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Ward 4 Dispatch: School Readiness, Traffic Safety Improvements, and New Restaurants

Dear Neighbors,

We made it to the weekend! This time of the year my focus is on ensuring our schools are ready to welcome back students for the new school year – both in Ward 4 as your Councilmember and across the city as Chair of the Council Committee that oversees facilities. This week I visited MacFarland Middle School to assess progress on needed repairs, and I will continue checking in on more of our schools next week. I am grateful for the significant progress being made in school repairs, while also recognizing that there is much more to do. If you’re a student in need of a backpack or school supplies, we have many more school supply giveaway events coming up in Ward 4. I also want to give a warm welcome to our new and returning educators gearing up for the new school year — you are so appreciated and loved.

My newsletter this week also touches on traffic safety and public safety updates, some great new restaurants in Ward 4, community resources, local news stories you may have missed, and plenty of neighborhood events!

Traffic Safety Upgrades in Ward 4

Across Ward 4, we still face dangerous driving on too many of our streets and intersections. In partnership with neighbors, our dedicated ANC Commissioners, and DDOT, my team and I are working diligently to bring more traffic safety improvements to Ward 4. Here are some of the traffic safety improvements that are planned or have been implemented in our community:

  • We have several new traffic lights being installed across Ward 4 to reduce crashes, better manage traffic flow, and improve safety for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers: Varnum & Iowa & Georgia Avenue NW in Petworth, 16th & Blagden NW in Crestwood and Sixteenth Street Heights, Sligo Avenue & Eastern Ave & Sheridan NE in Lamond Riggs, and Georgia & Farragut NW in Brightwood Park.
  • We also have new pedestrian islands installed at Georgia & Crittenden NW and a HAWK signal being installed at Georgia & Hamilton NW to improve pedestrian safety.
  • Our 14th Street and Georgia Avenue corridors in Ward 4 will both benefit from major upgrades to traffic safety and bus service through bus priority projects. Check out my Community Resources updates below on how you can weigh in on either project.
  • Here is the latest update on the next phase of the Metropolitan Branch Trail extension from Fort Totten to Takoma, which is expected to be completed in late 2025. 
  • In East Petworth, DDOT wants to close the 3rd St NW slip lane between Shepherd Street and Rock Creek Church Road to vehicular traffic and make several other safety adjustments to the intersection.
  • At Iowa & Arkansas NW in Sixteenth Street Heights, DDOT installed a centerline median and a pedestrian island in order slow drivers, improve pedestrian safety, and eliminate the traffic pattern that caused multiple major crashes.
  • In Riggs Park, DDOT proposed important traffic safety upgrades at the 2nd & 3rd NE intersection behind Walmart — including converting the intersection to a roundabout — and adding a two-way protected bike lane to the 100 block of Riggs Road NE.
  • DDOT also plans to install two-way stop control and parking restrictions at the intersections of 7th Place & Rittenhouse NW and 7th Place & Quackenbos NW.
  • DDOT has installed or has proposed installing speed bumps or speed tables across Ward 4, including the 600 block of Underwood St NW, the 5500 block of 9th St NW, the 5700-5800 blocks of 3rd St NW, the 4100 block of 3rd St NW, the 6600 block of 2nd St NW, the unit block of Underwood St NE, the 500 block of Ingraham St NW, the 6100 block of 7th St NW, the 4800 block of 7th St NW, the 800 block of Madison St NW, the 1300 block of Locust Rd NW, the 100 block of Jefferson St NW, the 200 block of Van Buren St NW, the 1300 block of Van Buren St NW, the 200 and 400 block of Quackenbos St NW, the 400 block of Hamilton St NW, the 6600 block of Luzon Ave NW, the 6600 block of 13th Street NW, the 1400 block of Sheridan St NW, the 300-400 blocks of Rittenhouse St NW, the 900 block of Quincy St NW, and the 3900-4100 blocks of 5th St NW to reduce the repeated crashes and car-swipes along 5th Street.

Thank you to everyone who joined our traffic safety walkthrough this week that covered several dangerous intersections Uptown. I will keep you updated on progress made on the issues we discussed. If your neighborhood needs traffic safety upgrades, please submit a Traffic Safety Input request on the 311 website and keep my office and your ANC Commissioner in the loop so we can keep advocating on your behalf. Our work is far from done!

