Thursday, November 29, 2012

Access to SE/SW Freeway From Sousa Bridge Closed!

After rush hour today (11/29/12) vehicles traveling northbound across the Sousa Bridge in SE will no longer have access to the SE/SW freeway westbound.  If you use this route you know that the ramp on the Sousa Bridge to the freeway has been down to one lane for months, but now the ramp will be closed for a period of up to 20 months.

Here's a visual (courtesy of the Washington Post)

The article accompanying the graphic details the "new" traffic route, however I think city dwellers like myself will find a couple of different ways to navigate this closure.  I plan to increase my commute by 15 mins. and keep straight on Pennsylvania Ave, past capital hill and head to Georgetown (where I work) or I've may use East Capital.  If you normally start your day headed across the Sousa Bridge let me know your new route!

Read the article on 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Fight DCPS Plan to Consolidate!

Today DCPS announced it's plan to close and consolidate 20 schools in the area.  The effected schools in Ward 7 are:
Ward 7
Davis ES (students to C.W. Harris ES)
Kenilworth ES (students to Houston ES)
Ron Brown MS (students to Kelly Miller MS)
Smothers ES (students to Aiton ES and Plummer ES)
Winston EC (students to Stanton ES and Kramer MS)

This is crazy to me!  Our schools are performing poorly with the number of students per school now.  How will more kids per classroom improve things?  The most upsetting to me was the plan to have a high school  serve students in grades six through 12! Really? I was a against the move to middle schools (6-8) from the former system of Junior High (7-9).  Do we really want elementary age children in school with 18 year olds?!

Please call DCPS, your council member and the Mayor's office and complain! Most importantly go to the community hearings.  The first one is scheduled for Nov. 15th from 4pm - 8pm in the Wilson Building on Pennsylvania Ave.  Please visit the DCPS website for the other dates. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

SMART 9-1-1

This summer DC announced it would be participating in the Smart 911 service.  With Smart911, residents are able to create a Safety Profile at that is automatically displayed to 9-1-1 during emergency calls.  Smart911 allows you in enter information such as address, phone numbers associated with your address, household occupants including pets and other pertinent information about your family and your dwelling.  First responders will be able to receive information ranging from your blood type to the location of your gas shut-off valve.  
At first glance this seems like a great resource to have especially for elderly people living alone or citizens with critical health issues, but as I logged on and created my profile I felt slightly uneasy about providing so much personal information about myself and my residence.  None of the information seems to be required, so you can choose how much or how little information to provide.
All in all it is a great resource, the more information first responders have in an emergency situation the better.  However, I am carefully deciding how munch information I'm willing to share. 

For more information visit or the District's Office of Unified Communications at

Monday, October 22, 2012

VOTE EARLY & OFTEN (just kidding)

Today marks the first day of early voting for the Presidential Election.  As reported by the Washington Post,
residents who want to vote early can go to One Judiciary Square at 441 Fourth St. NW.  Voting begins at 8:30 a.m. and ends at 7 p.m.
We all know that historically in DC the democratic nominee wins by a landslide, but that is no excuse not to cast your vote!  If you are going to be out-of town, indisposed or unavailable on Nov. 6th make sure you cast your vote early!

Happy voting!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

My Lovely Speed Humps

One day last week I was again disturbed by the sound of a very loud dirt-bike speeding up and down my street.  I had just made up my mind that I would call 3-1-1 and report the disturbance when I noticed the flashing red lights outside of my window.  The speeder had been headed office by a police car.  Unfortunately, when the officer cut him off the suspect crashed into my neighbor's parked car, damaging the door, then fled on foot.  I decided right then and there to request, no, DEMAND! speed humps on our street.  

Ok, it turns out the process is a bit more involved that I thought, but I decided to go for it anyway.  After some research, I found out that I would have to have a petition signed by 75% of the households on my block to start the request process.  For instance if you lived on residential street with intersections you would have to get 75% of the households on each block, ex. 3300, 3400, etc.

 All the information can be found in the DDOT Speed Hump Request Procedures and Engineering Guidelines document (PDF) at the city's site.  After I downloaded the petition I set out to get signatures.  All of my neighbors were happy to sign the petition. I was told that they tried a few years ago but nothing came of it.  

As of now, I have a few more signatures to obtain and based on what I was told in the past I've decided to do a few things to hopefully improve our chances of success:
  • We have a few apartment buildings on the block, so I would like to get the residents to sign as well as the builing management.
  • We have serveral vacant properties, so I will submit a list of those so that they are not counted against our total.
  • Lastly, I'll make a copy of the petition before I submit it, that way we have a record and paper trail to work with as we go through the imminent bureaucracy
I'm hoping to submit the petition by early next week so I'll post updates of the process and our progress! 

This Saturday! The Essential Theatre Presents “Before I Die: The War Against Tupac Shakur,” an original play by Michael Oatman.  

Scheduled for Saturday, September 1st at 4 PM, the presentation will take place in the center’s south atrium foyer, 2700 F Street, NW, Washington, DC 20566.  Admission is free and seating is first come-first served.  The presentation contains adult language, sexual content and is recommended for audience members aged 18 years and over.  “Before I Die: The War Against Tupac Shakur,” is A fictional account dramatizing the last days before hip hop icon Tupac Shakur was killed preceded by a self arranged meeting between him and his industry rival Christopher (Biggie Smalls.) Wallace.  For more info contact 202.467.4600,, 202.328.0569,,,

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Fantasic One Woman Show Tonight at Garfield Elementary School

The Essential Theatre will present a theatrical experience for students and parents tonight at Garfield ES at 5:00pm. This presentation is a part of their Children’s Program in Public Schools. 

