ECA meeting minutes - Nov 5
Welcome & introductions, ECA officer updates
& Eckington Day update
- ~38 attendees
- Eckington day recap
- Rainy start, but turned out well. Thanks to all volunteers. Raised about $6000 to pay for catering, live music from dJ and band (Sorry Carly), activities including moon bounce and basketball game, lots of vendors and exhibitors and local candidates.
- Next month - holiday party and board elections
- December 3rd - ECA board elections for all positions - president, VP, secretary, treasurer. Looking for candidates for all positions. Looking for new batch of poeple to take over volunteer position. All of us current officers will still be available to help as needed, but encourage people to run, great way to get involved. Not a huge time commitment. If you’re interested, email Hannah at firstname.lastname@example.org for ballot on December 3rd
- Councilmember McDuffie’s office - Nolan
- Hearing this week - McDuffie’s committee on business and economic develpment, bills to support small businesses.
- Providence Hospital proposed closure - hearing on Oct 10, reconvened with execs from Providence last Friday, councilmember moving legislation to make sure that DC gov has a role in hospital closures moving forward. Still looking at Dec 14 closure date.
- Annual holiday party - come out on Dec 19 at Dock 5 (Union Market) - free food & drink
- Short-term rental legislation. Needs 2 votes to pass - thought they were going to have 2nd vote in mid-October, didn’t happen, so mid-Nov is 2nd vote
- Q - Shelley - any ammendments to short-term rental bill? No, some being floated, might be incorporated. Councilmember Allen might submit amendment to give exemption to people on military detail.
North Capitol Overpass Discussion
- Thad, others, from Bloomingdale Civic Association & Bloomingdale Village Square, sharing idea to deck over North Capitol st
- Happening other places - Dupont Circle, Capitol Crossing, other places.
- Goal: Recapture greatness of North Capitol, play up view of Capitol building, idea is to bring that view back.
- This is a multi-year process - Dupont Circle decking-over started in 2011, and likely won’t finish until 2025.
- Would like this ot be multi-phase project, eventually stretching along North Capitol from Michigan Ave south
- Phase I focusing on T st to Rhode Island Ave - underpass is completely below-grade.
- Decking-over happening lots of places around the country, including Boston, Dallas, St Louis
- Been talked about before - MidCity East Small Area Plan, MidCity East Livibility Study both raised this idea
- Had community forum last saturday, had some people from Eckington, other neighborhoods
- Starting to re-energize this movement, get people involved
- Historian - North capitol was originally part of L’Enfant’s plan. The streetcar line lead to the expansion of North Capitol St, which what lead to growth of Eckington, other neighborhoods. Still see remnants of its elegance, grandeur, with townhouses and churches lining it.
- ANC Bertha - this is part of the Bloomingdale Village Square project, initiated in 2014, project grew out of MidCity East recommendations, that this whole area - Eckington, Bloomingdale, Stronghold, etc - needed to strengthen sense of community identity and create a greater sense of place.
- To build identity, want to build knowledge of history of community. We’ve recorded videos of 22 people - oral history of the neighborhood, gives good overview of community and its history. People have noted that their tape changed their entire perspective on the community - didn’t think it had much of a history,
- Sense of place - got 20 people, mostly architects & urban planners, had tem survey every block and build comprehensive plan to how we can define uniqueness of Bloomingdale.
- Can see some ideas on Bloomingdale website
- To get involved, email Thaddeus Thaler at email@example.com
- What’s really important - we have made commitment to intentionally be inclusive in whatever we do, and so we hope people would be supportive of that perspective
- Question - what is process/roadmap to promote project?
- Working with architectural firm - ZGI Architects - to put together deliverables before approaching office of planning or DDOT (though they are aware of this project). Need to get buy-in from McDuffie, Mendelsohn, DDOT, learn more about process with Dupont Circle. Largely trying to drum up local interest, and once we have some drawings from architectural firm, as well as advice on how to advocate, will move forward.
- Katrina - ECA will send out information, and we’re hopeful we can beautify neighborhood
- I know you’ve been focused on a lot in the neighborhood, including decking over North Capitol st - I live right up the street, am familiar with the process in the midcity plan, obviously want to be supportive of ECA, ANC, others, and how we can be supportive and take North Capiot st to next level
- Dave Thomas Circle - I have avoided using DTC - use other routes, because of how big a challenge it is. We want to spend time working with residents about various recommendations. We need to exercise eminent domain, work with owner of property (Wendy’s), but I know how big a challenge it is for anyone - car, bike, pedestrian - i’s been a real challenge for several years. Support moving forward to get rid of Dave Thomas Circle - best way is to exercise eminent domain. Been working with mayor for last 4 years trying to exercise ED on W st trash transfer station, that’s been a challenge, but it’s important for you to know where I am on this. Seeing a lot of safety issues.
