ANC 6C Supports Interim Improvements to Florida Avenue

ANC 6C Report - July 2019

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Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6C voted unanimously to support interim safety improvements that will bridge the gap between current conditions until the final design of the Florida Avenue NE Multimodal Project is complete.

District Department of Transportation (DDOT) Transportation Engineer Emily Dalphy appeared both before the ANC’s Transportation and Public Space (TPS) Committee July 3 and the full ANC July 10. She described three different Notices of Intent (NOI) issued on July 3 for interim improvements:

  1. On Florida Ave. NE from Second Street to 14th Street, including a two-way bike facility on the south side of Florida Ave. from 2nd St. to West Virginia Ave. From West Virginia Ave. to 14th/H St., the roadway will become three travel lanes with one-way bike lanes on each side of the street.
  2. The conversion of Sixth Street NE between K Street and Florida Avenue into a one-way northbound route. One-way bike lanes will be added in each direction between K St. and M Street, protected by flex-posts and parking.
  3. Closing L Street and Ninth Street through traffic at the intersection of West Virginia Ave., Ninth Street and L Street (in ANC 6A)

Dalphy also provided details on the Florida Avenue NE improvements, noting that DDOT will install additional bike lane transitions and a bike box going westbound at West Virginia Avenue. In the long-term a bike signal will be included.

DDOT will build temporary bus islands on Florida Avenue west of West Virginia in the two-way cycle track, elevated from all sides so that bus passengers will be level with the sidewalk. East of West Virginia Avenue bikes will mix with buses.

Construction has already begun west of West Virginia Avenue and will hopefully be completed in early August. Construction on the east portion should begin early to mid-August and be completed by the end of September.

DDOT is also planning changes to traffic flow on Sixth Street, with construction on expected to begin in the fall, after work on Florida Avenue is completed.

Learn more about the Florida Avenue NE project by visiting https://ddot.dc.gov/page/florida-avenue-ne-streetscape

Commission Opposes Historic Designation of Folger Addition
Commissioners voted unanimously to oppose an application to include an historic designation of the Hartman-Cox addition to the Folger Shakespeare Library (201 East Capitol St. SE).

In March, the DC Preservation League (DCPL) submitted an application to the DC Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) to designate the addition as a historic Landmark. As the building sits in two ANCs, both parties appeared before ANC 6B the previous day.

The addition is at the rear, or south, of the Paul Philippe Cret building, the main marble building completed in 1932 and already a National Historic Site.

The landmarks committee of DCPL identifies structures or features that should be preserved and prepares nominations of buildings to submit to HPRB. While building owners are typically informed of the process, they do not have to agree.

At the meeting, Folger Director Michael Witmore said that Folger respectfully opposed the historic application. Witmore said that while the Folger had no plans to demolish the addition, any future expansion that would allow the library to remain in the Cret building would have to take place along the south side of the site, where the addition is located.

The Folger library has prepared an Historic Preservation Application (HPA) for interior renovations to the addition if the DCPL nomination is approved. The renovation would include no permanent changes to the interior.

DCPL Outreach and Grants Manager Jacqueline Drayer argued that the design meets the threshold for historical designation in four areas, including merits of history, artistry, architecture and urbanism, as well as being the work of a master, adding that there is no age requirement for the District Register.

Commissioner Joel Kelty (6C05), who is a trained architect, said that the addition does not yet rise to the level of historic designation, adding that he felt that the building was subject to sufficient oversight due to its location, putting it under the purview of the Federal Commission on Fine Arts (CFA) which reviews design changes affecting the dignity of the nation’s capital.

In their letter, ANC 6C noted that if the nomination was nonetheless accepted it would support a historic application for interior renovations to the space prepared by Folger.

Opposition to Council Scooter Bill
Commissioners voted 4-1 (with one abstention) to support the TPS Committee recommendation to oppose the Electric Mobility Act, introduced by Councilmember Mary Cheh (Ward 3-D), by a vote of 4-1, with one abstention. The TPS Committee said that the bill “addresses the wrong problem and takes the wrong approach.”

