February 11, 2021, 7:30 pm
The meeting convened via Zoom at 7:35 PM. Commissioners Bender, Cohen, McHugh and Quinn were in attendance. Commissioner Hall joined later.
Announcements / Open Forum– opportunity for members of the community to raise issues of concern or importance to the 3E neighborhood
Some attendees stated that a number of neighbors on Western Ave are opposed to DDOTs plan to install sidewalks along the DC side of Western Ave between Brandywine and Davenport Streets. They stated that the property owners were unaware the Commission heard this item at the September 2020 meeting and would like to have DDOT meet and work with the homeowners. Commissioner Bender replied that the community was properly notified of the September 2020 meeting, that DDOT has not issued a Notice of Intent for the project and that the Commissioners have consistently told neighbors that they support in principle installation of sidewalks along Western Ave. Jonathan Willingham, the Chief of Staff for Mary Cheh stated that DC Law requires DDOT to install sidewalks on both sides of the street if there aren’t any installed already anytime DC does work on a street other than just repaving. Bender asked DDOT representatives on the Zoom call to reach out to the Western Ave neighbors. Commissioner Quinn informed the attendees of the process that DDOT and the ANC follows when projects are proposed.
Emir Gur-Ravantab, the Ward 3 Liaison to the Mayor’s Office of Community Relations, announced:
- All DCPS staff that will be teaching in person have been offer the COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccines are now available to childcare workers and employees of independent and charter schools.
- Thursday morning COVID-19 vaccine priority is for residents of Wards 5, 7 and 8 and equal amounts of vaccine are available on Thursdays and Fridays.
- The Pfizer vaccine is available at Georgetown University, Medstar Hospital, Sibley Hospital, GW Hospital, Howard University Hospital, United Medical Center, and Kaiser Permanente to people that have been patients at those facilities over the last three years.
- The vaccine clinic at Hattie Holmes Wellness Center will be moved to Lamont Recreation Center starting on February 12.
- They have three budget meetings scheduled for this month and this is an opportunity for the community to weigh in on budget priorities.
He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns.
Presentation by 2nd District Police
Lt Beistline provided an update on crime in PSA 202. Over the last month there have been three robberies, two burglaries, and two motor vehicle thefts. MPD believes two of the robberies, at the 7-11 and Pizza Bolis, were committed by the same person. There has been an uptick in car jackings and stolen autos in the area and the MPD has launched a task force to address these crimes. She urged residents to not leave their cars running and unoccupied even if their key fob is not in the car and that many of these stolen cars are being used to commit other crimes. Lt Beistline had connectivity issues and she sent a message to the group stating she can be reached at email@example.com or at 202-779-2854with any additional questions.
Update by the National Park Service regarding plans for restoration of Chesapeake House
Julia Washburn, the Superintendent of Rock Creek Park, Kim Elder, Program Manager for Civil War Defenses of Washington and Nick Bartolomeo, the Resource Manager for Rock Creek Park all with the National Park Service (NPS) and Leigh Catherine Miles the Executive Director of Tenleytown Main Street discussed the plans for the Chesapeake House at the corner of 41st and Chesapeake streets. UIP is renovating the building as part of the community amenity package ANC 3E negotiated with them in conjunction with their redevelopment of 4620 Wisconsin Ave. NPS is working with Tenleytown Main Street to share management of the building once it is renovated with plans for it to operate as a Visitor Center for the Civil War Defenses and a community center. They hope to have the management agreement finalized by the summer of 2021. The final design of the building is almost complete, and they expect the opening of the building by sometime around late fall 2021. The first floor will be used as an exhibit and community space (art exhibits, cultural events, small performances, etc.) with the second floor being used as offices.
Attendees: asked for clarification on the design and construction timeframes; asked where construction vehicles will park while the building is being renovated (they will park on the street); and asked about the current condition of the building (the building is structurally sound with a new roof).
Commissioners were enthusiastic about the project and asked if solar panels can be installed on the roof (they can be installed if they can be hidden behind the parapets at the top, but unfortunately NPS does not have the budget for them).
Presentation by DDOT regarding Connecticut Ave Reversible Lane Study
Ed Stollof, Cynthia Lynn, Michael Glickman and Ian Swain with DDOT presented the interim results of their study of the Reversible Lanes on Connecticut Avenue. They are soliciting community input and will have a public meeting at the end of March.
