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Making Metrobus Better, Black Pride, and More

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Ward 5 Weekly Newsletter
May 19, 2023

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Dear Ward 5 neighbors, 

On Monday, the Ward 5 Bus Network Task Force that I convened at the beginning of May held its last meeting to formalize my office's feedback on WMATA's Better Bus Visionary Draft Network. Yesterday, I sent a letter to WMATA detailing the task force's recommendations, and why I believe they are critical to the future of healthy communities in Ward 5. Take a look at the Task Force Report section below to see the details. We invite you to use the hard work of this task force to inform your own feedback directly to WMATA here.

This weekend is DC Black Pride 2023! Last night, I enjoyed a Black Pride kickoff dinner with beloved friends over delicious food. For me, Black Pride means community, one that has been here, is here, and will forever be here. I’m grateful for those who came before me, and I hope to build on the legacy of Black queer folks across DC. In honor of DC's rich Black Pride history, and in order to preserve this history for future generations, I introduced legislation today to establish the Black Queer History Commission. You can learn more about the bill in Kendra's Corner below.
This newsletter also shares information about the opening of pools and spray parks for the summer season, along with other fun events and community updates to keep you in the loop. Happy Memorial Day Weekend!
Ward 5 Bus Network Task Force Report

Yesterday, I sent a letter to WMATA detailing the recommendations of the Ward 5 Bus Network Task Force. Improving the frequency and reliability of bus service in Ward 5 and across DC is my top transportation priority. Compared to residents of WMATA's service area, Metrobus customers are particularly likely to be a person of color, low income, non-English speaker, or carless. Riding the bus is one of the safest and cleanest ways to get around. It's also accessible to most residents. I believe DC will only succeed in reaching its goals of eliminating traffic deaths and injuries and securing carbon neutrality if we make a world-class bus system.

You can read the full letter including more detailed rationale for the task force's recommendations here. Below is a summary:

The task force shared support for several elements of the visionary map, including the ideas to:
  • expand service on weekends and evenings—including 24-hour service on some lines and late-night service on many others;
  • improve bus connections between the Fort Lincoln community and the SW Waterfront, the Deanwood Metro Station, and Chinatown;
  • the restoration of service comparable to the G9 along Rhode Island Avenue in the form of the proposed DC214 route; and
  • the introduction of a continuous route along South Dakota Avenue between Fort Lincoln and Michigan Park in the form of the proposed DC207 route.
The task force also identified the ten following priorities for making improvements to the Draft Visionary Network: 

1. Ensure Rhode Island Ave has frequent and express service downtown (like the old G9). We encourage WMATA to consider making their proposed DC214 a higher-frequency service, adding an express companion route, or extending another medium frequency route west of Rhode Island Ave-Brentwood Metro Station.
2. Ensure the Trinidad community does not lose service comparable to the D8. In the draft network, Trinidad appears to suffer a cut to both coverage and frequency. The community needs a route that comes frequently and connects them to grocery stores and Washington Hospital Center. Maintaining a line comparable to the D8 would benefit the Edgewood community's access to the hospital as well. 
3. Introduce bus service to New York Ave NE between Florida Ave and Bladensburg Rd. This would advance critical equity interests, as many individuals along this stretch often do not have access to other transportation options and no way to access critical amenities without bus service.
4. Adjust the routing of proposed route DC103 through the Washington Hospital campus to improve transfers and service to Michigan Ave residents by flipping the route to approach the campus along Michigan Ave from the east and along Irving St from the west.
5. Restore service between Fort Lincoln and Colmar Manor. Fort Lincoln is home to a large number of seniors who lack alternative transportation options and who previously depended on the B8 and B9 routes for access to affordable grocery and other retail options in Colmar Manor.
6. Invest in a bus transfer facility in Fort Lincoln. In the visionary network, Fort Lincoln stands to be a hub for five medium-frequency routes. A bus transfer facility in the community ensures transfers are easy and provides a single location where riders can access all routes.
7. Reduce unnecessary stops at the Rhode Island Ave-Brentwood Metro Station for the DC302 and (if introduced) Rhode Island Ave express service. Getting into and out of Washington Place significantly slows down the route and should be avoided.
8. Consider adjustments to the routing of buses through Union Market. Sending multiple routes through Union Market along 4th St NE seems particularly likely to expose bus riders to substantial delays. Moving buses along 6th St NE appears to be a better alternative.
9. Ensure that downtown bus transfers are efficient. In particular, riders of the proposed DC110, DC215, and DC216 routes will be looking for expeditious transfers.