- Providence Hospital - it’s a big deal, they plan to shut down on Dec 14 - I think it will have hugely negative effect on healthcare on city, especially wards 4, 5, 7, 8, and lots of lost jobs. Introduced emergency legislation to clarify role of Shifta to approve certificates of need (to keep hospitals from closing down), legislation passed, to say “no “ to hospitals shutting down.
- Q - Ned Russell - what is being pushed forward in terms of Vision 0 in Eckington and Ward 5.
- Want to improve bike trail along NY Ave, create more of connection with Union Market, NoMa, even up to Costco. SOme developments have moved retail to next level in ward, hard to access if you don’t have a car
- Working w/ mayor, DDOT, others around Vision 0 to address challenges - NY Ave, FL Ave, walkability doesn’t exist around Fl Ave. Seeing investments around union market and south side, but it’s still not a place you want to walk or bike - don’t feel comfortable.
- Could some things be accelerated? Absolutely. I think it’s making sure we prioritize.
- Q - Shelley Vinyard - I’m thrilled to hear you support using Eminent domain for Dave Thomas Circle - it’s a big issue for people in Eckington. My questions are, NBC news published worst intersections for accidents - if you add up the 3 DT intersections, it had an accident every other day over 2 years. There are short-term fixes, getting traffic cops during rush hour, we’ve advocated and feel like DDOT hasn’t moved fast enough. Can you work with us to help make that happen?
- Yes. DDOT doesn’t understand - they have #s and data, but in terms of practical aspects, they have been moving way too slow. As far as folks in Eckington, it’s even more the case. It’s one of the most highly-traveled corridors in the city. It’s not just them they’re grappling with, there’s students from NoMa metro. I’ve sent letters, emails, worked with ECA and prior leadership to try to address this. Whatever you think we can do collectively to address this, I’m with you.
JBG Eckington Yards Update
- Developmanager, Eckington Yards, and Dylan - main point of contact on project
- Had lots of conversations over the phone, happy to talk about issues on R st.
- Share video of project, and then construction timeline
- Main promenade, retail in the pace, have 2 anchor tenants - Union Kitchen, both to sell products and with kitchen space; some popup stores. Other anchor is Brooklyn Boulders - lifestyle gym.
- 4 buildings, some pass-through bridges,
- 1 building - 179 condos for sale, 2 apartment buildings, and 45 townhomes for sale
- Start demolition 11/2018
- Start excavation 12/2018 - 1/2019
- Start base building construction - Winter/spring 2019
- Retail opening - spring/summer 2021
- Project completion spring/summer 2021
- Set up vector traps to catch rodents, relocated utilities, finished neighborhood survey (pics of everything to ID damage) - can share pics w/ people
- Moving forward
- Fencing, setting up for excavation and demolition,
- R st - will have separate conversation about parking - Q st alley behind R st townhomes will be closed
- Crane swings - 2 cranes, will shift location; you should have received notification if you’re in radius of crane swings - allows us to give you extra insurance- at no point will cranes swing with any load over any houses, but cranes are fixed. If you do want to sign
- Q - how many retail bays?
- Q- traffic - doing a traffic study, will work w/ residents to confirm when, where
- Q - when will first retail open - 2021, spring/summer around the same time
- Q - for Anchor tenants, with door onto plaza/woonerf - how do you keep that space activated w/ 2 tenants taking up most of space?
- Tenants can design what goes in space, part of the goal for the activation is to have doors that can be opened up (like old glass garage doors), not just double doors.
- So could members use some amenities even if not a member?
- Yes, plan to have a juice bar, yoga classes, other things outside of climbing component - place for community to go
- During the zoning approval process, there was a traffic study done - is this additional, or what would be different about new traffic study? I think any recommendation was null re. Dave Thomas Circle because that was included in city study.
- Q - Other 2 developments across the way going on simultaneously - spoke to one developer, his understanding is that each is individually dealing with city, not talking with each other. Is there anything you can do to start talking to each other about what it’s going to do to the whole area when all under construction?
- You’re thinking about foulger Pratt, others? We’re very aware of it. We’re going to start before they are, but will have some overlap. Will share staging/construction plans. Both have to gt traffic control plans approved by city - they know what else is going on, they wouldn’t approve something w/out considering what’s coming down the pike. But we can be more open about communication.
- Left updates in back about plans moving forward - give email address, send monthly letter to residents.
