ADVISORY NEIGHBORHOOD COMMISSION 3E
TENLEYTOWN AMERICAN UNIVERSITY PARK
c/o Lisner Home 5425 Western Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20015
Minutes of ANC 3E June 19, 2012 Meeting
The meeting convened at 7:40pm. Commissioners Bender, Frumin, Quinn, and Sklover were present. Commissioner Sklover left the meeting at 9:30pm.
Announcements and Open Forum
A resident voiced his concern that cars have been speeding through the Belt Road and Fessenden Street NW intersection, endangering young children and pedestrians, and offered suggestions including trimming overgrown trees and bushes that obscure traffic signals and stop signs as well as repainting crosswalks to make them more visible.
A commissioner responded that the commission is continuing to press DDOT to improve intersection signage and increase pedestrian safety for many intersections in the neighborhood but has had limited success to date. He urged residents to call 311 and inform commissioners when they see obscured signs. Attendees also suggested installing speed bumps and brick walkways on Fessenden between Wisconsin and Belt Road.
Presentation by 2nd District Police
PSA 202 Lieutenant Alan Hill reported that crime in PSA 202 was lower in all categories in the previous 30 days compared to the same period in 2011 with the exceptions of robberies without guns and thefts.
The two robberies reported in the last 30 days both involved juveniles, one incident taking place at Wilson High School and the other at 40th and Albemarle Streets, NW, where a purse was snatched.
Lt. Hill noted that 90% of thefts in the area occur in retail outlets and those crimes have a 40% closure rate. He explained that many thefts are impossible to close, such as those involving cell phones stolen after being left at Starbucks.
He noted that portable speed cameras, with license plate readers, are included in the new budget and starting October 2012 will be installed throughout the city. An attendee asked whether a red light camera would be installed at the Wisconsin and Fessenden Street intersection. Lt. Hill responded that concerned residents could request the change.
Presentation by DDOT regarding traffic management options at the intersection of 46th and Yuma Streets, NW
DDOT representatives A. Wasim Raja, Signals/ITS Manager, and transportation engineer Rahul Jain presented the findings of the traffic signal vs. four-way stop sign control study, which analyzed over a 90-day period the effectiveness of a four-way stop to discourage speeding cars and increase pedestrian safety at the intersection of 46th and Yuma Streets, NW.
Responding to resident’s concerns and ANC 3E inquiry, DDOT issued a Notice of Intent in December 2011 and installed a flashing all red signal on February 9, 2012. DDOT installed video cameras for monitoring auto compliance at the intersection and after complaints of autos running the flashing all red signal also installed static all way stop control signs on March 23rd, 2012 to help increase compliance.
Mr. Raja explained that there are no clear guidelines for de-activating traffic signals as it’s not a common practice, and as such DDOT conducted research on how other jurisdictions went about the process.
In summary, the DDOT analysis, which studied traffic flow and safety impacts at the intersection, showed that by most measures conditions were similar or slightly improved with a four-way stop over a traffic signal. However, they noted that one accident was reported (on March 12) after the intersection changed over to flashing red lights; a high percentage of cars did not come to a complete stop; and that many cars travel over the speed limit when arriving and leaving the intersection. (Previous to the installation of the four way flashing stop, no accidents were reported at the intersection from 2008 – 2012.)
Under current conditions, Mr. Raja and Mr. Jain said, a traffic signal is not warranted. While there was not a marked improvement with a four-way stop, they would potentially recommend supplemental stop signs for both west and eastbound traffic and to proceed with de-activating the traffic signal, called partial de-activation (removing the “heads” but leaving the poles in place), in case the traffic signal is required at a future date, with further study. (Since it costs approximately $250,000 to construct a signal, the department prefers partial de-activation so the signal can be re-started inexpensively if needed.) DDOT will ask Second District police to step up enforcement at 46th and Yuma Streets, and will continue monitoring the intersection. The signal could be partially de-activated by the end of the summer. DDOT will review the data and make the decision.
Attendees living near the intersection said that the flashing red lights has been very irritating and asked that they be stopped. One attendee asked if the expectations for compliance on the question of cars coming to a full stop at the intersection were realistic. Another attendee commented that the most important issue is that cars are reducing their speed. The fact that some cars are making rolling stops is secondary; what matters most, she said, is that cars are slowing down and making the intersection safer.
