Friday, December 24, 2010

Advent and Christmas Services

If you have recently moved to the area, you might be searching for a church where you can attend a Christmas Eve service.  Here's a list of several churches that are walkable from within the neighborhood, or are easily accessible by bus or metro:

The Washington National Cathedral on Wisconsin Avenue will be holding services tonight at 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.  Both servies will be webcast live for those who cannot attend in person.  The National Cathedral's 2010 Christmas schedule and more details about the webcasts are available here.

Capital Memorial Church, located at 3150 Chesapeake Street, N.W., will hold services Saturday, December 25 at 10:50 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.  You can find more details here.

National Presbyterian Church (NPC), located at 4101 Nebraska Avenue, N.W., will hold a Family Nativity Service at 5:00 p.m. today and Christmas Eve services at 8:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m.  More details are available on the church's website.

St. Ann Roman Catholic Church will hold mass at 6:00 p.m. today, and at 7:30 a.m., 9:00 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. on Christmas, Saturday, December 25.  St. Ann's is located at 4001 Yuma Street, N.W., near the intersection of Wisconsin and Albemarle and the Tenley-AU Metro Stop on the Red Line.  You can find more information about the church here and St. Ann's 2010 holiday mass schedule here.

St. Paul's Lutheran Church, located at 4900 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., will be holding a service today for families at 4:00 p.m. and a candlelight serve at 10:00 p.m.  More details are avaliable here on the church's blog.

Wisconsin Avenue Baptist Church is located at 3920 Alton Place N.W., near the Tenley-AU Metro Stop on the Red Line.  More information is available on the church's website.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Your Neighborhood Holiday Gift Guide

Christmas is quickly approaching, but don't fret if you haven't finished -- or started -- your shopping.  You can still find many great gifts without even leaving the neighborhood.

One of my personal favorite ideas is the Politics and Prose Book-a-Month Gift Program.  Each month, your loved one will receive a new hardcover or paperback book personally selected by Politics and Prose staff, who identify a book based upon the recipient's interests.  Enrollment in the program is free, and costs are the price of the book plus shipping, charged to your credit card each month.

Chevy Chase Gallery is located on the same block of Connecticut Avenue as Politics and Prose.  You might want to consider having that old wedding photograph, the college diploma tucked in a drawer, the finger-painting hanging on the fridge or other personal memorabilia professionally framed for a loved one.  The store's owners Bill and Jackie do all the framing on site and will work with you to find the perfect glass, mat and backing.  Most orders take two weeks to complete, but some items can be rushed.

In Tenleytown, you'll find Hudson Trail Outfitters.  Get a Gear Card for the outdoor enthusiast in your life, and let him or her select from a large stock of bicycle equipment, camping gear, canoe/ kayak gear, knives and tools, outwear and snow sports equipment.

Next door to Hudson Trail Outfitters, you'll find Middle C Music.  Middle C carries a large selection of sheet music, as well as guitars, music equipment and concerts on DVD.  Middle C also offers music lessons in guitar, piano, woodwind and brass, percussion, string and voice for those aged 6 and older.  This could be the perfect gift for someone in your life who is considering rediscovering an instrument he or she gave up years ago, or for someone who has always wanted to learn.

A good bottle of wine always makes a great gift.  You'll find Calvert Woodley Wines & Spirits located about a block north of the Van Ness-UDC Metro Station.  You'll also find a knowledgeable staff able to recommend a bottle of wine to match any taste, budget and occasion.  Pair the bottle with a set of wine glasses from Pier 1 Imports, located at nearby Van Ness Square.

While you're shopping in the Van Ness area, don't dismiss your local grocery store Giant for Christmas gifts.  Giant has a wide selection of magazines for sale, and subscriptions are something your loved one can enjoy all year long.  Giant sells the magazines you'd expect, such as People, Sports Illustrated and Time, but the store also carries a surprisingly large selection of architectural, food, health, news, music and photography magazines, including Acoustic Guitar, The Economist, Runner's World, and Scientific American.  You'll be able to find a magazine for almost anyone.  If you can't, Giant also sells gift cards for Home Depot, The Gap and other retailers.

And to help your loved ones meet their New Year's resolutions, you can always give them a Gold's Gym Van Ness gift card, redeemable for personal training sessions.

Good luck as you complete your Christmas shopping, and happy holidays to all of our readers!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

UDC To Host Campus Master Plan Community Meeting December 8

The University of the District of Columbia (UDC) will hold its third campus master plan community meeting at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 8 at 6:00 p.m.  The meeting will take place in Room A-03 of Building 44 on the Van Ness Campus.  You can find more information on the UDC website

Here are our postings on UDC's first and second campus master plan community meetings.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

2010 Holiday Shipping Deadlines

If you haven't already mailed your Christmas cards, you still have time to make sure they're delivered before December 25.

Shipping with the U.S. Post Office? Domestic first class mail must be posted by December 20, priority mail by December 21 and express mail by December 22.

First class international mail to most locations must be postmarked by December 10.  First class mail addressed to Africa and Central and South America must be sent by December 3.  For international express mail, you have until December 11 for Africa and Central and South America, December 16 for most other locations, and December 17 for Canada.

Sending to a care package to a member of the U.S. Armed Forces this holiday season? Military mail sent to most APO address via parcel airlift must be postmarked by December 3. First class letters and mail must be posted before December 10 for most APO locations, December 4 for select addresses.

You can find additional holiday shipping details on the U.S. Postal Service website here.  Here's a list of U.S. Post Offices in the neighborhood:

Cleveland Park
3430 Connecticut Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008

Friendship Heights/ Tenleytown
4005 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20016

To find a U.S. Post Office near you, click here.

You can also find a UPS store at 4401 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., which is less than one block from the Van Ness Metro.  You can contact the UPS Store at (202) 244 - 7299.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Friends of Rock Creek's Environment Host "Volunteering 101" Event Tonight

Soapstone Stream
Friends of Rock Creek's Environment (FORCE) host a "Volunteering 101" event tonight, December 2 from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. at the Nature Center, 5200 N.W. Glover Road.

National Park Rangers will teach about the park, and attendees will also have an opportunity to learn about volunteering with FORCE's "Stream Teams."  Read more about volunteering with a "Stream Team" here.

You can learn more about tonight's event on the FORCE website. If you plan on attending, contact Joan Furlong at (202) 215-4637.

Monday, November 29, 2010

President Carter To Sign 'White House Diary' at Politics and Prose on November 30

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter will sign copies of his White House Diary at the Politics and Prose bookstore on Tuesday, November 30 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  The signing is not ticketed, and the line will form on a first-come, first-served basis, beginning when the store opens at 9:00 a.m.  The store will allow two books per person to be signed.  You can find more details about the event on the Politics and Prose website.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

How Would You Make Connecticut Avenue Safer for Pedestrians?

