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ANC Newsletter s4xton.com

Congrats Mo! Annie’s and JR’s Bar, Scottish Rite Apartments Update, and more…

Neighbors-

I hope you are staying well and safe.

Congratulations to Mo Pasternak, who won our recent election to be our next Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner in Dupont Circle! Mo will join eight other commissioners to represent our neighborhood, which is now over 20,000 residents. The transition process has already begun, which involves a lot of introductions with government officials and sharing policies and procedures. Mo has pledged to have a newsletter to keep neighbors abreast of happenings and I have agreed to share this mailing list with him. Before I do this, if you prefer that I do not share your email address with Mo, please let me know.

Commissioner-elect Pasternak’s contact information is on his website, he’s @MoPasternakDC on Twitter, and he hopes to send out a first newsletter in the coming month or two. He’s welcoming feedback on what neighbors would like to see in a newsletter, so let him know!

Full election results are here: electionresults.dcboe.org. A few of the neighboring commissioners who represent people subscribed to this list include Kyle Mulhall, Robin Nunn, and William Herbig, all of whom I have communicated with at length and I believe are poised to represent our neighborhood well. If you do not know who your new commissioner will be or would like to be put in touch, let me know! (You can find your SMD and ANC here.) I am very happy to make introductions and have been making some for neighbors.

1609-11 17th Street NW & 1519 17th Street NW

Annie’s Paramount Steakhouse and their former location decades ago, currently JR’s Bar, are being considered to be landmarks on the National Register of Historic Places. Annie’s Paramount Steak House is “one of the earliest LGBTQ friendly establishments in the District,” and the application filed by the D.C. Preservation League and prepared by EHT Traceries is an insightful quick read available at the Office of Planning site. I strongly recommend pages 12 through 23 which provides a history of Annie’s in D.C. and its impact in the neighborhood. The ramifications of having a property listed in the National Register of Historic Places is summarized by the Office of Planning (PDF)This application will be before the ANC 2B on Wednesday, December 9.

1600 Block of 16th Street NW
Some neighbors received an alert of of a stabbing on the 1600 Block of 16th Street NW on Sunday evening. I confirmed with Commander Stuart Emerman of the Metropolitan Police Department’s Third District that this notification was in error. An arrest has been made in a homicide on the 3100 Block of 16th Street, near Lamont Street. They apologize for any confusion.

1536 16th Street NW

The application by the Foundation to Support Animal Protection (PETA Foundation) on the corner of 16th and Q was withdrawn by the applicant. Most neighbors were non-oppositional to their request to seek a zoning special exception to allow lodging, understanding it would be just for their staff. PETA Foundation worked with the zoning administrator to determine their intended use – allowing staff to stay overnight – was within the existing zoning. Going this route without the special exception, the property will not allow “lodging” in the traditional sense and the property will not have the ability to operate like an inn, corporate housing, or small hotel, which was not their intent in the first place. Thank you to everyone who provided me feedback on this case. In the process and communication with them, they also volunteered to address a neighboring leaf blower concern.

1733 16th Street NW

Earlier this month, the Mayor’s Agent for Historic Preservation made a Decision and Order effectively concluding the battle created by the “Dupont East Civic Action Association” (DECAA) regarding the redevelopment of housing in the area behind the House of the Temple on 16th and S Streets. DECAA, the “association of neighbors formed to organize opposition to the Masonic development,” sued the Historic Preservation Review Board, the Office of Planning, and the Mayor; filed a landmarking application claiming the land behind the House of the Temple is a “landmark”; and waged in a multi-year misinformation campaign against the project, government officials, and Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners which included conspiracy theories and targeted harassment. In October, the majority of DECAA’s active board members resigned.

If you are interested in this project, please read the Mayor’s Agent Decision and Order as it provides a quick seven-page summary of the proceedings as well as how the Historic Preservation Office, Historic Preservation Review Board, the D.C. Preservation League, and the ANC (and it’s Zoning, Preservation, and Development Committee) understood the project to be compatible with the character of the historic landmark and the historic districts. It also is a snapshot of some of the limited confines and frustrations that commissioners such as myself had in influencing the project to be better for all of us as neighbors: outside of understanding the history of this land and knowing that subdividing the lot would revert it to almost exactly as it was historically, the project is still a by-right development.

Starting in the next few weeks, there will be some utility relocation work at 1733 16th Street NW. Full construction is anticipated to start in the second quarter of 2021.

16th Street Bus Lanes Project

Earlier this month, the Sunday Washington Post covered the 16th Street Bus Lanes Project. I was quoted as well as neighbor Ronnie Kweller. Reporter Luz Lazo has monitored this project for close to a decade and the article aligns solidly with how I understand the project and what I have heard from neighbors. DDOT informed the ANC 2B last week that construction will begin likely in January 2021. More information about the 16th Street Bus Lanes Project is at 16thstreetnwbus.com.

11 Dupont Circle

From the Dupont Circle Business Improvement District, a brief glimpse of what’s to come at 11 Dupont Circle. Their Public Space Application was supported by the ANC 2B in September.

Q Street NW at 20th Street NW

American University’s The Eagle profiles local artists involved with the temporary construction barricades around the Dupont Circle Metro.