10. Lastly, the task force urges WMATA to continue to coordinate with DDOT on bus priority in Ward 5 and other service enhancements, including more bus shelters and eliminating the bus-to-rail transfer penalty, which disproportionately impacts Ward 5 residents who don't live near Metrorail.

If you haven't yet given WMATA feedback on the Draft Visionary Network, we strongly encourage you to use these recommendations from the task force to send your own feedback to WMATA here
Ward 5 Updates
I am saddened by the news of Linda Harllee Harper's passing this morning. Linda touched so many lives through her work, and her passion for helping young people was evident. I am grateful for how she supported Ward 5 in times of tragedy. I’m praying for her family while joining those mourning this great loss for the District. Rest in peace, Linda 🕊️
Just One Week Away: Ward 5 Open Streets
The highest rated Open Streets event of 2022 was on 12th St NE in Ward 5! This year there are only two Open Streets events, and Ward 5 will again be one of those. In just one week, on Sunday, June 4 from 9:00 a.m. on 3:00 p.m., join neighbors on 12th St NE between Franklin St and Michigan Ave for games, activities, resources, food, and fun. See you there!
Spray Parks and Pools Opening!
The District's pools and spray parks all open for summer this weekend! Here are the details: 
  • Starting tomorrow, May 27, outdoor pools are open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on the weekends only (Saturday and Sunday) through Sunday, June 25.
  • Starting Monday, June 26, all outdoor pools will operate on individual summer schedules, six days a week (see schedules here). 
  • DPR pools remain open if it rains as long as lifeguards are able to see the bottom of the pool. Pools close immediately at the first sign of lightning. 
Learn more at DPR's website here
Ward 5 Commemorative Work Project
Your voice, your ideas, your input are requested and needed for a new commemorative work in Ward 5. The Parks Main Street and Office of Planning are looking for the community's input on subjects for a sculpture/statue/art piece/sidewalk plaque/etc. Join virtually on Wednesday, May 31 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. to learn more and get involved. Register here and learn more here.
OSSE Releases Annual Report
The Office of the State Superintendent for Education released its Annual Report this past week. You can view the full report in an interactive booklet or by downloading the PDF here.
Town Hall with the National Park Service
The Office of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton’s invites you to participate in a Town Hall Meeting with the National Park Service. I remain concerned about the lack of urgency from NPS to address concerns about potential harmful devices still remaining in Fort Totten Park. I sent the following communication last week reiterating my expectation that NPS will fully survey Fort Totten and other parks for any harmful elements. Please join Congresswoman Norton and my office for this town hall to share your concerns. 

Note: If you cannot attend this event, you may still submit your comments by filling out the registration form. The recording will also be shared with those who register.
Who: All DC Residents
What: Congresswoman Norton’s Town Hall Meeting with the National Park Service 
When: Wednesday, June 14, 2023, 6:00 - 7:30 p.m.
Where: Zoom Link   
Register: Here
Notices of Intent - Modifying Traffic/Parking Requirements
The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is required to give written notice of their intent to modify traffic and/or parking requirements to the Council and affected Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners (ANCs) to allow for a public comment period on the modifications. The following Notices of Intent (NOIs) for Ward 5 are open for comment: 
  • Multimodal Improvement of Mt Olivet Rd NE - Read and comment here
    • This is an important traffic safety improvement from DDOT. The history of crashes along the corridor shows several major injuries and fatal crashes involving pedestrians, cyclists, drivers, and passengers. The change from a four-lane undivided roadway to a three-lane cross-section, otherwise known as a "road diet," will improve safety and reduce crashes by decreasing the number of conflicts along the road.
  • Installation of All-Way Stop at 19th St and M St NE - Read and comment here
  • Installation of Residential Permit Parking Signs - Read and comment here
Walk With Me in the 2023 Capital Pride Parade!
Walk with Ward 5 neighbors and me in the 2023 Capital Pride Parade on Saturday, June 10. Learn more information about the parade here, and sign up to walk with us here. See you there!
ANC and Civic Association Meetings

