Parking Permits for Bates St?


A couple of residents have approached me lately about the possibility of acquiring Residential Permit Parking (RPP) for the 200 block of Bates Street, NW. The feeling is that parking opportunities on these blocks are becoming increasingly limited as more properties are developed and more residents move in. The RPP is already in place in the Unit block of Bates Street, NW and in the 100 block of P Street, NW. Because of this situation, residents of the 100 and 200 blocks of Bates Street, NW are subject to ticketing, if they park in the Unit block of Bates Street and/or in the 100 block o P Street, essentially, because they have no parking sticker (and are ineligible for one) that allows them to park in those locations for more than 2 hours (up until, I believe, 8:00 p.m. daily).

The last time this issue came up, a number of residents of the 100 and 200 blocks of Bates Street, NW, did not want to pursue RPP for a variety of reasons, including not wanting to pay the $10.00 per year for the sticker; folks didn’t want visitors to be ticketed when coming to their homes, etc. Because that was a number of years ago, I wanted to revisit the possibility and find out from you guys how many neighbors on those blocks who would be interested in signing a petition to get this done in the near future.

If you have an opinion on this subject, for or against the pursuit of RPP on the above blocks, please return it to me as soon as possible. If there is sufficient interest, I plan to pusue this goal with Ward Five Transportation Planner Sharlene Reed.


Jim Berry

Well another year over with

I have a lot of hopes for next year. I hope that the mayoral race works out well. I hope that the Mondie project works out in a way that it is profitable for him and suitable for the residents of Square 507. I hope that somebody or groups of somebodies in the DC govt realize that having a concentration of group homes in a transitional area doesn’t help the clients the residents living near the group homes.*
This is not a year in review post, but the last year wasn’t all that bad for the eastern end of Shaw. Well compared to the years before. In the past there were more dealers hanging out, nastier crackho’s, and more rowdy houses. Each year the neighborhood gets a bit calmer, and I hope that gives those of you who come to Truxton and Mount Vernon Square hope that things will get better. Because they have gotten better, at a snail’s pace, and after some battles won and lost, but still better.

* Okay now tell me if this is a good idea… You’ve gotten a drug addicted prostitute off the street and in a group home, a few feet from her old dealers and johns. Tell me how much time will it be before she’s hookin’ and smoking again?

Everything’s fine

Went to the Mondie meeting. Mondie poposed suitable changes. Face brick on the front and side with the vynl on the rear. The front will look like other Richardson Place buildings with flat roofs except these will be much taller. There were some parking changes and I think I heard blah-blah 3.5 ft easement so cars can get in and out of the alley and park. Some were concerned about the pre-fab (manufactured housing) bit, but really no big deal, remember Sears Craftman houses were pre-fab. Instead of split townhouses where there are two separate condo units in each building unit, each building will be one single family dwelling. There will still be a basement of sorts, but technically they will be “cellars”. This means they will not be legal living units. I have a cellar but I call it a “short people basement.” The cellars also mean that there will not be an entrance on the front to get to them, only the back. Mondie is hoping that it will take 3 months to get the townhomes built with the manuafactured housing stuff and hopes to sell each unit for well over 1/2 a mill (which doesn’t make me happy ’cause my taxes go up). It is still necessary to continue to pay special attention to how all this goes down. I believe I’ll still be attending the Zoning hearing.

Now for something else.
From Richard Layman’s Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space I came across the 16 Squares Most Dramatically in Need of Improvement and they had Dupont Circle at #13. Who the hell makes this list? Dupont is fine, but here is what they say:

Many think DuPont Circle is the best destination in Washington. We think it is performing at 30% of its potential. The city has undergone a metamorphosis in the past ten years, with many areas gradually becoming more vital. However, there seems to be a limit to this improvement: a rigid adherence to a master plan that keeps many areas from coalescing into real destinations. DuPont Circle needs to be freed from that mold. There are active parts of the Circle, but they are not connected. The Farmers Market is separate from the inner circle and from the active part of Massachusetts Avenue. The road around the Circle is two lanes too wide, and the connections from the interior park to the edges could be dramatically improved. With Connecticut Avenue running underneath the circle, there is no need to cater to heavy traffic. In fact, DuPont Circle could become a traffic-calmed, pedestrian friendly destination and quite possibly the core of a great urban district. Fulfilling this tremendous opportunity is essential if Washington is to become a world class city.

One, the Farmer’s Market is fine where it is. A portion is on the street and the other is in the bank parking lot. I like the easygoing nature of the market, I don’t know if it would have the same feel if it were thrust on to a typically busy road.
Two, “with Connecticut Avenue running underneath the circle, there is no need to cater to heavy traffic” ignores the fact that people also go east-west and not just north-south. Not everyone lives in Chevy Chase, some of us gotta get back to Shaw going on P Street.

Other kinds of Diversity

Continuing on the London Calling by Tim Bulter & Garry Robson vibe there were other kinds of diversity to think about other than racial diversity. Being in DC we tend to think of diversity in terms of race a lot because well it’s DC and DC can be all about race.
There is occupational diversity. Imagine a neighborhood with bankers, musicians, contractors, lawyers, actors/waiters, plumbers, freelance writers, academics, receptionists, graphic designers, bartenders, retired mailmen, IT geeks, policemen, non-profit employees, accountants, film makers and students all living in the same neighborhood. Um, I think I live in that neighborhood.
There is age diversity. Babies, young children, school aged kids, surly teenagers, college kids, people in their 20s, 30s, 40s & 50s, and retirees, all appearing on the streets, in the stores or living within a few blocks of you.

