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Ward 4 Dispatch: Pride, Summer Reading, Traffic Safety, and Community Events

Dear Neighbors,

After months of hearings, deliberations, and votes, the Council is just four days away from finalizing the DC budget and ANC Redistricting. I’ll have a detailed breakdown of both for you next week, but in the meantime I want to share these community updates, resources, and events — including the Ward 4 Summer Safety Meeting on Wednesday and our rescheduled Ward 4 CARE Day in Chevy Chase, Barnaby Woods, and Hawthorne on June 14.

Ward 4 News

Ward 4 Business Spotlight: Rockstar and Solstice Smiles

I always try to lift up our amazing Ward 4 businesses, which do so much for our community. This week I’m featuring two locally-owned, Black woman-owned dental practices: Rockstar Pediatric Dentistry in Shepherd Park and Solstice Smiles Dental in Petworth.

  • Rockstar Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics is owned by Dr. Stella Chukwu, a native Washingtonian and lifelong resident of Ward 4. As a graduate of Benjamin Banneker Academic HS, it was important for her to build her dental practice in the city that poured so much into her professionally and socially.  Dr. Stella is a board-certified pediatric dentist and a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. The new office provides pediatric dentistry and family orthodontics. Rockstar Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics is located near Georgia and Eastern Ave NW near the Target store.”
  • Solstice Smiles Dental is a brand new, state-of-the-art dental practice located on Kansas Ave NW (one block from Safeway). Founder and owner, Dr. Leslie-Anne Fitzpatrick is unique in every way. She is a Black, immigrant, mom of two, female general, family, and cosmetic dentist. With the top-notch education, skills and experience and the desire to create positive change, Dr. Fitz opened her own practice to provide comprehensive dental services to the Petworth and surrounding communities in which her family has been longtime residents of and feels a strong connection.”

More Ward 4 Traffic Safety Improvements 

I also want to report on some additional traffic safety upgrades in Ward 4:

  • DDOT issued a notice to convert 1st & Ingraham NW to a four-way stop intersection.
  • Blair Road and North Capitol St NW from Harewood Road NE to Van Buren Street NW will benefit from a reduced speed limit of 25mph (down from the current 30mph limit).
  • DDOT has proposed closing down 9th Street between Ingraham St NW and Hamilton St NW to improve traffic safety near Truesdell Elementary.
  • The intersection of Jefferson & 9th NW will become a four-way stop for the same end.
  • Kansas Avenue by Fort Slocum (from Chillum Pl NE to 2nd Street NW) will get protected bike lanes.
  • Protected bike lanes, road reconstruction, new sidewalks, and other improvements are also coming to Eastern Avenue between Whittier St and New Hampshire Ave through the Eastern Ave Rehabilitation Project.
  • In addition, a new interim traffic signal will be installed at the intersection of Eastern & Sligo Mill NE later this year ahead of the Rehabilitation project.
  • To improve safety, DDOT is planning to convert the Unit block of Crittenden St NE to a one-way Eastbound street and the Unit block of Buchanan St NE to a one-way Westbound street, while also installing a Southbound left-turn bay at Crittenden St NE.
  • New speed bumps will be installed in the coming weeks on the 5700-5800 blocks of Broad Branch Road NW, the 3100 block of Northampton St NW, the 1600 block of North Portal Dr NW, the 1700 block of Taylor St NW, the 800 block of Hamilton St NW, the 6000 block of 7th Street NW, the 5300 block of 2nd Street NW, and the Unit block of Underwood Place NW
  • And while some finishing touches are being installed (bridge railings and signage), Oregon Avenue is finally fully open from Western Avenue to Military Road.

My team and I are working hard every day alongside ANC Commissioners and community members to improve safety in our streets. To request traffic safety improvements in your neighborhood, start by submitting a Traffic Safety Investigation request on the 311 website.

