Transportation and the Environment Budget Oversight Hearing

Department of Parks and Recreation
11am, Monday, May 5, 2014


Good morning Chairwoman Cheh, Councilmember Grosso, and committee staff:

My name is Martin and I'm a Ward 6 Shaw resident, member of the ANC6E public safety committee, and a
board member of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association.

Mayor Gray recently stated that DPR recreation centers are an ideal venue to provide bicycle safety
education and training. If DPR cannot provide this service themselves, they should at least permit WABA
access to its facilities to conduct more bicycle education to the community. I hope the next budget will
ensure that under the next administration bicycle education can be provided in DPR facilities one way or
another. The boom in cycling in the District is undeniable, DPR should help address the educational needs
for this growing sector of District residents who bicycle but are also pedestrians, and many, also drivers.

Mayor Vincent C Gray on DPR and Bicycle Education, February 11, 2014:
http://youtu.be/RfaIzK4vFX4

As Ward 5 Councilmember McDuffie stated, Monday December 16 2013, school facilities like those at
Dunbar High School should give more access to the community.

http://youtu.be/6begLt0I-3E?t=23s

The current staff at the Dunbar Pool does a remarkable job. They are hard working, friendly, responsive
and reliable, we need more DPR staff like them working to help make school facilities available to the
community. As you and your Council colleagues, have attempted to address before, pool hours must be
extended 7 days per week to make good on the goal of delivering quality services to "#All8Wards." (Mr
Grosso also addressed this in a tweet during a meeting with Dunbar staff. At Large Councilmember David
Catania's staff is current looking into the current roadblocks and delays.)

Outside of school use hours, DPR should hire more staff to be on hand to supervise and provide security
for access to not only to the pool, but to athletic fields and interior basketball courts and/or install security
surveillance cameras to ensure that anyone misbehaving or abusing facilities is identified and appropriately
banned and/or subjected to some meaningful form of restorative justice. We don't want anyone to abuse or
destroy valuable and expensive community resources and amenities as they have done in the past. If
someone vandalizes a facility, they should get a criminal sentence only expunged after fulfilling community
service to clean and maintain that facility for a few weeks. Such restorative justice will teach valuable
lessons to those who might not appreciate the value of respecting such facilities.

We should have a security surveillance camera installed at the N St Park to deter the constant drug abuse
that still goes on there and also the new no smoking regulations. Practically, we're not going to be able to
staff small DPR parks with supervisors or guards, but surveillance cameras will allow officials to remotely
monitor activity, identify those who violate the law and give such information to MPD so violators can be
served with the appropriate form of justice and rehabilitation.

If you cannot properly enforce the new law against smoking in public parks "controlled" by the government,
there is no way you'll be able to enforce the pending marijuana decriminalization bans prohibiting smoking
marijuana in public space. Surveillance cameras offer a reliable and cost effective solution to deter illegal
behavior, maintain order, and preserve the safety and tranquility of our community amenities. DPR should
invest in more cameras just as MPD is doing.

Also, just as Ms Cheh's commendable legislation requires home owners maintain the public space in front
of our own properties, DPR should be required to be a model and at least take the lead on contacting other
government agencies to routinely maintain the sidewalks and public space around it's facilities. The
Kennedy Recreation Center in Shaw, which takes up an entire city block and has received a multi-million
dollar upgrade, is still routinely covered with litter and trash that either spills out onto the adjacent sidewalks
or attracts more garbage as dumping ground for those in the community. The broken windows theory can
be regularly seen on display at this facility. Even the hallowed ground of Arlington Cemetery is regularly
affected by litter; the reason litter is rarely visible is because that facility is vigilantly kept tidy by staff who
want to project an image that inspires people to respect the facility.

O Street/south side of the Kennedy Recreation Center, April 14 2014:

 
6th Street/Route 1/west side of the Kennedy Recreation Center, April 14, 2014:

 

As you can see from the above photos, and many weekdays at the site, this has been a problem at the
Kennedy Recreation Center since 2008 under Mayor Fenty's administration:

http://youtu.be/5J0B8n5NYiA

Alcohol litter outside Kennedy are reaction Center, O St NW, today, Monday May 5, 2014:

 
Hopefully, the next administration will get a handle on this, but we should not wait for new leadership.

The DPR staff should also be required to help maintain the street trees, regularly watering and seasonally
mulching them, as they will surely be required to do with the hundreds of new trees and shrubs installed in
the recent renovation. In two previous upgrades to the Kennedy Playground grounds, many trees and
shrubs were left to die in a huge waste of tax payer dollars. DPR can and must do better.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Martin Moulton
Public Volunteer, ANC6E Public Safety Committee
Board Member, Washington Area Bicyclist Association
@ShawingtonTimes •#(202) 422-1161


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