Pax Liquor Denied Liquor License-No Liquor Store for North Michigan Park

Yesterday, DC’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Board denied Pax Liquor’s application for a new liquor license to open a liquor store at 4944 South Dakota Avenue NE (next to the McDonald’s). This is a big win for North Michigan Park residents who rallied and worked with ANC 5A Commissioners Ronnie Edwards (Chair) and Gordon Fletcher (Vice Chair) to protest the application.

The Board found approval of the license would not be appropriate because it would “encourage loitering to the detriment of peace and quiet” and that it will “likely have a detrimental effect on property values.” On the first point, the Board noted that loitering was likely given the loitering that takes place at other liquor stores in the ward. The Board also stated the McDonald’s next door would make the area an attractive place to loiter and that the overgrown alley and forest behind the lot would provide a hidden place for individuals to loiter and engage in antisocial behavior. On the second point, the Board pointed to evidence that the parking lot and building facilities of the proposed store have not been well-maintained and that the overgrown alley and forest behind the lot further demonstrate that a liquor store is not appropriate for the site. The Board cited evidence that the property owner has a history of not addressing issues on the property.

Hopefully this decision will spur the property owner to step it up and put more effort into maintaining the property.

Next Stop Neighbors Podcast – Meet Ramdass Pharmacy

Guest post by David Kosub

Welcome to Next Stop Neighbors where we get an opportunity to hear the voices behind the faces and places in Lamond-Riggs and the surrounding communities. Through this podcast series, you will meet some friendly neighbors and hear their perspectives on the community through civil, casual conversations. From the small business owner who just opened up, to the non-profit organization trying to make a difference, to the community leader describing their vision for the neighborhood, and the resident around the corner who has lived here for 50 years, we all have a story to tell.

Today, we meet Dr. Anthony Ramdass, Pharm.D., with Ramdass Pharmacy. Opened in 2018, the pharmacy is conveniently located at 475 Ingraham St NE in the Modern at Art Place building—steps from the Fort Totten Metro. Join us to hear about the pharmacy and its services, Dr. Ramdass’ career, his outlook on the community, as well as his vision for the future of the business.

Click here to listen to the conversation

Like the Next Stop Neighbors podcast and want to tell the story of someone in the community? Well, we welcome recommendations and/or your own 10-minute interviews too!

Sign up for Spring Clean!

It’s spring! That means it’s time for the 2nd Annual Lamond-Riggs Spring Clean.

The Spring Clean events will bring together neighbors to make our community healthier and more beautiful. Volunteers will remove trash from neighborhood streets and alleyways across the Lamond-Riggs neighborhood, and have an opportunity to learn about the Anacostia River watershed through the installation of three artistic storm drain murals that were selected by popular community vote at the Lamond-Riggs Citizens Association December 2018 meeting.

Events are lined up for March 30, April 6, and April 13. Note: Each event would be shifted to the following Saturday in case of inclement weather on the originally scheduled date.

March 30 – Hellbender Hill Clean-up

10:00 am-Noon

2nd Street NE/Hellbender Brewery area Clean Up

Meet at 5788 2nd Street NE

April 6 – Storm Drain Mural Installation

10:00 am-2:00 pm

Storm drain mural installation at 3 sites throughout the community

  • Corner of South Dakota Avenue and Galloway Street NE
  • In the vicinity of 219 Riggs Road NE (between South Dakota Avenue and the metro tracks)
  • Corner of 3rd Street NE and Chillum Place NE 

April 13 – Neighborhood Spring Clean 

9:30 am-Noon

Meet at the Riggs-LaSalle Recreation Center (501 Riggs Road NE) to pick up bags, gloves prior to going over to different work areas throughout the neighborhood.

Please sign up at the eventbrite link.

Hosted by the Lamond-Riggs Citizens Association, Anacostia Watershed Society, and the South Dakota Avenue/Riggs Road Main Street

Metro service proposal – ANC 4B resolution

h/t Gavin Baker

ANC Commissioner Evan Yeats (4B01) plans to offer a resolution in support of extending Metro service on the Yellow and Red Lines. Metro’s proposal was previously covered in this post. The draft resolution is here.