The project is funded in part by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities East of the River Arts Initiative and the National Endowment for the Arts. The Performance is “Harriet Tubman: The Chosen One,” a one-woman show written, and performed by Gwendolyn Briley-Strand.
Additionally, there will be a historic exhibit titled, “Portals through Time”, accompanying the presentation.  The pictorial and artifact-based exhibit will be displayed during performance for students, parents and the school’s immediate community.
See the flyer below!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Home Purchase Education Fair!


The 1st Annual East of the River Homebuyers Education Fair will be held Saturday, May 19th.  Homebuyer education information and resources will be available for potential homebuyers. Come out and attend financial workshops, learn about home ownership opportunities and purchase assistance programs for District residents.

Information will be provided about: Credit counseling • Home ownership opportunities • The District’s first-time homebuyers programs and other financial resources

This is a FREE family friendly event. There will be carnival games, activities and prizes for kids of all ages.

Date: Saturday, May 19, 2012; 11 AM - 1 PM
Location:  Thurgood Marshall Academy
2427 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave, SE Washington, DC 20020

Thursday, April 19, 2012

R.E.E.L Presents: Deconstructing Politics Lecture Series

The River East Emerging Leaders (R.E.E.L) organization is holding a lecture series on the topic of local politics and the first speaker is no other than Councilmember Marion S. Barry. 

From the R.E.E.L newsletter...

Fresh off his re-election victory, he has committed to a no-holds-barred conversation  about what it will take to improve the quality of life East of the River; the state of District politics; and the changing demographics in the city.

Love him or loathe him, this is your opportunity to hear straight from the man who has spent 40 years in elected District politics.

Event Date: Tuesday April 24, 2012
Time: 7pm
Where: DCHD Community Meeting Rm - 1800 MLK Ave., SE

As we all know Mr Barry is always a candid and captivating speaker.  As eager as I am to hear him speak, I'm just as eager to hear the questions that will be posed to him by the audience.  
For more information please visit R.E.E.L's website

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Vacant Properties: Eyesores and Invitations for Trouble

With the current state of the housing market, many communities are dealing (or not dealing) with vacant properties.  The city has a process for reporting vacant properties through the DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs.  They are responsible for ensuring vacant properties are  maintained according to the  "Vacant Building Maintenance Standard".  The city holds a certain level of responsibility, but in my opinion, so does the community.  See something, say something!

The agency inspects vacant properties for code violations periodically, however it blows me away that people can live next to, across from or adjacent to a vacant property that clearly poses health and safety risk and not report it.  According to the first section of the "Vacant Building Maintenance Standard" code:

A building shall be adequately maintained if:

(1) Doors, windows, areaways, and other openings are weather-tight and secured against entry by birds, vermin, and trespassers, and missing or broken doors, windows, and other openings are covered with 1/2 inch CDX plywood that is weather protected, tightly fitted to the opening, and secured by screws or bolts;

The city also has a "Nuisance Abatement Fund"  These funds assist DCRA in making repairs of  housing violations or unsafe property maintenance conditions.  According to the DCRA website, under the "Emergency Violation Process" section, "Whenever the owner of any vacant building shall fail to enclose the doors, windows, areaways, or other openings of the property, the DCRA may immediately enclose the property to meet the standard. Subsequent to the enclosure, the DCRA must give the owner notice."

However the city will only know if someone reports it.

While looking for more info on DC vacant property issues, I came across the following blog, it has a lot of good information and links.

The blog also discussed the broken window theory, which points to evidence that a building in disrepair in any neighborhood is an invitation for trouble. "Untended property becomes fair game for people out for fun or plunder..."  Check out the blogspot and clink on "broken windows" to read more about the theory and evidence that supports the theory.

Until the housing market completely turns around, many communities will have vacant properties.  As responsible members of the community we must do our part to make sure the city is keeping these properties up to code until they can be placed on the market.  Make a call, write a letter, or roll out the welcome mat for the family of racoons, feral cats, and rats that will take up residence in the house left abandoned and neglected on your street!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Do You Know About HPAP

Yesterday I went to the Greater Washington Urban League (GWUL) to tape a testimonial about the Home Purchase Assistance Program (HPAP).   With the help of the HPAP program I was able to purchase my home last year.  The staff told me that they are really trying to get the word out about the program.  So in case you didn't know...HPAP helps first time home buyers purchase homes in Washington, DC.  The home buying process can be a daunting task but the HPAP team at GWUL is very helpful. The details of the program can be found on their webpage.

If you know anyone that may benefit from this program please pass this along!  The website is

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

One City Summit

On Feb. 11, 2012 the Mayor will host the One City Summit.  D.C. residents are invited and encouraged to attend.

According to the Mayor's office the summit will give resident the opportunity to have their voices heard by:
  • Voting on specific priorities for action in the coming year;
  • Brainstorming new ideas about how the D.C. government can work more effectively with its citizens;
  • Identifying ways residents can be more involved in future efforts to create a more unified city that works for everyone;
  • Learning about current efforts to grow the District’s economy, improve public education, create more jobs, and other initiatives underway to move D.C. forward;
  • Discussing some of the biggest challenges that prevent the District from truly becoming “One City”; and
  • Sharing their views in small-group discussions and listening to neighbors from every part of the District.
The summit will be held from 9am-4pm at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in NW, D.C. and lunch will be provided.

To register visit
or call (202) 709-5132.

This is a great opportunity to learn more about what's on the horizon for the city.