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Spring Cleanup and Mulching

Bus Stop

Today, neighbors completed the Spring cleanup of the triangle park, 12th/Michigan/Shepherd Streets NE, with the spreading of the mulch provided by D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR). Three cubic yards had been delivered on the Shepherd Street side.

The Mulch Pile

Divided between two weekends due to rain, the work focused on the flower beds near the 12th Street bus stop and near the corner of Shepherd Street and Michigan Ave.  Several trees were also mulched. Most of the weeding had taken place on the previous work day in April.

Moving the Mulch

The Mulch Pile Removed

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MPCA Position on Mundo Verde Public Charter School

MPCA stands opposed to the current petition by Mundo Verde Public Charter School to operate on 4401 8th Street NE, Washington, DC 20017 (corner of 8th and Varnum Streets) unless the following two provisions are met:

1. Agree to create and implement a traffic management plan to reduce traffic and manage the traffic volume and flow of private cars and buses delivering and picking-up children to the school.  Also, the school should publish its commitment to implement the plan and support it with signage, communication with parents, and the assignment of staff to be outside to enforce the traffic plan every day, morning and afternoon.

2. Remove their plan to enlarge the building and limit the building capacity to 458 students.

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MPCA Minutes April

Michigan Park Citizens Association
4 April 2017
Providence Hospital

President David Conrad opened the meeting and Mr. Paul Wood led the attendees in the pledge of the allegiance.  Ms. Beulah Sutherland read the treasurer’s report.

Ms. Marita Riddick, representative of Councilmember McDuffie, provided updates on legislative initiatives.

Ms. Sutherland distributed a petition to membership who wish to support D.C. Council Bill 22-0044 to provide D.C. income tax reductions for retired Federal and DC employees, exempt elderly home owners, and allow seniors to deduct $500 of their insurance premiums from taxable income. Details may be requested from the Coalition to Restore the Pension Benefit Annuity at restoredcpensionbenefit@gmail.com.

The annual Spring cleanup for the triangle park at Michigan Ave/12th ST/Shepherd ST is scheduled for Saturday, 22 April, 09:00-12:00.

President Conrad noted that MPCA’s position in opposition to the planned EYA development of Saint Joseph’s Seminary has been recorded. A hearing is scheduled April 27 at 441 4th Street, 2nd Street.

Ms. Elizabeth McGowen, MPCA representative to the D.C. Federation of Citizens Association, noted a recent presentation to the Federation about the LED street light issue. Ms. McGowen invited the presenters to our meeting, and introduced them to the membership. Ms. Delores Bushong and Sharon Turner helped form The Street Light Task Force in December 2016 to inform residents in DC of the harmful health impacts of blue-rich LED street lights that DDOT is installing on our neighborhoods. LED is a new, inexpensive lighting technology.  LED lighting is not measured in WATTs but in lumens and Kelvins.  Lumens refers to brightness and Kelvins refers to the wavelength colors. LEDs has a high percentage of blue. The DC government is installing 4,000 to 5,000 kelvins which glare in the eyes. The American Medical Association (AMA) recommends 2,700 kelvins. The cost of the LED bulbs at the lower kelvins is the same and there is not a difference in brightness.  The 2,700 kelvins LEDs are only 5% less efficient. The presenters stated that DDOT does not believe AMA’s proposal. The Street Light Task Force is seeking a moratorium on the installation of high Kelvin lights by DDOT and that our City Council required DDOT to use only warm-white 2700 Kelvin LED lights to retrofit those already installed.

METRO STATION DEVELOPMENT. Robin from CAS Riegler and Nina Albert, WMATA, discussed the planned development of metro land at on the East side of the Brookland/CUA Metro Station.  They are looking with Ramada to build mid-high density with a mix of residential and street-level retail. This approach because of the metro station in the immediate vicinity to the development. The Brookland Green would remain.

