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Home​NewsTwo Conflicting Plans on K: Bike Lanes and Parking for the Disabled

Two Conflicting Plans on K: Bike Lanes and Parking for the Disabled

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6C met on Oct. 11 via WebEx. Commissioners Christy Kwan (6C01), Leslie Merkle (6C02, secretary), Commissioner Jay Adelstein (6C03), Mark Eckenwiler (6C04, chair), Commissioner Joel Kelty (6C05, treasurer), Commissioner Patricia Eguino (6C06) and Tony Goodman (6C07, vice chair) were in attendance.

The commission weighed conflicting Notices of Intent (NOI) issued by the DC Department of Transportation (DDOT). The first NOI was to reserve a curbside parking space for a disabled community member. The second was for an extension of the protected bike lanes along K Street NE. The two conflicted.

The installation of the protected bike lanes along K Street NE interferes with the reserved parking space. In its report, the ANC 6A Transportation and Public Space (TPS) Committee noted a need for a reconciliation of the two NOIs in order to accommodate the reserved disabled parking space.

Several neighbors and family members of the disabled applicant attended the meeting to provide additional context for the application, who is a 60-year resident of Sixth and K streets NE.

While the applicant owns a rear parking space on the property, family members noted, the person’s disabilities make accessing it impossible. Under District law, permits reserving curbside parking for a disabled resident may be granted where a resident “does not have off-street parking available” on the premises.

“I want to be helpful to somebody who has a disability, I think we all do, but the District of Columbia law does not allow what is being requested,” Treasurer Joel Kelty said. “If we support this, we’re actually asking the government to disregard its own regulation.” Other neighbors also raised objections to the protected bike lane.

One neighbor objected to the removal of 23 parking spaces to accommodate the bike lane. DDOT should present “creative” solutions to accommodate all residents, she said.

“There are people who want to bike to work and there are drivers who need to park to get to work,” the neighbor said. “We’re hoping that DDOT would come up with a viable solution to respect the community who, I would say, a significant majority have opposed.”

A “creative” solution is not possible given space constrictions on the street, stated Commissioner Goodman. Parking must be eliminated on one side in order for the bike lane to be constructed.

“This bike lane has been in the works for many, many years, and there is no guarantee of having a parking spot in front of your house,” Goodman said, noting that there are many streets in the District where this is not possible. He conditioned his support for the reserved disabled parking spot on its lack of impact on the bike lane.

Commissioner Eguino echoed Goodman’s comments noting that bike lanes are more than just a recreation area for many District residents.

“Bike lanes are also saving the lives of cyclists,” Eguino said. “Bike lanes slow drivers down, they physically are extremely helpful in avoiding deaths and injuries to both cyclists, pedestrians and drivers themselves.”

The commission voted to send a letter of support for the reserved parking space on Sixth or Seventh Streets NE, whichever is closer or more easily accessible for the resident, provided it does not impede the extension of the bike lane. The motion passed with Commissioner Merkle abstaining.

Other Matters
The commission voted to:

  • write to DDOT opposing the extended setbacks, due to the loss of additional parking space on either side of the alley at the 400 block of Fourth St. NE;
  • request the interim director of DDOT urgently allocate a second crossing guard to J.O. Wilson Elementary at 660 K St. NE and other schools as needed and identified by the ANC;
  • request DDOT remove the illegal curb cut at 921 Third St. NE in response to reports of illegal construction at 303/305 K St. NE;
  • write to inform DDOT of the illegal appropriation of public space for private parking at 401 K St. NE, requesting space be immediately returned to public use;
  • support the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) application for Rock Creek 650 H LLC (650 H St. NE) for a special exception to permit a financial services use on the ground floor of an existing six-story mixed-use building, conditioned upon their strict compliance with the zoning regulations to ensure exterior windows are not completely covered or opaque.

ANC 6C will next meet on Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. via WebEx. Visit anc6c.org to learn more about the commission and register to attend the meeting.

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

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