Saturday, December 29, 2007

Palisades Park: An Update

A post on the Palisades Listserv reports the following with respect to the Palisades Park and Playground:

As we move into a new phase for the Palisades Park, Mary Cheh got the District government to appropriate $400,000 for park improvements to the park entrance, in this year's money. This is great news and hopefully can avoid another decade or so of not taking action -- and very heads up on our councilmember's part. (She also appropriated funding for the Palisades stormwater management study, as well as seed funding for Palisades Village -- two more excellent pieces of news for the neighborhood.)

At any rate, Cheh and Parks and Rec Director Clark Ray will be at the Palisades Citizens Association general meeting that will take place on the first Tuesday of February to talk about improvements to the park entrance and collect ideas and input from all comers. This is for February 5, 2008 at 7:30 pm, as always at the Rec Center.

The idea is to make this process as transparent as possible. As this email string illustrates, there are many different ideas and points of view, and the meeting can and should be a forum for civilized, polite discussion, and allow for this issue to perhaps be addressed more comprehensively than your friendly neighborhood listserve. I should also mention that as part of the park's bigger renovation, there were two detailed concepts/options developed for the park entrance lo these many years ago that were temporarily shelved when the save-the-house issue came to the fore. These have also been revived and will be discussed at the PCA meeting.

At any rate, now that there is funding another major obstacle has been overcome, and -- please come to the February meeting! And feel free to thank Mary Cheh for the wonderful news on all three programs for the Palisades.

PPP Delayed to January 4th.

DC Metro Urban Diary reports that the Tenley-Friendship PPP RFP has been delayed to January 4th, 2008.

It is a good read!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Another Pedestrian -------- Struck

The horrific news was posted on the Cleveland Park listserv that for the third time in recent months, a pedestrian was struck and killed in the Ward. I believe this is number 27 for the City -- an unacceptable condition.

(EDIT: Pedestrian was struck, treated and released from the hospital)

To help address the issue, Councilmember Mary Cheh recently announced legislation to beef up fines for drivers failing to yield to pedestrians:

My office is preparing a bill for the next legislative session that will amend the current laws and substantially increase these fines. In particular, failure to stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk, currently a $50 dollar fine, will carry a $500 penalty..

This is all fine and good, but an increased fine doesn't help change the behavior or activity of drivers, and is surely no comfort to those who have lost loved ones in such a tragic way. DDOT recently unveiled a draft of their Master Pedestrian Plan. In Ward 3, the study looked at Wisconsin Avenue from the Cathedral to Western Avenue. The study suggests no fewer than 4 "Pedestrian Signals" along the corridor. I am not sure how this hardware is defined, but DDOT is testing a signal at Morrison and Connecticut which has proven successful in making an intersection safe for pedestrian crossings. At a recent ANC 3/4G Meeting, DDOT indicated that the signal has shown to be successful in that there have not been any pedestrian incidents since the signals implementation in March, 2007.

The ANC (of which 2 Commissioners live on an adjoining street) have been adament that the signal be transformed to a regular red-yellow-green light because of "confusion" at the intersection (nevermind that the signal was requested by the ANC under the banner of Pedestrian Safety). DDOT however seems to feel that for now, the testing should continue, albeit with some potential adjustments.

Given the risk that pedestrians are facing in city streets, it is probably high time to ensure that signals like this are implemented city wide poste-haste.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

City Paper: Palisades Opposes Density

Erik Wemple of the City Paper reports on the recent ANC 3D meeting where developers received community input on a townhouse development proposal on MacArthur Boulevard. Writes Wemple:

The Palisades and Foxhall neighborhoods are lovely places. They’re in the city, but not really in the city at the same time. A bus takes them downtown without transferring (city amenity). They have nice yards (not-city amenity). There are restaurants and shops within spitting distance (city). Trees are everywhere (not-city). They live in bungalows and Tudor-style residences (not sure how to classify that one.)

Well, anyhow, residents of these high-priced hoods are flexing their non-city civic muscles these days, in opposition to a plan to locate 41 new town houses on a large property on MacArthur Boulevard...

If not a city, then where?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Cheh to introduce new Pedestrian Safety Law

According to local blog DCist, Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh will be submitting legislation to stiffen penalities for failure to yield to pedestrians.

Council member Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) is hoping to change that. Cheh's office has announced that tomorrow she will introduce legislation that would mandate a ten-fold increase in fines for failing to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. The legislation would also include installing better signage at District crosswalks stating that pedestrians have the right of way and listing the potential fine, which would be $500.

This is a great first step to a coordinated pedestrian safety plan for the city, but there is so much more to do.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Wash Post: BZA Approves Mass Ave Buddhist center

Per the Washington Post:

The D.C. Board of Zoning Adjustment agreed yesterday that a two-story building being constructed by a U.S. Buddhist association on Massachusetts Avenue NW is a place of worship.

A group of residents who live near the Naval Observatory asked the city to appeal a decision this year by the zoning administrator that Soka Gakkai International-USA could build there as a "matter of right." The residents argued that the meetings held by the Buddhists were community meetings, not religious gatherings.

Under District zoning laws, a religious organization can build a place of worship in a residential area without asking for an exemption, which would be needed for a community center. Neighbors had contended that the building would create traffic and noise in the neighborhood several days a week.

Monday, December 03, 2007

CPCA hosts Grey and Cheh

Vincent Gray, DC Council Chairman, and Mary Cheh, Ward 3 Councilmember, will be the featured speakers at the Tuesday, December 4 meeting of the Cleveland Park Citizens Association. The subject is "One Year Later." A year ago, shortly after election, these same speakers spoke to the association about plans for the year ahead.

This will be a progress report as well as a look at the future agenda of the council and the city. The meeting takes place at the Cleveland Park Library, and begins at 6:30 p.m. All are welcome.