The meeting convened via Zoom at 7:34 PM. Commissioners Bender, Hall, McHugh and Quinn were in attendance.
Announcements / Open Forum– opportunity for members of the community to raise issues of concern or importance to the 3E neighborhood
Jessica Green, the Ward 3 Liaison to the Mayor’s Office of Community Relations, announced: DCPS will announce their decision whether to hold classes in person or virtually on July 31; the DCPS Summer Bridge program for rising 3rd, 6th, and 9th graders will be held virtually; DPR will operate outdoor summer camps with social distancing protections in place; she reminded residents to respond to the 2020 Census; and Coronavirus testing is continuing throughout DC (no appointment necessary) and antibody testing is being conducted at three sites by appointment.
An attendee stated that at a previous ANC meeting she mentioned safety issues at the intersection of 43rd St and Military Rd. Since then, there have been additional incidents and is asking MPD for stepped-up traffic enforcement at that intersection. Commissioner Quinn stated that the DC Council will be marking up the Vision Zero bill this week and residents should send their comments and concerns to Councilmember Cheh.
Another attendee brought up safety issues at the intersection of 42nd and Ingomar Streets. He noted that it is the only intersection along 42nd without a 4-way stop sign and that northbound drivers use 42nd St to bypass Wisconsin Ave. Commissioner Quinn replied that he has drafted a resolution seeking traffic calming measures for that intersection and it will be on the agenda at our September meeting. Quinn noted that at the last meeting the Commission discussed proposed bio-retention measures at 42nd and Emory Streets and the ANC suggested extending a proposed bulbout at that intersection so it could serve as both a bio-retention and traffic calming feature.
An attendee stated that DC Neighbors for Racial Justice launched a six-part education series. They are asking participants to contribute $30 toward the cost of the facilitator, but the fee can be waived if needed. Anyone interested in the series should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leigh Catherine Miles, the Executive Director of Tenleytown Mainstreet: announced Friends of Fessenden park has ideas for traffic calming along 42nd street and will follow up with Commissioner Quinn; thanked the ANC for the funding for cleaning kits that were distributed to 55 small and local businesses; stated that they list special offers from local businesses on their webpage; and they are updating their business directory with latest operating hours for area businesses.
Presentation by 2nd District Police
Lt Beistline provided an update on crime for PSA 202. Over the previous 30 days, there were no violent crimes and overall, crime is down 28 percent from the same time period last year. There were no questions from attendees. Commissioners asked: about crime rates increasing across the city; for traffic and parking enforcement throughout the PSA; and would like more police visibility. Lt Beistline can be reached at email@example.com with any additional questions or concerns.
Discussion of and possible vote on resolution concerning application for permission to build a 6-foot-high fence in public space at 4301 Ellicott Street, NW
Commissioner Bender stated that the owner of 4301 Ellicott St would like to erect a six-foot fence around his home which includes public space, to provide privacy and security. He has since modified the proposal and would now like to build the six-foot high fence beside the sidewalk on 43rd St and along the rear of the property and would put a 42-ince fence with 6-foot hedges behind it along his driveway. Commissioner Bender stated that the Commission did not oppose an overheight fence request on public space that would have been 12 feet back from the sidewalk at our last meeting, but that application was denied by the Public Service Commission (PSC). He noted that the fence under consideration would come to the sidewalk. Commissioner Bender authored a resolution opposing this overheight fence request.
Attendees had no questions. Commissioners asked if the application had been amended; stated that he opposes six-foot fences along sidewalks; and stated that they are sympathetic to the applicant but understand that PSC will not allow overheight fences in public space absent extraordinary circumstances.
Commissioner Bender moved and Commissioner McHugh seconded a motion to approve the resolution opposing the overheight fence. The motion was approved by a vote of 4-0-0.
Presentation by DDOT regarding Connecticut Avenue Reversible Lane Safety & Operations Study
Ed Stollof with DDOT stated that in 2018, three ANCs passed resolutions asking DDOT to study traffic along Connecticut Ave including the possibility of removing the reversible lanes to increase safety and reduce car crashes. The study area includes Connecticut Ave between Calvert and Legation Streets and from Wisconsin Ave to Broad Branch Rd to study secondary impacts. They noted that traffic volume is very high on Connecticut Ave compared to other northbound routes and there were 1500 car crashes along Connecticut Ave over the 5-year study period with 44% of the crashes occurring during the reversible lane hours.
They are looking at five possible design alternatives for Connecticut Ave including:
- Keep the current lane configuration, but improving signage and traffic signals, restricting turns and implementing pedestrian safety measures.
- Concept A would remove parking on both sides of Connecticut Ave to install two protected bike lanes. This option would have four traffic lanes with one lane being reversible during peak traffic hours.
- Concept B would allow for off-peak parking on Connecticut Ave. This option would remove the reversible lanes, allow for 3 lanes in either direction during peak traffic hours and 2 lanes in either direction during non-peak times.
- Concept C would remove the reversible lanes, eliminate parking and install protected bike lanes on both sides of the street. This option would have 2 lanes in either direction at all times and install pocket left turn lanes.