The primary study area is Connecticut Ave from Legation to Calvert Streets, the secondary study area includes the area bounded by Western Ave, Broad Branch Rd, Beach Dr and Massachusetts Ave. They studied seven concepts (Concepts A, B, C, D-0, D-1, D-2, and E) including a no-build option (Concept A). These concepts also may include other safety changes including adding HAWK Signals, No Turn on Red limitations, parking restrictions, the addition of left turn lanes and left turn calming treatments, etc. The details of each of these Concepts can be found at: https://anc3e.org/wp-content/uploads/Conn-Ave-Reversible-Lane-Presentation-to-ANC3E-02-11-2021v3-Updated.pdf . No concept fully met all of the stated purposes and needs but Concept B (two lanes of traffic in each direction with parking allowed during non-rush hour times and one extra travel lane in each direction during rush hour) and Concept C (bike lanes on both sides of the street and two travel lanes in each direction at all times with the option of either allowing one lane for parking or a left turn lane) met the most needs. They focused the traffic analysis on the no-build option, Concept A and Concepts B and C. Their modeling looked at population and traffic projections out to 2045 but did not consider major changes to traffic or public transportation or the effect of many people working from home (pandemic conditions) and looked at diversions of traffic onto other streets. They estimate that the other roadways would be able to accommodate any traffic diversions. They also calculated travel times/level of service and found no major changes to levels of service (there were some intersections with delays, but they currently operate with delays).
Attendees: would like to see the safety benefits for each concept; would like to see a study that shows the modal shift these concepts would encourage; would like to see the potential changes to how people are working included in the analysis; liked concept C; asked if Concept C would allow for all day parking in the areas that would have parking (yes); and asked if they are taking increased development into account in their models (the projected land use activities are taken into account in the planning horizons of their models).
Commissioners: generally favored Concept C; would like the city to build comprehensive protected, bike lane network throughout the city rather than via a piece-meal approach; would like to see bike lanes added to Wisconsin Ave and Western Ave; noted that the streeteries created during the pandemic have shown that the city can remove parking spaces; would like DDOT to evaluate the impacts of the various Concepts on traffic flow at lower traffic volumes as they did not believe traffic will return to pre-pandemic levels; asked DDOT to evaluate intersections with failing grades because the backups at some of those intersections are on east-west traffic flows not the north-south flows; asked for more information on projected impacts on intersections with failing grades since DDOT predictions that such intersections would not have changes made to their grade were not helpful because there is no lower grade; were happy that DDOT is looking at traffic and travel patterns all day as opposed to engineering the street for rush-hour traffic; would like to make the corridor livable for DC residents; and would like DDOT to do a similar study on Wisconsin Ave.
Presentation by DDOT regarding proposal to install sidewalks along Belt Road at Ft. Reno
Gina Arlotto from DDOT presented the plans to install sidewalks along Belt Road along Ft. Reno between Davenport and Fessenden. It has a high volume of pedestrian traffic borne from many students walking to and from Deal MS and Wilson HS. The NPS will not allow construction on their property. DDOT has issued a Notice of Intent (NOI) to build a protected, in-street sidewalk (concrete curb stops interspersed with flexi-posts bolted onto the street) in place of the unregulated parking lane on the east side of the street, adjacent to Ft. Reno. The Commission has until April 23 to respond to the NOI.
Attendees: thought that removing the unregulated parking would cause more parking constraints in the neighborhood; asked why Ft. Reno wouldn’t allow the installation of sidewalks on this side of the park as there are already sidewalks installed on three sides of Ft. Reno; thought the sidewalk would further narrow an already narrow street; were concerned trucks would have trouble accessing the DC WASA facility at Ft. Reno (this option would give them a wider turning radius than having parked cars); would like to see the parking preserved and the sidewalk installed on NPS property; would like to see a broader traffic analysis of the area; were concerned about water flows and ice formation especially in the winter; noted the increased use of Ft Reno by DC residents during the pandemic; are concerned about the speed of traffic on Belt Rd. and would like to see traffic calming mitigations (the vertical flexi-posts tend to slow traffic down); thought Belt Rd. needs to be wider to be safe; noted a missing pedestrian access ramp at the corner of Belt Rd and Davenport by the triangle park; thought this was a dangerous street; some were not sympathetic to the loss of parking for out-of-state cars; and strongly supported safe pedestrian access.
Commissioners: asked if DDOT could install a poured concrete sidewalk alongside Ft. Reno (they do not have the funds for that now and want to get something in place now); all Commissioners supported the installation of some form of sidewalks; thought DDOT and the Commission should push back harder on NPS to install the sidewalks on park land; asked why the flexi-post sidewalk wasn’t extended to Chesapeake; would like to see a sidewalk installed from Fessenden St to the back of Deal MS; did not think that NPS would allow the sidewalk on their property and this was better than nothing; would like to see stop signs added at Donaldson and/or Ellicott Streets (she can put in a request for this); would like to see the sidewalk extended along all of Fessenden (that is slated to be completed for late 2021 or in 2022); were sympathetic to the parking constraints but felt the safety of children walking to school was more important; noted that few cars park on Belt Rd between Chesapeake and Davenport because there are parking meters there and people just don’t want to pay for parking; asked if flex-post bulbouts could be added at the intersections to help slow traffic; asked if the sidewalk could be extended between Chesapeake and Davenport along Ft Reno; asked if the sidewalk could be extended two more feet to eight feet wide to add a bike lane (she will ask the engineers if this is feasible); and asked if the flexi-posts could be made safe for the sledders coming down the Ft Reno hill.
