March 14, 2019, 7:30 pm
The meeting convened at 7:38 PM. Commissioners Bender, Ehrhardt, and McHugh were in attendance. Commissioners Hall and Quinn arrived later.
Announcements / Open Forum– opportunity for members of the community to raise issues of concern or importance to the 3E neighborhood
Leigh Catherine Miles, Executive Director of Tenleytown Main Street, reminded attendees about Tenley Tuesday, a weekly program that provides discounts for students and school employees. She announced: there will be a Wisconsin Ave community clean up on April 13 at 10 am, meeting at Fessenden Park; the opening night of Hexagon, a political satire and comedy review, will be on March 15 at Wilson High School; and Middle C Music will be having an anniversary celebration on March 17.
David Kenny a physical therapist with Phoenix Rehabilitation discussed parking, traffic and pedestrian access issues at 4001 Brandywine Street. The building has a busy OB/GYN practice and a rehabilitation center and a daycare center will be opening in the building in April. They would like to have DDOT conduct traffic flow, parking and disability studies and would like to have the ANC provide support and guidance for how to proceed. Commissioner Ehrhardt will meet with the tenants, DDOT and Jessica Wertheim, the Ward 3 Mayor’s Representative to determine how best to proceed.
Ms. Wertheim announced that Mayor Bowser will be providing a State of DC address on Monday, March 18 at 5:30 pm at the UDC Theater of Arts at the corner of Connecticut Ave and Windom Place.
Presentation by 2nd District Police
Sgt. Bray from the 2ndDistrict provided an update on police activity and crime in PSA 202. There were two violent crimes reported during the last 30-day period, a 1stdegree sexual abuse that occurred during 2012 (due to the sensitivity of the crime no details could be provided) and an assault with a deadly weapon. Additionally, there were five burglaries and a simple assault. Bray noted that there was a decrease in stolen autos but an increase in thefts from autos over the same time period last year. MPD is asking residents to not leave items visible in cars and to lock their vehicles. An attendee asked if criminals are using key readers to unlock cars to steal items from them. Bray responded that the MPD are not finding this to be the case in our area.
Bray stated that MPD is conducting a traffic enforcement blitz from March 14 – 17 throughout the city. MPD will be targeting problem areas for traffic enforcement including the intersections of: River Rd & Fessenden St, Wisconsin Ave & Upton St, Wisconsin Ave & River Rd, the 4500 – 5000 blocks of Wisconsin Ave, 38thSt & Fessenden St, 45thSt & River Rd, 44thSt & Jennifer St, and 42ndSt & Yuma St. Commissioners asked Bray to add 42ndSt & Albemarle St, 43rdSt & River Rd, and Yuma St between 42ndSt and Massachusetts Ave to the list. If there are any other locations that need additional enforcement please email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
There were no questions from attendees or Commissioners. Sgt. Bray can be contacted at email@example.com any additional questions.
Discussion of and possible vote on resolution regarding public space application by Georgetown Day School in connection with its expansion, including plans to reconfigure the intersection of 42nd and Ellicott Street and the area around it
Commissioner Bender stated that the Commission would be hearing about GDS’s plans to reconfigure the intersection of 42ndSt and Ellicott St but not vote on the item. The Commission will be voting on a resolution to ask DDOT to reconsider a policy decision they expressed. Jeffrey Houser, the GDS CFO stated that most of the concrete foundations have been poured and they expect to finish the overall school project by the summer of 2020. GDS need approval from DDOT for their planned improvements to 42ndSt.
They plan to: place the entrance to the new school building on 42ndSt; replace the roadway along 42ndSt; add a 10-foot wide, “flexipave” shared walkway and bikeway along 42ndSt; add twice as many shade and ornamental trees along 42ndSt as they removed for construction; and add four benches at a new a small park at the intersection of 42ndand Ellicott. They plan to close the existing “slip lane” from southbound Wisconsin Ave onto 42ndSt. DDOT would like the existing “fishhook” to become 2-way, with northbound 42ndSt traffic allowed to make a right turn only onto southbound Wisconsin Ave. GDS will be presenting these plans at a Public Space Committee meeting in April.
Attendees: asked about plans for the bikeshare location for the site; would like to see a more creative seating arrangement; asked where the location of the trash cans will be and who will be responsible for emptying them; had concerns about the distance of the crosswalk across Wisconsin Ave; and if the angle of the turn from Wisconsin onto 42ndSt can be made sharper to slow traffic down.
