I’m writing to you at the end of the week to update you about what’s going on in our community and at the DC Council. I have some big news to share on the long-awaited opening of Roosevelt Pool to the public. I also report back on a traffic safety walkthrough we had in Sixteenth Street Heights and DC’s ongoing efforts to help children ages 5-11 be vaccinated.
In addition, we have some important Council hearings coming up next week on automated camera enforcement and a bill that would establish ranked-choice voting in DC. And don’t forget to scroll down for community resources and events that are coming up in Ward 4. I hope you find them useful. Let’s jump in!
Ward 4 News and Legislative Updates
Roosevelt Pool Opens to the Public on Monday, November 15!
It’s happening! After a years-long community effort to build a public entrance to Roosevelt High School’s pool to open it for community use, we’re finally at the finish line. DPR announced today that the pool will open on Monday, November 15 at 6am and will operate from 6am-8am and 5pm-9pm on Mondays-Fridays. It will remain closed during the day for school use. The pool will be closed on holidays but open on DCPS professional development days. Showers and lockers will be available for patrons use. Currently, masks are required for all patrons over 2 years old who are not swimming or exercising. Read DPR’s pool admission policy here.
DC’s proposed budget for this year initially did not include funding to staff the pool for community use despite the public entrance nearing completion. After strong community advocacy, I worked with Chairman Mendelson to secure $450,000 in recurring funding to fully staff Roosevelt High School pool so that it could open its doors to neighbors this fall. This is particularly important for Ward 4 given the long-term closure of Takoma Aquatic Center for repairs. Shoutout to ANC 4C05 Commissioner Audrey Duckett, former Commissioner Debbie Matties, and all of the residents who pushed to get us to this point. If you filled out the survey, emailed a Councilmember, showed up at a hearing, or spread the word about this, you played a part in making it happen. Happy swimming!
Some Important Upcoming DC Council Hearings
This has been a busy legislative week with hearings on DC’s controversial encampment clearing program, DHS’ implementation of historic investments in housing vouchers, the inhumane conditions at the DC Jail. and Dr. Christina Grant’s nomination to be become a permanent director of OSSE. Here are some additional hearings coming up next week:
- Monday, November 15 at 2pm: Transportation Committee Roundtable on DDOT’s Use of Automated Traffic Enforcement Cameras (speed cameras and stop-sign cameras). Check out the roundtable notice for more information on how you can make your voice heard on this issue.
- Thursday, November 18 at 9:30am: Judiciary Committee Hearing on the VOICE Act, which would introduce ranked-choice voting in the District. Please read the hearing notice for more information.
Update on Vaccines for DC Children 5-11 Years Old
DC is continuing to vaccinate children ages 5-11 at a rigorous pace. After an initial surge in attendance at the pop-up school clinics, the lines and wait times at these clinics have greatly reduced. So if you’ve been waiting to have your 5-11 year old child vaccinated, this is a good week to visit one of Ward 4’s vaccine clinics to get your child’s shot:
- Thursday, November 18 at 3:30pm: EL Haynes PCS (4501 Kansas Ave NW)
- Friday, November 19 at 3:30pm: Lafayette Elementary (5701 Broad Branch Rd NW)
- Saturday, November 20 at 10am: DC Bilingual PCS (33 Riggs Road NE)
Tip: you can check DC Health’s Twitter page (no account needed) for realtime updates of how many doses are left at each clinic. And remember that if you’re not able to accompany your child to the clinic, they must have a trusted party consent form signed by you.
There is also a vaccine clinic for 5-11 year olds happening at the LAMB School (5000 14th St NW) *tomorrow* (Saturday, November 13). Unlike other school clinics, this requires an appointment, and there are currently slots available as early as 9am and as late as 4:45pm. Sign up for an appointment at this link. Parents also need to fill out the consent form in advance in English or Spanish and bring it to the clinic.
Securing an appointment through a health provider is still a bit tricky, but if you search the www.vaccines.org federal vaccine portal you’re able to find an appointment in DC or in our nearby Maryland suburbs. And securing appointments with providers will become easier each day as more doses become available. Check out vaccinate.dc.gov for a listing of daily vaccination clinics by age group, DC health providers who offer vaccine doses for 5-11 year olds, and all upcoming school vaccine walk-up clinics citywide. And if any parents want to sweeten the offer, Lulabelle’s on Upshur Street is offering a free ice cream scoop to children ages 5-11 who are vaccinated through November 15.
