A recap of last night’s 4.5 hour (!) meeting, and an announcement from me:
20th and 21st Streets NW
Last night the ANC 2B supported NOI 20-70-PSD, the Notice of Intent for protected bike lanes on 20th and 21st Streets connecting the area around the north entrance of Dupont Circle Metro to the National Mall. Based off resident concerns, we also requested of DDOT, in part (quoting our resolution):
- A pick up/drop off/loading zone is added to the north side of O Street NW at 20th Street to provide a dedicated area for pick up/drop off/loading at the Bristol House apartment building which currently has an entrance loading zone on 20th Street.
- DDOT continue to work with FRESHFARM, the ANC 2B, and the Dupont Circle BID to determine the timing and circumstances for the extension of the protected bicycle lanes to Connecticut Avenue.
- DDOT expeditiously provide an interim connection from the proposed terminus of the protected bike lane at Massachusetts Avenue to the existing bike lane network on Q and R Streets and proposed Connecticut Avenue protected bike lane in coordination and conjunction with the proposed design reflected in the Connecticut Avenue Streetscape project, including a protected two-way bike lane on the westside of Connecticut Avenue between R Street and Hillyer Place.
The connectivity between this project and Q and R Street was the number one concern brought up by our neighbors on the east side of Dupont (which I highlighted in my prior newsletter), as well as by many people who were deeply involved with recommending to DDOT the bike lane stay on 20th Street. Chair Daniel Warwick did the majority of the work in developing a recommendation to DDOT for an interim connection, summarized in the third bullet above. The motion passed unanimously. The full letter being sent to DDOT will be on our website at a later date, and if you want more specifics about this plan, please let me know.
17th Street NW
ANC 2B supported NOI 20-69-PSD, the Notice of Intent for protected bike lanes on 17th Street. With this project, we received signatures of support from over 598 D.C. residents, 139 of them in Dupont and most of the others in nearby neighborhoods such as Adams Morgan, Shaw, and Logan. We received letters of strong support from 9 businesses on 17th Street, and engaged with over 100 individuals involved in the corridor, 30 of them representing 17th Street businesses. There were a few letters of opposition and lots of feedback for changes. It has been a lengthy process, but important in balancing the variety of wants and needs and to make sure DDOT understands how to make 17th Street a safer street for all.
Based off the feedback from residents and businesses, in addition to support for a reconfigured 17th Street, we are formally requesting of DDOT, quoting our resolution:
- Businesses on 17th Street NW between P Street NW and Riggs Street NW must continue to be engaged regarding the programming of the specifics of curbside space dedicated to parking, pickup and dropoff areas for taxis, ridehailing, and deliveries, and loading zones.
- In particular, businesses that sell heavy or bulky items that necessitate vehicular use, including hardware stores, frame shops, and grocery stores, must have their input weighted appropriately on the programming of parking and loading zones, and be directly engaged by DDOT.
- The weekday needs of freight unloading for businesses must be appropriately accommodated so the through traffic lane is not blocked.
- Additional traffic calming measures for all vehicle types should be implemented to slow speeds on this mixed-use street to help ensure the safety of the most vulnerable users of the road.
- Incorporation of recommendations from the DDOT Safe Routes to School Team for the school zone surrounding Ross Elementary, including better signage, a flashing beacon, and crosswalk repainting and/or enhancements occur so as to make certain people are aware they are approaching a School Zone becomes more apparent in time for the start of the new school year.
- DDOT installs additional bicycle parking at designated locations along the route where sufficient public space allows to accommodate such additional traffic and further encourage use.
- Emergency Sidewalk Expansions, “streateries,” and other temporary uses of public space created for the Public Health Emergency must be unaffected by the implementation of this Notice of Intent.
- The final configuration must be able to accommodate temporary (festivals, parades), and emergency configurations.
- DDOT provide an update to their progress to neighbors in autumn 2020, prior to installation.
- DDOT provides additional longer-term recommendations to the ANC 2B so that neighbors can work together to create more opportunities for safe pedestrian passage and other safety-related interventions along the 17th Street corridor through a project with a larger budget and scope through capital expenditures such as a streetscape.
The formal letter we send to DDOT will be available soon. It passed with a 7-1 vote around 11:30 p.m. last night. Over the last couple years of discussions with you and other neighbors regarding 17th Street, there are a number of clear, common threads I have learned:
- Most everyone agrees the status quo for 17th Street is unsafe.
- People care about our hardware store, our restaurants, and want to make sure changes work towards helping make our corridor attractive and vibrant for people and businesses that serve the neighborhood.
- People recognize the priorities of street needs over the last couple years have shifted, and have additionally been exacerbated by the pandemic.
- Most businesses do not want to get into a battle with the public, ANC, DDOT, or neighborhood cliques on the configuration of the street – they want to focus on the success of their business and want to make sure their needs are heard with little conflict.
I’m very proud of the work that has been put into this, especially by Commissioner Randy Downs who led on business outreach (as well as leading recently on the “streateries” and expanded outdoor space). Commissioners Kari Cunningham and Daniel Warwick also contributed a ton of work and outreach with neighbors about 17th Street, and Commissioners Beverly Schwartz and Mike Silverstein provided a lot of key input and final changes to the resolution.
Although the near-term process with the ANC is concluded, I will continue to work with neighbors, businesses, and DDOT on this project.
The Future of 2B04
Thank you for the opportunity to serve you this 2019-2020 term! I have made the decision to not run for reelection for the 2021-2022 term and will not be on the ballot in November. Serving as commissioner has been an honor and a great experience, and it is time for someone else to earn this opportunity.
I believe the role of an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner is one of the most unique volunteer opportunities in the region! Even though the actual responsibilities are extremely limited – creating non-binding responses to specific neighborhood changes as noticed by District agencies – it can have a tangible impact on the future of the neighborhood, and one can build upon the role as time and commitment allow.
The biggest benefit to me, personally, has been getting to know you.
Most of you on this mailing list I have met through this role, and I love that our corner of the neighborhood is made up by so many great people with a variety of backgrounds and experiences. I’ve learned a ton in our interactions, and I’m thankful for you, and so happy that you are my neighbor. I mean that very seriously.
As well, navigating government and providing some constituent services – an optional piece of being commissioner – is something I have truly enjoyed doing. I have also loved compiling neighborhood news in this newsletter. Thank you for reading and all the feedback!
I am also grateful for the opportunity to work with a fantastic group of commissioners across Dupont Circle. Daniel Warwick, Kari Cunningham, Randy Downs, Matthew Sampson, Mike Silverstein, and Beverly Schwartz are all true leaders and advocates for their corners of Dupont, and I have learned a ton from them over the last year and a half. I am thankful to have served with these six dedicated people who have put so much work and energy into our neighborhood. The neighborhood benefits that some are considering running again, and I would support all six for reelection if they all chose to.
I’m also thankful to have worked with the ANC 2B’s Executive Director Peter Sacco, who is largely responsible for the logistics, record-keeping, minutes, notices, finances, website maintenance, and a ton more work that commissioners mistakenly get credited for doing. Most commissions across the District do not have the type of dedicated public servant that our commission in Dupont Circle has in Peter Sacco.
I’ve talked with about seven of you about this role in the last few months, and I have discussed the role with two people who are now taking the initial steps to explore getting on the ballot in November. While Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners are on the bottom of the ballot, they are many times the top contact for local issues. The upcoming election is important, and in the coming months I’ll continue to provide updates on local issues and races.
Thank you again for all of your support and trust. Keep in touch!