Monday, December 08, 2008

Learn about the Giant Proposal

YOU'RE INVITED TO A HOLIDAY PARTY!!!

What: AWARE (Advocates of Wisconsin Avenue REnewal), a group of neighbors that support The Giant Development Application, invites you to a holiday gathering.

Why: Enjoy hot cider and baked goods, meet with neighbors, and learn more about the proposed supermarket, residences, and neighborhood retail and amenities. See renderings of the proposed project. Find out how to express your views and let your voice be heard in the approval process.

When: Saturday, December 13th, 10am - 3pm

Where: GC Murphy's, on Wisconsin Avenue between Macomb and Newark Streets, on the site of the proposed Giant development.

Who: All are welcome. Tell your friends.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Homicide in Chevy Chase

From Councilmember Cheh:

This is to inform residents that there has been a double homicide at
5320 Belt Road. The police are on the scene and are investigating.
At this point, no information about the perpetrator(s) has been
released to the public. I am in contact with Commander Klein and will
continue to monitor the situation.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Election Day Changes

The new era of change reaches down to the local level as contested ANC races around the Ward bring fresh faces to the forefront:

In ANC 3C, new commissioners William Kummings and Anne-Marie Bairstow join incumbents Josh Hart, Lee Brian Reba, Catherine May and Trudy Reeves to bring a majority who favor the redevelopment of the Giant parcel at Newark and Wisconsin. Newcomer Darcy Buckley captured over 44% of the vote in 3C05 despite the efforts of the vacating incumbent and other Giant opponents in their support of heir apparent Leila Afzal.

In ANC 3E, Jonathan Bender holds a lead over the chosen "oppose development" candidate, while Tom Quinn has made a good showing against incumbent Lucy Eldridge (62-37%). With the addition of unopposed Sam Serebin to this 5 member commission, there should be some interesting discussion about the future of the community.

In ANC 3F, Tom Whitely has defeated the erstwhile Frank Winstead. This will make one Washington Post columnist very happy.

3G represents a further repudiation of the proposed historic district as the two candidates who seemed to favor designation, Mary Rowse and incumbent Chris Fromboluti appear to have been defeated by stated opponents, David Engel and Henry Griffin respectively.

Congratulations to Laura McGiffert Slover in her bid to return to the State Board of Education.

Friday, October 31, 2008

PPP proceeds for now

According to the Examiner, the PPP for the Tenley Library and Janney school at Tenleytown will proceed despite formal objections from Councilmembers Kwame Brown and Mary Cheh. The article reads:


D.C. Deputy Mayor Neil Albert and developer LCOR Inc. plan to proceed with a
mixed-use development in Tenleytown despite opposition from Councilmembers Mary
Cheh, D-Ward 3, and Kwame Brown, D-at large and chair of the economic
development committee.

The councilmembers wrote Mayor Adrian Fenty Wednesday to say they would like
the city to abandon the project and allow the Tenley-Friendship library,
demolished on the site last year, to be rebuilt on its own. LCOR plans to build
174 units of housing along with a new library and a new, expanded Janney
Elementary School.

A spokesman for Albert, Sean Madigan, said the deputy mayor still believes the
project benefits the city by bringing more transit-accessible housing and new
money to a rebuilt Janney, and those outweigh the delay in rebuilding the
library.

“This is a project that is going to be there for 30 or 40 years and we have to
do it absolutely right,” Madigan said. He said the development will meet
conditions Cheh requested in July: no net loss in green space for Janney, added
revenue for Janney, an accelerated rebuilding timeline for Janney and no
significant delay in the library construction.

“We think there’s a really great opportunity to do a mixed use project that
meets all of our policy goals,” Madigan said.

Tim Smith, vice president of LCOR, also said his company was “fully committed
to the project” and was working to meet Cheh’s goals. “We have been working on
all of her issues, and certainly we were surprised by the letter,” Smith said.

Smith did not, however, offer a timeline for when construction might begin.
The development requires zoning changes that frequently require more than a year
to approve. The library has $1 million set aside for construction and would not
require zoning changes.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Greater Greater Washington on 3C 03

The Greater Greater Washington blog released this summary entry on the ANC 3C 03 race in Woodley Park.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Another Pedestrian Fatality

A man was killed today near the intersection of Nebraska and Connecticut Avenue today. This is in the same vicinity as two other pedestrian fatalities in 2007.

Last week, a man was struck and injured at Connecticut and Northampton. At what point will DDOT take drastic and proactive measures to protect pedestrians?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fisher on Bikes, Cars and Wisconsin Ave

From Marc Fisher in the Washington Post
....
But reaching that goal will mean beating back the vociferous opposition to
development in many residential neighborhoods, especially in more affluent
parts of town.

"In Ward 3," Cheh says, "we're pushing in the wrong direction," a
reference to residents who lobby loudly and strongly against development
in areas such as Cleveland Park, Tenleytown and Friendship Heights.

As an example, Cheh cites the planned Commerce Bank branch on Wisconsin
Avenue on the former site of the Outer Circle movie theaters. The bank is
designed with a drive-thru--a suburban model that is exactly the opposite
of the kind of retail that the District wants to encourage. "I opposed it
because it's inappropriate development," Cheh says. That was a rare case
in which the council member found herself on the same side as neighborhood
activists who fight against what they see as moves toward unacceptably
high density. "They opposed it because they oppose things."

A few blocks south, at the controversial corner of Wisconsin and Albemarle
Street, where Mayor Adrian Fenty has been pushing for a public-private
partnership to build a public library and apartments across the street
from the Tenleytown Metro station, Cheh says the opportunity to create the
density needed to support more retail and a more walkable community
appears to be dissipating.

"It's a shame," she says, but the proposal from the developer Fenty chose,
LCOR, involves too long a delay in rebuilding the library that was torn
down four years ago. "It gets a little unrealistic. By all accounts, the
deal is falling apart. And that's too bad, because the area is a dead zone
and it doesn't have to be."

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Cathedral History

Cathedral History Talk: How in the world did they build it?

The creation of Washington National Cathedral
Tuesdays, September 30 and October 7, 14, 21, 28, 2008
1 pm, in Perry Auditorium, 7th floor Free and open to the public

Join us for a lecture with historic images and fascinating construction
photos which help tell the story of the creation of the only gothic
Cathedral built in the 20th century. The presentation lasts approximately
30 minutes. All are welcome!

* Visit the Dreamers and Believers: Cathedral Builders exhibit and
learn about the planning and construction of the Cathedral. In the Rare
Book Library Exhibit Room through October, 2008.

* Explore a variety of touring options at the Cathedral.

* Read about Fall 2008 lecture programs at the Cathedral.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Contested ANC Races

3B02
Alan Blevins
Jackie Blumenthal

3C01
Lee Brian Reba
Paul Poe

3C03
Anne-Marie Bairstow
Jenelle M. Dennis

3C05
Darcy Buckley
Leila J. Afzal

3D01
Elizabeth (Betsy) Sandza
Kent Slowinski

3D08
Christine M. Warnke
Lee P. Minichiello


3E03
Jonathan Bender
Joseph T. Carlson

3E04
Lucy Eldridge
Tom Quinn

3F04
Frank Winstead
Tom Whitley

3F05
Kathryn I. Hughes
Mital M. Gandhi

3F07
Daniel L. Klibanoff
Michael Curcio

3G05
David Engel
Mary Rowse

3G07
Cris Fromboluti
Earle Douglass
Henry Griffin

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Triangle Lot Redux

The fate of the triangle lot in Chevy Chase, DC is still up in the air. As previously
noted a local developer bought the lot with the intention of building a house within the back portions of a number of other houses in the community. The BZA rejected the application leaving its use in the air. Now however, the daughter of the developer is seeking clients for her new dog-walking business, proposing to use the lot as a dog run. The Washington Post covered the story.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Yogiberry is Coming

According to reports, local vendor Yogiberry will soon inhabit the former Foster Brothers site in the Park 'N Shop in Cleveland Park.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Fox 5 on the Chevy Chase Historic District

Karen Grey Houston filed this report about the proposed historic district in Chevy Chase, DC.

Additional commentary is provided on the Great Greater Washington blog.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

PPP Meeting covered in DC MUD

DC MUD has good coverage of the Tenley-Janney PPP Meeting from last evening.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Vision: Street Cars in Ward 3

A recent entry on the Track Twenty-Nine Blog shows a visionary expansion to the Streetcar implementation underway at DDOT.

Long time residents will remember a time when the street cars ran from downtown through Palisades to Glen Echo, or out to Chevy Chase.

This plan shows the fixed-track system feeding downtown via Wisconsin Avenue and Connecticut Avenue.

Where other lines would make sense to connect Ward 3 to the city and region?

Monday, August 11, 2008

Another Pedestrian Struck in Ward 3

Another pedestrian was struck in Ward 3 this evening. As documented by Cleveland Park resident Bill Adler:

A pedestrian was hit by a car at Connecticut Avenue and Porter Street at about 6:20pm today, Monday. It appears that the driver of an SUV, which had Florida plates, was trying to turn left from Connecticut Avenue onto Porter Street, where no left turn is allowed at any time.

Fortunately, the pedestrian did not appear to be seriously injured.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Grasping for Straws in Cleveland Park

A post on the Cleveland Park Listserve exposes another ploy by opponents of the Giant redevelopment proposal in Cleveland Park.

