Wednesday, February 29, 2012

challenging DC's speed camera fines

Okay, let's put this out there for community discussion:

Some commentary on Lisa Sutter`s statements

First, see this response from Lisa Sutter to John Salatti:

From: Sutter, Lisa (MPD)
Date: Wed, Feb 22, 2012 at 8:10 AM
Subject: Quick question

To: ``john.salatti @``

Dear John,

Over the past few days, NBC and Fox5 have been covering an effort by citizens to have folks sign a petition at to lower fines for speed enforcement in the District. Our response is below. I was wondering if you would consider asking folks in your area to weigh in on this topic. If you have any questions, please let me know. Thanks!

In 2010, the fines for the most frequent traffic violations in the District were increased to align with the significantly higher fines in Maryland and Virginia. Before the increase, in DC, speeding 11-15 miles per hour (MPH) over the speed limit incurred a fine of $50. In Maryland the fine is $90, and at $126, Virginia`s fine was more than twice that of DC. At 20 MPD over the speed limit, Maryland`s fine increases to $160, and in Virginia, the speeder must appear in court. Some drivers seemed to treat the District`s lower fines as a pass to speed up once they reached District streets. Therefore the District raised its fine to deter illegal and dangerous driving.

Although Maryland has lower fines for automated tickets, District fines for automated traffic enforcement violations remained the same as officer-issued fines. Since one of the primary objectives of an Automated Traffic Enforcement program is to serve as a force multiplier so that individuals obey traffic laws even without an officer on the corner, it would not be logical to have lower fines for these tickets. As it is, drivers do not get points on their record for the Automated Traffic Enforcement tickets.

In our densely populated city, there is a higher risk for collisions between vehicles and pedestrians and bicyclists, and speeding increases the risk of serious injuries or fatalities in the event of a collision. An adult pedestrian hit by a car going 30 mph has an 80% chance of living. If the car is going 40 mph, there is an 80% chance that the pedestrian will be fatally injured. Traffic safety is more important now than ever with the population and development in the District rising, and more bicyclists on the road.

The bottom line is that motorists who obey the posted speed limit do not have to worry about the fines for tickets.

Lisa Sutter, Program Manager
Metropolitan Police Department
Homeland Security Bureau
(202) 492 - 1150
lisa.sutter @

Now read this response from a Rhode Island Avenue NW resident:

For dissemination and further discussion.

I, too, join the general disgust with the rationale proffered by MPD's Lisa Sutter. There are, among other things, potential constitutional law violations that come to mind when discussing the legality of unsupervised red light and speed cameras - both of which have become pervasive within the District in the last 10 years. Ms. Sutter's analysis does not make any rational sense and even she concedes that the dollar amount of violations are not consistent across the jurisdictions. Lastly, I think it foolish that we are the only jurisdiction (of the three in our area) that continue to engage in what ought to be considered predatory enforcement and penalization for fairly routine infractions. Now, folks may say 'well, I don't speed - and you shouldn't too' but that's an unfair assertion given the facts of daily life and how we all reconcile our individual behaviors to daily reality. My opinion is that I might well deserve a ticket - just not one that results in a windfall to DC and their service vendors at my expense.

Here's an interesting article about the legality of red light cameras which I believe has relevance in forming a better understanding of the history, applications, legal challenges, etc...

Lastly, to whomever is organizing the petition, I join you in that fight and would consider taking the matter one step further by considering the pressing of a legal challenge. There are due process considerations in the presumption of innocence, or the lack of such presumption, here. Fundamentally, due process is a linchpin of the Constitution and ought not be disregarded and dismissed so cavalierly as has been done by MPD. This is not merely about efficiency and increasing safety - we shouldn't consider the smoke and mirror response as conclusive of the motivation for the rampant exploitation of this technology simply for the sake of it.

WCP: McMillan historic preservation application drops

See Lydia DePillis` post from this morning.

Click on her link to see the imbedded stuff.

McMillan Historic Preservation Application Drops
Posted by Lydia DePillis on Feb. 29, 2012 at 8:16 am

The Historic Preservation Review Board application for development at the McMillan Sand Filtration Plant replicates a lot of the information in the draft of the one that'll go to the Zoning Commission ( — there's no more detail on building architecture, just massing sketches—but does have a bit more information about the old stuff that's supposed to stay even as new buildings go up around it.

