Monday, August 31, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
Ideas for Fairfax Village Shopping Center
- Paint the building a Dutch-blue, a medium-dark gray, or a butter yellow with the white accent to enhance charm and blend with the colors of the Fairfax Village condo community
- Replace hedges with lower hedges and other flowers to add color. Add an open gate in dark color to compliment architecture of building.
- Disguise the large dumpsters with architectural structures and/or landscaping
Friday, August 21, 2009
I blogged in June about this hideous vacant property located next to Fairfax Village. According to DC GIS database and the tax database, the physical address is 3802 Suitland Rd SE although it actually abuts 38th St SE (more to come on the address debate). In July, I reported that DCRA issued a letter to the property owner. Well, today I have more updates.
Today I was checking DCRA’s August 2009 Vacant Property without Exemption List to see if the property had been listed. Interestingly enough, I found 3800 Suitland Rd SE on the list, but not 3802 Suitland Rd SE. I called DCRA to find out the deal. I just wanted to make sure the wrong property wasn’t listed. Apparently, 3800 Suitland Rd SE had already been reported prior to me reporting 3802. I told the customer service representative that I was almost positive that someone was currently living in the house at 3800. I recall seeing someone move in around June/July. He said that he would send out a letter to the owner telling them to come in to have the property removed from the list. Concerning 3802 Suitland Rd SE, he stated that the owner’s time to respond had expired. He said he was going to list the property as Class III effective today. I thanked the man for his time. I can’t wait for the September list to come out.
Totally off track from my original mission, I needed to prove to myself that I wasn’t tripping about 3800 Suitland Road being occupied. I googled “3800 Suitland Road” to see if it was still for sale. I was able to find a listing that said it recently sold. I called the listing agent and he said that it was pre-leased, so someone was living in the unit and they were scheduled to close in 8 months. Then the conversation went downhill from there. The man tried to tell me that 3802 Suitland Road was in fact not the vacant property. He said the vacant property was on 38th Street SE (he’s partly right).
I went back to the DC GIS database to look up all the properties and here is what I found
3800 Suitland Rd (Square 5672 Lot 0101) - Assessed at $636,660
3802 Suitland Rd (Square 5672 Lot 0100) - Assessed at $257,550
3804 Suitland Rd (Square 5672 Lot 0101) - Assessed at $660,000
3806 Suitland Rd (Square 5672 Lot 0101) - Assessed at $662,860
Clearly, 3802 Suitland Rd is the vacant property, per DC’s data. Yes, I went through all of that just to prove I was right. Needless to say, I have a sense of closure.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Here is the information from the 2007 Annual Report:
- There are currently 12 cameras in Ward 7
- The cameras are "passive monitoring" so they capture and record. However, the video is only maintained for 10 days unless it is being used for an investigation
- CCTV areas out performed and had a greater reduction in violent crime, property crime and calls for service.
- Within 250 feet of the cameras decreased 19% between 2006 and 2007. Other areas showed 1% increase
- Property crimes increased 2% in the camera areas, which the rest of the City experienced a 5% increase
- MPD investigators have made 532 request to view camera images, of which 144 images have been retained because of recording.
- In 2007, the cameras captured four serious violent crimes
- Phase I and II costs approximately $3.8 million
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
I'm VERY excited about this project. The portion at Fairfax Village will have four driving lanes, a bikepath, new sidewalks, a median, and street trees.
I encourage you to check out the website and send questions to the project team. If you would like you can email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) your question(s) and I can ask for you.
[Revised 8/20/2009: I originally reported that there would be back-in parking. The Project Manager informed me today that was not accurate. The sentence has been deleted. I strive to provide accurate information.]
Sunday, August 16, 2009
The most pressing issues are: 1) loitering in general and specifically loitering on the stairs by the Papa John's, 2) the high hedges which prevent cars existing onto Alabama Ave from seeing pedestrians, 3) minor fender benders due to people not understanding that there is a one way flow to the parking lot, 4) lack of lighting in some areas, 5) the low trees by the First Cash Advance.
