Neighborhood Walk Recap

The new Blue Star Memorial sign at Congressional Cemetery, where we began our June 22 walk.

Thanks again to Brittney Wright and Chris FitzGerald, Mayor Gray’s Ward 6 Community Outreach Specialists, and Mark Bjorge of DDOT, for joining me on a walk around my single member district last Wednesday. I also want to thank Jim, Roger, David and Jennifer for participating in the walk and to the many residents who e-mailed me with issues to discuss with city staff. We covered a lot of territory in two hours.

Here are some of the highlights:

    • 17th Street SE – We began the walk with a discussion of speeding along 17th Street SE and some potential traffic calming ideas. I asked again for a permanent electronic speed display sign between Mass. Ave. SE and Potomac Ave. SE as a short term measure to slow vehicles down. Mark also suggested a few other traffic calming ideas, including painting white lines along the parking areas, which slows traffic by making the street appear narrower than it actually is. Since 17th Street SE is an evacuation route, stop signs and speed bumps are out.

An unwanted guest at an open window of the Eastern Branch Boys and Girls Club building (261 17th St. SE)

  • Eastern Branch Boys & Girls Club Building – When walking on the Mass Ave. side of the building, we noticed an open window and birds flying in and out. We also found some debris and trash in various stairwells and an unsecure window off the alley. The grass around the building was cut, though trees and shrubs need trimming. Tonight I’m meeting with Brian Hanlon, Interim Director of the DC Department of Real Estate Services, to discuss these issues. DRES is responsible for building maintenance.  

    A sidewalk in need of repair on the 400 block of 15th Street SE

  • 400 Block of 15th Street SE – I showed Brittney, Chris and Mark the sorry state of the sidewalk on the 400 block of 15th Street SE. Mark said that it appears that the major damage is in areas where trees used to be planted. We also discussed the unique placement of trees along this block (large trees right next to the sidewalk) and whether homeowners or the city is responsible for maintaining the trees. Mark said that DDOT would look into this.

    The group examines the alley between the 1600 blocks of G Street SE and Potomac Ave. SE

  • Alley Walking – We walked down a number of alleys –  the alley between the 1700 blocks of C and D Streets SE (home of the Hill East Community Garden), the alley behind the Board of Child Care Day Care Center between the 1500 blocks of C and D Streets SE, and Freedom Way SE, the “alley” between the 700/800 blocks of Kentucky Ave. SE and the 700 block of 15th Street SE. While the northern end of Freedom Way was in good shape, there was some debris on the southern end. We also noted that the alley between the 1600 blocks of G Street SE and Potomac Ave. SE needs to be cleaned. DPW is scheduled to clean all alleys in the neighborhood around August 2nd.

    Checking out the alley by the Hill East Community Garden, between the 1700 blocks of C Street SE and D Street SE.

  • Crosswalk at G St. SE and 17th St. SE – I asked Mark if it would be possible to have a crosswalk painted across 17th St. SE where G Street SE meets the western gate of the Congressional Cemetery, an area that is used by quite a few dogwalkers. Mark said that DDOT would look into it and noted that DDOT may have to add curb cuts for the crosswalk ADA compliant. He also agreed to look into repainting the crosswalk where 18th St. SE, Potomac Ave. SE and E Street SE meet…another popular crossing point for dogwalkers.
  • The Birds on Potomac – We ended the walk with a discussion of the bird problem on the 1600 block of Potomac Ave. SE. Every year, starlings visit the large trees on southside of the 1600 block, making life miserable for residents who have to constantly clean their sidewalks and cars. And, as if on cue, a large flock of starlings were flying around the trees overhead as we walked along the block. I plan to continue working with DDOT, the Dept. of Health and Councilmember Wells’ office on a solution to the problem. Note that the birds do tend to leave by early July.

What other issues are out there? Please post below. And plan on joining us the next time we walk the neighborhood, probably some time in Sept./Oct.

A beautiful view of the Historic Congressional Cemetery (still in Ward 6!)

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