The papers in question were filed with the Zoning Commission prior to the July set down hearing. Authored by long time opponent Diane Olsson, the legal document suggests that because the property in question lies within the neighborhood overlay the process should not proceed as a PUD.

As the listserv posts explains:

The main contention is that the Giant PUD would "eliminate the Neighborhood Commercial Overlay for the area included in the PUD" and the Commission did not have the power to do that.

The post concludes:

The issue is what lengths people are going to in order to block progress and if such tactics will succeed . I would have thought that the Historic Building argument was equally flawed, but it was able to create a lengthy delay.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Giant clears First Hurdle

As reported in the NW Current and the Cleveland Park Listserv, the Giant set-down hearing took place last week, and the Zoning Commission has placed the project on the agenda for the fall.

While there are issues to settle out in terms of access, density etc, it is nice to see that the void on Wisconsin Avenue may soon be filled.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Another ANC Commissioner Gets Huffy

In the ongoing traffic issues associated with the Morrison Street signal, ANC 3/4G Commissioner Jerry Levine has clearly grown impatient with DDOT. At a June 23rd Commissioner meeting, the now former DDOT Director announced that the controversial pedestrian signal would be altered to a conventional configuration.

A month later, the change still has not taken place. As a result, the Commissioner has posted not once, but twice urging residents in a call to arms to barrage DDOT officials with emails advocating for the reconfiguration for the light, accusing the agency of "dragging its feet".

Many of the comments in response are supportive of the Commissioner. However they are also viewing the signal from the perspective of a driver:

Cars on Morrison Street have either a flashing red, which works like a stop sign, or a solid red with a 'no turn on solid red' sign. Since the more heavily-trafficked Connecticut Avenue has a flashing yellow when Morrison has a flashing red, drivers on Morrison sometimes have to wait through several light cycles before finding a break in the Connecticut Avenue traffic that allows them to turn or cross.

...

Others have a different perspective on the realities of managing traffic within the confines of Federal Standards:

They might be dragging their feet because a traditional light at the
Morrison Street intersection with the avenue violates a couple of
principles of traffic planning and is probably not a good idea.

The most obvious problem is that by adding making the Morrison light a
traditional r/a/g light, you'll have three lights on a major arterial
street in very quick succession - indeed the existing two lights are
already closer together than desirable. The other issue is that it
will tend to turn Morrison into a feeder st. for the avenue when it
wasn't built or designed for that purpose (unlike, e.g. McKinley).


...

Still others support the signal because of the pedestrian-friendly benefits it provides:

Unless (DDOT) can make a more compelling case, the pedestrian signal at Morrison Street and Connecticut Avenue NW should be retained with some minor adjustments to eliminate any driver confusion. For a year and a half, it has served as a model for protecting pedestrians, where installing a regular cycling signal would have created safety, congestion and other traffic problems on a busy commuter corridor and cut-through traffic on neighborhood streets.

Either way, this is an interesting study in micro-politics in the District. Does the community need to be able to dictate policy to city agencies? What should the requirements of "Great Weight" mean, particularly when Federal guidelines and standards come into play? After all, this ANC was also behind the move to reinvent Military Road.

Monday, July 21, 2008

McVey is First

The Examiner noted today that ANC 3E Commissioner Amy McVey was the first DC resident to register a handgun under the new laws. DCist reported the story with some interesting comments about the nature of the Commissioners gun ownership and the timing of the license. Perhaps some good questions for the next commission meeting.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

OP Parking Discussion

While note directly related to Ward 3, there has been some interesting discussion on the Tenleytown Listserv regarding the Office of Planning parking regulations proposal under the new Comprehensive Plan.

A contributor opened the discussion with the following:

The Office of Planning has proposed major changes in the parking regulations for new construction, eliminating many of the current minimum parking requirements. Minimum parking requirements have been used to reduce the impact of parking "spillover" on our neighborhoods. Even with our current regulations, many DC neighborhoods already bear significant costs related to spillover parking from nearby commercial and higher density residential zones. Spillover parking reduces the availability of parking for residents and brings an increase in traffic to residential streets.

OP proposes to eliminate all minimum parking requirements for residential uses. In fact, minimum parking requirements would apply only for retail, office, service, or restaurant uses in C-2 zones that are not designated "transit oriented development zones" and for nonresidential uses in low- or moderate-density residential zones. In addition, the draft regulations include an unspecified limit on the amount of off-street parking that developers can provide. These are radical changes that would set into motion a sweeping citywide experiment that could potentially have irreversible, adverse impacts on many neighborhoods across the District. The quality of life in our neighborhoods is diminished by the increased traffic and reduced on-street parking. OP's proposal can exacerbate the spillover parking problems in these neighborhoods and introduce new spillover parking problems in other neighborhoods.


There has been interesting discussion, but this response framed the conversation from a different perspective:

How does being adjacent to a piece of property somehow convey ownership? A homeowner only owns the land to the sidewalk. The sidewalk, grass strip, and street are city property.

This notion that homeowners/residents have come to view city property as there own and populate it with as many possessions as they desire seems to be a central issue here. And given that the number of cars per household correlates well with the drain such household has on the roadway system, that becomes a fairly insidious misconception.

In terms of the over-all discussion, instead of framing the situation in the pejorative terms of "spillover", "inadequate", "at the expense of stability", "reduction in their quality of life", the situation should really be described as what it is:

-The disproportionate use of land, both public and private, by some residents for their home, their possessions, and their transportation.

-These high-density residential developments aren't needed because of some fashionable desire people have to live more tightly packed together but because they are a wiser use of land than the suburban-style low density communities. It makes no sense then, to further support these low-density communities by continuing to give away public street space on the already under-serving streets.

-That street space should be used to full capacity by allocating it fairly to community residents irrespective of who happens to be closest to it (obviously this is a factor in it's usefulness, though).

These limitations on parking availability will naturally ensure a limit on automobile use, which is the ultimate goal, and one best achieved (as indicated by the previous toll discussion) by limiting source and destination parking. After all if there's one thing that's evident in this day and age it's that overbuilding roadways and parking creates a constituency that obstructs ever shrinking those structures back to more reasonable levels. The idea that failing to build a parking garage is only a missed opportunity completely ignores that fact.


Planning and the Comprehensive Plan are about the future. Maintaining discourse in a framework from a previous era which was predicated on $.20 gas and a seemingly unending source of fossil fuels seems to be short-sighted. This is an important time for staking out the future of the District. All residents should be encouraged to provide their input to the appropriate offices.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Fenty Announces Tenley-Janney Team

From the Washington Post's DC Wire Blog:

Fenty has chosen a developer from among three teams who responded to a request for proposals issued in 2007. The three are LCOR Inc., a Pennsylvania-based company with offices in Bethesda; Roadside Development, a D.C. firm whose projects include redeveloping the historic O Street Market; and the See Forever Foundation, in partnership with UniDev.

The developer will build 120 to 130 housing units--apartments or condominiums--above a new library, (Eric) Scott said. Most of the units will be market-rate, but some will be subsidized as "workforce" housing for low- to middle-income residents.

Scott said the project will use some of the land behind the library, but leave most of the schoolyard intact. He said some of the profit from the project will go to modernizing Janney, and emphasized that the development team will work with city and library officials to "minimize any library construction start delay."


And here is the Press release:



Fenty Announces Development Partner for Tenley/Janney Site
Project will include workforce housing and financial support for school modernization

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Mayor Adrian M. Fenty on Thursday announced the District has selected LCOR as its development partner for the 3.6 acre Tenley Library/Janney Elementary School development site.

“We’ve got a real opportunity to leverage this site to help pay for the cost of improving Janney Elementary, enhance the existing open space and add both market-rate and workforce housing – all atop a Metro station,” Mayor Fenty said. “LCOR is a highly capable developer. They know how to make public-private partnerships work.”

The District selected LCOR after issuing a competitive solicitation last fall. Three development teams responded to the solicitation. The teams were evaluated on vision, financial capacity and past performance.

LCOR has proposed building between 120 and 130 units of housing – primarily above the future Tenley library and a portion of the land that lies between the library and Janney Elementary. LCOR will work closely with the District of Columbia Public Library to ensure a quality integrated structure that will provide a vibrant, mixed-use learning and living environment that will produce an architecturally engaging, LEED certified project.

LCOR will collaborate with DCPL to ensure that any delay to the Library’s construction start will be minimized. LCOR will also work closely with the Janney Elementary School community to ensure that the Janney’s needs are met. This selection presents the opportunity to provide a tremendous financial benefit to Janney Elementary School by using a portion of the proceeds of the deal to support Janney’s modernization. The project will not result in a net loss of green space for Janney.

Keeping with the Administrations commitment to affordable housing, the project will also provide the opportunity to add workforce housing to the Tenley Friendship neighborhood.

In the coming weeks, the District and LCOR will work closely with community stakeholders such as the Advisory Neighborhood Commission and the St. Ann’s community to produce a project that creates a benefit for all involved.

###

Bolded emphasis on some of the benefits for the city to go this route.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Tenley-Janney PPP: A Decision?

This note from ANC 3E Chair Amy McVey was posted on the Tenleytown Listserv:

I have just learned that, despite overwhelming and well-founded community opposition to proceeding with a public-private project at the Janney School/Tenley-Friendship Library site, DMPED has decided to move forward and hopes to partner with LCOR. Janney's LSRT/SIT, Friends of the Library and the ANC as well as at least 5 other community organizations have all indicated their vehement opposition to this plan. This will delay the reconstruction of the library by a minimum of two years and significantly compromise Janney's exterior facilities needs, while seriously disrupting the educational environment at both Janney and St. Ann's during the multi-year construction period.