Updates on Community Safety

In Ward 4, we continue to work together with our public safety agencies and our communities to address the unacceptable rise in gun violence and crime impacting our city. This week, the Mayor announced several new public safety policies. One of the policies announced this week will bring 50 additional CCTV cameras throughout the city. These cameras help law enforcement identify suspects and close cases when crimes are committed. Last year I secured funding for 6 additional CCTV cameras to close coverage gaps in Ward 4. Another encouraging policy announced this week is that DC will be providing intensive conflict resolution training to more educators so they can support students when issues emerge. This comes a month after I introduced a bill to teach conflict resolution skills in all DC schools. I look forward to building on this positive step through our legislation, which will ensure every DC student can develop these lifelong skills. In addition, MPD conducted a high-visibility traffic safety compliance checkpoint at Georgia & Kennedy NW this week, which resulted in 66 warnings and tickets issued, four arrests for driving without a permit, one arrest for carrying illegal firearms, and 6 free child safety seats being distributed.

Safety is also front of mind as our students prepare to report back to school. Pressing for every school to have functioning door locks, PA systems, and security cameras has been an oversight priority for me. Our schools will have also increased staff support thanks to Council budget amendments that reversed proposed budget cuts to dozens of schools — ensuring that every school receives the same or increased funding this school year. As part of my school visit to MacFarland Middle School, we discussed the new ONSE Leadership Academy at MacFarland that we funded in the DC budget. This program provides on-site mentorship and support to at-risk students, and it has a record of reducing student behavioral incidents and improving academic performance and attendance in schools where it is already in place.

Finally, I want to update you on Thursday’s shooting on the 7400 block of Georgia Avenue NW on Thursday, where an officer shot and critically wounded an armed man while responding to a domestic violence incident. MPD reported that the officer gave verbal commands and fired once after a suspect who matched their description brandished a firearm and fired it. The suspect is in critical but stable condition and has been charged for the incident, while the officer was thankfully not harmed. Body camera footage from the incident will be released to the public in accordance with DC law, and my office will work to support the victim of the earlier domestic violence incident by connecting them to the appropriate services.

Ward 4 Business Spotlight: New Restaurants

We are celebrating three new restaurants that recently opened in Ward 4! In July, Lula Mae’s Gardin opened its doors as a new restaurant on Kennedy Street. They offer amazing country-style cooking and are open 12pm-8pm on Wednesdays-Saturdays and 8am-4pm on Sundays for a special breakfast brunch. Neighbors can check them out at 107 Kennedy St NW. Meanwhile in Petworth, this week we celebrated the opening of San Matteo, an Italian restaurant with a beautiful new space, hospitable staff, and homemade pasta. They are located at 819 Upshur Street NW, are open all week long from 5pm-10pm, and will soon offer weekend brunch too. And in Brightwood and Manor Park, Plaza Teontepec opened earlier this year as a classic Mexican carryout with tacos and other freshly-made favorites. You can find them at 6214 Georgia Ave NW, or you can order lunch or dinner from there seven days a week.

Community Resources

Consumer Alert: Avoiding Home Improvement Scams and Disputes

The DC Attorney General issued a consumer alert warning DC residents planning to upgrade or remodel their homes to beware of scams and unreliable contractors. They ask residents to beware of contractors who show up at your door unannounced, say they can offer a lower price using surplus materials, pressure you to hire them immediately to receive a discount, demand payment upfront, or offer to arrange financing for you. These are all signs of potentially deceptive and unethical business practices. Read the full consumer alert on how to choose a contractor with confidence, protect your investment, and avoid being scammed.

Don’t Forget Pediatric Immunizations for the New School Year  

DC Health is reminding parents and caregivers across DC to ensure their children obtain the necessary immunizations that are required for school. The best place for families to get required childhood immunizations is through their medical provider. However, DC Health has expanded access to vaccination services to include: school-based health centers (for students ages 3 and older), District mobile medical units at various locations, and pediatric immunization clinics throughout the city. All pediatric immunization clinics are free, but insured families should bring their insurance cards to their immunization appointments. 

Children and Adult Vaccinations at Nineteenth Street Baptist Church

On Thursday, August 24 from 10am-1pm Nineteenth Street Baptist Church (4606 16th St NW) will host a free back-to-school vaccination clinic with Giant Pharmacy for children to catch up on their required immunizations and for adults to received COVID vaccines, boosters, flu shots, and shingles shots. Registration is required, and neighbors can register by calling or texting Health Navigator Janyce Jefferson at 410-804-9325. Thank you Nineteenth Street Baptist Church for hosting this excellent community resource for our Ward 4 community.

Cannabis Cultivation Center on Upshur Not Moving Forward

The August 16 special ANC 4C meeting to consider the license application for a Medical Cannabis Cultivation Center at 821 Upshur Street NW was cancelled earlier this week after the proposal for the cannabis cultivation center at this location was withdrawn.

