Friday, February 29, 2008

Biz Journal update on PPP

Jonathan O'Connell of the Washington Business Journal reports on the Tenley-Janney PPP>.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Kennedy Warren Rent Strike Ends

According to Jackie Spinner of the Washington Post, the rent strike, in place since June at the Kennedy-Warren in Cleveland Park, has ended.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Fisher on the PPP

A recent Blog entry by Washington Post Columnist Marc Fisher covers the Tenley-Janney PPP.

A small excerpt"

The city's late move raises questions about whether it has any intention of upgrading the Tenley Metro area or of following up on the Tony Williams administration's drive to lure more residents to the city.

Nor does this move bode well for the ability and determination of Mayor Adrian Fenty's government to stand up to small but loud groups of neighborhood activists who know they can block almost any effort to expand the city's tax base and provide better retail and other services.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Ward 3 for Obama

Ward 3 voters showed their numbers in the 2008 Presidential Primaries. With both the Democrat and republican delegates at stake, the numbers were as follows:

18,569 total votes (46.05 of the total registered voters in the ward)

Obama 10,268
Clinton 6,127
Other Dems 195

McCain 1,411 (62%)

Sunday, February 10, 2008

More on the Disentigration of the PPP

As a follow-on to the discussion on the Tenleytown Listserv regarding the alteration to the RFP released by the city for the redevelopment of the Tenley Library parcel, documents were uploaded to the Listserv archives (a PDF link) by the ANC Special Committee.

The contributor noted the following observation about Councilmember Cheh's actions:

For the record, let me say that CM Cheh's stance on this project has been clear from the beginning, that I think her stance is based on ideology, and that I think she's entitled to take positions at odds with those of most of her constituents (just as most of her constituents are entitled to vote her out next election if they feel she's done that too often).

A simple reminder about the 2006 election in which Mary Cheh led a field of 9 candidates through every precinct in the Ward. A refresher from the 2006 Democratic Primary:

Precinct 30 (Janney School Polling Place)
Cheh 38.34% (240 votes)
Strauss 16.45 (103 votes)
Wiss 13.26 (83 votes)

Precinct 31 (St. Columba's Polling Place)
Cheh 36.13 (396 votes)
Rice 16.33 (179 votes)
Strauss 13.50 (148 votes)
Wiss 12.23 (134 votes)

Precinct 33 (Murch Polling Place)
Cheh 42.64% (498 votes)
Wiss 15.57% (183 votes)
Strauss 11.64% (136 votes)

And the 2006 General Election:

Precinct 30 (Janney Polling Place)
Cheh 509 66%
Conroy 255 33%

Precinct 31 (St Columba's Polling Place)
Cheh 927 70%
Conroy 387 30%

Precinct 33 (Murch Polling Place)
Cheh 1028 75%
Conroy 316 23%

One poster has summarized accordingly:

I do know that she won two bitterly-contested elections in which some of your confreres made the Akridge project a central issue. In fact, if I recall correctly, she won in every precinct in Ward 3, including the ones in our neighborhood. One might forgive her for believing that she had heard the community's voice on the subject.

The people had spoken, and yet ANC3E and its "Special Committee" have managed to subvert the will of the people in the name of keeping the library project on track. Given the success of the temporary library, why not go for a situation where there could be a better, new library, an accelerated Janney renovation AND a revitalization of the Tenley commerical district? This would be a far-sighted result, one that requires progressive thinking.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Tenley Library Update

As posted to the Tenleytown Listserv:

From: Edward Cowan

Construction of a new Tenley-Friendship branch of the DC Public Library has been severed from the proposed remodeling of the Janney Elementary School. As a result, it looks like ground-breaking for the new library will occur in late summer or autumn, with March 2010 a target date for opening the building to the public.

The Tenley branch was closed as antiquated and in need of replacement at the end of 2004. An initial design for a new branch, although paid for by DC Public Library, was rejected, one reason that the replacement process has dragged on so long.

Now, the Public Library's director, Ginnie Cooper, her staff and their architects are working on a new design and are optimistic that the building will be finished about two years from now. Allow some weeks for installing books, computers and materials and an opening towards the end of March looks possible, DCPL reckons.

Cooper and senior members of the Library's Board of Trustees and staff met with the deputy mayor for economic development and planning, Neil Albert, in mid-January. Cooper brought with her the chairman of the board, John W. Hill, and Richard H. Levy, chairman of the DCPL construction committee. As Albert knew, both men are well connected politically.

Albert, reminded of community frustration with the Tenley branch's being closed so long, agreed to sever the library from the Janney project so that it could be rebuilt with less delay. Albert's office had left open such a split in its request for bids, although it also contemplated—and was thought to lean towards—joint development, as originally proposed by the Roadside Development group.

The library sits on the southwest corner of Albemarle Street and Wisconsin Avenue NW. The school is its immediate neighbor to the west, on Albemarle Street. Roadside contemplated layering condo units on top of the library, with parking under the Janney soccer field.

That entangled the library project in many issues, such as "affordable" housing units, underground parking and shrinkage or relocation of the soccer field. Inevitably, some neighbors, including Saint Ann's Church, voiced objections.

Sorting all that out could take a couple of years, delaying construction of the new library. Such delay now seems to be avoided. Eric Scott, a project manager for Neil Albert, posted on the Web on Monday a declaration that any proposal for Janney must contemplate "independent development of the Friendship Library site. Any proposal that include[s] a development program that integrates the Library within the larger redevelopment footprint will no longer be considered responsive." (See

The Public Library expects to finish the design by May. It is already looking for a construction manager, preparatory to inviting bids. It announced in December that it expected ground-breaking to occur in September. Officials said that could occur as early as August, or might slip to October.

