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On Saturday, June 18, there will be an Emergency Preparedness Meeting for residents to get training in what to do in the case of a train derailment or hazardous materials incident, a topic on the minds particularly of residents who live close to the Virginia Avenue Tunnel.
Lead by DC HSEMA director Chris Geldart, fire chief Gregory Dean, and Department of Energy and the Environment director Tommy Wells, the session will provide training "about safety during a derailment involving hazardous materials; sheltering-in-place vs. evacuating; emergency vehicle access; and emergency communications."
The meeting is at 10 am at 200 I St., SE. Contact ANC 6D07 commissioner Meredith Fascett for more information.
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More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, meetings
 

The rain has sapped my energy, plus I'm in just-back-from-vacation-mode (a short trip to Vegas, which means I'm currently wearing a barrel and standing on a street corner begging for money), but I'm trying to bring you tidbits anyway.
* 909 HALF: The Project Of Which Its Developers Don't Speak has apparently topped out, according to the architects, who I hope won't now be canned for daring to publicly refer to the 380-unit apartment building under construction at Half and I. They also posted a color version of the one rendering we've seen, showing the view up Half Street from south of K. There had been an additional post from the architects saying 909 Half would be opening in December, but that's now gone, probably because getting to completion seven months from now would be, shall we say, optimistic.
* NEW WEB SITES: Actual web sites are now up for both F1rst and ORE 82. (The former had just a placeholder and the latter's URL didn't actually work a few weeks ago when the fence signage went up.)
* JOY EVANS: ANC 6D Commissioner Meredith Fascett has an update on last week's meeting on Joy Evans Park, with a deadline of today (oops) for any comments you might have.
And, a few meetings this week to mention:
* COFFEE WITH CHUCK: The Virginia Avenue Tunnel project has hit the one-year mark this month (only 30 more months to go!). The monthly Coffee with Chuck meeting is on Wednesday, May 18, from 8 to 9 am at the CSX Community Office trailer at 861 New Jersey Ave., SE. RSVP here if you plan to attend.
* PUBLIC SAFETY: The monthly meeting of PSA 106 is Wednesday, May 18 at 7 pm at 200 I St. SE. MPD holds these meetings to address any public safety-related questions and concerns from the neighborhood.
* BIKE TO WORK: I'm too scared to look at the weather forecast, but Friday, May 20 is Bike to Work Day, and once again Canal Park is one of the pit stops.
 

Via ANC 6D07 commissioner Meredith Fascett, there is going to be a public meeting on Tuesday, May 10 about the plans for Joy Evans Park, the public space a lot of people may not even know about just to the east of Van Ness Elementary School between L and M Streets, SE.
The park's stewardship is a typical DC mishmash, with the land owned by the National Park Service and management handled by DC's Department of Parks and Recreation, but with a memorandum of understanding now in place to allow DC Public Schools to use a portion of the land for "recreation and educational space" for Van Ness.
An initial notion of how the park space could be laid out is above, but there are many questions and notions still to be determined, as laid out in Meredith's Facebook post. Apparently DCPS has money this year to build a playground, an outdoor classroom and garden, and an "open turf area" for free play. But DPR does not have any funding for Joy Evans, and so the future remains unclear in terms of the renovation of the historic Lincoln Playground Building, the possible demolition of the Lincoln Capper pool and the adjacent "therapeutic recreation building" (what, you didn't know there is a therapeutic recreation building there?), and perhaps future playing fields and splash pads.
The May 10 meeting is at Van Ness at 6:30 pm. You can also contact Meredith with comments, concerns, questions, remarks, observations, opinions, notes, or feedback.
The photo at right was taken in 2007 from the roof of the old Capper Seniors building in its final days. You can see the general footprint of the Joy Evans Park along the lower part of the photo, with the Lincoln Capper pool and therapeutic recreation building cut off and the Lincoln Playground Building visible at lower right, with the grassy areas at left where the DCPS Phase 1 plans are to be built.
(Maybe I can get up on the roof of the Bixby at some point to take a current version, especially given the changes at Van Ness, including the new playground on the footprint of the parking lot that I can't believe I don't have even the most cursory photo of. I think I'm a-skeered of pointing my camera through a fence at an active playground and being promptly hauled off.)
Also, note that at the top of the site plan is "6th Street SE" -- this is the planned new block of 6th between L and M, running between this park area and the Bixby.
And, speaking of changes at Van Ness, I have been remiss in not mentioning the very visible construction along M Street of the new second floor above the gymnasium. But I took a picture!
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More posts: joyevans, meetings, Van Ness Elementary
 