Metro’s Finance Committee approved the proposal on March 14, 2019, and the full board is scheduled to vote on March 28:

Did Our Federally-Elected Officials Just Do Something That Could Help Lamond-Riggs?

Guest post by David Kosub

On March 12, 2019, President Trump signed a bill on a federal lands package that may have direct implications for activities in the Lamond-Riggs neighborhood. The bill (S. 47), entitled the “John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act,” sets forth “various programs, projects, activities, and studies for the management and conservation of natural resources on federal lands.”

According to a press release after Senate passage from Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), who sponsored one of the bills in the package, the legislation clarifies that “the District of Columbia and the National Park Service (NPS) have the authority to enter into cooperative management agreements (CMAs) to maintain and operate NPS properties in the District.” The release quotes Holmes-Norton saying the bill would “allow D.C. to work with NPS to maintain and improve the many NPS-owned parks here in the nation’s capital.”

Franklin Park, one of the many NPS-owned parks in the District, is now on track to proceed more easily with a public-private partnership for  its planned rehabilitation now that the bill is law. A case study in real-time (Read more here).  

This is very interesting and exciting news to me, and it should also be for my Lamond-Riggs neighbors. There are many items on our wish-list for safety and recreational improvements  to the national parks around us—Fort Circle Park and Fort Totten Park. Let’s use this new authority to help address our interests too!

Top of mind is a long requested lit, paved, safe path across the portion of Fort Circle Park leading to North Michigan Park from the Fort Totten Metro station. Neighbors regularly share personal experiences related to safety and ease-of-access on this  informal trail connecting Gallatin Street NE and Galloway Street NE. Last summer, the NPS-proposed permeable 10-foot wide trail received final approvals, but all that was lacking was funding.

Residents in the Fort Totten neighborhood have also expressed concerns related to safety using the trail on the other side of Fort Circle Park west of the metro station, which will become part of the Metropolitan Branch Trail very soon. The primary concern revolves around personal safety, especially at night, because of burnt out lights that have not been replaced. However, despite having this issue raised at countless ANC and other neighborhood meetings, DC officials and Metro police have voiced their own concerns related to working collaboratively with NPS in the past. Our neighbors should not feel scared to use this public asset when simply attempting to walk to and from the metro.

On the lighter side of life, these national parks in our backyard are underutilized for more leisurely pursuits. As a nine-year-old resident in Riggs Park wrote in a 2016 petition, additional resources for amenities in Fort Circle Park, like a paved trail and playground, would afford us a “place to get together, exercise, and for us to play and ride.” Nearly 240 neighbors agreed with him that an enhanced trail is desired, would complement the forthcoming Children’s Museum, as well as allow the “children and adults a safe place to walk, jog, or bike ride.” Moreover, I’m still open to the idea of Fort Drum Circle too, perhaps coming this spring or summer. And, did I hear someone say dog park? All in all, it would be great to see city investment here to help improve these public lands for recreational and historical purposes, while balancing that with conserving the precious green space we’ve all come to enjoy.

I recognize much still needs to be done to see these, and other, wish-list items come to fruition.  It takes a village after all, naturally working together in a strategic, rational, civil, and non-conspiratorial manner. Perhaps as a start, we could get a representative from the Franklin Park project to speak at a neighborhood meeting about their best practices and lessons learned, which we can then apply to receive city funding to directly revamp our park. Maybe we can engage our local small businesses, neighborhood developers, UDC Backus friends, and the Main Street organization to help sponsor more projects that can activate these public resources. Encourage our youth to speak with elected officials again as Fort Circle Park Ambassadors? Or, a neighborhood yappy hour with our four-legged friends is in order? Let’s hear your ideas too!

