ADVISORY NEIGHBORHOOD COMMISSION 3E
TENLEYTOWN AMERICAN UNIVERSITY PARK
c/o Lisner Home 5425 Western Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20015
Minutes of ANC 3E May 8, 2014 Meeting
The meeting convened at 7:35pm. Commissioners Bender, Frumin, Quinn, Serebin and Tinker were present.
Announcements / Open Forum – opportunity for members of the community to raise issues of concern or importance to the 3E neighborhood
An attendee announced that an all-day meal for the Second District Police Department would be held May 21, 2014, 10:30am to 12 midnight, serving 300 officers. She said volunteers and donations are welcome and asked attendees to contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Presentation by 2nd District Police
PSA 202 Lieutenant Alan Hill reported that police have made arrests in connection with two back-to-back robberies in April involving female juvenile suspects who knocked victims to the ground and stole their belongings. No arrests have been made in the third robbery that occurred in April in front of the Tenleytown library on Wisconsin Avenue, NW, he said. There have been three reported burglaries with no arrests, including one on the 3700 block of Chesapeake Street, NW. Lt. Hill said that police are seeing more street crimes involving juvenile offenders and female juvenile offenders in the District. Female juvenile offenders are unusual, he said.
There have been 27 thefts from autos in this 30-day period as compared with 30 in the same period last year, Lt. Hill said. Police arrested a juvenile who broke into two cars in the Mazza Gallerie parking lot. The juvenile, who is being tracked via a GPS monitor, has been arrested multiple times and continues to commit the crimes after he is released, he said. An adult male from the 4th District has been arrested and incarcerated twice for theft from autos; currently there is an open warrant on this individual.
In response to a commissioners’ question, Lt. Hill said that the curfew rules mandate that children under 17 cannot be out after 11pm on school nights unless accompanied by an adult or if they have obtained permission to travel to home from a work site.
Auto and home alarms (as well as big dogs) are a deterrent to theft from autos and burglaries, said Lt. Hill. He advised that residents never leave their belongings in their cars and to call 911 to report all suspicious activity.
Discussion of and possible vote on a resolution on proposed bike lanes on Van Ness Street, NW between Nebraska and Wisconsin Avenues, NW
Commissioner Quinn introduced this resolution, explaining that DDOT has given notice of its plan to install bike lanes and sharrows along Van Ness Street between Wisconsin Avenue and Nebraska Ave, NW. The new bike lanes and sharrows would not require removing any parking spaces or traffic travel lanes, he said. The resolution supports the proposal and also recommends that DDOT study the feasibility of extending a bike lane and sharrows on Van Ness Street between Nebraska and Massachusetts Avenue, NW, as well as several other additions to the bicycle infrastructure in the area.
Attendees raised concerns that bicyclists are not using bells, reflectors or neon clothing, including at night, creating unsafe conditions for pedestrians and bicyclists.
Commissioners discussed the item and voted unanimously to approve the resolution with friendly amendments.
Discussion of and possible vote on a resolution relating to the Student Assignment proposals and process
Commissioner Bender introduced the resolution, explaining that the initial proposals released to the public in April 2014 under the District’s Student Assignment and School Boundaries Review Process shocked many residents and triggered worries about the soundness of the process itself. A spreadsheet was distributed this afternoon with data points including each school’s capacity, he said, including current enrollment; number of children within the public school boundary; and number of children outside the public school boundary. The spreadsheet included projections for 2020 of the same data points, with a 10% set aside, as to how many children are currently within current school boundaries as opposed to the review’s proposed boundaries. Commissioner Bender noted that the spreadsheet did not explain what data or analytical procedure was followed to arrive at the numbers contained in the spreadsheet.
Commissioner Frumin, a member of the school boundary committee, said that the committee should be making preliminary recommendations in early June. A “technical team” will release revised boundaries to address public feedback.
The letter resolution asks Mayor Gray and the City Council to not adopt the proposed school reforms, and specifically asks the Mayor to reject Options A and C. It requests that the Mayor take no action on the basis of the boundary review; to develop a comprehensive plan to fix the District’s matter-of-right schools; and only after this plan has been developed the new Mayor and City Council begin a new boundary review process, based on strong data analysis that allows parents sufficient time to participate.
Attendees and commissioners discussed the topic at length, covering such topics as whether Ward 3 schools are unfairly targeted; the motivations behind the school boundary process; concerns over the way the process has worked; and the need for accurate demographic data and analysis early in the school boundary review process.
Several attendees who live within Janney’s current boundaries and whose children under the proposed rules would be required to transfer to Murch or Hearst — asked that the commissioners take the position that their school assignments not be changed. They also asked that certain language in the resolution be changed; including revising language that emphasized that Janney is currently over-subscribed and overcrowded.
The matter was tabled until after the WMATA presentation.
After the WMATA presentation, and after making several amendments to the draft resolution per suggestions of attendees, the commissioners voted 4-0, with Commissioner Frumin abstaining, to approve the resolution with the friendly amendments.
