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I've checked off another long-time JDLand To Do item, this one being to improve the timeliness of the Crime Reports box down in the right-hand margin.
It used to be that the city offered the reports in an XML feed, but when that disappeared, I had to start going to the MPD reports page, go through a series of 15 clicks to download a usefully filtered file, open the file, and paste it into an import page I had created. Needless to say, this was not something I was interested in doing daily or even weekly.
But now I've built a new importer that parses a pasted version of the daily crime report sent out on the MPD-1D mailing list, stuffing each Near Southeast entry into my crime database.
This also means that I'm now getting additional "method" and "location" information that wasn't coming in the download from MPD.
I then went back through all non-theft from auto reports for the neighborhood back to the beginning of 2014 and updated the full database.
I also tweaked the display when you click on the red pushpins on both the homepage map and the archive database map.
I'll probably still need to go do the download from the MPD site every so often, to be sure that the data is complete, but at least now that's not the only way the data is coming in. And while I can't guarantee that this will always be updated daily, it's now a lot less likely to go three or four weeks between updates.
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More posts: crime, JDLand stuff
 

For probably about six years now, I've been shielding my eyes and sticking my fingers in my ears and shouting LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA every time I looked at my poor excuse for a development map. It so desperately needed a makeover, but I never had the time, creative spark, or technological chops to turn it into anything like what I would want it to be, so I just left it alone, even during the big JDLand redesign a few months back. The map's information was accurate, at least!
But a few weeks ago I saw a blurb about Google's My Maps upgrade, now called Maps Engine Lite. You can draw lines and shapes! You can have layers (well, a few of them)! You can have Google as your maps base!
So I went off to play with it, and quickly decided that it could make a likeable enough successor to my original Web 0.1 map.
You can also always get to it by clicking on "View Full Map" on the mini-map at the top right of most JDLand pages, or the "Project Directory" link in the black menu bar.
It still isn't quite everything I dreamed of, but at least now you can zoom in, pan around, and filter the display by layers--if you only want to look at completed residential projects, or projects under construction, or projects not yet begun, or some combination thereof, click the little menu icon at top left and make your choices.
It may not be optimal for phones, and so I have to think about that for a while, but the big static list of projects is still available beneath the map if you are a words-and-not-pictures type of information ingestor.
I'll wager that my Parking Lots map will get migrated as well before Opening Day 2015.
And if you have any complaints with how it functions, feel free to let Google know!
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While I have appeared mostly AWOL from these parts for the past 10 days or so, I've actually been working harder on JDLand than I have in years, as out of nowhere the psychological energy arrived to drive a desperately needed redesign of the site's interior pages.
Click on one of the links on the map at the top right of the home page, or maybe go here or here or here, and you'll see what's going on:
* White space! Lots of it!
* Fewer words!
* A design that responds to your device--if you're on a big monitor, you'll see a rail of links to the latest news on a project. If you're on your phone, you'll see the basics (without having to drag the page around). With plenty of changes in between.
* For larger devices, the "peek" link at the left of the header box on project pages brings you a nifty (and not small) look back in time.
I've also been tinkering with the home page, but still have some things I want to do and so it's not quite as "responsive" as the interior pages. However, starting today you'll also see that clicking on photos in blog posts pops up a larger version, without having to load a new page.
I've done my best to test, but I'm sure there are configurations where this will all look pretty ghastly. If so, please let me know your browser and device, so I can troubleshoot.
There are also still a fair number of pages with the old design, and no doubt bugs aplenty, plus I may have been a bit too draconian in some of the content removal on the project pages. I'll be mopping up for a while yet.
It won't please everyone, of course, but it was definitely time for a change. And I've garnered a lot of enjoyment out of all of this work, which maybe isn't a feeling I've had related to JDLand very often in the past few years or so.
And now the In the Weeds discussion of the redesign, for those who might be interested:
It's safe to say that web design has changed just a smidge since I threw together my first pages about Near Southeast back in 2003, but since I've known for years exactly how enormous the task would be to implement a new design, I just closed my eyes to the aging look and feel and concentrated on, you know, the actual content.
This wasn't a matter of just changing some code at the top and bottom of a template somewhere--thanks to the rather, ahem, organic way that JDLand grew over the years, the code (and the site, really) had become embarrassingly dense and messy.