Welcome to the New South Dakota Avenue/Riggs Road Main Street Executive Director

The South Dakota Avenue/Riggs Road Main Street volunteer community board of directors and the fiscal sponsor, Center for Nonprofit Advancement, have officially announced the hiring of Executive Director Edwin Washington. If you attended the community kickoff meeting, you had an opportunity to meet him there and learn how to get involved. Please see the official hiring announcement below.

March 11, 2019–The Center for Nonprofit Advancement is pleased to announce South Dakota Avenue/Riggs Road Main Street welcomes its new Executive Director Edwin D. Washington. Funded through a grant awarded by the District Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD), the new South Dakota Avenue/Riggs Road Main Street organization will utilize public-private partnerships and community volunteers to build on neighborhood assets and implement strategies to support and improve the business corridors in the Lamond-Riggs and Manor Park neighborhoods. As Executive Director, Edwin Washington will serve as the lead champion, visionary and implementer of this new Main Street.

Prior to taking on this new role, Edwin provided business development and fundraising consulting through his Washington Worldwide firm and served as volunteer Church Administrative Officer with Walker Memorial Baptist Church.  

Edwin’s career has included:

•  Business leadership roles in entertainment, energy and education

•  Nonprofit leadership roles in youth development, international relations and fundraising

•  Government leadership roles in job creation and internal affairs 

He has served as Vice President of Business Development with America’s Charities and has also held leadership positions with Greater Washington Boys & Girls Clubs, Goodwill of Greater Washington, Youth for Understanding, District Cablevision and the District of Columbia Government.

Edwin holds a BS in Business Administration from the University of Baltimore. He resides in the South Dakota Avenue/Riggs Road Main Street community with his wife and daughters.

The founding Main Street Board of Directors includes leadership from the Lamond-Riggs and Manor Park communities. The Center provides fiscal and organizational management, leadership and technical assistance.

Volunteer for LaSalle-Backus Career Day

Post updated with invitation

Our neighborhood school, LaSalle-Backus Education Campus, is looking for participants for its Career Day on April 12, 2019. Spend a few hours sharing information about your career with middle school students.

Several neighbors and I participated last year, and it was a great time. I encourage neighbors to support again this year. To sign up, contact Jessica Silva at jessica.silva@dc.gov by April 5.

Get a Free Tree from Pepco

Get a free tree from Pepco. See press release below

Pepco Giving Free Trees to Help Customers Save Energy

Customers can reserve a free tree through the Arbor Day Foundation starting today

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 11, 2019) – Pepco is giving away 1,000 free trees to residential customers through the Arbor Day Foundation’s Energy-Saving Trees program. This initiative helps customers conserve energy and reduce household energy use through strategic tree planting. For the ninth year, Pepco is stepping up to support this important environmental and energy saving program. Starting today, customers can reserve one free tree per household by visiting arborday.org/pepco.

“We value the strong and important relationships we’ve built and continue to cultivate with our communities across the District of Columbia and Maryland over the last 100 plus years,” said Donna Cooper, Pepco region president. “While we are known for our commitment to providing clean, safe, reliable, and affordable energy service to our customers, we also see it as our duty and obligation to give back to the communities that we are a part of and that we are privileged to serve. Seeing the outcomes of our continued contributions and volunteerism, with our outstanding non-profit partners, is another reminder of our deep connection to our communities and the vested interest we have in their continued success.”

Customers will have the ability to choose from a selection of trees, including Redbud, Crepe Myrtle, River Birch, Red Oak, Red Maple, most available in varying sizes. 

One-gallon trees will be delivered to customers’ homes between April and May. All three- and five-gallon trees will be available for pickup only during company planned events in April. More information on these events can be found online during the reservation process. 

Through the “Right Tree, Right Place” tree planting program, Pepco is also offering 250 trees on a first-come, first-served basis to District of Columbia homeowners in partnership with Casey Trees, a D.C.-based nonprofit committed to restoring and protecting the nation’s capital’s tree canopy. ​ District residents can request up to two trees by calling Casey Trees at 202-833-4010. Casey Trees will send out a professional arborist to evaluate the landscape and recommend a suitable tree for the area. Once the appropriate tree is chosen, Casey Trees will come to the home and plant the tree. For the consultation and planting valued at $400, a co-payment of $50 per tree payable to Casey Trees, is required prior to planting.