This week, my team attended the Joint SMD 5A01/5A07, Faith United Church Redevelopment, Edgewood Civic Association, ANC 5F, Joint SMD 5B06/5C07, and ANC 5A meetings. Here's a brief recap: 

  • Joint SMD 5A01/5A07 Meeting (May 22 at 6:00 p.m.): My team joined Commissioners Duvalier Malone (5A01) and Zachary Ammerman (5A09) for a joint SMD meeting. At this meeting, Commissioners and our office shared updates regarding Fort Totten Park and soil testing. UDC shared their masterplan for the modernization and renovation of the Bertie Backus Campus for the Community College.  
  • Faith United Church Potential Redevelopment Meeting (May 22 at 5:30 p.m.): My team met with church and community leadership about how this pillar in the community has an extra building that needs a large amount of investment to be usable and some space in back that could potentially be developed. The church is interested in engaging the community about what they would want to see there, what needs are currently missing that they could fulfill, and what partnerships they could leverage to turn it into a entrepreneurial/community wealth building hub.  
  • Edgewood Civic Association (May 22 at 7:00 p.m.): The U.S. Attorney’s Office shared about a Community Court diversion program for nonviolent misdemeanors if they hold themselves accountable to the community through services and treatment. City-State Brewing shared about wanting to update their liquor license and having community-rooted businesses serve food. The community also discussed closing the gap on the bike trail, cultural differences and tensions in the community, and how to push commercial property owners to stop leaving places vacant, just like we do with residential property owners. 

  • ANC 5F (May 23 at 7:00 p.m.): My team shared updates on the budget and commissioners asked for updates on Vision Zero funding and backpay for teachers (which has been delayed with little explanation from the Executive).

  • Joint SMD 5B06/5C07 (May 24 at 7:00 p.m.): My team joined and listened in to Commissioners Prita Piekara (5B06) and VJ Kapur (5C07) for their monthly Joint SMD meeting. Here, representatives from Langdon Park Neighbors shared updates and upcoming events. Friends of South Dakota Ave NE and our office shared about the May 11 South Dakota Avenue Traffic Safety Walk with me and DDOT Director Lott. There was also a presentation about the proposed renovation of the Green Valley Senior Center. 

  • ANC 5A (May 25 at 6:45 p.m.): My team attended the monthly ANC 5A meeting where updates were provided on Fort Totten Park, the redevelopment of Providence Hospital, and the Catholic University of America Development Project.   

Have a need, or want to share important information for ANC and Civic Association Meetings? Get in touch with one of our Constituent Services Coordinators:
  • 5A & 5C: Carlos McKnight,
  • 5B & 5D: Oliver Stoute,
  • 5E & 5F: Sam Bonar,
Kendra Wiley is our office's Legislative Director. In this section of the newsletter, she provides updates on the Councilmember's legislative activities and educational pieces about the legislative process.
New Legislation: The Black Queer History Commission Establishment Act of 2023
Today, on the first day of Black Pride 2023, Councilmember Parker is proud to introduce the Black Queer History Commission Establishment Act of 2023. This bill would establish a commission to research and produce a report on Black LGBTQIA+ history in the District, to be housed in the DC Archives.
As the birth place of Black Pride, the earliest Black LGBTQIA+ event in the world, DC is well-positioned to lead the way in collecting and preserving this important history. In doing so, our communities will also lead the way in building the future we want to see. You can read the full text of the bill at
Mental Health Awareness Month

What is school based behavioral health and what resources are available to my student? 
During this past Spring’s oversight hearings, we heard some students, parents, and others testify that they either didn’t know their school has a behavioral health program and the resources it offers, or in some cases who their school's assigned clinician is.  