I've had to go into more than 100 pages and rip out the old web 1.0/table-based layout approach and replace it with boatloads of CSS. Which meant that pretty much every element on every one of those pages needed editing. (At least now this means the NEXT redesign will be simpler.)
And since I was editing every page, this also was finally my chance to move away from a navigation configuration that had worked well early on but had left me increasingly hamstrung, where, say, the Velocity and River Parc pages were both subsections of a Square 699N page. Now I've pretty much given every project its own page. But that meant building about 20 new pages.
I also found myself sort of arriving back full circle at where JDLand began a billion years ago--as a project about a changing neighborhood, with an eye toward being more of a historical document and less of a breathless minute-by-minute tracking of minutiae. (Though I admit the breathless minute-by-minute tracking was fun for a few years there!)
And even though I've barely come up for air while working on this, it's been a great process, and reminded me of how much my enjoyment of JDLand used to also come from back-end development, such as when I built the automated photo archive on the site, or the even more massive full archive I keep elsewhere.
There's more I need to think about--it may be time to go to larger photos across the site, but that's about 10,000 photos that would need to be re-saved at higher resolutions. So maybe not this week. But I admit that picking out the huge header photos--looking for the oldest ones of each particular site--made me want to think about a better way to have everyone be able to look at the large versions--while still protecting them from nefarious non-approved uses.
I'll still be tinkering plenty--for instance, the notion of going to a "lightbox" display of blog post photos came to me while I was starting to write this entry, so I had to scurry off and implement that before I could go any further. It never ends.
So, it's best to remember that, at heart, JDLand will always really be just my own history-photography-writing-web development hobby, which of course leaves the site much more vulnerable to my mercurial whims than a real business would ever be. But that's how I roll.
And, who knows, maybe someday another flash of sudden psychological energy will strike at the actual blogging portion of JDLand....
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* RESULTS: Last week I mentioned how concerned parents and neighbors were organizing a drive to call David Catania's office on May 1 to impress upon him the importance of opening Van Ness Elementary as scheduled in 2015. It didn't even take until the end of the day to get results, as evidenced by this quote sent to the Van Ness Parents Group from Catania's office: "[Councilmember Catania] supports the on-time opening and modernization of Van Ness. And while the Committee does not finalize and markup its budget until May 15th, it is the Councilmember’s intention to keep Van Ness’ $15 million FY15 renovation in the budget as proposed. Thank you again for your hard work and advocacy!"
* AWARDS: The US Green Building Council has officially awarded LEED Gold status to Canal Park, thanks to its sustainable development design that includes electric car charging stations, an extensive storm water collection and reuse system, as well as tree boxes and bio swales that provide filtration for street-level runoff surrounding the park.
* SPOTLIGHTS: The spring edition of the 11th Street Bridges newsletter is out, without any actual news on the project but instead spotlighting the small and local businesses that have partnered with DDOT on the project.
* TWEEPING: If you are wanting to keep up with the ever-growing lineup of nearby businesses and organizations, feel free to bookmark my Near Southeast Businesses Twitter list, as an easy way to quickly scan their latest missives in one spot.
* PROPERTY FOR SALE!: Over the years I've had a lot of people contact me desperate for leads on available property. I finally have acres of empty land to offer, but the commute might be a bit rough.
* BETA TO THE MAX: I've been down the rabbit hole over the past few days, as I have finally begun to redesign the interior pages of JDLand, which have needed a refresh since about 2006. (I already mentioned my first cut at redesigning the home page.)
It's a pretty mammoth undertaking, and will take a while to implement, but if you want to see an early prototype of what I'm going for, you can look at the Community Center page, or the Square 701 page, or the Akridge Half Street page, or my Past News page for Yards Parcel A. Note that some stuff will be broken as of now, but the pages do respond to different screen sizes, which also means that the non-blog portion of the site should become much more mobile friendly. As of now it's probably a bit screwy in older browsers, but should be okay if you're using up-to-date Chrome, Firefox, or IE. And the irony isn't lost on me that I haven't been posting much work on JDLand over the past few days because I've been working so much on JDLand.
 

* RANDOM PHOTO 1: Progress on the new exit ramp from the eastbound Southeast Freeway down to 11th Street SE, which is expected to open this summer. A lot nicer than getting off at 6th Street for anyone needing to get to the eastern end of the neighborhood.