Okay, now that’s just weird

I’m still reading London Calling: The Middle Classes and the Remaking of Inner London, which is about gentrification in a few London boroughs. I got to the Docklands, which is just on the Thames River (that river thing seen at the beginning of each Eastenders show), and the way the author describes the area is just odd. The weird thing is the gentrifiers there, absolutely unlike the gentrifiers of Brixton or other areas in the study, apparently have absolutely no interest in building community. Unlike the others, they live in gated communities and only come in contact with the working class and Bengali immigrants, who also inhabit the area, on the subway. The kicker is they have very little interest in interacting with their own neighbors much less the people who live outside their gates. That’s just weird.
I believe I was in the Docklands area in 1993 for a visit to some cultural festival. I was poor and went to anything that was cheap and free. I remember the South Asian girls pushing prams. I think I remember taking a bus through what seemed to be a deserted (no people walking about) but well kept area. The thing that sticks out in my head from that day was it was the first time I had Satay. Because it was only 1 pound for a stick or two and I was too cheap to get a proper meal.
The Dockands seem to be the place for people with money, who want a view of the river and don’t want to be bothered with neighborhood social obligations. They only live in the city for the weekday and head to their other home on the weekend. Still, weird.
Community, building community, is what makes Truxton and the other parts of Shaw great. Apparently it is what makes Brixton and some other gentrifying neighborhoods of London great and attractive too. The thought of people just moving into a neighborhood, helping polarize it, and not wanting to be involved with the people around them, to me that’s just weird.

I read a bit more. Some people like to be anonymous and live a life where they can be anon and left alone.
But still, what makes a great neighborhood, regardless if it is poor, gentrifying, posh/trendy or whatever, is the people and the sense of community they bring. The blokes down at the pub, the cat lady down the street, the artist or musican on the next block, Miffy Wellington over on the next street who throws the best parties (anyone who is anyone is there), the dog people and Old Man Whatshisname out on his evening constitutional all add to whatever community they are in and make their neighborhoods what they are.

Mondie Meeting Tomorrow

In case anyone might be interested — we encourage them to attend this important meeting:

Jim Berry, ANC 5C has received approval to host a meeting concerning Mr. Wilbur Mondie’s proposed development project with the parties to his DC Zoning case from the Richardson Place area on Wednesday, December 28, 2005, at Mount Sinai Baptist Church, 3rd and Q Streets, NW, Washington, DC, between the hours of 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. Mr. Mondie will be present with his attorney and building contractor to discuss his plans.

Karl La Cour

Blagden Alley Christmas Party

| Annual Christmas Party |
| at |
| Ed and Richard’s |
| THURSDAY, December 29, 2005 |
| 929 M Street, NW |
| 7:00-10:00 pm |

Reminder of the annual (potluck) Christmas Party.

The newsletter is at

Nothing new since the last time.
Same date.
Same Time.
Same juvenile comments.

Do hope to see you there.

And, as they say in Colorado, Pray for Snow.
(Other Colorado snow sayings skipped.)

Silent Night

Christmas Eve night I figured I would go to my church in Georgetown. Waiting for the G2, our own neighborhood seemed very quiet. Not too many cars or people wandering around and the street noise that I was used to hearing seemed to have turned itself down.
On the bus, going along P Street I witnessed a very closed shops. The Giant was closed, the parking lot nearly empty except for 3 or 4 cars and a small crowd of men on the far end gathered together. In Logan the registers of Whole Foods were empty and the restaurants across the street closed. Over in Dupont, the CVS on 17th was dark, and I the 24 hour CVS on the Circle looked closed as well. There were a few restaurants in Dupont open, Mimi’s had a few tables with folks dining. From the window of Uni Sushi a waiter looked down on P Street forlornly.
Upon reaching Georgetown I had about 30 minutes to kill before wandering in to service and vying for a good seat. Georgetown was dark and scary quiet. There was hardly anyone on the back streets, away from the main drag. It seemed that a fewer street lamps were on and fewer porch lights. A quick walk down a few blocks I could see bushes and entrances to dark English basements that would make great hiding places for would be attackers. I made my way down to M Street quickly. Lots of businesses, like P, were closed. Like P it was missing its usual hussle and bussle and the traffic was very much toned down. There was one restaurant that was open with a handwritten sign declaring they’d be open Christmas Eve and Christmas.
Services ended at about 12:21AM, just enough time to run out the doors, and down the street, to beat the oncoming bus to the bus stop (a bit hard to do down a dark and uneven road in heels). The driver drove like a bat out of hell, shooting past purgatory, so most of P street was a big old blur. Mimi’s was closed. Most of Dupont on this Saturday night was shut. Cabs wandered around empty.

Happy Festivus

I would have held some festivus gathering but a lot of folks have cleared out of town for Christmas. That’s a problem with being a city like ours, so many people are from somewhere else that Christmas is celebrated elsewhere.
Anyway, Festivus.
For dinner I’ll be having either the salad mix I bought from the Dupont Circle farmer’s market last week, or pasta salad or something from Thai X-ing because I love curry.
No festivus pole.
Ah, the Airing of Grievances:
My neighbors who have friends who come by after midnight on a school night honking their horns instead of getting their butts out of the car and knocking on the door, get new friends.
Dear lovely people of Dunkin Donuts, how hard is it to have glazed doughnuts after 5pm? You’ve got 5 more hours to go before closing.
Corbit (the boxer dog) stop being crazy, you know it’s me, stop barking at me.
People of Square 507, stop stealing the neighborhood cats. The cats don’t even want to hang out on my block anymore.
For the Feats of Strength, I challenge Jimbo, who having way more muscle mass than little old me, oh, this will take all of 1 second.