Department of Parks and Recreation Survey

The D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation is seeking feedback determine the direction and priorities for its new Master Plan. Fill out the survey here: ready2playdc.com/citywide-survey

1725 Church Street NW
On this case, mentioned in the prior newsletter regarding a zoning special exception for a porch and stairs, received no oppositional feedback, the Applicants communicated well with neighbors, and the ANC 2B was supportive.

1328 16th Street NW

This concept as submitted to the Historic Preservation Review Board, mentioned in my prior newsletter, is regarding housing between First Baptist Church and the Drake (1600 Block of O Street), was before the ANC 2B in the context of historic preservation. There was no oppositional feedback, and the ANC 2B found it non-controversial.

2101 P St NW

Valley Brook was victim to a racist attack, which was reported by the Washington Post. This is one of my favorite tea shops in the area and I encourage people to try their tea and support them.

COVID Testing
If you haven’t received a COVID test from your health provider, this link contains information and a list of places where you can walk up and get one.

Support Our Local Establishments!
This is a reminder that our local merchants need our help. Please consider take-out from one of our restaurants in the coming days, get a tool or part you need from a local hardware store, or support local artists when gift giving this season from Shop Made in DC. Our local businesses keep our neighborhood alive and if you’re able to, please support locally.

Keep in touch! Like most of us, I will be staying at home (aside from a daily neighborhood walk) this Thanksgiving and spending time with friends and family over video chat. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions or comments about anything in the neighborhood! I’m happy to help.

Categories
ANC Newsletter s4xton.com

Voting Information, 16th Street Bus Lanes, Leaf Collection Update, and More…

Neighbors-

If you are one of the more than 235,000 D.C. residents who already voted, great! Skip to the next section!

If you haven’t voted, today might be the best day to vote! There are lingering sprinkles, but there are no wait times at the majority of Early Vote Centers across D.C. If you’re able to vote today, the nearest Early Vote Center for most of us is the Prince Hall Center for the Performing Arts on 11th and U and it is open until 7:00 p.m. If you still have your mail-in ballot, do not mail it. Drop it off at an Early Vote Center or at a drop box such as the one at Stead Recreation Center. Early Vote Centers are open tomorrow as well. If you are planning on voting on Tuesday, Election Day, the nearest vote center is Foundry United Methodist Church on 16th and P.

If you normally vote at 15th Street Presbyterian Church, do not go there! It is not a Vote Center this year. Go to Foundry United Methodist Church or any other Vote Center on Election Day, or go to any of the Early Vote Centers today or tomorrow.

If you are still making decisions on who to vote for, I linked to a some voter guides and endorsements (including my picks) in my prior newsletter

16th Street NW Bus Lanes

The 16th Street NW Bus Lanes Project, which has been in discussion for over a decade and has had years of public meetings, has finally reached final design and will start construction before the end of the year. You can view the final design plans (PDF)read a brief pamphlet (PDF), or hear a presentation from the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) at the upcoming ANC 2B meeting scheduled for Thursday, November 12 at 7:00 p.m. If you’d like to hear from DDOT early, they are also giving a presentation to the Adams Morgan ANC (ANC 1C) on November 4.

Zoning, Preservation, and Development Committee Items

There are three items before the ANC 2B this month that will also be before the Zoning Preservation and Development (ZPD) Committee on Wednesday, November 4, all of them within walking distance.

On 1536 16th Street NW, I have solicited and received much feedback; with 1725 Church Street NW the owner of the property is a life-long active member of the community who has already engaged with neighbors; with 1328 16th Street NW the adjacent properties are non-residential (businesses and embassies) with the exception of the Drake, which is on the same property (pictured above). An overview of 1328 16th Street NW was featured in Urban Turf.

If you have any interest of feedback on any of these cases, even if it’s neutral, please contact me at 2b04@anc.dc.gov or 612-747-2217.

16th and Corcoran

A few days ago, DDOT replaced the signs at 16th and Corcoran again. This intersection has frequently come up in conversations in the last two years and neighbors worked with me and DDOT to have a Traffic Safety Assessment conducted. If you see signs that are knocked down or in need of repair, report them to 311.

Vacuum Leaf Program

The Department of Public Works (DPW) today revised their leaf collection campaign and will no longer require paper bags. I believe leaf collection for most neighbors will be between November 16-21. Visit DPW’s Leaf Collection page for more details.

Connecticut Avenue Streetscape and Deck-Over Project

The presentation from the last ANC 2B meeting is available online, and includes a survey for feedback. Feedback is being accepted until November 6.

moveDC 2021 Update
If you want to chime in on the District’s long-term transportation plan, you can still fill out their survey.

1801 18th St NW

Photo by Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Pupatella was recently featured, glowingly, in the Washington PostRemember to support our local restaurants and merchants! They are a large part of why many of us live here and they need your patronage to stay alive. Many D.C. establishments are going into “pandemic winter hibernation.”

Upcoming Meetings
ANC 2B ZPD Committee: Wednesday, November 4, 7:00 p.m.
ANC 2B Meeting: Thursday, November 12, 7:00 p.m.

Keep in touch, and if you have any spare time, call a friend or neighbor and find out if they’ve voted yet. If they haven’t, help them get to the polls!