At the ANC 3F November meeting, Marlene Berlin of the Connecticut Avenue Pedestrian Action (CAPA) group presented recommendations to improve pedestrian safety along Connecticut Avenue from Calvert Street to Chevy Chase Circle.  The recommendations included considering increasing the length of time pedestrians have to cross the street.

The Cleveland Park 2.0 blog reports that a new red light camera has been activated at the intersection of Connecticut Avenue, N.W. and Porter Street, N.W.  The camera will photograph cars running red lights.

What recommendations would you make to improve pedestrian safety along the Connecticut Avenue corridor?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Volunteers Help Clean Up Soapstone Stream

Stream Team leader Tim Williamson briefs volunteers before Soapstone clean-up, November 20, 2010.
A cell phone. A camera. A sweatshirt. All items one might take along for a hike through the woods, so I shouldn't have been surprised when a group of volunteers found all of these things during a clean-up in Rock Creek Park.  But I was.  To the casual observer, such as myself, Rock Creek Park appears a natural sanctuary surrounded by but removed from the city.  Hikers, storm water runoff and other causes, however, carry pollution and litter into the river.

Saturday morning, I joined about 20 volunteers as part of a Friends of Rock Creek's Environment (FORCE) Stream Team to help clean-up Soapstone, a tributary of Rock Creek.  The Soapstone Stream Valley Trail runs about a mile from Albemarle and 32nd Streets to Broad Branch Road.  Admittedly, the cell phone, camera and sweatshirt were some of the more unusual items we collected from this span of the park.  In less than three hours, the group collected a total of 11 bags of trash and three bags of recyclables, much of it styrofoam, paper, plastic bags and bottles.

Leaves float in Soapstone, November 20, 2010.
"I've always noticed litter in the area," said Tim Williamson, the FORCE Soapstone Valley Stream Team Leader.  "After I read about Sylvia Earle's Mission Blue and learned about the amount of trash in the ocean, I wanted to make other people aware.  There's a garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean that some say is larger than the state of Texas, and a lot of that trash comes from the land.  Plastic bottles and litter float from our rivers to the bays, and from the bays to the ocean. 

"I can't say that what we're doing today is making a huge impact on the ocean, but we are all responsible for where we live.  I hope to encourage people to make that connection, between the choices they make and the environment."

Sometimes making those choices doesn't have to be too difficult.  Something else surprised me about the clean-up: it was fun.  Some volunteers brought friends, while others made new ones.  All of us learned more about the river, and how our neighborhood is connected to it.  And I think everyone felt a sense of accomplishment when we regrouped and realized we had collectively removed 14 large bags of trash from the river.

The Soapstone Valley Stream Team will join others for a park-wide clean-up of Rock Creek on April 9, 2011.  If you are interested in joining a Stream Team or volunteering for the April 9 event, contact FORCE.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Compare and Save: Planning Your Thanksgiving Meal

Thanksgiving is a week away, but you still have time to take advantage of sales at the grocery stores in the neighborhood. We know you're busy, so we've made a shopping list for you, with options at Giant, Safeway and Whole Foods.

Giant Food Supermarkets

Turkey
  • Butterball $1.49 per pound (fresh)/ .99 per pound (frozen) 
  • Shady Brook Farms .99 per pound (fresh)/ .47 per pound (frozen) 
  • Nature's Promise $1.99 per pound (fresh)/ $1.69 per pound (frozen) 

Vegetables and Sides
  • Arnold Stuffing, 14-oz. 2 for $5.00 
  • Stove Stop Stuffing, 5-oz. 2 for $3.00 
  • McCormick Turkey Gravy Mix, 10 for $10.00 
  • Ocean Spray Fresh Cranberries, 12-oz. 2 for $5.00 
  • Ocean Spray Whole or Jellied Cranberry Sauce, 14-oz. $1.20 
  • Fresh Green Beans, $1.79 per pound 
  • Hanover Cut Green Beans, 50-oz. $2.00 
  • Jolly Green Giant Canned Vegetables, Selected Varieties 10 for $10.00 
  • French's Fried Onions, 6-oz. $2.99 
  • Campbell's Cream of Mushroom or Cream of Chicken Soups 10 for $10.00 
  • Betty Crocker Instant Mashed Potatoes, 3 for $5.00 
  • Country Crock Potato Side Dishes, 24-oz. 2 for $5.00 
  • Fresh Potatoes 
    • All Purpose, 5 pounds, 2 for $5.00 
    • Red, 5 pounds, $3.49 per pound 
    • Russet, 5 pounds, $3.49 per pound 
    • Sweet, .99 per pound 

Pies
  • Pumpkin, 8-inch $4.99 
  • Apple, 8-inch $4.99 
  • Mrs. Smith's Bake & Serve Pies, 8-inch $1.99 
  • Sara Lee Homestyle Pies, 9-inch 2 for $7.00 

Complete Turkey Dinners
  • $39.99 for 6-8 
  • $19.99 for 2

Safeway

Turkey
  • Butterball .89 per pound (frozen) 
  • Jennie-O Homestyle Oven Ready, 12 pounds $19.99 (frozen) 
  • Shady Brook Farms .89 per pound (frozen) 
  • Safeway .47 per pound (frozen) 

Vegetables and Sides
  • Safeway Turkey Gravy, 10.5-oz. .99 
  • Safeway Stuffing Mix, 7-oz. 4 for $5.00 
  • Stove Top Stuffing, 6-oz. 2 for $3.00 
  • Ocean Spray Fresh Cranberries, 12-oz 2 for $5.00 
  • Ocean Spray Whole or Jellied Cranberry Sauce, 14-oz. $1.29 
  • Safeway Cranberry Sauce, 16-oz. 10 for $10.00 
  • Green Line Quick & Easy Green Beans, Buy 1 Get 1 Free 
  • Del Monte Canned Corn or Green Beans, 10 for $10.00 
  • French's Fried Onions, 6-oz. $3.49 
  • Campbell's Cream of Chicken or Cream of Mushroom Soups, 5 for $4.00 
  • Signature Cafe Creamy Mashed Potatoes, 14-oz. $2.99 
  • Potatoes 
    • White, $3.49 for 5 pounds 
    • Russet, $3.49 for 5 pounds 
    • Idaho, $3.99 for 5 pounds 
    • Sweet, $1.99 per pound 

Pies
  • Pumpkin, 9-inch $3.99 
  • Apple or Cherry, 9-inch $5.99 
  • Mrs. Smith's Pre-Baked Pies, selected varieties $2.99 

