ANC 6A Report

ANC 6A Welcomes the Mayor

Mayor Vincent Gray visited the Commission to discuss current and upcoming transportation projects. He began his presentation by highlighting the city's economic, fiscal, and public safety successes. Mayor Gray also highlighted the Sustainable DC plan, a 20-year initiative to improve DC's economy and quality of life through environmentally-friendly solutions. Part of Sustainable DC deals with alternative transportation plans, including the upcoming DC Streetcar. Soon, the system will start operating its first line in Ward 6 and begin expansion. Mayor Gray believes that DC Streetcar will become an important part of the city's neighborhood-based transportation system; as the population continues to grow, the system will help alleviate traffic issues. 

Mayor Gray gave the following updates with representatives from the District Department of Transportation (DDOT):

  • Maryland Avenue: DDOT is currently designing and testing short-term improvements, which should be implemented by the fall. They are also working on long-term improvements for the 2013 and 2014 fiscal years. The Mayor did not explain what those improvements will be, choosing to “defer to the experts.”
  • C Street: A DDOT representative stated that they plan to reduce the number of lanes on C Street; the design is 90 percent finished and should be implemented by the fall.
  • 17th and 19th Streets: Another DDOT representative announced that they finish a construction-ready design that aims to reduce speed along 17th Street and replace missing signs, while creating a more walkable community.
  • Florida Avenue: Mayor Gray recalled Ruby Whitfield, a resident who was killed by a drunk driver speeding down Florida Avenue after she left a church meeting. To help prevent more hit-and-run incidents, the Mayor announced that a new traffic signal will be installed at 11th Street and Florida Avenue this summer. DDOT representatives also announced a transportation study that will evaluate Florida Avenue's safety and other aspects in order to make improvements. 

Rat Infestation

A Linden Place resident discussed the rat infestation that began in May; trash problems stemming from limited trash pick-up, illegal dumping, and a blocked alley might have caused the problem. She thanked   Gabe Curtis and his task force from the Rodent Control Division for their response; however, he needs all residents and business owners in the area to help solve the problem. For instance, Curtis said that he circulated a petition to raise awareness; however, not everyone was cooperative. Those that did sign the petition should expect a follow-up within 30 days.

Chupacabra

Chupacabra, a Latin-American restaurant, petitioned the Commission for a letter of support for their public space application. The owners plan to use outdoor space starting from their property and extending towards the sidewalk as a patio. However, the distinction between the patio and Chupacabra's property was not clear in the Committee's motion. The motion was later amended, adding a request to ensure no amplified sound or music on the patio area and modifying the fencing request so that it is not cost-prohibited. 

A representative from Chupacabra explained that they partnered with their neighbor, DTLR, and built an eight-foot high fence to enclose their trash and keep the neighborhood clean. As per the Transportation and Public Space Committee's (TPS) motion, Chupacabra also presented a detailed trash plan, which includes trash pickup five times a week and recycling three times a week. However, they disagree with TPS as the forum for discussing operation hours for a public space; they recently began an application for an Alcoholic Beverage License (ABL) in the hopes of removing the operating hours limitation from the motion. However, Commissioner Omar Mahmud noted that businesses who usually submit a public space application already possess, or are in the process of possessing, an ABL. Also, with residents concerned about noise levels, TPS has to be diligent about operation hours. After much discussion, the Commission voted eight-zero for the motion.

Public Parks, Private Use

Commissioner Nicholas Alberti raised concerns about instances in which public park areas are set aside for private use. For instance, DDOT issued permits to a landscaper for a pocket park located along 13th Street, Constitution and Tennessee Avenues; the landscaper divided the land in half, extending a private private owner's property line and restricting public use. Commissioner Alberti questioned DDOT about the permit process and never received an answer. He motioned that the Commission send a letter to DDOT asking a representative to come to their next TPS meeting to explain the permit process; the vote was unanimous. 

Proximity Preference at School Within a School

With School Within a School (SWS) relocating to Prospect Learning Center on F Street, Commissioner Gloria Nauden motioned to send a letter to DC Public Schools (DCPS) Chancellor Kaya Henderson requesting proximity preference to be reinstated there; ANC 6A formerly had proximity preference while SWS was located at the Logan Annex and the Peabody School. Since SWS is designated as a city-wide school, there is a high demand for enrollment, especially for children living close to the school. 

Commissioner Alberti is usually in favor for such a preference; however, he is afraid that the decision will have unintended consequences. If the Commission does not clearly define “proximity preference,” then DCPS could come up with its own definition, possibly limiting potential students' chances of going to school in their area. One resident agreed, stating that the proximity preference keeps neighborhood children from being shut out by outside students who attend under false pretenses. The Commission voted six-zero-one (one Commissioner recused himself as he is a DCPS employee) for the motion. 

Other Business 

  • Dr. Joy Kinard of National Capital Parks-East announced that while they plan to finish construction at Lincoln Park by July 1, recent rain delayed progress. However, they are working on the playgrounds later that week. Also, all parks except Lincoln will begin turf renovation in September.
  • The Commission voted eight-zero to send a letter of support to DDOT regarding resident petitions from the 900 block of L Street to extend residential parking permit enforcement hours and implement resident-only parking restrictions. 
  • The Commission voted eight-zero to approve Cody Rice's membership for the Economic Development and Zoning Committee.

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