I urge you to contract Mayor Fenty IMMEDIATELY and to voice your opposition to this recommendation. In the end, the decision is the Mayor's. Let him know that you understand that and expect him to pull the plug on this ill-considered and unnecessarily destructive project. CM Cheh should be urged to transmit a similar message to the Mayor. Without her support the Mayor is unlikely to go forward with DMPED's recommendation.

Please pass this on to your organizations and to any interested people you know.

This is not a time to rely only on email. Call and complain. Do both!



Since there has been no official announcement, and since no one has seen the plans, such calls to oppose the project seem at best, premature.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Drive Through Pharmacy?

The Greater Greater Washington Blog mentions a proposal for a drive-through pharmacy in Van Ness:

Not another drive-thru: Walgreens is planning to build on a former gas station at Veazey and Connecticut, right by the Van Ness stop, reports reader Steve. The somewhat-good news: they're seeking a variance to build only 27 parking spaces instead of 40 (it should be even fewer). The less-good news: Walgreens gets to keep all the curb cuts the gas station had, and so they're building a drive-through. We should not be building drive-throughs in urban areas, especially not next to Metro stations.


More on this later.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Giant "Set Down" scheduled for July 28th

The announced schedule for the Cleveland Park Giant PUD had the "Set Down" hearing scheduled for July 14th. However, when the calender showed no such date, rumors circulated regarding the status of the project. All is well for proponents however, as the Office of Planning has circulated the following announcement:

OP has worked with the developer and their team on this project for some time. In order to ensure the greatest potential for a successful case, there are a few outstanding issues that we are still working together to resolve. We mutually agreed that the revisions would not be complete in time for the July 14 Zoning Commission meeting, but have arranged for it to be placed on the special Zoning Commission meeting of July 28. This special meeting should not delay the case from its predicted schedule for a public hearing.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

DDOT Scraps the Pedestrian Signal

Pedestrian Master Plan.
Rising Fuel Prices.
Walkable Urban Environments.

One would think in a time of a more pedestrian friendly city that the Mayor envisions, a novel pedestrian signal would be a desired means by which to encourage pedestrian activity. Indeed, such was the case since March 2007 in Chevy Chase DC. DDOT implemented a pedestrian activated signal that brought all traffic to a stop to provide the most cover possible for pedestrians in the heart of the Chevy Chase commercial corridor.

The city is in the process of receiving public feedback on a $13 Million Pedestrian Master Plan and in the face of these broader pressures, DDOT announced at Monday's ANC 3/4G meeting the elimination of the pedestrian signal. The only metrics provided by DDOT was the anecdotal "number of near-misses" at the intersection. Doesn't every intersection have near misses?

This intersection has an unblemished record where pedestrian safety and vehicular accidents are concerned. There haven't been any reported incidents associated with the signal. That's right, not one.

One would think that with record pedestrian fatalities and injuries in 2007, DDOT would be crowing about the success of this engineering solution.

But, as is the case with most district agencies, the "Costanza" approach is taken.

While the light was not perfect -- drivers would sometimes stack during peak pedestrian activity -- it seems that honing and testing would be in order to perfect the engineering, signage and programming associated with the intersection.

Instead? Let's revert to the same old driver-centric solutions.

Bravo DDOT!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Beauvoir Scandal?

A scary incident was brought to the attention of this forum by way of the DC Urban Mom's message board.

It seems that a teacher at Beauvoir School was escorted from campus for "hav(ing) a camera containing inappropriate images of a child. At that point, Beauvoir had already decided not to renew the teacher's contract for the fall. Parents were notified last week."

The story gets a little more interesting. Check the DC Urban Mom's link for what is clearly only part of the story. Based on the entries, families with the school are aware of the situation, but for some reason, it has received little to no media coverage.

Further, the teacher in question has apparently vanished.

What a tragic situation for the children involved.

EDIT: The Washington Post finally picked up this story.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Ped Safety this week

The Greater Greater Washington blog addresses Pedestrian Safety in the District with issues both inside Ward 3 and around town.

There is a Pedestrian safety Forum hosted by Councilmember Mary Cheh on Tuesday at 6:30 in the UDC Auditorium.

Meanwhile on the afore mentioned blog, the author discusses the Pedestrian Signal at Morrison Street in Chevy Chase, DC:

DC has only one Barnes Dance type signal, at Connecticut and Morrison that's the subject of neighborhood controversy. DDOT installed this signal last year, replacing a stop sign. Instead of a regular traffic light, this one is blinking yellow on Connecticut (allowing cars to go) and blinking red on Morrison (like a stop sign) until a pedestrian presses a button to cross. Then, the light waits until the lights at neighboring blocks are red on Connecticut before changing to all-red for cars and a walk sign for pedestrians. There's also a "no turn on red" sign to make it clear that during the all-red phase, cars are not supposed to turn right.

This is great for pedestrian safety, eliminating the danger of being hit by turning cars. But some cars turn on the red anyway, so accustomed to being able to turn right on red. Instead of adding better signs to deal with the confusion, many local ANC members are pushing to convert this light to a traditional three-color signal. We should have more pedestrian signals, not fewer, and at the very least should make sure to give this one a shot before scrapping it.

Monday, June 16, 2008

I Hart ANC 3C

In a special election this evening, Josh Hart won a convincing 9-2 vote for the vacant ANC 3C04 seat.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Russert Park?

Mike DeBonis of the City Paper posted an excellent idea for a tribute to Ward 3 resident Tim Russert.

Well, allow LL to be the first to suggest it: If a recreational trail is ever built in Klingle Valley, it might be appropriate to name it in the memory of Tim Russert.

Friday, June 13, 2008

ANC 3C04 Special Election

Greetings,

I'm Josh Hart, a 29-year-old analyst at a Federal Government agency
running for the vacant seat. (If you live East of Connecticut Avenue
between Quebec and Macomb Streets, then you likely live in the
district.) A map of the district is available at
http://anc3c.org/maps/3C04.jpg .

A Special Election for the seat is being held during the ANC meeting
on Monday, June 16 from 7:00pm to 8:15pm at the Second District
Metropolitan Police Station at 3320 Idaho Ave NW. The candidates will
be speaking at about 7:30pm in case you want to hear from us prior to
voting. (You don't have to stay for the ANC meeting in order to vote.)

Please join me at Nanny O'Brien's at 3319 Connecticut Ave NW this
Saturday, June 14 from 4:00 to 5:00pm. I hope to meet you and discuss
the issues of concern to our district. I want to make sure that our
corridor on Connecticut Avenue is the vibrant neighborhood that we all
deserve.

- Josh Hart

A Report on the Giant Presentation

A summary of the Giant Community Presentation by Cleveland Park resident Gabe Fineman:


Notes from the June 11, 2008 Meeting on Giant
[Having trouble reading this because you do not get mail in HTML format? You can
download a formatted copy from http://CPposts.com/Giant.htm that also has a lot
of background documents.]

So, is Giant going to expand their store at Newark Street? Yes, they will, and
it will be part of a major redevelopment project. This meeting was sponsored by,
and run by, Giant. It was held in the Washington Hebrew Congregation (Macomb and
Massachusetts) and was less amicable than the last meeting in December 2006. The
room was very large and seated most of the 150 people who came, although many
stood to better see the slides.

So, what has changed and why this meeting? Giant has finally filed the paper
work to start the administrative procedures to get City approval to rebuild the
two blocks they own on Wisconsin Avenue. They took the route of filing for a
Planned Unit Development (PUD) that is special permission to change zoning as
part of a specific development. That is, the change from status C-1 to C-2A is
only allowed for what is in the PUD and they cannot change their mind and build
a fat rendering factory or mega-church there once the zoning was changed. The
meeting was to get 'community input' that is required to impress regulators.

So, what is going to be built? Substantially what they told us in December of
2006. Giant (now Ahold's) owns most of the block where the store is located and
the entire block to the north where the Pharmacy is located. Giant invested
major bucks to buy the real estate years ago and now Ahold will develop it and
get the profit out. In the process, we get a much larger supermarket. Everything
will be knocked down and rebuilt (first the block to the south and then the
block to the north). They will double the size of the current store/pharmacy.
This will make it larger than the store at Van Ness. The other retail space is
dropping by the space of the long vacant Murphy's. This is all being financed
with lots of residential space that they hope there will be a market for in
three years when it is finished. This is all accomplished by building down (a
two story garage [400 cars] and another one story garage [88 cars] under the
buildings) and building up the north building to five stories in places. The
current buildings will get much larger and cover the old parking lots. For more
details, you can read the PUD and the notes of the last meetings at
http://CPposts.com/Giant.htm .

So, what happened at the meeting? I found it sad. It was obvious that few if any
neighbors had read the PUD or the traffic study. There were absolutely no
references to the PUD, such as that some of the traffic counts made no sense.
[e.g. 244 cars west bound on Porter at 34th in the AM rush hour with only 60
reaching Wisconsin - PUD, Exhibit K, Figure 2-12] For a neighborhood that prides
itself on its literacy and on its rationality, it was embarrassing that the
audience was so ill prepared. Indeed, the audience seemed to not even listen to
what was being said, but to filter it through its preconceptions. For example,
the traffic engineer said that the number of trips to and from Giant would
double along with the size of the store and many responded that something had to
be done to prevent the number of cars on the cross streets from doubling. The
fact that most cars do not go to Giant and that most that do, use Wisconsin
(70%), was ignored.

