Takoma Affordable Housing Development Unveiled at ANC 4B October 2020 Meeting

Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B held its October 2020 public meeting Monday evening via Zoom. The commission serves the neighborhoods of Takoma, Manor Park, and Lamond-Riggs.  This blog post will highlight some of the top stories from that 3 1/2 hour meeting. I have also tagged the story with a link to the meeting’s YouTube video so that the reader can easily view the discussion of each item for herself.

You can view a recording of the live stream here:

 

Presentations

New Affordable Housing Development Proposed for Takoma

(Video) –  Mr. Eli Borek from Petra Development came to present some early designs for a planned affordable housing development to be located at 6928 Maple Street, NW.  The proposed building would include a mix of 68 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom rental apartment units.  These apartments would be leased to participants in the city’s Housing Choice Voucher Program at the program’s prevailing rates.

The existing single-family home on the site that currently houses the music program Rhizome DC would be preserved (as a contributing historical element) and moved to the corner of the lot and attached to the new five-story building. As of now, the developer is seeking to continue a commercial use for the home, while also assisting Rhizome with finding a new home in the neighborhood.

Materials for the building have not been selected yet; current images are only massing conceptual designs.

This was an informational presentation to the entire Commission and no vote was taken.  The community will hear more about this project as it advances through the design process.Affordable Housing Project Takoma

Eastern Avenue Rehabilitation Design Shared

Eastern Avenue Rehabilitation

(Video) After years of bone-chattering driving on the pocked and pitted Takoma portion of Eastern Avenue NE, relief is finally in sight for nearby residents. A multi-year utility replacement project has made the road almost un-drivable at times. Sayra Molina and Tesfalem Aim from the city’s Department of Transportation presented the preliminary designs for the rehabilitation of that major thoroughfare.

Highlights of the rehab plan include:

  • Pavement Reconstruction from Whittier Street NW to New Hampshire Avenue NE
  • Construction of a new 6-foot sidewalk and buffer northbound from Sligo Mill Road to North Capitol Street.
  • Upgrade existing curb ramps and bus stops to meet ADA standards.
  • Rehab crumbling retaining walls, curbs, and gutters.
  • Replace guardrail
  • Adding a new traffic signal at Sligo Mill Road (at the peak of that hill that is impossible to see pedestrians crossing)
  • New stormwater drainage system
  • New streetlights with underground cables

The design phase for this project will be completed in January 2021. Procurement and funding are to be determined. Learn more about this project here.

Proposed Capital Bikeshare Station

(Video) Greg Matlesky, a Bicycle Program Specialist with the District Department of Transportation joined the meeting to reveal the proposed location for a new Capital Bikeshare docking station at the intersection of Kansas Avenue and Longfellow Streets, NW.CaBi Bike Share

As you may know, Capital Bikeshare is our region’s public transit system for personal mobility.  DC and six other local jurisdictions offer over 5,000 bicycles posted at 600+ stations throughout the area.  They also provide E-Bikes that provide power as you pedal, making some of those sneaky DC hills a little easier to navigate.

The bike system complements our other modes of public transportation like rail and bus and often helps commuters solve the “last mile” problem of how to get from where transit ends to their door.

Mr. Matlesky emphasized that Capital Bikeshare does not operate the electric scooters that have become so popular and controversial around town.

The bike system works best when there are multiple stations in the areas that residents want to travel to and from. Unfortunately, the use of bike share in many of our Ward 4 neighborhoods has been hindered by the lack of bike stations.  Capital Bikeshare wants to fix that problem by installing more stations in our area.  Their first site for expansion is at Kansas and Longfellow Streets NW.

Kansas and Longfellow

This proposed station would have space to dock 19 bicycles.  The location, adjacent to a small triangle park, would remove 2 and a half car lengths of vehicle parking spaces.

The commissioner for that single-member district, Tiffani Johnson, distributed surveys to her constituents and most respondents are reportedly in favor of the location. However, there was some contention at the meeting because that location abuts another district and neither that district’s commission nor its residents were consulted about the proposal. Mr. Matlesky apologized for the oversight and stated that DDOT would look into doing extended outreach on this project.

Mayor’s Office of the Clean City Alley Pilot Program

Julie Patton Lawson Mayor's Office of the Clean City(Video) The always cheerful Julie Patton Lawson from the Mayor’s Office of the Clean City brought a little Halloween cheer and jumped into the meeting to tell the commissioners about a new pilot program to help keep our alleys clean. In conjunction with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Trash-Free Waters Program, the office has been studying trash levels in alleys in certain neighborhoods in the city.  The goal is to determine how much litter comes from household waste disposal and not just people throwing trash on the ground intentionally. Parts of Brightwood and Manor Park are some of the first areas to be included.