BAZZUTO DEVELOPMENT. Mr. Robert Byrd representing Bazzuto noted that his organization is now working the height requirements for the 3.1 acres of Providence Hospital owned land at the top of Varnum Street NE.  The development will replace the three-storied beige colored buildings. DDOT is waiting for the site survey before assessing traffic.

ACE Hardware

ANNNIE-ACE HARDWARE. Mr. Thomas Vedrody, part-owner of Annie-Ace Hardware, spoke about the store. ACE hired all the former employees of Brookland Hardware and buy much of their inventory locally. However, business has been less than anticipated and not adequate to support the store long-term.  The owners believe the main problem is the lack of available parking.  Mr. Vedrody noted that the large open lot next to the business is open to parking on weekends.  Mr. Vedrody encouraged neighbors to visit. The store incorporates 7400 square feet and includes both a garden center and tool rental. The number of tools for rent is being expanded. Also, Mr. Vedrody recently began price matching as well.

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MPCA Minutes March

Michigan Park Citizens Association
7 March 2017
Providence Hospital

NOTE: The following draft minutes are pending approval by membership.

President David Conrad opened the meeting at 7:18 pm by leading members in the Pledge of Allegiance.  A few announcements were made. The annual planned Spring cleanup for the public park at 12th, Michigan and Shepherd is planned for Saturday, 22 April 2017.  John Feeley, ANC 5B05 Commissioner, will host a meeting on Monday, 13 March 2017, at Turkey Thicket, to hear a Catholic University of America Professor brief university student ideas about developing the Colonel Brook’s site.  Treasurer Beulah Sutherland read the treasurer’s report.  The February minutes were read and accepted with corrections.

NOMINATION PROCESS.  President Conrad reviewed the annual process for selection association officers and asked for volunteers to serve on a nomination committee. The three members of the 2017 Nomination Committee are Lorenz Wheatley, Ralph Bucksell and Don Looney.

ROSS AUDITORIUM.  Providence Hospital is now owned by Ascension. Mr. Bucksell will approach hospital management about continued use of Ross Auditorium for association meetings.

Comprehensive Plan with amendments. The new comprehensive plan with amendments has been submitted. EYA must abide by this plan. The developers of Colonel Brook’s property did not abide by the comprehensive and their development plans were halted.  President Conrad will forward ANC Commissioner Feeley’s letter regarding the plan to endorse or oppose by MPCA membership.  The ANCs are our voice in development, and we would oppose reduction of that voice in the process.

TRAFFIC. On January 24th, 2017, the association hosted a meeting about traffic attended by EYA.  President Conrad drafted an association position about traffic and Input was received during the meeting.  Vice President Roxanne Carter moved that the position paper with changes be accepted. The motion passed.

HOWARD DIVINITY SCHOOL.  The University had reached out to the neighborhood and some members of MPCA had participated in feedback sessions to develop a concept for development. Howard University is now looking for a developer to develop a site plan.

SPRING CLEANUP.  The park cleanup (12th/Michigan/Shepherd) is scheduled for Saturday, 22 April, 9:00-12:00.

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MPCA Position Traffic

March 07, 2017

Traffic Section of the Michigan Park Citizen’s Association (MPCA) position in opposition to the proposed EYA development of the St Joseph’s Seminary property dated 1/24/2017, amended 03/07/2017:

MPCA held a meeting with EYA and Gorove/Slade Traffic Engineers on January 24 focused on traffic conditions in the vicinity of the proposed PUD at St Joseph’s Seminary.

The following revisions to the traffic section of the MPCA letter in opposition to the PUD reflect community input from that meeting and the regularly scheduled MPCA monthly meeting held on March 7.