* VAN NESS LOBBYING: Members of the Van Ness Parents Group are urging interested parties to pick up the phone on Thursday, May 1 and call councilmember David Catania's office to urge that the full $15 million earmarked for the modernization of Van Ness Elementary be kept in next year's budget. Back on April 17, Catania, who chairs the Education Committee, commented that he would consider reallocating all of the Van Ness funds to other schools, postponing the school's reopening until Fall 2016, which would be a significant blow to the parents who have been working for a number of years to get the neighborhood's elementary school reopened. The Hill Rag has more on this issue, along with other current issues affecting nearby schools.
* RANDOM PHOTO 2: It seems hard to believe that construction of the long-delayed Capper Community Center could actually be about to start, but this sign erected at 5th and L last week would appear to be another step in that direction.
* TASTE OF 8TH: It's a little outside the JDLand lines, but since hunger knows no boundaries, I'll mention that Taste of 8th is back, on Saturday, May 3, from 1 to 4 pm. For $5 for a single taste or $20 for a five-pack, you can get an appetizer-sized "taste" from many of the restaurants along Barracks Row.
* TINKERING: In my quest to never leave well enough alone, I'm doing some work on the site that may cause things to look (unintentionally) odd. Hopefully if that happens, I'll notice relatively quickly, but I'd be happy if you'd let me know. And, if you're brave, feel free to test out a beta version of the home page that resizes various elements based on your screen width. (Rejoice, ultra-big-screen users!) Just remember that "beta" means I may break it while working on it.
 

* PACHYDERMS ON PARADE: The annual DC Elephant Walk, which gets the stars of the Ringling Bros. circus from their train to the Verizon Center, is scheduled for Tuesday, March 18, at 8 pm. It starts at New Jersey and Virginia avenues, so it can be seen from the overpass (and perhaps from Garfield Park?), before heading toward downtown. UPDATE: Alas, DCist says that the parade has been cancelled.
* ENVIRONMENTAL FORUM: On March 21, there is to be a forum with DC mayoral candidates focusing on sustainability and environmental issues, at the Boilermaker Shops at 300 Tingey St., SE, from 6 to 8 pm. It has been organized by the local chapter of the Sierra Club along with the Capitol Riverfront BID, the neighborhood group Near Southeast Community Partners and a coalition of multiple groups now operating under an umbrella group called United for a Healthy Anacostia River. The clock is ticking down toward DC Primary Election Day, on April 1.
And, speaking of the river, the Anacostia Riverkeeper group is having a fundraiser on April 3 from 5 to 8 pm. Bring this flyer (and your appetite) to Nando's Peri-Peri at the Boilermaker Shops to help support its efforts to clean up the Anacostia watershed. They'd like an RSVP in advance, for an accurate head count.
* AT THE DRIVE-IN: Presumably in anticipation of their not-as-yet-underway Ballpark Square office/residential/hotel/retail project, developers Grosvenor, McCaffery and Skanska are co-sponsoring with the BID a "Groundbreaking at the Capitol Riverfront Drive-In Movie Weekend" on Friday, March 21 and Saturday, March 22. They are inviting folks to "pull into the converted drive-in movie theater at 1st and M Streets, SE to watch great films and purchase popular DC food truck cuisine." Friday's movie will be Toy Story, and Saturday's will be The Matrix. Both screenings start at 7:30 pm.
* TRUCKEROO: The monthly DC food truck festival is returning to the Fairgrounds at Half and M SE for another year, starting on April 11.
* LA LA LA LA LA: The always successful Opera in the Outfield is back for another year, this time on May 3 with a simulcast of Mozart's "The Magic Flute." Gates open at 5 pm for the variety of "pre-game" activities, and the show starts at 7 pm.
And, I suppose I should mention that, nestled in between these various events, there will also be the Nationals' exhibition game against the Tigers on March 29, and the team's home opener on April 4 against the Braves. Just in case you weren't aware.
Have an event happening in the neighborhood? Let me know.
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More posts: Events, opera, politics, JDLand stuff, Square 701, Stadium Events, truckeroo
 

Selling your house? Renting out your pad? Getting rid of some stuff? Looking for something? Place a classified ad on JDLand and micro-target not only your Near Southeast neighbors but other people interested in the area (office workers, Nats fans, residents of nearby neighborhoods, etc).
A mere $5 gets you a two-week listing, and the home page now has a box where pointers to the ads will live (over to the right--scroll down a bit).
