I’m a full-time local artist and mapmaker, former French Embassy economic and agriculture departments staffer, biker, transit user, animal lover and first-time candidate for Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner in the newly created district 5A09, representing the neighborhoods of Fort Totten and North Michigan Park in upper Ward 5.
What is an ANC?
Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners primarily serve as a sort of liaison between residents in a single member district (SMD), all of which have about 2,000 residents, and the District government, advocating on behalf of residents to obtain services like trash removal, getting a pothole filled, issues with traffic, and countless others. They also can use the bullhorn the position provides to advocate for changes in a neighborhood, like pushing the Dept. of Transportation to make safety enhancements for traffic, or advocating for more affordable housing in a new development. The DC government also has to consult with ANCs on certain changes to a neighborhood, and must give the opinions of the local ANC “great weight” when making decisions. “Great weight” requires acknowledgment of the ANC recommendations, and requires the DC government to respond to all issues and concerns raised by the ANC.
Single Member District 5A09
SMD 5A09 is a small, brand-new district, largely carved out of the old 5A08 as a result of redistricting following the 2020 census. The borders are, roughly, South Dakota Avenue to the northeast, 8th Street and Emerson Street to the southeast and south, Farragut Street NE and the Red Line to the west, and Riggs Road NE to the north (see map). It includes the Aventine and Modern at Art Place apartment complexes near the Fort Totten metro, four blocks of rowhouses to the south of Fort Circle park in the North Michigan Park neighborhood, as well as the Food and Friends building at Riggs and South Dakota, and the new phase of the Modern at Art Place complex being constructed now along South Dakota.
My number one priority if elected will be pushing DDOT (District Department of Transportation) to make serious and meaningful improvements to traffic safety in our neighborhood. South Dakota Avenue in particular is in need of serious improvements. I’m not waiting until I’m elected to get started on this work, I’ve already asked DDOT to launch traffic safety investigations (TSIs) into several locations in our area, with the hopes that by the time I would take office DDOT will finally be getting around to looking into them (there is currently a wait time of around 130 days between asking for a TSI and DDOT moving on them). Here’s the complete list of traffic safety improvements I’ve asked DDOT to investigate in our area:
- Gallatin Street
- Traffic safety features including speed humps, stop sign cameras, rumble strips and/or speed cameras on Gallatin Street. Literally every single person I’ve spoken to who lives on this street has complained about speeding vehicles from industrial sites on the western end of the street.
- Intersection of Galloway Street and South Dakota Ave
- Putting in place bollards on the center line to prevent cars from going around cars in front of them waiting at the red light to turn right. People do this surprisingly often at this intersection and it’s super dangerous for pedestrians
- Galloway Street
- Asking DDOT to consider making the crosswalk on Galloway Street a raised crosswalk, and to put in place rumble-strips in both directions leading up to it
- Installing a speed camera in both directions along the strip of Galloway Street east of the metro. Cars regularly fly down this road, particularly when going downhill toward SD Ave. Galloway is a major pedestrian route toward Fort Totten metro and has quickly become a busy bike route with the completion of the newest section of the MBT nearby (and Galloway is part of the most direct route between the MBT and the Anacostia River Tributary Trail System – probably the two busiest bike trails in the DC area).
- South Dakota Ave
- The big one: I have asked DDOT to consider multiple different safety features here, including adding red light cameras, speed cameras, additional red lights at cross streets that don’t currently have them, and to strongly consider a road diet as well as installing protected bike lanes (as identified in the 2015 Move DC plan) and potentially bus lanes. SD Ave is a highway going through residential areas and is extremely unsafe to walk or bike on. This road in particular will be a top priority for me. An older woman died crossing it in a crosswalk within sight of my apartment in the past year. My goal is to make sure that never happens again. With a major metro stop a five minute walk away and the next phase of the Modern complex coming online in the next year or so, this area will have a large amount of pedestrians and having an unsafe highway barreling through the middle of that is not sustainable.
My second big priority will be pressuring the National Park Service to quit neglecting parks in our neighborhood, and in particular to finish the abandoned, half-completed trail connecting North Michigan Park to the Fort Totten metro. It’s been nearly three years since NPS started and then abandoned the trail, it’s about time they got around to finishing the work. I will also be requesting additional details from NPS on the surveys they conducted that determined there were no additional unexploded ordnances, and pushing for more regular basic maintenance like mowing, trash removal and other services for our parks.
Longer-term, I will pressure NPS to build a sidewalk along the south side of Galloway Street to provide better access to the metro, and vocally support any and all efforts to build a bike trail along the length of the park between the Metropolitan Branch Trail and the Anacostia River Tributary Trail System, which would fill a vital link in our region’s bike network.
Finally, I will be a strong proponent of adding housing density in our transit-rich area. There is no reason to have giant under-utilized surface parking lots right next to one of the busiest and potentially most important metro stops in the DC area. These would be better utilized as dense housing, helping to alleviate the housing affordability crisis in the DC region and contributing to our sustainability goals by allowing large numbers of people to live car-free or car-light lifestyles. Additionally, I would push any housing projects that come my way as ANC to include meaningful levels of affordable units for lower-income residents.
I’m a full-time local artist and mapmaker, former French Embassy economic department staffer, avid biker and map nerd. You might have seen some of my maps in local gift shops or on social media, I specialize in making decorative maps focusing on DC geography, and have mapped every building in DC (a true labor of love – it took me six months to hand-design every building), and also have maps of DC parks and neighborhoods, and maps about science and nature. If you’re curious, you can find some of them on my portfolio here – I have nearly 200 maps to peruse, almost all of the DC area. My work has been featured in the Washingtonian, Channel 9 (when my maps were used in a project supporting DC statehood), and on the Team Rayceen Youtube Channel. You can find me most weekends selling my maps at markets across DC. Before I launched myself full-time into my small business, I spent seven years working in the French Treasury and Agriculture departments of the Embassy of France in Georgetown. Originally from Indiana, I’ve lived in DC for nearly a decade and can’t imagine calling anywhere else home. My partner, Mark, and I live in the Modern at Art Place apartment complex with our tiny fluffy black and white dog, Flora, and Berry, our tabby cat, and a small botanical garden’s worth of plants. We spend a lot of our free time hiking and camping, biking around DC, exploring the Arboretum or Rock Creek Park, and gardening in our garden plot.
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