Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Singer Flats Sneak Preview November 16

FYI, a look at the long awaited revitalization of the 3300 block of Rhode Island Ave in Mount Rainier

The Menkiti Group welcomes our nearby neighbors for a sneak preview of the residential units at Singer Flats. We will meet for a brief tour of the first floor commercial space at 3300 Rhode Island Ave followed by a visit to our model residential apartment unit on the 2nd floor.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Town Hall with Congressman Anthony Brown - April 20, 2017

A local organizing group comprised of Mount Rainier, Brentwood, and North Brentwood residents has worked with Congressman Anthony Brown to put on a Town Hall meeting.

Rep. Anthony Brown Town Hall
Thursday, April 20, 2017, 6:30-8pm
Bunker Hill Firehouse

Monday, December 14, 2015

How to (re)build downtown?

Smart Growth America just released an interesting new guidebook, (Re)Building Downtown: A Guidebook for Revitalization, "a resource for local elected officials who want to re-invigorate and strengthen neighborhood centers of economy, culture, and history through a smart growth approach to development."
I have a long-standing interest in figuring out how to revitalize small, primarily neighborhood-serving commercial areas. As a general rule, retail development lags residential development - but why do some communities turn around their commercial districts faster than others? What, if anything, can local officials and community members do to help?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Not standing for re-election

Citizens of Ward 2, and all of the city,

Today I am announcing that I do not intend to run for re-election in the May 2015 city council election. As you know, city council is a part-time position and the majority of us have other careers. I just accepted a new position as regional director at a national non-profit, so the timing is right to put my focus into that. 

Serving the citizens of Mount Rainier has been my privilege, and for that reason it is hard to step back. But I will continue to be an advocate for this city and its citizens. At this time of transition, we need to focus on the things that make Mount Rainier great - our diversity, our working class roots, our sense of community, and our shared vision of the future. We can and should look for new development that improves our tax base and brings in much needed retail and services, but we must not do so at the expense of this community's soul. I hope you will join me in being vocal about preserving our community's personality as well as it's character, because I know that together we can build an inclusive, more financially stable Mount Rainier. After four years I can tell you that the council doesn't hear from the community nearly enough.

I want to thank all of the people that do give their time, energy, and love to Mount Rainier, and in particular those who volunteer on city committees. You are not recognized enough for the work you do on behalf of this city. Thank you to the members of the Mixed Use Town Center Committee and the Green Team that I have been fortunate enough to work with over the last 4 years.

I am very proud of everything we have accomplished in the last 4 years:

Public safety improvements including pedestrian and bicycle improvements
   Increased police enforcement at Route 1 bus stop aka "The Circle" 
   Permanent barricade blocking high speed cut through traffic at Perry and 31st Streets 
   Improved pedestrian facility on Eastern Ave at Bunker Hill Road through outreach to Council of DC
   Bike infrastructure master plan
   Installation of new bike racks throughout the downtown area
   Work with ATHA to improve bike infrastructure throughout the Route 1 corridor and promote bike tourism for our businesses

Sustainability initiatives to save the city money and go green
   Sustainable Maryland Certified municipality - highest scoring of first four certified communities
   Green purchasing policy
   Green infrastructure master plan to plant trees and gardens that reduce runoff and flooding from city roads, etc
   Buchanan St green street grant
   Arundel Road green street as part of county levee project
   Pervious pavement at city hall parking lot and adjoining alley, to reduce runoff and flooding
   Capital Improvement Plan to begin addressing infrastructure needs including roads, bicycles, and green infrastructure for flooding

Revitalization of our Town Center
   Promoting a vision of livable, walkable, sustainable Mount Rainier that is safe and productive for all our citizens
   MUTC Committee has used our new town plan to improve the signage and facades of our businesses
   Promotion of Arts Lives Here and mural projects throughout the city
   Better Block Project - demonstrating the potential of our commercial district
   Increased outreach to Mount Rainier Business Association and new businesses
   Engaged Rhode Island Ave NE Main Street to build cross border partnership
   3300 Rhode Island Redevelopment - "The Singer Building" - RFP awarded
   Perry Street Townhouses - breaking ground in 2015
   3200 Rhode Island Redevelopment
   Hiring an Economic Development Director

I'm confident that the new council and staff will keep up the momentum.

Thank you for the confidence you demonstrated in me four years ago, and thank you for all the kind words and support you have offered during my term.

