Saturday, July 26, 2008

metropolitan branch trail news

good news! progress on the metropolitan branch trail! here's a newsflash from heather deutsch, the person at ddot in charge of coordinating the progress on the trail:

Contract Signed!! Design/Build for the New York Ave. to Franklin Street segment: On Tuesday, July 22nd the contract was signed to begin the Design/Build for the trail segment from New York Ave. to Franklin Street. The contractor will have 12 months to design and build this segment which will include 5 neighborhood connections and will create direct access to the New York Ave. Metro Station.

Artist Selected! Met Branch Trail Artistic Identity:
On July 21st a local DC artist was selected to create an artistic identity for the trail including signage and amenities. This project was sponsored by DC Arts and Humanities.

* Volunteer: we will be hosting community meetings and asking for your thoughts so stay posted!

Design Begun! Rhode Island Ave. Ped/Bike Metro Bridge: We have begun to design the pedestrian and bicycle bridge that will connect the Met Branch Trail to the Rhode Island Ave. station. Preliminary engineering drawings have been completed and bridge plans will be available for the public soon.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

it's gonna be cold out there!

look near the upper left and check out the temperatures for next tuesday, according to the capital weather gang. from what i can tell, the low is going to be somewhere south of 200 million degrees below zero. guess that stuff i learned about absolute zero in school is all bunk, eh?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

shot spotter comes to the edge of bloomingdale?

click here to see what the washington city paper reports is the area where shot spotter is being deployed in our part of the city.

the author gives a rough idea of where the area is that will be covered, but it's not very detailed. for example, it mentions the eastern edge being second street south from rock creek church road to new york avenue, but second street never intersects new york avenue. i've made what i think is a rough approximation of what the author meant, and if a more detailed description is made available, i'll update the map.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

sidewalk cafe for windows!

i caught wind of this in scott roberts' daily email yesterday, and i went to snap a picture this morning. i would assume this is going to be on the 1st street side of things, since there's a lot more space there. in addition, the kids that often hang out smoking in front of the chinese carry-out next door probably aren't the ambiance that you're looking for with a sidewalk cafe. (click on the image above if you want to actually read the notice.)

Monday, July 14, 2008

bye-bye, free ride

'tis a shame, but free ride, the express' blog, is no more.

it's been replaced by express night out, which appears to have all the entertainment and "going out" news of the old site, and none of the "DC news", like stuff about local politics, development, etc. kind of like a local US magazine.

too bad. met some cool people through free ride. don't think this new effort will stay on my radar.

tree boxes in bloomingdale — a good thing?

when i got back from the eastern shore yesterday, i found that new cast-iron treeboxes had been placed on first street in bloomingdale from rhode island avenue south to r street. it looks like this is part of the ddot grant that gave us the bloomingdale signs on the light posts in the neighborhood.

when i first saw them, i thought "great!" yet another example of making the neighborhood look more beautiful. but then i realized something upon closer inspection.

whomever installed these treebox guards (i'm assuming someone contracted by ddot) just ripped out whatever treebox decoration was there beforehand. some of these treeboxes had no ornamentation whatsoever, but some of them were lovingly taken care of by the homeowners who lived nearby. i met one of those homeowners while walking around the neighborhood this evening, and he expressed disappointment that the new iron treebox guards were installed without prior warning. he maintained one of these treeboxes, and his work was ripped out and destroyed in favor of the new order.

the decoration that was ripped out was unceremoniously dumped back on top of people's plants in the treeboxes. that's wrong. the contractor should have clearly seen that these plants were planted with a purpose, and those who put in the work to keep the treeboxes looking nice didn't deserve to have their hard work spit upon this way by the city.

from this tag on the treebox guard in the picture above, it looks like long fence is the contractor responsible for this.

don't get me wrong, i'm happy to see the treebox guards on first street. if taken care of (that's a big if) and properly maintained, they will go a long way towards making bloomingdale an even more beautiful neighborhood than it is. that said, there was no reason to use this work to trample on the hard work of our neighbors.

boo, ddot. poor, poor implementation. you should apologize to the homeowners who were taking care of things before you decided to come in like an absentee landlord trying to make things right.

