ANC 6C to Union Station: Reduce Planned Parking

ANC 6C Report

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Five members of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6C were present at the March 10 meeting: Christine Healey (6C01, secretary), Karen Wirt (6C02, chair), Jay Adelstein (6C03), Mark Eckenwiler (6C04, vice chair) and Joel Kelty (6C05, treasurer). Drew Courtney (6C06) was absent.

ANC 6C Has Second Highest Number of 311 Requests
Office of Unified Communications (OUC) 311 Operations Manager Marcellus Walker Jr. appeared at the meeting to report on ANC statistics. OUC houses 911 and 311 services, and Walker said that ANC 6C had the second-highest number of service requests per ANC for the calendar year, at 3,241 service requests. The top five concerns were residential parking violations, bulk collection, parking enforcements, Christmas tree collection and parking meter service.

Walker also discussed some new initiatives, including the non-emergency line at 311, option 1. The operator answering that line is familiar with emergency services and can put you in contact with the correct personnel on a non-emergency basis. The system also upgraded the customer-management system last summer in order to communicate more effectively with residents via 311.dc.gov or the DC311 App to monitor service requests. You can also text MENU to 32311 to conduct service requests via instant text message, or tweet @DC311 for assistance.

Request Reduction Union Station Planned Parking
The commissioners voted to submit a letter to the Union Station Redevelopment Corporation (USRC), asking it to reduce the number of parking spaces in the proposed above-ground lot and Union station, and to consider the flow of pick-up and drop-off zones as well as commercial loading. At a recent meeting with the ANC 6C Transportation Public Space (TPS) Committee about the Union Station expansion and Burnham Place projects, representatives from USRC and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) appeared; TPS Chair Christy Kwan said that no new information was presented.

However, public concern remains regarding the USRC preferred design. That plan, called “Deferred Alternative A-C,” has an above-ground structure allowing for 1,575 parking spaces on six levels. The committee emphasized accessibility for cyclists and pedestrians and traffic flow, as people travel from H Street NE. Representatives from the USRC development team told the Public Space Committee (PSC) that they understood that a resolution made by the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) at its January meeting did not require the USRC to reduce the number of parking spaces, but rather to work with the District to determine the correct amount.

Consent Calendar
The commissioners supported the following on consent:

  • The TPS Committee recommended support for a request for resident permit parking (RPP) for the blocks near Union Station, the Capitol Building and a local church. Commissioners and residents nominated blocks based on the scarcity of parking near these high-demand sites. The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) must conduct studies for the chosen locations, which include the 200 and 300 blocks of E Street, the 200 and 300 blocks of F Street, the 500 block of Second Street, the 400, 500 and 600 blocks of Third Street and some blocks on A Street and Maryland Avenue NE.
  • An application from Streets Market (51 M St. NE) for a 40-seat unenclosed sidewalk cafe with 10 tables, four of which are ADA accessible stools. The letter also asks that backs should be considered for some of the seating. Proposed hours of operation are 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days a week. Customers bring food outside to eat, and alcohol will not be permitted.
  • An historic preservation application (HPA) at 630 C St. NE for concept approval to construct a rear addition and a two-story carriage house. There was some discussion in the Planning, Zoning and Economic Development (PZE) Committee about whether a window facing a public alley met emergency exit requirements, and revisions were later made to address this.
  • To oppose an HPA for 645 Lexington Place NE to demolish a garage and construct a three-story rear addition and new front steps, saying the application was deficient, lacking, for instance, a section drawing despite plans to raise the roof, and having no indication of exterior construction materials.

Other Business
The ANC voted to:

  • Send a letter of support for the concept for a public space application at 20 Massachusetts Ave. NW as part of the redevelopment of an existing eight-story office building into a mixed-use hotel, office and retail. Public space elements include 17 bike racks, planters, tree spacing and 22 trees, two new curb cuts for a proposed circular hotel driveway on Massachusetts Avenue and some building projections. The letter emphasizes that while the driveway is wide enough to accommodate two travel lanes, there is concern that cars waiting in the drive will block public sidewalks. The letter also suggests installation of a sign telling drivers not to block sidewalks.
  • Submit a letter to the president and CEO of the USRC, calling attention to the disrepair of entryways at the south and west entries to Union Station. The letter asks for specifics of and schedule for repair, and requests assurance that entryways comply with ADA requirements. Four of nine entrances on the south side of the landmarked building are now blocked off, said Eckenwiler, who proposed the letter.
  • Support a Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) application, by a vote of 4-1-0, to permit a special exception at 22 M St. NE, under the downtown use requirements, to permit an animal care and boarding use on the ground floor of an existing mixed-use building in the D-5 zone. The letter is conditional on the applicant installing noise mitigation measures, and also notes that it is unclear under Board of Zoning regulations what is specifically permitted for an animal boarding establishment.
  • Support a letter of support for the Capitol Hill Classic, tentatively scheduled for May 17. Roberta Stewart said that it was unclear if the event would take place in May or be rescheduled for October or cancelled for the year. The proposed course remains unchanged, and the Clear Routes Initiative, requiring all cars on the course to be removed, would be in force.

ANC 6C usually meets at 7 p.m. on the second Wednesday of every month (except August) in the ground floor conference room at the Heritage Foundation (214 Massachusetts Ave. NE).

The next meeting of ANC 6C was scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 7, but has been cancelled, as have all committee meetings, owing to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The DC Council passed emergency legislation on March 17 enabling ANCs to meet virtually or not at all during the public health emergency. ANC 6C is working on virtual meeting solutions for May. For the most up-to-date information, visit www.anc6c.org.