Commissioners with Dupont Circle’s ANC 2B had some strong words for Claudia’s Steakhouse (1501 K St. NW) over allegations that the restaurant repeatedly blocked a sidewalk and bike lane along 15th Street NW several times since it opened in June.
Marlon Alfaro, general manager at Claudia’s; David Bowing, assistant general manager at Claudia’s; and Ben Tesfaye, valet parking manager for Claudia’s valet company, U Street Parking, attended the ANC’s monthly meeting on Tuesday to request that two metered parking spaces near the restaurant be allocated for evening valet parking use.
“[The restaurant] is located in an area where parking is difficult,” Tesfaye said. “There are garages in the area, but unfortunately they do close early.”
“We’re looking at eight to ten cars a night,” he continued. “Two, three people per car, spending $35 or $40, that’s a lot of revenue for the restaurant.”
But ANC 2B chair Noah Smith had some criticisms for the steakhouse’s previous operations along that stretch of 15th Street. (more…)
DDOT representatives will share the department’s plans during an upcoming ANC 2F meeting at the National City Christian Church (5 Thomas Circle NW) this Thursday at 7 p.m.
During the meeting, the department will give its notice of intent for installation of bike lanes in the following locations:
- N St. NW between 15th St. and Vermont Ave. NW
- M St. NW between 9th St. NW and Blagden Alley
- 12th St. NW between Pennsylvania Ave. and L St. NW
If the projects meet the ANC’s approval, DDOT will begin installing the lanes in October, said department communications specialist Michelle Phipps-Evans.
Ward 1 D.C. Councilmember Brianne Nadeau urged the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) to invest more in protected bike lanes and highlighted several priority areas within her Ward in a letter to the District Department of Transportation sent yesterday.
According to the letter, Nadeau worked with bicycling advocates in Ward 1 to identify areas where bike lanes were needed the most, including protected bike lanes along 15th Street NW between V and Euclid Streets NW, which runs alongside Meridian Hill Park; 14th Street NW, particularly between Florida Avenue and Euclid Street NW; and 11th Street NW, particularly an extension of existing bike lanes to Kansas Avenue NW.
The letter also called for the completion of the Florida Avenue streetscape project between Sherman Avenue and U Street NW, and for DDOT to support the eastern downtown protected bike lane study.
Nadeau emphasized the need for protected bike lanes, saying that they are safer and cause less illegal parking problems.
“Continued investment in bicycle commuting infrastructure will mean less traffic, cleaner air and healthier residents,” she said in the letter. “Prioritization of these projects would address current gaps in the system and would help to make the District and Ward 1 an even better place to live.”
Bike vs. Car — “Two short videos show how difficult people in cars can make it for those on bikes to use the bike lanes on New York Avenue NW and L Street NW.” [Greater Greater Washington]
A Runner at Heart — In a touching memorial service, yesterday the Georgetown community celebrated the life of Nina Brekelmans, who died in a tragic fire on Riggs Place near Dupont Circle last week. [Borderstan]
Pride, Take 1 — The Washington Blade’s Mark Lee criticizes a story from Christina Cauterucci, in which the City Paper staffer calls out the commercialization of Pride Week. Lee said Cauterucci’s story shows an “obsession with radical sloganeering and extremist terminology.” [Washington Blade]
Pride, Take 2 — In the original piece by Cauterucci, the reporter looks at how the Pride events have changed over the years. The opening line: “They call it gay Christmas, but it feels more like New Year’s Eve.” [Washington City Paper]
From Mathew Harkins. Email him at mharkins[AT]borderstan.com.
Watch your toes, pedestrians! Not only are we in the middle of National Bike Month, we are in Bike to Work Week — and tomorrow, May 17, is Bike to Work Day.
So not only will you need to be on the lookout for the usual drivers and bikers looking to run you over, you’ll also be contending with an few extra thousand bicyclists.
Borderstan Bike Culture
Bike to Work Day began in 2001 with just a few hundred riders and has grown so much since then that in 2012, there were an estimated 12,700 bicyclists taking part. That makes for a lot of people unfamiliar with where they’re biking and how to operate around others.
Here in Borderstan, we love bicyclists because so many of us are bicyclists. We have numerous Capital Bikeshare locations, a nice collection of old and new bike lanes, and some great bike shops in The Bike Rack and Rollin Cycles.
That said, we all still need to look out for one another. So a few recommendations for our biking friends:
- Remember to stop at all red lights and stop signs you come across. I know you’re not in a car and the rules don’t always seem to apply to you, but it’s in everyone’s best interest.