Categories
ANC Newsletter s4xton.com

Tracking Your Ballot and Voter Guides, Connecticut Deck-Over, and more…

Neighbors-

The election is afoot! The easiest way to submit your ballot is by mail or using the dropbox outside of Stead Recreational Center. If you did not receive your ballot, contact the Board of Elections. If you are not registered to vote, today’s the last day, or you can register in person at an Early Vote Center starting at the end of the month.

If there’s one link to check out, track your ballot using this official toolvotedc.ballottrax.net/voter

If you haven’t made up your mind on the races, there are a number of guides and endorsements:

Connecticut Avenue Streetscape and Deck-Over Project


At our next ANC 2B meeting, October 14 at 7 p.m., a presentation will be given by the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) regarding the streetscape of Connecticut Avenue and deck-over between Dupont Circle and Q Street. To get a sneak peek, the slides featuring the 65% Intermediate Design are online early!

1730 R St NW – Ross Elementary School

Construction has begun for an ADA-accessible elevator in the rear of Ross Elementary School. This is a project that the ANC supported last month and was recently approved by the Board of Zoning Adjustment. The special exception was regarding the rear yard requirements.

School Without Walls
Last week, veteran principal Richard Trogisch abruptly departed School Without Walls, and it was quickly met with significant protest from parents and students. The Washington Post’s Perry Stein covered the circumstances surrounding this sudden change, and the Washington Post’s Editorial Board amplified deep criticism around this departure. The ANC 2B will be considering a resolution demanding answers from our government on this issue, and a circulated draft resolution goes as far as to demand the principal’s reinstatement and is harshly critical of D.C. Public Schools’ leadership. If you have any feedback about this issue, please contact me.

1500-1700 H St NW – “John Lewis Way”

The D.C. Council has introduced legislation honoring the late Representative John Lewis by symbolically designating two blocks of H Street, along Lafayette Square, as “John Lewis Way.” The ANC 2B has an opportunity to weigh in on this, and it is anticipated we will unanimously support it. This location is near where he stood on Black Lives Matter Plaza a month prior to his passing this year.

1536 16th Street NW – PETA Foundation


On the corner of 16th and Q Streets, the Foundation to Support Animal Protection (FSAP), better known as the PETA Foundation, is seeking a zoning special exception regarding lodging, as they are renovating to provide space for up to 10 guests. Their intended use: “FSAP would like to offer some staff and business guests visiting its 1536 16th St. NW office free, temporary accommodations, to save on costs currently associated with providing them accommodations and to eliminate the need for them to travel between the office and where they would stay otherwise.” This is planned to be on the ANC’s agendas in November.

Public Health Emergency Extended through December 31
Earlier this month, the Mayor extended the Public Health Emergency. As always, the latest information is at coronavirus.dc.gov.

moveDC
The long-term transportation plan for the District is moveDC, and they recently announced they are updating it in 2021. If you’d like to chime in on the future of transportation in the District, please take their survey.

1617 17th St NW – Prego Again
Prego Again’s alcohol license is up for renewal. I do not see this as controversial and the ANC 2B will likely take “no action” on this item. With ABRA’s processes, “no action” generally implies neutral support and that the ANC doesn’t wish to interfere.

Meeting Notices
If you are not receiving notices about upcoming ANC 2B meetings, the best way is to subscribe to the ANC 2B mailing list. That is the only official mailing list from the ANC 2B. This newsletter you are currently reading and any other newsletter are created by individuals in their individual capacity, irrespective of the ANC’s schedule. If you are interested in knowing what is before the ANC, make sure you’re signed up!

Please let me know if you have any feedback or questions about anything. I’m available to you to chat about any neighborhood issue!

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ANC Newsletter s4xton.com

New Mailbox, Kappa Alpha Psi Way, a Candidate Forum, and more…

Neighbors,

I hope you are staying well and healthy.

2020 Voting Information
Earlier this week was National Voter Registration Day, and if you haven’t confirmed your registration, you can check your voter registration online or call the D.C. Board of Elections at (202) 727-2525. Expect to receive your ballot in the mail in the beginning of October. You can mail it back, or bring it to a ballot drop-off box. The closest drop-off location for most of us will be at Stead Recreation Center. In-person voting begins October 27 at these locations for those who do not return their mail-in ballot. (The DC Line posted links to all of the candidate websites, except for ANC races.)

Census
If you haven’t completed the census yet, do it this weekend before the deadline. Here’s a recent story on WAMU, highlighting ANC Commissioner Olivia Henderson in ANC 8D: Advocates Make Final Push To Involve Hard-To-Count D.C. Areas In The Census.

15th Street and Corcoran Street

A new mailbox! The previous mailbox at 15th and Corcoran was damaged and went missing at the beginning of June. Through the persistence and organizing of neighbors, namely Susan Volman on the west side of 15th and Evelyn Boyd Simmons with Logan Circle neighbors, it is now replaced. Efforts included USPS staff in D.C. and even some help from the office of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton.

1700 Block of S St NW – Kappa Alpha Psi Way

Last weekend, the 1700 Block of S St NW (between 17th and New Hampshire, along the S Street Dog Park) was formally dedicated to Kappa Alpha Psi. I was proud to join my colleagues on the Advisory Neighborhood Commission to formally support this honorary renaming, and Mayor Bowser joined in the ceremony last weekend.