The legislation attempts to regulate scooter use in the District by instituting speed limits for scooters, requiring photo identification be scanned prior to scooter use, and mandating that scooters be removed from the public right-of-way after 10 p.m.

Questioning how these regulations would be implemented and enforced, many commissioners agreed with the TPS Committee that the bill does nothing to address the real problems with transportation in DC, namely cars, and that the bill is a poor use of time. Others, such as Commissioner Christine Healey (6C01), said that the Council was free to regulate matters as it saw fit and scooters were one such matter.

The Commission also voted to meet with a contingent from the office of Councilmember Charles Allen (Ward 6-D) to discuss concerns with the bill and the problem of cars in the District.

Vision Zero Omnibus Bill
The commission voted to support the Vision Zero Omnibus bill, introduced May 7 by Councilmember Charles Allen (Ward 6-D). The bill includes multiple provisions, including for a pilot citizen parking enforcement program, requires a report detailing the safety of construction vehicles on projects involving 10 or more units, as well as requiring a ten-day notice for high-risk intersections.

Commissioners largely supported the bill as recommended by the TPS Committee, writing a letter supporting the bill, but arguing among other things that more than ten days’ notice was necessary to involve community in road design discussions. On the pilot program, the letter recommended that DDOT find a flexible mechanism, such as an app, through which to issue citations, and that participants be monitored and selected by a method other than a lottery.

Other Business
The ANC voted to:

  • Oppose an HPA for concept designs for the modernization of Logan School (215 G St. NE) on the basis of insufficient quality and extent of the information regarding façade treatments, and where and how the design deals with recycling and trash. The ANC will withhold the letter of objection if the applicant postpones the HPRB hearing from July 25 to September, to allow for a second committee hearing
  • Support a modification of consequence to a Planned Unit Development (PUD) at 501 H St. NE to permit office use on the second floor and authorize installation of four glass windows as well as modifications to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding parking and prohibitions on use of Visitor Parking Permits and Residential Parking Permits. Support is conditional on the satisfactory execution of the MOU.
  • Support an application for a modification of consequence for a PUD at Capitol Crossing Center (between E Street and Massachusetts Avenue NW and Second and Third Streets NW) for the center block. Originally designated for ground-level retail, applicant wants to expand uses to include office, hotel and educational institutions in order to permit leeway in planning and financing. Applicant will return to the ANC after determining to which use they will commit.
  • Write a letter to DDOT requesting an update on safety improvements to the H Street corridor, noting that it has been one year since Malik Habib was struck and killed while riding his bicycle at H & Third St. NE. DDOT had proposed the addition of flanges on the streetcar tracks but no updates have been reported. The letter will also note that the improvements at the site of the accident were poorly thought out and not properly noticed to the ANC
  • Write a letter to the Zoning Administrator alerting him to the impermissible commercial use of the residentially-zoned property at 224 C St. NE by a direct-mail firm based in Virginia
  • Support a Public Space application from Junction Bistro (238 Massachusetts Ave. NE) for an unenclosed sidewalk café largely along Third Street, including 12 tables with 24 seats
  • Oppose liquor license applications from Rice Bar (625 H St. NE) and Red Boat (500 H St. NE) in order to negotiate a Settlement Agreement (SA) with each
  • Support a Historic Preservation Application (HPA) for a three-story rear addition at 616 D St. NE with the caveat that the updated plans be filed to correct inconsistencies

 

All six members of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6C were present at the July 10th meeting: Christine Healey (Secretary, 6C01), Karen Wirt (Chair, 6C02), Jay Adelstein (6C03), Mark Eckenwiler (Vice-Chair, 6C04), Joel Kelty (6C05, Treasurer) and Drew Courtney (6C06).

ANCs do not meet in August. ANC 6C meets at 7:00 p.m. on the second Wednesday of every other month in the ground floor conference room at the Heritage Foundation (214 Massachusetts Ave. NE).  The next meeting of ANC 6C will take place at 7 p.m. Wednesday, September 11th. Learn more at anc6c.org.