Prevent a Pop-up

Well we can make this a test case. Can you kill a pop up without one of those pesky historic district doohickies?
Here’s the situation, there is to be a BZA hearing for 1721 4th Street, N.W. It’s the blue house that’s being worked on that’s across the alley from the Fourth Street Cleaners. Anyway, the owner, a nice guy I’m told, has an application #17934, for a variance from the nonconforming structure provisions under subsection 2001.3, to allow a third story addition to an existing flat (two-family dwelling) in the R-4 District. Third story addition, read Pop-up.
Now pop-ups can be cool, or they can be complete pieces of crap. It could be the house near the corner of R & 5th (cool) or the monstrosity on the unit block of P St NE, or the 1/2 done thing on the 300 block of P NW.

TRIVIA- 1721 4th St NW sits on the block that was owned by the Glorius family from the 1880s to the 1900s, which was later sold to Harry Wardman.

** Public Hearing***
Start Time : 7/28/2009 10:00 AM
Case Number : 17934
Case Name : Application of Behzad Hosseinkhani
Case Summary : (Area Variance) pursuant to 11 DCMR § 3103.2, for a variance from the nonconforming structure provisions under subsection 2001.3, to allow a third story addition to an existing flat (two-family dwelling) in the R-4 District at premises 1721 4th Street, N.W. (Square 516, Lot 54).
ANC : 5C01
BZA notice

1300-1600 blk of Hell, NW

Well it appears that North Capitol from New York Ave up to somewhere around Florida is doomed, doomed to heck. As far as commercial ventures go. From the BACA notes:

Comish Pinkney said the Urban Land Institute said that North Cap wasn’t suitable for development because developers would not want to invest in an area laden with so many social services.

There are several social services concentrated in that spot around NY Ave and North Cap. Because of their individual missions and management style some of those social services (not all) attracts a population whose acts are a negative force. I throw in management style because I remember the Emory Shelter on Lincoln Rd NE, which is still there. But a few years back it took in all kinds of men without checking sex offender status. It was a few feet away from the Harry Thomas Rec Center, where children congregated. Well a change was made so that only homeless men with jobs would reside at Emory and that cut down on the crowds of men just hanging out around the shelter.
A few block south of Emory back in our area, around NY Ave and North Capitol, you have several homeless services and a methadone clinic. S.O.M.E. is one of them and I do remember the really bad complaints residents had with some when I first moved around here. Homeless where littering like crazy and using neighbors’ basement apartment entryways for toilets. I’m hearing few complaints these days about meal related litter and poop at your basement door, and that has come with some back and forth between residents and S.O.M.E.
However, with the volume of people served by SOME and the other places there is a portion of that population that makes development along North Cap, ‘unsuitable’. These are the loiterers, the extortionists/ beggars, the window breakers, and the weirdos who wander up and down the street. I hear that men are begining to lay around in front of the new Subway sandwich shop. The police come and shoo them away and then they come back to block entry. Hopefully the Subway can survive and not suffer the problems that closed down Luciana Cafe with multiple window breakings, vadalism, and loitering (Jemal raising the rent didn’t help either).
It was brought up in the BACA meeting that the person who owns the building with the liquor store at FL and N. Cap, owns that whole corner of buildings on that corner, including the Subway. The owner was approached with the idea of matching funds to improve the facade, but refused because it would be like throwing money away.
So getting development along the NW side of North Cap is going to be hard.

Also forget about the old firehouse becoming a restaurant.

Cars and Buildings Don't Mix

Car on Sidewalk
Originally uploaded by In Shaw

If you’re walking down the TC side of the 400 block of Florida Avenue NW and notice that a huge chunk of someone’s stair has been destroyed and a iron fencing thing wrapped around a tree, well there was an accident. Oh, sometime around evening rush hour.
I’m not 100% positive it was the brown car pictured here that took out the stair and the treebox fence, but I’m pretty positive that cars don’t belong on sidewalks.

Parking Pool

Originally uploaded by In Shaw

I’ve started a Flickr pool and I’m asking those of you who walk or slowly jog or are just around the Bundy area to snap a picture of the parking situation. Though I do somewhat feel that I’m probably adding gasoline to the fire, I do feel that some proof has to be gathered to assess the true parking situation around the Bundy area. Truth will be found in the proof.
If you decide to contribute it is important that you note what day (Monday, Saturday, etc) and what time the photo was taken. If you show full streets when no parking is to be had, great! Note the day and time. Semi-empty streets, same deal.

This is not an arguement against Safe Shores occupying the building plant or having any parking. We welcome Safe Shores, as a new neighbor. However, we do question and have questions about this new neighbor’s parking needs that may have a harmful element to the surrounding neighbors. Early plans showed a surface parking lot of a size rivaling that of the Giant Supermarket four blocks over. In this questioning there was the assertion that there wasn’t any street parking available, this is a challenge to that assertion. And only that assertion.