What did people ask for and what will Giant do? The group of people that came
out seemed rather evenly divided between those who wanted Giant to stop delaying
and just build the new store and those who wanted to have Giant do things that
they simply will not do. Some immediate near neighbors feared that building the
underground parking lot would destroy their homes by either cracking the
foundations or changing the water table. Some were so shrill about their fears
that others told them to sell their houses and move instead of trying to
monopolize the meeting. Many were afraid that the doubling of traffic in front
of their homes would lower their quality of life (see above). Giant is planning
some traffic calming adjacent to the development, but Federal Highway money and
the bureaucracy in DDoT will have to plan, approve and pay for traffic calming
elsewhere. Some wanted Giant to solve the general lack of parking in the
neighborhood. Giant is building the underground garage so as not to add to
parking problems and does plan to continue to provide free parking for the
restaurant row, but it cannot solve existing problems. Finally, some people
wanted Giant to scale back the project, even scale back the size of the store.
This is not something they will do because it makes the project no longer
economically feasible. This was a long list of nay sayings, but I must emphasize
that those who wanted immediate action were just as numerous and just as
passionate and just as ignorant of the excruciating process of building in an
urban area.

So, what is the next step? They are still a way from approval for the project -
they estimate January at best. There are a myriad of regulations (zoning,
overlays, height restrictions, density restrictions) to be approved. Once they
get approval, it will be another year to build the south block with the
supermarket and a year after that to build the north block. The opponents are
resourceful and creative. Who would have foreseen that they could convince
anyone on the Historic Board that the 'late commercial moderne style' was more
than mundane and thus the current Giant building was 'historic'?'

So, what will happen? My prediction is that the only thing that can stop this
major residential development will be the continued downturn in the housing
market. We will see construction in about two years. As I said after the
previous meeting: "If Ahold were to sell of the north block and this were a
regular developer, we would see a 200-300 unit building with no underground
parking and no input from the community. Developments of this scale happen
because so much money is involved. We are fortunate that Giant sees this as a
long term proposition and not a property to be built and flipped. Because of
that they seem willing to listen to the community and make changes to the
traffic, the streetscape and even subsidize small tenants."

More Information? http://wisconsinavegiant.com
http://www.cpposts.com/Giant.htm
================
Disclaimer and Such. As always, these are the personal notes of Gabe Fineman.
They reflect my biases and viewpoints that I make no attempt to hide. Comments
or questions may be sent to me at gfineman@advsol.com [If Yahoo masked that
address, it is gfineman (at) advsol (dot) com].


Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Greater Greater Washington on Giant

David Alpert of the Greater Greater Washington blog had positive comments about the Giant proposal at Newark and Wisconsin:

This project will replace bland, single-story buildings and large surface parking lots along Wisconsin Ave and Idaho Ave with an appropriately scaled mixed-use project that will engage the street with many individual stores and residences...

My favorite part of this project is the treatment of Newark Street. Too often, traffic engineers either design the road entirely for cars and try to keep people off while maximizing vehicle speed, or close a road completely which is great for pedestrians but can create "superblocks" and dead space that is less safe. Instead, this project paves the center section of Newark Street with something like cobblestones, creating a wide plaza that's open to cars but also more pedestrian friendly, using subtle visual cues to show that this isn't a rapid driving space.


Be sure to read the full report.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Washington Post on the Cathedral

Jacqueline Salmon of The Washington Post wrote an article
about the current plight of the Washington National Cathedral. Part of the feature is a mention of the local greenhouse:

Washington area gardeners are outraged over the closing of the greenhouse, which sells plants, pottery and other gardening items behind the cathedral. It is scheduled to shut down at the end of next month. More than 300 people have joined a new organization to keep the greenhouse open and have set up a Web site, http://savethegreenhouse.org.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

ANC 3C Commissioner on Giant PUD

From McLean Gardens Commissioner Trudy Reeves:

Giant Food has filed an application with the DC Zoning Commission for approval of a Planned Unit Development (PUD) and a zoning map amendment for the two lots that they own on Wisconsin Avenue. Their property begins on Wisconsin Ave�after Cactus Cantina and goes north to Idaho Avenue (including the Sun Trust Bank). It extends westward to Idaho Avenue, across from the Police Station.

From their application: "The property consists of approximately 178,236 square feet of land area. The PUD project proposes the development of a mixed-use [retail] and residential project, featuring a new state-of-the-art Giant supermarket, with approximately 140-150 new residential units and approximately 136,484 square�feet of [ground floor] retail."

From a separate description: "On the North Parcel, the Applicant will construct a five-story mixed use building featuring ground-level retail uses with four stories of residential units above. On the South Parcel, the Applicant will construct a two-story building featuring a new Giant grocery store as well as associated ground floor retail uses and second-story commercial space and residential units. In addition, at the rear of the South Parcel fronting Idaho Avenue, the Applicant will construct 8 townhouses. The total gross floor area included in the Project is approximately 354,820 square feet for a total Floor Area Ratio ("FAR") of approximately 1.99 and a lot occupancy of approximately 76%. The Project will include approximately 530-540 parking spaces. Vehicular entry will be off Newark Street as well as from 38th Street; loading will be separately accessed off Idaho Avenue."

I am truly excited about the prospect of having a vibrant Wisconsin Avenue. My main concerns are that they provide enough parking so that there will be no overload going into the community and that the smaller neighborhood streets are protected from cross traffic. There has been some concern expressed about the density of a five story building on the north lot. I do not think a five story building on Wisconsin Avenue is too dense. I think it is the right size for one of the main avenues of the city.

The north parcel is in my SMD (single member district) as ANC Commissioner for 3C06, and the south parcel is in Richard Rothblum's SMD. ANC 3C will vote as a whole on a resolution making recommendations to the Zoning Commission.

I have two extra copies of the application, which is over an inch thick and includes conceptual drawings. I would be glad to lend them out to anyone who promises to return them. The conceptual plans are on the Internet at www.wisconsinavegiant.com. The application was filed by the owner of the land, Friendship-Macomb SC Inc, c/o The Stop & Shop Supermarket Co.

Next steps:

Giant/Stop and Shop will hold a public meeting to discuss and get feedback from the public as previously announced on June 11th at 6:30 PM at the Washington Hebrew Congregation at Mass Ave and Macomb. The Cleveland Park Citizens Association will also hold a meeting which will most likely be announced on the Cleveland Park Listserv. The ANC will hold at least one meeting (perhaps more if necessary). At the final ANC meeting the Commission will vote on a resolution outlining its recommendations to the Zoning Commission. The ANC's regular monthly meetings are on the third Monday of the month at 7:30 PM at the Police Station on Idaho Ave.

The Zoning Commission will hold a public hearing before making its decision and is supposed to give "great weight" to the ANC resolution.

*******This is a very important development for our community.

We have patiently waited a long time for a new Giant and a revitalized Avenue.

This is your chance to have your say. Please attend the public meetings and make your wishes known. You can also send an email to your ANC commissioner - email addresses can be found at www.anc3c.org

If you would like to see the application, please email me to make arrangements to pick it up.


Trudy Reeves
Treasurer, Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3C
Commissioner ANC 3C-06, McLean Gardens
202-364-8897

Now the Benches at Politics and Prose

DCist picks up the continuing saga of ANC 3F 04 Commissioner Frank Winstead.

Community to Meet on Giant Plans

CLEVELAND PARK COMMUNITY MEETING

Regarding

Wisconsin Avenue Giant Proposed Redevelopment

Wednesday, June 11

6:30 – 9 PM
Washington Hebrew Congregation
3935 Macomb Street, NW

Come and meet the development team, review the designs, offer your opinion, and let your voice be heard.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Ft. Reno update

From the Office of Mary Cheh:

The National Park Service has informed our office that soil and handheld testing has confirmed that there are NOT dangerous levels of arsenic at Fort Reno Park. The National Park Service, along with Federal and District partners, is preparing a press release to announce the results of the arsenic testing. Our office expects the National Park Service to open the majority of the park by the end of the week; however, during the testing, one small area tested positive for lead. That area will remain closed until the lead has been removed. Health officials have informed us that the lead levels are low enough that there is no health risk even if people or dogs did inadvertently play in that area.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Commissioner Winstead Strikes Again

Marc Fisher of the Washington Post reports on the latest antics of ANC 3F Commissioner Frank Winstead. Recall that Mr. Winstead recently requested that Comet remove the Ping-Pong table from the public space in front of its pizza joint. Now, he has asked that the chairs and benches in front of the Marvelous Market be removed.

So much for vibrant streetscape and activity on Connecticut Avenue. Hopefully both establishments will file for the necessary permits to get these amenities restored to the Forest Hills strip.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Ft. Reno Closed Due to Contamination

NBC 4 is reporting the closure of Ft. Reno due to high levels of arsenic in the soil.

From their website:

Fort Reno Park is closed to the public after high levels of arsenic were reported, according to the National Park Service.

U.S. Geological Survey satellite imaging reports discovered the arsenic. The reports were part of USGS's ongoing work with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the Spring Valley neighborhood in Northwest.

The levels of arsenic found in the soil exceed the Environmental Protection Agency's safety threshold.

At about 6 a.m. Wednesday, snow fencing was set up around the park, which is bounded by Fessenden, Chesapeake and 41st streets and Nebraska Avenue.

Groups with permits to use the Fort Reno playing fields have been notified of the closure.