Complete Turkey Dinner
  • $39.99 for 6-8 

Whole Foods

Turkey
  • Fresh natural free range $2.49 per pound 
  • Fresh organic $3.49 per pound 
  • Fresh-brined $2.49 per pound 
  • Bone-in $3.99 per pound 
  • Fresh kosher $3.49 
  • Roasted Turkey, $59.99 each -- serves 6 to 8 
  • Roasted Boneless Turkey Breast, $39.99 each -- serves 4 
  • Oven Ready Turkey, Small $49.99 
  • Oven Ready Turkey, Medium $69.99 
  • Oven Ready Turkey, Large $84.99

Vegetables and Sides
  • Traditional Sage Stuffing, $8.99 (small)/ $14.99 (large) 
  • Organic Turkey Gravy, $1.19 
  • Deli Turkey Gravy, 23-oz. $6.99 
  • Deli Cranberry Orange Relish, 11-oz. $4.99 
  • 365 Brand Whole or Jellied Cranberry Sauce, 16-oz. $1.99 
  • 365 Brand Canned Corn and Green Beans, 14.5-oz. .89 to $1.69 
  • Deli Mashed Potatoes, $10.49-18.99 
  • Deli Homestyle Casseroles, $9.99-17.99 
  • 365 Brand Instant Mashed Potatoes, $1.99 per box 
  • Potatoes 
    • All Purpose Small, $3.99 for 2 pounds 
    • Gold, $5.99 for 5 pounds 
    • Red, $5.99 for 5 pounds 
    • Russet, $4.99 for 5 pounds 

Pies
  • Pumpkin, 9-inch $9.99 
  • Sharon's Sweat Potato, 9-inch $10.99 
  • Apple, Apple Cranberry, Cherry, Mixed Berry, 9-inch $16.99 
  • Pecan, 9-inch $16.99 
  • Vegan Pumpkin or Apple, 8-inch $6.99 

Complete Turkey Dinner
  • $129.99 Traditional Turkey Dinner for 8 
  • $129.99 Southern Turkey Dinner for 8 
  • $59.99 Turkey Dinner for 2 plus a few 
  • $59.99 Vegan Dinner for 2 plus a few

    Tuesday, November 16, 2010

    ANC 3F November Meeting Focuses on Pedestrian Safety

    A discussion on pedestrian safety and highlights from upcoming environmental events featured prominently during the November 2010 ANC 3F monthly meeting held Monday, November 15.

    Marlene Berlin of the Connecticut Avenue Pedestrian Action (CAPA) group presented the findings of a study examining pedestrian safety along Connecticut Avenue from Calvert Street to Chevy Chase Circle.  The area encompasses 44 intersections, of which 18 are unsignalized, 53 bus stops, and three metro stations.  This area sees an estimated 30,000-40,000 cars per day.  Between 2006 and 2008, there were 44 pedestrian crashes, with four fatalities.

    "There's inconsistent signage for cars," Ms. Berlin said, "and not enough time for individuals to cross the street.  Able-bodied adults need 3.5 feet per second to cross safely, and older people and children need about three feet per second."

    Ms. Berlin says these concerns should be taken into consideration by the community and city, because there are four public elementary schools whose boundaries cross Connecticut Avenue, and 14 preschools on or within a block of the street.  In addition, four seniors' residences are located on or near Connecticut Avenue.

    CAPA has devised a set of recommendations for each of the 44 intersections along the Connecticut Avenue corridor and will be publishing their report later this week.  You will be able to find the report online at capa-dc.org.  Their recommendations include increasing the time allotted to cross the street as well as means to improve drivers' visibility of along the street and photo enforcement to reduce speeding.

    Lieutenant Victor Brashnewitz with the Metropolitan Police Department, District 2, also addressed community safety at the meeting, as he provided the monthly crime report for the neighborhood.  Eight of the 26 crimes in PSA 203 over the last 60 days involved stolen bicycles, including ones taken from garages and private residences.

    The police have also seen an uptick of individuals breaking into homes in which windows and doors were unlocked.  The lieutenant reminded residents to  secure the back doors and windows of their homes.  Several laptops and iPods were also reported stolen from public places. Residents should be mindful to keep an eye on these items even when they are at their office, a library or university campus.  You can use the MPD's crime mapping application online to find out what crimes have been reported in your neighborhood.

    In other news, ANC 3F Commission Chair Karen Lee Perry advised residents that the D.C. Department of the Environment's Fisheries and Wildlife Division will be conducting nighttime wildlife surveys in the ANC 3F neighborhoods on November 27 and November 28 between sunset and 9:00 p.m.

    "Residents should be prepared to see D.C. government vehicles driving along public roads and shining spotlights into wooded areas and lawns to identify wildlife.  The spotlights will not be directed at residences' homes," Commissioner Perry said, "Drivers and other observers who come across the process should remain in their cars or homes."

    Commissioner Tom Whitley reminded residents that the "Stewardship of Rock Creek" event is taking place on Wednesday, November 17 from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Chevy Chase Presbyterian Church.  The event, organized by the Friends of Rock Creek's Environment (FORCE), invites the 80 religious institutions located in the Rock Creek watershed to "green" their properties and help protect the creek.  You can find details about the event here.  Read more about FORCE volunteers here.

    The Commissioners concluded the meeting agreeing to address at least two items in December.  First, they will consider Guapo's Restaurant's application for extended hours of operation.  They will also consider seeking the placement of a Capital Bikeshare station near the intersection of Connecticut Avenue and Nebraska Avenue.  Read more about what Capital Bikeshare is doing in the neighborhood here.

    ANC 3F's December monthly meeting will not take place on the third Monday of the month, as regularly scheduled.  ANC Commissioners will provide more details on an alternate date and time.

    Saturday, November 13, 2010

    "Top of the Town": Neighborhood Celebrates Heritage Trail

    Community members pose with "Top of the Town"  Heritage Trail Sign 5, Fort Reno, November 13, 2010.
    What Washington neighborhood hosted the second Nixon-Kennedy presidential debate and introduced Kermit the Frog to the world?  Hint: It's the same neighborhood that boasts the highest elevation in the District of Columbia.

    If you guessed Tenleytown, you are correct.  It's a neighborhood that's played an important role in three wars -- it's where women of the U.S. Navy broke the Japanese code during World War II -- and started as a tiny, rural village centered around John Tennally's tavern, centuries before the Dancing Crab restaurant was established and years before the area was chosen as part of the nation's capital.

    "This neighborhood is a vital piece of the history of D.C., and its past and present continue to shape life here," said Cultural Tourism D.C.'s Executive Director Linda Harper.

    Today, Cultural Tourism D.C. joined neighborhood residents for the official unveiling of "Top of the Town: Tenleytown Heritage Trail," the city's eleventh neighborhood trail and the first to be established in Ward 3.  The ceremony took place at Fort Reno Bandstand, the site where Union soldiers once camped to protect the nation's capital from Confederate invasion.