Someone's already placed an ad--so go ahead, give it a shot!
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Cleaning out the pending file:
* DIG IT: The shoring and sheeting permit has now been approved for the residential building currently known by the spiffy moniker of Parcel N at the Yards, which means that the parking lot on the southwest corner of 4th and Tingey should start being dug up any time now (beyond just the DC Water digging up that's been going on for a while). This building will have 327 residential units and 20,000 square feet of ground-floor retail when completed in either late 2015 or early 2016.
* MMMM, BEER: Bluejacket is going to start offering tours of its brewery, beginning Jan. 31. The offerings range from a free tour with one complimentary taste of a Bluejacket brew to a $22 "tasting tour" to the $75 "Beer and Food Experience Tour." See the web site for more details.
* A REVIEW: Alas, the Post's Tom Sietsema did not have particularly good things to say about the food at the Arsenal (but he did like Bluejacket's brewed offerings).
* ANC VACANCY: The Board of Elections has officially certified the vacancy in 6D02 after Ed Kaminski's resignation, and the wheels are now turning for a special election. Petitions may be picked up at the BOE and circulated until Feb. 3, with challenges to those petitions allowed through Feb. 12. If more than one person successfully makes it through the petition process, an election will be held, most likely at 6D's March business meeting. If only one candidate qualifies, that person automatically fills the vacancy. So, if you're itching to be an ANC commissioner and you live in Capitol Hill Tower, or Velocity, or 909 New Jersey, or across the way in the northeastern sections of Southwest, here's your chance.
* SOUTHEAST BLVD: ANC 6B's Brian Flahaven has posted the commission's draft comments on DDOT's initial plans for the rebuild of Barney Circle and Southeast Blvd. Spoiler: "The committee recommended a number of clarifying changes to the comments including the addition of an opening sentence that conveys the commission’s opposition to the design concepts presented to the community on Nov. 21, 2013. The committee also wanted to make it clear that other stakeholders besides DDOT need to be brought into the project discussion."
 

Trying to start 2014 off right--even if it means posting a few things I didn't quite get to in 2013.
* ANC: Ed Kaminski has resigned as Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner for 6D02, the area basically from the ballpark northward to the south side of I Street. A special election will be in the offing before too long.
* METRO: Via CapBiz, Metro has put out "development concepts" for the five station sites it is touting to developers. However, when it came to the Navy Yard/Chiller Plant site on the southwest corner of Half and L, there were no pretty drawings, just a suggestion to acquire the privately owned lot next door, and that maybe a project with ground-floor retail would be nice, too. If you want to know the increasingly long history of WMATA's attempts to find a developer for this land (and get a new chiller plant as part of the deal), here's some reading for you.
* BALLPARK SQUARE: New fence signage along 1st Street north of Nats Park touting the Ballpark Square residential/hotel/retail development, "delivering in late 2015." There do appear to be building permits for the residential and hotel parts of the development currently working through the pipeline, though there is No Time To Lose to hit that "late 2015" date (and co-developer McCaffery hedges a bit with "early 2016"). I will note, though, that there is something kind of missing in the rendering shown on the fence signage. (Hint: It's L-shaped, and is by a different developer, and is supposed to start soon too.)
* WAYBACK: The Hill is Home's "Lost Capitol Hill" series looks at the Anacostia Engine House, located at 8th and Virginia for most of the years from 1839 until the glorious arrival of the Southeast Freeway in the 1960s.
* NO, REALLY: My latest excuse explanation for my decreased blogging output. (Though if you follow JDLand on Facebook or Twitter, you already know this.)
 

For the two or three people who use it, I've done some cleaning up of the five million lines of code on my Near Southeast Transit Options page, and it should now be more or less functional again.
If you haven't seen it, this page gives you a quick look at the status of the neighborhood's five Bikeshare stations, including the two new ones at 3rd and Tingey & 8th and Potomac, along with other nearby stations of interest. It also shows upcoming arrival times for the Green line at Navy Yard-Ballpark, the Union Station-Navy Yard Circulator bus at New Jersey and M, and Metrobus lines at New Jersey and M.
You can access this page from the "Live Transit Info" link on the JDLand home page menu bar, or by clicking the little Metro icons on the home page map. It's also available via a link from the JDLand mobile home page at m.jdland.com.
