Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Chief Lanier says to keep your eyes peeled for terrorist threats

From an e-mail:

Over the past few weeks, several media outlets have raised the public’s attention to an increasing, although undefined, terrorist threat.  International terrorist organizations have continued to demonstrate their interest in conducting attacks in the U.S. Of concern for law enforcement is the possibility that a lone individual who associates with or is inspired by extremist groups might try to stage an attack. The threat picture we’re seeing shows an adversary that is evolving and adapting quickly, and determined to strike us at home. We constantly remain on the alert and strive to keep the public informed.

More recently, in September, Inspire, an English language online magazine, reported to be published by the organization Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, released propaganda encouraging its readers to randomly target large public areas in cities, like Washington, DC.  The magazine is aimed at British and American readers and provides instructions and translates messages from Osama bin Laden.  The fall issue of Inspire emphasizes the lone wolf attack methods.  While there have been no confirmed threats, the Metropolitan Police Department is encouraging its residents and visitors to pay close attention to their surroundings and to alert authorities immediately if they see any suspicious activity.

Fortunately, we are empowered to protect ourselves through a number of means.  First, as members of the community, we are able to see things that are out of line from the norm, and then say something about it by calling 911 to report these suspicious actions and events.  In many instances, it is very subtle observations that can make the difference between interceding and stopping a dangerous act, or not.

To that end, as you go about your daily routine, I ask that you remain ever vigilant in your awareness of the following: (1) others who are behaving in an unusual way; (2) strange smells that seem out of sorts [particularly chemical odors]; (3) the delivery of odd looking packages, machines, and devices to you or others around your home or business; and (4) other out-of-the-ordinary actions you happen to see.  Again, whenever you experience these types of suspicious circumstances, please call 911 to report it. 

As an active participant in our city’s efforts to maintain safe and healthy communities, these measures will go along way to promote the principles of the “See Something – Say Something” initiative.

Thank you for your efforts,

Cathy L. Lanier
Chief of Police

Further details on the Bruce Monroe proposal

From WBJ.

The proposals will be discussed at tonight's Georgia Avenue Community Development Task Force meeting, 7 pm at the Park View Rec Center (at Otis and Warder). Andre Byers from DMPED will be on hand to answer questions and hear opinions.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Vincent Gray's Ward 4 Town Hall meeting is tonight

People's Congregational Church
4704 13 St. NW
6:30 pm

Final draft of Walter Reed reuse plan is now online

See it in its almost-200-page entirety.

One bid on the Bruce Monroe School site

The Neighborhood Development Company and EYA have put in a bid to develop the site of the old Bruce Monroe School. The site, bound by Georgia Avenue on the west, Columbia Road on the south, and Irving Street on the north, is currently occupied by a temporary park and playground. The developers will be making a presentation at the Georgia Avenue Community Development Task Force meeting on November 8 from 7-8:30 at the Parkview Recreation Center (Otis and Warder St.) location TBA.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

DC's TIGER II loss isn't necessarily a bad thing

Leave it to The WashCycle to put things into perspective. While I was not happy to hear that the Washington area didn't win any of the TIGER II money that would have gone toward expanding Capital Bikeshare and developing the streetcar system, WashCycle perked me up (a little):

The good news is that the region's leaders considered this important enough to propose for the grant. They did a study showing that it would be incredibly cost-effective, something that advocates can point out when they ask for local governments to fund an expansion. Other good news is that DDOT is committed to finding a way to expand the system in DC.

Let's hope these leaders continue to pursue alternate sources of funding for these transportation projects.

Which reminds me: if you haven't done so already, please send a quick 'thank you' e-mail to Gabe Klein, Adrian Fenty, and Vincent Gray for adopting the District's new Complete Streets Policy.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Kickoff strategy meeting on the revitalization of Upper 14th Street tonight

Tonight is the kickoff strategy meeting for the Upper 14th Street revitalization plan.

When: Wednesday, October 20, 6:30-7:45 pm
Where: Powell Elementary School, 1350 Upshur Street NW

Bring your ideas and concerns for the section of 14th Street that runs from Spring Street to Madison Street NW.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Notes from the final Walter Reed redevelopment presentation

A rundown of my experiences there this evening:

  • Most interesting new thing that I learned, which hadn't been mentioned in the other redevelopment meetings, is that the proposed Georgia Avenue streetcar route will turn right at Butternut Street (in front of the Walter Reed site), and terminate at the Takoma Metro station. If this proposed route comes to fruition, it will of course settle the minds of those who are concerned about the site being so far (a whopping five blocks!) from the Metro station. But of course I can see Takoma residents raising all kinds of hell about the streetcar running down Butternut...

  • Although the planning committee has been referring to this as the presentation of the "final" plan, the plan is not quite final. The committee will continue to entertain public comments through at least February 2011.

  • Sitting at my table was a mom who currently lives in Bloomingdale and was bemoaning the lack of playgrounds and other kiddie amenities in her neighborhood. She was looking at the map of the area surrounding Walter Reed provided by the planning committee, pointing to the area between the Fort Stevens Rec Center and Walter Reed, telling her friend that if she lived right there she'd have easy access to both places. People are thinking about moving here on the basis of the Walter Reed redevelopment. I love it!