  1. Traffic and Parking

    a. Traffic:

    i. Michigan Park currently experiences significant, heavy traffic that worsens at rush hour and hospital shift changes. The dangerous condition has already prompted two requests for traffic calming measures.
    ii. The Gorove Slade traffic study, in its Peak Hour Vehicular Capacity Analysis Results, notes:

    1) Three instances in which the current level of service (LOS) is rated as unacceptable (Levels 3 and 4).
    2) The number of unacceptable instances is expected to increase to five without the PUD.
    3) This bad and deteriorating situation can’t handle even the slight traffic increase that the study expects the development to produce.

    iii. We note that the bulk of traffic issues in Michigan Park are generated by commuters driving to downtown and to local destinations. The extension of Webster Street through to 12th Street alters traffic patterns on 12th, 13th, Allison and Webster streets.

The efforts by EYA to engage the community to develop traffic mitigation are welcome.   We strongly encourage a livability study that would take into account the effect of this development’s proposed density with the density of other recent developments on South Dakota Avenue. These and other developments coming to the neighborhood in the near future will have a major traffic impact on Michigan Park that was not taken into account in the Gorove Slade study.

13th Street/Sargent RD NE and Webster NE intersection is of particular concern:

The intersection is currently treacherous for traffic and for pedestrians exiting Webster and intending to travel either north or south on 13th/Sargent Road NE. The intersection is near the top of a rise on 13th St to the south.  This rise, together with parked cars on 13th/Sargent NE, blocks sight lines while exiting from Webster St.

We propose constructing bulb-outs on the 13th St/Sargent legs of this intersection to place pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles in a better position to observe and be seen by crossing traffic.  We further propose adding four way stop signs to the intersection to further slow traffic on Sargent/13th St NE.

12th St NE and proposed extension of Webster Street NE:

The revised PUD documents change Webster St extended from one way east to two-way at this intersection.  This intersection is immediately adjacent to the emergency room entrance to Ascension (Providence) Hospital.  Adding crossing traffic to this section of 12 Street worsens an already congested and periodically hazardous entrance to the hospital emergency rooms.

We propose returning proposed Webster St extended to one way east at this intersection and adding stop signs to the 12th St. NE legs of this intersection.

12th St NE and Varnum NE intersection:

This intersection is listed as currently failed during peak time conditions in the Gorove Slade Study. The chief problem with this intersection is its signal timing. We propose optimizing the signal timing to account for the increased traffic imposed by the future background conditions assumed by the study, the proposed development at St Joseph’s, as well as other nearby proposed developments.

b. Parking

i. Gorove Slade outlines on pages 8-10 several options for 12th Street on-street parking. MPCA has expressed concerns about the PUD’s guest parking, but on further examination changes such as curbside parking and/or bicycle lanes are being proposed with insufficient attention to Providence Hospital’s needs
ii. Any changes along 12th Street must consider and account for:

1) Safety and access to the emergency room for emergency and law enforcement vehicles approaching from both the north and the south.
2) Clearance and adequate turning space for the extra large delivery vehicles and mobile medical vehicles to the loading docks and parking lots on the 12th Street side of the hospital.
3) Any changes to the design of the 4400 and 4500 blocks of 12th Street need the review and approval of Providence Hospital.

Conclusion:

MPCA strongly recommends traffic mitigation changes to the intersections of the proposed Webster Street NE extended and 12th Street NE and 13th Street NE as well as a general livability study for Michigan Park to examine general traffic issues in the area.

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MPCA Minutes February

Michigan Park Citizens Association
7 February 2017
Providence Hospital

President David Conrad opened the meeting at 7:07 pm.  Mr. Paul Wood led members in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

Mr. Conrad noted that January was a busy month with two special meeting, one about the proposed EYA development and the second about the development’s impact on neighborhood traffic.

Ms. Beulah Sutherland read the treasurer’s report into the minutes, and the minutes from January were approved with one correction.

Ms. Denise Blackson, Office of the People’s Counsel (OPC), presented as part of the District’s Energy Efficiency Outreach effort.  OPC advocates for District residents with private utilities to include electric, natural gas and landline telephone services.  OPC may also provide legal counsel for the same. Ms. Blackson displayed the types of commercially available light bulbs and discussed the advantages and disadvantages of each.