Mr. Prentice has agreed to put up new "No Loitering" signs that are more visible. In addition, he informed us that MPD-6D has written authorization to police the shopping center. He agreed to look into cutting down the hedges along Alabama Ave. He agreed to adding in a "One Way" sign and also repainting the one way arrows in the parking lot. We also learned that the Dialysis Center will be expanding into the former First Cash Advance Space. As part of that, they are going to remove those two trees in front of that part of the center, add grass to give it a more open space feel, and add in pedestrian lighting.
We also expressed a desire for better retail options. Mr. Prentice expressed that he wanted the same things. He did point out that all the current tenants pay their rent on time.
All-in-all, I thought it was a productive meeting. I look forward to seeing the improvements.
Friday, August 14, 2009
At the Fairfax Village Security Meeting, the intersection of 38th St SE and Alabama Ave SE was identified as a hot spot for criminal activity, loitering, and littering. Lt. Netter and Officer LaFrance suggested that the Fairfax Village Community Association write the Mayor for a City security camera to be installed in the public space at that intersection. I'm very happy to see that the Fairfax Village Community Association is pursuing petitioning the Mayor for the security camera.
The first step is getting the signatures of residents of Fairfax Village. That means YOU. Stop by the Condo Management Office at 3909-A Pennsylvania Ave during office hours (9:00 AM - 5:00 PM) and put your name on the petition. I know that you have to go to work and I'm sure you have 1,001 things to do in a day, but this is important. I'm heading to the office tomorrow to put down my information.
If we don't get the signatures you can only blame yourselves. If we don't do our part, you can't blame the Mayor (as much as that pains me to say).
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Starting on September 19, 2009, I will be running CrossFit classes on Saturday morning in Fort Dupont Park. Class will be every Saturday Morning (rain or shine) from 8:30 AM - 9:30 PM from September 19 - October 31st. The CrossFit program is a strength and conditioning program designed for universal scalability making it the perfect fitness program for any committed individual regardless of experience or age. For more information check out CrossFit Force Majeure.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
First, I want to offer my prayers of healing for all those involved in yesterday’s accident. I was on my way back from New York City for work when I saw the alert on my blackberry. I didn’t realize the severity of the situation until I saw the FOX news report and videos.
Coincidentally, the Mayor was schedule to be in the area, so the camera crews were already onsite. They asked him for his take on the accident and he said: "I say Pennsylvania Avenue and Alabama is definitely a trouble intersection. It's steep, it's rush hour. A lot of cars, a lot of pedestrians and it’s a busy intersection. And busy intersections need traffic calming especially more than other intersections."
I don’t know who prepped the Mayor prior to the interview, but clearly they didn’t do a good job. I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t drive on Penn Ave. The Mayor is correct there are very steep hills along Penn Ave, which causes some blind spots. Many cars travel along Penn Ave. In my experience driving at all times of the day, rush hour is not the issue as the Mayor stated. The real issue is the off-peak times when Pennsylvania becomes a high-speed raceway. When the Mayor said “a lot of pedestrians”, I had to keep myself from laughing. I can count on one hand the amount of people I’ve seen walking on Penn Ave on any given day. Granted people are outside, they are usually standing around (read: loitering) the Fairfax Village Shopping Center or the Corner of 38th and Alabama being unproductive. I’d hardly call them pedestrians. But enough on Fenty… He’s in enough hot water with the car accident he had this weekend and using taxpayer money for his Frat’s event. No need for me to stir the pot.
Problems and Solutions
I am a firm believer that if you bring up a problem you should also present solutions. Otherwise, you are just making noise.
Problem #1: In my experience, one of the dangerous parts of Pennsylvania Ave is at 33rd St SE going Eastbound where three lanes all of a sudden become two lanes. For whatever reason people just don’t know to merge there.
