Visions for MLK Avenue
Though celebrations and acknowledgments of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday have died down, City Desk feels the need to squeeze in at least one more tidbit on MLK—or at least the avenue named for him in Southeast D.C.
The blog South East Socialite conducted a poll this week to find out what visions residents in Congress Heights have for the avenue: What should go and what should stay?
Only 69 votes have been cast so far—OK, that's a pretty small sample—but here are the results: 68 percent voted for "10 less liquor stores," 31 percent picked a "Walgreens instead of Popeyes," 15 percent wanted to see "the entire block ablaze," and 5 percent said they want "Shepard's Park destroyed." Those four answers were the only options.
LaShaun Smith, who created the blog, isn't surprised by the results. "I've talked to many residents, and most of the homeowners are embarrassed by how MLK Avenue looks. I have some friends that actually take alternate routes home so friends and family will not see how horrible the street looks. The Popeye's Chicken looks nasty. Many of us hate there are so many liquor stores. There really should be a D.C. law against how many liquor stores can operate within a mile."
Smith, a Congress Heights resident herself, would like to see more respectable establishments, such as coffee shops—Big Chair!—a trendy cafe, a bakery, and a nice lounge for mingling. "Not everyone in Southeast would like to buy liquor and Philly blunts. It would be best to have business owners that live right here in Southeast," adds Smith.
Of course, MLK Avenue (formerly Nichols Avenue) intersects with Malcolm X Avenue (formerly Portland Street), and Smith points out that residents are well aware of the legacy of both names.
"Yes, we are all concerned," says Smith. "MLK links to Malcolm X Avenue. I believe it's the only intersection of its kind that links the two civil rights leaders. They would be embarrassed."
Photo by cliff1066™, Creative Commons Attribution License