President Conrad noted that the association had met January 12th during a special meeting to finalize our position regarding the proposed EYA development of the property surrounding Saint Joseph’s Seminary.  The letter is posted on our association’s website. EYA had submitted a letter to the D.C. Board of Zoning and a public hearing will be scheduled.  EYA later made changes in response to the comments from the zoning commission.

President Conrad further discussed a second special meeting January 24th to review traffic issues in the neighborhood.  DDOT was present and we learned that DDOT has a role to review traffic proposals and, therefore, would recuse itself form commenting on designs and potential traffic calming measures. Potential traffic calming measures were discussed. Parking restrictions on both sides of Allison Street, 24 hours, also discussed.  Neighbors must be polled to obtained restricted parking.

Mr. Robert Byrd representing Bazzuto discussed another potential development in University Heights at the top of Varnum Street.  Providence Hospital owns the property, zoned at RA-1, and is considering its development. He noted that there are not yet any specific plans. Residents pointed out that the intersection of 12th and Varnum Streets, the only two-way traffic access to the street, is already considered a failed intersection by an EYA commissioned traffic study.

Mr. Lionel Gaines of the Mayor’s office introduced himself and noted that the lighting along 15th Street is one of several streets selected for testing of the new high Kelvin LED lighting and has been well received in SE neighborhoods. Mr. Ralph Bucksell noted that the primary concern of the SE residents is crime, but the American Medical Association (AMA) issued a report indicating that 4,000 Kelvin lighting has been found to be detrimental to people, animals, birds and trees.

Mr. Marita Riddick introduced herself as the new representative from Councilmember McDuffie.

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MPCA Minutes January

Michigan Park Citizens Association
12 January 2017
Lamond-Riggs Neighborhood Library

Members gathered at a special meeting at Lamond-Riggs Neighborhood Library to review and vote on the association’s position to inform our position and testimony on the proposed development of the property surrounding the Saint Josephs Seminary, 1400 Barnum Street NE.

President David Conrad opened the meeting at 07:05 pm and first addressed some routine business. Roxanne Carter reported on her efforts on behalf the Association to support a needy family identified by the Principal of Bunker Hill Elementary during Christmas. This year, a family of four children, three boys and one girl, was selected. Ms. Carter accompanied the mother to Walmart where they selected clothing and one toy per child. As the family just moved into a new apartment, the mother also was able to procure new bed sheets for all the children. Roxanne noted that the mother was deeply touched. A total of $314.16, tax included, as spent.

President Conrad related that a joint meeting was sponsored by Queens Chapel Civic Association and Michigan Park Citizens Association at the Union Wesley AME Zion Church, 1860 Michigan Ave NE, on Monday, January 9, 2017. Ms. Ann E. Chisholm, Government Relations Officer for the District of Columbia and Officer Tomika M. Holmes, Metro Transit Police Department, were present and answered members questions.

Mr. Ralph Bucksell noted that the city has changed the street lighting of several blocks in our neighborhood to 4,000 Kelvin LED lighting.  LED lighting provides greater light with less cost than conventional lightning and the city is testing the lighting to help deter crime. However, he noted that the AMA recently issued a report that the 4,000 Kelvin LED lighting can have negative impact on people, animals, birds, and trees.  The AMA recommends that LED street lighting should not exceed 3,000 Kelvins.  Several cities (Phoenix and Los Angeles) who had put in 4,000 Kelvin LED lights are now replacing them with 2,700 Kelvin LED lights.  The 2,700 LED light provides the about the same amount of lighting as the 4,000 Kelvin LED light but the light from the 2,700 Kelvin lights provides a different hue which does not negatively impact people, animals, or trees as the 4,000 Kelvin LED lights. 

