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It's officially summer! While Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B is on recess for July and August, I am taking the opportunity to talk to neighbors and focus on some of the day-to-day, hyper-local issues that come up regularly. In that effort, I wanted to share some of the city services I have found the most useful.

*311 Request for City Services: 311 allows you to report an issue to the city and track its status. You can submit requests for trash (including bulk trash) and recycling collection, roadway signs and striping, sidewalk repair, graffiti removal, and more. There are various ways to report a request, including calling 311, using the
website or app (which has undergone a recent update with improved usability), or submitting requests via Twitter. It's worth noting that the DC Department of General Services, which maintains the grounds on government-owned property like the Takoma Recreation Center and playground, has its own reporting system. More here

*RiverSmart Programs for Reduced Stormwater Runoff: DC's Department of Energy and Environment offers several RiverSmart programs that provide incentives to install green infrastructure, including RiverSmart Homes (rain barrels, shade trees, rain gardens, and more) and RiverSmart Schools (technical support, professional development, field trips, and more), as well as RiverSmart Rebates when homeowners install their own trees, rain barrels, or rain gardens. They also offer financial benefits for installed green infrastructure and grants. More here.

DC Water / DOEE Clean Rivers Impervious Area Charge Relief Program for Lower Water Bills: You've probably noticed a higher water bill due to a Clean Rivers Impervious Area Charge (CRIAC) intended to cover the costs of an underground tunnel system to prevent the overflow of sewage in DC waterways. DC Water and the District's Department of Energy & Environment are offering several relief programs. More details
here.

*Traffic Safety Assessments for Safer Streets: One of the top requests I receive is for assistance with traffic calming measures. The District's Department of Transportation has streamlined the process via a questionnaire (instead of requiring residents to petition neighbors and collect signatures). Upon submitting the questionnaire, DDOT will perform a traffic safety assessment to evaluate the issue and determine if action is needed. An ANC support letter is required, so please make sure to loop me in if you decide to submit a questionnaire. More details on the process here.

*Adopt a Block for a Cleaner and More Connected Neighborhood: I've always loved community cleanups, and I love the Adopt a Block Program. Individuals, families, neighbors, and others join together to adopt a minimum of two square blocks and agree to conduct quarterly community cleanups. The city provides supplies and a system to track cleanup results. More here.

*Rodent Control: The District's Department of Health has a program to address rodent control issues, including rats. More here. If you have a rat (or other rodent) problem, the first step is to report the problem via 311 (see above) and tag or request the report be sent to DC Health. The second step is to contact Jermaine Matthews, who coordinates inspections and treatment by DC Health for Ward 4. He can be reached at jermaine.matthews@dc.gov or (202) 309-3156.

Please don't hesitate to reach out if you need help with city services. I may not know all the answers offhand, but I will work with you to find a solution or point of contact. In addition, our Ward 4 representatives from the Mayor's Office of Community Relations and Services, KeShawn Harris and Gabrielle Priest, are super responsive and helpful.
Pictured above (photos courtesy of KeShawn Harris): I hosted a walk through for neighbors on Aspen Street, NW, with the District's Department of Energy and Environment to provide a holistic assessment of flooding and drainage issues along the street.


Neighborhood Updates

*4th/Cedar/Blair Intersection Improvement: The estimated start of construction for this intersection improvement project is the end of July / mid-August. A community meeting to discuss the scope of work, timeline, and transportation management plan is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, August 1 (location to be determined). I will keep everyone posted regarding the community meeting. The Commission has a copy of the current plans, which are available for review upon request.

*Lead Testing at Takoma Education Campus:  Following reports from ABC7 News and testing lab The Ecology Center regarding lead levels at some school playgrounds in the District, including Takoma Education Campus, I joined ANC 4B01 Commissioner Evan Yeats in issuing several letters asking for more information, which you can see here, here, and here. The District's Department of General Services has conducted additional testing, available here, and taken some steps to mitigate risk (including cleaning and vacuuming the playground). The Takoma Education Campus PTO held a meeting to discuss the testing standards and results. We are awaiting responses to all of our questions and will keep the community informed.