Thoughts on Parking

I few years back I was with my friend Nora and we were going to go visit a common friend in one of those condos on Clarendon Blvd in Arlington. If you know the area, there isn’t a boatload of open parking there. You gotta hunt for it. It was pretty much, understood that when you bought or rented one of these condos you “might” get one parking space for your car, and any guests you’d have would have to compete with the other residents’ visitors for the 4 visitor parking spots in the garage (if you can get into the garage). Or your guests will have to hunt for a spot on the street with the hopes of finding something 3 blocks away. When I was living in an apartment complex in Rosslyn each apartment could get a permit for the lot, but the permit wasn’t a guarantee of a space. Working in Old Town Alexandria, the place where I worked subsidized transportation, I got a check for my metro use and some co-workers got a check for parking in the garage across the street. The checks didn’t always the full cost or transit.
Closer in the District in some ‘information’ sessions I’ve attended about new condos or developments the understanding was that new residents would use the metro or other public transit and a small number of residents would have cars. Well that’s the line to get current residents to agree to the development and grant the variance. Noticeably, condos, apartments and other things getting built around here in the last decade don’t seem to make having a parking spot for every resident a goal.
So that’s where I’m coming from. A world where a parking space is a luxury and sometimes a job benefit. Where getting rid of your car or cutting down on the number of vehicles a household owns is encouraged. However, that world is coming in serious conflict with another world where those values don’t count. We’ve seen the conflicts come out in the double parking problems in the Logan Circle area (which moved over to the TC and morphed into something else) and now recently with the dog park. Our employeers tell us to use Metro and our own blocks encourage us to weigh the burdens of car ownership. I would ask all my fellow Shaw citizens to weigh the burdens and even out the weight.

My Bike

Bike Handle
Originally uploaded by In Shaw

It isn’t fancy it has two jobs.
The first is to get me from point A to point B, sometime before Christmas. It is a three speed so it isn’t going to go anywhere fast. Besides I tend to stick to the 2nd gear.
The second, don’t get stolen. It’s a three speed with sometimes three locks. It isn’t fancy. It isn’t one of those $2,000 racing or specially engineered bikes. No, this is a $150 Craigslist special, which I thought I paid too much for. The problem with the second point is that the bike shop I pass by often won’t touch my bike. Through comments and other blogs I learned of another Shaw area bike shop that will touch it and that’s Rollin’ Cycles at 1320 14th St NW.
A washer, or axle spacer had broken on the ole bike and my rear wheel was rubbing up against the frame and the bike wouldn’t stay in gear. So I figured I’d give Rollin’ Cycles a try. I was happy to see at least one mechanic from the now closed Chain Reaction bike shop, where I used to go. The fix was about $7.40, but I bought some other stuff from the bike shop/ DVD rental. Rollin’ is tidier than the old Chain Reaction and seems to have bicycle products displayed better.

Van Stolen From Charity

We are a nonprofit located in Shaw, we serve about 300 kids from K-12th from in and around the Shaw Community. Last Tuesday, someone broke into our parking lot and stole our program’s 16 passenger van. We use our van to take the kids on field trips, and during the school year we pick the kids up from schools that are out of walking distance. It’s a white Dodge van that actually says New Community Afterschool on both sides of it. Please keep an eye out for it.

“Give $25..The kids will do the rest..Donate at

From the Pile: Bundy School & Park

The pile knows all, and the pile is very, very disorganized and headed for the recycle bin. I find stuff of interest and it goes into the pile.
Here’s something from the pile, a 1968 report on public facilities. The most interesting stuff is about DC medical clinics in Shaw that are no more. Not counted are non-DC government clinic such as Children’s Hospital (still over in northern Shaw). Anyway amongst that stuff is a listing of DC government land and US Government land in Shaw.
I’m going to cut to the chase, in 1968 Bundy Elementary School and Bundy Playground were understood to be two separate things. When I heard the Director at the meeting mention the post Home Rule land confusion something didn’t sound right. It’s an understandable error, and so I don’t fault the Director on this, and you can say it is all up to interpretation or it doesn’t matter. And even the report I’m looking at seems a little confused at times about the Bundy Playground, which on the map includes the lot were the soccer players play and the vacant lot proposed as the 1968 playground. On several pages it says the 2.40 acre Bundy Playground is owned by the US government and operated by the Recreation Department, but on one page says it is owned by the Recreation Department. A paragraph about Bundy Playground reads, “This property contains 104,595 sq. ft. owned by the U.S. Government, but under the control of the D.C. Recreation Department. The playground contains a multi-purpose playing field, 2 basketball courts and elementary apparatus for small children.”
Of course, this is just a snap shot from 1968. Heavens only knows what understandings, change of responsibilities, etc occurred with Home Rule in 1973 (just 5 years later) or disorganized administrations.