ANC Candidate Forum
The Dupont Circle Citizens Association is hosting an online forum featuring Advisory Neighborhood Commission candidates in Dupont Circle on September 30 at 7:30 p.m. If you want to hear from all of the candidates, this is likely the only time to hear from them in the same forum. Free registration is required.

1726 20th St NW

Dupont Circle’s Emissary opened their newest location has opened in the former Filter Coffee location. This is a license the ANC supported in December 2019, and it’s great to see openings during a pandemic.

Temporary Pandemic Infrastructure
At least month’s ANC meeting, we formally supported temporary outdoor pandemic infrastructure for restaurants and local businesses “until 100% indoor occupancy is allowed by District guidelines.” This includes slow streets, sidewalk extensions, and “streateries.” We also requested waiving fees for tents and heaters, which as of this week is confirmed by the mayor’s office. The reimagining of street space during the pandemic has been critical to many of our restaurants and small businesses.

Stead Park Recreation Center

In part of the modernization of the Stead Park Recreation Center, a portion of it is being reviewed by the Historic Preservation Review Board. Thus, the ANC 2B also reviewed the Stead Park Recreation Center plans through the specific lens of historic preservation, and strongly supported the proposed design. The plans as they relate to historic preservation are available here, and the fuller body of presentations about the future of Stead Park can be viewed here.

1500-1600 Blocks of H St NW
There is proposed council legislation to symbolically designate a portion of H Street as “John Lewis Way.” It is anticipated to be on the ANC 2B’s agenda for October.

1221 Connecticut Ave NW
Dupont Circle’s Lucky Bar was profiled this week by the Washington Post, where soccer fans are raising money for the tavern.

Support Local Businesses!
This is a hard year in different ways for all of us. If you are able to, I strongly encourage you to support local businesses where you can. This week I ordered take out from Dupont Italian Kitchen, got delivery from Pizzeria Paradiso on P Street, picked up a tool from True Value On 17th, and had a coffee meeting a Mikko. I got my face masks from Shop Made in DC. Our local retailers depend on neighbors like you!

Have any questions about anything in the neighborhood? Keep in touch! 

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ANC Newsletter s4xton.com

S Street is a Slow Street, Pupatella Opens, “Streateries” Guidelines and More

Neighbors-

Hope you are all staying safe and healthy.

S Street NW between Massachusetts Avenue and New Jersey Avenue NW is now a Slow StreetPer the Mayor’s office, “Slow Streets are restricted to local traffic only and the speed limit is set at 15 miles per hour to support neighborhood-based safe social distancing while walking, running, or cycling.” During this time, S Street is not a through street for cars and trucks. Please feel free to use S Street NW as you please, at a safe distance!

Late this week, Pupatella opened on 18th and S St NW. The ANC 2B recently supported their stipulated license request for outdoor hours to 11 p.m., and midnight on weekends. I’m thankful that people are investing in our neighborhood through the pandemic, and I can attest the pizza is fantastic.


Temporary reconfiguration of street space: Washington Blade interviewed DDOT Director Jeff Marootian on “streateries” and the rainbow crosswalk at 17th and P, the Washington Post featured Dupont regarding the enforcement of guidelines during the pandemic, and the guidelines for outdoor space for restaurants and retail during the pandemic are in this 17-page PDF.

Many neighbors have interacted with Gracie in the last few months. Washington Blade covered recently: “Trans woman targeting gay bar patrons for assault: witnesses”.

311: A reminder that 311 is usually the best first stop on most government requests including street and sidewalk repair, trash removal, rat abatement, and removal of abandoned vehicles. It’s also the first stop for complaints including illegal signs, engine idling, for-hire driver reports, illegal parking, and more. Many District agencies use 311 cases as a metric to determine how many requests they receive and how quickly they are able to complete them, and I usually get better service using 311 opposed to trying to talk with someone at the agency directly. A few pro tips for 311:

  • Get an account and use the app or website: 311.dc.gov. Once you have an account, you can track your requests, and get emailed when they are responded to. You also can view a map of recent cases, such as the map above which shows 311 cases in our neighborhood for the last 30 days.
  • Email me at 2b04@anc.dc.gov with your 311 case number and situation if you are not getting a timely or expected response with a District agency. Depending on the situation, I can try to connect with some agencies, or at least give you a realistic opinion of what I think is going on. If I’m unable to connect you, I’ll refer you and your 311 case to one of our two Ward 2 representatives with the Mayor’s Office of Community Relations and Services or our councilmember’s constituent services.
  • If you prefer Twitter, @311DCgov is very responsive.

If you have not completed the 2020 Census, please do it ASAP. As of August 18, Ward 2’s response rate is under 60% and the National Self-Response Rate is 64%. The census impacts funding, ward and ANC boundaries, budgeting, and more. Make sure you’re counted!

The latest official information from D.C. regarding the pandemic is at coronavirus.dc.gov, including testing sites, travel guidance, and current restrictions and recommendations.

As always, keep in touch!

Aaron Landry
Commissioner, SMD 2B04
Secretary, ANC 2B
612-747-2217
Personal: aaron@s4xton.com
ANC: 2b04@anc.dc.gov
aaronlandry.com
@s4xton

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ANC Newsletter s4xton.com

Resolutions on 20th/21st & 17th passed, and an announcement from me

Neighbors,

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!


