ADVISORY NEIGHBORHOOD COMMISSION 3E
TENLEYTOWN AMERICAN UNIVERSITY PARK
c/o Lisner Home 5425 Western Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20015
Minutes of ANC 3E November 8, 2012 Meeting
The meeting convened at 7:38 pm. Commissioners Bender, Frumin, Quinn, Serebin and Sklover were present.
Announcements / Open Forum– opportunity for members of the community to raise issues of concern or importance to the 3E neighborhood
An attendee reiterated his concern (first voiced in the July 2012 meeting) about delays in sidewalk and roadway construction adjacent to Janney Elementary School. He said that the original schedule for completing construction was slated for summer 2011 but that it took significantly longer to complete. He also noted that certain trees had been planted and then removed when they almost immediately died. A Commissioner noted that the understanding was that the trees at the school site were planted at the wrong time and the commission would follow up with Councilwoman Cheh’s office to ask for an explanation for the extended delay.
Presentation by 2nd District Police
PSA 202 Lieutenant Alan Hill reported that because MPD is switching computer systems he could offer no overall crime category statistics for northwest DC neighborhoods at this meeting, as was the case for the previous meeting. However, Lt. Hill said the northern end of the District has had an uptick of burglaries within the last 30 days, including incidences reported on the 5000 block of Nebraska Avenue, NW and 3509 McKinley Street, NW. While street robberies have declined, and no violent robberies were reported within the last 30 days, theft from autos has increased, he said. Tenley Circle businesses, led by the manager of Hudson Trail Outfitters, have formed an alliance to create a closer working relationship with MPD; an upcoming meeting is scheduled.
Lt. Hill responded to a number of questions from attendees and commissioners. An attendee asked if the police had noticed a difference in the amount of crime or traffic accidents in streets with one or two-sided parking. Lt. Hill said that he did not know if the police kept such statistics, but noted that more street parking could present more opportunities for thefts from autos. An attendee asked if halfway houses or drug recovery centers receive more attention from the police and Lt. Hill said he was not aware of a larger police presence or that such facilities fostered more crime in the area. An attendee asked if the police department kept statistics on traffic citations for speeding and running stop signs on specific streets. Lt. Hill said that information could be obtained from the MPD Photo Enforcement Program. MPD is moving to using handheld electronic ticket writers; once a ticket is issued it is turned in to the department, which compiles the statistics. Unless officers monitor a stop sign for two weeks, the data is not saved, he noted.
A commissioner asked if a study had been conducted of speeding cars on Yuma Street, NW and Lt. Hill said that a traffic study at 46th and Yuma had shown rolling stops to be a problem but not excessive speeds. A commissioner asked if the amount of fines have a direct impact on traffic crimes and whether higher fines achieve greater compliance to speed limits. Lt. Hill responded that he was not sure but acknowledged that increased enforcement along Connecticut Avenue in Chevy Chase, MD resulted in decreased speeds overall. A commissioner asked if police officers were reluctant to issue high fines and Lt. Hill said they have no problem doing so.
A commissioner complimented MPD on recent traffic enforcement efforts and asked if MPD could be more assertive in keeping rush hour travel lanes and bus zones clear of illegally parked cars. Lt. Hill asked Sgt. Hayes to speak to the officers on duty about these issues.
Presentation of a grant request by the Janney PTA to support its WinterFest event
Jane Malhotra on behalf of the Janney PTA submitted by email a grant request for $350 to support its WinterFest event scheduled for December 8, 2012. Commissioners discussed the grant and possible options for funding. They noted that no representative from the Janney PTA came to the ANC 3E meeting to present the grant request and answer questions. Emailed questions from the commissioners in the run up to the meeting had received no response. Among other items, the grant sought funding to purchase food for the event, which is outside the ANC 3E’s grant charter. The grant also did not clearly specify an educational activity or component of the event. The commissioners noted that typically a grant request is submitted for advisement and then taken up for a vote at the following meeting—and this grant request did not follow that protocol, and had other problems that made the commission unwilling to support this grant at this time. Several commissioners noted their fondness for the school and its service to the community and said that they would be receptive to a properly supported grant request in the future.
Commissioners voted 3 to 1 to deny the grant request at this time, with Commissioner Frumin opposed and Commissioner Sklover abstaining.
