“Parts of Bloomingdale Still in the Dark”

in the dark

“Dear PoPville,

The security enhancements promised below will be helpful only if actually implemented and done so with a sense of urgency. I live at the corner of Flagler and Adams Streets, NW. Last night, two nights following a homicide a half block south of the Adams/Flagler DC Water construction staging area and following the promises made below, I noticed that the east-side sidewalk on the 2200 block of Flagler Place is still almost completely dark as one walks north towards Adams Street –see attached photo. Additionally, the sidewalk dead-ends due to DC Water project fences that continue to block access to Adams Street. This morning, I walked down the stretch and could see that the light fixture on top of the DC Water fence is missing lightbulbs –see attached photo. It’s beyond my comprehension that such a situation would exist given what has happened in this area in recent days. I noticed this fixture missing lightbulbs only because it is near my house. I suspect that if I walked the perimeter of each of the three DC Water construction staging areas, there would be other fixtures in similar condition. I ask that DC Water increase the sense of urgency given the promises made below.”

Dear Residents,

I am deeply saddened to hear about the recent street robberies and the shooting death of a resident in Bloomingdale. I know the fear that such acts engender – I was held up at gunpoint several years ago in a nearby neighborhood – and members of the community are rightly concerned about these horrific crimes. We are also concerned for the safety of our workers who are in the neighborhood every day building critical new infrastructure to safeguard Bloomingdale against flooding.

We have strived to be good neighbors during our First Street Tunnel project, and we will uphold that commitment until the work is done later this summer. I have called Chief Lanier to offer our assistance to try and deter crime in Bloomingdale. I have also asked our team to explore any and all measures to enhance security around our construction sites in the neighborhood. Working with the project’s contractors, we are taking the following actions:

· Checking and repairing lighting – During the project, lights were added to better illuminate sidewalks around our construction staging areas. Residents have reported some of these lights are out. Electricians are checking to ensure the lights are functioning properly, and if not, making the necessary repairs.

· Improve visibility – Beginning immediately, workers are removing the noise blankets that shield nearby homes from the construction areas. This will hopefully increase visibility and eliminate blind spots that could allow criminals to surprise victims or escape capture. The blankets can be rehung as needed for noise suppression during heavy construction.

· Additional patrols – DC Water is working to supplement security around the construction staging areas. This will include off-duty police officers or private security personnel.

· Free transportation for residents – The tunnel project continues to offer free rides in the neighborhood on request for residents who call the 24 hour hotline at 1-844-FST-INFO [1-844-378-4636].

No one should have to fear walking down the street in their own neighborhood. We will continue to work with MPD to respond to this very troubling and tragic series of crimes.

George Hawkins
CEO and General Manager
DC Water

33 Comment

  • HaileUnlikely

    I wish neighbors would install some inexpensive bright security lights on their homes in the affected area. DC Water has created a bunch of hiding places for bad guys, but it is within the power of neighbors to make it not be pitch dark. A neighborhood electrician or handyman could earn a lot of goodwill and future customers by offering to install bright security lights for free or at a steep discount on homes in the affected area.

    • +1. It shouldn’t be on the neighbors to do this, but given the complete lack of urgency from DC Water and the city, this seems like a good quick fix. Even regular porch lights would seem to help. I am really sorry for people living in that immediate area – that sidewalk looks awful. I really wonder if DC Water could be sued for negligence at this point, I’m thinking yes.

    • The first thing I noticed was how many homes had their exterior lights off

      • HaileUnlikely

        It is an ongoing pet peeve of mine, not just in this area or in construction zones. I wish more people kept their front porch lights on later. I live in a quiet residential neighborhood – I desired and knowingly signed up for that part, but I wish it wouldn’t be pitch dark when I’m walking home from the bus after dark. Putting a couple of bright-ass lights on my porch and connecting them to a timer was one of the very first things I did when I bought my house.

        • west_egg

          Agreed on all counts. I’ve also had good luck with this Philips CFL bulb that has a built-in light sensor (i.e., comes on automatically when it gets dark): https://www.amazon.com/Philips-429746-Compact-Fluorescent-14-Watt/dp/B00B4CPKWQ

          • HaileUnlikely

            Cool, thanks. Didn’t know this existed. I’m content with my setup but might suggest this to neighbors who aren’t equipped to install a new fixture or a timer and (quite reasonably) don’t want to pay an electrician $200 to do so.

        • Many of the homes, including mine, do not have lights on the front porch. Some of these homes are also vacant because they are being renovated. It should fall on the residents to make up for the broken promises provided by DC Water. Many residents also don’t have the immediate income to pay for running electrical and installing a light, including myself. DC Water removed DC City lights that once made the streets feel safer. Since day one, the residents have expressed concern about safety. This was always priority #1. As a resident of this block, I can tell you that it is very very dark and security guards are either non-existent or immobile. It took a lot of push by the residents to even get the guards, the original lights, and personally I don’t remember anything about cameras being installed. IF they were installed, then maybe we would have caught the suspects for the break-ins, rapes, muggings and now murder. I also would like to see confirmation that our valiant Councilmember has visited the block. Before the construction began, his response to the immediate residents was “I am spending way too much time in Bloomingdale”. It is time he spend some time here. I don’t really set high expectations for him…so I won’t be shocked if he doesn’t show up.

  • Here’s a thought: these fixtures don’t go magically missing. Put in some surreptitious cameras around to see who is messing with these lights.