Through the Arbor Day Foundation’s website, customers also have the power to explore interactive tools, including a tool to help customers determine the best location on their property to plant their tree for energy savings benefits. Properly planted trees can provide a homeowner many benefits, such as reducing energy use through summer shading and by slowing winter winds.

Throughout a tree’s growth period,trees have the potential to lower energy bills by 15 to 30 percent. Additionally, trees provide benefits to a community by improving air and water quality, reducing stormwater runoff, and adding to the visual appeal of a neighborhood. In fact, since 2012, Pepco customers have planted more than 17,650 trees, saving nearly 29 million kWh, and removing close to 363,584 lbs. of air pollutants from the atmosphere.

Prior to receiving a tree, Pepco reminds customers to call 811 to have utility-owned underground lines marked before they start to dig. One free call to 811 connects you to Miss Utility, which notifies the appropriate utility companies of your intent to dig. Every digging project, no matter how large or small, warrants a call to 811.

Customers unable to reserve a free tree through the internet are encouraged to call 855-670-2772 to secure a tree.

To learn more, readers are encouraged to visit The Source, Pepco’s online news room. Find additional information about Pepco by visiting www.pepco.com. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pepcoconnect and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pepcoconnect. Our mobile app is available at www.pepco.com/mobileapp.      

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About Pepco: Pepco is a unit of Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC), the nation’s leading energy provider, with approximately 10 million customers.  Pepco provides safe and reliable energy service to approximately 883,000 customers in the District of Columbia and Maryland.

More Metro service could come to Fort Totten

Guest post by Gavin Baker

More trains could soon serve Fort Totten metro station, if approved by the Metro board.

In October 2018, Metro’s General Manager released the proposed budget for fiscal year 2020, which includes service improvements. The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) board is expected to approve a final budget within the next few weeks. WMATA’s Finance and Capital Committee is scheduled to consider the budget proposal on March 14.

The proposed budget would benefit Fort Totten by adding Yellow Line service during rush hour and increasing direct connections on the Yellow and Red Lines.

Currently, Yellow Line trains end at Mt. Vernon Square during rush hours and at Fort Totten at all other times. Under the proposed budget, all Yellow Line trains instead would run to Greenbelt – to and through Fort Totten.

From 2012 to 2017, Yellow Line trains ran to Greenbelt under Metro’s “Rush Plus” program. The FY 2020 budget proposal would restore that service at all times.

For Fort Totten, the proposed budget would add new service during rush hour to downtown DC, Arlington, and Alexandria (toward Huntington) and to Prince George’s County (toward Greenbelt). Outside of rush hour, there would be additional trains toward Greenbelt.

The proposal would also add more direct connections on the Red Line. Currently, some Red Line trains turn back at Silver Spring. Under the proposed budget, all Red Line trains instead would run to Glenmont, providing more trains from Fort Totten to Forest Glen, Wheaton, and Glenmont.

WMATA estimates these changes would benefit 12.4 million Yellow Line and 3.4 million Red Line trips overall next year.

For now, this is only a proposal. The WMATA board has to give final approval, and board members have criticized some aspects of the proposed budget. However, the Yellow and Red Line changes seem to have broad support among the board, according to the latest reports. If approved, these service improvements could be significant for our neighborhood, and not only in terms of more convenient transit service. In addition to adding more service generally, it would also offer a one-seat ride from Fort Totten to the future Amazon “HQ2” in Arlington and Alexandria. Amazon’s expected 25,000 jobs in Northern Virginia will make it the largest private employer in the DC area, and those employees will have to live somewhere. With direct Yellow Line service from Fort Totten to “National Landing,” maybe some of them will choose to call Riggs Park home – or at least check out Meow Wolf.

MPD Community Engagement Academy – Next Cohort Starting Soon

Guest post by David Kosub

The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) hosts an immersive program called the Community Engagement Academy, for interested District residents to learn more about how policing works in the District. The next cohort begins in June, with applications open until March 10, 2019.

