Monday, August 31, 2009

Ward 8 Bloggers on the Kojo Nnamdi Show

This afternoon myself and two other Ward 8 bloggers (Barry Farm (re)Mixed and Congress Heights on the Rise) had the chance to speak up about our blogs and our neighborhoods on WAMU 88.5 FM's Kojo Nnamdi Show - guest-hosted by the Post's Marc Fisher.

Click Here to go to the site and listen to the segment (one hour, but totally worth it).

Friday, August 28, 2009

*goodlinks: comin round the mountain

afternoon storefronts on the 2200 block of MLK Avenue

GSA Selects St. Elizabeths Team, Groundbreaking to Start via DCMUD
the General Services Administration has finally chosen the development team for the west campus of St. Elizabeths, soon to be the home of Homeland Security and the Coast Guard. Construction has been awarded to Clark Construction, with final design going to HOK. DCMUD reports that groundbreaking could be only weeks away, with actual construction commencing in the new year.

FIOS finally coming to Anacostia via press release
Verizon FIOS internet / cable / phone service is coming east of the river first. Groundbreaking on the new infrastructure will be September 1st at 10:30AM at 1600 19th Street, SE in Fairlawn. The Mayor and Councilwoman Cheh will be in attendence.

River. East. Art. via Fred Joiner's Weblog
Joiner counterpoints's argument that displaced art galleries relocate to the 9th Street NW corridor, making the case instead that downtown Anacostia with its already awesome art scene or the H Street Corridor would make just as good or better locations. (yes, this is real)
Anacostia: the Web Series debuts online on September 3rd. Tagline? "Every city should have neighbors like these..." From the looks of the promo video, this was not, in fact, filmed in the Anacostia neighborhood.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Streetcar Action: via Barry Farm (re)Mixed

Click Here for original post

Streetcars? Who has them? Seattle, Los Angeles, Charlotte, New Orleans, Portland, San Francisco, Tampa. . . and D.C. Or at least "soon" enough.

Why should Barry Farm be excited about the streetcar? Because studies have shown streetcars stablize communities and promote neighborhood improvements. Development is much more likely to occur in areas containing a fixed transit improvement rather than a bus which can be moved at any time. In other words, a fixed transit improvement represents a long term commitment to broad based connections to other parts of the area.

The most often cited economic development benefit of streetcars is Portland. Portland's service was opened in 2001 and has resulted in a development-to-transit-ratio of 18:1. In other words, every $1 spent on the streetcar resulted in $18 of development in the immediate area. Memphis, Tennessee, implemented a similar streetcar in 1993 and now estimates to-date development activities because of the streetcar at more than $2 billion.

Want to see an example of streetcar success and the surrounding development?
Take a Ride on the Seattle Streetcar. It's a short 4-5 minute video that I think you might enjoy. I did (but then again I can be a bit nerdy). And the Seattle Streetcar website is pretty cool too.

But on to more important stuff. The Anacostia Streetcar Project. The problem? I haven't heard much about it. Everyone is talking about Benning Rd and their streetcar developments. And rightly so, check their progress:

I mean, wow. Bada bam, bada boom--yea, I'm impressed. So today I've been dedicated to figuring out what's going on with the Anacostia Streetcar. All I have to say is, if ye seek, ye shall find.

First things first. The Anacostia Streetcar Alignment plan (courtesy of DDOT):

The alignment will begin at the Maintenance Facility running north into Firth Sterling Avenue to Howard Road and the Anacostia Metro Station. Turning north into Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, it will continue through Historic Anacostia and terminate at the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and Good Hope Road. The tracks will extend across the 11th Street Bridge once the new bridge opens.

What the DC streetcar will look like:

And a nifty little video DDOT put together back in 2006 about the streetcar and why we should have it. It's about 12 minutes long, but interesting. Watch Video: Transit Futures – The Washington Streetcar.

In early August, the Washington Business Journal did a story on the revival of the D.C. Streetcar Plan. You can read that here. In that article they point out that work has started along South Capitol Street. And well you guessed it, they are right on point. Haven't I been commenting on the construction happening along Firth Sterling Avenue? Or rather wondering what was going on? In addition to the confirming images below (Firth Sterling Avenue) and my aimless wandering around trying to make sense of concrete barriers and construction signage, I finally found some helpful information.

The last time I visited DDOT's web page there was not much information on the Anacostia Streetcar Project, but somebody has been updating. More importantly, it appears that DDOT will be providing updates for every week they work on it. If you click here, you will be able to pick a status report going back to March 2009 when the project started.

The latest update is for August 7th and it states that "the installation of electrical manholes and combined system duct-bank on Firth Sterling/South Capitol is nearing completion. Street light foundation installations are progressing well. Installation of new sidewalk along the east side of South Capitol Street has begun and is [also] progressing well. Sub-grade preperations for the new track slab continue along South Capitol Street as well as OCS foundation installations..." What has been happening since then? "Sub-grade preparations for the new track slab along South Capitol Street. Installation of new storm drain lateral piping along with new catch basins/water quality inlets, and grate inlets will continue for the new road work along South Capitol and Firth Sterling Streets as well as the installation of electrical manholes and combined system duct-bank. OCS foundation installations and roadway excavation along the SE side of Firth Sterling to begin . . ."