Aaron Landry
Commissioner, SMD 2B04
Secretary, ANC 2B
612-747-2217
Personal: aaron@s4xton.com
ANC: 2b04@anc.dc.gov
aaronlandry.com
@s4xton

Categories
ANC Newsletter s4xton.com

Special Bike Lanes Meeting, Stead Park Changes, Phase Two of the Reopening

Neighbors-

The ANC 2B is holding a meeting on June 30 with DDOT specific to the 20th and 21st Street NW Protected Bike Lane and the 17th Street Protected Bike Lanes. Both projects have been before the ANC 2B before, but DDOT has made significant updates to both plans since the last time they were before the ANC.

20th and 21st Streets NW


I am happy there is progress with the 20th and 21st Street NW Protected Bike Lane, but there is a very notable omission from DDOT’s latest plan: it does have a bike lane between Massachusetts and Connecticut. In other words, if you’re biking on R Street from 17th towards Foggy Bottom, once you get to Connecticut there is no logical safe way to get to the protected bike lane. And there isn’t a logical pathway for bicyclists connecting from Wards 1 and 3.

I understand there is complexities with a protected bike lane north of Massachusetts on 20th Street, but an alternative or proposed solution should exist. At first glance with this latest proposal, the safest route from 17th and R would be to go to 21st then south on 21st and not use the bike lane. Going northbound on 20th, once you reach Massachusetts, there is a gap to get to Q Street back to 17th. This protected connectivity was the number one concern you provided to me on this project. I’ll continue to advocate for this at the commission level. I am still open to using 21st Street for the entirety of this bikeway as it provides a more contiguous route, is safer for those coming from Wards 1 and 3, does not severely impact residential parking, and connects more properly with the bike lanes on Q and R. If the project stays on 20th Street, DDOT should provide a solution north of Massachusetts.

17th Street NW

My prior newsletter has background on this project. A number of questions have been raised between that newsletter and now:

Q: What about a shared street concept?

Many safe street advocates as well as some board members of the Dupont Circle Citizens Association have been floating the idea of converting 17th Street into a shared street where pedestrians and bicyclists can use the entirety of the street in either direction, and vehicles are limited by time of day, limited by vehicle type, and/or barriers and planters are placed in a manner that forces vehicles to navigate slowly around them. Think of the Wharf, or Eastern Market on weekends, or many city centres of European cities. There are a lot of different examples and implementations. While these concepts are appealing, and something I personally support and some businesses support, 17th Street is considered a minor arterial and some businesses on 17th Street continue to depend on regular vehicle parking throughout the day and for employees in the evenings. A shared street concept can also be at odds with the daily freight requirements 17th Street businesses need. Some key merchants on 17th have expressed outright opposition to the shared street concept.

I see the current proposal before us as step towards providing people more space and optimizing and slowing vehicle traffic while working to maintain many of the needs of businesses.

Q: What about parking and freight needs? There are a lot of trucks!

In DDOT’s plan, there are two lanes dedicated to parking, loading zones, and pickup and dropoff areas, and one lane dedicated to through traffic for cars and trucks. One of the needs is to accommodate the freight needs at peak times so the through vehicle lane isn’t blocked. The status quo effectively already has one lane of through traffic during weekday mornings as trucks block traffic lanes and the bike lane, so this is an effort to organize this chaos in a much safer and more coherent manner.

The temporary sidewalk extensions are also showing in real-time a way this can work: the eastern lane next to the temporary walkway is being used by loading and unloading and short-term parking while the western lane next to the bike lane is being used as a through lane.

Later this summer, after the feedback period, DDOT will be incorporating the feedback they received and following up with businesses to best match curbside programming to match the various needs. For example, they’re already aware of the specific parking, loading and unloading needs of True Value on 17th, and know that they need to fully understand the turning radius needs of trucks using the Safeway loading dock and situations where Safeway has more than one vehicle unloading. Those are just two of the needs identified they know they must solve, and they hope to learn more in this feedback process.

Q: What has the feedback been like so far from neighbors?

Almost everyone I talk to wants a more pedestrian- and bike-friendly 17th Street. Many support the project as-is and see it as a step in the right direction, especially after being told for years protected bike infrastructure was coming to 17th Street. Some would prefer no cars on 17th Street at all and have it closed off on weekends, at a minimum, to be bike and pedestrians only. Some want more of a shared street concept. There are two or three people I’m aware of who are more interested in having a fight! Thankfully, most everyone has been receptive, if not outright positive, and has a shared, mutual interest in making this work for all.

Q: What do businesses think (outside of the freight needs)?

In general, if a business benefits from having a more pedestrian traffic and having a bicyclist friendly environment instead of a street that prioritizes car traffic, this is great for them overall. Everyone wants a more revitalized 17th Street and having it be more attractive for people to walk and bike in helps. If a business depends more on people coming in by car or truck and parking on 17th Street to patronize the business, there are potentially more challenges. There’s a balance that needs to be struck.

Q: What are the next steps?

This week, provide me with your feedback at this email: 2b04@anc.dc.gov, or email your commissionerThis is, by far, the best way to have your thoughts, ideas, support, and concerns heard about this project and have them potentially integrated into a resolution by the ANC 2B. You can also call me: 612-747-2217. You can also email DDOT directly (17th20th/21st).