Beginning on November 9th, they will distribute 8,000 stickers to residents to place on their trash cans.  The package will also include tips about how to properly use the bins to cut down on the amount of trash that ends up in our rivers and streams.  DC hopes to serve as a model for how small changes in residents’ behavior can help protect our environment.

Reports

Report from Office of Ward 4 Councilmember Brandon T. Todd

Deputy Chief of Staff Dolly Turner shared a few brief remarks (video):

  • There will be a groundbreaking ceremony for the long-awaited Takoma Dog Park on Wednesday.Dog Park Groundbreaking
  • There will also be a groundbreaking for the Riggs Place EYA development will take place on Friday.
  • A bill introduced by Councilmember Todd to establish a dyslexia screening and intervention pilot program for early elementary grades passed its first vote this week.
  • Ms. Turner and Commissioner Evan Yeats got into a bit of a row when he asked about Mr. Todd being absent from a recent hearing on DC school reopening.  After outlining some of the work that his office has done to track some of the school facility maintenance that has been done to prepare for reopening, she shut the conversation down in a curt fashion.  It was a bit weird.

Report from the Mayor’s Office of Community Relations and Services

Mr. KeShawn Harris from the Mayor’s Office of Community Relations and Services provided a few updates (video):

  • Last week, DC residents began to receive push-notifications to install the DC COVID-19 exposure notification app. This is a tool to help slow the spread of the virus. Learn more about how this app works here.
  • Early voting has started! Our early vote centers in Ward 4 are Layfayette Elementary School, Ida B. Wells Middle School, Raymond Recreation Center, Emory Heights recreation, and Shepherd Park Elementary School. Let your voice be heard!
  • The Department of Parks and Recreation has opened 19 fitness centers and six indoor swimming facilities so far. Residents must make a reservation to use them, which you can do at this link.
  • Leaf collection begins on November 9th. Due to COVID-19 and the need to help keep workers safe, this year the leaf collection procedure will be slightly different. DPW will drop off 20 paper bags at each home serviced by the agency. Leaves must be placed inside paper bags.  The collection will still take place twice during the season.  Be on the lookout for the collection schedule which will be mailed to your homes. Learn more here.

Report from the State Board of Education Representative – Frazier O’Leary

(Video) Frazier O’Leary provided the latest update on the impending school reopening plan and reiterated the concerns of teachers (and the union) who are worried about the safety of the operation.

Supposedly, there will be public inspections in all the elementary schools, with members from the community allowed inside to see if they are safe. Secondary staff from high school and middle schools have been designated to work in the various elementary school “care classrooms” where students will do virtual learning inside of the school rather than at home.  Families who are eligible to participate have been notified.

He stated that, in general, communication from school leadership to the teachers, principals, and parents has been deficient.

Mr. O’Leary continues to promote his book drive, which has donated over 12,000 books to local schools and food sites, to date. More contributions are needed.  Please get in touch with him if you have books for students Pk-12.  You can deliver the books to his house or he will come and pick them up. You can reach him at Frazier.OLeary@dc.gov.

About Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 4B represents the Ward 4 neighborhoods of Takoma, Manor Park, and Lamond-Riggs. An ANC is a non-partisan, neighborhood body made up of locally elected representatives called Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners. The Commissioners are elected to two-year terms and serve without pay.

The ANCs’ main job is to be their neighborhood’s official voice in advising the District government. Although they do not have to follow the ANCs’ advice, District agencies are required to give the ANCs’ recommendations “great weight.”

These are the members of ANC 4B:

Single Member District Name Email
4B01 Evan Yeats 4B01@anc.dc.gov
4B02 Erin Palmer 4B02@anc.dc.gov
4B03 Scot Knickerbocker 4B03@anc.dc.gov
4B04 Brenda Parks 4B04@anc.dc.gov
4B05 Perry Redd 4B05@anc.dc.gov
4B06 Tiffani Nichole Johnson 4B06@anc.dc.gov
4B07 Geoff Bromaghim 4B07@anc.dc.gov
4B08 Alison Brooks 4B08@anc.dc.gov
4B09 LaRoya A. Huff 4B09@anc.dc.gov

Find your ANC here.

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