This was a landmark week for Ward 4. We broke ground on an all-affordable senior housing project in the heart of Riggs Park, and we also celebrated the opening of Marketplace Plaza at The Parks at Walter Reed and all of the housing, retail, and open space it is bringing for our community. I also announced new legislation to teach conflict resolution skills in all DC schools, and the Council has a slate of new bills that seek to address dangerous driving and fake tags. We also have updates on logistics for the CitiOpen tournament, no Green Line service this weekend at Fort Totten Station, and updates on the MBT Trail to Takoma. And we have fun events lined up, including jazz performances in Petworth and Shepherd Park.
New Bill: Teaching Conflict Resolution at Every DC School
As DC faces escalating violence impacting our youth and our country struggles with the proliferation of guns, we need to give our children the tools they need to resolve their problems peacefully and create safe learning environments. My new legislation would require conflict resolution to be taught at every public school in DC at every educational level: elementary, middle school, and high school. If we start in our schools, we can instill lifelong skills that help students overcome conflicts, improve student behavior, build positive and lasting relationships, and make our schools and our communities safer. If this law is passed, schools could choose to adopt a model conflict resolution curriculum that will be developed by OSSE based on best practices, or adopt their own alternative conflict resolution program that teaches the same critical skills. While conflict resolution education is not widely taught in our schools currently, there are effective models already being used — including the Peace Studies program at Lafayette Elementary in Ward 4. I am grateful to already have the support of a majority of Councilmembers who co-introduced the bill, and I am eager for this bill to have a public hearing when the Council is back in session in the early fall. We need to equip all of our young people with the skillset to deescalate and mediate conflicts so that the arguments that arise in-and-out-of schools do not become incidents of violence.
Confronting Dangerous Driving and Fake Tags
DC is struggling with a surge in traffic fatalities, injuries, and near misses. We are determined to do more to make our streets and intersections safe across the city. In addition to our continuous work to improve road design and install new traffic safety infrastructure in Ward 4, this month I co-introduced three new bills that confront dangerous driving and the proliferation of fake tags (fake license plates). The Fraudulent Vehicle Tag Enforcement Act introduced by Councilmember Brianne Nadeau will give DPW and other agencies the authority to immediately tow and impound cars whose owners have counterfeit, obscured, or long-expired plates. It also empowers DC government to proactively investigate and shut down dealers and distributors of fake temporary tags, classifying that as an act of forgery. Too many drivers use fake tags to drive dangerously, evade traffic laws, and commit crimes. We need stronger enforcement against vehicles with fake tags to protect DC residents.
I also co-introduced the Automated Traffic Enforcement Effectiveness Act and License Suspension Reform Act and Strengthening Traffic Enforcement, Education, and Responsibility Act introduced by Councilmembers Christina Henderson and Charles Allen. The bills take aim at dangerous driving in several ways: suspending drivers licenses immediately for drivers who negligently kill someone with a car, leave the scene of a crash, or drive under the influence (as opposed to waiting years for a conviction); empowering the DC Attorney General to sue the most reckless out-of-state drivers in civil court to hold them accountable for repeated traffic offenses; and suspending licenses for dangerous drivers who accrue excessive traffic tickets for speeding in a short time period. For example, under this bill someone would have their license suspended if they received 6 or more speeding tickets for going 11-20 mph over the limit in less than 6 months — or if they received 1 or more speeding tickets for going 30+ mph over the limit. Unlike our past laws, this system holds individuals accountable based on how dangerous their driving is, rather than whether they could afford to pay their tickets or not.
The legislation would also require DDOT to publicly share its assessments that determine where automated traffic enforcement cameras are placed. We need to ensure that traffic cameras are being placed in the most dangerous corridors to improve safety — not where they can generate the most revenue for the city. Our Committee on Transportation and the Environment plans to advance these bills quickly in the fall when the Council is back in session. There will be a bill hearing where residents can provide input on how to improve the legislation.