Community Resources

DC’s Outdoor Pools Open on Weekends, Spray Parks Open 6.5 Days a Week

It was great seeing so many families enjoying Upshur Pool last weekend! DC’s outdoor pools,  including Upshur Pool, are now open on weekends only. Then, starting Monday, June 27, all outdoor pools will open six days a week on individual summer schedules. Meanwhile, DC’s spray parks are now open six-and-a-half days a week (stay closed just five daytime hours a week for required maintenance). Ward 4 is fortunate to have spray parks at Fort Stevens Rec Center, Lafayette-Pointer Rec Center, Petworth Rec Center, Riggs-LaSalle Rec Center, and Takoma Community Center. Some important reminders about our pools:

  • Pools have capacity limits, so when a pool reaches capacity staff can only allow visitors to enter as others leave. Try to get there on the earlier side on hot days!
  • DGS estimated that roof and HVAC repairs at Takoma Aquatic Center will be completed towards the end of July 2022.
  • Don’t forget the Roosevelt Indoor Pool, which is open on Monday-Friday at 6-8am and 5pm-9pm with the public entrance on Upshur Street. Here is more info.

DC Public Library Discover Summer 2022 and Story Time

DC Public Library has launched their Discover Summer initiative from June 1 through August 31, which is an all-ages celebration of reading and learning that includes great reads, prizes, fun events, and activities that encourage you to explore your neighborhood and the District. Our Ward 4 libraries are also kicking off weekly outdoor story time for the summer! Petworth Library will have Toddler Story Time every Tuesday at 10:30am for children ages 0-5 and Family Story Time every Saturday at 10:30am with a sing along. Story times will move inside the library in the event of inclement weather, and story times are cancelled on July 2 and July 5. Meanwhile, Takoma Library will host Story Time Sessions every Wednesday at 10:30am through July 20 and from August 17 to October 5. Story time will be held in the Meeting Room on the Lower Level, which is most easily accessed through the entrance on 5th Street.

Honda Civic and Honda Accord Owners, Beware of Air Bag Thefts 

Our area is experiencing an increase in car break-ins targeting Honda Accords and Honda Civics in order to take the vehicle’s air bag. Fourth District advises caution and shared tips for preventing these thefts, including: purchasing a steering wheel locking device; parking in well-lit, high-traffic areas; locking your car; removing all valuables; and ensuring your car’s alarm is functioning properly.

Resources for Voting in the 2022 DC Primary Election on June 21

Exercising your right to vote this year is easier than ever. The DC Board of Elections is mailing all registered voters a ballot with a pre-paid return envelope. There are five ways to vote: returning you ballot quickly by mail (no postage required), returning your ballot to one of DC’s 55 secure drop boxes by Election Day, dropping off your ballot at any early vote center during Election Week (June 10-19 and June 21), or voting in person at any vote center on Election Day (June 21 from 7am-8pm). The day to register to vote or update your voter information so you can receive a mail-in ballot is May 31. If you miss this deadline, you can still register to vote in person at a vote center during Early Voting or on Election Day. Find more detailed information on how to participate in the DC Primary Election on my website.

WMATA Expands MetroBus Service and MetroRail Service on the Yellow and Green Line 

Thanks to an increase in bus driver hiring, WMATA expanded service on several MetroBus routes in late May. For DC, these routes include the 32, 33, 36, 42, 43, 64, 70, 74, 79, 90, 92, D2, D8, G2, G8, H2, H4, H6, L2, M4, N2, N4, P6, S2, S9, U4, X2, and the X3. Check out the new timetables for more details. Please note that the M4 route is being extended to Knollwood Retirement Community via Oregon Avenue NW, and that change will be formalized soon since Oregon Avenue just reopened to the public. Last week week WMATA also increased frequency on the Green and Yellow lines with trains arriving every 15 minutes at each station. That means that stations serviced by both lines – from Greenbelt to L’Enfant Plaza – will see trains arrive every 7-8 minutes. WMATA also announced last week that it’s on track to restore the 7000-series railcars in late summer after installing automated inspection systems to test railcar wheel sets in real-time.

Playground Repairs at Picnic Grove 24 in Rock Creek Park 

The National Park Service shared that the playground equipment at Picnic Grove 24 (across from the Rock Creek Park Tennis Center) will be closed through the end of June to allow the safe repair of equipment and replace play surfaces. The remainder of the grove (picnic shelter and restrooms) will remain open. Here’s to having the playground in better shape soon! 