Solutions: Drivers need to be warned further up that the lanes are merging, probably closer to the Exxon station. There should be consideration to painting a merge arrow on the pavement right before 33rd St. Implementing both are relatively low cost solutions.
Problem #2: Speeding on Penn Ave. The trouble stretches are from Branch to Alabama and Fort Davis to Southern Avenue. The problem with Branch to Alabama is there are only two lights in between those two intersections and really the one at 38th doesn’t count because it is so close to the one at Alabama. Between Fort Davis and Southern coming westbound you have people coming from Maryland were the speed limit is significantly higher.
Solutions: A high cost solution would be speed cameras along those stretches. A lower cost solution would be posting a cop during off-peak hours with a radar gun at the intersection of Penn Ave and either Texas Ave or 38th St and the intersection of Penn Ave and Fort Davis. The other lower cost option would be adding rumble strips to slow people down. The point is these two stretches of road really need traffic calming.
Problem #3: As a pedestrian, you are playing roulette with your life if you try to cross Penn Ave at Fort Davis St. It’s bad enough trying to drive across or make a left turn from Fort Davis. I would argue that that is a more dangerous intersection than Penn and Alabama. Fort Davis is right at the top of the hill, so drivers westbound really can’t see pedestrians or cars on Fort Davis until they are right on them coupled with the fact that people fly through that area.
Solutions: Basic strictly on traffic engineering, I don’t know that Fort Davis Street has the traffic volume to warrant a stop light. However, there could be consideration of putting a light at that intersection that flashes yellow for Penn Ave and red for Fort Davis, but pedestrians could press a button to stop traffic on Penn Ave so they can cross. They have them in Arlington.
My plan is to write up the problems and solutions in a more formal manner and send to Councilmember Alexander by early next week. I know it may take some time to address these issues, but we should strike while the iron is hot.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Sunday, August 2, 2009
The first hour was a series of recaps and reports. I swear I heard the same three announcements about fifty times: National Night Out on August 4th, 20th Anniversary in September, and some thing about the Palisades. It appeared the repetition was due to speakers not being prepared and speakers not being in the room when speakers were talking. The main thing that was frustrating was all the background noise.
I stepped outside of the meeting to talk to Officer LaFrance. One of my neighbors and I are looking forward to working with him and the owners of Fairfax Village Shopping Center to prevent loitering and littering. Lt. Netter was there as well. He cracks me up.
Things started to heat up a little when the Skyland Developers gave a presentation on the status of the project. They anticipate a zoning hearing in October 2009, construction starting in 2011, and a grand opening in 2013. Some old time residents seemed frustrated with the developers given this process has been dragging on for years. One resident came up to me and one of my neighbors and said it was our fight now. He was tired of fighting.
I stayed for the Council Member Roundtable. It was great to meet Ward 7 Councilmember Yvette Alexander. I will be honest and say I was indifferent towards her prior to today (the opposite of love isn't hate... it's indifference). However, after meeting her in person I am shifting to a more favorable view. I LOVE her passion behind the DC Statehood Movement. I'm almost inspired to help out. Councilmember Alexander also talked about the vacant property proposal that will be heard on September 22nd. I put that in my calendar. I have the little issue of the vacant property at 3802 Suitland Terr SE.
Chairman Vince Gray was also in attendance. He is by far one of favorite people in DC. He's a nice mix of Old School Funk with New School Flavor. I get star struck every time I see him. The thing I respect the most about Chairman Gray is he genuinely tries to make the best decision for the City. He's not in it for the accolades. He's just a humble guy. I wish he would mentor Mayor Fenty... (sigh)
Chairman Gray gave an overview of the budget approved by Council. He also talked about the Council's independent review of the Mayor's takeover of the school system. They are at the very preliminary stages where they are trying to develop their review criteria. It's very encouraging to know that Chairman Gray and the Council are keeping tabs on Mayor Fenty.