- Concept D would remove parking on the west side of Connecticut Ave and install a two-way protected bike lane in its place. This option would have a reversible lane during peak traffic hours.
They are currently evaluating each option to determine the impacts on traffic and safety; they are accepting comments from the public and will have a decision next year.
Attendees: stated that they prefer protected bike lanes and like Concept A; asked why this study came about; were worried about traffic being diverted onto Wisconsin Ave; stated that there were very few bike lanes in Ward 3 and would like to see some added to Connecticut Ave; stated they would like to see traffic slowed down along Connecticut Ave to improved pedestrian and bicycle safety; asked if they took into account projected changes to traffic volumes over time; asked how bikes would make left turns from the protected lanes; and asked who would maintain and remove debris from the bike lanes.
Commissioners: asked if the crashes during rush hour are proportional to the increased traffic volume during those times; would like to see protected bike lanes added but was worried about traffic backups; wanted to see protected bike lanes added and thought that reversible lanes should be kept if pre-Covid traffic patterns return; would like to see left turns limited; would like to see Connecticut Ave remade as a street for DC residents with pedestrians, bicycles, buses and cars all taken into account; would like to see improvements made to bus service for upper Connecticut Ave especially with the Purple Line opening; and would like to see similar changes made to Wisconsin Ave.
DDOT will be back in September or October to present their findings.
Presentation by Valor Development regarding plans to build a residential building at 5151 Wisconsin Avenue (Fox 5 lot)
Will Lansing with Valor Development and John Lang with Hickok Cole architects presented their plans for 5151 Wisconsin Ave, the Fox 5 building. Valor Development has a 99-year ground lease for the property to develop a rental apartment building on the site. They plan to file an application with BZA in the next few weeks, present their plans to the BZA by the end of the year and start construction sometime next summer. This is a “bowtie” shaped lot and the proposed building would have 177 units, 80-100 parking spaces, and 60 bicycle spaces. Access to the garage would be along Garrison St using an existing curb cut. They are seeking a special exception to adjust the MU4 line 35 feet to the east along Harrison St to allow them to square off the building; that portion of the lot is currently zoned R2. The bottom portion of the bowtie is currently zoned R2 and might have additional density added to it after the Comprehensive Plan update. Valor is reviewing whether to remove the tower from that piece and possible plans for that portion could include multifamily buildings that resemble townhouses during a Phase 2 portion of the development. The northeast portion of the block is currently owned by Donohoe and ideally, Valor would obtain that piece and do a PUD across all 3 pieces of the block during Phase 2.
Attendees asked: where the measuring point is for the building and how tall it would be along Wisconsin Ave; what the mix of units would be; what the building would look like to the houses along 42nd St; asked if the PUD would have retail space in the project; if they would restrict residents from obtaining residential parking permits; if they have an interest in the lot behind Rodman’s; for an update on the Ladybird development at the old Superfresh site; stated that Tenleytown Mainstreet would like to see retail along the ground floor and help the pedestrian environment; would like to see a creative use of the building along Wisconsin Ave; and about their plans for the tower and the cost for removing it.
Commissioners: noted that a lot of things need to fall in place to get this right and that Donohoe’s plans would have done all phases at once; would prefer to see mixed use at the site; would oppose any use of public space along Wisconsin Ave that doesn’t benefit the public; would like the antenna tower removed and inclusionary zoning (IZ) above the minimum 8% they are proposing; was disappointed in the proposal and asked what the community would get out of this development stating that we need schools, field space, and park space; noted that the community would have less leverage in negotiating with Valor in phase 2 than if it were a single proposal; asked about parking on the surface lot; if the power lines would be buried; what LEED certification they would seek; if there will be any open space with plantings and benches open to the public; if there will be balconies or roof decks; if there will be any surface transportation improvements such as bike lanes; stated that DDOT is installing a HAWK signal at Wisconsin and Garrison and asked if Valor would pay for a traffic light as an amenity; would like to see a larger building on the site given its proximity to the Friendship Heights Metro; noted that surface driveway from Garrison loses part of the land; and noted that the Comprehensive Plan update is due in the fall and asked if they would consider a single plan together then.
Presentation by Community Mediation DC on the services they provide
Commissioner Bender stated that representatives from Community Mediation DC could not attend the meeting and this issue will be moved to the September agenda.
- Approval of June 2020 meeting minutes – Commissioner Bender moved, and Commissioner Quinn seconded a motion to approve the Draft June 2020 Meeting Minutes. The motion was approved by a vote of 3-0-0.
- 3rd Quarter Treasurer’s report – Commissioner Quinn moved, and Commissioner Bender seconded a motion to approve the report. The report was approved by a vote of 3-0-0.
- Approval of expenditures – Commissioner Quinn moved, and Commissioner Hall seconded a motion to approve payment of $390.00 to Sherry Cohen for administrative support. The expenditures were approved by a vote of 3-0-0.
The meeting was adjourned by acclimation at 10:34 PM.