condo building at the corner of north capitol and rhode island

does anyone who reads this blog live in the condo building on the southwest corner of north capitol and rhode island avenue? if so, i have a quick question for you. it would appear that your huge, old rowhouse has been lovingly restored from the shell that it was a couple years ago. that's great, it's wonderful to see old housing stock in this city used for something other than pigeon storage.

my question for you is this: when are you ever going to get some landscaping? the front and side of your building looks just like it did when the building was under construction. in other words: it's hideous. i feel bad for the people who have to wait for the g8 and the 80 bus lines on the street in front of your building, because it seems like you're not really respecting the community outside of your front door.

i'll take the dog owners, please

now, first off, a few dog owners jumped down my throat for this post, where i noted that they seemed to be illiterate, or at least obstinate, in ignoring the signs near the statue at the center of logan circle that say "no pets".

there has been some talk recently about converting some of the park area at the corner of 11th and q nw to a dog park. now, usually, i'm not a fan of the dedicated dog park, as i feel like kids deserve the use of parks before the four-legged friends get there's. that being said, when i saw the following mess at the park this morning, i was inclined to change my mind.

tons of garbage left behind by the adults using the basketball court the night before. there are more tecate cans here than i've seen in your average latin american market. i've seen grown men urinating on the skate park here, instead of finding a real restroom to take care of their business.

no matter what you think about dog walkers, they (usually) pick up after themselves and their pets. you can't say the same about the men who were here yesterday evening, which is pretty pathetic in my book.

now, the garbage was gone by this afternoon, but i'll bet dollars to doughnuts that DPW or DPR folks cleaned up this mess. dog walkers would have cleaned up any mess the second their pet made that mess.

bring on the dog walkers. to hell with the slobs who don't give a shit about their neighborhood.

ron paul supporters are dirty litterers

alright, that post title alone should draw the ire of a few paultards.

i have to ask them this, though. how was the march this weekend? i was out of town on the eastern shore, and missed the festivities. i have two questions for them, though.

1) did they have the proper permits from the DCPL to place that banner on the once and future site of the shaw library? or at the phyllis wheatley YWCA building?

2) if they did have that permission, good for them (i somehow doubt it). if not, fine, they're not the first group to think that DC is a place they can come and deface. but it sure as hell would be nice if they would pick up their trash. any intent on doing that, libertarians?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

why can't we make more green space?

i took these pictures a couple of weeks ago in front of seaton elementary school, at the corner of rhode island and 10th nw. they were digging up the concrete front yard of the school, and i thought, "oooh, maybe they're going to replace it with grass...give the kids something nicer to look at and walk on, and maybe make the city a little less paved over."

i was wrong. just digging up old concrete to replace it with new concrete. really, really disappointing. i feel like an opportunity was lost here.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

memorial for alice swanson

i went to the memorial this evening for alice swanson, the 22-year old who was hit and killed while biking near r and connecticut yesterday.

it was a subdued affair. a lot of people were hugging and saying their quiet hellos. you got the feeling that, even if you didn't know people, just being someone who bikes around the city makes you part of a fraternity. i made sure to pick up a copy of waba's pocket guide to dc bike laws, as well as their safe bicycling in the washington area handouts.

in addition, white ribbons were handed out for people to wear in remembrance of alice. mine is now on my backpack that i wear every day when biking to work.

waba executive director eric gilliland greets councilmember tommy wells, who biked to the memorial and said a few words

eric gilliland says some words about alice, and about the need for everyone (bikers and drivers) to know and respect the rules of the road

many people were there, some with their children. i would estimate 175-200 total.

all of the local television stations were there to cover the memorial and to interview bikers

Monday, July 7, 2008

they haven't killed stumpy yet!

remember this tree on rhode island avenue that was burned in the trolley fire last year near logan circle? i wondered if the tree would survive, or if the city would cut the tree down.

well, it looks like a compromise of sorts was reached today. the dead crown of the tree has been topped, but it looks like the city is going to let the rest try to grow out. check out the photos below:

pointless hobby horse, entry #4

i feel like i've let you all down, because i missed a george will article while i was out of town a couple weeks ago on a work trip. the first paragraph:

The day after the Supreme Court ruled that detainees imprisoned at Guantanamo are entitled to seek habeas corpus hearings, John McCain called it "one of the worst decisions in the history of this country." Well.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

diamond cab: more than a cab company now?

this looks to be the front door of diamond cab's operation on 11th street nw between q street and rhode island avenue. a pretty plain brick building that houses their dispatch offices, i'd assume. the door is on the southwest corner of 11th and q.

just south of that door on 11th street has been their garage and parking lot for disabled cabs. i used to live across the street and always saw cabs in various states of disrepair parked there, presumably waiting their turn to be placed back into service in the fleet.

well, it looks like being a cab company isn't enough for diamond cab anymore. once your get south of that door, as you can see below, you are now greeted with a banner that lets you know diamond cab now has a car wash available, as well as (apparently) a full auto-service center. i tried calling the number to get some information (since the signs say "open 7 days", but they don't give hours. apparently they don't have an answering machine either, because no one picked up when i called the number on the sign.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

two, two, TWO ANC meetings in ONE day (plus restaurant news)!

i spent this evening at both the anc 2c and 2f meetings. felt like a little anc tourism was warranted tonight, and it was a good chance to see the differences between a commission that has a reputation of being run poorly versus one that was run well.

the 2c meeting was nothing special. the meeting started on time at 6:30 at the kennedy recreation center, and there was barely anything on the agenda. a couple of people asked for letters from the commission seeking approval for things like a memorial tree planting and a restaurant expansion (cocosala is seeking to expand into an adjacent space). the meeting was over in 25 minutes.

it was a 5 minute bike ride over to the washington plaza hotel for the 2f meeting. this one had a real agenda, with presentations from neighborhood police, representatives from the mayor's office, and local business owners looking for the commission's blessing for liquor licenses, etc.

here's a little news on restaurants in the logan area:

- at 1712 14th street (this building), a new restaurant called café salsa (which has another location in old town alexandria) will be opening in mid-august, they hope. they were looking for a temporary (stipulated) liquor license in order to open. the full placarding process, leading to a permanent license, would follow.

- merkado will be closing on the 24th of august, but will be reopening on september 8th as "commissary", which will be a more casual restaurant featuring simple fare like salads, sandwiches, and pizza. the owner also mentioned something about a wide variety of coffee and wifi. sounds to me like a lounge-y type place in the mold of busboys and poets. could be a winner.

all-in-all, it was an interesting evening. can i attend 3 anc meetings in one day? i'll have to try next month...

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

google maps' street view....maybe? soon?

last year, dcist had a story about google maps' street view finally having imagery for DC. i had a friend working for the contractor that was taking the pictures for google, but apparently something happened with the relationship between that contractor and the googlezon.

more than a year later, street view is still not available for the DC area, but it is for a lot of smaller urban areas all over the country (like toledo, ohio; knoxville, tennessee; and jackson, mississippi, to name a few).

it looks like the google folks might be making a go of it again. yesterday morning, i saw one of their cars driving through the intersection of new jersey avenue and rhode island avenue. if they were taking pictures, once the shots are online, you'll get to see a wonderful shot of me on my bike, breaking a traffic law or two...

UPDATED: bloomingdale: we're growing!

literally, bloomingdale is growing. new light post banners have been put up on the south side of rhode island avenue from at least 1st street to 3rd street, nw (if you have seen more, let me know in the comments. i haven't had a chance to check more thoroughly).

the thing is, if you check this wikipedia article (which has been recently updated and greatly expanded by folks in the neighborhood), you'll note that 2nd street nw is the widely-accepted western boundary of the neighborhood. that would put timor just outside of bloomingdale proper (but that's ok, we'll still claim it for our own).

i think most people would agree that the north side of the 200 block of rhode island forms part of the southern end of ledroit park. where does that put the southern side of that block, being just outside of ledroit and bloomingdale? is it part of shaw, truxton circle, or is it a triangular little no-man's land without a strong neighborhood identity?

if that's the case, consider it annexed by bloomingdale. we're taking over!

UPDATE: looks like the banners are on the 1st street commercial strip as well as the unit block of rhode island avenue.