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Talking Transportation –or Not– with ANC 6D

Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6D (ANC 6D) met on June 13 on Zoom. Commissioners Marjorie Lightman (6D01), Jared Weiss (6D02, secretary), Ronald Collins (6D03, treasurer), Andy Litsky (6D04), Fredrica (Rikki) Kramer (6D05, vice chair), Rhonda Hamilton (6D06) and Edward Daniels (6D07, chair) were in attendance.

DC Department of Transportation (DDOT) Community Engagement Manager Kelly Jeong-Olsen and DDOT Bike Program Specialist Will Handsfield briefed the commissioners on the agency’s plans for protected bike lanes on I Street SW between South Capitol and Seventh streets; and analogous plans for the section of M Street SE between 11th and South Capitol streets. The agency had not furnished the slides ahead of time to the commissioners. After technical glitches, Handsfield took over the presentation starting with the M Street plans, but the presentation was difficult to follow. The slides were too small and detailed to absorb, especially given their rapid presentation.

Sensing the mounting frustration of fellow commissioners, Daniels cut off the presentation. DDOT, he pointed out, had failed to appear when scheduled at the last commission meeting, without explanation or apology. Nor had the agency made the presentation available ahead of time to give commissioners a chance to frame comments.

Daniels reiterated the commissions’ general support for protected bike lanes. However, he pointed out the difficulties they had created on First Street SE, where the installation had narrowed the road and snarled traffic, with idling delivery vehicles and cars parking on both sides of the protected lane. DDOT, he emphasized, needed to carefully consult with commissioners to design protected bike lanes, taking into consideration local requirements. A number of commissioners echoed his concerns.

Daniels requested DDOT return during the July meeting after having forwarded the presentation materials in advance to the commission.

Goodbye, Naomi
Naomi Mitchell, the Ward 6 Councilmember’s community liaison, is retiring after 16 years of service. Commissioners individually paid tribute to Mitchell. “It was astounding when we all heard she was retiring. Naomi has been the person who we all go to when it hits the fan in a bad way,” said Litsky. “Naomi Mitchell is by far the most important city official who has ever worked with the community of Southwest, bar none.”

“If you needed something accomplished, you called Naomi,” said Collins. “Naomi is a mentor and a pastor,” said Kramer.

“You are really a precious jewel to this community,” declared Hamilton. “All I want to see is Naomi dancing in retirement,” said Daniels.

“I am truly humbled. I love being in this community. It has been an important part of my life,” responded Mitchell. “ANC 6D is the best commission in the city.”

Other Matters
Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Special Operations Commander Jason Bagshaw  and Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Christopher Geldart outlined street closures for the Something in the Water Festival. They were assisted by the Mayor’s deputy chief of staff, Tomas Talamane, and a representative from the event, Ford Englerth. Commissioners expressed concerns about the noise, congestion and general public safety risks created by the event, held on Independence Avenue between Third and Ninth streets SW.

MPD First District Lieut. George Donigian briefed the commissioners on public safety. Two new captains have been assigned to First District, he stated. He characterized overall crime levels as stable compared to the last 30 days. However, Donigian stated, there have been robberies, two of them committed by juveniles in the 1100 block of Fourth Street SW. In addition, there were instances of gunfire south of M Street in Old Southwest. Police have readjusted their deployments to help “cool things off,” he stated.

Daniels complained about loitering at Third and L streets SE. Residents were concerned that miscreants were being released after being caught. Donigian explained the challenges MPD faces in working with the US Attorney responsible for criminal prosecutions in DC and the limitations of the loitering ordinances.

Virginia Rail Express Manager for Project Development Christine Hoeffner gave the commissioners an overview of the improvements planned for the L’Enfant Station. The railway intends to add a fourth track and expand the platform.

Shirlene Cleveland of the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority gave a high-level overview of the agency’s project to replace the Long Bridge. The existing bridge, she stated, will be reserved for CSX freight trains while being expanded to four tracks. A new bridge with two passenger tracks will be built from Arlington’s Long Bridge Park to DC in a series of spans including one over the Potomac. Construction will commence in 2025 with completion by 2030.

The commissioners voted to support SW Business Improvement District’s mural project planned for the Southwest I-395 underpasses, with Weiss in opposition.

The DC Zoning Commission is conducting a design review for a project for 1301 South Capitol St. SW. The developer has asked for an extension of the review until October 2022. In the event the extension is rejected, the commissioners will oppose the design. They also voted to support the hearing delay and to authorize either Hamilton or Kramer to testify in the event it is not granted.

The commissioners voted to protest a liquor application for Easy Company, 98 Blair Alley SW, with Lightman abstaining.

The commission unanimously to:

  • approve the amended June meeting agenda;
  • approve May meeting minutes;
  • support the Returning Citizen’s Day and Marine Corp marathons;
  • extend the protest petition dates for liquor licenses for Pendry Hotel, Gordon Ramsay Fish & Chips and Hell’s Kitchen and Live K;
  • protest the liquor license applications for Emmy Squared, Spirit of Mount Vernon, Baltimore II, Capitol Elite, National Elite and Odyssey Cruises in order to give the ABC Committee more time to negotiate as well as authorizing either the chair or Litsky to represent the ANC at any hearing;
  • support applications for liquor applications for Stadium, 1299 First St. SE, and Swizzler, 1259 First St. SE.

 ANC 6D meets at 7 p.m. on the second Monday of every month. The next meeting is July 18, via Zoom. For more information and links to join ANC meetings, visit www.anc6d.org.

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