DPW Hiring Fair for Tow Truck Drivers on June 8 

DPW is hosting a hiring fair on Wednesday, June 8 from 12pm-5pm at the North Michigan Park Rec Center (1333 Emerson St NE) to hire several tow truck drivers. Applicants should bring their Valid Commercial Driver’s License (Class B), DOT Medical Certificate, and highlight their tow truck driver experience. 

Children Ages 5-11 Now Eligible for Booster Shots at DC Vaccine Sites  

The CDC now recommends that children ages 5-11 receive a COVID booster five months after their initial vaccination series. DC Health announced that children ages 5-11 can walk into any of DC’s COVID Centers to receive their booster shot if at least five months have passed since their initial vaccination series. Be sure to confirm which COVID Centers are open before visiting on DC Health’s website.

Deadline Coming Up: Citywide Robust Retail Grant Program 

Do you know a Ward 4 small business still looking for support? The Robust Retail Program program is distributing grants worth up to $7,500 for brick-and-mortal businesses across the District. Applications for this grant program are due soon on June 8

Neighborhood Events

Open House for Lafayette-Pointer Parks’ New Plant Pollinator Garden 

On Saturday, June 4 from 10am-12pm there will be an open house for Lafayette-Pointer Park’s new native plant pollinator garden at the corner of Quesada and Broad Branch NW. The garden was donated by the friends, family, and neighbors of late Chevy Chase resident Leslie Rathjens as a gift to the Chevy Chase community. There will be cake, coffee, refreshments, and other treats, as well as the opportunity to meet conservation gardener Jessica Lee, representatives of the Friends of Lafayette-Pointer Park board, children’s handicraft maker Renee Montgomery, and members of the US Geological Survey Native Bee Lab. 

Rock Creek Park Pedestrian Safety Celebration

On Saturday, June 4 at 1pm-3pm the Rock Creek Conservancy, National Park Service, and DC representatives will gather to celebrate improvements for safety at road crossings along Rock Creek Park’s trails, sparked by research by local students. We’ll hear from park leaders as well as Ward 4 resident and Alice Deal 8th grader Finn Farrell about these important efforts. Please RSVP to attend.

Opening Reception: “Modern Muse Series” Exhibit at Art of Noize

On Saturday, June 4 from 7pm-10pm Art of Noize Gallery (821 Upshur St NW, Rear #2) will host an opening reception for “Modern Muse Series,” featuring the work of film photographer Redeat “Red” Wondemu. “For generations, male artists have been the ones to tell society the meaning of a “Muse”, however, this series explores an unconventional standard of beauty… Wondemu’s photography depicts honesty, emotions, and vulnerability of the sitters she portrays.”

Crestwood Citizens Association Spring Potluck and Picnic

On Sunday, June 5 starting at 5pm the Crestwood Citizens Association will host a spring potluck and picnic at Triangle Park (Argyle Ter & 18th Streets NW). Come enjoy the company of neighbors and let your kids burn off excess energy in the bounce house. There is limited seating, so please bring your own picnic blanket or folding chair. Condiments, ice, and desserts will be provided, but please bring your own meat to grill, buns, coolers, and beverages.

Shepherd Park Weed Warriors Take on Shepherd Field 

On Sunday, June 5 from 2pm-4pm the Shepherd Park Weed Warriors will be working to remove invasive vines and shrubs and to spread the wood chips at Shepherd Field. Volunteers are needed, so come lend a hand with beautifying the neighborhood! Bring work gloves, sturdy shoes, and long pants. Contact with any questions.

Second Meeting on the Metropolitan Branch Trail (Blair Rd to Piney Branch Rd NW)

On Tuesday, June 7 from 6:30pm-8pm DDOT will host its second public meeting to discuss plans for the Blair Rd-Piney Branch Road segment of the Metropolitan Branch Trail. DDOT will present design concept updates and receive community feedback. Find more information in DDOT’s meeting notice or the Metropolitan Branch Trail website.

