Dear PoPville – Anyone Know About the Arboretum neighborhood?

Photo by PoPville flickr user philliefan99

“Dear PoPville,

I was wondering if you or your readers had any information on the neighborhood near the National Arboretum, and would care to share? I’m specifically referring to the neighborhood around 22nd and R St. NE. It looks likes a lovely neighborhood. Quiet, clean, cute houses, close to our city’s (arguably) most under-appreciated public space. Walmart is planning on developing down the road… Thanks much.”

Anyone familiar with the small residential area around 22nd and R St. NE?
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66 Comment

  • Most people don’t know about it- tons of nice looking bungalows. Very few retail amenities though (though there will be a Costco, Target, and Wal-Mart within 2 years)

  • i think it’s a great neighborhood. suburban in feel, yet still in the city. soon it will be a decent walk to h street. the traffic may make you feel a bit holed in. the walmart will be very chaotic.

    i think it’s a good choice and the downsides of new york ave and bladensburg are obvious, so you know what you’re getting into.

  • it has a nice tucked away feeling to it and you are right, the arboretum is amazing. I think the downside is lack of walkable amenities or access to a lot of public transportation. If you drive a car, then maybe being so close to NY Avenue is a plus. Not sure what bus runs close to 22nd.

  • Might be a lot of Objectivists living on Rand Place.

  • We have an Arboretum? Get out! When did it open? We really are an up-and-coming city!

  • andy

    My feeling – immediately next to Natl Arboretum = fine. Area more than 1/4 mile away = Bladensburg, RI Ave, Trinidad, etc. = bad.

  • It is a lovely little neighborhood and it’s mostly walkable to H St – it would be an excellent spot for a bikeshare station. I’ll second the above comments that there’s not much walkable retail either on Bladensburg or NY Ave (maybe that’s changing?). But the houses are great and the Arboretum is amazing – there are also so many other parks around (Kingman Island, Anacostia Park, the Langston Golf Course) and it’s only seconds to the BW Parkway if you’re getting out of town. I love living near this neighborhood in Carver Langston. It’s a jewel.

    • Never, ever walk from 22nd and R NE to H St. I worked at a school between the two places (in Trinidad) and it is not a safe place to walk, especially at night. I loved my students dearly, and it broke my heart that they were growing up in a very dangerous neighborhood filled with drugs and violence. Don’t get me wrong, there are many nice people who live in Trinidad, but overall, it’s not a place I would ever walk through on purpose. I drove to work because I didn’t even like walking the one block to the bus stop when it was dark. Recall that it was only a couple of summers ago that the area between Mt. Olivet Rd. and Florida Ave. had so many shootings that MPD set up checkpoints there.

      • The crime in Trinidad is no worse than the crime levels in large swaths of Shaw. You can check to verify this – Try Trinidad & Levi or Trinidad & FL NE (to pick up some of the H St Corridor) vs something like 7th & N or 8th & R or P & 11th. The neighborhood really gets a bad rap.

        • Nor is it any worse than in columbia heights or petworth.

          Peoples’ perception of crime in neighborhoods that they do not spend time in is fascinating.

        • whatever. walking from the arboretum to h street along bladensburg is not pleasant. and if you do it, you should do it with caution.

          • You have no idea what you are talking about. Bladensburg to NY Ave and back around WV ave is my normal jogging route, not to mention I live around there and have even been spotted walking on Bladensburg road…AT NIGHT! Oh, the horror!

          • i do know what i’m talking about, and your route doesn’t cover the length of road that i described. also, running is much better than walking.

            would you take your grandmother for a walk on the stretch of bladensburg from wv to h street? i wouldn’t.

            to think you’d walk that without caution is idiotic.

        • Crime stats do not reflect SAFETY, they reflect reported crimes.

          1. High crime areas tend to under report crimes. Residents there are complacent and don’t go to the police as often. Drug dealers don’t go to the cops when robbed do they???

          2. Smart people don’t go into high crime areas if they are foreign because they will stick out like a sore thumb and be a target. The few that do, end up mugged.(slight exaggeration)

          That being said, Trinidad is not Ciudad Juarez. But it’s not somewhere I would like to walk around taking pictures with my iPad and asking directions to the metro.

        • @JS

          Okay, I took your little challenge.

          Over the past year, there have been 194 total crimes reported within 1,000 feet of Trinidad and Florida. Over that same span, there have been 193 total crimes reported within 1,000 feet of 8th and R NW and 181 total crimes reported within 1,000 feet of P and 11th NW.

          Keep in mind, the neighborhood surrounding the latter two locations is much more densely populated than the neighborhood surrounding Trinidad and Florida. Yet the Trinidad neighborhood not only has basically an equal number of reported crimes, but it’s crimes reported per capita (which is the key stat here) is significantly higher.

          Trinidad still has a very long way to go, despite the misleading efforts of its supporters to paint it as a peaceful urban utopia. It isn’t.

        • maybe. or, maybe it has less foot traffic than other parts of the city because of perceived high crime. Hence, less foot traffic means less people to mug or violate. Yet: as the statistics show, it still has the same amount of crime. this means that as an individual, i have a greater chance of being victimized.

          its the ratios.

      • I was driving through the Trinidad neighborhood, a Saturday afternoon about 5 years ago, getting around some traffic on my way back from the Arboretum (I white, in BMW), and had a black lady that pulled past me in an SUV at an intersection say, kindly enough and in a tone as if being somewhat surprised to see me, “boy, you’d had better be getting out of around here….” It amused me, but I also knew she was not being inaccurate at a certain level.