After participating in the fall of 2017, I wanted to share this opportunity with others in the community, as I felt it was a valuable experience. In my cohort, we had folks from quite diverse backgrounds, demographics, professions, ethos, and personal experiences with public safety and the police to share.

Community Engagement Academy Cohort Fall 2017

Though we each had our own personal stories and experiences, we came together as a group to hold very civil and level-headed discussions on incredibly sensitive topics. We were encouraged to ask questions and say what we think and feel, while always being respectful of others in the room—a skill that is sometimes forgotten by some at our own neighborhood meetings. It was great to listen to these discussions, contribute at times, and grow as a group together. 

As part of the program, you will learn how MPD recruits officers, see common policing scenarios and challenges, spotlight issues like the effect of implicit bias on the community, as well as discuss juvenile issues and youth investigations. MPD learns something too in the process when they hear our thoughts, feedback, and concerns regarding their practices.

Though these were eye-opening in and of themselves, the most memorable experiences came during the tours and meeting the people who work at MPD. We got to grill the Chief of Police directly (and yes, he said I made him feel old), be right there when a 9-1-1 operator fields a call, sit in a paddy wagon, interview cadets just starting their police career, explore the forensics lab, soar down the Potomac on a harbor patrol boat, meet the people who live and breathe police data, see hands-on training regarding the use of force, and marvel at the training of police dogs.

Their next kick-off event is scheduled for Wednesday, March 27th, 2019, with the summer cohort launching in mid-June. 

ANC 5A February 27, 2019 Meeting Recap

Updated 3/7/2019 with a note from Commissioner Emily Singer Lucio

ANC 5A held its monthly public meeting on February 27, 2019. Commissioners present: Grace Lewis (5A02); Emily Singer Lucio (5A03); Isaiah Burroughs (5A04); Ronnie Edwards (5A05); Jamaal Lampkins (5A06); Sandi Washington (5A07); Gordon Fletcher (5A08).

Providence Hospital

Representatives from Providence Hospital Services, Inc. (PHS) returned to the ANC to ask for a letter of support for its certificate of need application. Recall that PHS is the entity that is seeking to continue providing primary care services on the Providence campus after April 30, 2019. PHS now needs its own certificate of need because it previously operated under the license of Providence Hospital, which is closing. The PHS representatives also noted that Providence is seeking a separate certificate of need to operate an urgent care facility on the campus.

Amha Selassie, DC State Health Planning and Development Director with DC’s Department of Health (DOH), explained that entities need to file a notice of intent to apply for a certificate of need with DOH and inform ANCs. He stated that entities are not required to get a letter of ANC support, but a letter may be helpful to the application. There was a long discussion by ANC 5A Chair Ronnie Edwards (5A05) about the fact that neither Ascension (which owns Providence Hospital and PHS) nor PHS saw fit to discuss its plans with Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie. Mr. Selassie said that entities are not required to notify affected ward councilmembers.

DOH plans to issue a decision on the certificate of need (for primary care services) around March 20, so PHS wants a letter of support from ANC 5A by March 7. The ANC agreed to provide a letter of support on the conditions that (1) the ANC receives a copy of the letter of support submitted by ANC 8D (not sure why the commissioners wanted to see this letter) and (2) PHS reaches out to CM McDuffie’s office to discuss its application.

Finally, Commissioner Emily Singer Singer (5A03) stated she will hold an SMD meeting with PHS, Mundo Verde Public Charter School (which has been seeking to relocate to 8th and Varnum NE near the Providence campus and apparently wants to use some of the newly available Providence campus space), and EYA (which is developing the St. Josephite campus across the street from Providence but is also apparently interested in developing a project on the Providence campus as well). So if you live in that SMD or you have interest in what kind of development will be taking place at Providence, contact Commissioner Lucio for the date of that meeting.

