DC Construction Workers Complete Water Rescue

Street Justice Newsletter: Vol 2, Edition 105 (9/11/2020)

During yesterday afternoon’s torrential rainstorm, a group of construction workers from Rhode Island Avenue NE’s “Bryant Street” development rescued two of their colleagues with rope and steel wiring. Workers became trapped by a surging flash flood, up to or beyond the normal human height, in the roadway which dips below the Metropolitan Branch Trail and CSX/WMATA tracks at the RIA Ave Metro Station. Street Justice reporter Gordon Chaffin reached the scene, captured a few photos and video, then helped about a dozen workers throw the lines down with a harness to the workers, and successfully pull them up.

One at a time, we pulled the workers up 20 to 25 feet to the MBT, breaking the black fencing and yanking them onto the grass once they got within arm’s length. It was the right place, right time and I wish I would have stayed longer to interview and get pictures with the two rescued workers, Josh and Emmanuel. I didn’t even think to ask them how they got trapped, though yesterday’s rainstorm dumped up to six inches of rain in the DC area, resulting in sudden rising water at low points like RIA NE there.

In these situations, I’m conflicted. I’m a reporter! This is a story only my crazy ass run-commuting in the deluge has access to! But, I feel a duty to help when people need help. I didn’t do much, but I’m not going to be the jerk taking video of people doing the rescue and not helping. I guess I could have set the GoPro down and hit record. I was late to do a dog walk and forgot to actually interview the workers in the rush to get to Basil, the Cavalier King Charles.

You can view, share, and re-use all the photos and videos I took yesterday here at the new Street Justice Flickr page. Credit to “Gordon Chaffin of StreetJustice.news”

New 📷 🎥.🎙️ 📊

  • Multimedia Content Archive > 2020 > September

  • CLEAN AUDIO - Joint ArlCo BAC + PAC Mtg - 9.9.2020

  • AUTOMATED TRANSCRIPT - Joint ArlCo BAC + PAC Mtg - 9.9.2020

  • CLEAN AUDIO - ANC 6A Sept Mtg - 9.8.2020

News Tidbits

“The DowntownDC Business Improvement District is seeking a dynamic and talented go-getter for the role of Planning Associate,” writes Director of Planning and Placemaking Galin Brooks to the YIPPS listserv. [Job Posting]


“A new study titled “Understanding How Women Travel” was released by [LA] Metro this month. The report is the first of its kind by a transit agency in the United States and is a broad effort that doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to pointing to challenges faced by women when using the Metro system – from traveling with kids and strollers to safety to fares. … specific concerns and where there may be room for improvement, whether it’s better lighting at stations and stops and surrounding areas or having a more visible police or security presence.” ~ via Steve Hymon in LA Metro’s “The Source” blog


“A shadow of hunger looms over the United States. In the pandemic economy, nearly one in eight households doesn’t have enough to eat. The lockdown, with its epic lines at food banks, has revealed what was hidden in plain sight: that the struggle to make food last long enough, and to get food that’s healthful — what experts call ‘food insecurity’ — is a persistent one for millions of Americans.”

“Food insecurity is as much about the threat of deprivation as it is about deprivation itself: A food-insecure life means a life lived in fear of hunger, and the psychological toll that takes. Like many hardships, this burden falls disproportionately on Black and Hispanic families, who are almost twice as likely to experience food insecurity as white families.”

That’s from a powerful photo essay in the NYT. In related, this NYT Story: “Just Because I Have a Car, Doesn’t Mean I Have Enough Money to Buy Food.


“With its lush green fields and trees, slate-gray roads and tiny blue backyard swimming pool, this aerial shot over Blue Ridge, Va., looks like any number of places in the United States. It seems strange that an ordinary patch of land like this could offer clues about the political leanings of its inhabitants. But to some degree, it can. Think of it as the aerial-image version of those red-and-blue electoral maps. … You’ll notice a general trend in these images: from predominantly gray pavement at left to greener, more open spaces on the right. … The pattern we observe here is consistent with the urban-rural divide we’re accustomed to seeing on traditional maps of election results.” That’s from a cool image analysis by the NYT.

