December 2012 Minutes

Our December meeting was abbreviated so that MPCA members could celebrate the holiday season with our annual pot- luck. President Tom Lavash opened the meeting at 7:25 pm, with approximately 20+ members attending.

Treasurer’s Report

Treasurer Beulah Sutherland highlighted MPCA’s financials in her monthly Treasurer’s Report, with receipts totaling $192.44; this was distributed among 2013 dues payments, donations to the Christmas and Garden Funds, and one advertisement for the newsletter. There were no disbursements.

As of this date, the Association has a balance of $1,704.91, distributed between Dues ($1,148.49), Garden Fund ($516.42), and the Christmas Fund ($40.00).

Replenishing the Christmas Fund

As a result of the very low amount in the Christmas Fund, discussion ensued on ways to increase funds to ensure that MPCA’s annual gift to a family-in-need of a student at Bunker Hill School could be continued. Beulah Sutherland made a motion (seconded by Barbara Henderson) to rescind a previous motion that revenue from advertisements in the monthly newsletter be dedicated to the Garden Fund. Motion was passed (one abstention).

Beulah Suthlerland made another motion to put revenues from advertisements directly into the General Fund, which would thus make it easier to re-allocate funds to either the Garden or Christmas Funds as needed. Motion was passed (one abstention). A number of members contributed funds at the meeting dedicated to the Christmas Fund.

Ralph Bucksell proposed that MPCA ask the school principal to designate a family-in -need, and that MPCA members accompany the parents on a holiday shopping trip so that they can choose their own gifts with an amount not-to-exceed $300. Members agreed that was a desirable course of action; a motion was made to allocate $300 to the Christmas Fund and passed unanimously.

Bunker Hill School Security Detail

After significant efforts by Ralph Bucksell last summer, DCPS rescinded its requirement that MPCA pay for a security guard during our monthly meetings at the school. Ralph noted that he has an e-mail confirmation of that decision, and reiterated that MPCA funds would be substantially depleted if we had to incur the costs associated with a security guard (approximately $725 per year). Subsequent to that effort, Paul Wood noted that he had received several messages from DCPS security staff, although he did not actually speak with anyone. Nonetheless, a DCPS security guard was there during the meeting.

ANC Elections

As a result of significant population growth and new residential development across the city based on the 2010 Census, bound- aries for Advisory Neighborhood Commissions have been re-drawn citywide, includ- ing two of the ANC districts in Michigan Park (5A-08 and 5A-09). These two ANC districts, represented by Tim Thomas (5A- 08) and Shirley Smith (5A-09) have been combined into a new district, 5B-01.  During the November election, both incumbents ran against two newcomers, Gayle Carley-Hall and Christopher Gambill. It was a very close race (in fact, less than 10 votes separated the top three contenders); Shirley Smith was declared the winner by the DC Board of Elections & Ethics after two recounts.

Ms. Smith noted that she holds single-member meetings the second Wednesday of the month at HSC Pediatric Center on Bunker Hill Road, NE. She invited all residents in the new 5B-01 area, which covers the area of Michigan Park above South Dakota Avenue to MPCA’s eastern boundary of 20th Street, NE)

Mr. Tim Thomas, the outgoing ANC commissioner for 5A -08, summarized recent issues coming before the ANC, noting he represented Michigan Park for 14 years on the ANC. He worked with representatives of the Franciscan Monastery in the design and construction of their new parking lot located at 14th and Randolph Streets, NE, which included the planting of 31 new trees and a landscape buffer. Tom Lavash, MPCA President, thanked Mr. Thomas for his years of service and dedication to improving our beautiful neighborhood.

Turkey Thicket Recreation Center Improvements

The city has approved funding to undertake improve- ments at multiple recreation centers across the District. In Brookland/Michigan Park, the Turkey Thicket Recreation Center on Michigan Avenue is slated to receive $1 million for a range of improvements. DPR and DGS, the two city agencies leading this citywide effort, have conducted several meetings with its design consultant to solicit comments from residents; the most recent meeting was scheduled for December 17th at Turkey Thicket. DPR and DGS have also encouraged comments and feedback to be submitted in on-line surveys. Ralph Bucksell, who is attending these meetings, noted that funding is to be allocated to new construction/improvements and not to repairs or maintenance. He identified several items that were not included in the original $7 million construction of Turkey Thicket, including: a bubble over the tennis courts, a walking path, play- ground equipment and a soccer field.

Note: There will be no bubble over the tennis
courts. DPR noted that it had received over 186 com- ments on the Turkey Thicket Recreation Center. This far exceeded the input provided by any other community.

The meeting adjourned at 8:10 pm for the annual MPCA holiday potluck.

