Shaw Streets

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Seylou Bakery and Mill pastry chef Charbel Abrache, Acting Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development John Falcicchio and Shaw Main Streets Executive Director Alexander Padro celebrate Seylou’s Great Streets Small Business Grant. Photo: Pleasant Mann

Washingtonian Recognizes Shaw Restaurants
The recent release of Washingtonian magazine’s annual list of best restaurants demonstrates that Shaw is still the DMV’s place for great restaurants. Nine Shaw restaurants, a mix of both established and new, are on the Washingtonian list of the 100 best. Near the top of the list is The Dabney, taking the No.2 spot. In the top 25 are Kinship/Metier (No. 12), Green Almond Pantry (No.19) and All Purpose (No. 22). Others making the list were Nina May (No. 32), Unconventional Diner (No. 47), San Lorenzo (No. 56), Haikan (No.65) and Convivial (No.85). In addition, the magazine honored Bobby Pradachith, chef of the recently reopened Hanumanh, as one of the chefs under 35 who will shape the way we eat over the next decade.

Great Streets Grants Make It Rain for Shaw Businesses
On the morning of Jan. 13, Mayor Muriel Bowser, along with District small business owners, assembled for the announcement of the Great Streets grantees for 2020. The Great Streets program awards grants to storefront businesses in order to support improvements that will strengthen commercial activity in the District’s neighborhoods. This year, the Great Streets Small Business Grants program awarded over $2.3 million to 48 local businesses.

Three Shaw businesses received five-figure Great Streets grants this year. A New Image by Acia (705 Florida Ave. NW) is a salon specializing in healthy hair-care services, along with offering up-to-date styling by Dr. Acia Williams and her staff. Ambassador restaurant (1907 Ninth St. NW) serves Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine. The final Shaw grantee was Seylou Bakery and Mill (926 N St. NW), the renowned whole-grain bread bakery, pastry shop and (on Friday nights) pizza parlor.

Over the past five years, the Great Streets program has awarded more than $18.7 million to 367 small businesses and helped create more than 2,000 jobs. Approximately $2.5 million of the awards over the years went to businesses in Shaw.

DDOT S Street Revitalization Project
The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) met with the Shaw community on the night of Jan. 8 to discuss plans for the S Street Revitalization Project. The project, which focuses on a stretch of S Street from Seventh Street NW to Florida Avenue NW and the 1700 block of Sixth Street, arose from the need to correct a historic problem. Back in the 1960s, this section of S Street was widened to accommodate an entrance to a planned freeway. While the freeway was never built, the road alterations led to a number of safety and livability problems.

The District Department of Transportation presents its plans for S Street revitalization to the Shaw community. Photo: Pleasant Mann

As outlined by DDOT project manager Abdullai Mohamed, this section of S Street is plagued by narrow sidewalks with substandard ADA ramps, inconsistent street lighting, irregular surfaces from patches and settling and short street segments that block traffic. The S Street Revitalization Project seeks to enhance pedestrian safety, improve bicycle connectivity and safety and upgrade lighting and other streetscape elements. It will also assess the configuration of S Street within the “triangle” formed by the intersections of New Jersey Avenue, Florida Avenue and Rhode Island Avenue NW.

DDOT’s presentation generated comments from community members. The question came up why restoring tree boxes on S Street was not one of the explicit priorities of the project. DDOT gave assurance that restoring trees to the street was an important part of the project. Someone noted that there has been a gas leak on S Street for 20 years. The response was that any new construction on the street will require the replacement of the gas line. There will also be a need to replace traffic lights and utilities.

Another problem mentioned was car crashes at Fifth and S, and a query whether crash data had been reviewed. DDOT said they had the data. This led to a request for stop signs on S Street to slow down traffic. The response was that the revitalization project was for the long-term, but that a safety team could come to the next community meeting to work out a short-term solution, such as stop signs, for the street.

After holding another meeting with the community in the spring, DDOT will start the design stage of the project in fall 2020, completing design in early 2022. Construction will begin in 2023. The proposed dates for the S Street project are complicated by DC Water’s tunneling project down Rhode Island Avenue.

Vote for Best New Business in Shaw
Shaw Main Streets is opening its annual survey of Best New Shaw Businesses. This year’s poll will choose among the 23 businesses that opened in Shaw during 2019 (see Shaw Main Streets ad in this issue for more information). You can vote for your favorite new Shaw business by sending an email to BestinShaw@gmail.com, with the business name in the subject line and your name in the message, before Monday, March 23, at 12 p.m. The three top vote-getters will be recognized as the Best New Shaw Businesses at the Shaw Main Streets Annual Meeting in March.

Banneker High School Community Meeting on March 2
DC Public Schools will hold its next meeting for the Shaw community on progress in the construction of the new Banneker Academic High School, on Thursday evening, March 2. The meeting will be at the Watha T. Daniel Library (1630 Seventh St. NW) at 6 p.m. The community meeting is part of a series to update residents about progress and to receive feedback on any issues with the construction work. There will also be a discussion of the planned renovations of the adjacent recreational park, including the skate park and dog park. The point of contact for the Banneker project is Joi Ruffin, who can be reached at joi.ruffin@k12.dc.gov.