 

It's an intense morning in the neighborhood as a shooter has barricaded himself inside the Washington Navy Yard. There are updates being fed all over the web and Twitter for those wanting to keep up. But I did want to pop my head in to say that I am still on hiatus, so I won't be returning to the Near Southeast news feed as of now. (I may have some other content coming in the coming weeks, though, so don't desert me completely.) And thank you to everyone for all the kind thoughts over the past weeks.
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Since I talked about this a few months ago when I went on hiatus, I'd like to bring it full circle by posting here that my amazing, force-of-nature, full-of-life mother Shirley Rae Dupree died on Aug. 22, her body finally giving out after a valiant two-year fight against both frontotemporal dementia and ALS.
Here's the pseudo-official obituary, in its original form, before it gets mangled in various publications across the United States.
I'm not anywhere close to a point where I can wax poetic about any of this, except to say that it was a most cruel twist of fate to deprive my mother of the abilities to speak and eat, when there was never a person she didn't want to either talk to or feed (or both). Even in the very late stages of her illness, her smile and excitement when anyone arrived to see her lit up the room, in the same way she had lit up innumerable rooms over the years with her energy and enthusiasm.
Unfortunately, as her brain degenerated it lost any ability to send any signals other than GO-GO-GO, and her body finally gave out, like an engine that had run for way too long with no oil.
There is relief that she is now released from what these diseases did to her, but it is staggering to all of us who knew her that we are going to have to figure out a way to come to terms with the tremendous void she has left behind.
As for JDLand, I'm going to take some time to recover from these past months. I'll send up a flare when I decide what the next chapter will be.
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When I put out word of my "semi-retirement" since last August, I listed a lot of reasons for my wanting/needing to pull back from the blogging grind, but I only cryptically referred to what was the biggest driver of my decision: my mother's illness.
In early 2012, after a few months of noticing her having problems remembering words, she was diagnosed with a form of dementia (FTD) that has left her memory intact but very quickly stole her speech completely and caused other cognitive issues. This was devastating enough, but within a few months we also found her to be suffering from a form of ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) that targeted her throat and mouth muscles, swiftly affecting her ability to chew and swallow food.
This has been such a body blow, not only to see this woman so full of life and energy be stolen away from us week by week, but to have known from the moment of diagnosis that there was absolutely not a thing we could do about it. It's like the entire family has been riding in a car with no hands on the steering wheel.
Because it's a rare combination, and because every patient with these diseases progresses differently, we've been very much on our own in terms of trying to care for her, with my father bearing the brunt of the exhausting day-to-day work while I turned my laser-like research abilities away from hyperlocal real estate and toward trying to come up with the best strategies for keeping Mom comfortable. All while nursing a desperately broken heart, alongside the shock that everyone who knows her has felt--this was not the anticipated ending of the story of this cowgirl from Wyoming who came to the big city at age 19 in 1959. (She was supposed to drop dead on a golf course at age 95, probably after a hole-in-one. And she was certainly supposed to outlive her cranky and lazy daughter.)
We are now seeing a crossroads ahead of us, as they say. So it's time for me to make sure that my focus is where it needs to be, and that I give myself permission to stop trying to keep up with other parts of my life that I just don't have the strength or interest to deal with right now. There's too much going on in the neighborhood now for me to just keep going with a hit-or-miss approach that only serves to make me feel like I'm doing less than my best.
I'll still be around on Twitter at my @jacdupree account, because I will always need an outlet for generalized snark and carping. But I really am ending the Near Southeast news service until the storm clouds clear, whenever that may be.
I'm not 100 percent sure that I'll come back to the same approach of JDLand's past 10 years, but I'll always have my camera in hand.
Thanks to all for your patience over the past few months, and for your readership for all these years. See you around....!
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In September of last year, the city stopped updating its public crime data reporting in order to overhaul the system. That meant that my neato maps of crimes in the neighborhood (both on the JDLand home page and my more extensive Crime Incidents Archive back to 2005) went silent.
Then, a few weeks ago, MPD announced that data was once again flowing to their crime map application. But what about the XML feed from OCTO that I have been using since about 2006? Unfortunately, despite a fair amount of pestering by me on Twitter that never elicited any official responses (boo), that feed appears to be the victim of an unreported homicide.
Finally, though, I found some free time and built a new system to import data from the Crime Map into my own database, and you can now see the most recent two weeks' worth of reports on the JDLand home page and everything for 2013 and the rest of 2012 in the main archive. This won't be all nice and automated like the XML feed system was (again, boo), so don't expect the map to be updated every single day, but I will try my best to get to it on a regular basis.