* ATTEMPTED CARJACKING: On Monday night there was an attempted armed carjacking in the 100 block of K Street, SE. According to the MPD 1-D mailing list: "The Complainant stated he was approached while standing in the doorway of his vehicle when the suspect struck him in the right side of face and eye with an unknown object. The suspect jumped in the complainant's car and demanded the keys to the car; however, the complainant fled with his keys and no property was obtained. The suspect fled and has not been arrested yet."
* PSA 106 PUBLIC SAFETY MEETING: The monthly meeting for Police Service Area 106 (which covers Near Southeast/Navy Yard/#NeCaBaRY) is scheduled for Wednesday, April 20, at 7 pm, at 200 I St. SE (government ID required to enter the building). MPD hosts these monthly meetings to address questions and concerns from the public about issues of safety in the community.
* DC WATER TOWN HALL: Sorry for the last-minute notice, but there is a DC Water Ward 6 Town Hall Meeting tonight (Tuesday, April 19) at 6:30 pm at Tyler Elementary School, 1001 G St., SE. DC Water Grand Poobah George Hawkins and Ward 6 councilmember Charles Allen are co-hosting the meeting to talk about current projects, billing rates, and more.
* WARD 6 BUDGET TOWN HALL: Speaking of town halls, Charles Allen is also hosting one on Thursday, April 21 on DC's proposed budget for FY17. It's at 6:30 pm at 645 H St., NE. "Before the Council votes on the budget, hear from Councilmember Allen on what's in it for Ward 6, where he's focused in the budget debate, and what comes next in budget decisions."
* TWO-WAY THIRD: CSX says that two-way traffic could return to 3rd Street north of I perhaps as early as Friday, April 22. Watch also in the next day or so for a shift in the current one-way flow onto the new bridge deck.
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More posts: crime, CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, meetings
 

UPDATE, NOV. 9: This meeting is now going to be on Nov. 17, still at 6:30 pm at 200 I St., SE. It was rescheduled from its original date that turned out to conflict with a public safety meeting
Original post:
There's not much detail at this point, but a public meeting has been scheduled on Oct. 27 at 6:30 pm at 200 I Street to discuss the DC Housing Authority's plans for the block known as Square 767, bounded by 2nd Place and 3rd, I, and K Streets SE.
This block, part of the Capper/Carrollsburg Hope VI redevelopment footprint, is the location where DCHA is looking to sell a portion of the land so that an as-yet unnamed developer can build a market-rate condo building. Such a plan would seem to mean that the necessary affordable rental units on that block would be confined to whatever non-condo project is also built on that block, a notion has had neighbors expressing much concern since it was first revealed nearly two years ago.
There's no agenda or materials yet released, so look for a more detailed post once DCHA makes those items available.
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More posts: Capper, Capper New Apt Bldgs, meetings, sq767
 

