East Side News

Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen, Acting DDOT Director Jeff Marootian, MVT CID President Kenyattah Robinson and staffs celebrate the new crosswalk at 4½ Street NW. Photo: Mount Vernon Triangle CID

The ½ Street Gets Its Day
Neighbors are thrilled, and the streets are a little bit safer, because of the new safe passage from one side of K Street to the other in the heart of the Mount Vernon Triangle. The new crosswalk at 4½ Street and K Street NW is the final product of a long-fought battle by the community and its political stakeholders to help stop the dangerous headache that the “superblock” imposed in a highly trekked neighborhood.

The block is simply too long and there are simply too many pedestrian haunts on both sides of the wide thruway. Anyone who has driven through Mount Vernon Triangle knows that K Street is the most direct feeder in and out, especially with Massachusetts Avenue construction that has been going on for two-plus years. But with neighborhood growth, including a drastic increase in housing and amenities for those who live in that housing, the pedestrian traffic has increased tenfold over the last five years. The block is also what is called a superblock, a fancy way of describing a block that is longer than the average length between the two streets.

All these coinciding factors had one outcome: a serious number of people dangerously jaywalking on a very busy street.

The community stakeholders knew this was a problem and wanted to commission a study, but needed to present Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen with enough evidence to bring the case to the District Department of Transportation (DDOT). “Every opportunity to present our neighborhood concerns to Councilmember Allen included mention of the strong need for a crosswalk at the top of our list,” explains Kenyattah Robinson, president of the Mount Vernon Triangle Community Improvement District (MVT CID). “It was an important matter of safety that impacted the quality of life for those who live, work, do business and entertain in our community as well as those who pass through it.”

The MVT CID turned to what is often considered the greatest resource in DC: interns. The interns spent three summers watching and recording how many pedestrians crossed mid-street.

The resulting study was enough to activate Councilmember Allen’s office. It asked DDOT’s Acting Director Jeff Marootian for a formal study, and after months of meetings DDOT approved the plans and contracted a company to start designing the street to accommodate a crosswalk.

This November saw the completion of that work. The CID and Councilmember Allen’s office were on hand to celebrate the achievement with a ribbon-cutting, followed by the councilmember’s regular community office hours at A Baked Joint.

Public Radio Meets Etsy
This year, NPR hosted its annual All Crafts Considered event in its headquarters at North Capitol and L streets. A festive play on the title of their signature series “All Things Considered,” the event brings together artists and makers of handmade products from the metro area and up through New England to sell their wares in time for the holiday season.

They transform the lobby into a makeshift market. NPR also opens its own shop, The Commons, so fans can get NPR-branded gifts before the holiday rush. Many of the vendors participate in the Made in DC Program, a collective designed to promote locally made and often locally themed, products. Many like to show their DC pride and sell items with the flag or other DC-themed images. Local vendors included Stitch & Rivet, CFJ Fine Arts, Eileen Egan Pottery and Handmade Habitat.

No Place Like NoMa for the Holidays (and MVT!)
The East Side neighborhoods are preparing heartily for the holiday season. NoMa and Mount Vernon Triangle are planning festivities throughout December including charity drives, holiday markets and foodie delights.

The largest charitable effort is being driven by the team at the NoMa Business Improvement District. The BID is collecting pajamas in the hopes of providing comfortable and comforting sleepwear for 1,000 children in DC’s foster care. In the last six years, they have collected over 6,000 pajamas from all around the country and some from outside the states. They are accepting pajamas for all sizes and ages, from babies to teens, in the lobby of the BID’s headquarters at 1200 First St. NE. “The NoMa BID is so proud to partner with the District’s Child and Family Services Agency to provide PJs for children in foster care,” explains BID Executive Director Robin-Eve Jasper. “We trust that the NoMa community will show its generosity and help encourage sweet dreams for our children in need.”

Here are some of the upcoming holiday events in the East Side.

  • 5th Annual DC Firefighters Burn Foundation Tree LotThis year, the annual tree purchasing event will be held at Sixth Engine at Fourth Street and Massachusetts Avenue NW. All proceeds will be donated to the DC Firefighters Burn Foundation. Tree sales began on Nov. 24 and continue until all trees are sold.
  • Wunder Garten’s WinterFest From Dec. 1 to 17, Wunder Garten will transform its outdoor venue into a marketplace filled with Made in DC vendors and art installations, with local food vendors, live music, warm cocktails and more.
  • Mount Vernon Triangle’s Santa Celebration MVT is getting a special visit by Santa on Dec. 9 at 2 p.m. Hot chocolate, cookies and holiday music are included. Participants are invited to bring unwrapped gifts for families supported by Central Union Mission as part of Operation Christmas Miracle 2017.
  • Caroling on the Corner in NoMaThe Gay Men’s Chorus will be singing-in the season at the corner of First and L streets NE. Pajama donations will be accepted, and those donating a new pair will get a coupon, for that night only, for one free beer at Wunder Garten, which will be hosting WinterFest across the street. Dec. 12 at 5:30 p.m.
  • Peet’s Coffee’s Goodie GiveawayThroughout the month, Peet’s Coffee, NoMa’s most recent addition, will be handing out seasonal treats to customers who come in for a cup of joe.


Taylor Barden Golden is a real estate agent with the Stokes Group at McEnearney Associates Inc. A former Hill staffer, Taylor lives in Brentwood with her husband, two dogs and a cat. She’s always on the lookout for new places to explore and ways to spend time outside. Get in touch: taylor@midcitydcnews.com; @rtaylorb.