The National Park Service, EPA, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, D.C. Department of Health and D.C. Public Schools are working together to determine any possible public risk and discussing courses of action.

National Park Service officials said they had no reason to suspect the high levels of arsenic and therefore did not conduct their own soil sampling or testing.


EDIT:

Here is the text of the information sheet released by the District
Department of the Environment and the Mayor on the situation at Fort Reno:

"INCIDENT OVERVIEW

On May 14th, the National Park Service issued a release stating that arsenic concentrations had been discovered at Fort Reno park and that the park would be closed until further testing was conducted. Upon this release, the District Department of the Environment was designated as the lead agency in coordinating the District's response.
Mayor Adrian Fenty held a press conference at the scene on May 14th in order to inform residents of the District's planned efforts.

WHO IS INVOLVED IN THE RESPONSE?

District Department of the Environment: Lead agency in the District's response.
National Park Service: Oversees Fort Reno park. US EPA: Conducting further soil sample analysis. US Army Corps of Engineers: Providing support. District Fire/EMS and Police Departments: First-responders. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency: First-responders. Department of Health: Advising as to any potential adverse health impacts. District of Columbia Public Schools: Determining any potential impact
on Wilson High School and Deal Junior High School, which are adjacent
to Fort Reno.

WHAT'S HAPPENED SO FAR:

The USGS previously conducted satellite imagery in order to illustrate the geographic position of arsenic concentrations, which indicated Fort Reno park as an affected site. Initial sample testing was conducted by the US Geological Survey (USGS) using an X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) device. The testing preliminarily revealed levels of arsenic above EPA's recommended action levels (which, depending upon future use of the property could range from .4 to 40 parts per million in soil). In response, the National Park Service has erected snow fencing around the site in order to prevent any potential exposure until further testing is complete.

WHAT'S HAPPENING NOW:

Fort Reno park will stay closed until testing is complete in 7-10 days. Since Fort Reno park is federal property, EPA Region 3 has assigned an on-scene coordinator to collect samples for lab analysis.

Residents who have vegetables from the Fort Reno park's gardens are advised to stop consumption until test results are announced. For residents who have been consuming these vegetables recently, if precautionary measures are needed, information will be forthcoming.

DCWASA and the Army Corps regularly test arsenic levels within the water reservoir under Fort Reno park. As an additional precaution, they will conduct a test specifically for arsenic in order to verify their previous results .

Satellite imagery also indicated potential contamination at the track at Wilson High School.

Since the new Wilson HS track was constructed subsequent to the satellite imagery, arsenic contamination has either been remediated or contained and does not pose a threat. However, student access to soil berms adjacent to the track will be closed off until monitoring is undertaken.

DDOE will consult with EPA and the National Park Service in order to determine if testing is needed at additional properties and what, if any, closures or remediation actions should follow.

INFORMATION ON ARSENIC

Arsenic is a naturally occurring element that when present in high concentrations can produce toxic effects or an increase in cancer risk. It is most commonly used in pesticides and wood preservation, although previously identified cases of arsenic in the District were due to historical military uses. The primary exposure route associated with arsenic in soil is ingestion. Compared with the ingestion route, inhalation or dermal exposure pose only marginal risks when arsenic is found in soil. There is minimal risk from brief exposure, unless a high quantity of arsenic is directly ingested. The primary health concern associated with arsenic exposure is cancer. However, it can produce non-cancer health effects such as gastrointestinal impacts, headaches, and cardiovascular impacts. (EPA)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Klingle Vote: Nay

A contributor to the Columbia Heights Listserv has reported that Council Member Jim Graham's effort to have the budget restored for the Klingle Road restoration has failed. According to David Alpert of greatergreaterwashington.org:



The motion failed with only a few Councilmembers (update: only Graham, Bowser, and Schwartz) in favor. This is the end of the road for the road, at least for a while.

There is an update from the City Paper.

EDIT: and this from the Washington Post.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Marc Fisher on Ping Pong

Washington Post columnist Marc Fisher weighs in on the evil Ping Pong table at Comet.

Friday, May 02, 2008

PPP Back On?

From the Washington Business Journal, it seems that the PPP may be back on in its original form:


After three teams made proposals, Albert altered the solicitation to allow for an independently built library, but reversed course again recently in seeking final offers that include the library. No team has been chosen, although Albert had planned to make a selection in February. "I do understand the urgency, but I want to make sure we maximize that particular site," said Eric Scott, project manager.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

City Paper: Klingle Road is Dead

Loose Lips reported in the April 24th edition of The City Paper a brief history of Klingle Road. Today, in a Council mark-up, the monies earmarked by the Mayor for this project were eliminated in committee. Mike DeBonis has the full story.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Much to Worry About in Forest Hills

Almost a year ago, ANC 3F Commissioner videotaped patron's of Comet Pizza playing ping-pong on the sidewalk in front of the establishment. In a recent ANC 3F meeting, the issue of public space usage was raised by Winstead. He was quoted in the Northwest Current as saying,

""I think this pingpong table in public space is a safety hazard and I want to see it gone."

Comments on the Tenleytown Listserv are fairly supportive of having the table in public space. Said one contributor:

I would love to see a venue for ping pong in our Tenleytown business district--our whole block on Alton Place is crazy about ping pong. A neighbor has set up a table in his yard, and it's a great way to get people of all ages and genders together.

and another:

We loved the ping-pong table -- both when we were playing on it and when we passed others doing so.

and finally:


I live down the street from the Comet, and I actually LOVED the idea of the ping pong table outside. It made the sidewalk look lively and it was great to see people engaged in having good clean fun! I did not feel that it blocked the side walk. I was actually looking forward to summer and going there to play ping pong myself. I am really surprised that this has been an 'issue'. Don't we have more important things in our neighborhood to worry about? I hope they reverse this decision.

PS: I would love to hear from ANC commissioner, Frank Winstead, why he felt the ping pong table was such a blight in our neighborhood street scape, and why he expended so much energy to fight the ping pong table. Am I missing something?


How long will it take for Comet to apply for a proper license so the table can be reintroduced to the streetscape?

Saturday, April 26, 2008

DCMUD updates the Giant Project in Cleveland Park

The recent entry from the DC MUD blog updates the Giant redevelopment project in Cleveland Park.

Klingle Road: Mary Cheh Responds

From the ongoing discussion on the Cleveland Park Listserv:

There have been a few recent posts concerning Klingle Road, including one purporting to quote me as not concerned with Porter Street. The undocumented quote is simply false. But the current dialogue on this list serve offers the opportunity to again set out my position, a position I have consistently held and shared.

The particular segment of Klingle Road under discussion (and there are many pieces of Klingle Road around the area) is less than one mile long, and I think it should remain closed. It has been closed for about 17 years. This section begins at Porter on the west side of Rock Creek Park and travels in a south westerly direction to Woodley, where traffic empties onto local streets. DDOT determined that closing it had a negligible effect on traffic flow because it was very lightly used.

Restoring the road is economically unsound and environmentally harmful. Restoration will cost at least $11 million dollars, and maintenance will be very expensive since the area is subject to severe flooding. The former road was both narrow, with 2 lanes and no city land for shoulders (still the case today), and subject to severe icing. The federal and local dollars can and should be reallocated to any number of greater needs.

At the same time, this land is a beautiful addition to the park and an opportunity to add an additional buffer to the creek and its tributaries. A road causes significant run-off, adds pollution, and degrades the beauty and health of the area. Not surprisingly the environmental groups such as the Sierra Club favor the continued
closure of the road. And, because of the width constraints, a road would eliminate the prospect for a pedestrian and bike trail, which I favor.

We have precious few opportunities to add valuable green space to the City, and this is one we should be eager to have. We have to know where to grow and to build (along major corridors and transit nodes) and where not to (along park land and environmentally delicate areas such as wetlands).

I realize that this issue has been debated for a long time and that opinions have been divided. Two former mayors favored closure and a previous Council voted 8-5 to open the road. Yet the matter arises again because budget decisions must be made by those now entrusted to make them. And, of course, a new legislature may, and on many
occasions has, seen an old issue with new eyes and with a new calculus.

I respect that people still have differing views about this, and that many hold their views fervently. But my decision, known to all when I ran for election, is one I reached based on my best judgment and my best estimate of good public policy.

Thank you for reading this perhaps overly long post.

-Mary Cheh

Friday, April 25, 2008

Klingle Road in Trouble

Mike DeBonis of the City Paper has updated the committee talley for the Mayoral proposal to fund the study to reopen Klingle Road. According to DeBonis,

Brown’s conviction also means that the mayor’s $2 million Klingle Road line item isn’t going to make it out of the council’s committee on public works and the environment. Committee chair and Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham favors spending the money, as does Ward 4’s Muriel Bowser, but the other three committee members—Mary Cheh of Ward 3, Yvette Alexander of Ward 7, and Brown—are all now unequivocally on the record against it.

Tenleytown Receives Historic Treatment

The District of Columbia Historic Preservation Review Board voted unanimously to support the multi-property nomination covering old Tenleytown - Tenleytown, Friendship Heights and American University Park - providing a historical context for pre-suburban development, suburbanization, institutional growth, commercial development and the Fort Reno Reservoir was approved. This action does not provide any specific protection to listed properties, but rather provides background for future nominations. After adopting the multiple listing document, the HPRB accepted two specific sites into the DC Register of Historic Sites:

Eldbrooke United Methodist Church
Architect: Howard W. Cutler
Builder: C. H. Brooks
Built: 1926


Eldbrooke United Methodist Church, now owned by The City Church - DC, has been central to the history of Tenleytown since its establishment in 1840. The handsome 1926 Spanish Colonial Revival building, situated at the corner of River Road and Murdock Mill Road adjacent to the Sears Building in Tenleytown, is the fourth Methodist church building on this site. The first church, called Mount Zion Methodist, was erected in 1840 and was rebuilt after the Civil War. A larger church was built there in 1899, and the name was changed to Eldbrooke, honoring community members Aquila Eld and Philip Brooke.