June 30The ANC 2B will have a meeting with DDOT and the public dedicated to the 20th and 21st Street Bike Lanes and the 17th Street. This is the meeting to attend if you want to hear directly from DDOT and to participate in a public meeting dedicated to this topic. No votes are expected to take place, but feedback will be taken by DDOT and the ANC 2B and time is being allocated for everyone to be heard who wants to participate in this way.

July 8: The ANC 2B’s regular meeting will have the 17th Street project on the agenda and potentially the 20th and 21st Streets project with the rest of its normal agenda items. It is anticipated the draft motion(s) created from the feedback received, including from the June 30 meeting, will be voted on, and then converted to a letter to DDOT.

Note that the ANC 2B does not make any decisions about the bike lanes, it is just feedback that by law must be taken by DDOT with “great weight,” which means they should agree with it or explain in writing why they don’t.

August 13:DDOT receives feedback directly on the 17th Street Bike Lanes project up to this date.

September 7DDOT receives feedback directly on the 20th and 21st Streets Bike Lanes Project up to this date.

Stead Park

On June 18, there was a Stead Recreation Center Community Meeting hosted by the Department of Parks and Recreation and Department of General Services, regarding upgrades to Stead Park. The slides have not been uploaded to the project site yet, but Commissioner Randy Downs captured them in a thread on Twitter, which provides a glimpse of the latest concept design. If you use Stead Park, bookmark the project site for updates (I anticipate the full slides will be available this week), and please take this survey being conducted by the Department of General Services: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/K8DRVGL

Phase Two
This morning begins “Phase Two” of the reopening, which includes different guidelines for restaurants, gyms, transit, public spaces, and more. The official guidance is here: https://coronavirus.dc.gov/phasetwo

Keep in touch!

Aaron Landry
Commissioner, SMD 2B04
Secretary, ANC 2B
612-747-2217
Personal: aaron@s4xton.com
ANC: 2b04@anc.dc.gov
aaronlandry.com
@s4xton

Categories
ANC Newsletter s4xton.com

17th Street Notice of Intent, Slow Streets, Changes at 1700 M St NW

Neighbors,

Hope you are staying safe and healthy.

The next ANC 2B Meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, July 8, and the next ANC 2B Zoning, Planning, and Development Committee Meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, July 1. Agendas for both meetings will be sent from the official mailing list.

17th Street NW

The District Department of Transportation has released a Notice of Intent for reconfiguring 17th Street. This project started, effectively, in 2017, where a traffic analysis was conducted and a draft plan for a two-way protected bike lane was drafted. There was a robust discussion about the future of 17th Street that ranged from opposing all changes to completely converting 17th into a Shared Street where pedestrians and bicyclists can use the street in any direction. And a number of different ideas and concerns in between.

The feedback the ANC 2B provided back to DDOT in 2018 highlighted over a dozen issues, the top including impact of deliveries for 17th Street merchants and restaurants, parking, and pickup and dropoff zones for taxis and ridehailing vehicles. While most neighbors who have talked with to me about 17th Street are supportive of better bicycle infrastructure and safer streets in general, there is a shared concern that the needs of our 17th Street merchants were not given appropriate weight in the 2017 plans. The plans did not account for the significant freight needs and some of the short-term opposed to long-term parking needs on the street. And since 2017, there has been a rise of people using ridehailing apps to be picked up and dropped off from our restaurants, and now especially through the pandemic, the rise of on-demand food delivery services.

There have also been other problems to address: multiple motorists each day go down 17th Street through Corcoran without seeing or otherwise acknowledging there are four stop signs. I’ve personally witnessed numerous near misses. I’ve seen crashes on 17th and Q Street. Drivers on P Street NW turn northbound on 17th Street frequently, against the flow of traffic. In some evening hours of the day, there are already more bicyclists traveling northbound than southbound. Some freight trucks require multiple lanes to appropriately back in and out of Safeway’s loading dock. Freight trucks block lanes daily because of insufficient loading zones.

Proposed 17th Street between Massachusetts Ave to New Hampshire Ave

The latest plans work towards balancing all of these needs of our street: safer pedestrian facilities by shortening crosswalks and making more pedestrian space at intersections; protected two-way bicycle infrastructure so it’s safe for all ages to bike; and prioritizes loading zones, freight delivery, and ridehailing pick-ups and drop-offs higher than long-term metered parking and unregulated parking during certain hours.

In its simplest form, it puts the bike lanes next to the curb, and puts the parking and loading zones inward from that, and creates one continuous through lane in the center. 

Personally, I feel DDOT has done good work on working towards those goals. However I believe there is room for improvement and discussion, and there have been some issues identified that likely need to change in the final plans. The ANC 2B’s role is to provide feedback to DDOT on their Notice of Intent. 

Please contact me if you want to voice support this project, have feedback or input that should be considered by the ANC, or want to discuss it further. It is anticipated that the ANC 2B will formalize feedback to DDOT in July, and the public input period ends August 13. Use my official email please: 2b04@anc.dc.govYou can also contact DDOT directly

19th Street NW
Earlier this week, the Mayor declared 19th Street from Dupont Circle to beyond Kalorama Park as a “Slow Street.” Speed limits are reduced, and car traffic is restricted to vehicles that need that street for up to two blocks only. The street will act more like a shared street with pedestrians and bicyclists to have more space. It is anticipated there will be more Slow Streets rolled out over the next 12 weeks.