- Email: Eckingtonyards@jbgs.com
- Tel: 240-333-3600
- Chris Cravens - supt - Chris.firstname.lastname@example.org
ANC Candidate Forum & Q&A
ANC 5E candidates
- Shelley Vinyard - running for ANC 5EO4
- Eckington is divided about halfway down the neighborhood - Eckington boundaries go from Rhode Island to North Cap, Florida, and railroad tracks.
- ANC boundaries delineated along Eckington Place, Summit - if you’re to the west, ANC 5EO4, east - ANC 5EO3
- Our ANC5E has 10 or 11 comissionsers, spans Bloomingdale, Truxton Circle, Bates, Truxton Circle, Eckington - they make decisions, advice city on all issues that affect us.
- Running because I love Eckington. I love our neighborhood, community, the people. I’m raising my family here, I feel really fortunate to call it home. As an environmental advocate, I have skills in bringing people together. I know how to manage change, make sure people’s voices are heard. Here, it feels like change happens to us rather than for us. We haven’t had as much say in change as we should. I’ve knocked on every door here, keep hearing that people want more of a voice. I can change that. As an advocate and organizer, I know how to give a voice to the voiceless. I know change starts from the ground-up. I know how to use people power to get things done. I think my experience with the ECA development committee proves that I’m a do-er. I brought people together to write amendments to the 20 year plan. I’m working with councilmember McDuffie’s people to make these changes happen. Saw article about Decking over north capitol, reached out to that group to bring them to meeting.
- If I’m elected, I want everyone to know that you’ll have an advocate in me. I hope that through campaigning, you’ve seen that I’m willing to work hard. I’m a listener, I’m thoughtful, and I care. I will do everything I can to bring people together, and to make our hopes for our future a reality.
- I hope everyone votes tomorrow, and I’m looking forward to your questions.
- Courtney Segman - I’ve lived in the neighborhood about a year, I know that local politics matter so much in DC. I learned about the ANC about 6 months ago. I wanted to come here to study federal policy. I supported policy change on behalf of my father, who was a victim of asbestos. I’ve gone door to door, trying to reach everyone, reached at least 75% of doors in our neighborhood. There’s a lot I would need to learn, but I’m willing to do the work.
- Want to prioritize Dave Thomas Circle, talked with Hannah Powell, learn from what she’s already done, want to support schools. Want to make sure city is sustainable for those who are there. I was paying $1250 to live in shared basement - only way I could afford to stay here. I recognize the cost of housing, want to work to build solutions, Want to focus on health, wellness, and safety. Improve access to green space. Honor rich history of our neighborhood, make sure everyone knows how great Eckington is.
- Brook - is anyone running against former detroit teacher (courtney)
- Katrina - all candidates were invited, they received several invitations to attend.
- Q - Seems like there’s some big economic barriers, especially along North Capitol.
- Shelley - on west side of North Capitol, all these businesses and restaurants, east side is vacant buildings. Have vision of vibrant street with businesses on both sides. I think deckover project will help, but in meantime, work with North Capitol main street, work on storefronts, figure out what businesses want to bring them over. Great streets grants to work with city to ID and facilitate business development
- Q - Walkability - I tend to walk my dog down V st - sidewalk does not continue once you hit 4th - stops on one side, have to cross to other side. What could be done to improve sidewalk connectivity on trai. Same thing on T st.
- Courtney - Hannah Powell mentioned a few specific places, so I’d want to know, has someone tried this, if so, what's the hold-up, mobilize people to say this is what we want, connect with stakeholders, be an advocate. I see this role as organizing and advocacy role.
- Shelley - I would add, I would like to do more of working with other ANC commissioner for Eckington to ID places like this that need concerted effort. DDOT is prioritizing filling in and adding sidewalks as part of Vision 0 (commitment to 0 traffic fatalities any given year). We can use ANC to do more than vote on resolutions, we can advocate.
- Brooke - teacher in DCPS - how would both candidates work to involve Langley & McKinley Tech students, how would you engage them
- Courtney - as I’m meeting kids, forming a sort of working group. I’d want to come in, gt to know leadership and teachers at schools, see what they’re doing and how we can transfer that to community work in our area. Schools are already doing a lot - see if there’s ways we can work with them on community service, other areas.
- Shelley - I think that’s really important; I’ve reached out to former PTA chair of Langley, talked to her about some places where PTA and ANC could work together more, specifically around making sure Harry THomas Rec Center playground is kept up, concerns around falling branches - kids use it as a playground, so important it’s clean and safe. I think that’s important. One of the first things I would do is reach out to principals, PTAs. I have a vested interest because I have an 8 month old daughter at home, so I want to make sure our schools are successful.