*DC Youth Orchestra Program Moves to Takoma Education Campus: Takoma Education Campus is partnering with the DC Youth Orchestra Program starting in August to host its Saturday program, which provides quality music instruction to beginning students on a variety of orchestral instruments, and provides 10 ensembles and orchestras for beginning, intermediate, and advanced students ages 4.5 to 18. The program is open to any student in the greater Washington, DC metropolitan area. Tuition for Saturday music lessons is on a sliding income-based scale, and is as little as $25 per semester, including the free use of an instrument for students who qualify. Please go to 
www.dcyop.org to get more information and enroll for the Fall 2019 semester.


*Maintenance, Safety, and Programming at Takoma Recreation Center: In response to several public safety incidents at or near the Takoma Recreation Center and other area recreation centers, Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B sent the following letter of inquiry to the District's Department of General Services, Department of Recreation, and Metropolitan Police Department regarding violence interruption services, as well as youth-focused programming at and maintenance of recreation centers. We have not yet received a response to our letter.

*Heavy Trucks on Residential Streets: Following repeated reports of heavy trucks along Aspen Street, NW (a residential street with limitations on heavy trucks), I led Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B in submitting a letter of inquiry requesting information regarding approved routes for heavy trucks, current statistics on enforcement of weight limitations, and details regarding additional enforcement mechanisms. We have not yet received a response to our letter, but we have received reports of additional ticketing of heavy trucks by the Metropolitan Police Department.

*Takoma Dog Park: The District's Department of Parks and Recreation presented at a recent Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B meeting on the Takoma Dog Park, to be located directly west of the Takoma Aquatic Center. Construction is scheduled to begin mid-August and to end by October 31, 2019. More details
here.


New & Notable
What's happening in local government?

Check out these DC Council legislative and other updates.
  • The DC Council (finally) voted to remove Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans as Chair of the Council's Finance and Revenue Committee (but not to remove him from all committees on which he serves) and begin a formal investigation into his ethical misconduct. More here. I led a group of ANC Commissioners in pressing the Council for details regarding the investigation. More here
  • The drama at the DC Council didn't end with the votes regarding Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans. Councilmembers also had a heated debate about a no-bid sports betting and lottery contract, which raised concerns over cronyism. The contract is nonetheless moving forward. More here.
  • DC housing officials have announced a plan to demolish approximately 2,600 units of public housing based on dangerous and unhealthy living conditions, raising concerns over displacement. More here.
  • The DC Auditor issued a report, "D.C. Schools Shortchange At-Risk Students," finding underfunding of schools with projected high levels of at-risk students. More here. Meanwhile, DC's public school system is facing a $23 million deficit. More here.
  • The DC Council voted unanimously (in the first of two votes) in support of the Comprehensive Plan Amendment Act of 2019. The Comprehensive Plan is a dense and very detailed document designed to guide development and growth in the District. The amendments relate to one part of the plan - the Framework Element. More here. I recommend checking out the listserv discussions on this issue, as well.
  • In response to several incidents involving the Metro Transit Police Department and minors (including in Petworth), At-Large Councilmember Robert White has called on WMATA to hold a public roundtable on Metro Transit Police tactics for policing minors, particularly children of color. More here and here.
  • Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen introduced legislation to expand insurance protections for pregnant and new mothers, require implicit bias training in continuing medical education requirements, and create a new Center on Maternal Health and Wellness. The proposed legislation was co-introduced by Councilmembers Cheh, Grosso, Bonds, McDuffie, Evans, Mendelson, Robert White, Trayon White, Silverman, and Nadeau and co-sponsored by Councilmember Gray. More here.
  • The minimum wage in DC increased from $13.25 to $14.00 and the District began collecting taxes from employers to administer paid family leave on July 1, 2019. Woohoo! More here and here.
Are you interested in or following pending legislation or a city-wide issue? Send me an email, and I will include updates in this newsletter.