Community Clean Up and Ice Cream Social in Brightwood Park

On Saturday, June 11 from 11am-1pm Networkhair and Networkteens are hosting a community clean up and ice cream social event on the 5300 block and 5400 block of 4th St NW in Brightwood Park. Please contact Ms. Didi Green at with any questions. Community service hours are offered for attendees. 

Ward 4 Summer Safety Strategic Planning Meeting

On Wednesday, June 8 from 5pm-7pm at MacFarland Middle School (4400 Iowa Ave NW), we will host a Ward 4 Summer Safety Strategic Meeting that’s open to all Ward 4 residents. Our office and key agencies will lay out specific actions to address crime and gun violence during the summer, as well as share opportunities for neighbors to support these important efforts. Please RSVP to join us. This will be an in-person meeting, but we will also try to share a livestream so neighbors can watch from home.

Home Rule Music Festival at the Parks at Walter Reed

On Saturday, June 11 from 3pm-9:30pm the Parks at Walter Reed will host Home Rule Music Festival, a family-friendly free festival that focuses on the music and culture of DC. They have an amazing day lined up that includes a Record Fair, food trucks and craft beverages, and music with performances by Black Fire artist Plunky & Oneness of JuJu, legendary jazz artists Doug Carn and David Murray, and the TCB Band. The festival will end with a screening of a new documentary short film on Black Fire Records. Enter through 1000 Butternut St NW, and check out the festival website for a full schedule.

154th Annual Strawberry Festival at St. Paul’s Rock Creek Church

On Saturday, June 11 from 4pm-8pm St. Paul’s Rock Creek Church (201 Allison St NW) will host the 154th Annual Strawberry Festival with fun activities for the whole family. “St. Paul’s erects tents to cover the food (including, of course, fresh strawberries and strawberry shortcake) and the items offered for sale—baked goods, hand-crafted items, jewelry, plants, and more.” Learn more about the festival and add it to your calendar!

Come out for Pride in the Park at Sherman Circle

On Sunday, June 12 from 10am-12pm Petworth Peanuts are hosting the annual Pride in the Park event at Sherman Circle. The event will include a kids parade at 11am with prizes for the best decorated wagons and bikes, a dedicated table for queer families to connect, face painting, balloon artistry, a free Zumba dance party, games and giveaways, a fire engine from Engine Co 24, and emceeing by local drag performer Tara Hoot. RSVP on Facebook or check out the article in Petworth News.

RESCHEDULED: Ward 4 CARE Day in Chevy Chase, Barnaby Woods, and Hawthorne

On Tuesday, June 14 from 4pm-7pm my team and I and community volunteers will be bringing Ward 4 CARE Day to Chevy Chase, Barnaby Woods, and Hawthorne starting from Lafayette-Pointer Rec Center (5900 33rd St. NW). RSVP to join as we check in on neighbors, share resources, problem solve with DC agencies, and bring our community closer together.

First Public Meeting on the Rehabilitation of Eastern Avenue 

On Wednesday, June 22 from 6:30pm-8pm DDOT will host its first virtual meeting on the Rehabilitation of Eastern Avenue Project, which will include full-depth roadway reconstruction, signal modifications and ADA improvements, the addition of new sidewalks, addition of bicycle lanes, improved drainage and lighting, new streetscape elements, and reduction in vehicle speeds with curb extensions. 

And don’t forget to visit your local Ward 4 Farmers Market on Saturdays from 9am-1pm:  

Local Links

Channel 7DC budget proposal addresses modernization and growth in Ward 4 schools

Petworth NewsCoach Lou approaches 20 years as the Director of the Emery Soldiers

Washington Post: D.C. gun seizures are soaring — but charges aren’t sticking

Washington InformerLamond Riggs Library Named in Honor of Activist Lillian J. Huff

Ward 4 Dispatch: Pools and Spray Parks, Oregon Avenue, Voting, and Summer Safety

June is Pride Month, when we celebrate our vibrant LGBTQIA+ communities. I’m proud that that Ward 4 is an inclusive community where people can be who they are and love who they love — knowing that their neighbors have their back.

Let us continue to stand in solidarity against every strand of hate and discrimination in our city and our nation. We cannot take our rights for granted, but rather fight to uphold and expand them for all of our neighbors.

Yours in Community,