Community engagement, overgrown roots, and crosswalk signs. Everything you need to know about Councilmember Todd’s popup meeting

Todd talking to residents at his
Todd talking to residents at his "Pop Up Office Hours" meeting on Thursday. Photo courtesy of Joshua Fleitman.

By Amanda Menas

“Best Councilmember ever,” said one of the volunteers assisting at Ward 4 Councilmember Brandon T. Todd’s “Pop Up Office Hours” meeting at the Dunkin’ Donuts by the Georgia Ave/Petworth Metro on Thursday.

More than 20 constituents appeared between 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. to speak with Todd. They discussed issues including differently-abled and aging residents, parking, and the upkeep of parks. Major legislative initiatives brought to Todd’s attention specifically included crime in the ward, tree cleanups, and sidewalk cleanups.

“I don’t want anyone to say I’m not available because I only work 7 to 3, or 9 to 5, or I have children, or an aging parent,” Todd said about the meetings.

He said five neighbors came and discussed opportunities to create a permeable sidewalk, which allows pedestrians to pass over roots that have outgrown tree boxes.

Safety for pedestrians was the concern of one constituent with two children, ages 9 and 11, attending schools in the ward. She hoped for increased signage at crosswalks to make the commute to their campuses safer.

Joshua Fleitman, the director of communications for Todd, said Todd’s office is working with the Metropolitan Police Department to view crime from a “public health standpoint” in order to decrease crime rates going into the fall.

Furthermore, Todd noted Ward 4’s constituents were some of the most engaged in the city based on the amount of emails and reports the office receives. This was also proven by mention of the upcoming special election on December 4 for State Board of Education, where nine residents picked up petitions to run. In fact, four of those residents will appear on the ballot.

Todd looks forward to attending the Petworth Street Festival on September 8 to further engage with the community. His next meeting will take place on Wednesday, September 12 at Takoma Metro Station. He will also hold another meeting on Friday, September 14 at Lafayette Elementary School. Both meetings are from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m.