Streateries

In efforts to help reopen restaurants while encouraging physical distancing during the pandemic, “streateries” are being launched. “Restaurants can apply to use expanded sidewalk space, alleys, parking lanes, and travel lanes for table seating.”

1700 M Street NW

Many of us walk past the empty lot across from the National Geographic building, and at this week’s ANC 2B meeting, the concept for 1700 M Street NW was presented, in the context of it going before the DDOT Public Space Committee. They are planning on maintaining at least 10 feet of sidewalk space, installing bike racks and trees, and their public space application meets the ANC’s Public Space Guidelines, and the ANC 2B supported this in the context of public space. If you would like the full presentation, please contact me.

Dupont Underground
Dupont Underground presented before the ANC 2B as they are applying for a Public Art Building Communities Grant from the D.C. Commission on Arts and Humanities. The ANC 2B supported this grant application, which in part, aims to revitalize the various stairways down to Dupont Underground, the former underground streetcar station beneath Dupont Circle.

As always, stay healthy, and keep in touch!

Categories
ANC Newsletter s4xton.com

17th Street News, “Phase One”: Lifting the Stay-at-Home Order, and More…

Neighbors-

I hope you are all staying well and healthy.

VOTE!

Primary voting is now open through June 2. If you have not voted yet, I urge you to please make a plan to vote. The nearest vote center to us is at 1000 U St NW (Prince Hall Center for the Performing Arts), but you can go to any of the 20 locations in D.C.

If you chose to do a mail-in ballot, you can check the status here. I received my Primary Ballot on May 1, and I received my Special Election ballot today, May 28 (pictured above). You can mail in your ballot or drop it off at a vote center.

If you are not registered to vote, you can register in-person.

If you any issues with voting, please contact the Board of Elections.

The Ward 2 council race directly impacts our local representation. Please let me know if you have any questions or if you’d like to share any opinions about the race.

17th Street NW
As most of you have noticed, the sidewalk extension plan has been implemented to give pedestrians more physical space. With the parking lanes converted for pedestrians, the eastern travel lane is effectively a short-term parking lane, with the western through lane situated to always have through traffic. Put another way, looking north, it is a lane for pedestrians, the bike lane, the through traffic lane, a short-term parking lane, and the other pedestrian lane.

While the overwhelming sentiment has been about pedestrianizing more the street, this is as far as DDOT is planning at this time. I am a staunch advocate for safer streets, more pedestrian space, less car traffic, and slower speeds, but I am also mindful of the unique needs of some of our local businesses. The short-term parking needs for True Value Hardware, as well as and pickup and drop-off areas needed for our restaurants is very important, especially during this time where they cannot have guests indoors. I’m a firm believer in making all modes of transportation work, prioritizing pedestrians first. If you have any feedback about this installation, please let me know. Thank you to all of the neighbors who have emailed or called me already regarding this.

DDOT is also planning on resurfacing 17th Street been P and R Streets beginning around Wednesday, June 3, which will include disruptions, and may temporarily remove all but one travel lane at times.

“Phase One”: Lifting the Stay-at-Home Order

Even though the Public Health Emergency will still be in effect, Phase One begins, loosening some restrictions. This is not reverting to pre-emergency activities, but a step within the Public Health Emergency. The full text is available at coronavirus.dc.gov, and here are some key notes:

(I won’t be at the barber for a bit yet – I am embracing my quarantine-inspired mostly-shaved head for now!)

For further reading:

ANC 2B’s Meetings

The ANC 2B conducted its May meetings online. Of note, we took no action on an application by Mikko to serve patrons at hours comparable to neighboring restaurants on 17th Street. “No action” effectively signals approval to the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration. Mikko did significant outreach with neighbors and the overwhelming feedback I received is that they are positive for the neighborhood and not disruptive. On three cases related to zoning and historic preservation, after lengthy discussion with applicants we generally supported:

  • 1416 15th Street NW – Application for a special exception from the maximum lot occupancy requirements to construct a two-story rear addition to an existing attached principal dwelling (BZA #20258) (2B05)
  • 2152 Florida Avenue NW – Concept / addition to multi-family building (HPRB #20-317) (2B02)
  • 1826 16th Street NW – Concept / two-story addition with roof deck at rear; new windows (HPRB #20-308) (2B09)

The upcoming ANC 2B meeting will be June 10, with a potential Zoning, Preservation, and Development committee on June 3 if there are cases to discuss. To get agendas directly from the ANC as soon as they are released, sign up here.

Stay healthy, and keep in touch!

Aaron Landry
Commissioner, SMD 2B04
Secretary, ANC 2B

P.S. Again, please vote – the last day is June 2!

Categories
ANC Newsletter s4xton.com

Mail-In Voting, 17th and Corcoran, Sidewalk Extensions, and More…

Neighbors-

I hope you are all staying safe and healthy during this time.

I first want to thank all of you who have contacted me and otherwise been helpful to the neighborhood in this last month. I appreciate all of the calls, ideas, feedback, suggestions, and reports. While the primary role of a Commissioner is to weigh in on cases related to zoning, alcohol licensing, public space, and such, I do enjoy helping neighbors navigate our government, and most the most rewarding part of this role is helping make connections with other neighbors. It has been heartwarming seeing and hearing all the ways you have been pitching in to help out during this crisis. Again, thank you.