See you around town,

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Net-Zero Home Demonstration Project 3719 34th Street Mt. Rainier, Maryland 20712

Net-Zero Home Demonstration Project 3719 34th Street Mt. Rainier, Maryland 20712

The Redevelopment Authority of Prince George’s County (RDA) is leading the transition to sustainable neighborhoods by kicking off the Net-Zero Home Demonstration Project on one of its currently vacant properties -- 3719 34th Street in Mt. Rainier. This new home will serve as a model of future residential development in Prince George’s County. The RFP for the Net-Zero Demonstration Project can be found on the RDA website.


The NZE home will be located in Mt. Rainier, within the Gateway Arts District, a community that has embraced sustainable living. Mt. Rainier has proven itself to be a leader in sustainability efforts in the County – willing to innovate and step out of the “business-as-usual” ways of operating. The community has expressed willingness to be the location for this first model of NZE housing in the County, and the RDA anticipates that Mt. Rainier will provide the public support and interaction that this innovation requires.

Much more info, including the RFP packet, available at:

Monday, October 14, 2013

Groundbreaking Ceremony for Rhode Island Ave Trolley Trail

Groundbreaking Ceremony for Rhode Island Ave Trolley Trail

The Trolley Trail has been on the various approved master plans since the early 1990s.  College Park has opened their segment of this important north-south connection, and now the M-NCPPC Department of Parks and Recreation is beginning construction of the trail further to the south, where it will ultimately connect to the Anacostia Tributaries Trails Network, provide multi-modal access between College Park, Riverdale Park, and Hyattsville, and serve as a bicycle alternative to US 1.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Quick Summary of Utility Work in Bunker Hill Road Vicinity

Quick Summary of Utility Work in Bunker Hill Road Vicinity

On Thursday, October 15, 2013, Mayor Miles, Councilman Tarlau, and myself met with representatives of WSSC, Washington Gas, and their contractors. The following is a top line summary of the status of the utility work in the Bunker Hill Road area. Please contact me if there is anything more specific you would like to know.

The good news: Utilities are committed to finishing this work this year

So what does this mean?

Full restoration and paving of impacted roads requires hot asphalt. Most years the asphalt plant goes offline for the winter around the third week of November, give or take a week with good or bad weather. This means the utility crews have to be done with their work by mid-November in order for the roads to be fully restored before this winter.

Fortunately, per today's meeting, WSSC and Washington Gas believe that they can hit this deadline barring unforeseen circumstances. So far this project has had precious little luck, and we are going to need a little luck to hit the asphalt deadline. Mount Rainier is over a hundred years old and some of the utilities being upgraded are also nearly that age, so problems with the work are unfortunately somewhat inevitable.

That being said, I am confident that the crew leaders for the utilities are committed to meeting this deadline so that residents can be driving on a smooth new road this winter. In fact, Washington Gas has already allocated a second crew to this project.

What's next?

October 14-18 - WSSC completes testing of the new sewer lines in the 3000 block of Bunker Hill. If the lines test 100%, that block will definitely receive a base layer of asphalt by the end of the week. This testing and paving will close WSSC's involvement on this project. (If the lines don't test 100%, there is sill the possibility of WSSC closing out that week if the needed excavating / repairing is fairly minor.)

October 14-November 18 - Washington Gas upgrades its remaining mains to high pressure, and upgrades the service lines to individual homes, starting at 33rd and Bunker Hill and ending at 30th and Bunker Hill. The 3800 and 4000 blocks of 32nd Street will also see work on the level of Bunker Hill during this time frame - the main and the service line to each home on those blocks will be upgraded to high pressure. See attached map.

Mid-November asphalt paving deadline - If Washington Gas's work is going to plan on the 3100 and 3000 blocks of Bunker Hill, they will notify WSSC with sufficient lead time to ensure that the paving occurs before the asphalt plant shuts down for the winter.

Washington Gas scope of work: As of October 10, 2013, the green and yellow lines have been completed.
The lines in red will be completed October 14-November 18, 2013.

How does this impact homeowners?

If you live on a block that is going to be upgraded by Washington Gas over the next month, someone will need to be home TWICE during that time: once to run the service line to your house, and once to relight your service when your house is tied into the main. WG will be working directly with individual homeowners to schedule convenient times for this work to occur, and with a month total I think we can make this work for all residents. WG has also committed to coordinating with me to make sure that residents are adequately notified.

I plan to print out some materials and walk this around to as many of the affected blocks as I can reach over the next few days. I don't have emails or contact information for all residents so please let your neighbors know how to find this blog post or share it with them directly.

Keep your fingers crossed for good weather!

If the weather is mostly ok, and the utilities find no more major surprises when they dig, we could be driving, biking, and walking on a brand new Bunker Hill Road by Thanksgiving. That would truly be something to be thankful for!