Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Street Lights: Make Your Voice Heard

Please send RMA's Testimony on Street Lights to City Council members and your friends.
RMA's position is informed by experts at the Street Light Task Force and the Dark Sky Association. You can help save the historic character of Embassy Row (ie no bright 3000 Kelvin lights) and improve future lighting for the whole city. 

RMA's Feb 21 Tour of Street Lights drew many from Dupont Circle and elsewhere. 
On our tour slideshow see for yourself the differences in present lights (amber, HPS) versus the very bright blue-white LED lights (some at 4000K )which the Department of Transportation is already installing.

Many people from Ward 2 and Ward 3 are joining the ranks of residents trying to make the nation's capital do better than some other cities (Milan, Italy). Other cities are models (Phoenix, AZ) How Washington builds out its new lighting infrastructure in the next 15 years will be decided soon!

Friday, February 16, 2018

Join Our Street Light Tour Wednesday Evening

Restore Mass Ave is advocating for new fixtures and bulbs that are healthful and preserve the historic character of streets and avenues.  Here's our tour map.

See for yourself which new lights are too bright and too blue. Same may be needlessly high, so trees must be cut out for light to reach the street. Compare the old lights; they use too much power but give off soft color.

Our tour will be guided by experts from the DC Street Light Task Force, Delores Bushong and Bonnie Garrity.

New Date: Wed Feb. 21
Where: Start/finish at Embassy Row Hotel, 2015 Massachusetts Ave NW
Times: 6:15pm     Gather
             6:30pm     Start walk eastward  
             7:45 pm    Happy Hour drinks and discussion at Embassy Row Hotel  "Station"

       The Street Light Task Force has engaged dozens of local civic groups and ANCs to push for new energy- saving streetlights that are BEST for alleys, streets and avenues.

      Why is Restore Mass Ave concerned? Why now? We want healthful, appropriate lighting to save our Grand Avenue's character and trees. RMA seeks to influence which LED lights the Department of Transportation will choose for Embassy Row: lighting will be replaced as part of the big Massachusetts Avenue Rehabilitation Project (MARP).

     But street lights on ALL avenues, residential streets and commercial venues will be impacted by DDOT's lighting choices.  Walk with us, see for yourself and learn how to make your voice heard!

     Tour contact/RSVP lindsey.k.larson@gmail.com    Follow us on Twitter  @restoremassave

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Haiti's Resilience Rewarded with 9-11 Survivor Tree

You'll see a small new tree planted by Haiti's Embassy at 2311 Massachusetts Avenue this spring. The tree will be just a sapling about 4 feet tall. Not a lot of branches nor leaves.

This little Callery pear may manage a few white blooms, briefly.  But if not now, in future years its white cloud of blossoms will herald the start of renewal up and down our Grand Avenue.

The tree's parent was discovered in the wreckage of the World Trade Center in October 2001. Rescuers saw "lifeless limbs, snapped roots, and blackened trunk." It was nursed back to health (after another disaster) and replanted at Ground Zero in December 2010.  At right is this Survivor Tree last spring, in full bloom. It is visited reverentially by millions of people now. 

Haiti too has had more than its fair share of disasters.  Its eleven million people have shown resilience despite gnarls of problems with infrastructure, environment,  politics, disease and misdirected aid.

Since 2012 Haiti's ambassador to the US, Paul Altidor, has worked to disentangle aid issues. He has tirelessly put forth an alternative story about the intelligence, hard work, artistry and dignity of Haitian people. His Embassy has opened its doors to the Haitian diaspora and general public, who come for Haitian art shows, cooking classes, crafts and music. Busboys & Poets hosts open-mike discussions about the country.

(Now the Embassy has a hotline to help Haitian deportees clarify their status. The charge that Haiti is not a good country is being refuted by the Ambassador and many in the US public.)

Haiti's struggle to recover from the 2010 earthquake, the largest natural disaster in history, was recognized last fall when the National 9-11 Memorial & Museum awarded a seedling of Pyrus calleryana from the 9-11 Survivor Tree.   Seedlings are awarded to communities "facing and overcoming tragedy" says the award letter from chair Alice Greenwald. 

Just twelve Survivor Tree Tree seedlings have been awarded since 2013, such as to Gulfport, Miss. (Katrina in 2005) and Newton, Conn. (Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012).

Restore Mass Ave has worked with the Embassy of Haiti on green restoration projects for years. It was one of the first foreign missions to help us water city street trees, for example. The Embassy hosted our 10th anniversary in May 2017 as well.

We are glad to assist the Embassy of Haiti with planting and protecting the Survivor Tree seedling when it arrives in early spring. Stay tuned!