Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6C met Wednesday May 11 via WebEx. Commissioners Christine Healey (6C01), Karen Wirt, Chair (6C02), Jay Adelstein (6C03), Mark Eckenwiler (6C04), Joel Kelty (6C05) and Drew Courtney (6C06) attended the meeting.
Traffic safety issues across the ANC prompted commissioners to vote unanimously to send a letter to the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) regarding Second Street, Fourth Street and Sixth Streets NE to request a traffic safety investigation. The ANC Transportation and Public Space (TPS) Committee recommended that these streets be investigated for traffic safety related issues and traffic calming measures beyond the further installation of speed humps.
Commissioners agreed that the objective of the letter is safety on the streets. Commissioner Drew Courtney (6C06) said that speed humps need not be ruled out, but that alternatives need to be explored.
“I didn’t think we were going to say no speed humps, but we’re going to try to be really clear that you need to think beyond speed humps,” Courtney said.
Commissioner Joel Kelty (6C05) expressed frustration with the number of speed humps being implemented emphasizing that it appears to not solve the traffic issues nor is it “the best stewardship of the taxpayer dollar.”
“It wasn’t that I’m opposed to speed humps, it’s that I’m opposed to DDOT purporting to do an engineering analysis, refusing to share the analysis, refusing to share the data and then just saying the speed humps are the only solution,” Kelty said. “There are a lot of different things that could be done: additional stop signs, speed cameras, speed tables, there are a lot of different things in the toolbox.”
Eckenwiler proposed adding Second Street to the motion.
“If the focus is on Fourth and Sixth and doing things there, then if certain measures get taken, that’s just going to push more traffic over on the second street and make things worse,” Eckenwiler said. “I really think all three of these streets need to be looked at in combination, because they do serve fairly similar functions.”
Adelstein and Courtney expressed concern about adding Second Street and the potential for overwhelming DDOT with this request.
As proposed, the motion referenced only Fourth and Sixth Streets.
Commotion on H Street
Commissioner Kelty addressed concerns about drug dealing in the H Street corridor (between Sixth and Eighth Street) as several community members attended the meeting to raise concerns about observed drug activity in alleys near their homes.
“I think part of this has to do with the decriminalization of marijuana and the popping up of numerous weed shops on H Street,” Kelty said in response to the public comments. “My personal observation is that H Street NE has become the de facto mecca for illegal weed sales in the District, and, as a result, people who are not running the weed shops but are street dealers know that there are people coming to our neighborhood to purchase marijuana and other things that are sold there.”
Kelty encouraged residents to report all observed incidents to the police, and to take advantage of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) camera rebate program that will reimburse residents up to $500 for home security camera installation.
One resident emphasized a need for greater response from MPD regarding resident concerns and a greater police presence in the area in general.
“I think the additional police presence will be helpful,” Nicholas said. “I call 911 and stuff in the past, and they don’t really bother to ever come unless like one time somebody went crazy and started tearing down fences and things like that. They came then.”
Several residents of the H Street corridor also expressed concern about trash in the alleys. Commissioner Kelty spoke about wanting to organize an alley clean up for the neighborhood.
Another resident, Alana, said she is concerned about the uptick in both drug use and trash around the area where many people have children and pets.
- The Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) Committee chair Steve O’Neal shared the alcohol license renewals without objection from the committee including:
- Hilton Washington (525 New Jersey NW)
- Café Fili (701 Seventh St NE)
- Shake Shack (50 Massachusetts Ave. NE)
- Whole Foods (600 H St NE), Fare Well (406 H St. NE)
- Streets Market (51 M St. NE)
- Uncle Kenney’s Smokehouse (732 Maryland Ave. NE)
- Nostra Cucina (320 D St. NE)
- Hotel George/Bis (15 E St. NW)
- Ethiopic (401 H St. NE)
- Pho Viet USA (333 H St. NE)
- The Monocle (107 D St. NE)
- Le Grenier (502 H St. NE)
- Charlie Palmer Steak (101 Constitution Ave. NW); and
- 116 Club (234 Third St NE).
- The commission discussed a planned urban development (PUD) at 301 Florida Ave. NE, but no vote was taken. Plans include a 12-story mixed-use building with 115 dwelling units, all affordable to income levels at or below 50% area median income (AMI) and with approximately 3,000 square feet of ground-level space for nonresidential use.
The commission voted unanimously to:
- Oppose the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) application at 420 Fourth St NE) of a proposal to build a garage that will take up the entire backyard. Eckenwiler said it does not meet variance standards as neither the property nor the owner are operating in unique circumstance.
- Support the HPA application of Hillsdale College (227-229 Massachusetts Ave NE) for changes to a previously reviewed proposal for the addition of a fourth floor and changes to the front facades of the plaza. The commission voted to continue to unanimously oppose the removal of three sets of iron stairs going up to the building.
- Support a DDOT public space construction permit at 1147 Third Street NE for the installation of fencing and an ADA compliant hand railing.
- Support the DDOT construction permit at (1133 North Capitol St NE).
- Request that ANC Transportation Public Space (TPS) Committee chair Michael Upright reach out to the World Mission Church of God (700 A St NE) regarding a fencing installation that has drawn questions from neighbors. Upright said he is not sure if this is a public space item and will do more research regarding the installation.
ANC 6C will meet next on June 8 at 7 p.m. via WebEx. You can register to attend the meeting and read more about the commission here.
Sarah Payne is a general assignment reporter at Capital Community News. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.