There’s a lot to report back on this week! The Ward 4 Redistricting Task Force settled on new ANC/SMD Ward 4 boundaries to recommend to the Council, I attended eight budget oversight hearings, we have more traffic safety updates from across Ward 4, and this week we celebrated an incredible affordable housing project in Takoma. In addition, second COVID booster shots are now available for residents who are immunocompromised or 50+ years old, the renovated Lamond-Riggs Neighborhood Library is seeking input on two potential names, and DPR summer camp registration starts next week! We also have several community events this weekend and next week, including a used book sale, clean ups, flower planting, a community seed exchange, invasive weed removal, and our Ward 4 CARE Day in Crestwood this coming Thursday (rescheduled to this week due to weather). Check it all out below:
Legislative Updates and Ward 4 News
Ward 4 Redistricting Task Force Finalizes Map Recommendations
After weeks of public meetings and community engagement, the Ward 4 Redistricting Task Force unanimously voted to recommend this map with new ANC/SMD boundaries for Ward 4. This process is required by law based on the 2020 Census, which showed that the population of most of Ward 4’s Single Member Districts had grown to exceed the legal requirement of 1,900-2,100 residents. Among other changes, the recommended map creates a new ANC 4E that encompasses the Sixteenth Street Heights and Crestwood neighborhoods. In the coming days, the Task Force will also publish a report on its work on the Ward 4 Redistricting website. Please note that the recommended map is a non-binding recommendation to the Council’s Subcommittee on Redistricting, which will hold two public hearings on April 7 and April 28 where residents from across DC can testify. The Council’s Subcommittee on Redistricting will then consider further changes, mark up the ANC redistricting bill in May, and bring the proposed map to the full Council for two final votes in June. I have profound gratitude for the Ward 4 Redistricting Task Force members who volunteered countless hours and conducted this process with transparency, professionalism, and strong community engagement. I also want to thank the 100+ Ward 4 residents who have participated in this process with testimony, emails, voicemails, social media posts, and by attending Task Force meetings.
This Week’s Budget Hearing Highlights
I participated in eight budget oversight hearings this week covering our schools, paid family leave, unemployment benefits, DC’s recovery from the pandemic, public safety, recreation, general services, the environment, and more. Here are a few of the many issues I engaged agencies on. I pressed our education agencies for a real plan for our Ward 4 schools. Overcrowding at Roosevelt and Roosevelt STAY is among the worst in our city, but there’s no plan to address this until 2030! Meanwhile, Truesdell is slated to undergo modernization in FY24 and FY25, but the swing space they’re being offered is at Garnett-Patterson, whose location far away from Ward 4 and lack of outdoor space makes it unsuitable to serve as an elementary school for Truesdell families. This must be addressed this budget season, and I introduced several alternative swing space options.
I also split time to attend both DPR and DGS hearings on Thursday with a focus on getting answers on persistent maintenance and repair issues in our schools and park facilities. Some good news: I was able to confirm that the renovation of Upshur Recreation Center (scheduled for 2024) will include a full replacement of the field house, a rebuilding of the basketball court, and a renovation of the playground. Unfortunately, the completion date for Takoma Aquatic Center has been pushed back again to May 27 (now half a year behind schedule) due to “supply chain issues.” It’s unclear to me why Takoma pool was closed in the first place if we didn’t have the supplies to fix it.
I also joined Tuesday’s budget hearing for the Department of Energy and the Environment (DOEE), asking Director Wells for more detail on DOEE’s plans to remove lead service lines and maximize the use of federal funding. Director Wells shared that the proposed budget includes $10 million in federal funding for lead pipe replacement, which will cover about 2,400 homes of about 28,000 remaining homes in need of replacement. While this is a step forward, we need to accelerate pace even more. Learn more about DC’s current lead service line removal efforts on DC Water’s website.