Discussion of and possible vote on a resolution relating to funding for Sidewalk Capital Improvements
Marlene Berlin, Vice-Chair of the D.C. Pedestrian Advisory Council (PAC), addressed the commission, noting that PAC advises the City Council and the Mayor on pedestrian issues. She said that Sam Zimbabwe, associate director of the DDOT’s Policy, Planning and Sustainability Administration, gave a presentation to PAC in June 2013 where he stated that there is currently a $22 million to $28 million backlog in needed sidewalk maintenance projects in the District. PAC passed a resolution in January 2014 recommending that the Mayor allocate $28 million in his FY 2015 capital budget — representing $25 million of additional funding — for sidewalk improvements, Ms. Berlin said. She asked for the commission’s support that the City Council approve a budget to spend a total of $33.5 million for fiscal years 2015 to 2017 towards sidewalk repairs.
The commissioners discussed the resolution, including the need to strengthen the use of pervious paving and other sustainable, environmentally friendly materials for sidewalks; allocating more funding for pedestrian safety at intersections in commercial corridors; and the need to see the Pedestrian Master plan implemented more fully.
Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the resolution with friendly amendments.
Discussion of and possible vote on a resolution relating to proposed changes to WMATA bus stops for the 30’s line buses on Wisconsin Avenue, NW between Friendship Heights and Georgetown
Commissioner Quinn introduced this issue, explaining that a citywide examination of bus stops is currently underway, including the Wisconsin Avenue bus lines. Jim Hamre, Director of Bus Planning for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), said that WMATA has been engaged in an ongoing investment and re-working of bus routes and bus stops with the goal of creating reliable bus routes that customize the amount of service to actual demand. There are 3,500 bus stops in the District, he noted.
Bryant McClary, Bus Operations Specialist, Department of Bus Services for WMATA, said that the current proposal calls for consolidating the bus stops for bus routes 31, 32, 24 and 36 along the Wisconsin Avenue corridor in the Tenleytown/Friendship Heights area. The bus stops that would be eliminated are southbound at the Mazza Gallerie; southbound at Warren Street, NW near the fire station; and northbound and southbound at Ellicott Street, NW.
Mr. McClary said that recommendations would be issued after a public comment period starting early June to mid-July. The changes will become effective August 24, 2014.
Commissioners and attendees discussed the topic, including such issues as the impact of removing the Ellicott bus stop for the elderly who shop at Safeway; the impact on Wilson Students who travel to school from the southeast; the need to stagger outbound buses leaving the Friendship Heights/Wisconsin/Western Avenue station; the need for additional police enforcement to prohibit right turns in front of a bus; improving bus driver behavior; extending bus service past the D.C. boundary into Montgomery County; and whether all bus stops could be moved to the far side of intersections to increase safety and efficiency.
The commissioners did not raise any objections and will take up the proposal at a future meeting.
Discussion of and possible vote on a resolution relating to PEPCO plans to construct four 138kV underground transmission circuits between Little Falls Parkway (MD) and PEPCO’s Van Ness Substation (DC)
Marc Battle, PEPCO District Regional Vice President, Robert Andrukaitis, Manager Special Projects, and Mousa Hejazi, P.E. Senior Supervising Engineer, UG Transmission Engineering, discussed plans to upgrade the Harrison substation at 5210 Wisconsin Avenue near the corner of Wisconsin and Harrison Streets, NW and install underground electrical cables that service the substation.
The proposal calls for the Harrison substation, originally constructed in 1940, to be substantially upgraded, including increasing capacity from 56MVA to 150 MVA; upgrading transformers to three 138 KV to 13KV; doubling the amount of distribution feeders to 36; increasing the capacity of the supply feeders to 138 KV; and other state-of-the-art equipment upgrades. The building size will not change. The work is slated to begin this year with a targeted completion date of June 2017.
PEPCO representatives said they plan to bury some of its electricity transmission lines that serve the substation, including under Wisconsin and Western Avenues, NW. The work on Western Avenue will begin in October 2014 and Wisconsin Avenue one year later, they said. The cables will be installed by September 2016 and will result in a lane closure along Wisconsin Avenue from February to October 2015.
Commissioners and attendees discussed the proposal, covering such topics as whether PEPCO could bury other transmission lines along Wisconsin Avenue to link up with undergounding currently underway several blocks to the south as part of the same project; why the Harrison Substation could not be moved or undergrounded entirely; if the substation could be made more attractive; and if PEPCO could work with DDOT to also repave Western Avenue.
Commissioners noted that PEPCO will be heard by the Public Service Commission to receive approval for the project and asked that PEPCO representatives stay in touch with commissioners to discuss ongoing issues such as traffic disruptions. Commissioners specifically asked PEPCO to take steps to beautify the new substation, noting that the current substation has bricked-up windows facing Wisconsin Avenue and exposed transformers on Harrison Street. The representatives stated that they would develop some ideas for addressing these concerns and share them with commissioners. No action was taken at this time.
Approval of April 2014 Meeting Minutes
Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the April 2014 meeting minutes.
Approval of expenditures
Commissioners voted unanimously to approve expenditures: $525.00 to Loren Stein for administrative services; $13.07 to FedEx for copying services.
The commission adjourned at 12:33am.
Matthew Frumin, Chair