Breaking Ground on Affordable Senior Homes in Riggs Park
After the completion of the Riggs Park Place townhouses, this week we broke ground on an incredible all-affordable senior housing project in the heart of Riggs Park. Riggs Crossing Senior Residences will bring 93 new affordable apartments for independent adults aged 62 and older at the intersection of Riggs Road and South Dakota Avenue NE across the street from the Riggs Park Walmart. What stands out most about the project is its affordability: 52 units are set aside for seniors who make less than 30% median income, 41 units will go to seniors who make between 30-50% median income, and 10 of the building’s units will be set aside for the permanent supportive housing voucher program to provide housing to seniors who are experiencing homelessness. Additionally, the project is transit accessible through MetroBus and Fort Totten Metro Station, has environmentally sustainable features, and will offer support services to seniors through mission-based social enterprise Jaydot. Riggs Crossing will also deliver at least 5,000 square feet for new retail and is already located near several shops and restaurants on Riggs Road. Many came together to shape this project, but we especially recognize the Lamond-Riggs Citizens Association (partly pictured above) for working closely with EYA and the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing, who in turn were responsive to our community’s needs. All together, we are helping fulfill our sacred promise to our seniors that they will be able to age in place with dignity right here in DC.
New Retail, Grocery, and Housing at The Parks
Thursday was a landmark day for Ward 4 and The Parks at Walter Reed development as we celebrated the opening of Marketplace Plaza. Marketplace Plaza is located on the northeast corner of The Parks (adjacent to Georgia Avenue and Fern Street) and includes: the new Whole Foods grocery store; incoming new retail stores like The Charmery ice cream shop, Nailsaloon, JINYA Ramen Bar restaurant, Mezeh Mediterranean fast casual restaurant, and a Chase Bank location; The Hartley luxury apartments, Kite House condos, and the Common Clover co-living apartment building; and an open green space with trees, a splash pad that transforms into an ice skating rink in the winter, comfortable furniture, outdoor games, and passive recreation areas. Altogether, Marketplace Plaza will greatly benefit the current and incoming residents at The Parks, as well as our surrounding neighborhoods and people from across Ward 4 and the DC area. Don’t miss the chance to visit Marketplace Plaza, especially as more of the new retail stores open over the coming months. Thank you to everyone in DC government, the Parks development team, Congresswoman Norton, our ANC Commissioners, and our community as a whole for working over many years to bring this vision to fruition. Special thank you to Annie Whatley for helping kick off the celebration and uplifting Stephen Whatley’s memory as someone who helped shape The Parks project into what it is today.
CitiOpen Parking Restrictions and Passes
DDOT has released its updated map of parking restrictions for the Mubadala Citi DC Tennis Tournament taking place at Rock Creek Park Tennis Center. I advocated alongside our community for several blocks to be added to protect residents from being adversely impacted by visitors parking on their street. I am grateful that DDOT agreed to expand its restrictions. If you live in one of the impact blocks, you must place a parking pass on your vehicle to avoid being ticketed for the duration of the tournament from July 28 through August 6. Parking passes started being distributed on Friday to homes (two per household), churches, and businesses on impacted streets. If you do not receive your parking passes by Tuesday, July 25, you can pick them up at MPD’s Fourth District Station (6001 Georgia Ave NW) by bringing your proof of address. Residents in multifamily buildings can also pick up parking passes at Fourth District. The Mayor’s Office is coordinating logistics for the tournament, so please contact our dedicated Ward 4 MOCRs if you have questions, need help securing parking passes, or if your car is incorrectly ticketed during Citi Open: Sophia.Tekola@dc.gov and Derek.Johnson@dc.gov. There will be another virtual community meeting at 6pm on Monday, July 24 that residents can dial into with this link. Thank you to Sophia and Derek for their great efforts — and to our community for welcoming this historic tournament to Ward 4!