The budget for the branch is $14,500,000, including books, equipment and materials. "We think that it is sufficient," Cooper said, "to build the library that we want to give the community."

These responses say it all:

"shortsighted, sad, anti-community building, waste of an opportunity."


"This community had such a wonderful opportunity to provide our people a great library and our children and improved school on a fast timetable with more capital than either project could accomplish along.
I have two children who, unfortunately, will now be forced to attend a school without enough space for its students and crumbling infrastructure. What even more depressing for me and other families in this community, is that our kids will graduate before they'll be able to check a book out of the library."

DDOT to try Pilot Visitor Parking in Ward 3

From ANC 3C:

DDOT is planning to meet with Ward 3 ANCs (at Feb. 19 ANC 3C public meeting) to discuss implementing a one-year pilot program in the ward. The pilot would provide residents on RPP streets one visitor parking pass to be used at any time, but presumably when parking restrictions are in effect and a visitor intends to stay beyond the 2-hour time limit. This pilot would replace the current program that allows residents in RPP zones to secure 2-3 week passes from the police station for a particular vehicle that will be parking beyond the 2-hour time limit.

The pilot would restrict the use of the pass to the relevant ANC boundaries. Residents on non-RPP blocks would not be eligible to participate in the program. Residents who needed more than one pass could secure a one-day pass from the police station. Use of the pass outside the relevant ANC boundaries would be ignored by parking enforcement and the applicable parking rules would be enforced.

This pilot is only for visitors to the ward and neighborhood and it doesn't
change the RPP rules for residents, ie., need for sticker on resident's
vehicle. The pilot also would not exempt vehicles parked for 30 consecutive
days from registration, inspection, and other DC rules applied to out of state vehicles.

The ANCs will hear the presentation on February 19th at Second District MPD, 7:30 PM

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

CPCA Pedestrian Safety Meeting

Recent urgent comments about pedestrian safety on the CP listserv prompted the Cleveland Park Citizens Association to make it the subject of our February 7 meeting at the CP Library (6:30 pm). DDOT has big plans for safety initiatives and Mary Cheh has introduced legislation to increase fines for violating crosswalks. But these solutions take time. Are there things we can do now? Here's your chance to find out what's in the works and to raise specific local issues with transportation planning and enforcement officials. Our speakers include: Mary Cheh, Ward 3 councilmember; George Branyan, DDOT Pedestrian Safety Coordinator; Jeff Jennings, DDOT Ward 3 Liaison; Andy Solberg, Commander, 2D MPD; and David Baker, Officer, 2D MPD.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Palisades Park Update

A recent announcement for an upcoming Palisades Citizens Association meeting mentioned as a primary discussion point the entrance to the Palisades Park:

This meeting will feature a discussion of design ideas for the Palisades Park entrance (and other neighborhood issues of concern) with Mayor Adrian Fenty, Council member Mary Cheh, and Department of Parks and Recreation Director Clark Ray.

Also, for those who have not received a copy of the newsletter, I am attaching a
link to the PCA website ( ), which features an excellent article by Mark Binsted on what can be done with the entrance to Palisades Park. In it, he updates everyone on DC¢s efforts to come up with a design, and discusses various options that have been discussed in the past as a way to jumpstart ideas and comment.

The post on the PCA Listserv prompted a few comments:

Now that we have more space why not have a one way u-shaped road going in and out of the parking area in a continuous loop and make room for more parking? Surely all this could be engineered with enough green space, planting, and built in traffic control to assure appropriate speed as well as lovely views, so that neighbors will not have to look at a parking lot. The temporary driveway built for the construction work shows the possibilities. There would seem to be plenty of room for better access, more parking, and some kind of square-like space.

I'm not sure I see the likely use of a basically empty, large green square on the Sherier Place side, since usually parents and grand parents want to be near where their children are, which will be up by the playground. Perhaps there is another group of park users who have been under-served by what we have now, who do not want to be near the play ground or the ball fields or the rec center, or out behind the rec center looking over to Virginia. It seems to be intended by the designers as a gathering place but I'm not sure there is a lot of demand for gathering there. The empty lot we have always had there (next to the torn down house) has always been used simply as a pass through to the recreational areas. If there is a group, perhaps older residents who do not want to go up the slight hill, perhaps the gathering space could be reduced somewhat so as to accommodate more other users of the park as well as improved traffic flow.

I can imagine that the large empty green squares so loved by the designer of the designs in the newsletter might be used, but I can also imagine that they wouldn't be used all that much, or wouldn't need to be quite so large to accommodate those who might use them. It's hard to know, but the parking would certainly be used, since the cars are already there most weekends.

Another option:

The main group of users that is actually underserved sometimes and potentially underserved at others is people wanting to use the park as recreational green space. While the improvements to the park are lovely, professional, and raise the standard of what constitutes a neighborhood park to new heights, one thing that is missing is space for general recreation. This might include children older than playground age playing soccer or football, but not in one of the leagues that seem to be able to and desire reserve the green space at a higher frequency than before. One of reasons parking has become an issue is that the park improvements have increased out of neighborhood traffic as our park is now a true city park, rather than a neighborhood park. It is desirable by all organized recreation groups and community use appears to be more difficult. While there are ways that the entrance can be improved to facilitate multiuse (benches on the sides, shrubbery to block parking, etc.,) it would be wonderful to increase the amount of open space that can be used on an adhoc basis. Has the idea of moving the parking lot closer to Sherrier, lining it with Leyland Cyprus (to hide it from residents), and then having the current parking used as open green space (two small for organized leagues, but just the right size for kids pickup) been considered?

Now that there is a wide open space in that area, it will be interesting what design and use ideas are floated and implemented.