The church is constructed of steel and tile, with a red tile roof and textured stucco exterior. All of the exterior ornamentation is cast cement. The roof retains its original red tiles. The gabled fa├žade is ornamented with a bas-relief in the multi-curved Spanish Baroque style. A square bell tower is attached to the front southeast corner of the building. The sanctuary contains numerous stained glass windows donated by and in memory of church members.


The Methodist Cemetery
Architect: N/A
Builder: N/A
Built: est. 1855


In 1855 twelve Tenleytown men purchased land along Murdock Mill Road and established The Methodist Cemetery. The twelve represented many of the founding families of Tenleytown and it is believed that their purchase of the land formalized a use already in practice. Though most of the founders were also members of the adjacent Mount Zion Methodist Church (Eldbrooke United Methodist), the cemetery has always been independently owned and maintained, a fact that distinguishes it from contemporary cemeteries. In the mid-nineteenth century, burials customarily were on private land or in church affiliated cemeteries.

The cemetery's proximity to Fort Reno made it an attractive campsite for soldiers. The cemetery is the final resting place of many of Tenleytown's early residents. It is owned and maintained by The Methodist Cemetery Association whose members are descendants of the 'Tenleytown Twelve.'


- Tenleytown Historical Society

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Vacancy in ANC 3C

There is a vacancy in ANC 3C.

The DC Register has advertised the vacancies so anyone who lives in 3C04 (which is east of Conn. Ave. between Macomb St. and Quebec St.) may file to fill this position for the remainder of the vacant term. All commissioners are elected in November for 2-year terms.

In order to file you must go to the Board of Elections and Ethics at 441 4th St. NW (Judiciary Square metro/red line) and pick up petitions. At least 25 residents of that single member district who are registered DC voters must sign the petitions. The petitions must be turned into the BOEE by 4:45PM on Monday, May 5.

If only one person files for the seat, he or she will be announced as the automatic winner. If there is more than one filer, there will be special elections in May or June. If there are no filers, the seats cannot be filled by special election less than 6 months before the general election in November so the seat will remain vacant until January 2009 when commissioners elected in November take office.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Celebrate DC's New High Point on 4/19

Date: Saturday, April 19 (Rain date: April 26)

Time: 11 a.m.

Place: Point Reno at Fort Reno Park (between Alice Deal Junior High School and Chesapeake Street, NW)

DC's highest natural elevation, located in Tenleytown, has now been officially confirmed. A recognition and celebration has been planned by Tenleytown Historical Society and Tenleytown Neighbors Association in cooperation with the National Park Service.

The brief program will focus on how Tenleytown's geography has influenced its history, and how the actual high point was determined. Speakers will include Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh and others.

Following the program a tour of Fort Reno led by a National Park Service Ranger will be offered.


CELEBRATE DC'S HIGH POINT!

When: Saturday, April 19th at 11 AM
Where: Point Reno at Fort Reno Park

Sponsored By: Tenleytown Historical Society/Tenleytown Neighbors Association/NPS

PROGRAM

Welcome (to Tenleytown) - Ken Faulstich
Welcome from National Park Service - Superintendent Adrienne Coleman
Tenleytown Geography - Dick Randall
Tenleytown History - Dr. Frank Cooling (Tenleytown Historical Society)
The High Point - Robert Hyman (Highpointers Club)
Surveying the Point - Joe Snider (DC Association of Land Surveyors)
DC Heritage - Jane Freundel Levey (Cultural Tourism DC)
Tenleytown Neighbors - Cathy Wiss (Commissioner 3F06)
DC Ward 3 - Council Member Mary Cheh

Tour of Fort Reno afterwards by NPS ranger

* Expected Duration: 30 minutes (Standing Event - No Seating Available)

Directions: Event is being held on east side of Fort Reno Park which is located across from Wilson SHS and next to Alice Deal JHS. From the intersection of Nebraska Ave and Chesapeake St, proceed up the hill at the SE corner of Fort Reno Park and look for the event. Access from the Tenleytown-AU Metro stop or street parking is available along Chesapeake St NW.

Discover the Location of DC's Highest Natural Elevation and how it influenced Tenleytown history

Each state is proud to have a natural high point elevation designation. Now so does DC - Point Reno!!! Through the survey efforts of the Highpointers Club and the DC Association of Land Surveyors, a marker has been installed at the National Park Service's Fort Reno Park in NW Washington. At an elevation of 409 feet above sea level, Point Reno is officially designated as the highest natural elevation in DC. Prior to the construction in 1860s of fortifications for the Civil War at Fort Reno to protect the nation's capital and the construction of a water reservoir system and towers in the early 1900s to serve DC residents and business growth, the highest natural elevation may have been around 430 feet.

Tenleytown - DC's second oldest neighborhood! Due to its high elevation, this area of DC has a long and rich history. From early Indian trails that preceded Wisconsin Avenue, to the tobacco trade of the 1800s, to the popular Tennally Tavern in the 1890s, Tenleytown was the crossroads of upper NW. With its commanding view of the countryside, in the 1860s Fort Reno became the largest of the Circle of Forts that protected the Union capital during the Civil War. The brick and stone water towers in the early 1900s at the Fort Reno site became well known icons due to their visibility. And the TV and radio towers surrounding the area moved in during the 1950s to take advantage of the higher elevation.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Coming Soon: A Heritage Trail Near You

Congratulations to the Tenleytown Historical Society which has successfully completed a Heritage trail celebrating the life and times of this historic community.

According to the Express:

The Washington D.C. Neighborhood Heritage Trails Advisory Committee on Tuesday OK'd a plan to create the trail. Jane Waldmann, a member of the heritage trail working group and board member at the Tenleytown Historical Society, said it should be completed in about a year.

Friday, April 04, 2008

CPCA Meeting on Downtown Growth 4/10

Thursday, April 10, 2008, 6:30 pm
Cleveland Park Library, Connecticut Avenue and Newark Street, NW

The Future of DC's New "Center City"

Richard H. Bradley
Executive director, "Downtown BID" (Business Improvement District)

Judy Scott Feldman,
Chair, National Coalition to Save Our Mall

Patricia Zingsheim
Associate Director, Revitalization & Design, DC Office of Planning and Program
Manager, Center City Action Agenda 08

Despite the economic slowdown, downtown Washington is humming, and city planners
and groups such as the "Downtown BID" (Business Improvement District) are
seeking ways to keep up the momentum. DC's new "Center City Action Agenda 2008"
targets the area north and south of the National Mall for major residential and
commercial development. This could become the next great economic engine for
the city. With the National Mall at the heart of this area, the Mall's urgent
need for coordinated planning, better access, parking and visitor improvements
can no longer be ignored by city officials or the Congress. The National
Coalition to Save Our Mall has called for a new "McMillan Commission" and a
vision for an expanded, 21st Century Mall, serving tourists, residents and
planned city growth. A Coalition-founded National Mall Conservancy has also been
started.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Movement on Klingle Road

The Examiner is reporting that Mayor Fenty and Ward 1 Council Member Jim Graham have earmarked $2 Million for infrastructure preparations in advance of an $11 Million rebuild of the east-west connection through Rock Creek Park.

Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh is supportive of the status quo, maintaining the bucolic form of the short stretch from the parkway to Woodley Road.

Proponents of the road include residents of Mt. Pleasant and Adam Morgan who prefer a more direct route to points west. Others include certain Cleveland Park residents who suggest that the chronic vehicular back-ups on Porter Street are more environmentally damaging than simply rebuilding and maintaining the road.

This will be interesting to follow going forward.

Woe is Me, ANC

DC Watch, the city-wide political discussion is often filled with interesting tidbits of information about the inner workings of the halls of the Wilson Building. This week's installment has an entry from ANC 3E Commissioner Anne Sullivan:

On March 18, I testified at Chairman Gray’s Public Hearing Roundtable on ANCs on behalf of the ANC 3E. A common complaint that was heard on all nights of the Advisory Neighborhood Commission testimonies was that the ANCs are not given “great weight.” I illustrated how this phenomenon occurred recently in ANC 3E when public land and development rights to part of the elementary school land and part of the library had been put up for sale over the objections of the ANC, and none of the resolutions passed by the ANC regarding this sale had been given any weight. I discussed that the land was being sold without the government’s going through proper evaluations and determinations (according to the DC Code) that the land was not needed for public use and could be spared to sell off to a developer.

I talked about Councilmember Cheh’s role in all of this, and I stand by everything in my testimony. The main part of my testimony begins around hour mark 1:50:00 of this video: http://www.octt.dc.gov/services/on_demand_video/channel13/March2008/03_18_08_COWLEG_4.asx, but the questioning by Council Member Cheh (Ward 3) begins at hour mark 2:01:40. I believe the councilmember exhibits outrageous behavior. I hope that standards of conduct are established in Council Chambers to prevent this type of abuse in the future.


So Commissioner Sullivan is firmly standing behind her allegations against Councilmember Cheh.

