ANC Supports Permanent Bike Lanes Around Capitol Grounds

ANC 6C Report

162

At their July 14th meeting, Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6C voted unanimously to support a letter to the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) requesting the agency prioritize  permanent—not temporary—bike lanes on Constitution and Independence Avenues, noting that these are noted in the District’s long-range transportation plan.

Commissioners argued that safe passage is critical between downtown and the Capitol Hill neighborhood. One member of the ANC Transportation Public Space (TPS) committee also pointed out that the grounds often close for various reasons linked to security. With access to and across the grounds not guaranteed, a request for bike lanes that would remain permanently open would assure safe transit for residents.

Commissioners will work with members of other ANCs adjacent to the Capitol Complex to formulate the letter, including ANC 6A, which brought the concern to the attention of the commission.

Parking Restrictions Near Capitol Hill Montessori
Commissioners voted unanimously to support a notice of intent from DDOT for modifications to drop-off and pickup areas surrounding Capitol Hill Montessori at Logan (CHML, 215 G St. NE). The modifications came out of discussions between the ANC as represented by Mark Eckenwiler (6C04) with both DDOT and DC Public Schools (DCPS), after issues were raised in 2019 with pickup and drop-off at shuttle buses used during construction on the school.

The restrictions include:

  • G Street: No parking on school days between 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, with 10-minute drop-off/pick up from 7a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and from 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
  • Second Street: No parking on school days between 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, with 10-minute drop-off/pick up from 7 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and from 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
  • Third Street: No parking on school days from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. This is a switch back to the restrictions in place before the school was under construction.

One CHML parent noted that these modifications were made without parental consultation, and asked why Third Street was not being utilized for parking. Eckenwiler said that it was not clear if the ban on parking on Third Street was related to fire code but did not rule out additional discussion about the use of Third Street for parking in the future if raised by DDOT.

Eckenwiler said that while regulations are in the works to create street school parking zones for staff use, these are not yet in place. He committed to representing the ANC in those discussions at that time.

Oppose Curbside Loading Zone
The ANC voted to oppose a Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) application for special exception from minimum loading berth requirements and penthouse height restrictions for a new 14-story apartment building with penthouse at 7 New York Ave. NE.

The commission opposed largely because of a lack of details about the loading zone, including size, demand and restrictions.

The site is a narrow triangular lot, and the applicant argued that a required loading bay is not feasible and proposed curbside loading instead. The commission encouraged the applicant to examine the feasibility of pull-through loading, entering on N Street and exiting on New York Avenue.

While the applicant indicated they may reappear with changes at the September meeting of the ANC, commissioners supported the letter in order to get a statement of concern on record before the current hearing date before the Zoning Commission, currently slated for Sept. 22.

The Committee Voted to Support:

  • a request for a substantial change to an existing license for King Street Oyster Bar (22 M St. NE). Due to what was characterized by ABC Committee Chair Steve O’Neall as a clerical error, the applicant initially applied for a Class D license, which permits sales of wine and beer only, rather than a class C license, which also permits the sale of spirits.
  • with conditions, a BZA application from JBG Smith for special exceptions at 55-75 New York Avenue, to allow for animal boarding on the ground floor and to permit a nightclub, bar or restaurant in the penthouse. The address is a new mixed-use building. The support was conditional on the absence of noise amplification on the penthouse terrace. The ANC expressed no concern about the animal boarding use.
  • a conceptual public space application for a proposed bridge over the alley between Georgetown’s existing Law Center and the McCourt School of Public Policy (roughly Second at E Street NW). Georgetown University owns the entire bloc. The alley is largely service use, with an entry to a faculty parking garage. The bridge will be about 15 feet high, widening from 32 to 38 feet and incorporating stormwater plantings along the side.
  • a letter opposing a public space application for streetscape work unless revisions are made at 1133 North Capitol St. NE. This is outside a new residential building (the former site of the DC Housing Authority.) Commissioners felt the current plans do not add to the public realm and do not address concerns of safety and livability along North Capitol Street. In particular, the letter requests additional public seating, bike racks and art, which will assist in neighborhood efforts to transform the street into a walkable and safe corridor.
  • two letters regarding a putative application to park in public space outside the Capitol Hill Pregnancy Center (713 Maryland Ave. NE). One letter, to the Department of Public Works (DPW) requests parking enforcement; the second, to District Department of Transportation, requests they close curb cuts that were improperly installed as part of the Maryland Avenue Streetscape Project.
  • a supplement to a BZA application to allow required affordable housing units at Senate Square (220 H St. NE) to be rented rather than sold. ANC 6C first supported the request in May, but the Zoning Commission subsequently asked the applicant to respond to a request on the feasibility of reducing affordability in rentals on the site from 80 percent to 60 percent Median Family Income (MFI). The applicant said a change to MFI would have an adverse impact on property collateral and so on property underwriting.
  • a letter to DDOT in support of a Notice of Intent (NOI) to covert to “no right turn on red light” at North Capitol Street and Massachusetts Avenue NE, but to include the following statements: (1) DDOT should ban no right turn on reds; (2) DDOT should explore additional automated traffic enforcement; and (3) oppose DDOT’s practice of doing work before the comment period ends, as work is proposed to begin in late July or early August, but comments close in September.
  • a letter to DDOT recommending the installation of speed humps on Fifth Street NE.
  • resending a March 2020 letter to DPW in regard to a request to examine a short list of blocks for resident-only parking permits (RPP) in the ANC.
  • appointing former Environment, Parks and Events (EPE) Committee Chair Joe McCann to the at-large seat on the committee, which was recently vacated when that member moved out of the bounds of the ANC.

The following ANC 6C commissioners were present at the July 10th meeting: Christine Healey (Secretary, 6C01), Karen Wirt (Chair, 6C02), Jay Adelstein (6C03), Mark Eckenwiler (Vice-Chair, 6C04) and Drew Courtney (6C06). Joel Kelty ((6C05), Treasurer) was not present but shared views and positions with the commission prior to the meeting.

ANC 6C generally meets on the second Wednesday of the month. NOTE: There are no meetings in August. The next meeting of ANC 6C is scheduled for a Thursday, 7 p.m. Sept. 9, as Rosh Hashanah ends at sundown Wednesday.

ANC 6C is meeting via Webex during the public health emergency until at least September 2021. For the most up-to-date information and links to join meetings of the ANC and its committees, visit anc6c.org.