing to rehabilitate the Rock Creek Park Golf Course as part of NLT’s long-term management of the course — including addressing deferred maintenance, increasing playability, broadening course appeal to the local community, achieving financial stability, improving environmental sustainability, and preserving the historic integrity of the original William Flynn-designed golf course.
Local News Links
Washington Post: Child-care workers wait for checks that could take them off the brink
DCist: Residents Upset Over Changes To DDOT’s Traffic Safety Request Process
DCist: Proposed Bill Would Give D.C. Residents $400 Or More In Rebates For Electric Bikes
Channel 7: DC woman who broke barriers for deaf children of color remembered as a trailblazer
The Nation: Reflections on Vienna’s Social Housing Model From Tenant Advocates
Petworth News: Help clean up Grant Circle on MLK Jr Day
Last Week’s Ward 4 Dispatch: New Commissioners, New Committees, and a New Year
If you make it down to Rock Creek Park this weekend, you might notice a brand new all-way stop at Beach Drive & Blagden Avenue NW. I requested this change to improve traffic safety at this widely-used intersection and reduce congestion in our neighborhoods. Thank you to NPS, DDOT, Commissioner Khoobchandani, Crestwood Citizens Association, and neighbors for working with me to get this done.
As we enter a weekend where we reflect on the great inequities and injustices that confront our city, our nation, and our world — let us remember the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, who preached, marched, and rallied on District streets throughout his life. May his timeless words reinvigorate our commitment to fighting for others, advancing justice, and building peaceful communities.
Yours in Community,