And now, the ANC 3E supporters are following a Clinton-esque repetition of the outrage:

The bullying here reminds me of the bullying Commissioner Sullivan
experienced from CM Cheh. It's virtually content-free and designed to
cow someone with inconvenient/damaging facts into silence, rather than
to bring new and more reliable facts to light.


Irony here?

Friday, March 21, 2008

ANC makes an Issue of Public Hearing

The City Council recently held its oversight hearings on ANCs. ANC 3F Commissioner Frank Winstead took the opportunity to post a portion or the proceedings on YouTube. As part of the video, Winstead made the following observation:

Councilmember Cheh unleashed her vast repertoire of lawyerly oral attacks upon Sullivan. Cheh sent a message to Commissioner Sullivan, ANC 3E and all the communities of Ward 3. What happens in the backroom of Suite 108, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, the DC Council Offices of Mary Cheh is of no concern to the public.

The implication, of course is that ANC3E (with the concurrance of Frank Winstead) has some sort of "smoking gun" implicating Councilmember Cheh and Roadside Development in the oft-discussed Tenley-Janney PPP.

(Side note: This is the same ANC Commissioner with the public tagline "I’m Frank Winstead reminding you to help control the criminal population spay/neuter your lawyer today".)

The announcement by Winstead on the Tenleytown Listserv was met with some interesting comments:

As someone who was in fact cross examined by my SMD ANC rep at a
zoning hearing last Spring and was told in writing by another that
perhaps I should move to another neighborhood since I disagreed with
her I have no sympathy whatsoever for a member of an ANC that has
over the years taken umbrage at anyone who disagrees with them
despite presiding over meetings with an average attendance of about
20 people.

If you are going to put something in writing with such flimsy
evidence, especially unsubstantiated allegations that imply improper
behavior, you had better be prepared to answer questions about your
allegations.

As they say if you can't stand the heat you should get out of the
kitchen.

Good for CM Cheh for standing up for herself - she was elected by an
overwhelming majority of this Ward despite a vigorous campaign of
opposition from the small group of anti-growth activists who
dominate public meetings in our community and I hope she will
continue to appropriately assert that she does in fact represent
this community and forcefully push back against and the scurrilous
behavior of these same naysayers.


and

the ANC publicized its "causes for concern" document here, the
ANC engaged in what could charitably be called "amateur
lawyerlyness." An observer with a more jaundiced eye would call it --
were the target not a public official -- libel. It is hardly
surprising that the target of the misleading statements, a real
lawyer as it happens, took the author to task."

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Marc Fisher on Wilson High School

Yay to the parents and neighbors of Wilson High School in northwest Washington, who are refusing to let the D.C. school system ignore concerns about a wave of violence that has hit the school since the city transferred dozens of students from the juvenile justice system and alternative schools into Wilson. With some new ninth graders now as old as 16 or 17 because they'd been left back several times, the school is suffering from a series of incidents in which older students have been harassing or assaulting younger students. Chancellor Michelle Rhee acknowledged the problem at a community meeting this week, and now the challenge to the system is to move out those kids who cannot behave decently and assure a safe environment for the great majority of students who are there to learn.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Another Pedestrian Struck on Connecticut Avenu

NBC 4 is reporting a hit and run at Connecticut Avenue and Nebraska Avenue this morning. The elderly woman struck has suffered life-threatening injuries.

UPDATE: The elderly pedestrian was killed in this incident according to updated reports on NBC4.com.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Biz Journal update on PPP

Jonathan O'Connell of the Washington Business Journal reports on the Tenley-Janney PPP>.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Kennedy Warren Rent Strike Ends

According to Jackie Spinner of the Washington Post, the rent strike, in place since June at the Kennedy-Warren in Cleveland Park, has ended.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Fisher on the PPP

A recent Blog entry by Washington Post Columnist Marc Fisher covers the Tenley-Janney PPP.

A small excerpt"

The city's late move raises questions about whether it has any intention of upgrading the Tenley Metro area or of following up on the Tony Williams administration's drive to lure more residents to the city.

Nor does this move bode well for the ability and determination of Mayor Adrian Fenty's government to stand up to small but loud groups of neighborhood activists who know they can block almost any effort to expand the city's tax base and provide better retail and other services.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Ward 3 for Obama

Ward 3 voters showed their numbers in the 2008 Presidential Primaries. With both the Democrat and republican delegates at stake, the numbers were as follows:

18,569 total votes (46.05 of the total registered voters in the ward)

Obama 10,268
Clinton 6,127
Other Dems 195

McCain 1,411 (62%)

Sunday, February 10, 2008

More on the Disentigration of the PPP

As a follow-on to the discussion on the Tenleytown Listserv regarding the alteration to the RFP released by the city for the redevelopment of the Tenley Library parcel, documents were uploaded to the Listserv archives (a PDF link) by the ANC Special Committee.

The contributor noted the following observation about Councilmember Cheh's actions:


For the record, let me say that CM Cheh's stance on this project has been clear from the beginning, that I think her stance is based on ideology, and that I think she's entitled to take positions at odds with those of most of her constituents (just as most of her constituents are entitled to vote her out next election if they feel she's done that too often).


A simple reminder about the 2006 election in which Mary Cheh led a field of 9 candidates through every precinct in the Ward. A refresher from the 2006 Democratic Primary:


Precinct 30 (Janney School Polling Place)
Cheh 38.34% (240 votes)
Strauss 16.45 (103 votes)
Wiss 13.26 (83 votes)

Precinct 31 (St. Columba's Polling Place)
Cheh 36.13 (396 votes)
Rice 16.33 (179 votes)
Strauss 13.50 (148 votes)
Wiss 12.23 (134 votes)

Precinct 33 (Murch Polling Place)
Cheh 42.64% (498 votes)
Wiss 15.57% (183 votes)
Strauss 11.64% (136 votes)

And the 2006 General Election:

Precinct 30 (Janney Polling Place)
Cheh 509 66%
Conroy 255 33%

Precinct 31 (St Columba's Polling Place)
Cheh 927 70%
Conroy 387 30%

Precinct 33 (Murch Polling Place)
Cheh 1028 75%
Conroy 316 23%


One poster has summarized accordingly:

I do know that she won two bitterly-contested elections in which some of your confreres made the Akridge project a central issue. In fact, if I recall correctly, she won in every precinct in Ward 3, including the ones in our neighborhood. One might forgive her for believing that she had heard the community's voice on the subject.

The people had spoken, and yet ANC3E and its "Special Committee" have managed to subvert the will of the people in the name of keeping the library project on track. Given the success of the temporary library, why not go for a situation where there could be a better, new library, an accelerated Janney renovation AND a revitalization of the Tenley commerical district? This would be a far-sighted result, one that requires progressive thinking.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Tenley Library Update

As posted to the Tenleytown Listserv:

From: Edward Cowan

Construction of a new Tenley-Friendship branch of the DC Public Library has been severed from the proposed remodeling of the Janney Elementary School. As a result, it looks like ground-breaking for the new library will occur in late summer or autumn, with March 2010 a target date for opening the building to the public.

The Tenley branch was closed as antiquated and in need of replacement at the end of 2004. An initial design for a new branch, although paid for by DC Public Library, was rejected, one reason that the replacement process has dragged on so long.

Now, the Public Library's director, Ginnie Cooper, her staff and their architects are working on a new design and are optimistic that the building will be finished about two years from now. Allow some weeks for installing books, computers and materials and an opening towards the end of March looks possible, DCPL reckons.

Cooper and senior members of the Library's Board of Trustees and staff met with the deputy mayor for economic development and planning, Neil Albert, in mid-January. Cooper brought with her the chairman of the board, John W. Hill, and Richard H. Levy, chairman of the DCPL construction committee. As Albert knew, both men are well connected politically.

Albert, reminded of community frustration with the Tenley branch's being closed so long, agreed to sever the library from the Janney project so that it could be rebuilt with less delay. Albert's office had left open such a split in its request for bids, although it also contemplated—and was thought to lean towards—joint development, as originally proposed by the Roadside Development group.

The library sits on the southwest corner of Albemarle Street and Wisconsin Avenue NW. The school is its immediate neighbor to the west, on Albemarle Street. Roadside contemplated layering condo units on top of the library, with parking under the Janney soccer field.

That entangled the library project in many issues, such as "affordable" housing units, underground parking and shrinkage or relocation of the soccer field. Inevitably, some neighbors, including Saint Ann's Church, voiced objections.

Sorting all that out could take a couple of years, delaying construction of the new library. Such delay now seems to be avoided. Eric Scott, a project manager for Neil Albert, posted on the Web on Monday a declaration that any proposal for Janney must contemplate "independent development of the Friendship Library site. Any proposal that include[s] a development program that integrates the Library within the larger redevelopment footprint will no longer be considered responsive." (See http://tenley-janney.blogspot.com.)

The Public Library expects to finish the design by May. It is already looking for a construction manager, preparatory to inviting bids. It announced in December that it expected ground-breaking to occur in September. Officials said that could occur as early as August, or might slip to October.

The budget for the branch is $14,500,000, including books, equipment and materials. "We think that it is sufficient," Cooper said, "to build the library that we want to give the community."



These responses say it all:

"shortsighted, sad, anti-community building, waste of an opportunity."

and

"This community had such a wonderful opportunity to provide our people a great library and our children and improved school on a fast timetable with more capital than either project could accomplish along.
...
I have two children who, unfortunately, will now be forced to attend a school without enough space for its students and crumbling infrastructure. What even more depressing for me and other families in this community, is that our kids will graduate before they'll be able to check a book out of the library."