    Fort Reno is one of nineteen sites -- specifically, number five on the trail -- on this self-guided, walking tour.  Those interested in taking the tour can start at any one of the nineteen locations.  Trail guides are available in both English and Spanish from merchants and institutions along the way as well as at www.CulturalTourismDC.org.

    While representatives of Cultural Tourism D.C. hope the heritage trails will encourage visitors to our nation's capital to explore the city beyond the Mall, they also encourage locals to give them a try.

    "When you live in a community, and you have your everyday life, you might take your neighborhood for granted.  You might even think you really know your neighborhood," Jane Freundel Levey, Cultural Tourism D.C.'s Director of Heritage Programs told me.  "But take a walk in your neighborhood, follow one of our heritage trails, and find out what you don't know about your community.  We encourage residents to take their families -- and friends -- on these trails, and we hope they really enjoy them."

    Befitting the neighborhood's historic association with the media (you can learn more about that history at "Top of the Town" heritage trail site eighteen), NBC 4 reporter Chris Gordon and WAMU's Metro Connection producer Rebecca Sheir hosted the unveiling ceremony.

    "What we've seen here today is civic activism, neighborhood participation, and it's really wonderful," Mr. Gordon said.

    Ward 3 Council Member Mary Cheh also spoke at the ceremony.  More than an estimated 100 residents attended, including several families who have lived in the neighborhood for five or six generations.  Carolyn Long, Chair of the Tenleytown Heritage Trail Working Group, gave a history of the community, and several speakers reflected how the neighborhood has changed over the years.

    "President Lincoln visited the camp at Fort Reno," Alexa Viets, a Program Manager with the National Park Service's Civil War Defenses of Washington, told the assembled crowd.  "In fact, he made several visits to the camp -- usually during election years.  See, some things never change!"

    You can find a tour map and learn more about the "Top of the Town: Tenleytown Heritage Trail" here.

    UDC Farmers' Market Ends Its 2010 Season



    Today, the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) hosted its last farmers' market scheduled for 2010.

    "It was a marvelous season, and I look forward to this continuing next year," market organizer Dr. Gloria S. Wyche-Moore said. "I want to thank the community for embracing us, and hopefully our patrons will continue to support us."

    The farmers' market is scheduled to reopen in late April or early May, depending upon when next season's produce is ready for sale.  The market is a partnership between UDC's College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability, and Environmental Sciences and the National Latino Farmers and Ranchers Trade Association.  In 2010, seven  Hispanic farmers sold their produce at the market.


    In addition, other vendors sold beef, chicken and spinach empanadas, breads, cupcakes, muffins and other pastries, and an assortment of homemade jams and jellies.

    Robin Johnson's red onion marmalade, hot pepper jelly, and fig jam have become popular items at the market.  Ms. Johnson began selling her jams and jellies a year ago after she received encouragement from her friends, many of whom had asked her informally to cater functions at their homes.

    "I never planned on making food for a living, but I loved to cook, and more importantly I loved to eat. I hope that is reflected in what I make," Ms. Johnson said.

    If you are a vendor looking to participate in the market, please contact Percy Williams or Rosalind Parker at (202) 255-3630.  

    Thursday, November 11, 2010

    Honoring America's Veterans

    Today, Americans honor those who have served in our armed forces.  Washingtonians can participate in ceremonies throughout the area.

    Arlington National Cemetery holds a National Veterans Day Observance at the Memorial Amphitheaters at 11:00 a.m., and a Veterans Service Organizations wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns at 12:00 p.m.  You can find more information here.

    The annual Veterans Day Observance at The Wall takes place at 1:00 p.m. and recognizes Americans who served in the Vietnam War.

    There will be a special program paying tribute to Americans who served in World War II at the World War II Memorial on the National Mall at 5:00 p.m.  You can obtain additional information about the program from Paul O'Brian at 202-438-7066 or on the National Park Service website.

    Monday, November 8, 2010

    'Washington: Portrait of a City' Exhibition Opens November 9

    The University of the District of Columbia (UDC) will host an exhibition of Steve Gottlieb's photographs from his book Washington: Portrait of a City from November 9 through December 17.

    The exhibition opening will begin with a reception, gallery lecture, silent auction and book signing on Tuesday, November 9 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in Building 41, Level A.

    More information is available from Susan Bodiker at (202) 274-5953.

    Community Meeting Addresses UDC Campus Growth

    Tonight, more than 40 University of the District of Columbia (UDC) representatives and community stakeholders participated in an open house to discuss the school's future growth.

    "We want this to be the community's university," UDC Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Graeme Baxter said.

    The university is in the process of drafting its first master plan, which university officials expect will be completed by Spring 2011. While the university is looking at the development of the broader campus map, the immediate process is being driven by plans to construct a student center starting in Fall 2011. The university is evaluating where the student center will be located on campus and is considering community input alongside city government recommendations and requirements.

    "We want to truly understand what the community's interests are, because they can contribute to campus life and vice versa," said Doug McCoach, an architect and developer who led the open house meeting and is currently working on UDC’s first master plan.

    Tonight's meeting sought neighborhood residents' input on community participation, campus growth, campus character, sustainability, and transportation issues. Area residents urged greater communication between the university and the community -- such as installing a marque or electronic signage near the university's entrance to advertise school events -- and sought increased access to the university's library, meeting spaces, and athletic facilities. More than one resident encouraged the university to continue its weekly farmers' market.

    Community members also advocated for any growth plans to maximize pedestrian safety by limiting the need for students and faculty to cross Connecticut Avenue and encouraged the university to adopt LEED gold or platinum standards rather than silver, which is currently required by law.

    Residents voiced some concerns over costs associated with the university's growth. Provost Baxter responded that the proposed student center is already funded, and the university is also required by law to balance its budget each year.

    Several residents also expressed a desire for more concrete information on development plans from the university. Residents asked for more details on the proposed design of the student center as well as additional information on student housing. In addition to the student center, UDC is also considering construction of an on-campus residence with 400 units.

    UDC will hold its next community meeting in the Campus Auditorium, Building 46 East, on Wednesday, December 8. In the meantime, area residents can offer their feedback to Steve McKenzie at 202-274-5624 or Thomas Redmond at 202-274-5622.

    Sunday, November 7, 2010

    UDC To Hold Second Public Meeting on Campus Master Plan

    UDC Van Ness Campus
    The University of the District of Columbia (UDC) will hold its second community meeting to discuss the school's campus master plan on Monday, November 8 at 6:00 p.m.

    The meeting will be held at the UDC Van Ness Campus in the Firebird Cafeteria in Building 38 on the B-level.  You can contact Steve McKenzie at 202-274-5624 or Thomas Redmond at 202-274-5622 for more information.