More Traffic Safety Improvements in Ward 4
We continue to push and secure more traffic safety upgrades in Ward 4 in partnership with community leaders, ANC Commissioners, and neighbors. I wanted to highlight some of the traffic safety infrastructure changes coming to our community:
- A full traffic light is planned for Blagden Ave & 16th Street NW. While the traffic light will take a year to design and construct, it is one of the most significant ways we can make an intersection safer. This will go a long way in making this intersection safer (especially for the many students who cross 16th Street daily to get to and from school) even as DDOT works to expedite other safety improvements for Blagden Avenue.
- We have new speed bumps going up across Ward 4, from Chevy Chase and Shepherd Park to Petworth and Riggs Park. Check out the list of speed bumps that have been approved on DDOT’s TSI database under the “Pending Installation” tab.
- DDOT approved a much-needed 4-way stop at 9th & Jefferson NW in Brightwood Park.
- Some good news on the Metropolitan Branch Trail: DDOT’s proposed budget funds a $14 million off-street alignment from 1st Pl NE to Oglethorpe St NE in Manor Park. Once completed in 2028, the off-street alignment will make the MBT safer by shifting this section of the trail off the street.
- DDOT is making significant progress in the 16th Street Bus Lanes Project, which will will improve the performance and reliability of bus routes and pedestrian access along 16th Street from Arkansas Avenue NW all the way down to the White House. The project is set to be completed later this spring. Speaking of buses, DDOT is in the early stages of planning Georgia Avenue’s Bus Priority Network, which will create bus priority lanes and bring other multimodal safety improvements on Georgia Avenue from Barry Place up to Kansas Avenue. DDOT’s project team is starting community engagement by presenting at upcoming ANC meetings.
- And a quick update on the Oregon Avenue Reconstruction Project: the deck is now in over Pinehurst Bridge and work at the intersection of Oregon & Nebraska is completed. The project is on track to be done this spring. Learn more on the project’s website.
Coming Soon to Your Ward 4 Mailbox!
Next week, many of you will be receiving some mail from myself as your Ward 4 Councilmember! I want to take a moment to explain why. I took office at the height of the pandemic, before vaccines were widely available and while nearly all events were happening virtually. I’m grateful for the ways we’ve been able to connect with so many neighbors and support our community, but I know there are people we still haven’t reached yet. That’s particularly true for residents who don’t have internet access, are new to Ward 4, or who don’t traditionally engage their local government. I want to make sure every community member knows how to get in touch with me and my team for support or to share their views. That’s why we’re sending this mailer, and that’s also a big reason why we’re visiting neighbors on Ward 4 CARE days. To be sustainable, I’m keeping the mailer down to a single two-sided page and just sharing key information like our contact information and our work this year on behalf of Ward 4. Thank you for taking time to read it, and feel free to share it with your neighbors, too!
Cedar Street Apartments Are Now Restored, Sustainable, and Affordable
It’s a Ward 4 affordable housing comeback story! This week we celebrated the restoration of the apartments at 410 Cedar Street NW. A storm in 2016 blew off part of the building’s roof and displaced several tenants, and the building was put up for sale the following year. Many of the tenants banded together, asserted their Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA) rights, chose the developer that would purchase their building, and struck a deal to repair the building and sustain all of it as affordable housing. All units at 410 Cedar Street are now affordable, including 10% of units at the deeply affordable rate of 30% average median income or below. The building is also transit-accessible, has an array of green features, and includes more family-sized units than before. Shoutout to Jennifer Sumler and the other members of the Cedar Street Tenants Association; the development team made up of Joseph Development and Wesley Housing; LISC DC, Bank of America, and DHCD for their aid with financing; and 4B02 Commissioner Erin Palmer and ANC 4B for all their support! I’m proud that DC’s affordable housing production trust fund supported this project, and that this will be a source of affordable housing in our community for decades to come. Learn more about the story of 410 Cedar Street NW in this MarketWatch piece.