        • I think it depends on the white person. When I moved to DC in 2006, in looked at houses to rent in that area and never had anyone say anything to me like that or treat me differently.

          This may offend some people, but I don’t know how to say it any differently. If you come to this area looking like they typical Georgetown preppy white guy with a popped collar and expensive watch, you may have an incident. If you look like that and drive a BMW, you’re increasing your odds. Just my 2 cents in living 5 years in this part of the city and never having a problem with anyone or anyone having a problem with me.

          • i walked through the neighborhood mid day on accident a few years ago without a popped collar or a nice watch and got drilled with a rock. so i dunno if i personally can agree with you there.

          • you’ve been lucky, not disguised.

        • “boy, you’d had better be getting out of around here….”

          That so needs to be a song.

      • I, too, used to teach between those two neighborhoods ( at Webb-Wheatley) and was always told by the parents of my students to never, ever, walk alone at night around there.

  • Yikes. I lived in nearby Cottage City for a while and would never in a million years move to that area. Besides the arboreteum itself, there’s not much there. Not a big fan of that Rhode Island/New York Avenue stabby section of town. But you can find astoundingly good prices on detached homes in Colmar Manor, Riverdale, Mount Rainier and Brentwood.
    I did have a cute little girl express astonishment to her mother that I was speaking English! while out for a walk one day. Could this area be the next big thing?

    • depends what you mean by “the next big thing”. it’s a tiny neighborhood and the best thing going on for it is the arboretum and the impending walmart.

      it’s big if you like walmart and traffic. otherwise, it’s just a cute little neighborhood thats perfectly fine if you don’t need it to be hip.

    • For real? What is your basis for thinking that crime is worse here than in your area of town?

  • The only thing I know about that neighborhood is that it was where MPD found our stolen car. The officers said the neighborhood is a popular dumping ground for stolen cars because it’s kind of hidden away, so the cars can sit for a long while before they’re found, thus cooling the trail.

    Not that the cops in question did much investigative work: They took all of one fingerprint, even though the thieves left all kinds of evidence behind (CDs, empty boxes of cigars, remnants of blunts, etc.).

    • Funny. They found our stolen car right next to Sidwell Friends off Wisconsin Ave. Now that’s a scary neighborhood.

      • I wouldn’t go near it. The people up in that area look at you strangely if your skin is not the same color as theirs. I had a white lady that pulled past me in an SUV at an intersection say, kindly enough and in a tone as if being somewhat surprised to see me, “boy, you’d had better be getting out of around here….”

  • What others have said, cute little houses, not real close to transit or stores, but will be close to stores soon.

    As far as safety, I’ve never had a problem in this area, while I don’t live in the neighborhood, I go through this area a lot and have never had a problem.

    Once I had a trailer hitch put on a car at the Uhaul place there and walked down to Hechinger Mall and never had anyone call me cracker and look at me any differently. That was about 4 years ago.

    I go to the Arboretum and have parked in the streets in the neighborhood when the parking has been full, never had a problem.

    I think the neighborhood is fine if you want a single family home in DC and the price is in the range you’re looking to spend. It’s not a cool or now neighborhood, but I think it’s fine.

  • Could be nice, but the projects are too close. Neighborhoods gentrify with time, but the projects tend to drag down the immediate neighborhood. Witness Potomac Gardens keeping things real in Ward 6.

    • what projects?

      • Exactly, what projects? The ones at the corner of 14th and Columbia NW?

        • Um, the Langston Terrace projects are basically adjacent to this neighborhood. In fact, they were DC’s first projects (opened in 1938).

          • wrong neighborhood.

          • “Basically adjacent”? As the crow flies, the closest that these two areas are to each other is .85 miles. Since you can’t walk in a straight line between the two, due to the National Arboretum being in between, the distance is closer to 1.5 miles. That’s like the distance between the White House and Meridian Hill Park.

            Still think they’re “basically adjacent”?

          • and as we know from this the real estate postings on this blog .85 miles is not considered “walkable”

            ; )

            seriously, the area in question is totally different than langston.

  • “The crime in Trinidad is no worse than the crime levels in large swaths of Shaw…The neighborhood really gets a bad rap.”

    You’ve got to be kidding…

  • All I have to say is that I can’t believe they are putting a Wal Mart there…..Even the Wal Marts in towns where the average income is ~100K / yr…the Wal Marts are scary and the people very disturbing. Wow.

    • you haven’t really thought about this have you? here’s why walmart is going there; they own the property outright and can build as a matter of right in the style that is congruent with their store nation wide and it is close to major roads.

    • yeah, but the amount of people that might get jobs there will probably be good for the community. I freaking hate walmart and am insanely discouraged that dc is getting one, but you can’t argue with the jobs.

  • I just feel like this area of DC is inconvenient enough that safer areas for the same price and convenience (in MD or VA) are probably better options. To me, the relative lack of public transit also means that the neighborhood will improve at a slower pace.

  • I used to drive down Bladensburg road on my way home from College Park around 10pm twice a week for over a year. There’d be major police activity (5-10 cars) every few months. But that was 2007 and things change quickly around here – someone’s memory of the area in 2005 may not be that relevant for 2012.

  • Played tennis at the park by the arboreteum there. 1 game in, a group of 4-6 young ones started eyeing us up. Eyeballing continued, I began to suspect something might happen if our tennis match continued. We left. Never have felt like that in DC before or since.

  • Its a quiet neighborhood with mostly old folks living in the immediate area. I think it has great potential to be a good investment considering all the slated developments. I actually see alot of crackers walking around that area between Bladensburg Rd n H..everyday,

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