DDOT to try Pilot Visitor Parking in Ward 3

From ANC 3C:

DDOT is planning to meet with Ward 3 ANCs (at Feb. 19 ANC 3C public meeting) to discuss implementing a one-year pilot program in the ward. The pilot would provide residents on RPP streets one visitor parking pass to be used at any time, but presumably when parking restrictions are in effect and a visitor intends to stay beyond the 2-hour time limit. This pilot would replace the current program that allows residents in RPP zones to secure 2-3 week passes from the police station for a particular vehicle that will be parking beyond the 2-hour time limit.

The pilot would restrict the use of the pass to the relevant ANC boundaries. Residents on non-RPP blocks would not be eligible to participate in the program. Residents who needed more than one pass could secure a one-day pass from the police station. Use of the pass outside the relevant ANC boundaries would be ignored by parking enforcement and the applicable parking rules would be enforced.

This pilot is only for visitors to the ward and neighborhood and it doesn't
change the RPP rules for residents, ie., need for sticker on resident's
vehicle. The pilot also would not exempt vehicles parked for 30 consecutive
days from registration, inspection, and other DC rules applied to out of state vehicles.


The ANCs will hear the presentation on February 19th at Second District MPD, 7:30 PM

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

CPCA Pedestrian Safety Meeting

Recent urgent comments about pedestrian safety on the CP listserv prompted the Cleveland Park Citizens Association to make it the subject of our February 7 meeting at the CP Library (6:30 pm). DDOT has big plans for safety initiatives and Mary Cheh has introduced legislation to increase fines for violating crosswalks. But these solutions take time. Are there things we can do now? Here's your chance to find out what's in the works and to raise specific local issues with transportation planning and enforcement officials. Our speakers include: Mary Cheh, Ward 3 councilmember; George Branyan, DDOT Pedestrian Safety Coordinator; Jeff Jennings, DDOT Ward 3 Liaison; Andy Solberg, Commander, 2D MPD; and David Baker, Officer, 2D MPD.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Palisades Park Update

A recent announcement for an upcoming Palisades Citizens Association meeting mentioned as a primary discussion point the entrance to the Palisades Park:

This meeting will feature a discussion of design ideas for the Palisades Park entrance (and other neighborhood issues of concern) with Mayor Adrian Fenty, Council member Mary Cheh, and Department of Parks and Recreation Director Clark Ray.

Also, for those who have not received a copy of the newsletter, I am attaching a
link to the PCA website ( www.palisadesdc.org ), which features an excellent article by Mark Binsted on what can be done with the entrance to Palisades Park. In it, he updates everyone on DC¢s efforts to come up with a design, and discusses various options that have been discussed in the past as a way to jumpstart ideas and comment.


The post on the PCA Listserv prompted a few comments:

Now that we have more space why not have a one way u-shaped road going in and out of the parking area in a continuous loop and make room for more parking? Surely all this could be engineered with enough green space, planting, and built in traffic control to assure appropriate speed as well as lovely views, so that neighbors will not have to look at a parking lot. The temporary driveway built for the construction work shows the possibilities. There would seem to be plenty of room for better access, more parking, and some kind of square-like space.

I'm not sure I see the likely use of a basically empty, large green square on the Sherier Place side, since usually parents and grand parents want to be near where their children are, which will be up by the playground. Perhaps there is another group of park users who have been under-served by what we have now, who do not want to be near the play ground or the ball fields or the rec center, or out behind the rec center looking over to Virginia. It seems to be intended by the designers as a gathering place but I'm not sure there is a lot of demand for gathering there. The empty lot we have always had there (next to the torn down house) has always been used simply as a pass through to the recreational areas. If there is a group, perhaps older residents who do not want to go up the slight hill, perhaps the gathering space could be reduced somewhat so as to accommodate more other users of the park as well as improved traffic flow.

I can imagine that the large empty green squares so loved by the designer of the designs in the newsletter might be used, but I can also imagine that they wouldn't be used all that much, or wouldn't need to be quite so large to accommodate those who might use them. It's hard to know, but the parking would certainly be used, since the cars are already there most weekends.



Another option:

The main group of users that is actually underserved sometimes and potentially underserved at others is people wanting to use the park as recreational green space. While the improvements to the park are lovely, professional, and raise the standard of what constitutes a neighborhood park to new heights, one thing that is missing is space for general recreation. This might include children older than playground age playing soccer or football, but not in one of the leagues that seem to be able to and desire reserve the green space at a higher frequency than before. One of reasons parking has become an issue is that the park improvements have increased out of neighborhood traffic as our park is now a true city park, rather than a neighborhood park. It is desirable by all organized recreation groups and community use appears to be more difficult. While there are ways that the entrance can be improved to facilitate multiuse (benches on the sides, shrubbery to block parking, etc.,) it would be wonderful to increase the amount of open space that can be used on an adhoc basis. Has the idea of moving the parking lot closer to Sherrier, lining it with Leyland Cyprus (to hide it from residents), and then having the current parking used as open green space (two small for organized leagues, but just the right size for kids pickup) been considered?

Now that there is a wide open space in that area, it will be interesting what design and use ideas are floated and implemented.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Obama Rocks Ward 3

12,000 people tried to cram into Bender Arena at American University this morning to catch first hand the endorsement of Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) by the Kennedy clan. Some of the sites and sounds were eloquently captured by MetroBlogger Tom Bridge. The local angle was also captured by Washington Post metro reporters.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Chat with Cheh

This Saturday, January 26, Councilmember Mary Cheh will hold the first
in series of community events called "Chat with Cheh." Ward 3
residents are invited to Politics and Prose between 11:00 am and 1:00
pm to have coffee and talk with the Councilmember.

Wilson Ice Hockey

A great story and means to support the Wilson Tigers
Ice Hockey team.

Check out OnFrozenBlog for the whole story

"McKenzie coached, raised funds and fought for this team from its inception five years ago. But he never had the opportunity to coach Hill in high school or witness his team complete its historic transformation from private to public. Eleven months ago, at the age of 53, he died unexpectedly from pneumonia.

His death appeared to jeopardize the team's future. McKenzie had done so much to keep it alive, many wondered how it could survive without him."


Consider supporting this great, and very local cause.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Pedestrian Safety Town Hall

As prevously announced, Council Member Mary Cheh will be hosting a community town hall forum on pedestrian safety tomorrow, January 19, at the Second District
Police Station. The program will begin at 10:00 a.m. and conclude at noon.

Panelists will include the Director of the Department of Transportation, Emeka Moneme; the Director of Safety Programs for the Federal Highway Administration, Elizabeth Alicandri; the Executive Director of the Washington Area Bicycle Association, Eric Gilliland; the Policy Director for the Coalition for Smarter Growth, Cheryl Cort; the Project Manager for Toole Design Group, Colleen
Mitchell; MPD Second District Commander Andrew Solberg; MPD Assistant Chief and founder of the Multi-Agency Targeted Traffic Safety Sessions, Patrick Burke; and Traffic Officer for the Second District of the MPD, Anthony McElwee.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

More on the Pedestrian Signal

A recent piece on NewsChannel8 aired some of the opinions regarding the Pedestrian Signal at Morrison Street and Connecticut Avenue in Chevy Chase. Spurred on by calls from the ANC Chair to oppose the signal. Fellow Commissioner Samantha Nolan, a public and pedesrtrian safety advocate in her own right made an appeal for support of the signal, arguing:

I do not believe a standard light will provide any safety to pedestrians at this intersection, and may lead to our first pedestrian death at this location. The accidents that have occurred at this intersection in the past prior to this new light's installation, were caused when cars and pedestrians were in the same place at the same time. That is what will happen when a green light tells cars on Morrison Street to go, and when the walk sign tells pedestrians to walk across Connecticut Avenue. Cars turning South or North onto Connecticut Avenue will run into pedestrians walking across Connecticut Avenue.

The currrent light has some problems that can be fine tuned, but the one thing it does not permit is for vehicles to go while pedestrians are walking. Throwing the baby out with the bathwater comes to mind here. The light is good and has done what it was made to do. It has problems that can be fixed with better lighting, signage, education and timing. DDOT's engineers are best at correcting those problems. We should wait and see what the study shows, and listen to what DDOT engineers have to offer as fixes for the current light, and not make demands that could cause more harm than good to our pedestrians.


While some posts on the listserv support the majority of the ANC, others suggest that simply removing the signal would be appropriate. One poster noted that if there were other signals like it in the city, it wouldn't be such a pariah. That is, of course, the point of this signal, to be a pilot for review and refinement for the city standard. This signal was installed as a pilot program to test a variation on a signal used in other cities, including Bethesda, Maryland.

Finally, one listserv contributor noted the possible impact that the ANC solution might cause:

Adding a third traditional three-color signal in such a short stretch of Connecticut Avenue may lead to major backups on Connecticut Avenue and overflow of commuters into side streets.

This poster cites Military Road as a recent example of ANC 3/4G traffic expertise. In that case, the ANC urged DDOT to reduce the main 4 lane arterial across the northernmost part of the District to two lanes, causing massive backups and significant cut-through traffic. Since its reconfiguration back to pre-2006 standards, the backups and cut-through traffic has subsided.

Pedestrian safety advocates from around the region have expressed concern that should the District abandon this pilot program, it will set pedestrian safety advances back for some time.