  • Also seated at my table was an older gentleman who expressed concern that senior citizens would have more difficulty getting to grocery stores, pharmacies, etc. due to the increased traffic that the development will bring to the area. I countered by saying that the new commerce along Georgia that the development will hopefully spark will mean that seniors won't have to go so damn far in the first place to access the services they need. Touché.

  • Over the next few days, the planning committee will post the entire 160-page redevelopment plan on Watch for it!

The Walter Reed site IS Metro-accessible!

Why do so many of the articles and blog posts that mention the new Walter Reed plan claim that the site is Metro-inaccessible when the Takoma Metro station is only five blocks away, down Dahlia Street?

I've attended all of the WR redevelopment meetings, and one point that I've made several times to the planners is that pedestrian access from the Dahlia Street side of the Takoma Metro station should be improved. The reason people think the WR site is soooo far from the Metro is that there isn't an exit that leads straight to Dahlia Street. Adding such an exit onto the current Metro station would make pedestrian access easy, and provide better traffic for the new development at the Walter Reed site.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Gillian Clark's long-delayed new restaurant reportedly close to opening

The Examiner reports that Gillian Clark, of Colorado Kitchen fame/notoriety, is aiming to open the Georgia Avenue Meeting House in early 2011 at 3730 Georgia Avenue.

Can you see Georgia Avenue businesses having similar issues in the coming years?

Old clothiers on the re-invented H Street ponder their future...

LRA announces draft plan for Walter Reed

Last night the final Local Redevelopment Authority meeting was held, in which the LRA announced the plan that will be presented for community comment on October 14.

The broad outlines remain similar to the reuse plan proposed back in August, with a few changes: There will be 850 units of housing insteadof 1,000, 200,000 square feet of retail instead of 175,000, and 90,000 suare feet of office space instead of 125,000, making for 2.2 million square feet overall instead of the original 2.4 million square feet. There will be 40 acres of open space, or 65 percent of the total site area.

Nonprofits and educational institutions chosen to be part of the plan are Catholic Charities, the Transitional Housing Corporation, So Others Might Eat, Latin American Montessori Bilingual, and Washington Yu Ying. Read Housing Complex's report from the LRA meeting.

The final plan will be presented to the community on October 14 from 7 to 9 pm at Delano Hall on the Walter Reed campus.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Public meeting this Saturday to discuss violent crimes in Petworth

Following yet another shooting this afternoon, this time in the 4000 block of 4 St. NW, CM Bowser has called a meeting for police and community members:

Oct. 9 from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

St. Gabriel’s Church, School Hall
510 Webster Street, NW

Cathy Lanier, Chief of Police; Kimberly Missouri, Commander, Fourth District; Robert Hildum, Interim Director, Department of Youth and Rehabilitation Services; and Karen Feinstein, Executive Director, Georgia Avenue/Rock Creek East Family Support Collaborative will join me for an in-depth review of recent criminal activity and actions initiated to thwart crime in Petworth. I am also asking MPD to be prepared to discuss block captain training and sign-up for the neighborhood watch program.

Info about this afternoon's shooting, from MPD:

At approximately 430 PM we got a call for sounds of gunshots in 4000 blk of 4th Street NW, when we arrived on the scene there was evidence that a shooting had occurred, there were several shell casings found in the area.  However, no one was reported struck or injured.  The suspect(s) were last seen leaving the scene in a red box style Jeep.  It is not clear how many suspects participated.  We are asking anyone with information to please call 1888 919 CRIME or 202 727-9099

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Bryan Weaver's piece on what we need to do to prevent youth violence, hopelessness

A good read.

DDOT applies for Tiger 2 grant to expand CaBi

During DDOT director Gabe Klein's online chat earlier this afternoon, I asked if there was any chance of Capital Bikeshare expanding into Upper Ward 4. Klein said that DDOT had applied for a Tiger 2 grant to add another 1,000 bikes to CaBi's fleet, with the intention of further expanding into DC's neighborhoods.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Arrest made in June 18 Georgia Avenue homicide

An arrest has been made in the homicide that took place on the 5900 block of Georgia Avenue in June. From a press release:


(Washington, DC)-Detectives from the Metropolitan Police Department’s Homicide Branch announced that an arrest has been made in the fatal shooting of Jamal Bell.

On Friday June 18, 2010, at approximately 11:30 PM, officers from the Metropolitan Police Department’s Fourth District were dispatched to the 5900 block of Georgia Avenue, Northwest, to investigate the report of a shooting. Once on the scene, officers found three victims suffering from gunshot wounds, with one of the victims seriously wounded. D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services personnel responded and transported all three of the victims to area hospitals.

One of the victims later succumbed to his wounds and was pronounced dead. He was identified as 16 year old Jamal Bell, of the 5300 block of 1st Street, Northwest. The other two victims’ injuries were not life threatening.

On Thursday, September 30, 2010, detectives from the Homicide Branch arrested and charged 17 year-old Zachary Sims of the 5100 Block of 9th Street, Northwest, as adult with Murder One While Armed, pursuant to a D.C. Superior Court arrest warrant.

Lieutenant Nicholas Breul
Office of Communications