Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6D met on May 14. Commissioners Meredith Fascett (6D07, chair), Cara Shockley (6D02), Gail Fast (6D01, secretary), Andy Litsky (6D04, vice chair), Roger Moffatt (6D05) and Rhonda N. Hamilton (6D06) were on the dais. Ronald Collins (6D03, treasurer) was absent.
You Can’t Get There from Here
Representatives from the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) presented the agency’s 2018 traffic plans for Nationals Stadium: 81 games are planned with a maximum stadium capacity of 41,000 fans per game.
Three factors impact the plan: the rise of Lyft and Uber services, the decrease in surface parking and the subsequent increase in residential population due to rapid real estate development. Residents and hotel occupants require game-day vehicular access.
To mitigate the stadium’s adverse impact, DDOT is encouraging multimodal travel, managing stadium traffic to minimize impacts on commuters and residents, enhancing safety monitoring at intersections, increasing enforcement and coordinating the stakeholders. Unfortunately, the agency faces significant resource constraints in its efforts, representatives stated. The key, they said, is maximizing public space for pedestrians, controlling intersections with traffic control officers (TCO) and electronic signal management and enforcing curbside restrictions.
DDOT is working with Lyft and Uber to restrict the pickup and dropoff points, particularly on M Street SE and South Capitol Street. DDOT can control signals in real time from its traffic command center. The department plans to impose turn restrictions to enhance traffic flow and pedestrian safety. Dock 79 residents will receive special game-day access passes.
DDOT has two levels of deployment, base and enhanced. Which is chosen is largely a function of the game’s start time, whether weekday or weekend, and the ballpark’s projected attendance. Under the base deployment, 19 intersections will have TCOs. In an enhanced situation, 27 will have TCOs. Six new TCO locations have been added this year. Two locations have been moved from enhanced to base deployment.
Commissioners and attendees requested the addition of TCOs along Third Street SE, particularly at its intersection with L Street near Van Ness Elementary School. Commissioner Hamilton expressed concern that there be enough coverage to protect teenagers returning in the afternoon for summer camps.
To the consternation of the commissioners, DDOT representatives stated that there would be games at both the baseball and soccer stadiums on July 14 (All Star Week and Audi Stadium Opening), Aug. 19 and Sept. 2. The games will be scheduled at different times, afternoon and evening. The traffic plan for Audi Stadium has yet to be finalized, stated the DDOT representative. All three dates are Sundays, which would minimize traffic disruption. The road network, DDOT has concluded, cannot handle two stadiums hosting games simultaneously.
The announcement of the Sunday games caused consternation at the meeting. One community member pointed out that the DC Department of Public Works (DPW) does not enforce residential parking restrictions on Sunday. Moreover, he continued, spacing the games out simply increased the length of the period of disruption.
“DPW is at the table,” responded the DDOT representative.
“I don’t care if they are at the table, under the table or dancing on top of the table! There is no Sunday curbside enforcement,” the attendee responded.
DDOT’s representatives refused to answer questions related to the traffic plan for All Star Week because the Mayor’s Office was handling all communications on the subject.
“We just can’t be told. We have input to provide,” replied Chair Fascett tartly. Litsky added, “This is on the mayor to get information to this community.”
New DDOT Headquarters Planned
Representatives of WC Smith briefed the commission on plans for 250 M St. SE. This parcel, now vacant, sits just to the east of Canal Park. It was the subject of a 2008 planned unit development (PUD) for an office building that has had eight extensions. DDOT has now agreed to move its headquarters to the site. The structure is being reduced by two floors, with three levels of underground parking envisioned as opposed to the four originally planned.
The developers plan to ask for the commission’s support in June and hope to get Zoning Commission approval by the end of the summer. They plan to complete permitting by year’s end and break ground in January 2020. The building would be ready for occupation in February 2021. The site will have corner retail and a ground-floor DDOT store.
Commissioners were concerned about the impact on nearby residential parking. DDOT headquarters is now housed at 50 M St. SE. That building has 135 parking spaces; 177 are proposed for the new office. The relocation is unlikely to impact existing commuting patterns, the developer stated. The structure will be LEED silver.
Litsky gave an update on negotiations with Forest City over the development of 325 and 425 M St. SW, the last two parcels in the Waterfront planned unit development (PUD). There is no date set yet for the Zoning Commission hearing. The developer and commissioners are negotiating on arrangements for a community center. An interim director has been selected.
Lt. Marquis Queen, of the Metropolitan Police Department First District, Sector 3, stated that while there had been a slight uptick in violent crime in April from none (March) to two incidents, May has been quiet to date. Fascett commended the police on their response to a recent incident at the senior building in her single member district.
The commissioners voted unanimously to:
- approve the April minutes;
- approve an amendment to District Hardware’s (730 Maine Ave. SW) liquor license and community agreement, expanding the hours of service;
- send letters to the Alcohol Beverage Administration and the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, concerning pedestrian and vehicular traffic at The Wharf, involving differences between community agreements, board orders and licenses;
- send a letter to DDOT regarding the agency’s recent report on vibrations caused by trains in CSX’s Virginia Avenue tunnel, asking that recommendations on the reduction of train speed be implemented;
- send a letter to DDOT complaining about the dust and pollution created by truck traffic on Buzzard Point;
- send a letter to DDOT opposing plans to close all sidewalks adjoining 49 L St. SE during construction;
- send a request to DDOT to change end time, on the green residential parking permit (RPP) signs on G Street SW between Seventh and Ninth streets, to midnight;
- request DDOT to post RPP signs on the south side of M Street SW between Fourth and Sixth streets along with a sign banning buses;
- approve the quarterly treasurer’s report.
The next ANC 6D meeting will be held on June 11 at 7 p.m. at 1100 Fourth St. SW. Visit www.anc6d.org/ for more information.