Upcoming Meetings
The ANC 2B Zoning, Preservation, and Development (ZPD) Committee meets on May 6 at 7:00 p.m. The full ANC 2B will meet on Wednesday, May 13 at 7:00 p.m. Both meetings will be conducted via video conference. To receive agendas directly, sign up here. More on our upcoming meetings below.

COVID-19 Information
With all of the news, ideas, studies, articles, suggestions, email groups, and social media posts out there, the number one consistent source of information locally is coronavirus.dc.gov. As we all are navigating this crisis together, and sometimes have different opinions, and sometimes see inconsistencies with how some are interpreting guidance, I have been working to stick to what is provided at coronavirus.dc.gov.

Mail-In Voting

With the upcoming Primary Election on May 22 through June 2 and Ward 2 Special Election on June 16, all District officials are recommending voting by mail. I received one of the first ballots and have already voted in the Primary Election. While D.C. may not have a significant impact on national politics, our future Ward 2 council member will have a direct, lasting impact on local issues. Read more to request your mail-in ballot here: dcboe.org/Request-Your-Ballot-by-Mail

Many of you know I have made an endorsement in this race. If you’d like to chat or exchange opinions, please reach out on my personal accounts: aaron@s4xton.com, 612-747-2217, @s4xton.

2020 Census

Believe it or not, only about 52.7% of neighbors in our ward have completed the 2020 Census. This is lower than the national average. The census is incredibly important on making sure we are counted, and the funding we receive from the government is based on census data. If you haven’t completed it yet, visit dccensus2020.dc.gov.

17th St NW and Corcoran St NW
Thank you for your reports, questions, and suggestions involving the encampments on 17th and Corcoran. I have been relaying information and reports to the Department of Human Services, the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, and the Mayor’s Office either by phone call or email about once a week. I also periodically communicate with our Ward 2 liaison with Council Chair’s office and MPD. I understand that the District and its nonprofit partners are continually and regularly engaged with neighbors experiencing chronic homelessness, and the role I have taken in this is to make sure all relevant government officials and agencies are advised on neighborhood sentiment.

I have heard many ideas, suggestions, plans, stories, and feedback. Overwhelmingly, everyone wants to be safe and everyone wants our neighbors to have shelter and care.

Sidewalk Extension Plan

On April 20, Mayor Bowser announced the extension of sidewalks around essential businesses. A group extended the sidewalk in front of Agora and JR’s Bar, and the Mayor and DDOT are planning on more official ways to make more pedestrian space around businesses. I received a lot of feedback about this initiative, and I worked with Commissioners Downs and Cunningham near 17th and P as well as Commissioner Sampson near 18th and S to provide the Mayor and DDOT with a compendium of all of the requests from neighbors and businesses. The most requested location, which we highlighted, were the blocks with businesses on 17th Street, where people have had more difficulty traveling with sufficient space from others while patronizing our local groceries, pharmacies, and take-out food options.

I look forward to DDOT implementing additional pedestrian space.

Small Business Support
If you’re able and willing, I strongly recommend ordering take-out from our local businesses. In the last week I picked up donuts from Mikko, got dinner from Duke’s, and ordered pizza from Paradiso. One of the reasons we live here is the proximity and walkability to neighborhood establishments. Almost all of them are struggling. Some of them, like Sushi Taro, have already sadly fallen victim to this pandemic. Again, if you’re able to, I strongly recommend supporting our local economy where you can.

If you are a small business looking for more help, visit coronavirus.dc.gov/recovery-business, which is regularly updated. The U.S. Small Business Administration also has resources here.

Future ANC Meetings

On April 23, 2020, the ANC 2B held its first meeting remotely. As the vast majority of regulatory items have been delayed, there was essentially only one minor agenda item. The meeting in April was effectively a successful test to make sure we can conduct future meetings online through the duration of this crisis. If you’re not signed up to receive ANC 2B agendas, you can subscribe here.

Wednesday’s Zoning, Preservation, and Development Committee meeting, which works with applicants and neighbors in advance of full ANC meetings, meets tomorrow and will discuss these three projects:

  • 1416 15th Street NW – Application for a special exception from the maximum lot occupancy requirements to construct a two-story rear addition to an existing attached principal dwelling (BZA #20258) (2B05)
  • 2152 Florida Avenue NW – Concept / addition to multi-family building (HPRB #20-317) (2B02)
  • 1826 16th Street NW – Concept / two-story addition with roof deck at rear; new windows (HPRB #20-308) (2B09)

The draft agenda for the full ANC 2B meeting next Wednesday will be published likely tomorrow evening.

DC Water Main Replacement Project

DC Water is replacing some water mains to “help improve water quality and system reliability, increase water pressure in some areas, and maintain adequate flows throughout the system.” The areas impacted are in the above map and are expected to start at the 1400 block of T Street NW on Monday, May 11. This includes excavation of the street. If you need more information, I can connect you to DC Water directly.

Keep in touch, and stay healthy.

Aaron Landry
Commissioner, SMD 2B04
Secretary, ANC 2B

P.S. Again, info for COVID-19VotingCensus