ANC 6B Report - February 2016

6B weighs in on DC’s handling of January’s blizzard

ANC 6B sent a letter to Mayor Bowser’s office about how the city handled the January blizzard. It contained praise for what it called major improvements over past years, including a more organized government effort and better communication with the public, but the bulk was suggestions on how to do better in future storms.

The commission put focused on non-driving residents having a hard time getting around after the storm, saying that residents were going to go outside, even if it meant walking in the streets, and it asked that DDOT hire more workers to clear snow.

“The reality is that after being cooped up for two days, people wanted to get outside and move around,” it read. “Quite a few of our residents, especially those with young children, actually enjoy cold weather outings.”

6B called out businesses and big apartment buildings for not shoveling their snow, and pointed toward Mayor Bowser’s decision not to enforce the city’s new shoveling rules (which include fines for not shoveling) as a big contributor.

It also asked for a more comprehensive map of which streets are priorities to plow first (the scale generally goes from emergency routes to major arterials, and so on), asked that certain alleys be included in plowing plans, and said it’d be best to leave school yard and park gates unlocked before a storm so residents can enjoy the snow in nearby fields.

6B voices support for the 11th Street Bridge Park

Plans are moving along for the 11th Street Bridge Park, a public space that will span the old 11th Street Bridge. On Sunday, April 17th, the design team will team with the National Park Service to host the Anacostia River Festival, with activities that include kayaking, bike parades, fishing workshops, music, and arts projects. Looking more long-term, the design team is also investing in a plan to use the Bridge Park to promote economic development in its community while not displacing residents.

As the design team is currently working with DDOT to get the go ahead for an engineering assessment, 6B sent a letter to Mayor Bowser and DC Council chair Phil Mendelson voicing support for the project.

“The Anacostia River has long divided the communities of Capitol Hill, Navy Yard, and Anacostia/Fairlawn,” it read. “The 11th Street Bridge Park offers the opportunity to become a physical and metaphorical bridge stitching together the city.”

The letter praised the Bridge Park’s staff for its community outreach efforts, and said it believed the project would realize its goals of giving residents a place to exercise and play, and generating jobs and economic activity.

“Given the potential for what the 11th Street Bridge Park would mean to our community, the city and the nation’s capital, we support the continued planning.”

Another step in the Southeast Boulevard process

In January, DDOT presented the draft results of its latest study on how to develop the Southeast Boulevard. Among what came out of the study were that there could be an underground bus garage with entrances and exits at 11th Street and Barney Circle, and that it will likely be at least ten years before construction finishes.

After February’s regular meeting, 6B sent a letter to DDOT with a number of different requests for moving forward, including at DDOT look to use the project to build connections with the Anacostia Riverfront and that it create a new neighborhood linked to the existing street grid. The letter also asked that DDOT make public more detail about the cost of building a new road, and that it provide more information on how it created its traffic study.

“The Commission is committed to working with DDOT and various stakeholders… to realize this new, connected neighborhood,” the letter ended.

On residents’ behalf, 6B speaks to the DC Council about DDOT

In late February, 6B chair Kirsten Oldenburg testified at the DC Council’s transportation and environment committee’s oversight hearing about the commission’s experiences with DDOT.

Regarding both the effort to redevelop the Southeast Boulevard and Barney Circle, Oldenburg acknowledged that both projects will be expensive and labor-intensive, but also that the community will benefit from new parks, housing, and access to the Anacostia River once they are finished. She said that both need continued support from the mayor, DDOT, and the council to ensure that they happen.

Oldenburg also praised DDOT for adding a crosswalk on 11th Street SE just south of K Street (installation started in early February), and asked for more information on how resident permit parking will work in DC moving forward. She also voiced frustration over DDOT’s handling of alley and sidewalk repairs, saying they seem to be haphazardly planned.

Mass liquor license renewal in March

About 1,500 ABC licenses are up for renewal in 2016, with all restaurant and hotel licenses needing to be completed by the end of March (bars have until the end of September). Renewal applications went out on February 8th. 6B is going to have a lot of settlement agreements to negotiate this month.

ANC 6B’s next full meeting will be Tuesday, March 8th at the Hill Center, which sits at 921 Pennsylvania Avenue SE.