ANC 6A Report

Maryland Avenue Pedestrian Study

Tina Fink, project manager for Toole Design Group, presented findings regarding the Maryland Avenue pedestrian study on behalf of the District Department of Transportation (DDOT). The study focused on the area between Third and 15th Streets. Today, Maryland Avenue has a narrow median that makes the road difficult for pedestrians to cross, no left turn lanes for cars, and issues with speeding drivers throughout the day.

From their findings and community input, Toole decided that the preferred solution was a road diet that includes removing a travel lane, adding more bicycle and left turn lanes throughout the corridor, curve extensions, and realigning at key intersections like Ninth and E Streets and Seventh and D Streets. According to its timeline, Toole could implement a temporary pilot design by the fall. The pilot installation includes elements such as pavement markings, signs, and temporary curves and flex posts; the firm will evaluate their impact until fall 2014. Later in the meeting, the Commission voted eight to zero to support the plan. For more information, the project website at tooledesign.com/marylandave/index.php or contact George Branyan, DDOT's Pedestrian Program Coordinator at (202) 671-2561.

G and I Streets and Meeting with 6C

The Transportation and Public Space Committee met with with ANC 6C to discuss four potential bike infrastructure changes on G and I Streets. The first option include creating sharrow, or shared, lanes, keeping both streets one-way. The second option introduces contraflow bike lanes, allowing cyclists to travel in the opposite direction of car traffic. The third involves a contraflow lane on one side of the street, with diagonal parking on the other side. The final alternative involves converting both G and I into two-way streets with contraflow bike lanes. The Committee recommended the second option to the Commission.

The Committee also suggested writing a letter to DDOT explaining their decision and making a series of requests. First, the committee wants the city to prohibit sidewalk bicycling along the H Street corridor. Second, they want DDOT to develop additional bike hazard signs and street markings for the area and repaving portions of G and I before striping for bike lanes. Like ANC 6C the night before, the Commission adopted the motion with an eight-zero vote.

Chupacabra 

Representatives from Chupacabra returned to the Commission as the DDOT Public Space Committee referred their application back to the Commission. According to the committee's chair, Matthew Marcou, Chucapabra agreed to the conditions set forth in the Commission's support letter, except for operation hours, which the committee skipped over due to its contentiousness. As a result, the committee chose to table the application until Chupacabra and the Commission discuss and resolve those issues. However, Commission chair David Holmes said that they stand by the hours they suggested (until 11:00 pm on Sundays through Thursdays and until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays); this is consistent with all but one sidewalk cafe in the area. Chupacabra responded that there are other cafes open beyond the agreed hours, which shows inconsistency on the Commission's part (although the Commission did acknowledge that those cafes are in violation).  

Chupacabra's representative requested a probationary period to prove that the restaurant could operate under the Commission's posted hours as long as they can come back and request their desired hours under good conduct. However, Commissioner Holmes stated that while they like the restaurant, they have gone out of their way to stay consistent. As a result, Commission's previous decision stands. 

1255 H Street

The Economic Development and Zoning (EDZ) Committee presented a zoning relief request for 1255 H Street. However, some community members were concerned about who is moving into the property. Two neighbors stated that no one knew that a culinary training center and restaurant is moving to the area without anyone, including the Commission, knowing what it is. While they are not unsympathetic to the program, the neighbors felt that the project was going ahead without their opinions. Commissioner Holmes, suggested that the applicant meet with neighbors before their next Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) hearings. The Commission voted eight-zero for the motion, provided that the applicant sets aside a section for trash and recycling, create a loading area in the back, and hire an exterminator who will make monthly visits to prevent rodent infestation. 

BZA Hearings

Two EDZ items are scheduled for future BZA hearings; however, representatives for 620 Ninth Street, did not attend the meeting and the application for 1120 Park Street was withdrawn, then revived. The Commission considered several options: discuss the cases during the meeting, request delay of consideration by the BZA, tell the BZA that they have no opinion because they did not hear from the applicants in a timely manner, or a combination of the last two options. 

Some Commissioners do not want to oppose the projects without listening to the applicants, but community members warned that not giving an opinion would set a precedent of rewarding procrastinators. Naomi Mitchell, community liaison for Councilmember Tommy Wells, pointed out that opposing a project because the applicant did not meet with the Commission is standard procedure as it forces the applicant to come back. Therefore, the Commission voted eight-zero to request BZA to delay consideration until the Commission hears from the applicant.

RedRocks 

James O'Brien, owner of RedRocks, a local pizzeria chain, reported that the Zoning Department found that their upcoming H Street location's second floor has no history of commercial use. If O'Brien cannot prove that the second floor does not have commercial history, then he could lose the parking requirement exception and would need to find 12 more parking spaces. He came to the Commission for request support to open the H Street RedRocks while applying for an exemption. The Commission voted six-zero, with two abstentions, to support O'Brien's request.

Other News

  • The Commission voted eight-zero to approve Stephanie Frang-Zimny as a new EDZ Committee member. They also approved Dan Golden and Commissioner Andrew Hysell as co-chairs for the committee.  
  • The Commission voted seven-zero, with one abstention, to write a letter supporting LaVonne Taliaferro-Bunch, who was dismissed from her position as Miner Elementary School's principal.

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