- Negotiations for Foulger Pratt CBA, got them to commit to internships for local kids into package
- Sandrine - for Courtney - I live opposite McKinley where trash is collected, I’ve reached out several times because we had a fire there, people dump stuff there, we’ve had rats, it’s an attraction of disaster. I’ve tried to reach out to school to find more permanent solution than emailing adhoc when there’s issues. If there’s anything we can do to reach out to school or city?
- Courtney - I see trash a lot. I think people feel empowered to change things. Not sure if the trash is from students, but sharing with them impact of what they’re doing, get them invested in cleaning up. My students created an app to clean up litter in the community - find trash and created game where kids can go around and pick it up. When you think about creative ways to do that, that helps. Working with schools, maybe we can do guest lesson with kids, those are things that come to top of my mind.
- Sandrine - don’t know if it’s the kids - it’s where all the dumpsters are, it’s an open area, anyone can dump there. Maybe if tiwas closed off, or lighting, or video camera, so it’s off-limits to people not working for school.
- Q - how would you engage w/ the community and get feedback?
- Shelley - I would use as many channels as possible. Many older residents don’t have email addresses - I have a rapport with many of them after going door to door. Want to use email, Eckington listserv, nextdoor, twitter. I find twitter very effective with small neighborhood problems to get city to pay attention. And I want to have regular newsletters and community meetings where people have a chance to weigh in. I know we’re all busy and I think communication is important. I want everyone to have access to me, feel like they have an open line.
- Courtney - social media channels - twitter, nextdoor, group of volunteers who would be open to go door to door. Want to build schedule of volunteers. Be consistently available, have another meeting (4 & 3) since many things impact us together, or find a place where I will be consistently. Door knocking for some people is the bes way. I’ll be doing all online communication, and coming to ECA meetings and having my own meetings as well.
- How do we get the attractive bricks as pavers? They seem to end at North Capitol when you come into Eckington?
- Bloomingdale took years to get those.
- Shelley - I went to North Capitol deck over meeting, heard more about what Bloomingdale Village Square vision, they have a clear vision for aesthetic of neighborhood. Gave me a lot of ideas - down to light posts that need to be replaced. Asked them for presentation, hope that through ECA, AnC, identify some aesthetic and ecological finishes that can foster identity fo our neighborhood.
- Katrina - councilmember mcduffie raised, and we care very deeply - Dave Thomas Circle. It hits into 04, 03, as well as the NoMa ANC. How would you propose working together to find a solution with ourselves but also gov at large.
- Courtney - I would be very open to doing so. I would want to try out as many different things as possible to help fix that. Thinking about what’s happened so far, some things are not working to push this forward, so what else can we do?
- Shelley - I feel like, Dave Thomas Circle, on the big picture level,it’s the entry into the city for a lot of people, and there’s so many accidents, it should be a top priority. From an Eckington perspective,there haven’t been nearly enough input form Eckington residents who are most affected. I have been asking DDOT to do a public meeting to listen to feedback and ideas. As ANC commissioner, I’d have more of a platform to make that happen. There are short term fixes that ECA requested back in February, DDOT’s response was that they weren’t feasible - these were things like painting bike lane more clearly, fixing traffic signal timing - I don’t understand why they weren’t more receptive. If elected, i will reach out, figure out what the holdup is, what timeline is for short-term fixes and longer-term fixes.
- Courtney - is there anything you would want from us, anything that you’ve been frustrated by?
- Sandrine - lots of things
- Steve - Trash on the streets, and where the responsibility is for cleaning up the streets. We have street cleaning, but no attention to pavements. Back to other person’s point about trash at school - suspect much of trash is from school children walking through neighborhood. Communicating with school, tackling that - level of street cleanliness, garbage cans.
- Shelley - garbage cans - you can request a garbage can through 311, would love to come up with a list of where people want more trash cans Some concerns about where they attract rats; wouldn’t want to do that. Rats are a big challenge - would like to work with city to find more solutions. Heard terrifying story of person opening trashcan and rat jumped out. Rat and trash problem go hand in hand. You can request trash cans, I would love to come up with list of where that is, and how we can fix rat problem.
- I’ve lived in DC for 12 years, feel like there’s obsession with shiny objects, fancy new buildings - it shouldn’t be expensive to live, socialize in this city. Sometimes you want something comfortable and regular.
- Courtney - I was thinking about this with juice bar. I would try to make sure there are things that are accessible and inclusive in neighborhood.
- Shelley - I think we talked about the need for truly neighborhood serving businesses - have Yang Market, it’s great, but the east side of North capital seems like a prime opportunity to recruit more businesses that people want and need. Make it more accessible, make it easier to ring all the things we need within walking distance.