Sunday Deadline: Weigh In on the Georgia Avenue Bus Priority Project

DDOT is planning a bus priority project along Georgia Avenue from Barry Place all the way up to Eastern Ave to improve bus service and reliability along the corridor — and to make traffic safety improvements to prevent future crashes. The agency is asking that residents submit feedback on the project by this Sunday, August 20 so it can inform their project design. 

Sunday Deadline: Weigh In on the 14th Street Bus Project Concept Design

DDOT has released its initial concept design for the 14th Street Bus Priority Project (from Newton Street to Arkansas Avenue NW) with a goal of improving the reliability of bus service and improving traffic safety along 14th Street. You can review the entire concept design on this map, and you can find DDOT’s latest presentation on the project at this link. Neighbors can provide feedback or ask questions by filling out this feedback form (be sure to specify which project you’re commenting on) or by emailing by this Sunday, August 20.

New 4B09 Commissioner in Riggs Park 

Last week I had the honor of swearing in Derrick Thompson as our new ANC Commissioner in Riggs Park — filling a recent vacancy in Single Member District 4B09. Derrick can be reached at, and his Single Member District includes the Riggs Park Walmart, LaSalle-Backus Elementary, and Riggs-LaSalle Rec Center. 

Vote on a Ward 4 Commemorative Project by August 25

Residents can now cast their vote to decide which Ward 4 individual, event, or group will be commemorated as part of the Ward 4 Commemorative Project. The nominations include the DC Caribbean Carnival on Georgia Avenue, the Highway Revolts, Neighbors Inc, United Blacks Against Discrimination, the Founding of DC Youth Orchestra, Ms. Vanilla Beane, and Mr. Stephen Whatley. The winner will be commemorated on public space in Ward 4. Visit the DC Office of Planning’s website to learn more about each nomination, the potential locations, and to cast your vote before the August 25 deadline.

Neighborhood Events

Community Cleanup in Manor Park

On Saturday, August 19 at 9am 4B05 Commissioner Kevin Gilligan will host a community cleanup starting from 9th & Sheridan NW. Bags, gloves, grabbers, and snacks will be provided.

Carter Barron East Neighborhood Yoga

On Saturday, August 19 from 9am-11am the Carter East Neighborhood Association will host two neighborhood yoga sessions: an adult flow yoga session from 9am-10am and a kids yoga class from 10:15am-11am at the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (4901 16th St NW) Parking Lot entrance on Piney Branch Road. Remember to RSVP if you plan to attend.

Walmart Back-to-School Wellness Day

On Saturday, August 19 from 10am-2pm Walmart will host a Back-to-School Wellness Day event where they will provide free health screenings, free and low-cost immunizations, and opportunities to chat with local pharmacists about health needs. Both Walmart stores in Ward 4 will host Wellness Days for our community: 5929 Georgia Ave NW and 310 Riggs Rd NE.

Zion Hill Baptist Community Day at Petworth Rec Center

On Saturday, August 19 from 10am-2pm Zion Hill Baptist Church will host its community day at Petworth Rec Center (801 Taylor Street NW). Come join the fun, connect with resources for returning to school, and expand health awareness! The event will feature free school supplies, a spray park, music, a moon bounce, corn hole games, popcorn, snow cones, and more.

Riggs-LaSalle Back-to-School Community Day

On Saturday, August 19 from 10am-12pm the Friends of Riggs-LaSalle Recreation Center and the Lamond-Riggs Citizens Association will host a Back-to-School Community Day to provide free backpacks, school supplies, and ice cream to students and their families preparing to return to school. Check out the flyer for details for this event at Riggs-LaSalle Rec Center.

Metro Back-to-School School Supply Giveaway

On Saturday, August 19 from 11am-3pm WMATA and Metro Transit Police will host a Back-to-School Celebration and School Supply Giveaway at the Fort Totten Metro Station Parking Lot. Children of all ages are welcome to receive free backpacks and school supplies — and to enjoy family-friendly activities, including a moon bounce, face painting, miniature train rides, a live DJ and band, and free food.

Cool Disco Dan Day at 14th Street Graffiti Museum

On Saturday, August 19 from 4pm-10pm the 14th Street Graffiti Museum (4632 14th Street NW) will host Cool Disco Dan Day 2023, an annual celebration honoring the life of Danny Hogg (aka Cool “Disco” Dan) — the most celebrated of DC’s graffiti writers. The event will feature live painting, DJ sets, a live video mix of DC hip-hop videos, a historic plaque dedication, the Black Rock Star Super Hero marketplace, and a DC hip-hop documentary. RSVP on Eventbrite.

Back-to-School Ice Cream Social in Takoma

On Saturday, August 19 from 5pm-8pm 4B02 Commissioner Erin Palmer and 4B03 Commissioner Zurick Smith will host a Back-to-School Ice Cream Social on Field C at 4th & Whittier NW. Neighbors can also drop off any surplus school supplies for families in need.

