DC Area Receives ‘F’ Grade for Smog Levels

June 18, 2013

The American Lung Association issued a report giving DC and Arlington ‘F’ grades for smog, DCist reports. According to the American Lung Association, the Washington area has the 14th highest ozone/smog levels in the country. The District averages 10.7 high ozone days a year, while Arlington has an average of 9.8.

Though this may seem bleak and make one want to move to cleaner air in the country, air quality in the DC area is getting better: the average number of high ozone days in DC fell from an average of 40 in the years 1997 to 1999. Arlington is fairing better as well, after achieving a high of 32 from 1997 to 1999. As for particle pollution, DC got a D, while Arlington was given a C.

6th Annual DC Yoga Week

During the sixth annual DC Yoga Week, Washington, DC area yoga studios offer free and $5 classes. Sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Yoga Association, DC Yoga Week gives people a chance to try a yoga class at a reduced cost without making a longterm commitment. Held between Sunday, May 15 and Saturday, May 22, the main highlight is “Yoga on the Mall,” which will take place on Sunday, May 15 between 1:30 and 4:30 p.m. This year, a yoga flash mob will be held May 21 from 10 to 11 a.m. at John Marshall Park in conjunction with the Asian Heritage Foundation, Saturday, May 21, 10-11 am at John Marshall Park near the Mall.

Participating studios include Captiol Hill Yoga, Flow Yoga Center, Tranquil Space and Somafit. For more information, go to dccy.org.

DowntownDC Poised to Take Retail to A Whole New Level

The 10-acre CityCenterDC mixed-use development, now under construction at the Old Convention Center site, will create new retail for Downtown and D.C. CityCenterDC will anchor much of the $600 million in unmet shoppers’ goods retail demand, according to the 2011 edition of the DowntownDC Business Improvement District (BID) retail report released this month.

The report, “DowntownDC Shopping District 2011,” shows the DowntownDC BID area is poised to become a new regional shopping destination once Phase I of the CityCenterDC project is completed in 2013, adding 185,000 square feet of retail space. Another 140,000 square feet of retail space will follow in the project’s second and third phases, which could be completed in 2014 and 2015.

“This is a dramatic transformation,” said Richard H. Bradley, the DowntownDC BID executive director. “The DowntownDC BID area now has 600,000 square feet of shoppers’ goods retail. The shopping district could grow to more than one million square feet by 2015 because of CityCenterDC, 60,000 square feet of large retail space now available, and converting up to 100,000 square feet of non-shoppers’ goods retail or ground floor service uses to destination shoppers’ goods retail.”

The DowntownDC Shopping District stretches for more than 15 blocks, with the following boundaries: New York Avenue and Massachusetts Avenue on the north, 7th Street on the east, F Street on the south, and 13th Street on the west.

New Restaurant to Open in place of Social

The Getaway, a tavern-style restaurant, will open this weekend in the space where Social used to occupy at 14th and Meridian Place NW. Last Friday, they had a soft opening with drink specials and a limited menu. They’re planning on forming a Getaway softball team and will feature American craft beers from Port City, Lagunitas, Bell’s, Stone, Dogfish Head and Bear Republic. Chef and part owner, Ismeal Otarola, a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu Orlando Culinary Academy, will be manning the kitchen. Their menu will include five different kinds of sliders, weekend brunch, and mac & cheese featuring smoked gouda, sharp cheddar, gruyere, and manchego and lobster. According to owner Jeremy Mintz, they’ve been planning the grand opening for four months and have hired most staff.

Jazz in the Garden Kicks Off

The National Gallery of Art started their Jazz in the Garden summer series May 27 at 4th St. and Constitution Ave. NW Concerts take place in front of the Pavilion Café at the Sculpture Garden. The event is free and goes from 5 to 9:30 p.m. On June 3. DC Jazz Festival will present Mark Prince, a progressive jazz musician, and on June 10, blues fusion musician Deanna Bogart will perform. Picnickers can bring blankets, but alcohol and coolers are not prohibited. See our extended coverage of DC Jazz Festival for more information.

