Wednesday, August 1, 2012

For posterity

I recently moved out of Brightwood, so I must retire this blog. I will leave it online (I often receive emails from potential new residents who are looking for information about the neighborhood and who tell me that the blog has been a good resource, so I would like for future residents to be able to refer to it).

Thank you all for reading. I hope following this blog has strengthened your understanding of what’s happening in this community, which is rich in stories yet underrepresented in the media.

I’m still happy to answer questions you may have about the neighborhood and Ward 4; I can still be reached at thebrightwoodian@gmail dot com

Now off I go. It's been a wonderful stay, Brightwood.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

MPD's Beat the Streets block party today from 3:30 to 7:30, 5500 block of Illinois Avenue NW

The Metropolitan Police Department is holding its Beat the Streets event today from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the 5500 block of Illinois Avenue NW (between Georgia Avenue and Kennedy Street). The Beat the Streets project is a collaboration between MPD and various community organizations and aims to dispel violence and encourage people to live more peacefully by making community services accessible. Nonprofits and agencies that plan to have representatives attend include HandsOn Greater DC Cares, Daddy's Corner, Washington Humane Society, DC SANE, US ARMY, US Marshalls, Samaritans Feet, DC Water, the Department of Health and Human Services (Family Services) and more. I hear there will be music and food as well, but I was unable to obtain a list of performers, so you'll have to just swing by to hear for yourself.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Summary of the Bicycle Advisory Council's Ward 4 bike accessibility tour

Jameel Alsalam, the D.C. Bicycle Advisory Council's Ward 4 representative, led a tour on June 23 that focused on ways to improve bike facilities and connectivity in the ward. Among the areas explored were the roads surrounding the site of the planned Walmart development at Georgia and Missouri avenues and the area surrounding Walter Reed. Tour participants also assessed the signed bike route on Eighth Street NW and other streets that run parallel to Georgia Avenue that are often used as alternatives to that main arterial by cyclists. Additionally, they evaluated the challenges that crossing Rock Creek Park presents to Ward 4 cyclists needing to access Ward 3.

The summary, which includes the committee's recommendations for improving bicycle connectivity at the sites mentioned above, can be found on the Bicycle Advisory Council's blog.

Monday, June 18, 2012

SMD meeting for 4B04 residents Wednesday, June 20

An SMD meeting for ANC 4B04 residents will be held this Wednesday evening. The owner of Chez Aunty Libe restaurant (6115 Georgia Avenue NW), who has recently applied for a Class D liquor license, has been invited to attend and answer your questions regarding the application. (ANC 4B will vote on the application at its meeting on June 25.)

Where: Emery Recreation Center, 5701 Georgia Avenue NW, Room 200
When: Wednesday, June 20, 7:00 p.m.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Bicycle Advisory Council's Ward 4 tour set for June 23

Have ideas for improving bicycle access and facilities in Ward 4? Here's a good opportunity to express them. From Jameel Alsalam, the Ward 4 representative on the DC Bicycle Advisory Council:

Please join the Bicycle Advisory Council's Facilities Committee (BAC-FAC) on a ride or 'rolling meeting' on Saturday, June 23, 2012. The ride will begin at 1:30 PM near the Capital BikeShare station at the corner of 9th Street and Upshur NW.

On this ride, the Committee will examine bike accessibility and connectivity to commercial areas in Ward 4, particularly along Georgia Avenue NW and including the Walter Reed and Walmart development sites. BAC-FAC would like your thoughts on what bicycling facilities should be considered for this area and your concerns about road safety, signage or other issues.

Please contact Jameel Alsalam or Jeanie Osburn if you have questions about the ride.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Why is Walmart still distributing promotional materials asking for support from District residents?

I came home on Saturday to find this postcard wedged into my storm door. It's a condensed version of the mailer that Walmart sent to D.C. residents just over one year ago, in May of 2011. One neighbor mentioned that she saw a small group of people gathered at the Curtis Chevrolet site on Saturday afternoon carrying clipboards; it looked as though they were about to set out canvassing in the neighborhood. I assume they were the ones who left the postcard at my door, and had I been at home I might have had the pleasure of speaking with them face to face. If anyone reading spoke to the canvassers directly, I'd be interested in hearing what was said.