    You can find a copy of the UDC campus master plan presentation made during the October 19 community meeting here or read our blog posting about the meeting here.

    The District's Annual Leaf Collection Begins November 8

    Leaves blanket the ground in Rock Creek Park. (Photo courtesy of Warren Hindley)
    The D.C. Department of Public Works will collect leaves from November 8, 2010 through January 15, 2011.  Residents can rake loose leaves into piles in the curbside treebox space -- not the street -- for collection.

    Every street will have at least two collections.  Bagged leaves will collected with trash, as space permits.  You can find more information and the city's leaf collection schedule here.

    Saturday, November 6, 2010

    Daylight Savings Time Ends This Weekend

    Don't forget, daylight savings time ends this year on Sunday, November 7 at 2:00 a.m.  Set your clocks back an hour, and take the opportunity to check your smoke alarms.

    Don't have a smoke alarm?  The D.C. Fire and EMS Department offers D.C. homeowners one free smoke detector per household.  You can learn more information about the program here.

    As If You Needed an Excuse for Nachos...

    Cheese nachos at Cactus Cantina
    National Nachos Day is November 6.  Fortunately, for those looking to celebrate, there is no want for Mexican or Tex-Mex restaurants walkable in the neighborhood.  And, while you really can't go wrong at any of the locations, our favorite is Cactus Cantina.  Why? After sampling the nachos at each of the restaurants, we ordered a second plate only at Cactus Cantina.

    Alero Cleveland Park
    3500 Connecticut Avenue, N.W.
    Washington, D.C. 20008

    Cactus Cantina
    3300 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W.
    Washington, D.C. 20016

    Guapo's
    4515 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W.
    Washington, D.C. 20016

    Senor Pepper
    5507 Connecticut Avenue, N.W.
    Washington, D.C. 20015

    Our final recommendation: Round up a group of friends, go to the restaurant closest to you, and order a pitcher of margaritas with your nachos.

    Thursday, November 4, 2010

    Key Elementary School Hosts Free E-Cycling Event

    Peggy Robin with All Life is Local reports that Key Elementary School will hold a free e-cycling event on Friday, November 5 beginning at 6:00 p.m. through  Saturday, November 6 at 12:15 p.m.

    Here's your chance to get rid of old TVs, batteries and other items that might be cluttering your apartment, basement, or basement apartment. You can find out more details here.

    Tuesday, November 2, 2010

    Election Day 2010: ANC 3F Results

    UPDATED: Only one race was contested in ANC 3F.  As of Wednesday, November 3 at 12:56 a.m., the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics has released the following unofficial election night results:

    ANC 3F01
    Adam Tope 50.49%
    Michael Siegel 47.56%
    Write-In 1.95%

    ANC 3F02
    Karen Lee Perry 97.24%
    Write-In 2.76%

    ANC 3F03
    Karen Beiley 95.54%
    Write-In 4.46%

    ANC 3F04
    Tom Whitley 94.05%
    Write-In 5.95%

    ANC 3F05
    Roman Jankowski 94.14%
    Write-In 5.86%

    ANC 3F06
    Cathy Wiss 94.04%
    Write-In 5.96%

    ANC 3F07
    Bob Summersgill 96.88%
    Write-In 3.12%

    We'll update the results as more information is released.  In the meantime, you can follow all D.C. election results here.

    Election Day 2010: ANC 3E Results

    UPDATED: The D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics has begun to announce today's election results.  As of Wednesday, November 3 at 12:56 a.m., the Board has released the following unofficial election night numbers:

    ANC 3E01
    Beverly Sklover 57.82%
    Jonathan McHughes 41.86%
    Write-In 0.32%

    ANC 3E02
    Matthew Frumin 95.41%
    Write-In 4.59%

    ANC 3E03
    Jonathan Bender 93.08%
    Write-In 6.92%

    ANC 3E04
    Sally Greenberg 43.49%
    Tom Quinn 54.98%
    Write-In 1.53%

    ANC 3E05
    Sam Serebin 89.92%
    Write-In 10.08%

    We'll update the results as more information is released.  In the meantime, you can follow all D.C. election results here.

    ANC 3F Candidates Campaign on Election Day 2010

    Candidates' signs line the sidewalk outside Murch Elementary School on November 2, 2010.
    Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3F01 candidates Mike Siegel and Adam Tope were campaigning early this morning near Murch Elementary School, Precinct 33 in Ward 3.

    Siegel is a public and environmental finance consultant and member of the School Modernization Committee.  Tope is an associate with Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, where he practices corporate and securities law, and volunteers as a Metropolitan Police Department block captain.

    Siegel sees development and traffic as two key issues in the community, and would like to advance parent and community involvement in school modernization planning and coordination between area ANCs on areas of overlapping concern. If elected, Siegel will focus on walkable communities with a greater emphasis on alternative transit.

    Tope's priorities include public safety and ANC accessibility.  He promises an ANC website and email listserv within 30 days of election.  He would like to increase awareness of crime prevention and attract businesses to fill Connecticut Avenue storefronts.

    Both candidates say they will focus on increasing pedestrian safety in the neighborhood.  One issue either candidate might face once elected is bringing together the neighborhood's disparate interests.

    "You have a combination of large apartment buildings, single-family homes, businesses, schools, and development in this ANC," says ANC 3F03 candidate Karen Beiley, "and you have to make sure they all work together."

    Beiley, who is running uncontested, spent this morning introducing herself to voters near Murch Elementary School.  Supporters of mayoral candidate Vincent Gray and incumbent D.C. Council Member Mary Cheh were also on site, as well as two women urging a write-in campaign for Mayor Adrian Fenty.

    Several election volunteers at precinct 33 said the polling location was busy this morning.  They found this to be surprising given the fact that many races this year were determined during the primaries or were not contested.

    You can read more about the ANC 3F01 candidates in our interviews with Michael Siegel and Adam Tope.

    Interview: ANC 3F01 Candidate Michael Siegel

    Michael Siegel, a public and environmental finance consultant, is a 15-year resident of the neighborhood and currently running as a candidate for ANC 3F01.  This morning, he was campaigning near Murch Elementary School.

    School issues are a priority for Mr. Siegel, who is the parent of two DCPS students and an 11-year volunteer soccer coach.  He is also a member of the School Modernization Committee, which secured $1.5 billion in capital funds for modernization efforts.

    He is also focused on development and promoting walkable communities.

    "Traffic and development go hand in hand," Mr. Siegel said, "I'd like to see more attention to heavily crossed walks made safer for pedestrians, particularly during rush hours and school release times."

    When asked why he was running for election, Mr. Siegel said, "Two fine commissioners are retiring, and they have done a lot to put the ANC on the right track.  I decided it was my time to step forward and continue their work and progress."