The Department of Behavioral Health operates a program that offers prevention, intervention, and clinical services to teachers and students in public and public charter schools. Services include: 

  • The provider directory by school on the DCPS mental health webpage, listing clinicians for most schools

  • A master list of clinicians for both DCPS and public charter schools 

  • The DC School Behavioral Health Community of Practice's calendar of events, giving support for school staff and clinicians to promote healthy development for students and their families

For more information about the School Behavioral Health Program, please contact Barbara Paulson at (202) 597-2895 or email:   

Programs for the People
Free Weekly Veggie Giveaway

The DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) hosts three weekly free veggie giveaways of local, fresh organic produce including kale, collards, lettuce, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, squash, herbs, flowers, and MORE! They occur May 9 through November 30 (weather permitting). In Ward 5, the weekly giveaway is at the Edgewood Rooftop Farm (at the Edgewood Recreation Center - 301 Franklin St NE) every Tuesday from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Films for AAPI Heritage Month @ DC Public Library

Are you looking for some vibrant and exciting entertainment that celebrates Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) actors and actresses, directors and culture? Look no further than Kanopy, the video streaming platform that brings the best of world cinema straight to you screen - accessible (and free!) with your library card! From the heartwarming family dramas of Japan to the adrenaline-fueled action of South Korea, Kanopy has an incredible selection of films that showcase the diverse voices and perspectives of the AAPI community. Start streaming on Kanopy today and let the adventure begin!

DC Tax Revision Commission Town Hall
Taxes are crucial to our city’s ability to thrive. Our DC taxes pay for schools, roads, parks, healthcare, libraries, public safety and so much more. The District deserves a tax system that is resilient, equitable, economically competitive and reasonably easy to deal with. Does our current system live up to those standards? The DC Tax Revision Commission needs to hear from you!

The DC Tax Revision Commission is inviting members of the public to an additional Virtual Town Hall to discuss the District’s tax system. The Town Hall will be Thursday, June 15, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Registration is available at

Job Readiness Training Program
Capitol Bridge, a Department of Employment Services (DOES) grantee, is launching a job readiness course for District residents 22-54 years of age. Earn $16.10/hour for this full-time training course conducted in-person, and receive resume coaching, interview preparation, customer service training, and more. If interested, call 202-935-5738 or email
New Requests for Applications - Grants with the
DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities
The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities released new Requests for Applications for three grant programs on Monday, May 8.
Art Bank Program - Deadline 9:00 p.m. ET, June 30, 2023
The Commission on the Arts and Humanities (CAH) requests applications from qualified artists and District nonprofit art galleries or organizations for its Fiscal Year 2024 Art Bank Program.
Arts and Humanities Fellowship Program - Deadline 10:00 p.m. ET, June 13, 2023
CAH recognizes the impact of individual artists and humanities practitioners within the District and supports the vitality that those individuals bring to the local community. This grant opportunity encourages progress in the arts and humanities by sustaining, highlighting, and elevating the accomplishments of individual District-based artists and humanities practitioners.
Projects, Events, or Festivals - Deadline 10:00 p.m. ET, June 13, 2023
This grant opportunity program goals are to:
  • Provide access to high-quality arts and humanities experiences for all District of Columbia residents.
  • Improve quality of life by supporting vibrant community projects within the arts and humanities.
  • Strengthen the creative economy through investments in local individuals and organizations.
Find more info about these granting opportunities at:
Team Zachary in the Community
Ward 5
Fort Totten:
Metropolitan Branch Trail Party & Helmet Giveaway
May 27 - 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
@ Gallatin St NE and Fort Totten Metro Station

The Washington Area Bicycle Association DC Trail Rangers are hosting a trail party and helmet giveaway in partnership with Lime tomorrow from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on the Metropolitan Branch Trail. Their team will be set up between Gallatin St NE and the Fort Totten Metro Station and there will be music, refreshments, and helmets to give away to community members. They will also be showing people how to properly wear a helmet and answering any questions folks may have about the trail.
Ivy City:
Ivy City/Crummell School Celebration with EmpowerDC
May 29 - 1:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
@ Crummell - 1900 Gallaudet St NE