A citizens group ( organizing under the slogan "Development Without Demolition" (sound familiar?) has been reinvigorated, and will likely be a presence when the plan goes before the HPRB, which looks like it'll happen before Zoning.

Full application after the jump.

new life for the former Showtime Barbershop space at 113 RI Av NW

At last night's ANC 5C meeting, two gentlemen announced plans for the former Showtime Barbershop space at 113 Rhode Island Avenue NW.

What plans, you ask?

Not for a barbershop, hair or nail salon, etc.

Yes, being a total tease here.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Dinosaurs in Bloomingdale?

Apparently so.

From a 1996 John Hopkins Magazine:

"The other Washington discovery was made in 1942, when a large Astrodon thighbone was uncovered during construction on a water filtration plant at First and Channing Streets NW. According to vertebrate paleontologist Charles W. Gilmore, the bone belonged to a sauropod "about 10 feet high at the hips and 50 or 60 feet long, weighing approximately 10 tons. Apparently, from the geological evidence, it was trapped in a small pond or mudhole and so perished."

Open Houses in and around Bloomingdale for 02/26/2012

Here is a list of open houses in and around Bloomingdale today. You can see the same information in a map format.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Thursday, February 23, 2012

projected groundbreaking for the McMillan Sand Filtration site project is 2013 Q4

See this Washington Business Journal article from today.

Note that the posited groundbreaking for the development project at Bloomingdale's landmarked McMillan Sand Filtration site is projected for 4th quarter of 2013.

Horrible news? Fantastic news? What do you think?

Major D.C. projects to kick off in 2013

Washington Business Journal by Michael Neibauer, Staff Reporter
Date: Thursday, February 23, 2012, 11:54am EST

Get your shovels ready. Next year may be a very busy one for big-time groundbreakings in the District.

Work on six projects — the ones we talk about most often, the ones whose total cost tops $4 billion — may kick off in 2013, according to a schedule provided to the D.C. Council by the deputy mayor for planning and economic development. All feature land that is owned by D.C. and managed, at least in part, by the deputy mayor`s office.

The fun starts in the first quarter of 2013 with the St. Elizabeths east campus (total cost unclear) and Southwest Waterfront ($1.16 billion) redevelopments. Second-quarter groundbreakings feature another pair of projects — EastBanc`s West End development ($152.2 million) and Hine Junior High School ($191.4 million), a Stanton-EastBanc venture.

In the third quarter of 2013, we may see work start on Property Group Partners` Interstate 395 air rights project ($1.2 billion) and the William C. Smith/Rappaport Skyland Town Center ($260 million).

And in the fourth quarter, according to this schedule, construction will kick off at the McMillan Sand Filtration Site ($775 million).

The Donohoe Cos` project at Fifth and Eye streets NW has been pushed back to the third quarter of 2014.

The timelines are, naturally, subject to change. Planning and zoning, financing, legal disputes — any number of issues could throw the schedules off. And Mayor Vincent Gray, as a rule, does not participate in or greenlight groundbreakings unless the project is actually ready to break ground.

Still, seeing a best-guess groundbreaking date in writing is progress.

Deputy Mayor Victor Hoskins has a date with the council`s Committee of the Whole Thursday for an oversight hearing

Florida Avenue Park ribbon-cutting -- Saturday, 02-25-2012

From Geovani Bonilla, President, Bates Area Civic Association:

Join Mayor Vincent C. Gray,
The Bates Area Civic Association and residents

Saturday, February 25th at 10am
Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
Florida Avenue Park (Florida and First St. NW)

Join our Community in a celebration and efforts to make the Florida Avenue Park a Community Park .

See the new play grounds, renovations and learn about the Bates Area Civic Association and Friends of The Park`s plans to bring more activities to this beautiful park.

Join Us Make This a Community and Family Affair.

Enjoy snacks from local businesses:
- Uncle Chips Cookies and Coffee
- Big Bear Café

Geovani A. Bonilla, President
Bates Area Civic Association

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

John Salatti drops out of Ward 5 Council race

From the Washington City Paper:

Posted by Alan Suderman on Feb. 22, 2012 at 11:33 am

Former Bloomingdale ANC commissioner John Salatti has decided to drop his bid to run for the Ward 5 seat, left open by the resignation of disgraced former Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr.

Salatti says he had a strong shot at winning but decided to end his campaign after reevaluating the commitment necessary to be an effective council member.

