Call before you dig event

You can find more information on CGA and its “Call Before you Dig” campaign here:

What: Launch of 811. The 811 “Call Before You Dig” event on the National Mall will formally “launch” the 811 number, mandated by Congress and established by the FCC.

When: Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Where: The National Mall, 3rd Street, NW (between Madison and Jefferson Drives)

Time: 10:00 a.m.

As you may be aware, before beginning any digging project, local DIYers or professional landscapers are required to call Miss Utility to have a crew come out and mark their underground lines. Now, diggers can use a single three-digit number to reach Miss Utility and all other One Call Centers across the country—that number is 811.
Homeowners often make risky assumptions about whether or not they should get their utility lines marked, but every digging job requires a call—even small projects like planting trees and shrubs. Research shows that while 46% of Americans are active diggers who have done or plan to do a digging project at home, only 33% of DIY’ers plan on calling before they dig, which means they are taking a huge risk each time their shovel disturbs the dirt. And failure to call before digging results in more than one unintentional hit per minute, according to CGA research. Hitting an underground line can also lead to injury, penalties, repair costs and expensive and inconvenient service outages.

See PSAs:
60 second TV PSA:
30 second TV PSA:

Stuff catching on fire

What’s going on?
In the wee hours Eastern Market catches fire.
Then this afternoon the Georgetown library catches on fire.
See more at DCFD, and scroll down to the working incidents stories. Also the April 18th shows the fire at the sign shop on New York Ave, and the apartment fire on 6th St.
Eastern Market people, don’t let the city sit on this for years on end. Start planning the rebuild….now! Lest ye have an O Market situation, lotsa planning and pretty architectural drawings, building in stasis.

North Capitol Main Streets event @ the Big Bear

The North Capitol Main Street had a Volunteer Recruitment Happy Hour, but face it, many of us was there cause we wanted into the Bear. Some were there for the free food. Anyway there was a huge crowd packed inside the Big Bear. Big enough that sometimes the easiest way to get from one end to the other was to go out the door, walk outside and make your way to the other.
The crowd was also diverse. Whites, blacks, gays, straights, people with dogs (dogs stayed outside), seniors, babies, and all in between. There were little black girls and little white girls (ages 4-6ish) running around outside, trying to lift each other, while adults warned them about spots where they needed to watch it. There was the trio of middle school aged boys who walked in from somewhere, checking out the scene, scarfing down food and displaying a deep interest in the coffee making machines. There were a couple of babies, they really didn’t do anything ‘cept look cute.
But the main reason for the Bear opening its doors was the North Capitol Main Street org. There were a few speakers who spoke briefly. First was Vicky Leonard Chambers the chair of the volunteer organization. She (I think, I wasn’t taking notes) mentioned that unlike some other Main Street organization, North Cap gets no money from the city and it is completely a volunteer effort (thus the happy hour recruitment). They would like to get funding from the city, but even then the problem is the city hasn’t budgeted a lot to the Main Streets program. Then Elizabeth Price of the NoMa BID spoke, she is new on the job and has no phone, yet. After her a few other NCMS persons spoke and there was a raffle. I left.
Can’t wait till the Bear is open for business.

Quick blog before church

I don’t write about everything that goes on in the hood. I still need to get out the shin-dig over at the still unopened for business Big Bear (yes, in Bloomingdale). And there was some sort of shoot out in the TC this weekend. The big items I haven’t written about, mainly because other Shaw bloggers have, were:
Shaw being the 2nd bloggist neighborhood
The Warehouse Theater in danger of closing because of property taxes
The Shaw EcoVillage bike shop Chain Reaction closing (dang it where am I going to get my bike fixed now!?)

Okay I gotta go.

The Plan & Wiki

Not the Florida Market Plan. Another plan. A plan that I thought was born in the fifties and sixties and died possibly in the 90s. But like an aging celebrity you thought was dead because you haven’t heard about them doing anything recent, this thing is still alive too.
I write of the Shaw School Urban Renewal Plan. Poking around the National Capital Planning Commission website I found the plan, buried down the list:

Shaw School Urban Renewal Plan, Washington, D.C.
7/7/05, Modifications to the plan

So, it was adjusted in 2005, for what I don’t know, but that hints that The Plan is still alive. Admittedly, I’m too lazy to walk over and ask for a copy of The Plan from their offices, and they might charge me for it. The District Government may also have a copy of The Plan, but I fear it is in the hands of the Department of More Important Things, where they never return your phone calls and really that’s handled by someone else.
Another thing I noticed poking around on the Internet, was the Wikipedia entry for the neighborhood formerly or currently known as the Shaw School Urban Renewal area. “Shaw, Washington, DC” has in it’s history that

Shaw grew out of freed slave encampments in the rural outskirts of Washington City. It was named after Civil War Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, the commander of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry.