Traffic Safety Walkthrough in Sixteenth Street Heights
On Tuesday I led a traffic safety walkthrough with Acting DDOT Director Lott and DDOT’s team in Sixteenth Street Heights. Joined by Commissioners Maria Barry and Vanessa Rubio and many neighbors, we visited seven intersections to show DDOT the dangerous traffic conditions that Ward 4 families face every day: 14th & Emerson, 14th & Farragut, 14th & Hamilton, Arkansas & Decatur, Arkansas & Iowa, 13th & Ingraham, and 13th & Hamilton. It’s telling that during our brief visit at these intersection we witnessed several close calls, and neighbors would come up to our group and share their own frustration with traffic safety. Read my detailed breakdown of DDOT’s follow-up steps to improve traffic safety at each of these intersections. Thank you to Director Lott, DDOT’s staff, our fantastic Commissioners, and all the caring neighbors who joined us on Tuesday.
I also want to remind Ward 4 residents that DDOT has a new streamlined process for requesting traffic safety improvements on your street and intersection, which I shared in detail in my dispatch to you last week. If you want a speed bump, all-way stop, traffic signal, curb extensions, better signage, or other traffic calming measures on your street or intersection, please start the process by taking a few minutes to request a traffic safety investigation by DDOT. Here are the steps:
- Check DDOT’s TSI database (click through the different tabs at the top) to make sure there’s no existing traffic safety request for your street or intersection.
- Go to 311’s website or the 311 app on your mobile phone.
- Select ‘Request’
- Choose “All Service Requests”
- Search and select “Traffic Safety Investigation”
- Select the location for your request
- Answer some basic questions and share your contact info
- Submit your request and note your service request number
I also highly recommend speaking to your ANC Commissioner about your traffic safety request. They may be able to submit the request on your behalf or update you on DDOT’s past work in your neighborhood. And please also share your TSI request number (and DDOT’s eventual response) with me and my team. We’re working to monitor all TSI in Ward 4 and ensure there is follow through that actually makes our streets safe.
Opening Reception for Art of Noize Exhibit with Artist Blake Pierre. On Friday, November 12 from 7pm-10pm Art of Noize gallery (821 Upshur St NW, rear) is hosting an opening reception with Blake Pierre to feature his new exhibit. Blake Pierre’s multidisciplinary practice comes from his experiences surrounding topics such as self-identity, self-image and spirituality. He uses bold and vivid hues, often using materials such as glass, fabric, gold leaf & resin, while creating paintings to draw in the viewer into an environment with each piece.
Takoma Community Cleanup. On Saturday, November 13 at 9am Commissioners Erin Palmer and Evan Yeats are planning a community clean up in Takoma. They’ll start at the Takoma Metro Station and clear along Cedar Street NW and surrounding areas. They’ll have some snacks and will be encouraging neighbors to visit our local small businesses throughout the month. More details here.
Petworth Park Bulb Planting for Spring. On Saturday, November 13 at 3pm-4pm the Friends of Petworth Park will gather at Petworth Park (8th and Taylor NW) to garden, plant, and help maintain the park ahead of the winter. No experience needed! Just bring gloves or a spade if you have one and come lend a hand.
Free Virtual Workshop for DCPL Preservation Initiatives Grants. On Tuesday, November 16 at 6:30pm the DC Preservation League is hosting a free virtual grant workshop to share information about its two grant funds and the application process. RSVP here to attend.
Launch of the Uptown Craft District in Ward 4! All day on Sunday, November 21 3 Stars Brewing, Hellbender Brewing, ANXO Cidery, and Chacho Spirits are coming together to launch the Uptown Craft District! Each will be open for residents to come enjoy beer, cider, spirits, food, music, and fun activities. Get the ultimate experience by hopping from one location to the other.
2021 Crestwood Turkey Trot. On Thursday, November 25 at 9am the Crestwood Citizens Association is hosting its annual 5k fun run starting at the Triangle at 18th and Argyle NW. Registration comes with a Crestwood Turkey Trot t-shirt! Learn more and sign up here.
12th Annual Free Sit-Down Thanksgiving Day Dinner. On Thursday, November 25 at 3pm-7pm Cease Fire will host its annual free Thanksgiving Day dinner for unhoused residents, seniors, returning citizens, current and former gang members, and anyone else who would like to join at Highlands Restaurant (4708 14th St NW). Cease Fire is an organization that works to build peace in our communities and lift up neighbors in need.
Holiday Tree and Menorah Lighting at The Parks at Walter Reed! On Saturday, December 4 from 5pm-6:30pm The Parks at Walter Reed will kick off the holiday season with a lighting of their 20-foot tree and 12-foot menorah for Hanukkah on the Great Lawn. Come sing carols, drink hot beverages, cozy up to the fire pit, and enjoy tasty treats for free.