"I decided it was the best thing for me to do right now," he says.Salatti's departure is likely good news for Kenyan McDuffie, who lost to Thomas last go round and would likely have competed with Salatti for the non-Ward-5-political-establishment vote.

"We're outsiders," says Salatti of he and McDuffie, though that's not an official endorsement. Salatti, who resigned as an ANC commish when he launched his campaign, says he'll likely endorse someone after the April primary. The Ward 5 special election is scheduled for May 15.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Ward 5 economic development meeting - Tuesday, 02-21-2012

This event announcement has also been posted at the BACA blog: .

From: Mason, Charles (COUNCIL) (COUNCIL)

Sent: Fri, Feb 17, 2012 1:15 pm
Subject: Committee of the Whole`s Public Oversight Roundtable on Economic Development Projects and Programs in Ward 5

The Committee of the Whole`s public oversight roundtable on Economic Development Projects and Programs in Ward 5, will take place on Tuesday, February 21, 2012, from 6:00 - 9:00 pm at Turkey Thicket Recreation Center (1100 Michigan Avenue NE).

District government witnesses will inform Ward 5 residents about the economic development projects and programs occurring in their neighborhoods. Ward 5 residents will also have an opportunity to testify about economic development matters and recommend areas for improvement.

We encourage you to participate in this important discussion. You can make your voice heard by registering online or contacting Priscilla McIver, administrative assistant to the Committee of the Whole, at 202 - 724 - 8196 or

Thank you for your active contributions to the Ward 5 community. I look forward to seeing you at Turkey Thicket Recreation Center on Tuesday, February 21, 2012!


Kwame R. Brown

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Open Houses in and around Bloomingdale on 02/19/2012

Looking for something to do on a potentially slushy afternoon? Check out the list of open houses in the area. You can see the same information in a map format

**Agents, please note, if you would like your open house to appear on this list, it needs to be tagged in MRIS by the Friday before the open.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

John Salatti's ANC 5C04 position declared vacant by DC BOEE

1) First, from Teri Janine Quinn, President, Bloomingdale Civic Association:

Pursuant to this notice, anyone interested in running for the ANC 5C04 seat vacated by former Commissioner John Salatti may pick up petitions between February 13, 2012 and March 5, 2012.

2) And from ANC 5C Chair Ronnie Edwards:

From: ``Brenda Garner``

Date: Feb 15, 2012 4:24 PM
Subject: 5C04 Notice
To: ````


Attached is the 5C04 notice.


Brenda Garner
Voter Services Assistant
DC Board of Elections and Ethics
441 4th Street, NW Suite 250N
Washington, DC 20001
202-727-2523 (Office)
202-347-2648 (Fax)
Bgarner @


The District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics hereby gives notice that there is a vacancy in one (1) Advisory Neighborhood Commission office, certified pursuant to D.C. Official Code § 1-309.06(d)(2); 2001 Ed; 2006 Repl. Vol.


Petition Circulation Period: Monday, February 13, 2012 thru Monday, March 5, 2012
Petition Challenge Period: Thursday, March 8, 2012 thru Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Candidates seeking the Office of Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner, or their representatives, may pick up nominating petitions at the following location:

D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics
441 - 4th Street, NW, Room 250N
Washington, DC 20001

For more information, the public may call 727-2525.

Monday, February 13, 2012

proposed DC zoning regulations would accommodate * retail * in residential areas like R-4 - what do YOU think? fantastic? wretched?

This Bloomingdale blog post references these two recent Greater Greater Washington blog posts by David Alpert on the DC zoning regulations rewrite initiative:

Rewritten DC zoning code corrects past mistakes
by David Alpert • February 8, 2012 10:47 am

Is DC`s zoning update ``too timid``?
by David Alpert • February 9, 2012 2:07 pm

Might some of the proposed zoning regulations impact Bloomingdale?


Read on.

David Alpert`s first post above addresses these six zoning categories:

- Accessory dwellings
- Corner stores in residential areas
- Minimum parking requirements
- Alley lots
- Green Area Ratio.

Let`s dive into each category:

Accessory dwellings

The residential portion of Bloomingdale is mostly R-4, so the proposed zoning for accessory units would not apply to Bloomingdale. More than one dwelling unit per lot is already accommodated in the current zoning regulations. ``Row house neighborhoods like Capitol Hill, Columbia Heights, and Bloomingdalealready allow these units because they are R-4 districts, which allow 2 apartments per building.`` I don`t see these proposed zoning changes on accessory dwellings directly impacting Bloomingdale.