South Dakota Avenue Transportation Meeting

On December 8th, several MPCA members participated in a community meeting organized by Councilmember McDuffie’s office at the request of Mr. Jason Lettig, a neighbor in the 3900 block of South Dakota Avenue, to discuss the ongoing problems of vehicular speeding along the corridor through Michigan Park and neighboring Woodridge. MPCA members attending included: Jason Lettig, Tom Lavash, Elizabeth McGowan and Don Looney. In addition to Councilmember McDuffie and his staff, other attendees included: the Director of DDOT, Mr. Terry Bellamy; a representative from MPD; ANC Commissioners Tim Thomas and Shirley Smith; and numerous neighbors. In addition, Ms. Michelle Molotsky, who works with Ms. Lisa Sutter, the MPD manager of the speed and red light camera program, also attended.

Director Bellamy listened to residents’ significant concerns related to vehicular speeding and other transportation-related problems along the corridor. Tom Lavash highlighted the key findings from DDOT’s 2007 South Dakota Avenue Transportation & Urban Design Study, which indicate recorded speeds as high as 76.1 mph in front of Taft/Burroughs Elementary School and 70.2 mph at Taylor Street! To-date, DDOT has not implemented any of the findings from the study (there are 20 pages of recommendations in the report). MPD has installed a portable speed camera in the 4200 block which has successfully reduced vehicular speeding northbound at Taylor Street.

Mr. Bellamy noted that DDOT could work on “low- hanging fruit”, including re-striping the faded and missing lane markings; installing additional signage; and using South Dakota Avenue as a pilot location to implement the city’s first “Slow Zone” program that focuses on traffic calming measures:

  • Vehicle feedback signage
  • “Green lane” program
  • Specific pavement markings

Responding to complaints that vehicular speeding is aided by continuous green-light cycles through multiple intersections (e.g., vehicles can travel from Monroe to Taylor without red lights), DDOT noted that vehicle move- ment has to be balanced against air quality/vehicle emissions. The city is working on a “signal optimization” study of the 1,570 signalized intersections citywide. The findings from this study will be used to implement “offset intersections” that change signal timing to reduce speeding; allow for remote control of signals to react to chang- ing traffic patterns; and other measures related to optimizing the functionality of the city’s traffic signals.

Ms. Michelle Molotsky from MPD noted that the city will expand its red light and speed camera program in response to numerous complaints from residents about speeding and red-light running. Mayor Gray has approved 80 new cameras to be placed across the city in the fiscal year 2014 budget. The cameras will be used for a variety of new traffic safety measures:

  • To reduce stop sign running (4 per ward)
  • To enhance pedestrian safety at cross-walks (2 per ward)
  • To reduce vehicular speeding through green lights

Ms. Molotsky noted that new cameras to reduce speed- ing through green lights would be initially installed at those intersections where red-light cameras are already located. Tom Lavash has requested that such cameras be installed at the intersection of South Dakota and Michigan Avenues, which has severe problems associated with red-light running (particularly in-bound on Michigan) and green-light speeding (particularly after rush-hour and late at-night).

She also noted that it was possible that MPD could in- stall a portable speed camera in the block(s) adjacent to the Taft/Burroughs school.

Winter Holiday Potluck 2012 Photos

Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Information



ANC Single Member Districts

Michael Williams
1510 Gallatin Place, NE 20017

Ursula Higgins
1902 Newton Street, NE 20018
Phone: 526-5932 Email:

Jenese L. Jones
3919 9th Street, NE #1 20017
Phone: 903-7162 Email:

Michigan Park Citizens Association’s boundary is indicated by yellow line.

Phone: 577-9737


Adrian Jordan
4618 S. Dakota Avenue, NE 20017
Phone: 258-7486 Email:

Shirley Rivens Smith
2000 Upshur Street, NE 20018
Phone: 635-3138 Email:

Note: Please call the Board’s Voter Services Office at (202) 727-2525 should you need to reach your ANC Commissioner by telephone. ANC Information & SMD Map was taken from .

Miscellaneous Notes & Announcements

Next MPCA Meeting Agenda:

The preliminary agenda for our January meeting includes:

  • Treasurer’s Report
  • Christmas Fund results
  • South Dakota Avenue DDOT meeting summary
  • Ward 5 Councilmember project update
  • MPCA Secretary position status
  • Other items as identified

Happy Birthday & Belated Birthday Wishes to:

  • Lisa Farrell, Sara Lucas, Parthenia Pratt & Lavinia Wohlfarth – October
  • James Watkins & Tom Lavash – December
  • Ralph Bucksell – January

I deeply apologize if I have missed anyone. Please remember to submit your month of birth, graduations, anniversaries or other occasion that you would like to share with the community.


  • Please make a donation toward the Michigan Park Garden Fund. The association is responsible for the upkeep of 2 Butterfly Gardens and one public space. Also volunteers are needed for the maintenance of the gardens and public spaces. Please contact Ralph Bucksell at (202) 526-7768 if you would like to volunteer.
  • For additional photograph and information please feel free to visit the Michigan Park website at and follow us on Facebook.
  • DUE DATE for Ads, Articles, Events & Infor- mation for the February 2013 newsletter: January 26, 2013


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