In the switch to their new data system, MPD did change some of the category names--from Stolen Auto to Motor Vehicle Theft, for instance--so I'm having to tinker some with my code to deal with that, and I'm still uncovering bugs here and there, but I feel like the data is in generally good enough shape to post.
("Anything is Better Than Nothing" is my motto these days.)
One thing I'm seeing in the data: Can there really have been 14 stolen autos--excuse me, motor vehicle thefts--already this year? It seems kind of high, especially since there are only 19 reports from 2012, but perhaps this now also covers scooters, motorcycles, etc. And judging by the more complete records that are sent out via the MPD-1D mailing list, it can also include "Unauthorized Use by Family Member" or some such. If I were really good I'd start incorporating the additional details that are sent out on the mailing list, but that will require another coding run, so probably not tonight.
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(Warning: Navel gazing ahead!)
Even in my semi-retired state, I'd like to believe it is still worth noting that Saturday marks the 10-year anniversary of my first real photographic excursion* south of the Southeast Freeway, when on lark on a cold Sunday afternoon I had my husband drive me around while I took some furtive shots with an early generation digital camera.
There was no rhyme or reason to the pictures I took, and there certainly was no grand plan that I'd spend the next decade amassing more than 60,000 additional photos** of the changes and events along the path of Near Southeast's redevelopment.
All I knew was that were some plans to redevelop the neighborhood, especially the areas along the water as well as the public housing project a few blocks south of my house. I thought it would be cool to have some "before" photos, especially having watched other areas of the city change so radically from what I had first remembered as a high schooler and then college kid in the 1980s, venturing to the original 9:30 Club or the Tiber Creek Pub. I put a few of them up on my web site (already called JDLand, I'll have you know), mainly so that my dad could see them.
When I took these pictures, the notion of a baseball stadium anywhere in DC, let alone on South Capitol Street, was still thought of as a "maybe someday" dream, not anything that was actually only five years from opening. There was no hulking US Department of Transportation on M Street, and no public access to the entire 55-acre Southeast Federal Center with its long stretch of Anacostia waterfront. There were no parks, though there were school buses! And there were certainly no brightly colored townhouses selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
There were a couple of new office buildings built a few years earlier when NAVSEA moved to the Navy Yard, and one additional one was under construction. There was a banner announcing a coming shiny new apartment building at New Jersey and K, which my husband and I laughed at every time we saw it--who would ever want to live THERE?.
There were a lot of small businesses, a number of carry-outs and market/liquor stores, four gas stations, concrete plants, auto repair garages, warehouses, Metrobuses, and of course nightclubs, gay and straight. And a lot of trash-strewn empty lots.
I look now at the photos from those early years, and it just doesn't seem like it can really have been 10 years. I remember when the boarded up gas station at 3rd and M was demolished in October 2003, thinking "FINALLY!"
I remember working up the courage to go to public meetings, and feeling like a dingbat trying to explain who I was ("yeah, so, I have this web site, and I, like, take pictures and stuff?").
I remember walking around the neighborhood for hours on Sunday mornings in 2006 and 2007, rarely crossing paths with another human.
I remember the exhaustion of the all-details-blogging about the construction and opening of Nationals Park, especially at the end of 2007 and beginning of 2008. I laugh about how my fraidy-cat tendencies were shoved aside while I traipsed around the site in a hard hat (me! in a hard hat!), sometimes climbing rickety ladders, to get to spots where the best pictures would be had.
I think about how it seemed like the documenting of the stadium's birth was the main subject of this site, and yet I realize that I've now written about the neighborhood for almost as long with the stadium open as not.
I imagine I should have some grand What It All Means theory, for the neighborhood, or for "citizen journalism" or "hyperlocal blogging," or my life, or whatever. But, mainly I'm lucky that the stars aligned to have this particular neighborhood undergo such a transformation, in a way that tied in with my history-journalism-photography-web development backgrounds (and my obsessive-compulsiveness).
I do think it's been shown, though, that a project like this isn't as easy to replicate as it might seem (so maybe I did deserve that award!).
I'm also lucky that so many people have helped me along the way, with information, tips, tutorials on commercial real estate development and construction, and zoning, and urban planning, and all the other things I really knew nothing about before I started down this path.
