ANC 6B Report

April 2015

Addressing the FY16 Budget

Mayor Bowser released her Fiscal Year 2016 budget in early April, and while 6B is happy with some of its priorities, it’s displeased with others. 

Commissioners sent a letter to the DC Council, which has to approve the budget, voicing support for the plan’s inclusion of $40 million to fund four small-scale homeless shelters that will replace DC General. 6B has long supported closing the shelter. “After years of rhetoric, it is refreshing to see a mayor include funding in her budget aimed at this goal,” read the letter.

The letter also praised the budget’s inclusion of $11.2 million over the next three years to help fund development at Reservation 13, and $23.5 million for expanding the Southeast Library. 

6B commissioners are taking major issue with the mayor’s postponement or cancellation of money for modernizing Eliot-Hine and Jefferson Academy Middle Schools and Maury, Brent, and Tyler Elementary Schools. Their letter cited bathrooms in disrepair, broken HVAC systems, and doors that fail to lock as standouts of the general disrepair at Eliot-Hine and Jefferson Academy. 

“How can a budget that claims to make strengthening middle schools a priority postpone long-overdue modernizations to two middle schools with boundaries encompassing two-thirds of Ward 6?,” it read.

“It is particularly disappointing that the Mayor and Council chose to invest limited capital dollars towards a new soccer stadium instead of investing those funds in school modernizations,” the letter continued. “The $106 million going towards a stadium would have been much better spent on funding needed for repairs at our schools.”

Shortchanged by DDOT

In February 2014, ANC 6B applied to use money from the Department of Transportation’s Ballpark Performance Parking Zone for work on sidewalks, tree boxes, pedestrian crossings, bike racks, and Bikeshare stations. The Parking Zone’s Community Benefits provision stipulates that money from its meters should go toward transportation projects that aren’t for cars. 

Three months later, DDOT awarded $1.2 for the projects, saying that they’d get underway in mid-July. As of now, money for the projects has not come through. After a number of inquiries from 6B commissioners and vague responses from DDOT, a DDOT official finally told 6B that the money was diverted away from the projects and into the District’s general fund. This would be a direct violation of the part of the DC Code that established the parking program fund.

6B recently sent a letter to DDOT asking that the agency deliver on its promise of $1.2 million, either by restoring the original money from the General Fund or by taking it out of its own budget, and that it perform an internal audit to find an explanation for the blunder. 

“To say that we are disappointed would be an understatement,” read the letter. “While $1.2 million may seem a small sum to DDOT and the DC government, these funds would have achieved significant improvements for pedestrians and bicyclists in our neighborhoods.”

Anacostia River Clean Up

The District Department of the Environment is nearly finished collecting sediment samples from the Anacostia River, the first step in identifying contaminants in the river (and their origins) and eventually creating a plan to clean it up.

The study is accounting for sediment from a 9.2-mile span of the river, from Bladensburg to the Potomac River. It started in July, and the goal is to have a full river clean up plan by June 2018; at the April 6B regular meeting, a DDOE official called that timeline “ambitious but on track.” DDOE is coordinating with both Maryland and federal agencies to ensure that once the river is cleaned up, it won’t be re-contaminated. 

For more information on the project, contact Richard Jackson DDOE’s Toxic Substances Division associate director Richard Jackson at Richard.Jackson2@dc.gov

Trouble at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon 

This year’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon was, in a word, a disaster. While the March 12th event’s organizers had assured 6B commissioners that they were adequately prepared, that turned out not to be the case. 

Among the problems: there were no port-o-potties, which lead to people urinating in public; crowds were extremely noisy and the event provided no crowd control; there was a huge backup at the Stadium-Armory Metro, which led to long waits and people having to walk to Potomac Avenue and Eastern Market; street closures and parking restrictions weren’t carried out as planned, leaving some residents unable to get in and out of their homes and others with towed cars despite being parked legally. 

After the event, 6B commissioners sent a letter to both the Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency and Events DC saying that without major changes, they’ll work to make sure the event doesn’t happen next year. 

“This event demonstrated a complete lack of candor, coordination, planning, and execution,” read the letter. “The resulting chaos caused substantial damage to the economic activity and quality of life in our community. If there is to be a Rock n’ Roll Marathon in 2016, its organizers must first demonstrate to our satisfaction that steps have been taken to ensure that the 2015 fiasco is not repeated.”

Murals on 8th Street

Property owners at 1003 8th Street SE and 530 8th Street SE, which are Ali’s Deli and the building adjacent to Nooshi Capitol Hill, have applied for murals through MuralsDC, a program run by the Department of Public Works. Both the mural at the pool on South Carolina Avenue and the Sousa Marine Band mural on Pennsylvania are MuralsDC projects. Before they go up, the Public Works will solicit feedback from the community to ensure the murals are tasteful and desirable. For more information on the process, contact Nancee Lyons at Nancee.Lyons@dc.gov.

ANC 6B’s next full meeting will be Tuesday, May 12th at the Hill Center, which sits at 921 Pennsylvania Avenue SE.