I'm really surprised that Walmart is still distributing promotional pieces like this, as all of the conversations I've had with the developers have led me to conclude that Walmart fully intends to build stores at both of its chosen sites in Ward 4 (the Curtis Chevrolet site at Georgia and Missouri Avenues NW, and the planned Fort Totten Square development at Riggs Road and South Dakota Avenue NE). However, the distribution of this postcard indicates that the company still feels it's necessary to try to assuage community opposition to their projects. Are both Ward 4 Walmart plans really done deals, as the company has been insisting they are?

Side 2

Thursday, May 31, 2012

3 Stars Brewing grand opening tomorrow

We’ve been waiting a long time for 3 Stars Brewing’s facility to arrive, and we’re finally there. Their grand opening celebration will be held on Friday, June 1 from 3 – 8 p.m. at 6400 Chillum Place NW.

In addition to brewing its own beer, 3 Stars’ facility will include a home brewing supply shop. According to, "the shop has all the ingredients, supplies, and specialty items to make any brew day great." Very happy to welcome them here!

Edit: Dave Coleman of 3 Stars clarifies: "We are having the Grand Opening of our Homebrew Shop tomorrow. The brewing operations for 3 Stars should commence within a week or so, so that launch (the brewery, not the homebrew shop) will actually be in the beginning of July. Tomorrow we are opening our homebrew retail space at 3 o'clock. This will be DC's first homebrew shop and will provide local homebrew enthusiasts a shop that is metro accessible instead of requiring a 30 minute drive to one of the shops in MD or VA."

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Ward 4 State of the Schools meeting tonight at Takoma Education Campus

DC Public Schools chancellor Kaya Henderson and Ward 4 councilmember Muriel Bowser will host a State of the Schools meeting this evening.

When: Thursday, May 24, 5:00-8:00 p.m.
Where: Takoma Education Campus, 7010 Piney Branch Road NW

From DCPS:

Parents and other interested community members will have an opportunity to:
  • Hear what DCPS plans to accomplish next year and over the next five years in our public schools
  • Learn more about the progress and areas of growth for schools in Ward 4
  • Interact with central office and school leaders in Ward 4
  • Meet fellow parents and community members.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

New Upper Georgia Avenue Business Assistance Program launches

Good news for businesses in our area that have been hit hard by the closure of Walter Reed: the D.C. Department of Small and Local Business Development and the D.C. Chamber of Commerce Foundation have announced the launch of a new business assistance program for Upper Georgia Avenue, from Fern Street to Eastern Avenue NW.

According to a press release, the program will help area businesses "identify challenges to retaining and expanding their businesses; offer consultations with subject matter experts to help business owners improve their operations, expand their markets, and reposition their goods and services to remain competitive; improve storefront appearances to strengthen their brand; market businesses to increase sales; and promote the commercial district to target markets."

Upper Georgia Avenue businesses interested in participating in the program should contact Margaret Singleton at the D.C. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Walter Reed small area plan community meeting Thursday, May 17

Walter Reed Small Area Plan Community Meeting
WHEN: Thursday, May 17, 6:30-8:30pm
WHERE: Shepherd Elementary School, 7800 14th Street NW

On January 17, 2012, the Office of Planning hosted a Community Workshop to present the Small Area Plan (SAP) components for the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center site (Walter Reed), including urban design principles to guide future development, as well as obtain additional community input on the Base Reuse Plan. On January 25, 2012, the Walter Reed Local Redevelopment Authority (LRA) Committee made final recommendations to the Mayor and Council on the Homeless Assistance Submission and Base Reuse Plan by motion. The approved land use program was then presented by the LRA at a Town Hall meeting on February 2nd. The Base Reuse Plan has been submitted to the Council, and a Council Public Hearing is anticipated in late May.

The Small Area Plan process is ongoing, as the SAP is required to determine Comprehensive Plan Land Use Designations for the site so that zoning can be established for future development. While the SAP will not propose any zone categories, it will focus on characteristics that a zone should have, such as building form, setbacks, height and stories, and Floor Area Ratio (FAR).

Please attend the May 17th Community Meeting to:
* Review and provide input on the proposed urban design guidelines for each Sub-Area of the site, and
* Review proposed Comprehensive Plan Land Use Map Designations for the site