Commissioners noted that while DDOT did a thorough analysis they only studied traffic patterns after the traffic signal was de-activated and as such any previous evidence of speeding is anecdotal. With no data on speeding at the intersection during the previous period with the traffic signal, when the perception was lack of safety, the current data on speeding is difficult to assess. A commissioner suggested that DDOT re-activate the traffic signal for one month to study speeding patterns and compare that data with data from the four-way stop scenario. Commissioners also suggested that DDOT compare accident records for the last 5 years at other four-way stop intersections on 46th Street, and that DDOT compare speed on the approaches and departures from the intersection of 46th Street and Van Ness Avenue on Van Ness Avenue.
The commissioners asked that DDOT review the study data and report back to the commission, as soon as practicable so a resolution with recommendations on the subject could be drafted. DDOT meanwhile will do its own analysis of any new data and formulate a position on next steps.
Consideration and possible resolution in response to Notice of Intent to make the intersection of Belt Road and Fessenden Street NW a four-way stop by adding stop signs on Fessenden at the intersection
Commissioner Quinn noted that last week DDOT issued a Notice of Intent that they intend to erect stop signs for eastbound and westbound traffic at the intersection of Belt Road and Fessenden Street, NW. Commissioner Quinn’s resolution supports adding the stop sign but urges DDOT to immediately consider and implement additional street calming measures on Fessenden Street.
Attendees voiced concerns and offered suggestions. They included: installing speed bumps to slow car speeds at the intersection of Belt Road and 41st Street NW, where cars can slide or spin-out on the downhill grade during icy or snowy conditions, forcing residents to move their cars out of the way; before adding more safety measures to the intersections DDOT should make current pedestrian safety signs more visible by re-painting walkways and trimming or removing trees and bushes obscuring safety signs; making Belt Road a one-way street towards Wisconsin Avenue to help prevent accidents; installing a raised walkway across Fessenden Street at Belt Road.
It was noted that Commissioner Quinn’s resolution urged DDOT to examine options like the ones suggested. In addition, Commissioner Quinn amended the resolution to urge DDOT to consider other options raised by residents at the meeting. The commissioners voted unanimously (3-0) to pass the resolution as amended.
Presentation by City officials regarding the Sustainable DC Initiative
Christophe A.G. Tulou, Director of DC Department of the Environment and Brendan Shane discussed the Mayor’s Sustainable DC Initiative. Mr. Tulou presented an overview of the initiative and its goals.
Mr. Tulou reported that Mayor Gray is leading a large-scale effort to envision, set goals and devise an implementation plan to create long-term urban sustainability in DC by 2032. The Mayor’s overarching goal is for the district to become even more competitive with other first-class U.S. cities by investing in innovative environmental, social and economic policies and practices over the next 20 years to improve quality of life and economic opportunity. The Mayor wants to position the District as the country’s most environmentally sensitive major city, Tulou said. For example, some 800 buildings are currently on track for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification (LEED), roughly the same number as in New York.
Mayor Gray announced the initiative in July 2011. A draft implementation plan will be released for public review this summer and a final plan is expected in fall 2012. The planning committee is reaching out to a broad range of communities over the summer to get feedback.
In response to an attendee’s question, Mr. Tulou said trees would likely be planted in parklands to meet the goal of covering 40% of the district with a tree canopy (up from 35% currently).
Mr. Talou and Mr. Shane discussed a number of issues with the commissioners. These included a recommendation that the initiative include undergrounding of utility lines; questions relating to LEED certification; the need for more heavy rail to connect commuters with the greater region; including education and training in the initiative; improvement of waste management; and the DC Water proposal for low impact development to address storm management requirements under an EPA consent decree.
For more information on the Sustainable DC Initiative visit www.sustainable.dc.gov.
Consideration of a resolution in support of legislation encouraging increased use and production of solar energy in the District
Commissioners voted unanimously (3-0) to table consideration of the resolution.
Consideration of a resolution in support of initiatives to promote bicycle and pedestrian safety
Commissioners voted unanimously (3-0) to table consideration of the resolution.
Commissioners unanimously (3-0) approved the May 2012 minutes.
Commissioners unanimously (3-0) approved the May Treasurer’s reports.
Commissioners unanimously (3-0) to approve expenditures: $540 to Loren Stein; $191.38 to Federal Express.
The commission adjourned at 10:48pm.
Matthew Frumin, Chair