What Happened at 14th and Irving St, NW by the Columbia Heights Metro?


@sas509 tweets us the photo above:

“What’s up at Columbia & Irving? New bus stop?”

Another reader emails:

“Do you have any information on the construction at the Columbia Heights Metro station this past week? Flower bed areas where people once sat and congregated have been removed, perhaps for no other reason than to push people out of the area around the metro where many once gathered.”

I stopped by yesterday and here’s how it looks now:

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57 Comment

  • I’d prefer they clean the trash up and patrol the area to keep the drug dealers and vagrants off the corner.

  • I’m really ok with this change. Less hardscape means better drainage and removing the benches means fewer places for said vagrants to congregate.

    • And fewer places for seniors — overloaded with groceries — to sit. Why are DC residents so cruel towards the less fortunate? This is a public space — good public spaces have places to sit. It’s not rocket science…in Europe.

  • Looks like an improvement to me!

  • Could be construction for new Capital BikeShare docks. That intersection was recently listed as a possible new station by DDOT: http://ddotdish.com/2014/09/09/small-setbacks-not-stopping-capital-bikeshare-from-improving-expanding-service/

  • Can’t stand that corner. Especially with the religious people screaming over the megaphones every weekend. Wish they did something better with that southwest corner. But too bad every time a tree gets planted it gets snapped in half soon enough.

    • This stretch of 14th is a hot mess. I avoid it like the plague.

    • They are not “religious people” they are hate mongering racists. Also stupid.

      • What, you can’t be religious and a hate mongering racist at the same time? Someone has not been reading the bible.

        • Hate mongering and religion go together quite well–Crusades, Spanish Inquisition, Fred Phelps, Ian Paisley (leader of the N Ireland Prots), continuing conflict in Kashmir, the entire Middle East………those guys on the corner are bit players.

  • DDot released a statement today listing 14th & Irving as one of the new locations Capital Bikeshare stations to be completed by year’s end. More moving things in that area seems kind of a bad idea though.

  • I use the elevator daily (with my baby in a stroller) and that area was gross before. SO much trash, cigarette smoke, comments/stares from malingerers. The area ideally would have been “prettier” with the benches and bushes, but in reality, the barren landscape is much more appealing.

  • I find this kind of annoying. I’ve lived at this corner for 4 years and never had problems with the (now former) planters. This is where people usually sit to wait for the bus. Most of the people milling about causing problems are really on the other side of the elevator closer to Irving.

    • Oh, and it looks like there were a couple trees in the planters and now there aren’t – how is that a good idea?

    • Agreed. And it just seems like a really aggressive, symbolic f- you to all the people who sit and gather there. It’s their neighborhood too, and loitering is not illegal.

      • I like seating and street furniture and encouraging people stick around too. But nobody in their right mind would take their kids there to hang out and spend time. While the area in the center of Columbia Heights by the fountain is, if anything, over-used it’s been such a success, this area is a failure and needs change.

        Loitering is not illegal and nobody is stopping them. We’re not required to give seating either. There is a good chance those planters are owned by the adjacent building who has every right.

        What is _actually_ aggressive are the people in that area: drinking, fighting, and yelling _actual_ f- you’s to passers by. If this gets them to stop congregating here, well, then good riddance to bad garbage.

        • The “bad garbage” you refer to are not the only people who utilized the area. There is a senior citizens complex right there on the corner across from the CVS and many of those residents sit there while waiting for their bus. My relative is one of them, and now she has no place to sit while we wait for the bus to her cancer treatments. The city may not be required to provide seating, but it sure as hell was great for the many seniors who depended on it.

      • a lot of the people their are selling drugs, drinking, and pissing in the alley

        • I’ve lived on this corner for 4 years and never seen that, but I’ve heard enough people complain that let’s say it is true. That would still be a problem with the alley, not the planters by the bus stop? They need to fix that, not take away the seating from the bus stop. Taking out the planters does nothing to fix any alleged drug use in the alley.

          • You’ve ‘heard’ that…come on, if you haven’t seen this you must live in a cave. I could go there right now for 10 minutes and put money down that I’d see 1 of the 3 mentioned above

          • Actually, I’ve only read about it here on popville. I’ve even asked my flesh and blood neighbors about it and they really haven’t seen it either. The general loitering, sure, but not drug dealing. Someone in this thread said it happens in the alley, but I don’t go in the alley. And getting rid of the planters by the bus stop doesn’t help any drug dealing in the alley at all. I don’t live In a cave, and I take the busses at that corner all the time.

          • oh that’s you?!

          • Taking away the planters doesn’t mean that seating won’t be added back. It is possible that they will add the standard bus shelter that is seen across the system, though that usually has only enough spots for maybe 4 people to sit. It could look like the one in front of the Metro stop on the other side of 14th.

      • “And it just seems like a really aggressive, symbolic f- you to all the people who sit and gather there. It’s their neighborhood too, and loitering is not illegal.”
        For every person who “sit and gathers” there (and drinks, sells drugs, pees in the alley, and engages in other antisocial behavior), there are plenty of others who think this area is a problem. It’s our neighborhood, too.

        • And by “our” you mean affluent white people who have other places to hang out, and you also mean that it is just fine to take away public amenities from law abiding citizens if your personal preferences so dictate.

          • Law abiding, perhaps, as it isn’t illegal to loiter. But walk by there at any given time of day and it is littered with garbage, cigarette butts, cans and spit. And non-stop catcalling, snide remarks, the works. There are actually other places to hang out in columbia heights, so no big loss here in my opinion. Frankly, I’d like to be able to wal to the metro without zig zagging through the same people hanging around all day, dodging spit and dog crap

          • Affluent white people (and affluent black/hispanic) provided the tax dollars to fund the complete remodel of that corner a few years back. It’s too bad those law-abiding citizens don’t feel safe/comfortable around that corner.