Update 3/7/2019: We received the following note from Commissioner Lucio, which she states more accurately characterizes her remarks:

Commissioner Emily Singer Lucio (5A03) is currently in communication with PHS, Mundo Verde Public Charter School and EYA to discuss the larger impacts to that area as it relates to all future development in that area.  As a part of those discussions, Mundo Verde recently held a meeting with neighbors to discuss traffic issues.  As it relates to the overall developmental impacts to this area and as interested neighbors, EYA and Mundo Verde are interested in hearing further from PHS about their future plans. EYA has made no plans to use the PHS space.

Wesley Housing

Wesley Housing was back for the same conversation regarding a curb cut application for a proposed development project that will replace the existing apartment building at 1 Hawaii Avenue NE with a new building with more units. Recall the ANC previously considered this issue at a special meeting on January 7, and again with the developer present on January 30, and expressed confusion around being asked to consider pieces of the project before being briefed on the project as a whole. For the third time, the ANC repeated its desire to consider the project as a whole. Wesley Housing stated they would find out from DDOT what happens to the curb cut application if the ANC decides not to act on it. Other commissioners and residents asked if the developer considered putting in a second curb cut so that there would be more than one entrance/exit for the project. A resident recommended a U-shaped entrance to provide better flow. All of these suggestions pointed to the need to have a view of the entire project, rather than considering the curb cut separately. In any event, Wesley Housing will return to the ANC in March to finally present on the entire project.

Right Care, Right Now Update

DC Fire & EMS is making the rounds to update residents about its Right Care, Right Now pilot program to triage 911 medical calls so that only calls that are medical emergencies are picked up by ambulances. View the handout here. The conversation turned to how other hospitals in the District and even Prince George’s County are working together to absorb emergencies that can no longer be accommodated by Providence. It is a real issue that District officials are working to address.

UDC Equity Imperative

Last year, the ANC supported UDC’s “Equity Imperative” campaign to secure more funding. A UDC representative returned to get ANC support again this year. View the handout here. This time though, the ANC questioned how UDC plans to spend the additional funding if it is received. Commissioner Sandi Washington (5A07) questioned whether the additional funding would be spent on administrator and faculty salaries. The representative from UDC was not prepared to answer that question but promised to provide a response in order for the ANC to provide its support.

Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie Report

Councilmember McDuffie’s office stated they continue to work with Commissioner Gordon Fletcher (5A08) to replace the lights on the pedestrian path west of Fort Totten metro station. The path is on National Park Service property so that is making the process a little more cumbersome.

Mayor Bowser will submit her proposed budget to the Council on March 20. There will be budget hearings after that to provide an opportunity for residents to advocate for items in the budget.

Miscellanous

I recommended that the ANC hire an administrative assistant to take care of things like sending out timely meeting notices, updating the ANC 5A website so that it has accurate, useful information, and generally keeping residents informed about what’s happening in the ANC. The commissioners are volunteers and they are busy people. The ANC has plenty of money in its budget to pay someone $15/hour for 10 hours of work each week or however much time to take care of administrative tasks. Commissioner Edwards stated the ANC would look into it.

Looks like the March meeting will be jam-packed. DDOT Director Jeff Marootian is scheduled to attend and there will be presentations on the Wesley Housing development as well as the second phase of Art Place at Fort Totten.

24 Hour Fitness Press Release

We previously reported that 24 Hour Fitness is coming to the neighborhood. Here’s the official press release.

MORRIS AND GWENDOLYN CAFRITZ FOUNDATION PARTNER WITH 24 HOUR FITNESS IN FORT TOTTEN

Leading Fitness Pioneer to Open in Art Place Mixed-Use Development In Northeast Washington, D.C. 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – March 4, 2019 –The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation (Cafritz Foundation), developers of the Fort Totten mixed-use development project Art Place, today announced that the lease has been executed for an approximately 40,000 square-foot 24 Hour Fitness club located at Art Place at Fort Totten. This will mark the first 24 Hour Fitness location in D.C. and sixth 24 Hour Fitness club in the Metro region, expanding on its successful footprint across Maryland and Northern Virginia. The 24 Hour Fitness is slated to open within the next few years. 