Commissioners Bender and Quinn have concerns that having a right-turn only from northbound 42ndSt onto southbound Wisconsin Ave is pointless because almost all traffic would go to Chesapeake to be able to turn north onto Wisconsin Ave and traffic heading southbound on Wisconsin Ave would essentially be doubling back if they first went northbound on 42ndSt. Thus, given DDOT’s decision that only right/southbound turns would be permitted from an outbound lane they would like to have the fishhook be one-way southbound. This would allow for the inclusion of a dedicated bike-lane along 42ndSt, a larger park, and would have minimal impact on traffic flow. DDOT rejected the idea. Commissioner Hall noted that there are many problems on Chesapeake St including hidden parking lots and believed that cars would rather double back to head southbound on Wisconsin Ave rather than use Chesapeake St. GDS noted that they are adding exits from their parking garages onto River Rd and onto Ellicott St so not all of the traffic will be forced onto 42ndSt.
Commissioners: discussed eliminating parking on 42ndSt; encouraged GDS to try to activate the park; asked if GDS could use some of the space around the WMATA chilling plant; questions were raised about who would administer and maintain the park; had concerns about asking DDOT to make the street one-way given that the Marten’s Volvo site will probably be redeveloped in the near future; asked for clarification about the handicap ramp being shared with bikes; asked about plans for school busses to use 42ndSt for loading and unloading of passengers and be parked along on 42ndSt. Amendments to the draft resolution were offered.
Commissioner Bender moved, and Commissioner McHugh seconded a motion to support the amended resolution asking DDOT to reconsider their position on the fishhook. The motion was approved by a vote of 5-0-0.
Discussion of and possible vote on resolution regarding public space application by residents of 4424 Fessenden Street to add a driveway in public space
Commissioner Bender stated that the residents of 4424 Fessenden St have an existing driveway and wants to add more parking spaces. To do so, they would like to build a new driveway which would connect to the alley. The new driveway would be made of permeable material and provide outlets for electric vehicles.
There were no questions about the item. Commissioner Bender moved, and Commissioner McHugh seconded a motion to support the resolution supporting the public space application. The motion was approved by a vote of 3-0-0.
Presentation by DC History and Justice Collective proposal to rename Wilson High School
Judith Ingram, who is with the DC History and Justice Collective, discussed the many ways in which President Woodrow Wilson advocated and implemented segregation policies in the District. She noted that the Principal of Wilson High School, Kimberly Martin, is working to make progress toward equality and inclusion at the school. The group would like the Commission to facilitate obtaining community input on whether to change the school name and if so, to obtain input on a new school name to be sent to the DC Council in the form of a resolution. She stated that they had a community forum and some alumni from the 1960s were against the name change but most others who spoke supported it.
Attendees who spoke were supportive of the name change and noted that many current students are for the name change.
Commissioners: asked how schools are named and if there is a formal process to rename a school;
asked if the school has engaged with current students on the name change; asked if alternative names have been proposed; suggested the DC History and Justice Collective provide a detailed history of Wilson’s racist policies to help guide the conversation; questioned whether this process should go through DCPS or the DC Council; were supportive of changing the school name but suggested Ms. Ingram contact Councilmember Cheh to determine her interest in sponsoring legislation; and asked about support from the African American community for changing the school’s name. A representative of Councilmember Cheh’s office stated that she supports renaming the school if a community consensus emerges to do so and suggested arranging a meeting between the Councilmember, Principal Martin, the Commission and Ms. Ingram.
Discussion of and possible vote on resolution regarding overcrowding in schools in the Wilson High School feeder pattern.
Commissioner McHugh stated that Community Working Group on Overcrowding has released a detailed study of overcrowding in Ward 3 public schools. By 2028, the DC Office of Planning estimates that there will be 2500 more students in Ward 3 than the schools can accommodate and that two new elementary schools, one new middle school and one additional high school would be needed to accommodate the public school enrollment. The resolution asks the DC Council to take concrete steps to address overcrowding at Ward 3 schools and not renew the Lab School of Washington’s lease of the old Hardy School so that it can be put into use as a DC public school.
Attendees: noted that the Hardy School is a small school and won’t solve the overcrowding problem in Ward 3; expressed frustration that the Council would like more housing built but has not made the investment in schools; and noted that redistricting initiative a few years ago failed.
Commissioners: noted that the city should have tried to work with developers and GDS to try to obtain other properties that could have been used for schools; that the DCPS demographic studies consistently underestimate the future enrollment of schools; would like to see DCPS address transparency issues regarding the budget and would submit a letter to Chancellor Ferebee regarding such; and noted that DC does not have a capacity problem, Ward 3 does and would like DC to try to improve schools across the city to work to solve the Ward 3 schools overcrowding.
Commissioner McHugh moved, and Commissioner Ehrhardt seconded a motion to support the resolution regarding overcrowding in schools. The motion was approved by a vote of 5-0-0.
- Approval of February 2019 Meeting Minutes – Commissioner Bender moved, and Commissioner Ehrhardt seconded a motion to approve the February 2019 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 $22.25 to FedEx Office for copying services and $375.00 to Sherry Cohen for administrative support. The expenditures were approved by a vote of 5-0-0.
The meeting was adjourned by acclimation at 10:49 PM.