Second Boosters Now Available for Residents 50+ and Immunocompromised Residents
On Wednesday, DC Health announced that second COVID booster shots are available for residents who are 50 and older, as well as certain immunocompromised individuals who are at higher risk for severe COVID. To get your second booster, you must have received your first initial Pfizer or Moderna booster on or before November 30, 2021. Residents who received a primary vaccine and booster dose of the Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine on or before November 30, 2021 may now receive a second booster dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Eligible residents can get their second booster (or any previous vaccine dose) by walking up to a vaccine clinic or DC COVID Center, by making an at-home vaccination appointment by calling 1-855-363-0333, by making an appointment with your health provider, or by finding other opportunities to get vaccinated by visiting vaccines.gov. Heads up: Ward 4’s COVID Center is closed on Saturday, April 9 but resumes its usual schedule on Monday, April 11.
DPR Summer Camp Registration Starts Next Week!
Each weekday at noon next week registration will open for DPR Summer Camps. For camp dates, a full list of camps, and the specific day registration opens for each camp, check out DPR’s website. DPR has an improved online “Waiting Room” to help prevent the frustrating tech glitches from past registrations. Tip: don’t wait until it is time to register to make sure you can access your DPR Account and that your information is accurate. Login or reset your password here.
Lamond-Riggs Neighborhood Library Naming Request
DCPL has received two requests to rename the Lamond-Riggs Neighborhood Library. Lillian J. Huff was an activist and organizer who for nearly 20 years led the quest to attain a library in the Lamond-Riggs neighborhood. Robert Bryant was an African American architect who, along with his brother, Charles, owned Bryant & Bryant, the firm that designed the original Lamond-Riggs Neighborhood Library. The Library is inviting the community to provide comments on the two requests. Comments may be submitted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and the deadline to submit comments is April 8. As your Councilmember, I joined Ward 5 Councilmember McDuffie in introducing a designation bill supporting the renaming of the library after Lillian J. Huff given her immense efforts to secure this library and her great contributions to our community. Find more information about the two proposals and the renaming process on the DCPL website.
MPD Seeks Information and Footage from Shooting in Upper Petworth
In response to the shooting that took place on the 4700 block of 9th St NW yesterday, MPD is requesting any camera footage or information that residents may have as part of its investigation to hold those responsible for the shooting accountable. MPD recovered multiple casings from the shooting, and two individuals walked into a nearby hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Initial evidence suggests that this was a neighborhood crew-related shooting. Our team went door-to-door to impacted neighbors to connect them to resources, and we continue to work together with all of our public safety agencies to confront gun violence. In addition to current efforts to improve safety, this area will be included in the Cure the Streets violence interruption site that’s launching later this spring.
Citywide Increase in Tire Thefts
DC is experiencing a troubling citywide increase in tire thefts off of parked cars. Compared to this point last year, reported tire thefts increased from 38 to 133. Beyond the work MPD is doing to address these crimes, Captain Porter from the Fourth District shared the following tips for preventing tire thefts: park in a well-lit area, buy lug nut locks or a tire alarm, park close to the curb, or turn your wheels to a 45 degree angle to make it more difficult to access your tires.
Fort Totten Transfer Station Closing for Six Months
DPW announced that Fort Totten Transfer Station will be temporarily closing after Saturday, April 2 for six months of repairs to improve the quality of the stormwater runoff generated at the site. During this period, bulk and residential drop-off will be moved to Benning Road Transfer Station (3200 Benning Road, NE) on Wednesday-Friday from 10am-2pm. Read DPW’s full announcement for more information. Household hazardous waste and e-cycling services will be offered every Saturday from 7am-2pm at Benning Road, as well as the Thursday preceding the first Saturday of the month from 10am-2pm.
Community Survey on the Public Art on 5th and Kennedy Streets NW
ANC 4D has developed a community survey to solicit feedback regarding the public art installation currently located at the southeast corner of 5th and Kennedy Streets NW. Please share your thoughts by 5pm on April 30.
