K Street Underpass Art Projections

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Potential designs of kinetic illuminations, pending DDOT approval, for the K Street underpass are discussed by ANC 6C commissioners at the February meeting.

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6C met Jan. 11 via WebEx. Commissioners Christy Kwan (6C01), Leslie Merkle (6C02, secretary), Jay Adelstein (6C03), Mark Eckenwiler (6C04, chair), Joel Kelty (6C05, treasurer), Patricia Eguino (6C06) and Tony Goodman (6C07, vice chair) were all present at the meeting.

At their February meeting, commissioners discussed the virtual gallery art installation under the K Street underpass between First and Second Streets NE. The exhibit features a variety of kinetic projections onto the walls of the underpass in bright colors incorporating transportation themes.

The Environment, Parks and Events (EPE) committee voted unanimously to construct a letter of support for the project, but community members and commissioners discussed the project’s potential unintended consequences. Neighbor Ian Cocroft was concerned about the potential impact the art installation could have on members of the unhoused community.

“I know that there are light installations underneath other bridges in the neighborhood, which could have a detrimental effect on that community,” Cocroft said.

The underpass, due to the narrow sidewalks, Commissioner Kelty clarified, does not permit encampments and emphasized that the installation should not negatively impact houseless neighbors.

“It is an established no camping zone,” Kelty said. “There were signs up…and at this point there should be no impact on the unhoused community there from the installation.”

Potential designs of kinetic illuminations, pending DDOT approval, for the K Street underpass are discussed by ANC 6C commissioners at the February meeting.

Commissioner Eguino echoed Cocroft. “[If] there are people sleeping under the bridge, though there are no tents, I think that should be taken into consideration,” Eguino said.

Commissioner Goodman raised a concern about the accessibility issues presented by individuals sleeping on sidewalks. “People with disabilities
simply cannot get around that,” he said. “It’s not legal, and I don’t think it should be encouraged in any way, shape or form.”

The commission voted with one abstention to send a letter to the NoMa Business Improvement District (BID) and the DC Dept. of Transportation (DDOT) in support of the project.

Other Matters

The Commission:

• Opposed the replacement of an exterior staircase at 718 3rd St. NE due to insufficient plans and the applicants’ absence at the Transportation Public Space Committee’s (TPS) earlier meeting.

• Supported The Boiling Crab’s (400 H St NE) plan to create a trash room.

• Supported a pilot program to decouple Emergency Medical Service (EMS) vehicles and fire trucks at Bridgepoint Hospital (223 7th St NE) due to neighbors’ concerns about access to their residences.

• Supported the EV Charging Legislation proposed by Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen (D), designed to increase the number of charging stations across the District.

• Authorized Commissioners Kwan and Eckenwiler to testify at the DC Council DDOT oversight hearings.

• Voted to protest a Class “C” hotel license for Sonesta DC Hotel LLC (20 Massachusetts Avenue NW) regarding concerns about noise. While the hotel was formerly within ANC 6C’s district, it now falls within the boundaries of ANC 6E which will take the lead negotiating a settlement agreement. If a settlement agreement is reached, the ANC 6C will withdraw its protest.

• Protested the Class “C” restaurant license at Ted’s Bulletin’s (1005 First Street NE) Class C license citing concerns about the blockage of bike lanes and difference in outdoor hours with those of nearby establishments.

• Supported a third story rear addition with a roof deck to an existing two-story flat at 523 Second St. NE.

• Supported an application before The Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) to make several revisions to the exterior at 601 Massachusetts Ave NE including the staircase.

ANC 6C will meet again Wed. March 8 at 7 p.m. vie WebEx. You can learn more about the commission and register to attend the meeting at (anc6c.org).

Sarah Payne is a reporter for Capital Community News. She can be reached at sarahp@hillrag.com.