Sing it! A 40th Anniversary Concert

The Capitol Hill Arts Workshop will present its 40th Anniversary Choral Concert on Sunday, Feb. 12, at 4:00 p.m. at the Capitol Hill Presbyterian Church (4th and Independence Avenue, SE). With music director C. Paul Heins, a chorus of community voices will celebrate the 40th anniversary with selections from Robert Convery’s cantata, “Songs of Children,” based on the writings of children during the Holocaust. Composer Jeffery Watson will conduct his own composition, “Where Every Voice Is Heard,” which he wrote on the occasion of CHAW’s 30th Anniversary. The Capitol Hill Youth Chorus, the newly-formed Children’s Honor Chorus from Brent Elementary and a cappella ensemble “Not What You Think” will also. The concert is free and open to the public; a free will offering will be made in support of CHAW’s tuition assistance program.

Since 1972, CHAW has provided arts education to thousands of children and adults in the Washington region, especially from the greater Capitol Hill area. Through classes, performances, and exhibitions in visual and performing arts, CHAW brings together diverse segments of the population to connect through the transforming power of creativity. CHAW offers a tuition assistance program and flexible payment plans. For more information, contact Jill Strachan at Jill@chaw.org

District Prepares to Start Red Top Meter Enforcement

With nearly 400 red top meters now installed throughout the central business district and the Federal corridors in the southwest quadrant of the District, enforcement on these special meters will begin soon.

D.C.’s Department of Transportation began installing the red top meters in January as part of a new program that is designed to improve access for persons with disabilities to businesses and services in the commercial areas of the District.

Red top meters are reserved spaces for persons with disabilities who properly display a valid placard or license plate to park. Meter parking patrons with a valid disability plate or placard will be able to park for twice the time on these meters as long as they pay the established meter rate for that block face.

Throughout February, DDOT traffic control officers will be stationed at red top meters to provide curbside parking patrons with information that identifies who is eligible to park at the meters, details about the twice the parking time policy and how to report fraudulent parking at these locations.

Additionally, during February, parking enforcement personnel from the Department of Public Works’ Parking Enforcement Administration will be issuing warning notices to those that are parked at a red top meter without displaying a valid disability placard or license plate and providing information to remind parking patrons about the requirements and enforcement that will be associated with the program.

Starting March 1, all red top meter parking patrons who do not display a valid disabled placard or license plate or who do not pay the established meter rates throughout the District of Columbia will be subject to ticketing or towing.

Get a Taste of Culture, March 8

The Embassy Chef Challenge, held each spring, spotlights D.C.’s international community in one unforgettable evening. The night is Cultural Tourism DC’s annual fundraising benefit, featuring an international tastings, awards, entertainment and a world-class silent auction. Fifteen chefs from Washington, D.C. embassies, representing countries from around the world, compete. A panel of celebrity chefs and food critics serve as judges throughout the competition. The two-part competition begins with a preliminary Top-Chef style challenge. Competitors will receive a basket of surprise ingredients drawn from Danish cuisine and tasked to create a dish on the spot using the ingredients. The second part of the competition is the open tasting where DC’s cultural and diplomatic communities come together to experience the talents of the competitors. The scores from this event are combined with the scores from Challenge Denmark to pick the Judges Choice award winner. Join them on March 8 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center from 7:30 to 10 p.m. Tickets are $250, but $170 of that is tax deductible.

Time for the Circulator

The District Department of Transportation has scheduled the second semi-annual public forum for the D.C. Circulator to occur on Wednesday, Feb. 29, starting at 7 p.m. at Union Station.

At the forum, DDOT will solicit feedback from passengers on the strengths and weaknesses of the bus system, to ensure the D.C. Circulator continues to meet the needs of current and future riders. Known for its convenient 10-minute headways, the Circulator costs one dollar per ride, with additional discounts for seniors and District students. More information about the routes and schedules is available at DCCirculator.com

District Ranks Highest in Nation for Investments in Biking and Walking

A report issued this month by the Alliance for Biking & Walking gives the District high marks for its commitment to bicycle and pedestrian programs. The report ranks all 50 states and the 51 largest U.S. cities on bicycling and walking levels, safety, funding and other factors. The District topped the list of cities with the highest per-capita funding for cycle and pedestrian facilities and education and spends $9.82 per resident to promote biking and walking.

The Alliance also found that the District has the second-highest share of commuters who walk to work, trailing only Boston, and the seventh-highest share of commuters who bike to work. In addition, only New York City can boast a lower rate of car ownership. More than 35 percent of District households do not own a vehicle.

D.C. also scored well on safety. Among the major cities surveyed, the District has the sixth-lowest fatality rate for cyclists and pedestrians. The nation’s capital is considered the fourth-safest city to bike in and the seventh-safest for walking.