How I know things are better: cars

One morning I observed a city owned tow truck moving a car on New Jersey Avenue and I was reminded of a question. The question was asked in relation to gentrification and changes in the neighborhood, and it was “what is better?” Because I say that things are getting better and one way I know the neighborhood has gotten better is with parking enforcement.
There was a time when cars would get dumped on our street and they would sit. For days and weeks. While they sat, they attracted trash that would collect under the tires. We STRONGLY suspected that our friendly neighborhood drug dealers used the cars to stash drugs. Then there were the cars that were stolen, some with broken windows.
Well as good citizens we’d call up the city and ask for the cars to go away and early on it seemed like we were ignored. Because I remember there was a car parked near or under the poo-poo tree and I reported it, several times. And it did not go away for over a month. I’d report it, wait a few days or a week and report it again. I pondered paying a tow truck to make it go away and ditch it in Maryland. But it eventually went away, but it wasn’t the only car that was left unmoved.
Now, the city actually enforces the law. They ticket, a new thing that they started a few years ago. Also in the last few years they boot cars. I credit this to the demographic changes in the neighborhood with more active voters who try to hold the city accountable and demand decent city services. It is not that there weren’t any politically or civicly active people here before, it’s just that there are now more of them, which helps with burn out.

Back to the drawing board

1721 4 St NW
Originally uploaded by In Shaw

I’ve told a friend that if you want to get active in this neighborhood there are lots of fights to get involved with. There is the billboard fight, the dog park, the Cook school, and closer to me zoning issues. The poorly painted house is on next weeks’s ANC 5C’s agenda. The owner wants to add a fourth floor. At the last ANC meeting, where he, the owner, wasn’t listed on the agenda, he apparently agreed to keeping the mansard roof. However when appearing before the BZA (Board of Zoning Adjustment) the owner’s drawings had a gabled (think suburban house roof) roof. It will be interesting to see if the owner took the BZA’s recommendations to heart.
Also the Cook School is on the meeting’s agenda as well.

ANC 5C Meeting
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
7:00pm -9:00pm
All Nations Church
Rhode Island at North Capitol Street, NE