SMD 4B02 Office Hours
Next Office Hours: Thursday, July 18, 7-8 pm, 715 Van Buren St, NW

Let's chat about the neighborhood! Join me Thursday, July 18th from 7 - 8 pm at 715 Van Buren St, NW, for monthly office hours for Single Member District 4B02. Please RSVP here. If you need accommodations or would like to schedule another time to meet, please email me at 4B02@anc.dc.gov or call me at (202) 821-6333. My next office hours will take place on August 15th.


ANC 4B Regular Public Meeting
*Next Regular Public Meeting: September 23, 7 pm, 4th District Police Station

The Commission is currently on summer recess and will hold its next regular public meeting on Monday, September 23rd at 7 pm at the 4th District Police Station (6001 Georgia Ave, NW). The draft agenda will be available at least one week prior to the meeting, and we plan to have a new Commission website by that time!

As we work toward updating the Commission's current website, you can review past agendas and approved minutes on my website at www.erinforanc.com. You can see a recording of the last meeting in June courtesy of DC Compass here, and community member Julie Lawson's live tweets from the June meeting here.


Upcoming Community Events

There's lots going on in the neighborhood! Check out the following community events:
  • Saturday, July 20, 10 am - 12:30 pm, Brightwood Community Association Community Cleanup at Triangle Park (Luzon and Van Buren Streets, NW).
  • Saturday, July 20, 1 pm, Senior Care Information Session at Petworth Library (4200 Kansas Ave, NW).
  • Sunday, July 21, 4 - 5:30 pm, MPCA July General Body Meeting - Potluck at Fort Slocum Park (3rd and Oglethorpe Streets, NW). *Given the heat advisory, I would check to make sure this hasn't been rescheduled.*
  • Monday, July 22, 5 pm, Basic Bike Repair and Maintenance by Gearin' Up Bicycles at Lamond-Riggs Library (5401 South Dakota Ave, NE).
  • Tuesday, July 23, 6:30 - 7:30 pm, Fitness in the Parks at Walter Reed (enter at Butternut St and Georgia Ave, NW).
  • Wednesday, July 24, noon, East Rock Creek Village Dutch Treat Lunch Bunch at Ghar-E-Kabab (944 Wayne Ave, Silver Spring). RSVP by emailing info@eastrockcreekvillage.org.
  • Wednesday, July 24, 7 - 9 pm, Music on Main at Moreland's Tavern (5501 14th St, NW).
  • Monday, July 29, 5:30 pm, DC Housing Authority Community Meeting on "Repositioning" Public Housing Units at Roosevelt High School (4301 13th St, NW). Not confirmed.
  • Tuesday, July 30, 6:30 - 7:30 pm, Fitness in the Parks at Walter Reed (enter at Butternut St and Georgia Ave, NW).
  • Wednesday, July 31, 7 - 9 pm, Music on Main at Las Placitas (4724 14th St, NW).
  • Tuesday, August 6, 6:30 - 7:30 pm, Fitness in the Parks at Walter Reed (enter at Butternut St and Georgia Ave, NW).
  • Wednesday, August 7, 7 - 9 pm, Music on Main at Jackie Lee's (116 Kennedy St, NW).
  • Tuesday, August 13, 6:30 - 7:30 pm, Fitness in the Parks at Walter Reed (enter at Butternut St and Georgia Ave, NW).
  • Check the Police Service Area map and Fourth District meeting schedule for details about boundaries and upcoming meetings.
Know of other neighborhood events? Send notable events my way for inclusion in upcoming email newsletters.
You can always contact me:
Phone: (202) 821-6333
Email: 4B02@anc.dc.gov
Facebook: @Erinfor4B02
Twitter: @Erinfor4B02
Website: www.erinforanc.com

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