Should residents wish to view the new 4,000 Kelvin LED lights in our neighborhood, Mr. Bucksell suggests that if they go to Monroe and 15th Streets NE (Monroe going towards South Dakota Avenue).  Take a right onto 15th Street and travel north on 15th Street towards Rhode Island Avenue.  You will note that the lights illuminate the blocks that they are on so that it appears to be daylight.  Please make the trip after dark and drive until you pass under all of the high intensity lights.  We have found that the lights cause eye pain that lingers for a short time.  Try it, and see if what you experience.  Mr. Bucksell notes that several ANCs in the city where the lights have been place are asking to remove them and replace with the lower Kelvin lighting.

President Conrad presented a written, draft proposal to members. The proposed was reviewed and discussed. A motion was moved to accept the position with changes. Motion was passed (posted February 2, 2017).

Mr. Conrad thanked all in attendance for their participation and adjourned the meeting at 08:35 pm.

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MPCA Special Meeting – Traffic

Michigan Park Citizens Association
24 January 2017
Lamond-Riggs Library

MPCA sponsored a community meeting focusing on traffic as affected by the St Joseph’s PUD. The meeting was held on Tuesday, January 24th at the Lamond-Riggs Neighborhood Library.

We had presentations from Mr. Rodney Foxworth of DDOT Community Outreach on their review process for development proposals such as the EYA Planned Unit Development (PUD) for the St Joseph’s Seminary property.

Mr. Foxworth described a variety of potential traffic calming measures.  These measures such as, speed humps, raised crosswalks, bulb-outs etc are listed and defined in DDOT’s Traffic Calming Assessment Application.  This document can be found at:

http://ddot.dc.gov/sites/default/files/dc/sites/ddot/publication/attachments/Traffic%20Calming%20Petition_New%20Version%20.pdf

DDOT’s role is to review the traffic implications of development proposal and report to the DC Zoning Commission.  Since they are responsible for project review, to avoid conflict of interest, they must recuse themselves from participation in project design.

In the second half of the meeting Evan Goldman of EYA and their traffic engineer consultant, Dan van Pelt of Gorove Slade  reviewed their traffic report and engaged in discussion and Q & A.

The report can be found at: http://12thandallison.com/12th-allison-transportation-report

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MPCA Position on Proposed St. Joseph’s Development

January 17, 2017

Michigan Park Citizen’s Association (MPCA) Position in opposition to the Proposed EYA development of the St Joseph’s Seminary property.

Summary:

MPCA respects and values the work and mission of the St. Joseph’s Seminary. We consider them good neighbors and wish for them all the best. Nevertheless, the density proposed by the EYA Planned Unit Development (PUD) and the resulting exacerbation of existing traffic problems, lead us to reluctantly come to the conclusion that, for the long term good and health of Michigan Park, we cannot support the current PUD application.

1. Introduction

a. MPCA has been continuously active in Michigan Park since its founding in 1917. Many members are decades-long residents.
b. The property is prominently and centrally located within MPCA’s boundaries. We have a strong and vested concern in its proposed development. Its development is of considerable consequence to our community.
c. We recognize the Josephites’ need and their right to realize the value of their investment in their property.
d. We trust that a development design can be found that benefits the Josephites, safeguards neighborhood well-being and character and is a net positive for all concerned.

2. Open Space and Historic Preservation

a. As noted in the Comprehensive Plan (Chapter 24, Section 10), there is a dearth of publicly-owned open space in Ward 5. The loss of privately-held open space such as the yards of St Joseph’s is significant to the entire neighborhood. We would prefer the DC Government would rise to this and other opportunities to purchase privately-held open land to augment the inadequate stock of public open land in Ward 5.
b. We applaud the intention of St Joseph’s to apply for Historic Preservation Landmark status for the seminary building. We similarly welcome placing easements on the front and side yards of the Seminary building. The dedication of these yards to open space and to public use in perpetuity is a welcome and significant contribution to the public good of our neighborhood. It is our expectation that these easements will be permanent and irrevocable.