No Green Line Service at Fort Totten Metro Station This Weekend
Due to summer construction, WMATA announced that there will be no Green Line Service at Fort Totten Metro Station this weekend, July 22-23. Red Line service will remain available for customers traveling to the station. In addition, all of the Green Line stations from West Hyattsville to Greenbelt will be closed from July 22 through September 5 while WMATA installs fiber-optic cables to improve its radio and signal capabilities. Free shuttles will be available during the station closures. Please read WMATA’s full announcement with all the details.
Metropolitan Branch Trail: Fort Totten to Takoma
This week DDOT held its first pre-construction meeting on the next phase of the Metropolitan Branch Trail that will connect Fort Totten to Takoma. The agency shared an overview of the project, design updates, construction logistics, and the project timeline. Construction will take place in phases, and its completion is expected in the latter half of 2025. If you missed it, you can watch the meeting recording on YouTube and learn more on the project’s website.
Safety PSA for Kia and Hyundai Owners
Fourth District Commander Heraud asked me to update Ward 4 residents that Kia and Hyundai cars continue to be frequently stolen in our community, and that these stolen cars are also being used as lookout vehicles during crimes. If you own a Kia or Hyundai, please ensure you have a wheel lock or installed anti-theft software upgrades. Next week, DC will launch a new anti-theft program to install free security updates for vulnerable Hyundais.
New Fourth District Citizens Advisory Council
A new Fourth District MPD Citizens Advisory Council (4D MPD CAC) is serving our community and has been recognized by Fourth District. The CAC works to build partnerships between the Fourth District and the residents and businesses who are within Fourth District boundaries. To get involved with the CAC, including its regular meetings, please visit their website. Thank you to everyone who stepped up to serve in the CAC or who has served in the CAC in the past!
14th Street Bus Priority Project – Concept Selection Open House
DDOT is holding an open house on Tuesday August 1 from 4:30pm-7:30pm at Mt. Pleasant Neighborhood Library (3160 16th Street NW) to review the proposed roadway design concept for the 14th Street NW Bus Priority Project. The project aims to improve bus service and traffic safety along 14th Street from Newtown Street to Arkansas Avenue. DDOT had been considering three potential concept designs for the corridor and are close to finalizing a design.
Ward 4 Council Office Summer Recess Hours
Now that the Council is in recess, our team is taking extra time to plan for next year, draft new legislation, implement new programs funded in the budget, and be in our community over the summer months. Our office will remain open on Mondays-Thursdays from 10am-4pm. We will be closed on Fridays, but a staff member or myself will be on call to monitor for urgent requests. We will continue supporting Ward 4 residents with constituent services requests, agency oversight, legislative needs, and getting issues over the finish line all summer long.
DPW Trash and Recycling Shifts an Hour Earlier
Since last week, DPW has been collecting trash and recycling an hour earlier than usual — starting their collection routes at 6am. The change will help safeguard the health and safety of DPW collection workers from summer heat and poor air quality. Residents are encouraged to put their trash and recycling out the night before collection — anytime after 6pm.
Summer Saturdays with City Blossoms on Kennedy
On Saturday, July 22 from 10am-12pm City Blossoms will host Summer Saturdays in their studio garden at 516 Kennedy St NW (accessible through the alley on 5th Street). This is a free, kid-driven, community event with nature play, reading, recipe-making, garden art, plant care, and more summer activities. Check out all the details on the event’s flyer.
Carter Barron East Neighborhood Yoga
On Saturday, July 22 at 9am the Carter Barron East Neighborhood Association will be hosting its second community yoga session at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (4901 16th St NW). This will be Flow Yoga practices suitable for all levels. Sign up at this link.
Petworth Jazz Project Returns
On Saturday, July 22 from 5pm-8pm the Petworth Jazz Project will bring another jazz performance to our community on the lawn of Petworth Rec Center (801 Taylor St NW). Bring a chair or blanket and enjoy a great performance from Nag Champa & The Elijah Easton Trio.
Shepherd Park Jazz in the Park
On Saturday, July 22 at 6:30pm DPR will host a Jazz in the Parks performance at Shepherd Park Rec Center (1425 Jonquil St NW). The event is free, and everyone is welcome!