Ward 4 CARE Day in Shepherd Park and The Parks

On Wednesday, August 23 from 4pm-7pm I will be hosting our Ward 4 CARE Community Day for Shepherd Park and The Parks at Walter Reed — starting at Shepherd Park Community Center (7800 14th Street NW). Come find us there for resources from DC agencies, door-to-door outreach to neighbors, constituent services support, and a day of bringing our community closer together. Please RSVP if you plan to be there.

Back-to-School Bash at Emery Heights

On Thursday, August 24 from 4pm-7pm the Mayor’s Office and the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice will host a Back-to-School Bash at Emery Heights Community Center (5701 Georgia Ave NW) to offer free backpacks, school supplies, games, food, and music.

DCPL Mobile Library on Kennedy Street

On Wednesday, August 23 from 4:30pm-7:30pm DCPL’s mobile library will be at 5th & Kennedy NW for a special event where families can play games, check out books, and meet ANC 4D Commissioners. The mobile library will also return next Wednesday at the same time and place to provide neighbors another chance to enjoy DCPL services on Kennedy Street.

Summer in the Parks at Fort Slocum Mini Oasis 

On Thursday, August 24 from 6pm-8pm the Rock Creek Conservancy and the National Park Service will host a Summer in the Parks event at Fort Slocum with picnics, music, games, and other activities. These Fort Slocum events take place every Thursday in August, so stop by.

Back-to-School Movie Night on Kennedy Street

On Friday, August 25 from 5pm-10pm Uptown Main Street and a great group of Kennedy Street businesses are hosting a Back-to-School Movie Night at 716 Kennedy St NW. They are offering an energizing family-friendly yoga class, games, music, vouchers for kids’ haircuts, and an 8pm screening of Minions: The Rise of Gru to welcome Ward 4 students back to school!

AKA Paving the Way to a Successful School Year

On Saturday, August 26 from 10am-2pm the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority will host a Paving the Way to a Successful School Year event at the Xi Omega Center (4411 14th St NW) in Sixteenth Street Heights to provide free school supplies, backpacks, undergarments, socks, uniforms, health exams, and gift cards for students return to school. Lunch will be provided!

Farmers Markets in Our Ward 4 Community 

Get your fresh goods and crafty products at our Ward 4 Farmers Markets: 

For more local events, check out DPR, DC Public Library, and the Rock Creek Conservancy

Ward 4 in the News

DC Public Library: Dinosaur Roaring Contest Best Submissions Video!

DC Attorney General: $600K+ Wage Theft Settlement Barring Construction Company from Doing Business in DC

Washington Post: DC Police Officer Shoots, Critically Wounds Armed Man in Northwest

DCist: Cleaning Staff Walk Off The Job Downtown, Alleging Mistreatment For Unionization Effort

Washington City Paper: Best of DC 2023, Featuring Many Ward 4 Favorites: Zenith Gallery Winning Best Gallery, Chacho, La Coop Coffee, Art of Noize, Tara Hoot, and More

Petworth News: Petworth local offers Zumba classes designed for busy parents

PopVille: Lula Mae’s Gardin opens at 1st and Kennedy Street NW

Washington Informer: Boxing Coach Shows Support for Conflict Resolution Legislation

DCist: Here’s How DC Restaurants Are Supposed To Disclose Service Fees

Washington Post: As DC Opens Sobering Centers, Advocates Push Bolder Action on Opioids

City Paper: Child Care Workers Say They’re Getting Shortchanged by DC on Salaries

DDOT: Question-and-Answer Document on MBT Fort Totten to Takoma Extension

New Yorker: The War on Cities

NCCF: Zion Baptist Church Awarded Humanitarian Spirit Award for Volunteerism

Ward 4 Dispatch: Back-to-School, Addressing Unsafe Housing, and Emery Day

I want to end on a note of gratitude for two beautiful days this week. First, thank you to every neighbor, agency, and Commissioners Patience Singleton, Candace Nelson, and Kim Patterson for joining our Ward 4 CARE Day in Brightwood. It was great to engage so many neighbors, hear about what’s on your mind, and work to address community needs. Secondly, thank you to everyone who contributed to making Emery Heights Community Day and our Ward 4 Back-to-School Giveaway such a great success last weekend. It was a day full of fun, music, wrestling, dancing, and resources for everyone. Special thank you to Ward 4 SBOE Rep Frazier O’Leary, Coach Lou, Friends of Emery, and DPR for hosting us.

There are plenty of other back-to-school giveaways this week, so if you need school supplies please make your wa to one of the many giveaways in Ward 4. 

Let us all enjoy these sunny days of August!

Yours in Community,