Congresswoman Norton with the National Park Service. On Thursday, December 9 at 7pm our Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton is hosting a joint community meeting with National Park Service representatives. NPS manages many of our local parks, so if you have any questions or issues to raise with the agency, this is a great opportunity to do so. Please email NortonEvents@mail.house.gov to RSVP for the event and receive the Zoom link.
Ward 4 has several weekly Farmer’s Markets:
- Saturdays at 9am-1pm: Petworth Market at Upshur St & 9th Street (Ends November)
- Saturdays at 9am-1pm: Uptown Market at 5500 Colorado Ave NW (Ends November 20)
- Saturdays at 9am-1pm: Chevy Chase Farmers Markets at Lafayette (Year Round)
And speaking of community events, a big congratulations to the Roosevelt Rough Riders football team for winning their first regular season title in more than four decades!
DC Government Virtual Career Fair 2021. The DC Department of Human Resources will host a DC Government Virtual Career Fair on on Tuesday, November 16 and Wednesday, November 17 from 10am-7pm each day. This will be a two-day event aimed at enhancing the interaction between residents, recruiters and DC government hiring managers. They will have close to 100 positions available and nearly half of those positions will have on-the-spot contingent offers. Sign up and find more information online.
Take the Northern Bus Garage Art in Transit Survey. Metro’s Art in Transit team is asking for residents to help determine the location and type of artwork that will be permanently displayed at the new and modernized Northern Bus Garage. Take a moment to complete this survey by December 10. Results will be shared at the winter community meeting on December 14.
Legal Help for People in Debt. DC’s moratorium on debt collection has ended, and now new debt collection cases are being filed and hearings that were cancelled because of the pandemic are being rescheduled. Tzedek DC shared this flyer with the many legal protections that DC residents have with debt or credit-related problems. You can also contact Tzedek DC if you are sued for debt collection by calling 202-274-7386 or by completing an online form.
Leaf Collection is Underway in DC As leaves begin to turn and drop, DPW is kicking off leaf collection, which will occur twice in each neighborhood throughout the season. DPW will be using a vacuum process for collecting leaves. Residents whose homes are serviced by DPW are asked to rake their leaves for collection to the curb or into the tree box at the front of their residence on the Sunday before their collection week. To help facilitate the vacuum process, residents are also asked to keep vehicles away from the curb lanes on scheduled collection days. For missed leaf collections, residents can call 311 (202-737-4404) or visit 311.dc.gov to open a “Leaf Season Collection” service request. All DC residents can also bring their leaves to Fort Totten Transfer Station (4900 Bates Road, NE) on Mondays-Saturdays from 10am-2pm. For more information, check out DPW’s leaf collection brochure, database, and frequently-asked questions. And don’t make it all work; be sure to stroll through Rock Creek Park, Fort Slocum, or one of our many scenic parks and neighborhoods to enjoy the foliage!
Pumpkin/Food Drop Off Sites Continues Saturday, November 13. Most pumpkins and gourds can be taken to one of nine food waste collection sites in DC for composting, in support of the District’s zero waste efforts. Our drop-off site in Ward 4 is Uptown Farmers Market (14th St & Kennedy St NW) on Saturdays from 9am-1pm until November 20. Please note that pumpkins decorated with paint, glitter or other inorganic matter cannot be composted.
Happy Veterans Day, Ward 4. I want to share my deep gratitude for our neighbors who served in the Armed Forces. I got to spend the morning of Veterans Day with veterans at Abrams Hall at the Parks at Walter Reed, sharing coffee, donuts, and American pins. Formerly homeless veterans here receive permanent supportive housing through HELP USA. I’m so grateful for their service and wisdom. There are about 30,000 current DC residents who are veterans.
We are in the midst of DMV Black Restaurant Week, so be sure to go out and enjoy one of our great Black-owned restaurants in Ward 4 this weekend. I took the opportunity to visit Hen and Fin, which opened its Ward 4 location (4532 Georgia Ave NW) during Open Streets DC last month. Can’t recommend their fried fish (and chicken) enough!
I’m so proud of our Ward 4 students who are being brave and getting their shots! And I’m grateful to our parents, schools, health professionals, and agencies for making it happen. Shoutout to the team at Center City PCS who opened up their doors in Brightwood on Tuesday evening to help nearly 150 families get their kids vaccinated. They were welcoming, kind, and fun throughout – and I know the same is true the many other schools that have clinics.
A Ward 4 parent shared their experience at the Center City PCS clinic: “A huge thanks to the folks there tonight who helped my kid through an epic shot meltdown. They were so patient and caring. After she calmed down, our kid said she’d get the shot ten more times if she could see her ‘new friends’ again who were so kind to her. Thank you. Thank you.”
Let’s keep making our communities healthier and stronger by being vaccinated!
Yours in Community,