- Be mindful of the vehicles around you. You may be a new rider and expect that cars will joyfully get out of your way. They won’t. There’s a good chance they won’t even notice you’re there (like the flies that buzz around elephants). And when those cars do come a little too close, you probably don’t need to slap the hood, the trunk, the door, etc. Probably.
- Be patient and cautious with pedestrians. There are many of us that, if there’s no car approaching, won’t hesitate to cross against the light. It’s a habit we should all work on but it won’t magically disappear by tomorrow. So be mindful of your neighbors still beating feet to work. And use your bell — we’ll all try to hear them through our headphones.
Bike to Work Day is pretty exciting. It’s great for exercise and as a way to do something nice for our environment. Just remember that we all still need to get along come rush hour on Monday.
For more information on Bike to Work Day, check out the official website.
Hard at work or hardly working? This one’s for you – the few of you toiling away in quiet buildings with no co-workers, questionable heat and no real motivation.
Borderstan Well Represented in ‘Top Standbys’
That may not sound too fancy, to be the best staid and true standby restaurant. But the list compiled by Eater DC yields something a bit better than your mom’s meatloaf. It includes Estadio, Hank’s Oyster Bar, Cafe Saint Ex, Bar Pilar and many other places that you’d be all too happy to make your Thursday dinner staple. May I recommend trying most of them this week, while crowds are typically smaller than average?
The non-stop rain finally slacked off around quitting time yesterday, prompting a flood of Facebook and Twitter pics of the rainbow that popped out all too briefly at 5pm. It was a pretty impressive display. A few of our favorite can be seen here (snapped at the airport) and here.
What’s Up with the Bike Lanes?
Greater Greater Washington invokes the ‘paralysis by analysis’ line to query what is taking so damn long with the city’s bike lanes. Is the Mayor, they wonder, commissioning so many studies to avoid making a decision or taking some action on additional bike lane striping. With L and M Streets stuck waiting for the conclusion of the Pennsylvania Avenue and 15th Street study, it’s hard not to wonder what is going on here, especially since the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) has already done a study on these lanes. Politics taking a long time in DC? Color me shocked.
Lauryn Hill at Warner Theater
Readers of a certain age will remember a time when Lauryn Hill was on top of the world and tossing rhymes as the frontwoman for the Fugees. Well, despite her prowess behind the mike, life has taken some twists and turns for Hill. Notably, a bad dip at a Ram’s Head show that the Baltimore Sun brings up as way of introducing her new gig. The show is February 29 and tickets go on sale December 30.
Occupy DC Tent Makeover
The Washington Blade sent out their ‘Gaylarious’ crew to make (ostensibly) someone’s holiday wish come true. They went down to McPherson Square to make over an Occupy DC tent. Hilarity sort of ensues. It’s at least entertaining enough to kill five minutes of your day, as you try to bill eight hours for Minesweeper, making coffee and shredding some paper.
Urban Etiquette runs biweekly with Borderstan contributor Mike Kohn writing about some common-sense rules of etiquette with an urban twist. We welcome your ideas for future columns.
One of the best parts about living in Borderstan is that it’s so easy to walk everywhere. Don’t want to walk, or think it’ll be too far? Hope on a bike and ride. With Capital Bikeshare setups all around the ‘hood, you don’t even have to own a bike to do that. The city went out of it’s way to create bike lanes for all of the people who want to ride, which makes it so much safer for bikes to get around places.
So why the hell are all of these bikers nearly running me over on the sidewalk?*
Let me just pause for a second to say this: cyclists get a bad rep. There are a whole lot of people who ride bicycles well, observing traffic laws, being courteous to both car drivers and pedestrians and not interfering with anyone else trying to get places.
That being said, there are a few cyclists who really ruin it for the rest of them by being general pains in the ass. So keep in mind that this article is directed at those people on bicycles, not the large majority, who I do think do a great job (read: don’t attack me by telling me that you’re a good bicyclist — I get it).
Okay, now that that’s out there, here’s what I’m recommending for bikers:
- Bike in the street. There are bike lanes all over the city (including 15th Street NW, among other places) that you can use. When you can’t use a dedicated lane, stick to the road — just don’t be in the sidewalk interfering with the pedestrian pathways, if you can help it.
- Obey the traffic signals. That includes lights and stop signs. True story from a reader of mine: “I’ve been hit by a bike in the crosswalk. Bike zoomed through the cars, stopped at the red light and nailed me.” Come on! Don’t be running people down!
- OK, so that one’s impractical for you? If you’re in so much of a hurry that you really can’t wait 25 seconds for the light to change, be sure you actually look both ways and into the crosswalk ahead when you cross against the signal so you’re not crashing into people because you’re so unobservant.
