ANC 6C Report - September 2014

Commendations for David Holmes, Melissa Smith and Laura Marks

Commissioner Price announces commendations for three community members. David Holmes, who was vital in a number of ANC6C projects including the redesign of Maryland Ave; Melissa Smith, who stepped down after a highly successfully term as Assistant Principal of the Cluster Schools at the Peabody Campus; and Laura Marks, who stepped down from the Grants committee and “served extraordinarily well since the committee was first populated.” Commissioner Price recommends committee send letters of commendation to all three. Recommendation approved unanimously.

Community Membership

Commissioner Schiffman nominated Christine Healy, 6C01, to Alcohol and Beverage Committee.

Commissioner Price nominated Leslie Barbour, 6C03, to Grants Committee. Ms. Barbour has served on board of directors for Capital Hill Group Ministries and other local groups. “She will bring real dynamic experience and will be a great asset to the Grants Committee,” said Commissioner Price.

Commissioner Announcements

Commissioner Price provided an update that half the dirt playing field at Stanton Park will be shut down from November through June for returfing.

Commissioner  HYPERLINK "http://anc-6c05.blogspot.com/" Kazmierczak announced that the Apollo Project, the development on the 600 block of H St. where Murray’s and Self-Storage are located, will begin with demolition in September. Monthly meetings covering construction and traffic plans with the developer and community members will be ongoing.

Commissioner Goodman announced that the NOMA Park Funds will be selecting the developer finalists for a project to unify the underpasses on K, L and M St. at a public meeting in October. Furthermore, a representative of the NOMA Park project at the corner of 4th and Florida Ave in Ward 5 met with developers on Tuesday, September 9t. Construction will start in early 2015. The site next door, a Burger King, was recently sold to Level 2 Development, who hope to start in 2016 with a large, new project.

DC Streetcar 

Joe McCann, Chair Transportation/Public Space Committee provided an update regarding the DC Streetcar on H St. Representatives from DDOT, Malia Salaam and Thomas Perry, were present.

Streetcar operators continue to be trained throughout the month of September and, if all things go according to plan, will conclude by early October. The committee noted that at certain locations where streetcars will have to cross over a lane of traffic there will be a pre-emptive signalization such that the operator of the streetcar has a separate dedicated traffic light which will allow the street car to move through intersections. Committee adds this may cause problems for pedestrians who fail to pay attention to the signalization from the street car. 

DDOT representative, Thomas Perry, adds that all streetcar signals will be coordinated and DDOT expects pedestrians to pay attention to all walk signals. Mr. Perry states that there will also be special signs located on both sides of the streetcars. 

Commissioner Price recommends that DDOT have audio signals available to pedestrians as the light itself for the streetcar is far too subtle at the corner of 3rd and H St. “Think of the signs you’re going to put up the week after the first person gets hit and all the things you might have done to avoid that,” said Commissioner Price. Commissioner Eckenwiler added that if pedestrians adhere to the pedestrian signals already available, there should be no issue. 

DDOT representatives informed the committee that they are fully aware of the challenges for this relatively new transportation system in the District and that they are committed to doing everything they can to make sure the system is safe and working. Mr. Perry further stated that there will be a learning curve for all citizens coming into H St. and that DDOT is currently orchestrating a huge outreach program. Safety videos are currently in production and assemblies at three local schools and meetings at Gallaudet University are scheduled for later this year.

DDOT proposed rule prohibiting bikes on streetcar guideway

Transportation/Public Space Committee proposed to send a letter to encourage DDOT not to adopt a proposal to ban cycling in street car guide ways. The letter will acknowledge that there is a safety concern for people biking on H St., with regular reports of people falling. Letter will request that DDOT implement surface markings to notify cyclists of the danger of getting close to the streetcar tracks. Finally, Committee letter will request that DDOT perform study on the extent of the risks for cyclists on H St., such as the bike share locations and track design. Lastly, the committee letter will renew commissions previous request that there be a sidewalk cycling ban on H St. Currently a ban is in effect for H St. sidewalk cycling, but only in the downtown area.

Commissioner Goodman pointed out that the letter to DDOT should emphasize how strongly the committee disagrees with this proposal. “The problem with bikes on H St. is not with the streetcars but with the streetcar tracks,” said Commissioner Goodman. “The issue should have been brought up several years ago when tracks were first installed.” Commissioner Goodman added that although “it’s not a good idea to be biking on H St., that doesn’t mean that bicyclists shouldn’t be able to.” “We let people do a lot of stupid things, and I think this should be one of them,” concluded Commissioner Goodman.

Commissioner Eckenwiler echoed support for Commissioner Goodman’s statement, adding that the proposed ban would not only set a terrible precedent, it would become the rule and be applicable all over the streetcar network in the future. 

A motion to send the Transportation/Public Space Committee recommendation letter to DDOT was apporved unanimously.

DDOT & Parking

DDOT has released proposed new rules for a temporary visitor parking permit and an annual visitor parking pass. The first proposal would allow the Chief of Police to issue a temporary parking permit to be valid on a residential block for 15 days. Committee raised an issue that there is no provision limiting number of times an individual could receive the temporary permit. The annual visitor parking pass will rely on an online and phone-based registration system wherein any individual living on a residential block would be able to register through DDOT to receive an annual parking pass.

The Committee ultimately made the motion to limit the number of temporary parking permits in a calendar year that any one vehicle can receive to 30 days. Furthermore, the committee requested that DDOT publicize how a resident may register a complaint or concern regarding these permits, whether they be temporary or annual.

Commissioner Goodman said that “it seems insane to have free visitor parking throughout the city when there isn’t enough room for residents.” Commissioner Eckenwiler added that the issue of cost was addressed in the transportation committee meeting and recommended tabling the issue until the current rules are discussed.

Commissioner Goodman moved to adopt committee’s recommendations with the brief caveat that the committee look forward to future discussions with DDOT about whether these free passes be issued at all. Motion approved unanimously.

ANC 6C meets every second Wednesday of the month at the Heritage Foundation located at 214 Massachusetts Ave. NE. Meeting start at 7 p.m. The next meeting will be held on October 8th.