3. Zoning and Architecture

a. The current zoning of the property is R-2. The introductory section of Chapter 3 of the 2016 Zoning Code reads in part:
“300.4 The purpose of the R-2 zone is to:
(a) Provide for areas with semi-detached dwellings; and
(b) Protect these areas from invasion by denser types of residential development.”

In considering this PUD and its impact on our neighborhood we urge the Zoning Commission to keep in mind this primary intention of the Zoning Code.

b. The neighborhood in the immediate vicinity predates the 1958 zoning and exceeds its density; specifically, the row house groups exceed the current R-2 standards and is an exception to current zoning (grandfathered).
c. The PUD proposal for row dwellings in the north yard of St Joseph’s is out of context and in excess of even the existing housing stock, which is a mix of single, duplex and grandfathered triplexes.
d. We oppose the change in zoning to R-1A as being inconsistent with the goal to protect existing R-2 zoned areas against denser types of residential development.
e. EYA has chosen a contextual approach to the architectural design of the project.

–i. However, this deference to context is limited to surface matters and stops short in terms of the development’s density and number of stories in building height.
–ii. Arranging the outer rank of dwellings in groups of one and two with yard space between them is significantly more contextual.
–iii. EYA has emphasized that the proposed height of the dwellings is only marginally higher than the surrounding houses. This needs to be consistent on all three sides of the proposed development.

—-1. However, in significant contrast to the surrounding residential context, the current façade designs present a full three stories to the street. This subverts the attempt at contextual architecture.
—-2. Penthouses and roof decks exacerbate the incompatible height differences with the immediately surrounding neighborhood and should be omitted.

4. Traffic and Parking

a. Traffic:

–i. Michigan Park currently experiences significant, heavy traffic that worsens at rush hour and hospital shift changes. The dangerous condition has already prompted two requests for traffic calming measures.
–ii. The Gorove Slade traffic study, in its Peak Hour Vehicular Capacity Analysis Results, notes:

—-1. Three instances in which the current level of service (LOS) is rated as unacceptable (Levels 3 and 4).
—-2. The number of unacceptable instances is expected to increase to five without the PUD.
—-3. This bad and deteriorating situation can’t handle even the slight traffic increase that the study expects the development to produce.

–iii. We note that the bulk of traffic issues in Michigan Park are generated by commuters driving to downtown and to local destinations. The extension of Webster Street through to 12th Street alters traffic patterns on 12th, 13th, Allison and Webster Streets.

The efforts by EYA to engage the community to develop traffic mitigation is welcome. We withhold judgment on this issue pending outcome of these efforts. We would encourage a livability study that would take into account the effect of this development’s proposed density with the density of other recent developments on South Dakota Avenue. These other developments will have a major traffic impact on 12th Street that was not taken into account in the Gorove Slade study.

b. Parking

–i. Gorove Slade outlines on pages 8-10 several options for 12th Street on-street parking. MPCA has expressed concerns about the PUD’s guest parking, but on further examination changes such as curbside parking and/or bicycle lanes are being proposed with insufficient attention to Providence Hospital’s needs.
–ii. Any changes along 12th Street must consider and account for:

—-1. Safety and access to the emergency room for emergency and law enforcement vehicles approaching from both the north and the south.
—-2. Clearance and adequate turning space for the extra large delivery vehicles and mobile medical vehicles to the loading docks and parking lots on the 12th Street side of the hospital.
—-3. Any changes to the design of the 4400 and 4500 blocks of 12th Street need the review and approval of Providence Hospital.

Conclusion:

MPCA has come to the conclusion that for the long term good and health of our neighborhood we cannot support the current PUD application unless and until the above concerns are significantly and successfully addressed. The impact to open space, historic preservation, zoning, architecture, traffic and parking is tremendous. This development will have an invasive and dramatic change to the character of our neighborhood.

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