Washington, DC

Connecticut and Cathedral Ave, NW

“Dear PoPville,

Saturday night’s shooting happened right in front of our building in Woodley Park. Our coop sent Mary Cheh, Jimmy DuBois (our ANC), and MPD District 2 Commander Duncan Bedlion the following letter. This is the most serious incident in recent memory, but it’s not the only problem we’ve seen with the District’s inexplicable lack of preparation for Zoolights year after year.”

Councilmember Cheh, ANC DuBois, and District Commander Bedlion:

As board members and other residents of the Cooperative, we write in reference to the shooting that occurred at the intersection of Connecticut Avenue NW and Cathedral Avenue NW last night, November 30, 2019. The Cooperative is located at this intersection and the shooting happened directly outside our building. We were horrified to witness this act of senseless violence. We hope that the victim recovers quickly and that the perpetrator is brought to justice as soon as possible.

As residents of Woodley Park, we always look forward to the joy and activity that Zoolights brings to our community. But every year, the District is inexplicably underprepared for thousands of DC residents and tourists to descend upon Woodley Park every night for weeks. There is hardly any visible police presence between the Woodley Park Metro and the Zoo, despite the fact that thousands of people are walking up and down a stretch of Connecticut Avenue that is dimly lit and narrow. On the street, nobody is directing traffic south of the Zoo on Connecticut Avenue.

And every year, Woodley Park residents must bear the consequences. Two years ago, during Zoolights, one of our residents was assaulted near the Metro with a bike lock. The incident was reported to the police but the perpetrators were long gone by that time. The same year, there were shots fired in our building’s alley and one teenager was arrested in possession of a handgun, which turned out to be a starter pistol firing blanks.

The District’s lack of preparation is evident in less grave ways, too: heaps of trash strewn across our property and sidewalks, our gardens torn up, and cars honking up and down Connecticut Avenue because nobody is managing the increased traffic flow.

Zoolights should be a joyous celebration. But the District’s lack of preparation for this annual, preplanned event is obvious and unacceptable. A gun was fired outside our property and a young man was shot.

We respectfully ask that you explain to us how exactly you will work to ensure that the next five weeks of Zoolights 2019–and every Zoolights hereafter–will be safe and well-managed.


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