Saturday, October 14, 2006

Update on Glover Park alley

In an update about the proposed alley closure in Glover Park, and astute resident has reported that measured steps have been taken to arrive at a solution that seems to work for everybody:


There was no alley-related metaphorical bloodbath. Many were expecting a repeat of the passionate, three-plus hour city council hearing Tuesday about whether to close and privatize the L-shaped public alley between Tunlaw and Hall Place. But commission chair Tamela Gordon announced at the outset that no one was allowed to speculate on anyone else's motives, nor on anything that was not currently known for sure. That took a lot off the table.

Ms Gordon read a letter from Ken Laden of the D.C. Department of Transportation dated October 11, 2006. The letter said that, because even the applicant does not want the alley to be privatized (he wants it to remain public property, but forever closed to car traffic) he should withdraw his application, and in its place DDOT would file documents indicating that the alley should stay city property but remain "unimproved and closed to vehicular traffic."

Laden's letter does not acknowledge that there is a dispute among adjacent homeowners over whether the alley can or should be reopened to cars. (It also doesn't mention that, if left public, the alley could one day be used to create a public path from 37th Street to the commercial district!)

The DDOT general counsel's office is investigating the best legal method for prohibiting car traffic on a public alley, and will report back to Laden by October 20. Laden said the DDOT would not file any documents without consulting the ANC.

After a civil discussion among attendees, the ANC resolved to strongly urge the following:

a) The applicant to withdraw his application to close the alley;
b) The mayor to withdraw the bill to close the alley; and
c) The City Council to reject the bill to close the alley.

I believe this means that, as long as the City Council doesn't go nuts and pass the bill over the ANC's objections, the alley will not be privatized. But the question of what, if anything, to do with this public alley is still very open. The ANC will take up the matter at its November meeting. I got the sense that the ANC will be working with adjacent propertyholders in the meantime to try to develop a consensus. People like me who do not live adjacent to this public land will have to wait till the next ANC meeting to join that conversation. Should be fun!

Hopefully the powers that be will act appropriately.

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