Published On: Mon, Aug 13th, 2012

DC Government Still Using Poor Neighborhoods Like Ivy City as Storage Space For NIMBY

Alexander Crummell School in Ivy City, Washington DCIsn’t it amazing how decisions are made without respect for the people who it affects the most? Neighborhoods around the PEPCO plant on Benning Road have for years expressed their concerns about the poison coming out of the PEPCO plant. Ward 5 is being infested with permits for marijuana shops. And in tiny Ivy City, there’s a lawsuit to prevent even more NIMBY in their 1.7 miles of real estate.

Not too long ago one of the fellas asked about the area. Having recently visited the area taking photos of a mural, I immediately shared my opinions which weren’t the most flattering. The neighborhood is simply depressed. It feels like you’re driving through an industrial park of anti-environmentalist groups resting before the chaos of Love the Club patrons comes through like a whirlwind every weekend.

It’s a huge parking lot for the government. It’s rundown buildings that make you scratch you head wondering who’s going to move into the future Hecht’s warehouse when it goes office and retail. It’s a zit.

But there are plans to see how much worse the government can make it living there.

Ivy City is dotted with parking lots for scores of government vehicles — quarter-ton snowplows, salt trucks, parking-enforcement vehicles and school buses that belch exhaust as they rumble through the streets. Recently, when Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) announced a plan to build a bus depot for 65 D.C-to-New York motorcoaches in the heart of Ivy City, residents said “enough” and filed a lawsuit to stop it.

“My family has a history of asthma,” said Andria Swanson, an Ivy City resident and a complainant in the lawsuit. “My neighbor is on a breathing machine. Their trucks and school buses already drive down our streets all the time. Here in Ivy City the air quality is so bad. I can’t explain it, but sometimes I want to choke — it’s so industrial. I’d rather not sit outside.”

Another common characteristic of these NIMBY projects is where they’re happening — poor neighborhoods. Perhaps neighborhoods that don’t vote much so politicians aren’t worried about pissing them off. Maybe they’re neighborhoods that the politicians don’t think will muster the voice to oppose it. Maybe the politicians don’t realize people with children live there who don’t always have the means to provide the kind of healthcare that’s needed in a poisoned atmosphere as some of these places.

And if the government gets its way, imagine all those travelers, with their Gucci bags and iPods, boarding those fancy buses headed to destinations far from the filth in Ivy City. And the residents there just watching them watching them wondering how they can live in the area. It’s turning Ivy City into an exhibit of what happens to people who are less important than the people who ride those buses which, of course, is a bigger voting bloc than Ivy City.

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About the Author

David Gaines

- David Gaines is a Washington, DC, resident transplanted from North Carolina whose dream career was a newspaper writer but settled for the recruiting industry and simply blogging about whatever thoughts crosses his mind.