Can anyone provide a dead tree reference for the slave encampment part? I’m aware of encampments around the city, and the big Freedmen’s camp was out in Alexandria, not so much one notable here.
And this is one of those moments I wish the African American papers were in an accessible database. ProQuest allows me to search the Post back to the late 19th century, but it was the white paper, and up until the Shaw School Urban Renewal Plan, the Post called this area the 2nd District. I’m curious about what Black residents called the area prior to The Plan, well besides Northwest.

Florida Market Meeting

The Office of Planning said they’d post the presentation in the next 2 days, so I’m not going to repeat a lot of what was presented. I’ll try to sum up what took place.
They tried to make clear, or distance themselves, from was the New Towns project. No, this was just about the study of the area, which is a more in depth study than the general one that done before. However, because New Town’s running parallel to this study, the confusion was hard to avoid.
There were presentations about the historic and economic aspects of the area. Construction of the market began in 1929 and other buildings were added later up until about the mid-20th Century. The economic presentation looked at possible land uses, but what was interesting about it was pointing out that there is not a lot of land in the District of Columbia zoned for light industrial, thus making Florida Market special.
On the topic of zoning it was pointed out that the area is not zoned for residential. Currently, no residential can go there. Also the New Towns project wants to put in a high rise, and zoning limits buildings to 40 ft in height.
In the citizen commentary and in the presentation by OP there were some valid points made. Yes, the market needs better signage. Apparently back in the Barry years there was a plan for signage but there was no money, so it didn’t get done. Yes, the market is ADA unfriendly. Yes, it is run down and dirty. And yes, it is hazardous for pedestrians.
There were other points brought up that I didn’t agree with that boils down to my fear of the area being sanitized and losing its affordable flavor. First off, the market shouldn’t have to be all things to all people and not every development has to serve a primarily middle class mainstream audience. It serves immigrants (and other ethnic groups), ethnic businesses, small businesses, and people looking for deals. Yes, there is a demand for housing in the area, but more housing doesn’t necessarily mean it will be affordable or available to the very transient student population.
I will mull over the handout I got some more and probably come up with a better post later.

BAA meeting

| Blagden Alley Association |
| Monthly Meeting |
| |
| THURSDAY, April 26, 2007 |
| 7:30-9:00 pm |
| Merle and Greg’s |
| 1327 Tenth Street, NW |

The newsletter is at

1. Discussion of the new initiatives the WCC
is taking. Many oriented to local businesses.
2. Walnut Street development at 917 M Street.
3. Police.
4. More.

Fun with ProQuest: Bates Street gets shafted

I started a new search “Bates Street” between 1950 to 1990. I decided to focus on Bates because of some of the rehab projects that were to take place in the first Marion Barry admin on the street.
One 1969 article got my attention and I’m just going to quote it:

…said its first ghetto aid effort was expected to be in the Bates Street Project — part of the Shaw redevelopment plan.
Later a spokesman…. said in Washington that the initial phase of the PIC plan will probably be shifted from Bates Street to a block of 8th and 9th Streets nw., bounded by S and T.
Russo said the RLA now feels it would be better to start in that block, with 25 houses on 8th Street and 20 on 9th Street.

Ronald Russo was the spokesman for the RLA. The RLA was the Redevelopment Land Agency. PIC was the People’s Involvement Corp, a federally funded group. Ghetto and slum are words the Washington Post used [past tense] to describe our neighborhood. They just use ghetto now and then these days.
I’ve waded through several “Crime and Justice” articles to get to the next quote and let’s say, I’m depressed.
Anywho, in a Jun 1971 article:

Two years ago, at a convention in Atlantic City, the league pledged $7 million toward the Bates Street project. “This soon became hopelessly involved in government red tape and citizens’ indecision,” league president Thornton W. Owen said recently, “so that any tangible activities in this area in the near future seems highly improbable.”

All articles from the Washington Post
“S&Ls Pledge $7 Million For Homes; Rehabilitation” by S. Oliver Goodman. June 1, 1969. p. 125
“Firms To Fund Housing; S&Ls to Build Huge Project For City Poor” by William H. Jones June 10, 1971. p. B1