- Stop or lock your bikes in a way that doesn’t block everyone else’s path. For example, don’t lock your bike at a staircase so no one can climb the stairs. And don’t stop in front of a building entrance where people have to wait for you to move before getting in and out. Annoying.
- Use common sense when riding metro and elevators. That sounds dumb, but it would be really helpful. Sense whether it’s too crowded and you should wait for the next one. Don’t knock everyone over to squeeze your bike on. Things like that would be nice.
- This isn’t etiquette so much as safety, but wear a helmet. Don’t care if you’re riding for 5 seconds or 5 hours, but be safe and put it on.
What else would be helpful for our two-wheeled friends? And any cyclists out there have any comments about some of this stuff?
* DC law allows for bicycles on sidewalks in our neighborhood. The cutoff is Massachusetts Avenue NW, with bikes allowed on sidewalks north of Massachusetts.
17th Street Festival on Saturday
Be there or be square! It’s a free community event, running from 2 to 6 pm. Come check out your area businesses, non-profits and blogs (hint, hint). Visit the pet zone or kid zone to see dogs, people who think their dogs are babies and the kid-friendly attractions. When all the excitement has worn you down, calm your nerves with a beer in JR.’s beer garden (admission to the festival is free, the garden costs $5 and goes to the festival). If you need any other reasons, the Washington Blade does a bang-up job of explaining the importance of building a sense of community in the area, and we’d say that even if they didn’t give us a shout out.
14th and You on Hiatus?
Speaking of the importance of community, we are sad to see the bloggers at 14th and You take a break. How long seems to be up in the air, but they will need a new name. Apparently, the lack of updates are due to their move… to the SUBURBS! Kidding, we won’t hate much on the MoCo move, but we will miss you oodles.
Someone Prefers Arlington to the City
So, in this Bloomberg BusinessWeek list, Arlington was ranked as the second best city. They were ranked on college degree percentages, economic income, crime rates, parks, bars, restaurants and museums, among other things. DC came in at number six, ranking behind Raleigh, Irvine, Scottsdale and Honolulu. While we can understand the Hawaii preference, the others are a bit… interesting. The Washington Business Journal has the story. Arlington has a bad rap, DC has Wale — this hardly seems fair, even if we did lose points for our crime rate.
Well, Bike Beatings May Be Why
Our crime rate is high due to things like irate drives beating up cyclists, among other things. But this item is about a bizarre beating that occurred after a driver veered into a bike lane and hit a cyclist. The driver decided the cyclist was at fault and then beat up the guy he had just hit. The burbs sounding good right about now? Well, the driver was brought up on charges and sentenced today, reports the Washington City Paper. It was pretty light, as it was his first offense, but it’s at least some justice (refraining from Troy Davis comment here).
Or Stolen Puppies?
This story just makes me incredibly sad. Apparently, a dog owner with a recently adopted rescue dog entered a Safeway to buy treats for the dog and left it outside. When the owner returned, the dog was gone. See the poster and post at Prince of Petworth and keep an eye for the puppy. And, as Borderstan’s Tori notes, this is why it is not safe to leave dogs tied up outside of your line of sight.
I Want to Ride My Bicycle
We’ll end on a more positive note. Capital Bikeshare happily announced their one millionth ride on their first anniversary! Congratulations to a great organization that seems to be wildly popular. Their press release is pretty neat — they note the time and location, as well as user, of the ride that put them at an even million. So stay safe in your bike lanes, don’t use your bike to steal puppies and ride it on down to the 17th Street Festival. Are you not cheered or entertained? Well, Freddy Mercury can help you out here.
Dog Park Meeting
The Shaw Dog Park’s monthly meeting ,of the dog park committee is this Wednesday, April 20, 7 pm, at the Hotel Helix. All are welcome to attend. Shaw Dog Park located at 11th Street and Rhode Island Avenue NW (just south of R Street) and operated by Shaw Dogs, a volunteer group. Our newest contributor, Tori Tyree, has some tips for the dog park.
Dupont Group Fundraising on eBay
Interested in bargains and want to help a local organization? Historic Dupont Circle Main Streets is holding an eBay fundraising auction. HDCMS’s mission “is to make Dupont Circle’s commercial corridors economically healthy, improve our quality of life, and reflect our community’s pride and history.” As of this writing they still have lots of cool vintage cufflinks, collectibles and artwork available to the highest bidder.
From Michelle Lancaster. Got a news tip or event? Send Michelle an email.