The report also comments that the orginial contract value is $24,994,526.28 No complaints about the District's investment coming from this peanut gallery commentor.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

country roads (of historic Anacostia)

an awesome barn on the alley between Pleasant and Chester Streets

mural on the back wall of Big Chair Coffee

11th Street Bridges Update Tomorrow

Monday, August 17, 2009

talking Anacostia on

Check out my interview with ReadySetDC - a cool site that celebrates the homegrown culture, style, and energy of our fine city. Excerpt:
What made you decide to move to Anacostia?

Anacostia is affordable, has decent redevelopment and creative regeneration potential, and is literally one hop, skip, and jump to Capitol Hill. It is easily accessible to almost everywhere else in the city and region via both private and public transportation. It has art galleries, front porches, and a riverfront within walking distance.

A friend from Auckland stayed with me recently and remarked at how lucky I was to live so close to downtown. I had to smile because I usually find myself on the defensive when talking about the neighborhood and here was someone with no clue what Anacostia’s usually hushed-toned five syllables mean for DC and America and immediately recognized one of its best amenities.

The neighborhood is far from perfect, but it’s making strides toward something a lot cooler than the empty and forgotten status quo. I discovered that at about the same time I decided that I could either rent a basement apartment in an established neighborhood or buy a fixer-upper in a “just starting to reinvest and reinvent” neighborhood like Anacostia for about the same price. I’m the first to admit that there are times I’d rather be someplace else, but right now I’m not looking back.

Where do you see Anacostia in 5 years? 10 years?

5 years from now I see Anacostia as a neighborhood under construction – cranes and orange construction fencing downtown, streetcars finally winding their way up MLK, and the housing stock a little less affordable for the home-buying hopefuls because of the growing collection of neighborhood gathering places and the general sense that things are finally happening.

In 10 years it will be normal to hear about people moving to Anacostia, taking a date here for dinner, or being home to your nine to five. The wildly popular Yes! Organic Market or Anacostia Trader Joe’s (murals of the Big Chair, St. E’s, Frederick Douglass, and activity on the river) will have opened a few years before.
To read the full interview at, Click Here

reminder - I'm on Twitter (@DG_rad)

I posted about it when I first joined the social media platform earlier this year, but since twitter's rise has happened so quickly I thought I'd throw out a quick reminder. My tweets aren't all about Anacostia, but generally focus on DC city living, urban development, and local business love.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

blue sky afternoon

burst of color in front of a newly remodeled house on V Street SE:

have you checked out BK Adams' house at the top of Maple View Place yet? completely crazy but cool:

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Call to Ward 7 & 8 Artists

Deadline: Friday, August 28, 2009 at 5:30pm
Artist Honorarium: $2,500

the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) in collaboration with DC Public Library is seeking East-of-the-River artists, including writers, to submit proposals for four prominent areas inside the new Benning and Anacostia Libraries which are expected to open in the spring of 2010. The proposed artwork sites provide artists and writers the opportunity to display their work in a large-scale format in a public building.

Anacostia Library (18th and Good Hope Road, SE)

1. Transparent Wall: At the entry of the library is a space for a transparent wall that may be rendered in glass or other materials. This art piece welcomes all library visitors and forms the boundary between the main library entrance and the children’s space. The dimensions of the opening are 10’6” x 6’10” and it sits on top of a 1’2” built-in bench. While this wall faces the children’s area on its reverse side, the piece should relate to everyone who enters the library, not just children. In addition, the artwork should supplement the strong architectural language of the building.

2. Adult Area Mural: This wall, 26’0” (wide) by 10’0” (height), runs parallel to the main circulation path of the building and faces the adult book stack and reading areas. The art should be strong and powerful and supplement the strong architectural language of the building. The artwork at this location could be a singular image or a group of images that forms a singular unified composition or concept.

Click Here to download the full Call to Artists

Questions? contact Rachel Dickerson at

Friday, August 7, 2009

playground sprouting at Savoy

For the past couple days teams have been hard at work constructing the new playground outside the school (the school is looking amazing, by the way). Kids from the summer jobs program, Americorps volunteers, park rangers, Screaming Eagles, and others are putting together what looks to be a really great playground made out of composite decking. Slides, monkey bars, towers, and sliding poles a'plenty!

nailing in the finishing touches on a colorful window

some of the smiling Americorps volunteers

it takes three to hoist up the green monkey bars

I can't wait for this project to be finished. For a long time a banner hung on the school calling it "the pride of Anacostia" - which it most definitely was not. But that's exactly what it's turning into! This is the kind of school (building, at least) people will be extatic to send their kids to.

repointing at the new EDC HQ!

it takes a special kind of person to get excited about repointing, but the significance is more in the fact that - awesome - Environmental Design & Construction's headquarters project is starting to move again.

It also means that this great unpainted brick will likely remain natural

check out the great brickwork. we're (usually) too lazy nowadays to do things like that.

Hopefully this rather minor work means that the project is full steam ahead. Probably one of the cooler redevelopments to hit Anacostia in a while.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

REEL Summer Chill: August 20

Mark your calendars for the REEL (River East Emerging Leaders) summer event and membership drive!