    Jane Solomon is one of the commissioners who is retiring.  She has served as ANC 3F's Vice Chair and Treasurer.  She said, "Mike's background is a huge asset.  He's been active in this neighborhood for a long time.  I'm concerned that the other candidate, Adam Tope, has no track record in our community."

    Retiring ANC 3F01 Commissioner Susan Banta also endorsed Mr. Siegel.

    You can read an interview with ANC 3F01 candidate Adam Tope here.

    Election Day 2010: Polls Open in the District

    Voters walk near entrance to Murch Elementary School, Precinct 33, on November 2, 2010.
    Today is Election Day, and D.C. residents might be wondering why they should bother to drag themselves to their polling places on a chilly morning.  Aside from civic duty, Josh Korr gives six good reasons to vote today in the District.

    Don't know where to find your voting location?  TBD.com helps you find your polling place.  Precinct locations are open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. today.  Ward 3 residents can find a sample ballot here.

    Interview: ANC 3E04 Candidate Sally Greenberg

    Sally Greenberg is currently running to serve as ANC 3E04 Commissioner.  She has lived in the neighborhood for about 13 years and serves as the Executive Director of the National Consumers League.

    Greenberg says the skills it takes to run a consumers' organization are similar to those one would need to serve as a neighborhood representative.

    "The ANC raises issues with officials, and makes sure the voice of the community is being heard," Greenberg says.

    Greenberg says the most pressing issues for the neighborhood include pedestrian safety and development.

    "Growth, building and development should take into consideration the needs of the residents of the neighborhood," Greenberg says.

    She also says that ANC representatives must listen to different perspectives and seek a spirit of compromise to reconcile the community's various needs, such as addressing competing interests -- whether they be dog-owners or baseball teams -- over the use of recreational facilities in the neighborhood.

    "I have a connection to the community, a strong connection to the community," Greenberg says, "Serving on the ANC is something you can do to give back to your community.  I think it is part of civic responsibility, and I feel good about having my name on the ballot."

    Interview: ANC 3E04 Candidate Tom Quinn

    ANC 3E04 Candidate Tom Quinn stands near the CVS in Tenleytown.
    Tom Quinn is currently running to serve as ANC 3E04 Commissioner.  He is an eight year resident of the neighborhood and previously worked for 15 years as an assistant manager at National Geographic.

    Quinn recently gave this blog an interview, during which he addressed why he was running for the ANC and spoke about local development issues.  Quinn says the ANC is an important forum for neighborhood issues to be discussed.  He says this function allows the ANC to press for better outcomes, whether that be a change in trash collection and snow removal or an improved tree-trimming policy along city streets.

    "A lot of people might be frustrated with the quality of city services.  The ANC is the conduit to voice those concerns, and look for solutions, and to get people working on the issue," Quinn says.

    Quinn was particularly energized when discussing development issues along Wisconsin Avenue.  In August, Quinn and other residents joined mayoral candidate Vincent Gray for a walk along the Wisconsin corridor from Tenleytown to Friendship Heights.  Quinn says the walk was an important opportunity to address the future of the neighborhood and described Gray's knowledge of zoning issues as "encyclopedic."

    "Smart development is a means to finding solutions, it's not part of the problem," Quinn says. "For example, there is a great deal of value in vertical real estate, and we must leverage it for good purposes.  Some of the profits should be rolled back into local benefits.  Affordable housing and green building requirements have been codified locally, and that is a good thing."

    Quinn says development is also a means to address parking, traffic and other related issues.  He feels that the community should look at how metered parking spaces are currently used and whether or not a change in policy -- only free parking for residents -- might cut down on traffic congestion.  He says any parking solution must match supply and demand and benefit both residents and businesses.

    Summarizing his approach to community development, Quinn says, "You've heard people say, 'think globally, act locally.' Well, we also have to think regionally, act locally."

    Monday, November 1, 2010

    Interview: ANC 3E01 Commissioner Beverly Sklover

    Beverly Sklover currently serves as ANC 3E01 Commissioner and is running for reelection this November.  She has lived in the American University Park neighborhood for almost 20 years and  substitutes as an art teacher at Janney Elementary School, where her children were once students.

    Sklover speaks with great pride about her children, and says that she wants to leave the neighborhood "better or as good for my children, and all the children in the community."

    "This is a wonderful neighborhood, where people truly are neighbors to each other," Sklover says, "I can't imagine living anywhere else I would enjoy more."

    A Missouri native, Sklover worked for the New York City Department of Planning for six years before earning her law degree from Catholic University's Columbus School of Law.  Sklover says that she'll call upon these various experiences when addressing community issues.

    Sklover is particularly pleased that her ANC was able to work with WMATA to make sure that "bumpy tiles" (tiles that alert those with impaired vision where a metro station's platform ends) were installed at the Tenleytown Metro station years ahead of schedule.  She says it serves as one example of the important role the ANC can play in the community.

    Sklover says the community is fortunate that many of the issues the neighborhood faces are not "pressing in the greater scheme of things," but she cites aging-in-place, traffic and development as concerns she will continue to address as ANC Commissioner.

    Former ANC 3E Chair Amy McVey says, "Beverly's diligence, ethical and effective work habits have and will continue to be an asset to all in our community.  She demonstrates very creative problem-solving ideas and is able to energize a group of people like no one else."

    Politics and Prose's November Events Schedule

    Update: President Jimmy Carter will sign copies of his White House Diary at the bookstore on Tuesday, November 30.  More details are available here.

    Robert Dallek and John Feinstein are just two of the authors scheduled to address readers at local bookstore Politics and Prose, November 6 and November 16 respectively.  Salman Rushdie will address the store's patrons at the Sixth and I Historic Synagogue on November 17.  You can find a complete calendar of the bookstore's events here.

    The bookstore will hold a memorial tribute to founder and co-owner Carla Cohen, who passed away on October 11.  The memorial will take place on November 21 at 1:00 p.m.  The bookstore will provide additional information as it becomes available.  Community members can share their memories and condolences here.

    Saturday, October 30, 2010

    Friday, October 29, 2010

    The Sane Person's Guide to a "Fear-Full" Weekend

    Tens of thousands -- including many area residents -- are expected to descend upon Washington's National Mall on Saturday, October 30 for the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear with John Stewart and Stephen Colbert.

    Comedy Central will broadcast the rally live and continue to give us the latest news about the event.  Their coverage offers interesting stories, such as the fact that the New York Times dedicated a crossword puzzle to the rally.

    Giving readers the essentials, TBD.com provides a guide to the rally: where to sleep, eat, and party. TBD.com also offers helpful tips on how to get there by car, bike or public transportation.

    In addition to Stewart and Colbert, The Roots, Sheryl Crow, Jeff Tweedy and Mavis Staples are scheduled to perform.  You can find out more about the schedule here.

