I attended my first Mount Vernon Square Neighborhood Association (MVSNA) meeting tonight. The agenda was had a wide range of items ranging from after hours club Sanctuary 84, Shotspotter implementation, DDOT and police issues regarding wrong way traffic and speeding on streets surrounding New York Ave, as well as a Q&A with Mayor Adrian Fenty.
Really, so much to talk about. I have a feeling many of the large issues will be addressed by the prominent posters on the MVSNA blog over the next couple days. So I’m going to focus on a few police & DDOT items from the Triangle and Mayor Fenty’s discussion of the homeless shelters.
400 MASS CVS
Concerns about increased prostitute and gang presence around the the 24 Hour CVS at 400 Mass. Apparently a nearby 24-hour CVS at 1st & K closed down. That closing has displaced some of the late night loitering to this 400 Mass Ave location. The police are aware of the issue and will monitor it closely. From the back of the room I didn’t hear what the full plan of action might be. But I did want to bring this up on our blog so our readers would be aware of the issue. Those 2 AM trips to the pharmacy may require greater caution in the short term.
DDOT comments on Mount Vernon Triangle
There was a big DDOT Q&A with Karina Ricks. Much of it focused on the intersections of New York Ave and the residual traffic issues. She did field one question that specifically asked about future improvements to the streets in the Triangle. She stated DDOT would be doing work on L Street along City Vista later this year and that improvements for 4th and 5th streets were slated for 2009.
Mayor Fenty on the Homeless Shelters
During the Q&A with Major Fenty inquiries about both the widely discussed move of the Central Union Mission to the Gales School at 65 Mass Ave as well as the rumor mill about additional shelter sites within the same immediate vicinity. Fenty confirmed that the Gales School had been used as a shelter in the past and was always earmarked to resume that use after renovations to the building were completed.
Members of The Sonata condo association also brought forth scuttlebutt about the park above the I-395 tunnel at 2nd and H Streets NW becoming a site for a construction of a new homeless shelter. It was suggested this information arose from Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells and a Washingtonpost article. Concerns raised included losing scarce green space and impact to the community that increased concentration of homeless services in a radius of a few blocks would yield (such as noise, litter, safety issues). Mayor Fenty went on to explain that the city wanted to reduce the number of homeless shelters rather than build more. The goal is to take a Housing First initiative that will put more of the chronically homeless in transitional housing units spread across the entire city. He admitted his administration may not have done a good job communicating this given how many concerns have been escalated by those who interpret the plan as filling apartment buildings with concentrations of homeless. To ensure that all concerns were addressed fully Fenty offered that the deputy mayor could provide answers regarding the specific park and lots that attendees inquired about for next month’s MVSNA meeting.
image from Si Kailian