Presentation regarding proposal by River School to move its facilities to 4220 Nebraska, currently zoned for residential use.
Nancy Mellon, Alison Prince, Patrick Burkhardt and Jamie Milanovitch presented the plans for the River School, a school that provides inclusionary classrooms for hearing impaired (15% of students) and non-impaired children. They provide hearing aid fittings, speech pathology, psychology, occupational therapy, and audiology services for impaired children from birth to third grade and are one of two facilities in the DC area that accepts Medicaid. The school would be built in a residentially zoned lot that requires them to obtain special exceptions for being in a residential area and for relief for parking as 12 of their parking spaces would be tandem parking spaces instead of all individual spaces in the garage. They have been in discussions with the adjoining and 200-foot neighbors since August. The property is not historically designated but could be and they are treating it as if it was and have reduced the scale of the building in response to comments from the HPRB.
The site is bounded by Nebraska Ave., Van Ness St and 42nd St. There is substantial screening around the property by landscaping and invasive vegetation. To the north are four residential homes. Currently, there is an 11-foot-wide driveway off of Nebraska, a main mansion, a pool and pool house and a few small shed-like buildings. They would like to place the three new school buildings along Nebraska and Van Ness, and would need to widen the existing driveway to 20-foot-wide to accommodate fire trucks and add an additional curb cut to Nebraska to allow traffic to exit the property. The largest building would be four stories high with the top floor set back, with a green roof and a two-story garage below ground. The other two buildings would be two stories high. Pick-up and drop-offs would occur in the driveway loop and all cars would turn right onto Nebraska as they exit the property. They assured the neighbors that will be no pick-ups and drop-offs in the motor court in front of the existing main mansion and are studying whether the northern curb cut (20-foot-wide) can be made one-way. They are proposing a plan that would require all parents of children in Kindergarten or higher carpool and encourage walking and biking to campus and will have a monitoring plan to make sure their traffic plan in adhered to. They expect to file their plans with BZA next week and have a hearing date in May.
Attendees: asked what their enrollment plans are (currently 220 and would like to expand to 350); asked what the current zoning is (R-1) and for clarification on what they are seeking (special exception to put a school in R-1 and relief for parking spaces; they do not need relief for the height of the building as they are limited to 40-feet-high but the building is set back from the property line they can go to 50-feet); stated that they believed DDOT is planning to widen the sidewalk and install a bike lane along Nebraska and wanted to know how the school plans would effect this (the current plan is to widen the sidewalk to Van Ness and would not include this block); thought this is an appropriate use of the lot given it’s a mostly commercial area and how few immediate neighbors there are; some were not happy that they are putting in a second driveway and changing the drop-off areas to appease the neighbors; asked if they were closing a curb-cut on 42ndSt (DDOT asked them to remove it) and if they would be adding a sidewalk along that portion of 42nd St (yes).
Commissioners: asked the school to work with DDOT to widen the sidewalk between Van Ness to Warren and to make space for bikes; asked if the driveway has to be 20-feet-wide if the fire trucks could still access the property; thought this was a good use of the property; asked what grades the school would be (currently goes to 3rd grade and they would like to expand to 6th grade); would like to see mandatory carpooling and bussing; asked how many children are from DC vs Maryland and Virginia; stressed that traffic is a concern for nearby neighbors; asked what issues the immediate neighbors have raised (traffic and buffering along 42nd St, lighting, outdoor play space, and noise from mechanical equipment); asked if they have low-income students (yes, diverse children, defined as people of color and hearing impaired children, make up 42% of their population); one was not happy about the curb cuts; was concerned about queuing on Nebraska, pedestrian safety issues and left turns into the driveway from Nebraska (they are still evaluating these issues); stated that the traffic flow has to work for the whole neighborhood and not just the immediate neighbors; and asked for clarification about how their clinic would operate (it is an accessory use for the school and they will provide traffic estimates).
- Approval of January 2021 meeting minutes – Commissioner Bender moved, and Commissioner McHugh seconded a motion to approve the Draft January 2020 Meeting Minutes. The motion was approved by a vote of 5-0-0.
- Approval of expenditures – Commissioner Quinn moved, and Commissioner Bender seconded a motion to approve payments of $315.00 to Sherry Cohen for administrative support. The expenditures were approved by a vote of 5-0-0.
The meeting was adjourned by acclimation at 12:15 AM.