Our city doesn’t look ideal, and its inhabitants want to see a cleaner city. There’s Graffiti everywhere, uneven sidewalks, broken publisher boxes, loose wires and trash. To help address these issues, four School Without Walls students—Liz Murphy, Eva Meier, Christopher Coleman, and I (Alice Pharr)—had the task of walking through specific neighborhoods, writing down every issue we saw, and taking photos of said issues. Later, we used the website 311 Online to report the issues we had found.
My first assignment was to survey the neighborhood of Takoma, DC. Aspen Street, Eastern Avenue and Georgia Avenue border Takoma. On some mornings, to avoid the overwhelming heat, I would wake up around 8:00 a.m. and spend one or two hours walking around. I found graffiti on street lamps, signs, mailboxes, publisher boxes and trashcans. I saw loose wires, broken signs, and trash. Even before the big storm in June, there were tree branches on the ground everywhere. I was surprised at everything I saw, once I started looking.
Issues are now more noticeable and hard to ignore. I know my neighborhood much better after surveying Takoma. After surveying 13th, 14th, and 15th Streets, between Military Road and Arkansas Avenue, I have a greater understanding of how different parts of the city are connected.
The Clean, Green, and Safe Initiative gives us the initiative to improve our city and get to know it better.