Presentation relating to upcoming move of the Aquila Recovery Center from 4455 Connecticut Avenue, NW to 5100 Wisconsin Avenue, NW
Johnny W. Allem, founder, president and CEO of Aquila Recovery Center, made a presentation about the Center and its work. He said the Center, which opened in February 2012, is moving to a new location because their building at 4455 Connecticut Ave. NW is being demolished. The for-profit Center provides intensive outpatient substance and alcohol abuse treatment services for adults and can serve a total of 175 patients yearly. Treatment regimen runs for 52 weeks, including 16 weeks intensive and 36 weeks recovery support. Mr. Allem noted that the District now ranks first in the nation for dependence and misuse of drugs and alcohol and as such the need is great for recovery programs. The Center validates for parking behind Rodman’s.
The commissioners asked a number of questions, including why the Center does not accept Medicare or Medicaid; staff backgrounds; and the range of services. A commissioner suggested that the Center offer transit benefits for all staff and advertise its proximity to the Friendship Heights Metro and bus depot.
Consideration of a resolution calling for one-sided parking on Yuma Street, NW from Massachusetts to Wisconsin Avenues, NW
Commissioner Sklover introduced this resolution, explaining that the original resolution opposing two-sided parking on Yuma Street, NW did not receive a second from the commissioners during the April 2012 meeting. Two commissioners have since offered an alternative resolution, hopefully less controversial, which urges the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) to withdraw the Notice of Intent (NOI) to allow parking on both sides of Yuma St. NW, and without prejudice to residents or the ANC 3E, requests a traffic calming study of the street.
Attendees and commissioners had a lengthy discussion, covering many of the same issues as previous meetings with regard to safety and traffic concerns on Yuma Street if one-sided parking remains or two-sided parking is allowed. A commissioner voiced his objection to the resolution, arguing that a traffic study only postpones action and that eventually the commission will have to support one or two-sided parking on the street. A commissioner suggested that a bike path could create a safety zone for children who live on the street, while using scarce public space of this sort for an unmet community need/benefit, and one that does not center on vehicular usage. A commissioner said that DDOT is looking to the commission for a decision and that the resolution sets up the traffic study as a precondition to action on behalf of the commission, which, he said, DDOT will not agree to. A commissioner suggested that residents of Yuma Street convene a meeting, perhaps with Commissioners Sklover and Commissioner-elect Haile attending, to discuss the exact nature of the problems, create options and arrive at possible solutions and a set of recommendations. This commissioner noted that such a procedure might lead to (at least) a rough consensus among Yuma Street residents, while, based on experience with this issue to date, a mere Commission vote up or down on parking for all the blocks at issue likely would lead to lasting neighborhood dissension.
Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the resolution with an amendment that adds language stating that the commission urges DDOT to withdraw the NOI until the ANC, working with the community and in consultation with DDOT and other agencies, formulate a recommendation regarding traffic calming issues.
Consideration of a resolution opposing the lowering of fines for traffic cameras in Northwest DC
Commissioner Quinn presented this resolution, explaining that Councilmember Cheh has introduced legislation that reduces the dollar amounts for most fines generated by traffic cameras in the District. On Monday, Mayor Gray announced that the District will immediately lower most fines for violations captured by speed cameras while increasing fines for violating the speed limit by more than 25 miles per hour and creating a tiered system of fines depending on the severity of the violation. The resolution, which notes that there have been a number of serious pedestrian accidents in recent years in Ward 3, supports Mayor Gray’s approach and opposes further reductions in fines. The resolution argues that traffic camera fines should be changed only in concert with changes to the fines for the violation generally.
The commissioners discussed a range of issues, including that speed cameras generate revenue and decriminalize fines; whether increased fines succeed in deterring speeding; and the impact varying levels of fines have on people at various economic strata. A commissioner suggested that the ANC 3E not offer a resolution and that Commissioner Quinn instead testify at any relevant hearing and/or any commissioners wishing to do so join in a letter advocating a position on the subject, and presented a motion to table the resolution and discussion. Another commissioner suggested that the commissioners return to the issue after studying it further.
The commissioners voted 3 to 2 to table the resolution at this time, with Commissioners Serebin and Quinn opposed.
Approval of October 2012 minutes
Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the October 2012 minutes.
Approval of expenditures
Commissioners voted unanimously to approve expenditures: $675.00 to Loren Stein for administrative services; and $61.25 to Federal Express for copying.
The commission adjourned at 10:45pm.
Matthew Frumin, Chair