Celebrating 35 years as an industry leader, 24 Hour Fitness transforms lives every day through fitness. Conveniently located clubs, furnished with a wide variety of strength, cardio and functional training equipment, are the perfect environment for fitness professionals to deliver dynamic personal and group training programs.  GX24® and cycle rooms feature a popular array of live classes included with membership.  A multitude of additional offerings engage and inspire every member to lead a full and healthy life both inside and outside of the club.  Opening new clubs on average at the brisk pace of one every few weeks, 24 Hour Fitness is headquartered in San Ramon, CA and serves nearly 4 million members in over 430 clubs nationwide.To learn more about the brand and to find a nearby club, visit www.24hourfitness.com.

“We are thrilled to introduce one of the largest and best-in-class fitness names to Art Place and the larger D.C. community,” said Jane Cafritz of the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation. “D.C. is recognized as one of the country’s top educated and fittest cities, and proximity to diverse health and wellness offerings is a top priority. We welcome the opportunity to provide our residents and the larger Fort Totten neighborhood access to a full-service health and fitness club as we continue to partner with top lifestyle and cutting-edge retailers at Art Place.” 

Located along South Dakota between Galloway and Ingraham Street NE, the new 24 Hour Fitness will sit below The Modern at Art Place, a 520-unit apartment building. 24 Hour Fitness is part of the first phase of the Art Place at Fort Totten development which opened in the fall of 2017 and includes The Modern, Ramdass Pharmacy, Shiningstars Pediatric Dentistry, T-Mobile and DMV Urgent Care.

The announcement of 24 Hour Fitness joining the development comes on the heels of the Cafritz Foundation’s announcement that ALDI, the nationally recognized leader in the grocery retailing industry, will be opening a 25,000 square-foot ALDI store as part of the second phase of Art Place in 2022. 

“As we continue our expansion plans in the Northeast, we’re excited to bring a flagship club location to the Fort Totten neighborhood in Washington DC,” said Raymond Dewhirst, Senior Director, Real Estate, Development, 24 Hour Fitness.  “The Fort Totten Art Place project is remarkable and we’re delighted to be a part of it.”

At full build out, the multi-phase development is anticipated to include nearly 2 million square feet across a mix of uses. These uses include multi-family residential, retail, cultural, art, public and entertainment spaces.

For more information on the Cafritz Foundation please visit  http://www.cafritzfoundation.org.

Media Contact:

Sofia Royce, PR Director

The Brand Guild

sofia@thebrandguild.com

202.733.5223

About The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation

The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation is the largest private, independent, local foundation dedicated exclusively to the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. The Foundation is the legacy of Morris Cafritz–one of Washington’s leading commercial and residential builders from the early 1920’s to the mid-60’s–and is committed to improve the quality of life for residents of the area. Since 1970, the foundation has granted awards totaling more than $447 million. In just the last ten years, $185 million has been awarded to more than 961 organizations in Community Services, Arts & Humanities, Education, Health and the Environment.

Fort Totten needs better bike access

Guest post by Gavin Baker

Thanks to the 58 neighbors and bicyclists who responded to my survey between February 5 and 19, we now have more information about why and how to make the Fort Totten Metro station and the future Metropolitan Branch Trail more accessible to folks on bikes.

From the south: Galloway Street

Galloway Street is one of the most important access routes for bicyclists to Fort Totten Metro station and the future MBT trailhead, but also the route most in need of improvements, according to the survey results.

Galloway Street option

Galloway Street was the:

  • Most preferred route if bike facilities were installed (51.8%, more than double the second-most preferred option);
  • Least preferred route under current conditions (26.8%); and had the
  • Lowest percentage of respondents who would be comfortable biking the route without new facilities (15.1%).