(See below for a more complete list of community meetings this week)
In response to the recent crimes around Ward 6--including three armed robberies* in recent days in Near Southeast--council member Charles Allen has scheduled a community meeting on public safety on Tuesday, Oct. 27, at 7 pm at the Friendship Public Charter School at 1345 Potomac Ave., SE.
Allen has invited police chief Cathy Lanier and 1D Commander Jeff Brown to "outline their plans and response" to handling the increased crime as well as to answer questions from residents.
According to his web site, Allen has been working with Lanier and Brown "to add more resources, manpower, and overtime to the neighborhoods," and has also been "looking at the long-term problem and solutions, working with Council colleagues on how we move forward to make needed legislative changes for our communities and our city."
While crime has been spiking around Ward 6 in recent months, the two armed robberies south of the freeway Wednesday evening (part of a string of five armed robberies within 30 or so minutes) brought an increase in concern from Near Southeast residents, even with the news that possible suspects were arrested the following evening after a chase by DC police into Maryland.
In addition, a third armed* robbery happened on Friday night at around 9:20 pm in the 900 block of New Jersey Ave., SE. According to the police report (and also described by the Post), a citizen was approached and robbed at gunpoint, but an off-duty MPD officer saw it happen and called for assistance--and as police saw the suspect leaving the area, the "victim of the robbery then suddenly reappeared and tackled the suspect." (Was it one of you guys?)
*However, in this case it was found out that the weapon used in the robbery was an "imitation pistol." The suspect was still arrested, and the victim's property was recovered.
Also, on Saturday night, there was a robbery at 4th and K SE.
PS: It's a shame that the public safety meeting is on the same evening as the Capper Square 767 public meeting, but These Things Happen. NOTE: This Capper meeting is going to be rescheduled.
(I've been out of town for a few days, so apologies for the slow news on the third robbery.)
UPDATE II: Per ANC commissioner Meredith Fascett, here is the full lineup of community meetings this week, some of which are specifically in regards to public safety, and others which can easily accommodate the subject. Note also that the Capper/Square 767 meeting that was also scheduled for Tuesday Oct. 27 is being postponed, with a new date to be announced.
* OCT. 26, MAYOR BOWSER: Mayor Bowser will speak and take questions tonight (Monday, Oct. 26) at 7 pm at the monthly Southwest Neighborhood Assembly (SWNA) meeting at Arena Stage, 101 6th St. SW.
* OCT. 27, ANC 6D07 OFFICE HOURS: Meet with Meredith Fascett at 10 am at Lot 38 Espresso.
* OCT. 27, MAYOR'S OFFICE: The Mayor's Office of Community Relations (MOCRS) is having office hours from 3 to 6:30 pm at Mt. Moriah Baptist Church, 1636 E. Capitol St., NE.
* OCT. 27, CM ALLEN MEETING: As announced at the top of this post.
* OCT. 31 PSA MEETING: The monthly meeting of the neighborhood's Police Service Area, PSA 106, will be on Saturday at 10 am at 900 5th St. SE (the Capper Senior Building). MPD representatives will have information on the recent incidents in the neighborhood.
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More posts: crime, meetings
 