    For those who don't want to brave the crowds rallying on the Mall, there are many other activities taking place this Halloween weekend.  Here's a list of several events taking place in the neighborhood and elsewhere around town:

    • Forest Hills Playground at 32nd and Chesapeake Streets, N.W. will hold a free Halloween party with a costume parade, performances, arts and crafts, and a bake sale from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
    • Rock Creek Nature Center at 5200 Glover Road will hold an educational program about bats for children ages 4 and older.  The event starts at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 30 and is free.
    • As part of their annual "Halloween Spooktacular," merchants along the Chevy Chase corridor on Connecticut Avenue will welcome children trick-or-treating from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. on Saturday.
    • The 11th Annual Nightmare on M Street Bar Crawl takes place from 5:00 p.m. until 1:00 a.m.  Tickets are $20 at the door.  This week, the Washington Post "Going Out Guide" selected it as an editor's pick event.
    • The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) hosts a haunted house at the Parkview Recreation Center from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 30.  You can find more details about the event here, as well as Halloween safety tips from MPD.
    • Georgetown holds its 14th annual Halloween bash on Saturday, October 30.  You can find more details here.
    And for something fearful for entirely different reasons: can the Washington Redskins avenge last year's loss to the Detroit Lions? We'll find out Sunday, October 31 at 1:00 p.m.  You can watch the game on Fox 5.

    Also of note this weekend, the 35th Marine Corps Marathon takes place on Sunday, October 31 at 7:00 a.m. Metro will be opening early on Sunday.

    Hope everyone has a safe and happy Halloween!

    Thursday, October 28, 2010

    Interview: ANC 3F01 Candidate Adam Tope

    Photograph courtesy of Mr. Tope
    Adam Tope is an associate with Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, LLP. He is currently running for ANC 3F01 and answered several questions for our readers.

    Why are you running for the ANC?


    "I moved to ANC 3F from Ward 6, Chinatown.  The ANC in Chinatown was transparent, connected to the community and always on top of the issues in the neighborhood.  It anticipated future issues and worked as a tireless advocate for the neighborhood with various DC agencies.

    "Based on my experiences living in ANC 3F, our ANC is very reactionary and doesn’t facilitate discussion and advocacy of big picture issues.  I’m running for ANC to bring about significant change to the way ANC 3F operates and communicates with the community.  I want to make the ANC more transparent and accessible and get the ANC on the top of the mind of all of my neighbors as a source of ideas and solutions for community issues rather than it serving as the place you go to vent frustrations after the fact.

    "I am hoping that I can use my energy and creativity, as well as my track record as a results-oriented strategic leader, to move our ANC forward from being not only the place you go to get support for a new fence or home renovation, but also move it towards being an institution that focuses on big-picture community issues, for example UDC, and works with neighbors and neighborhood groups to foster ideas that will move our already great neighborhood to the next level."

    What role do you see the ANC playing in the local community?


    "The ANC should act as the facilitator of communications between the community and DC agencies. I’m not convinced it currently does.  When campaigning, I was shocked that many 10-20-30-year residents had no idea what the ANC was or did.  It should not be this way.

    "The only way the ANC will be successful is by having constant contact with the community.  This means holding SMD-only meetings and engaging the community so everyone knows their commissioner and feels comfortable raising their concerns and voicing their opinions.

    "The ANC also needs to be transparent so all SMD residents know what the ANC is, what it is doing and what it can do for them.  By staying connected with the neighborhood, the ANC can get a pulse of the neighborhood’s opinions and advocate for the issues we feel are important."

    What do you see as the most pressing issues for the neighborhood, and how should they be addressed?


    "I’m glad you asked this question.  When I started my candidacy for ANC back in August, I set up a web site that included a survey for my neighbors.  Based on the responses I have received to date, I can tell you that the most pressing issues are ANC transparency and public safety.

    "The ANC’s transparency and relationship with the community need to be drastically overhauled.  ANC 3F is one of the few ANCs without an up-to-date web site and any consistent ongoing communication with the community members.  In many ways, ANC 3F is distinguished from other ANCs by being a black box.  No one knows what goes in, comes out or goes on inside.

    "Addressing transparency is fairly simple, but needs knowledgeable, energetic leadership to implement.  As I have mentioned in my campaign, if elected, I will quickly design and implement a legitimate, up-to-date web site for the ANC.  I will set up facebook and twitter accounts to distribute information.  I will also make sure ANC agendas are consistently posted to community email listservs, minutes are posted quickly to the web site, and that all communications include the various apartment/condo buildings in our ANC.  My goal is to make sure that anyone that wants to know what is going on in the ANC can easily find out.

    "Regarding safety, the ANC needs to increase its advocacy with the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).  It also needs to help bring the community together to educate them about crime issues and how to protect themselves, their homes, cars and families from crime.

    "As the MPD Block Captain of my block of Reno Road, I have taken a short crime-fighting course that I believe everyone in the neighborhood would benefit from attending.  I think a version of this course should be offered locally, often and to anyone in the neighborhood.  I also want to expand the Block Captain program to every block in our ANC.  I think the ANC is an appropriate organization to spearhead anti-crime education and disbursement of crime-related information to the community.  It should also act as an liaison with the MPD, Uniformed Secret Service and other law enforcement agencies in our neighborhood to decrease crime."

    Is there anything else that I didn't ask you that you'd like to share with our readers?


    "I’m currently running in the only contested seat in our ANC.  This is the first time it has been contested in many years.  While my opponent would probably make an acceptable commissioner, I question his true interest in serving on the ANC and what his dedication to the position would be.  After all, he hasn’t campaigned and did pick up his ballot petition only hours before the deadline.

    "I believe what sets me apart from my opponent is my creativity, energy and drive to move the ANC forward. Since moving to our neighborhood, I’ve been involved in the community.  As I’ve mentioned, I’m the MPD Block Capitan for my block of Reno Road, which has helped foster friendships with my neighbors and a relationship with the MPD.  I also was selected by Mary Cheh as a Ward 3 member to the DC Council Census Committee.  On the Committee, I spearheaded Ward 3’s Census promotion activities by designing and printing Census-related posters and other materials and distributing these promotional materials to Ward 3 businesses so they could promote the Census.

    "I think our ANC currently suffers a general malaise and lack of strategic vision.  The transition from the Fenty administration to the Gray administration presents an opportunity to change the ANC’s relationship with DC.  I think I can bring new energy to the institution to improve its transparency, community relations and get it back on its feet to act as a strong advocate for SMD 3F01’s and ANC 3F’s interests."

    Update: You can read an interview with ANC 3F01 candidate Michael Siegel here.

