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A regular summary of irregular news and notes from neighborhood blogs and email lists around the District.
My Parking Space for a Sidewalk Café: The debate over the fate of the Connecticut Avenue service lane—initially argued on the Cleveland Park email list—has now raged into a rather aesthetically-pleasing online petition website, trumpeting, “Restore the Connecticut Avenue Boulevard!” Further, it says, “Connecticut Avenue’s west side is a pleasure to walk along, and has inviting outdoor cafés. The east side is crowded, cramped and pedestrian-unfriendly. Two people can barely walk abreast on the narrow sidewalk. The service lane is confusing and dangerous: The two intersections at Macomb and Ordway have some of the highest accident rates in the city. All because misguided urban planners decided in the 1960s to destroy a sidewalk to make a parking lot.” There are presently just over 200 signatures. A link to the petition was tweeted by Center for American Progress blogger Matt Yglesias and subsequently made its way around. “Boulevard” seems overly grand. #clevelandpark,” remarked @kcivey in response to Yglesias’ link.
The Solar Panels Still Aren’t Speaking to God: The Takoma email list continues to debate the virtues of city-funded solar panels for the roof of a neighborhood church. One firmly disagrees: “I have a better idea. The DC government shouldn’t be spending precious tax dollars on energy efficiency upgrades for anyone- churches, homeowners, or businesses. The money should be spent on schools, police, job training for our chronically underemployed neighbors or even allow for a (gasp!) tax cut. And if this money still should be used to help the environment, then surely the DC government could use it in other ways- such as increasing funding to Metro for more fuel efficient buses, green roofs on the top of school buildings, planting more trees, or improvements in the sewer system to reduce waste overflows into the Potomac. These types of projects would allow more residents to benefit dollar for dollar from this government spending.” But another is more tempered, writing, “Reducing our carbon footprint not only walks us back from global eating, but the modeling of how to make it happen will inspire many of our neighbors to do so opening up a vast retrofit market and many green jobs for all sorts of people. Why pit one aspect of survival against another? The real question is how we might act in our neighborhood and city to marry these priorities together. Right?”
Out of Gas: From a member of the Palisades email list comes this request: “Lynn Cook, who has managed Parker’s Exxon for many years, needs your help. On Friday, Mary Cheh will introduce legislation to prevent gasoline distributors, or ‘jobbers’ from also managing stations Joe Mamo, jobber and owner of over half the service stations in the District of Columbia, wants to replace Lynn (and other station managers) with his own managers. Mamo bought Parker’s when Exxon sold off its stations and has amassed a fortune in petroleum/ real estate across the District. You may recall Mamo plans to build on the site of the Georgetown Exxon Station (Canal Road and Whitehurst Freeway). Two years ago, Mamo attempted to change Parkers from a full-service station to a gas-and-go station but Council legislation, community support and testimony prevented the conversion. We’ve gotten used to having the convenience of Parker’s and Lynn’s extraordinary commitment to service and the community. But, don’t take it for granted commitment and service will continue! It’s your turn to repay the commitment and service by taking time to let Mary Cheh know you support Bill 19-0299, the ‘Retail Service Station Amendment Act of 2011.'” But the libertarian spirits of others are getting in the way: “I don’t want the Council deciding who is naughty and who is nice. Even if I agreed with the notion that this is an idea that requires Council action I’m not sure I accept the underlying premise either. I wouldn’t characterise the service at Parker’s as ‘extraordinary.’ I’d put it more at ‘good service at corresponding prices.’ And while I admit that it would inconvenience me if Parker’s were to close or change their service, there have been times when I have had to take my car to Bethesda for work that Parker’s couldn’t do, and somehow the world didn’t end for me,” says one. Several others have stated their agreement that the city shouldn’t meddle with the free market, Joe Mamo or no Joe Mamo.
The Big Booed: When Frozen Tropics posted notice of The Big Board, the bar that will soon occupy the former Toyland space, commenters weren’t too receptive of the proposed gourmet beer and burger spot. “Don’t call the Atlas District a dive. You will win enemies faster than you can spell gourmet,” “I think we are all in this for another change of hands in the near future,” and “What keeps this place from being considered a fast food establishment?” were lobbed, but an update, with more information from the The Big Board’s proprietors, seemed to cool things down slightly. A few commenters voiced their support and chalked up the initial negative reception to the character of the blog’s readership. “Welcome and good luck with the biz. Ignore 90% of what you read here. the comments has been largely hyjacked by mean-spirited know-it-alls,” wrote one.