Several respondents identified the heavy vehicular traffic, the climb, or the combination of both as challenges with biking on Galloway:

  • “I live at the Modern so I bike the hill up Galloway frequently. It is packed with cars especially during the morning rush hour so getting up the hill and under the tracks is very tricky on a bike. Usually I either have to wait in line with the cars, or resort to the sidewalk. It’s not fun.”
  • “I bike from my home on Hamilton St NE to Ft Totten metro station. That hill is really tough, and is often a deterrent for me to bike.”
  • “I bike it now and it sucks. I’ll still keep biking it, but it feels very unsafe at rush hour with buses coming up Galloway, delivery trucks idling outside the Modern, and commuter cars in a rush to drop people off.”

My recommendation: Separate bike facilities should be installed on Galloway. While only 15.1% of respondents would be comfortable biking the route today, 71.7% would be comfortable if bike lanes were installed.

While the survey did not ask about an off-street trail along Galloway, it would likely serve the same need as an on-street bike lane, and probably even better. The District Department of Transportation’s (DDOT) 2014 moveDC plan includes a future trail along Galloway St. from the Fort Totten trailhead to South Dakota Avenue. Reportedly, DDOT is looking at options to make that happen. A trail alongside Galloway would not only significantly ease access to the Metro and MBT, it would also link to the future trail between Galloway and Gallatin Streets and the planned MBT segment continuing east to the planned Prince George’s County Connector.

From the north: Kennedy Street (or…)

Access routes north of Galloway Street are also important, according to the survey results, with a slight preference for Kennedy Street over Ingraham Street.

Kennedy Street option

Kennedy Street was the:

  • Most preferred route under current conditions (39.3%); had the
  • Highest percentage of respondents who would be comfortable biking the route without new facilities (34%); and would be the
  • Second-most preferred route if bike facilities were installed (25%), after Galloway Street

Ingraham Street was slightly behind Kennedy Street on all counts, with responses rating it in between Galloway and Kennedy.

Some respondents commented that the Kennedy route is too roundabout or too far out of their way, especially those coming from the south (Galloway to Kennedy is an additional quarter-mile up South Dakota Avenue). However, a few respondents indicated that they use Kennedy currently and prefer that route:

  • “I’ve ridden Kennedy and 3rd to reach Fort Totten from Lamond-Riggs, and much prefer it to Galloway, even as is.”
  • “This is the way I usually now access the Metro station on my bike. The incline is more spread out with a break between Kennedy and Galloway. The same issue applies, though, with traffic back ups at underpass and traffic circle.”
  • “This is the way that I currently ride from my house (near Riggs and Eastern) to get across to NW. The ramp would be important, also the connection to the trail from the dead in at Kennedy St would need to be improved, it is always a big puddle and is getting worse. Also some lights on the trail would be a big safety improvement.”

My recommendation: Bicyclists should consider both Kennedy and Ingraham streets as potential options to access the Metro and MBT. Minor improvements could improve access, most importantly installing a curb ramp where 3rd Street ends and the asphalt trail begins. Signage could also be helpful. At the asphalt trail, drainage and security (lighting and visibility) should be addressed. Street adjustments to better accommodate bicyclists should be considered (such as a bike lane on Kennedy, traffic calming, and reduced speed limits).

Farther north

While this survey focused on the area between Kennedy and Galloway, access from farther north will also be an issue. Riggs Road, South Dakota Avenue, and the WMATA/CSX railroad tracks form considerable barriers for bicyclists.


2014 moveDC plan. Blue dotted lines indicate a planned off-street trail, purple dashed lines indicate a planned cycletrack (or protected bike lane), orange dotted lines indicate a planned on-street bike lane, black dotted lines indicated a planned new street

DDOT’s 2014 moveDC plan includes protected bike lanes along Riggs Road and South Dakota Avenue, and in fact, one respondent indicated their preferred route with new bike facilities would be Riggs Road. But I don’t know if any progress has been made on those proposals. Additionally, the moveDC plan includes a new railroad crossing near Longfellow Street NE, which would connect to a future segment of the MBT. Those are improvements that would benefit our neighbors farther north in Lamond-Riggs and Manor Park, but their path forward is unclear.