I did not attend last week's meeting on the plans for Virginia Avenue's streetscape once construction on the tunnel is completed, but detailed notes taken by DDOT have been posted. And there are some items that caught my eye:
* TREES: It's reported that 176 trees have been cut down as part of the tunnel construction, and that there will be approximately 305 new trees planted once the work is done. DDOT's preferred species include oaks, elms, and honey locust, and the planting scheme is such that it is expected to provide 50 percent "canopy coverage" after 20 years, 10 percentage points higher than the required minimum.
* PARKING: "The design team recognizes that parking is a critical issue for the neighborhood, and will ensure that the number of parking spaces in the neighborhood remains the same. DDOT will explore the possibility of providing additional parking."
* I STREET: Plans to have the 400 block of I Street end in a stub east of the church have apparently been shelved: "Based on community feedback, the connection of I Street to the 400 block of Virginia Avenue has been restored." As seen in this revised image.
* MORE VIRGINIA!: My personal favorite out of all of this: "The Architect of the Capitol will complete their construction project in 2018, and has indicated willingness to reopen Virginia Avenue between South Capitol Street and 2nd Street SE." This would also "enhance" connections to Garfield Park, allowing for passage in locations other than just the skate park-area under the freeway.
* TWO-WAY: Once construction is over, the 800 blocks of both Virginia Avenue and L Street SE will be converted to two-way traffic.
* LIGHTING: Replacement streetlights will be LEDs, which emit a whiter light than the current streetlights. There are apparently LED streetlights now installed on 1st Street near the ballpark as a test case for the city, and the "fixtures specified for Virginia Avenue will be similar to the first series of lights on the right hand side of First Street moving away from M Street."
* VIRGINIA AVE. PARK: The final post-construction design of Virginia Avenue Park is actually the responsibility of the Department of Parks and Recreation, and there will be a "design charrette" to discuss the park's future on Oct. 15 at 7 pm at the Hill Center, 921 Pennsylvania Ave., SE.
Go ahead and read the notes for more details (and you can even see all the comment sheets handed in by the attendees). And the most recent designs for the streetscapes are here, plus you can check out my look at the initial designs.
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Some transportation-related meetings are on the calendar for next week that may be of interest to neighborhood folks:
* DC STATE RAIL PLAN OPEN HOUSE: The project to create an official "State Rail Plan" (ahem) for DC is kicking off, and DDOT is holding an open house on Monday, Sept. 28 to "introduce the plan to the community." This rail plan is a requirement for any state (again, ahem) wishing to be eligible for grants and other federal financial assistance, and is going to focus on "passenger and freight rail infrastructure shared by CSX, VRE, MARC, Amtrak, and Norfolk Southern." The intent is to have a completed plan that will provide a high-level strategic framework, goals, and objectives to leverage the District’s rail network for continuing economic competitiveness and quality-of-life investments while also addressing ongoing concerns about rail safety and oversight."
The open house will run from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm at Friendship Public Charter School-Chamberlain Campus, 1345 Potomac Avenue, SE. This start time is 30 minutes earlier than originally announced, because....:
* VIRGINIA AVE. STREETSCAPE RESTORATION REVIEW MEETING: Also on Monday, Sept. 28, beginning at 6:30 pm at 200 I St. SE, a joint meeting by DDOT and ANCs 6B and 6D will go over CSX's draft plans for rebuilding Virginia Avenue once construction is complete on the Virginia Avenue Tunnel. The first 30 minutes will be an open house, and then presentations and discussions will begin at 7 pm. There will also be a special public meeting of DDOT's Public Space Committee about the plans on Nov. 12.
(And then maybe for Christmas we can pitch in and get DDOT a group calendar, to perhaps avoid in the future scheduling two meetings with a very similar audience on the same night at nearly the same time in not-particularly-adjoining locations.)
* CIRCULATOR STOP CONSOLIDATION MEETING: On Wednesday, Sept. 30, DDOT is having a public meeting to talk about possibly consolidating some stops on the Union Station-Navy Yard line "to improve on-time performance and reliability." The only south-of-the-freeway stops on the potential chopping block are the ones at 4th and M SE in both directions, with the 6th and M stops being the closet ones to use instead. (The announcement gives the full lineup.) The meeting is from 6pm to 8pm at the Southeast Neighborhood Library, 403 7th Street SE.
* CSX'S "COFFEE WITH CHUCK": If you want to go for the 72-hour quadfecta of transportation sessions, there's also the next edition of CSX's monthly meetings with the community to discuss the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project, on Wednesday, Sept. 30 from 8 to 9 am at the Courtyard by Marriott at 140 L St. SE. Items that might be up for discussion include the coming closure of the 300 block of Virginia Ave. (in "early October") and also the temporary closures of 4th Street SE from just north of the I-695 underpass down to I Street from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm this week and probably into next week.
 

It's hard to believe that in a few months the first batch of students will return to Van Ness Elementary, for the first time since 2006. With initial renovations and plans for the 2015-16 school year underway, the school is hosting a "Showcase" community meeting on Wednesday, June 17, from 6 to 8 pm.
Note that it is at 200 I St., SE, not at the school itself.
The Head of School, Cynthia Robinson-Rivers, will be there, as will the initial teachers. The interior and exterior renovation plans will also be on display, as will the new playground designs.
The school is opening with PK-3, PK-4, and kindergarten classes, with plans to add one grade each year until 5th grade is reached.
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More posts: meetings, Van Ness Elementary
 

As preparations ramp up to reopen Van Ness Elementary School this fall, DCPS is holding a "Design Slam" on Wednesday, Jan. 28, at 6 pm in the school's auditorium at 5th and L streets, SE.
As the flyer says, the goal of this session "is to listen to your ideas in order to develop a design that celebrates the best characteristics of the Van Ness community," looking toward what elements of the neighborhood's history and its riverfront location should be incorporated and "celebrated" in the design.
Architectural firm Quinn Evans is working on the project, and the bidding process for the construction itself will happen this spring.
Free childcare and food at the Slam will be provided by the Van Ness Parent Group.
And while it's still a couple of weeks away, this is a good time to also mention that the Near Southeast Community Partners group is hosting a Van Ness Elementary School Fundraiser on Feb. 17 at Nando's Peri-Peri. From 6 pm to 10 pm, the restaurant will donate 40 percent of its receipts from all sales made to people with the fundraiser flyer in hand. [insert "Winner winner chicken dinner reference here]
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More posts: meetings, Van Ness Elementary
 
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