And I'm really lucky that over the years people who have stumbled onto the site have found it interesting, which is what has pushed me to keep going, even if it's in a somewhat less-than-optimal fashion right now. Because, really, all I wanted was some cool pictures to be able to look back on.
Without getting into detail, my pulling back somewhat has definitely been the right thing to do, and the times when I go days or even weeks without posting aren't really just me being lazy. But the funny thing is, I still research and track all the minutiae the same way--it's just that final step of writing it out that I can't always get through.
I think, though, that 2013 is going to have a lot of the "milestones" that still propel me to post--restaurants will open, other retail may come along, and maybe some buildings will get started. And there still will be pictures to be taken. Because, even if I wanted to, I don't think I could ever really stop watching the neighborhood change, and if I'm going to watch it, and photograph it, I might as well keep blabbing on about it, and might as well share it with anyone still interested.
So go look at the pictures from January 19, 2003 (and all the others that I've put online), since that's what this was really all about. And accept my deep appreciation for being along for the ride.
*I say "real excursion", and date the blog's anniversary to Jan. 19, 2003, because that was the first time I took photos and then put them on the web, and really began this life-consuming project. But I need to note that I did also take some photos of the neighborhood back in the fall of 2000, during the reconstruction of M Street and the Navy Yard's renovation for NAVSEA, with my old film camera--but I forgot about them and didn't even develop the film until sometime in 2004 (hence the rotten quality!).
**Only about one third of the photos I've taken are actually on the web site, by the way.
Comments (7)
More posts: Rearview Mirror, JDLand stuff
 

If you're wondering how come I haven't posted that much lately, it's because a few months ago I decided I was only going to post about "big news", and there's been a bit of a lull in that department. But I still do pass stuff along on Twitter, which you can see in the Twitter box here on the JDLand home page and which also mostly gets cc'ed to the JDLand Facebook page. That's where you can keep up all sorts of little things about the neighborhood that aren't really blog-post-worthy.
I think there will be some posts coming before too long--a few things seem to percolating around that may draw me out soon, plus there's that ramp from the outbound 11th Street freeway bridges to northbound DC-295 should be coming before too long (UPDATE, five hours later: yes, indeedy). There's not always a lot of news in December, anyway. And not a lot of stuff to take updated photos of right now.
Just didn't want people to think I'd completely closed up shop.
But, if there's anything that I'm being too lazy to post about that folks want to discuss, have at it in the comments. (Suggested topics for discussion: the Navy Yard keeping their portion of the RIverwalk closed because they haven't yet fixed the security issues with the turnstiles into their campus, and Xavier Cervera perhaps selling off his restaurant empire, including the not-yet-opened Park Tavern at Canal Park and Willie's Brew and 'Que at the Boilermaker Shops.)
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More posts: JDLand stuff
 

With some free time for the first time in quite a while, I finally got around to including Bikeshare's Trip History Data for the first half of 2012 in my app that maps the usage of the neighborhood's three docks at 1st and N, New Jersey and M, and the 1st and K station that came online in February.
You can choose a station, a year, a month, or an exact date, and whether you want to see outbound or inbound traffic, and you'll get presented with a pile of pushpins showing the other stations that people rode to or from.
As with the 2011 data, Union Station is the top destination/origin, followed by 4th & M SW, and Eastern Market Metro Plaza, with the two stations north of the freeway on 3rd Street SE and the south Barracks Row/8th and I dock also getting a fair amount of use. (News flash: Bikeshare is used most often for short trips!)
I also updated the Wanderings of Bike W01000 map, where you can follow one bike as it travels from dock to dock all across the region.
(The data comes from the Bikeshare web site, if you feel like digging yourself.)
Comments (3)
More posts: Pedestrian/Cycling Issues, JDLand stuff
 

So....
After nearly a decade of documenting the changes in Near Southeast DC, the time has come for some change of my own, as I've decided to dial back the intensity of my blogging at JDLand.
Astute readers have probably already noticed the beginnings of a shift over the past few months, but it's time to make an official declaration of intent.
Since I've always been a historian at heart, I'll still write about the neighborhood's major moments, its new developments and other big arrivals. (Call it Milestone Blogging.) But while sometimes my output won't really seem that different from what it's been, it won't always be with the speed I prided myself on in the past, and I probably won't post about all the tiny steps in a project's road to fruition.