    • They have cameras…..only pointing into the construction site. Anything outside of it? Why should they care?

      • I recognize you from other threads and realize that your sarcasm is likely the result of anger and frustration, but I don’t think it’s very helpful at this point. I am well beyond kidding about this in any way.

        • Yeah I know and apologize; just so frustrating at this point that we’re talking about the same issues after 2 years and now its come to horrible violence.

  • Maybe we can put some Pokemon go characters around the neighborhood so the DC Water hired security will actually get out of their cars. But then I guess they’d still be looking at their phones. Le sigh…

  • Does anyone know if the police activity (multiple cars, quite a few officers) around 10pm at V & 4th St NW last night was related to the current investigation?

  • Thank you for the photos and the additional information about the location. We will share with the contractor now and ask that they be repaired today.

    John Lisle
    DC Water

    • What about actually checking them as your press release promised and fixing the situation without having to be shamed on social media? You know, do your job? Neighbors have been complaining about this for a long time. Feigning ignorance isn’t an option at this point.

    • I realize that the responsibility contractually rests with the contractor, but why is every response to a safety a or quality of life issue “we will ask the contractor to address this.” You don’t get to wipe your hands of this because you’ve subcontracted the work out; having the contractor address issues has demonstrably not worked – so do something different. Get your own staff more involved.

    • You need to do way better. Your past actions were possibly negligent, and your representation that you were “checking and repairing lighting” was possibly fraudulent. Stop trying to hide behind your contractor.

    • Or, maybe get a new contractor!

  • There is no excuse for this. None. There are so many levels of failures. McDuffie claims to have visited Flagler on Sunday to talk to residents. Can anyone verify that actually happened? I don’t think it’s true.

    • I’ve written and called McDuffie’s office multiple times about the security and management of the DC Clean Water Project and never gotten a single response. I find it doubtful he was in the neighborhood on Sunday. You would think he would be organizing neighborhood walks or meetings to help build a sense of community. Since no one from his office has responded, taking a look at his recent activity on his website and social media channels seem to indicate he has done zero to help out this neighborhood. A true disappointment.

      • does anyone have information about the recall of McDuffie? I too have received no response from him or his staff about the violence in this neighborhood. I don’t know the grounds of the existing recall, but I am certainly ready to recall him after this negligence.

    • Nothing from McDuffie’s office. His complete lack of leadership to address this issue is unacceptable. No plan, no vision, and apparently no concern. Take a look at the “key issues” on the McDuffie’s website. This isn’t even on his radar. I will not forget it during the next election cycle.

  • This from a June 2015 DC Clean Water Project 1st Tunnel update presentation to Adams Street and Flagler Place neighbors: “SKJD installed security lights and cameras.” SKJD is the joint venture between Skanska USA and Jay Dee that is leading the project. One would assume that if they installed them that they are responsible for maintaining them as well. However, DC Water hired them therefore responsibility rests with them as well. It maybe see at the dcwater website /workzones/ projects/ first_street_tunnel/ attachments/ 2015_0610_DivP_Adams_Flagler_Block_Mtg_Pre.pdf

    • Agree. And whoever at DC Water is responsible for that subcontract needs to get off their @$$ and walk around the site and verify that work was done BEFORE paying for it. That DC water employee needs to be outed and disciplined. DC Water (and all DC agencies) need to take a page from the new WMATA leadership and start holding employees responsible and accountable for their substandard performance.
      Blame it on the contractor all you want, but someone at DC Water was supposed to be managing that contract.

  • west_egg

    Where the heck is the mayor? I’m not one of those people who lays every little thing at her feet but if there’s one thing she ought to be able to do, it’s rustle up a few lights to put out on a street where a citizens are being robbed and murdered. What about the obnoxious ones MPD uses? Or have the city rent some from Sunbelt, or whoever — this isn’t rocket science!

    • +1000. If this happened in Georgetown, there would be floodlights visible from space in place the next day. This happened 60+ hours ago, and after an entire summer where this 2-3 blocks have had crime over and over, and yet no one seems to have a plan.

      We need our leaders to lead.

      • McDuffie runs unopposed every year and I remember seeing a ton of Bowser signs in Bloomingdale. Hold them accountable at the next election.

        • Let’s hope that he runs for mayor. We need someone who cares about the neighborhood they represent. I hope we can convince TJQ to run for the ward 5 seat – she’d be great!

          • Oh lord, what would happen if he won the mayor race tho? McDuffie just needs to leave office. His twitter profile is nothing but pictures of him attending celebrations or “presenting” at meetings (about what??) He didn’t tweet a word about the murder, just replied defensively about going to the neighborhood after-the-fact, and that he had done something about a DC Water noise complaint (construction noise is totally not the point right now!) He’s tone deaf and disconnected to what his constituents are concerned about. We want real action on violent crime and public safety.

          • TJQ can barely maintain order at the CBA meetings. I stopped attending because of the lack of leadership. Those pants might be a bit too big for her.

  • McDuffie’s (lack of) response is baffling. I wonder if he realizes that this neighborhood is still part of Ward 5. His lack of interest and neglect for Bloomingdale is shameful. I hope he will have the decency to show up at the community meeting on Monday.

  • That is a dark area just waiting for crime to happen. It is clear that the residents cannot count on DC Water to get this right even though the CEO had, himself, been a victim of crime (probably not because of a DC water project which left blind spots and his street totally dark).

    To be more solutions-oriented, can the ANC commish request portable MPD lights for that area?

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