Lanier to Stay as Chief of Police
Washington Post has the scoop – Mayor-Elect Gray appears to be leaning towards keeping current Chief of Police, Cathy Lanier, in her position. The article touts her accessibility; here’s hoping she can chime in on our recent crime post!
15th Street Bike Lanes Nearly Completed
WABA has the latest update on the 15th Street NW bike lanes. Painting is nearly done; important details like signage are still awaiting installation. Do our neighborhood bikers agree with the status? Experienced problems? Tell us in comments!
Sell the Car, Use Those Bike Lanes – Condo Prices On the Rise
The median price of condos in D.C. rose about 4% this year, reports DC Metrocentric.
Food and Drink in Borderstan
U Street Girl has the latest on BBQ at American Ice Co. (opening Thursday); we told you Hank’s Oyster Bar was finally granted permission to expand and We Love DC reports DC9 is still on track to re-open today.
Do You Disagree with the Selections on This ‘Best Of’ List, Too?
Twitter and Facebook were awash with angry comments on WUSA Channel 9′s ‘Best Of’ list today. Borderstan was pretty well represented. Most of the ire was over Lucky Bar and Lauriol Plaza as ‘best after-work bar’ and ‘best Mexican’, far as we could tell.
How to Beat Your Inner Grinch – Happy Hour & Ugly Sweaters
Join TBD at their Holiday MeetUp at The Big Hunt tomorrow, December 16, from 6 – 8 p.m. If beer, cookies and Skee-Ball can’t beat the holiday blues, I’m not sure what can. If that doesn’t work, try old-fashioned mockery and join their Ugly Sweater Contest or check out Washington City Paper‘s R.E.M. Christmas song review.
The Capital Bikeshare program kicked off Monday, September 20, replacing the SmartBike program. There will be a total 100 bike share stations in DC spread throughout the city’s eight wards–11 of them in the Dupont-Logan-U Street-Shaw area. The implementation period is August through November with about 30 new stations to be launched in September.
Status of Stations and Instructions
- The Bikeshare Station Map on at the DC Department of Transportation (DDOT) website is now up and shows stations that are operating.
- There is a also a great Bikeshare Google Map showing all of the planned 100 Bikeshare stations in DC and Arlington.
- There is also a Bikeshare instructional video on YouTube that explains how to use the system.
According to the DDOT Bikeshare Map, eight of the following 11 stations are up and running:
- Dupont Circle
- 2000 14th Street NW (at U)
- 1458 P Street NW (at 15th)
- 1404 Rhode Island Avenue NW (at 14th)
- 1401 R Street NW (at 14th)
- 2003 10th Street NW (at U)
- 700 T Street NW (at 7th)
- 1632 17th Street NW (at Corcoran)
- 1702 18th Street NW (at R)
- 1919 Florida Avenue NW (at 19th)
- 1944 New Hampshire Avenue NW (at intersection with U and 16th)
Employees of the DC Department of Transportation (DDoT) were at the 15th Street bike lane today surveying bike riders about the bike lane and how to improve it. If you took the survey, you got a T-shirt or shopping bag.
The District Department of Transportation (DDoT) announced Wednesday that starting Monday, March 15 there will be no more rush-hour reversible lanes on 15th Street NW south of Massachusetts Avenue. This means the the southbound (west side) lanes on 15th Street between K and Massachusetts will no longer become northbound lanes between 4 and 6:30 p.m. North of Massachusetts, 15th Street is one-way going north at all times.
The 15th Street NW bike lane has been operational for a couple of weeks. What’s your opinion of it and its effect on this stretch of 15th Street? The bike lane is a pilot program, and the city says it will review the street’s new configuration after one year to see how it is working out.
Note: Read WashCycle’s take on the lane and other future options.
- Hurry up to 14th and U Streets NW before 1 p.m. today–today is the final day of the 2009 season for the 14th and U Farmers Market.
- Read the transcript of an anonymous 911 call on the morning of October 4 when a man died at “Men’s Parties” at 1618-A 14th Street, courtesy of columnist Amanda Hess, “The Sexist”,at the Washington City Paper.
- If you are ready to adopt a companion, check out dcist’s “Pet Worth,” which launched in October; dcist is collaborating with the Washington Humane Society. It is a listing, with photos, of “Highly Adoptable Animals.”
- On Monday, November 23, attend the next 17th Streetscape Community Meeting at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, 1772 Church Street NW. Time is 6:30 to 8 p.m. Jack Jacobson, ANC 2B-04, has more information; you can send him an email.
- Read WashCycle’s take on the 15th Street bike lane–and other possible future options for the street. One is Alternative 3, which would make 15th a two-way street for traffic, and my choice all along.