Crestwood Neighborhood Ice Cream Social
On Sunday, July 23 at 2pm the Crestwood Citizens Association is hosting an ice cream social at the Triangle (18th & Argyle NW). Come for free ice cream treats from Mister Softee, lawn games, and socializing with neighbors. Don’t be late; the ice cream truck will roll away at 3pm!
ANC 4B & 1A Tenant Resource Fair at Emory Beacon
On Saturday, July 29 from 11am-2pm ANC 4B and 1A are co-hosting a massive Tenant Resource Fair in Ward 4 at Emory Beacon of Light (6100 Georgia Ave NW). The event will feature valuable information and resources from DC agencies, service providers, tenant advocates, and community organizations — as well as two panel discussions on TOPA (11:30am) and ending homelessness (1pm). And a brownbag lunch will be provided to all attendees. I’m thrilled to co-sponsor this event to support Ward 4 tenants. RSVP on Eventbrite.
West of the Park Traffic Safety Walkthrough
Thank you to Commissioner Bruce Sherman, Commissioner Lisa Gore, Commissioner Jim Nash, DDOT Director Lott, DDOT staff, and neighbors for a very productive traffic safety walkthrough today in Barnaby Woods, Hawthorne, and Chevy Chase. I look forward to working collaboratively with you to address the safety concerns that we all saw first hand.
Visit Our Ward 4 Farmers Markets
Get your fresh goods and crafty products at our Ward 4 Farmers Markets:
- Uptown Farmers Market at 5501 Colorado Ave NW on Saturdays from 9am-1pm
- Chevy Chase Farmers Market at Lafayette ES on Saturdays from 9am-1pm
- Petworth Community Market at 9th & Upshur NW on Saturdays from 9am-1pm
- Takoma Park Farmers Market at 6931 Laurel Ave on Sundays from 10am-2pm
- Whittier Farm Stand at 6201 5th St NW on Tuesdays from 3:30pm-5:30pm
Local News Links
DC News Now: DC Council bill would require conflict resolution to be taught in schools
Greater Greater Washington: DC Zoning Commission Approves Takoma Metro Station Housing Project
Channel 7: Groundbreaking held for senior housing development in Riggs Park
Fox 5: Coolidge Cheerleading Team and Student Athlete Recognized as Hometown Team
WTOP: Ward 4 brewery treats fans to specialty drinks ahead of Barbie, Oppenheimer
Washingtonian: These DC Restaurants Transport You to West Africa (Featuring Hedzole)
Fox 5: Barnard Elementary Fifth Grader Maeve Guest Stars as Junior Reporter for Fox 5
Next Stop… Riggs Park: Explore! Children’s Festival at Modern at Art Place on July 22
Channel 9: DC Council Weighs Bills to Mandate Removal of Lead Pipes
Next Stop… Riggs Park: UDC Proposed Lamond-Riggs Campus Plan Filed with Zoning Commission
City Paper: New Bill Would Close an Existing Gap in Sexual Assault Survivors’ Rights
Petworth News: Lincoln Cottage for Community Project invites your participation
Ward 4 Dispatch: Public Safety Bill, Late Night Hype, and Battle of Fort Stevens
On Thursday, hundreds of community members rode their bikes and gathered at 3rd & Quackenbos to remember Dzhoy Zuckerman, our Ward 4 neighbor who was senselessly shot and killed while riding his bicycle last weekend. Dzhoy was joyful, kind, beloved, and deeply committed to serving others. They were deeply passionate about mentoring young people, making it safe to bike in DC, supporting our unhoused neighbors, coordinating mutual aid, and building inclusive communities where everyone’s needs are met. Please consider doing a small or big act of service along these lines in honor of Dzhoy. As one of their friends shared during the memorial gathering, “honoring Dzhoy is about being deeply caring to our community.”
Wishing you a nice and restful weekend, neighbors.
Yours in Community,