Spring Book Sale Celebration at Petworth Library
On Saturday, April 2 from 10:30am-4pm the Friends of Petworth Library are hosting a spring book sale celebration with a raffle, puzzle swap, face painting, craft making, storytelling, and a t-shirt and totes sale to support the library and other community activities. It’s a great chance to do good and get some great books for very cheap!
Share a Seed Spring Planting Day at Upshur Community Garden
On Sunday, April 3 from 10:30am-1pm Share a Seed and Slow Food DC are hosting another wonderful Spring Planting Day at Upshur Community Garden! They’ll be sharing seeds, swap plants, helping prepare Upshur Community Garden for the the spring, and gathering as a community. Ward 4 Mutual Aid will also be in the house collecting canned goods and new or gently-used clothing. RSVP and learn more on Eventbrite.
Petworth Blooms on Grant Circle and Larry Allen Park
On Sunday, April 3 Petworth Blooms will host two volunteer opportunities for Ward 4 residents. Join them at 10am at Grant Circle to repaint the benches (paint and brushes provided) or at 1:30pm at Lorenzo Allen Park (9th & Gallatin) to weed the flower beds and plant a few annuals like pansies and snapdragons. Shoutout to Steve for organizing!
Shepherd Park Weed Warriors at Shepherd Field
On Sunday, April 3 from 1pm-3:30pm the Shepherd Park Weed Warriors will continue clearing invasive vines off the slope at Shepherd Field, which is adjacent to Shepherd Elementary School between Kalmia and Jonquil. They’re making great progress but need your help! Please bring work gloves and pruners or loppers if you have them, but they’ll have a few extras if you do not.
Rock Creek Conservancy Extreme Cleanups in Ward 4
Throughout April, the Rock Creek Conservancy and the National Park Service are holding a series of clean up events to remove litter and invasive plants from Rock Creek, its tributaries, and surrounding neighborhoods and parklands. Join them on Saturday, April 2 from 10am-12pm at Carter Barron Picnic Grove #24, on Saturday, April 9 from 11am-1pm at Piney Branch Pavilion, on Saturday, April 9 from 10am-12 at Carter Barron Picnic Grove #24, on Saturday, April 9 from 1pm-3pm at Fort Slocum, on Sunday, April 10 from 1pm-3pm on the 1400 block of Quincy Street NW, on Saturday, April 23 from 10am-12pm at Carter Barron Picnic Grove #24, on Saturday, April 23 from 10am-12pm at Fort Slocum, and other locations across the region.
RESCHEDULED: Ward 4 CARE Day in Crestwood Now on April 7
On Thursday, April 7 from 4pm-7pm my team and I and community volunteers will be bringing Ward 4 CARE Day to Crestwood starting from 17th and Upshur St NW. This was originally planned for this past Thursday, but we had to delay to next week due to the weather forecast. So join us as we check in on our neighbors, share resources, problem solve with DC agencies, and bring our community closer together. Sign up to come!
Cultural DC Mobile Gallery Opening Next Week at The Parks
On Friday, April 8 from 6pm-8pm CulturalDC will celebrate the opening of Maya Freelon’s Peace by Piece – the newest exhibit in the Mobile Art Gallery hosted at The Parks at Walter Reed from April 8 through May 15. All are invited to join the artist for music, drinks, and a special look at the new installation. The work will grow and change over the exhibition, through a series of community workshops. The Mobile Art Gallery is located on the Arts Plaza near the dog park. To RSVP for the free Opening Celebration or workshops, or learn about gallery hours, please visit culturaldc.org.
As we head into the weekend, I want to wish Ramadan Mubarak to everyone who is observing the holy month of Ramadan. May it be a time of peace, hope, and reflection for you and your family.
Last weekend I got to visit Grace Filled Hands Hair Studio, a new family-owned Ward 4 business on our Upper Georgia Avenue corridor! Check them out at 7323 Georgia Ave NW. Also, congrats to our Shepherd Park U10 Boys and U10 Girls Basketball Teams on winning the DPR Citywide Basketball championship! Happy Weekend, Ward 4.
Yours in Community,