    Celebrating Five Years of Protecting Rock Creek

    Deer pauses in Rock Creek Park. (Photograph courtesy of Warren Hindley)
    Today, Friends of Rock Creek’s Environment (FORCE), a local nonprofit organization, celebrates five years of caring for and protecting Rock Creek.

    Rock Creek flows 33 miles through the heart of Washington, D.C. and Montgomery County, Maryland, and it has 30 tributaries.  Its watershed -- the land area that drains into the creek -- covers a densely populated area of 77.4 square miles.

    "Every time it rains, Rock Creek becomes a torrent," says FORCE Executive Director Beth Mullin, "and the storm water carries with it severe pollution -- dirt, gasoline, oil, pesticides, all of which gets put into the creek.  This issue really brings you into the surrounding neighborhoods, and that is why it is so critical to engage the community."

    Ms. Mullin says the river's neighbors can help reduce this problem by building rain gardens, as the Chevy Chase Community Center recently did, and capturing water from their roofs in rain barrels.

    "The great thing, the positive thing, is that people really love Rock Creek Park," Ms. Mullin says, "and we are looking to connect with anyone -- neighbors, schools, religious institutions, business, embassies, really any organization or individual -- who cares about the park."

    Looking to involve local residents in caring for the park and river, FORCE has established "Stream Teams," groups of volunteers who adopt a stretch of Rock Creek or one of its tributaries.  The teams regularly monitor their stretch of the creek and report any problems to the proper authorities and FORCE.  They also organize at least two trash cleanups per year and set up advocacy and restoration projects.

    "By dividing the area into smaller pieces, allowing people to adopt sections, you make caring for the creek much more manageable," says Ms. Mullin.

    There are currently 34 "Stream Teams," and FORCE is working to establish 50 teams in total.  Individuals interested in leading or joining a team can contact FORCE directly.  More details are available on the FORCE website.

    Wednesday, October 27, 2010

    Capital Bikeshare Available in Van Ness Area

    Capital Bikeshare station along Connecticut Avenue near the Van Ness-UDC metro stop.
    Washingtonians and Arlington residents tired of traffic or metro delays have another option for traveling around the city: Capital Bikeshare.

    In 2008, the District became the first jurisdiction in North America to launch a bike-sharing program -- but it was limited to 120 bikes at 10 stations downtown.  This year, the District and Arlington County, Virginia partnered to launch an expanded bike-sharing system, with 1,100 bikes and 114 stations.  And, this last month, Capital Bikeshare added a station along Connecticut Avenue near the Van Ness-UDC metro stop.

    "The [Van Ness] location is ideal," says Chris Holben with the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), "there's close proximity to commercial buildings, housing, schools, and the metro.  Density is a factor in determining a station's location.  Ideally, we'll have stations every four to five blocks downtown, and we want to have stations in all of the Wards as well as near all of the universities."

    The Capital Bikeshare station near the Van Ness metro aims to serve students, faculty and staff at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) as well as residents commuting to work downtown.

    "It's awesome," says District resident Jane Daly, "The best aspect of bike-sharing for me is that it is noncommittal.  I can ride a bike to the office, but I don't have to worry about it if I want to go out with friends after work and then later need to catch a bus or the metro or take a taxi or walk home, depending upon what makes the most sense.  I don't feel tethered to my bike."

    Ms. Daly has only one problem with the system: sometimes there are no bikes at the station closest to her residence and too many bikes at the station nearby her office.  Mr. Holbern says DDOT is aware of the situation and is working with a contractor to redistribute bikes during the day.  Even so, Ms. Daly says it's a minor complaint and uses the Spotcyle app on her mobile phone when she finds it necessary to identify alternate stations closest to her.

    "I'm still learning bike etiquette," Ms. Daly says, "but there's really a camaraderie developing among the riders.  The other day, a fellow rider waved at me.  It's really becoming a phenomenon."

    Riders can join Capital Bikeshare for a day, a month or a year.  The current membership fee is $75 per year, but individuals can join for $50 if they do so before October 31.  Members pay no fee for the first 30 minutes of a trip, but rates apply to each additional 30-minute period thereafter.  You can find more information about how the program workspricing and frequently asked questions on the Capital Bikeshare website.

    Interview: ANC 3E05 Commissioner Sam Serebin

    Sam Serebin currently serves as 3E05 ANC Commissioner and is running for reelection.  Sam took a few minutes to answer questions from the Van Ness Blog.

    What do you see as the role of the ANC in local government?
    “Quite simply the ANC is the only democratically elected body that represents the community. As such, the ANC's role is to advise government agencies on matters that are of interest and concern to the neighborhood. The ANC's role is one of advisor, voice, and advocate. The ANC is -- and should be -- given the greatest weight of any neighborhood organization.

    “Fortunately, over the past term that I've served our ANC's relationship with various government representatives and agencies has improved so that -- I believe -- we are now afforded a greater degree of respect when it comes to matters that interest this community. Making strides in this regard has not been easy due to what used to be a rather adversarial approach to communicating with other agencies.  I hope we are able to continue to make positive strides in order to more fully realize the potential that the neighborhood possesses for its residents."

    Why are you personally running for the ANC?
    “Besides it being a wonderful opportunity to learn about the political process and the manner in which government and activism works or doesn't work, I have a very vested interest in the community.  I am a parent of two children -- one is eight weeks old, and one 18 months -- and have completed almost one term as an ANC commissioner.  And so, I would like to continue my work advocating for this neighborhood.

    "As a sitting commissioner I've been intimately involved in efforts to improve the area's public schools -- most notably and visibly with Janney Elementary -- pedestrian safety, safety of citizens within their homes and while walking their neighborhood, the area surrounding the metro along Wisconsin, rights of dog owners, our neighborhood parks, and I -- along with others -- see the need to influence positive change in the direction of a dramatic improvement to mass transit options and capacity.

    “My family has put down roots here, because we view it as a wonderful place to live and raise children. There are a lot of interesting, intelligent, and talented people living here, with a diversity of opinion that is really healthy.  The residential neighborhoods are lovely, and the parks are wonderful.  The public schools -- Janney in particular -- are among the best in D.C.  Deal Junior High is moving in a very positive direction, and I anticipate Wilson will one day also be an excellent option for high school.

    "Additionally, we thought there appeared to be tremendous upside potential for the commercial area and for home valuations.  Being close to the metro is a luxury in this day and age -- and I anticipate will continue to be highly valued.

    "I see my involvement on the ANC as an opportunity to help bring about positive change in the area, for everyone -- young, old, and four-legged -- that lives here."

    What do you see as the most pressing issue facing the neighborhood?
    "Presently the most pressing issue is improving our mass transit system and turning Wisconsin Avenue into a lively and safe pedestrian friendly area."

    Is there anything else you'd like to share with our readers?
    "Hmmm. Please vote for Sam Serebin if you live in 3E05. Thanks!"