Join neighbors for the 29th Anniversary of the Crummell School playspace and a celebration of the $35 million secured in the DC budget for renovation! Live music, food, bouncy house, games, face painting, and more. Learn more and RSVP at Rain date: June 3.
North Michigan Park:
Community Yard Sale
June 24 (rain date July 1) - 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
@ Grounds of Faith United Church (South Dakota Ave and Decatur St NE)

Join neighbors for a community yard sale in North Michigan Park! If you'd like to have a table, there are small fees associated. For more information, contact: Susan Letherer 202-441-2076 or Lula King 202-635-7777 and 301-559-8403.
Around DC
Penn Quarter:
Go-Go on the Rooftop, Barry Farm Documentary Screening
May 28 - 1:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
@ Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library (901 G St NW)

Join the Library, DC Legacy ProjectBertelsmann Foundation and Teaching for Change for a screening of the 50-minute documentary film Barry Farm: Community, Land and Justice in Washington DC. The film and discussion will be followed by a Go-Go show with Junkyard Band! Doors open at 1:00 p.m. for the 1:30 screening. This event will take place in conjunction with the first-floor exhibition "We Who Believe in Freedom: Black Feminist DC." Learn more here.
Congress Heights:
Senior Fest
May 31 - 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
@ Gateway DC Pavilion (2700 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE)

The Senior Fest is an annual FREE event celebrating DC's seniors. Senior Fest 2023: Believe the HYPE is on Wednesday, May 31 at the Gateway Pavilion. Participants will enjoy socializing with each other as they experience live entertainment, music, health exhibits, board games and guest speakers. Lunch will be provided. Learn more here.
RFK Stadium:
Annual Truck Touch Festival
June 3 - 8:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
@ RFK Stadium Lot 8 (2400 E Capitol St SE)

The DC Citywide Annual “Truck Touch” will be held Saturday, June 3, 2023, from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at RFK Stadium, Lot 8. The event will feature a variety of free activities for kids and adults. A host of DC government agencies will present and demonstrate nearly 30 vehicles used to clean and repair streets, change traffic lights, collect refuse, clear snow, provide emergency services, administer mobile health care, and more. Coordinated annually by the DC Department of Public Works (DPW), kids are encouraged to climb into trucks and adults invited to test drive various equipment. The DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) will also provide a bevy of activities for kids and adults including tennis, basketball, and fitness activities. Free boxed lunches will be provided to kids up to age 18 as part of the DC Free Summer Meals Program. Learn more and register here.
2023 Chinatown Community Festival
June 3 - 11:00 a.m.
@ Chinatown Park (5th and I St NW)

Free and open to the public, come enjoy the sights and sounds of Asian and Pacific Islander cultures at Chinatown Park. Rain date: June 17.
News You Can Use
Most-clicked links from last week's newsletter (not just news!)—
Meet with the Councilmember - Office Hours
My next office hours event will be on Saturday, June 24 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Location to be confirmed. These events are a great opportunity to meet and chat with the me, get connected with my office's staff, and meet your neighbors. Stay tuned!
One highlight of my week was joining the picket line with Unite Here Local 25 as they exercise their right to organize in the face of Moon Rabbit's closing at the Intercontinental Hotel. Union busting is unacceptable, and these workers deserve the dignity and respect they're fighting for. 

As always, we invite you to use this form to provide feedback on how we're doing. We'd love to hear from you anytime. 

Yours in service and community, 


Want to reach one of our staff members?
Save this directory to stay in touch with us.

Chief of Staff, Rachelle Roberts -, 202-724-8918
Deputy Chief of Staff, Conor Shaw -, 202-724-8172
Legislative Director, Kendra Wiley -, 202-724-8192
Communications Director, Melissa Littlepage -, 202-724-8028
Constituent Services Coordinator, Carlos McKnight -, 202-478-2456
Constituent Services Coordinator, Oliver Stoute -, 202-724-8107
Constituent Services Coordinator, Sam Bonar -, 202-724-1344
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