Corner stores in residential areas

I have copied in the section below from David Alpert`s GGW first post. It is a long list that ostensibly would be permitted in residential areas – I guess that would include R-4 neighborhoods (? ? ?):

OP`s proposal would allow some limited retail in residential areas, but with a great number of restrictions:

•Only ``Arts Design and Creation`` (arts studio, furtniture making, radio broadcast station), ``Food and Alcohol Service`` (deli, ice cream parlor), ``Retail`` (drugstore, grocery, jewelry store, but not auto shop or firearm sales), and ``Service`` (bank, travel agency, tailor, but not daycare, animal boarding, health clinic, or sexually based business) uses are allowed.

•They can`t be in any building within 500 feet of a commercial or mixed-use zone, so this doesn`t let existing retail corridors expand (though, arguably, some of that might be a good idea).

•There can`t be more than 3 other arts, retail or service uses within 500 feet, or more than 1 other food establishment, to prevent too much of a concentration of these non-residential uses in one area.

•It can`t be above the ground floor of any building, except for artist live-work spaces. This prevents a building from becoming entirely commercial.

•It can`t be larger than 2,000 square feet.

•It can`t be open after 7 pm or before 8 am.

•There can`t be more than 4 employees at the business at any time.

•It can`t have more than 1 sign, a lighted side, or a sign sticking out from the building.

•All of the trash and materials have to be stored inside; there can`t be a dumpster, for instance.

•Any alcohol sold has to be for consuming elsewhere, not at the business, and can`t take up more than 15% of the business`s floor area. That means a small grocery could offer some beer and wine, but there can`t be a wine bar or liquor store.

•Food sales can`t involve cooking food on-site, but reheating pre-cooked food is okay. Grease traps (a part of kitchens that do frying or other cooking with grease) aren`t allowed.

•There can`t be dry cleaning chemicals, so a dry cleaner in a residential district has to be the kind that sends its clothes out to be cleaned rather than doing the work in the building.

-- So under the proposed zoning regulations, one could possibly see the additional uses mentioned above pop up in the neighborhood without any zoning variances -- permitted as a matter of right.

Minimum parking requirements

David mentions church parking in his text. You can read what he has to say. For those residents who have expressed concern over church parking, I don`t think that the proposed zoning regulations force churches to now supply offstreet parking, etc.

Alley Lots

Bloomingdale currently has alley dwellings on Bloomingdale Court NW.

Here is David comment on alley lots: ``Current rules allow alley dwellings as long as the alley lot is 400 square feet or greater, it has adequate plumbing and so on, and the alleys serving it are particularly wide, at least 30 feet. The new code removes the 30-foot alley rule, but any alley unit will still have to get a special exception and satisfy DC agencies on fire safety, traffic, waste and more.``So Bloomingdale might see more alley dwellings, once the 30-foot wide alley restriction would be removed. More alley dwellings in Bloomingdale could be created, such as the set of contiguous garages bounded by V, W, Flagler and 1st St NW.

Green Area Ratio

David indicates that this part is still under draft. No comments from me (yet).

My general comment about David's evaluation of the proposed zoning rewrite -- he has a ``new urbanist`` spin on the categories, such as parking. I am not suggesting that you adopt his position on all of these categories. But David`s review does provide a jumping off point for the discussion.

Regarding the McMillan Sand Filtration site -- the development of the site would be governed by the Planned Unit Development (PUD) process. The site is presently unzoned and would get zoned in the PUD process.

What do you think?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Open Houses in and around Bloomingdale scheduled for 02/12/2012

There are quite a few open houses scheduled in the neighborhood for this Sunday. Check out the list or view in a map format with directions.

*Note to Agents with listings in Bloomingdale and the surrounding neighborhoods: to have your open house included on the blog, you must tag your open house in MRIS by the Friday before the open house.

Friday, February 10, 2012

NOA Gallery: reception featuring jewelry artist Jenny Sammons -- Saturday, 02/11/2012

Please join us this Saturday
for the jewelry art of

Saturday, February 11, 2012
Noon to 5pm

Refreshments will be served.
Please join us for a reception featuring the original work of jewelry artist Jenny Sammons. Jenny has a gift for creating feminine jewelry with a modern bohemian flare. Her works are created with intention and meaning, and she hopes that each person her jewelry touches will benefit from that positive energy that went into its creation.

