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Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Bloomingdale Bites

Bald for Bills
Boundary Stone proves once again that the trick to raising a lot of money for a good cause is to supply people with beer and something fun to watch (see – Santa being escorted in by a police posse). This month, for the fifth year in a row, the public house staple of the neighborhood hosted an event to raise money for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a volunteer- and donor-powered charity committed to supporting the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers and give survivors long and healthy lives.

The day of celebrations is truly about the main event, the massive group head-shaving in support and solidarity with those suffering from cancer. Unlike most events that are driven by the neighbors who use Boundary Stone as their base of operations, whether for a drink, bike ride or group run, this event is really sponsored by the local hospitality community.

“Our fifth year hosting a St. Baldrick’s shaving party brought in an impressive $91,000 for childhood cancer research, which could not have been achieved without the help and support of the hospitality community. Each year, our community comes together to make this event bigger and better. We’re incredibly proud and greatly humbled by all the support,” explains owner Gareth Croke. The amount raised this year brings Boundary Stone’s five-year total to over $300,000 to help fight childhood cancers.

Bonkers about Bike Lanes
Anyone who follows the neighborhood news of Bloomingdale has recently seen that the major topic of controversy, water and the amount of it, has been temporarily(?) replaced in recent weeks by another controversial issue: bike lanes. Social media have been filled with comments, both pro and con, about the addition of bike lanes on First Street at Q Street NW.

However, it was not proposed legislation, or even a recent study, that prompted the discussion, but an email complaint from a cyclist and response from the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) that has the neighborhood debating traffic efficiency versus cyclist safety.

The cyclist stated the problem in an email to Mike Goodno, bicycle program specialist at DDOT. “Cyclists traveling eastbound on the Q Street NW bike lane must turn north on First Street to access R Street NW (and the Met Branch Trail) or continue north into Bloomingdale. However, the width of the road provides little space for them and cars.”

Goodno responded that “Section 10-11 of DDOT’s Mid-City East Livability Study recommends a bike boulevard treatment with mini-roundabouts. This study found that First Street has a fair amount of longer distance vehicle trips. The roundabouts would help calm traffic and encourage drivers to use parallel streets for these longer trips. As for a dedicated bike facility, First Street is two-way, 35 feet wide, with parking on both sides of the street. The parking and travel lanes are already at their minimum widths. If we were to explore this option, we would need to eliminate parking and/or travel lanes.”

The interaction was posted on the Bloomingdale Neighborhood Blog run by Scott Roberts, including an email response, from Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 5 Commissioner Bertha Holliday, stating the following: “I know this will be a VERY CONTROVERISAL proposal, as it may require the elimination of parking on one side of First Street NW, or turning First Street into a single-lane, one-way street, both of which residents and businesses will find disruptive.”

Chaos ensued. Neighbors on both sides took to social media; even Greater Greater Washington posted an article entitled “The Case of the Imaginary Bloomingdale Bike Lanes.”

To be clear, no policy change or plan has been announced. The city isn’t proposing bike lanes, even DDOT isn’t proposing them. Goodno was simply explaining that a study had been done stating that there were options that had been analyzed to increase cyclist safety at that intersection.

Commissioner Holliday is accepting comments on the issue, because there are a lot of them.

New Season, New Renovation, New Events
As the city prepares for a spring that will hopefully arrive any day now, the Park at LeDroit is preparing for all the possibilities that spring will bring, and a renovation that is fast approaching. The late frost and rainy aftermath has stalled a lot of the use of the park, but not the plans to update the park to last for the next decade.

In preparation for the $750,000 upgrade by the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR), Friends of LeDroit Park, a nonprofit that supports the maintenance of and events in the park, has been working closely with Open Architecture Collaborative, which is working on the case pro bono. The architects will be providing guidance on landscaping updates and shaping the outer rim of the park to tighten the design elements. However, a majority of the budget will go toward remediating the playing field in the park and focusing on the playground areas. If budget allows, the friends group is also asking for a small splashpad to be installed.

The Friends of LeDroit Park will be working closely with DPR to communicate the final proposal and construction schedule to the community throughout the spring and summer.

In the meantime, many events are planned for the park and the adjacent Common Good City Farms. The big kickoff will take place on April 28, as both entities celebrate the coming of good weather and good soil. The park will host an opening event with musical entertainment, a face painter, crafts and other activities, and Common Good City Farm will provide lunch.

Common Good City Farm will be hosting a happy hour from 3 to 5 p.m. to celebrate its 10-year anniversary at ANXO Cidery and Pintxos Bar in Truxton. The events are being held in conjunction with iNaturalist’s City Nature Challenge, which challenges people in major cities around the country to identify as many species as possible and submit their findings to the organization.


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.

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