And there will still be plenty of photos, not only for the block-by-block archive that really is the heart of the site but also from big events and projects under construction, as my schedule allows.
But the day-to-day life-in-a-neighborhood stuff and aggregation-type "tidbit" and event items will mostly fall by the wayside on the blog, though should continue on Twitter/Facebook, where a mouse click or two can get the word out easily. And really, it's not so much me giving it up as it is finally admitting that I mostly gave it up already and have no intention of getting back to it.
When I started back in 2003, there were few places to get information about Near Southeast. (Remember, there wasn't even a ballpark back then--South Capitol Street was just one of four potential locations for a team that no one ever really thought would come to town.) The major news outlets might publish something once in a while, and there was the monthly Hill Rag and the late Voice of the Hill, but if I really wanted to know what was going on with development plans, I had to dig pretty deeply for it myself.
Now, as the neighborhood becomes a destination, not only for Nats fans but also for people heading to the Yards Park or other spots, coverage of goings-on in the area has expanded considerably. Plus, the number of outlets has expanded considerably--not only are there the newspapers and TV stations, but all manner of web sites covering development, entertainment, nightlife, food, urbanism, and whatnot. And then you have Twitter/Facebook feeds coming directly from developers, and the BID, and the restaurants, and the parks, and the politicians, and the city, and the residents....
With all that easily accessible information, my original goal of posting the things I dug up so that other people wouldn't have to do the digging seems pretty outmoded, and it makes it hard for me to keep doing what my brain tells me isn't really "needed." (I'm just not wired to be mostly an aggregator.)
There's probably all sorts of ways that the site could evolve to keep up with this high-volume new world, but there's also the reality that, after years of pretty intense commitment, I am starting to want to do other things, and to perhaps find some other kewl new concept to channel my energies to. But it can be hard to let your mind wander enough to figure out The Next Thing when you're still buried in The Current Thing.
Plus, there are now some new realities in my life that aren't leaving quite so much room for JDLand.
I hope that, by stepping back a bit from the content firehose, I can find a comfortable niche to continue writing about and photographing Near Southeast's continuing redevelopment, especially since I think I still have a lot to contribute in terms of "institutional knowledge" of how the area has evolved.
This probably would have happened awhile ago if it hadn't been for all of the great interest and feedback I've had during this amazing ride, and all of you have my heartfelt thanks and appreciation for all the interest and support. I've often described blogging as "whistling into the wind," but the incredible amount of positive response this little endeavor has received over the years has truly been what's kept me going. (It certainly ain't the money!)
I do hope some folks will continue to stick around as I transition into this new Blogger Emeritus role. After all, the comments threads are always open!
So, this isn't a goodbye. It's more like a necessary nod to the fact that things change, and it's time to allow JDLand--and JD--to change too.
Comments (29)
More posts: JDLand stuff
 

Things will be a bit quiet around these here parts for the next few weeks, because I am pretty much incapable of doing any work in early August unless absolutely necessary. (I think it comes from being a youngster with an early August birthday, with all the attendant celebrating in multiple locations while on family trips before school started back up.)
If there's big news, I'll pop up, but otherwise I'm going to enjoy the time off. Feel free to yack in the comments about whatever neighborhood-related news or issues strike your fancy.
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More posts: JDLand stuff
 

A glaring hole in my "project page" lineup is being filled today, as I am at last unveiling an ultra-exciting Virginia Avenue Tunnel Expansion page. (Um, yay?)
It's still just an overview at this point, since there is no design yet chosen and therefore all of the specifics that residents and neighbors are clamoring for about construction impacts and possible potential post-construction improvements to the street and its surroundings aren't yet available.
But I figured it was time to at least prepare for the inevitable before-and-afters with current photos from along the tunnel's 10-block footprint, plus it makes the current "concept designs" being reviewed by the EIS more easily accessible. And it also just finally gives me a page to point people to. (As with yesterday's development map refreshing, this has only been on my To Do list for a couple of years. I've been busy. And lazy. Lazy and busy.)
There's been no new announcements since the last EIS meeting in May; at that time, it was expected that a draft EIS would come out this fall, with a final decision in spring 2013. (Though other EIS schedules I've seen in the past have experienced some slippage, so we'll see how the tunnel's goes.)
Comments (7)
More posts: CSX/Virginia Ave. Tunnel, JDLand stuff
 
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