Surveys/Public Comment Periods

Social Media Activity

ICYMI: On Sunday, we reported that so far in 2020, at least 27 people have died in Washington, DC streets — as many as all of 2019 with 116 days left this year. The Department has traffic fatality data showing three years — and now most likely four — of the past five with increasingly dangerous roads. That trend continues despite five years of a Vision Zero effort from the District. Data from other Washington-region areas show fatalities growing or remaining near the pre-existing average. In the report, we explain Vision Zero as a goal to eliminate road deaths, and how residents all over the DC area can get involved where they live to make our streets safer. https://streetjustice.substack.com/p/traffic-went-down-this-year-traffic

Events Calendar

  • Full Events Calendar on TeamUp: https://teamup.com/ksit5hj89moo3w36fm

  • I hope to cover the public events below in person.

Thurs 9/10: Arlington County Vision Zero Task Force Virtual Meeting [Details]

Thurs 9/10: Montgomery County Planning Board ft. new Complete Streets Design Guide [Agenda | Staff Report | Livestream Link]

Sat 9/12: Arlington County Board Meeting for September ft. New ART operations & maintenance facility, planning for adding a second elevator at Pentagon City Metro, Metropolitan Park [Agenda | RSVP to Speak | Livestream on YouTube]

Tues 9/15: Arlington County Public Board Hearing ft. Emergency Sidewalk Ordinance [Agenda | RSVP to Speak | Livestream on YouTube]

Tues 9/15: ANC 5E (Edgewood/Bloomingdale/Eckington) ft. 8th Street NE one-way redesign and MBT protected bike lane proposal [Details]

Thurs 9/17: Montgomery County Planning Board ft. MacArthur Boulevard Bikeway Improvements, Old Angler’s Inn to Eggert Drive [Agenda | Livestream Link]

Thurs 9/23: Inclusive Study of Anne Arundel & Prince George's County for Transit-Oriented Development, a talk by Greater Washington Partnership head Joe McAndrew [Details]

Tues 9/15 - Wed 9/16: 2020 AARP Livable Communities Transportation Workshop [Details | Log-In to Webcast starting 1 PM]

Thurs 9/24: WABA Vision Zero Summit - Virtual [Details | Agenda]

Upcoming Street Justice Livestream Broadcasts

Wed 9/16: Planning, Zoning, & Transportation Committee for ANC 1C (Adams Morgan) [Agenda | Join via Zoom | Call-in: 301-715-8592 | Meeting ID: 864-7789-8704 | Password: 730049 | Livestream]

Wed 9/23: Public Services and the Environment Committee for ANC 1C (Adams Morgan) [Agenda | Join via Zoom | Call-in: 301-715-8592 | Meeting ID: 828-8692-7356 | Password: 949624 | Livestream]

Mon 9/28: ANC 4B (Takoma/Brightwood Park) [Agenda | Join via Zoom | Call-in: 301-715-8592 | Meeting ID: 842-1424-9196 | Password: 964318 | Livestream]

Wed 10/7: ANC 1C (Adams Morgan) [Agenda | Join via Zoom | Call-in: 301-715-8592 | Meeting ID: 831-4707-9957 | Password: 36554 | Livestream]

Wed 10/14: ABC and Public Safety Committee for ANC 1C (Adams Morgan) [Agenda | Join via Zoom | Call-in: 301-715-8592 | Meeting ID: 828-8692-7356 | Password: 692595 | Livestream]

DISCLAIMER: Street Justice is subjective journalism. We produce factually accurate, thoroughly reported content. We write with a personal and opinionated voice, contrary to “view from nowhere” journalism that produces an unrealistically symmetrical portrayal of matters in dispute. Where there are power dynamics, Street Justice applies greater scrutiny to agents and stakeholders with greater privilege and more questionable motives.