            FYI, littering, drinking and urinating in public and dealing drugs is illegal in DC. Most of the negative element in that area is guilty of some or all of those crimes. Nothing law-abiding about them.

  • now time to clean up the cvs corner which has gotton really bad lately.

    • It’s pittiful. I’m hoping a new council member can make a difference. Who is the ANC person for that area? I would hope that they could figure out something to make CVS clean up the area around their store, starting with the removal of the milk crates that the “Pittbull Crew” sit on all day and replanting vegetation along the store.

  • I like the change. Tired of standing in a cloud of cigarette smoke and vulgar language to get on the elevator with an infant. Anyone who thinks it’s no big deal should invite them to hang out on your lawn or front porch.

    • What about seniors who would sit on the boxes — overloaded with groceries — while waiting for the bus?

      Maybe, instead of just expelling folks from public space, the USA should work on including them in the social contract.

      • This is a silly statement. My experience is that very few of the people sitting there were seniors burdened with groceries. Are you suggesting that the only way to get people to stop drinking and doing drugs in public is to include them in a “social contract”? A large portion of NW is already on board with not drinking and doing drugs in public – you know, the law – so if anything those breaking the law should consider not doing that quite so much.

      • Anyone who responds to you saying they never see any seniors sitting there does not know the neighborhood and is completely unaware of the senior complex right across the street. I use and love CaBi and have hoped for a station at 14th & Irving since I started using the system. But not at the expense of the people who need a place to sit while waiting for their bus. Many of the seniors there are great folks and they matter too. My hope is that at least a bench or two will be added back in.

    • I think you might be confusing public spaces — which are for the benefit of all of us, with private ones.

      • No, DCNative, I’m not. This is a public sidewalk.

        • Sorry jamesbeaz – my comment was intended as a response to Katie. Everybody can — and should get to use public spaces — and benches and parks and sidewalks should be accessible to all of us. Which is a different list of folks from those who get to hang out on my front porch.

  • whelp… that’s one way to do it. nice work.

  • Rome doesn’t need to demolish its fountains and steps, because too many people are hanging out around them enjoying the public space.

    Pretty pitiful that the USA is plagued with so much hatred and intolerance that it feels a need to literally demolish its public spaces with the aim of pushing out people engaging in perfectly-legal behavior.

    Where, now, will the senior citizens sit while waiting for the bus?

    • +1 billion

    • It seems that a lot of people commenting insist that the city was targeting a specific demographic when it demolished the planters. The reason for the demolition seems to be that a bike share station is being installed. It would be more useful to see if the city has developed any plans for seating once the station is installed rather than rant about senior citizens are being negatively impacted (I’m still waiting to walk by there and see a senior citizen, burdened with groceries, sitting there.)

    • I know, standing in front of DCUSA, if I close my eyes, I can imagine myself in the Villa Borghese. Then I open my eyes and my iPhone is gone.

    • 14th and Irving ain’t Rome, cara. There’s some sketchy parts of Rome, yeah, like every other big city, but I never saw the blatant littering and open dealing that I see every day there. And if people want to hang out outside (like they do in Europe), there’s the fountain a half block away and a park another half block away.

      Como se dice get over yourself?

    • When the people hanging out at fountains and steps in Rome are peeing all over, dealing openly, hocking loogies, and screaming f-yous, we’ll talk. If people want to hang out outside, as is their right, there’s a fountain half a block up by the Giant and a nice park half a block down.

      Hyperbole much?

      • You’re right — Columbia Heights — and DC — is not Rome. Because Rome is in Italy and in Italy there is a National Health Service, so poor, socially-excluded individuals don’t need to wait all day outside the only clinic that is willing to see them.

  • It’s public property.

  • I was always harassed by the men sitting on those flower beds, so I’m happy they’re gone!

  • Loiterers will just sit on the bike racks at the new station. I don’t care if people hang out, it’s their right but I do care if they harass, deal drugs, drink, litter, etc… I know “anon 7:15pm” has never seen or heard of such things but it is in your face on that corner. Why do you think the place clears out when a couple police officers come and stand there? Happens all the time.

  • I’m of two minds. As a woman, I avoid that corner in order to avoid street harassment. So in that regard, I’m glad loitering just got more difficult. But as a resident, I recognize that the loiterers have a right to be there, and maybe that’s their “third place” just like coffee shops are to me….and I just wish cops did more to prevent illegal activity.

  • Frankly, I think this is a great step in cleaning up the disasters that is 14th and Irving, but what Columbia Heights needs is a BID. There is certainly the retail density there now to support one. DC, has given a big “FU” to all its businesses by telling them to clean up and maintain the streets themselves, despite DC being absolutely flush with cash and having pocketing more than 3 billion dollars in budget surpluses the past 13 years. But I digress…

    Step 1. Remove the things that the army of undesirable, wasted, screamy, pissy and drug slinging use to loiter on. Check

    Step 2. Have a BID maintain the landscaping and pick up the trash daily in CH. It won’t stop folks from destroying things, immediately but atleast it won’t have to look like a street corner in Mogadishu all the time.

    Just for historical point of view, DCUSA tried to initiate a BID and Target was all for it. The the Graham-stander, being the useless public servant he is, demanded Target basically fund the entire thing, paying almost 1.5 million a year to start (more over time) for the BID, all the while excusing the rest of the retail, and residential apartment complexes. They told Graham “no thanks” and that was the end of it. No one has tried since to initiate a BID, and the area desperately needs one.

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