Browse photos of Jenny`s work

Ongoing Art Exhibit
Romare Bearden
Kivox Martin
Tomae Yokoi
Thomas Mcknight
Anna Juan
and many others

For more information please contact:
Jenny Sammons at 202 – 679 - 4400
Mike Little at NOA Gallery at 202 – 483 - 7328

NOA Gallery: Providing Fine Art & Design Concepts for the Community
Prints, posters, limited editions, and originals available.
132 Rhode Island Avenue NW in Bloomingdale

Studio 85 Valentine's Day Sale

53 Florida Avenue Unit A  NW DC 

2 TAT 2
"2 TAT 2"
Click here to get yours today at
Upcoming Events 
Drop by DIY: Shoe Clips
hosted by 
Khia Rhodes

Join us for our  
Valentine's SALE Event!
Get Social.
Follow us on TwitterLike us on FacebookFind us on Yelp 
Dear Tamika,

We want to cordially invite you to our
 V-Day SALE Event!!
Saturday, February 11th 2012.
* EVERYDAY SALE        ITEMS UP TO 25% with  coupon
And to show our endless   appreciation....

 S85 NEWS!

Washingtonian Cover

Check out our latest mention in the February issue of the Washingtonian...Grab yours today!!
Save 25%
Bring in this coupon and receive 25% OFF any one item in store. Artwork & Designer Items not included. Join us Saturday 2/11/12  for extra in store savings!! Pass it on! #ART&LOVE
Offer Expires: February 14, 2012

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Armageddon Alert: Big Bear Cafe applies for later hours

From the Young and Hungry column of the Washington City Paper (stale news from yesterday):

Big Bear Cafe Applies For Later Hours
Posted by Chris Shott on Feb. 8, 2012 at 4:51 pm

Last call doesn`t come quite late enough for the operators of Big Bear Cafe.

The trailblazing Bloomingdale coffee shop and restaurant is asking city regulators to let it stay open into the wee hours like other D.C. hotspots. Big Bear currently closes at 11 p.m. on weeknights and midnight on weekends. The restaurant now wants to extend service until 1 a.m. all week long. It`s also asking permission to let patrons hang out on its patio later into the evening, as well. Right now, customers carousing al fresco-style have to take it inside at 9 p.m. weekdays, 10 p.m. weekends.

The restaurant is asking to extend outside service until midnight on weekdays and 1 a.m. on weekends.

What will the neighbors think? Residents weren`t entirely thrilled with Big Bear`s plans for evening hours and alcohol service in the first place. The District`s Alcoholic Beverage Control Board was scheduled to review Big Bear`s application for later hours on Wednesday.

Valentine`s Spaghetti Dinner - at St. George's Episcopal Church - Saturday, 2-11-2012

See this message passed along by Truxton Circle/Bates area resident Mary Ann Wilmer:

You are cordially invited to:

Join Us for a Valentine`s Spaghetti Dinner
(Hosted by the Episcopal Church Women of St. George`s Church)

Date: Saturday, February 11, 2012
Place: St. George’s Episcopal Church
Time: 4:00 to 7:00 p.m.

Ticket Prices:
$12.00 for Adults
$10.00 for College Students
$6.00 for Children

Fun, Games, Music, Door Prizes, Raffle Prizes and More!
Please join us for a heartwarming event!!

Important Details: Please reserve your tickets by Thursday, February 9 ththrough the contacts listed below so that we will be prepared to accommodate you and your guests. Please come and wear your Valentine`s colors, as a souvenir photograph is included in the price of the ticket!

For more information, please call:
Lucy Austin 301 then 325 followed by 0111
Vida Anderson 202 then 253 followed by 2669

Monday, February 06, 2012

one neighbor`s predictions for the firehouse and the McMillan Sand Filtration site

A Randolph Place NW resident comments:

Guess what Engine Company 12 will be in 25 years?

An old, abandoned firehouse.

Guess what the McMillan parcel will be in 25 years?

An old, abandoned water treatment site.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Eckington Real Estate Maps 1903, 1907, 1913, 1921

Here's the Baist real estate Plat map of Eckington from 1903.
eckington 1903
It's interesting to see how the trains lines were reconfigured.  Note that the yellow blocks are wooden buildings, the red blocks are brick buildings.You can see a large detailed image of this HERE
large version HERE

Large version HERE

nw eckington 1921

Large version HERE

I wanted to add a link to a PDF version of a brochure on the history of Eckington.