DPW Director Is A No Show

ANC 6D Report

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ANC 6D Commissioners were disappointed that Department of Public Works (DPW) Director Chris Geldart, seen here at the Sept meeting of ANC 6B, did not appear at their meeting.

Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6D met on Oct 21. Commissioners Gail Fast (6D01, Chair), Ronald Collins (6D03, Treasurer), Andy Litsky (6D04, Vice Chair), Rhonda N. Hamilton (6D06, Secretary), Edward Daniels (6D07) and Anna Forgie (6D02).

Anthony Dale (6D05) has resigned. An election to replace him will be held at the commission’s meeting in November.

The commissioners began their meeting with a moment of silence for those impacted by the recent slaying south of M Street SW at the suggestion of Commissioner Hamilton.

DPW Director No Show

Deputy Director Michael Carter of the DC Department of Public Works (DPW) briefed the commission on his organization’s mission. Carter appeared in place of agency’s director, who had been scheduled to attend. The commissioners were “extremely disappointed” in the substitution and cut short his narration.

“It is disappointing to all these (attending) residents that the director is not here,” stated Commissioner Forgie. Vice Chair Litsky pointed out that no DPW director had appeared before the commission since the construction of Nats Stadium. Illegal parking is widespread in ANC 6D, stated Chair Fast.

Commissioners piled on. Commissioner Forgie and Daniels recounted numerous parking violations they had witnessed in the Navy Yard area including vehicles parked illegally in no parking zones, crosswalks and bus lanes. Many other commissioners chimed in about the absence of DPW parking enforcement in their single member districts, not to mention double parking.

“People know what they can get away with, since there is no enforcement,” stated Commissioner Daniels.

Commissioner Forgie stated that she had never seen a Parking Enforcement Officer (PEO) in her neighborhood. “We need you (DPW) to step up your game. There is no enforcement. DPW needs to be there and take action,” said Forgie.

Carter defended his department. DPW wrote 11,000 tickets last July, he said. The department has hired more PEOs. Three crews of booters are being trained. DPW has purchased 24 new tow trucks.

Commissioners drilled down into the relationship between the 311 system and DPW. Carter admitted that complaints called on average took 24 hours to be addressed. “The person illegally parked in the crosswalk or bus zone is gone within 24 hours,” observed Chair Fast. Therefore, there is “no system” for citizens to report illegal parked cars for real time enforcement, she pointed out.

P Street Cycle Track

Last month the commission discussed the DC Department of Transportation’s (DDOT) Notice of Intent (NOI) to install a cycle track along P Street between Second and Fourth Streets SW. The project would remove 26 residential parking spaces. The ANC advised DDOT to consider alternative designs that left the street parking intact by locating it along the Fort McNair wall.

“Installing a new bike lane must not be a zero sum game,” stated Vice Chair Litsky. Low income neighbors need access to parking for medical appointments and commuting, commissioners said.

DDOT representatives at the meeting informed the commission that no other design would suffice. Commissioners expressed their dissatisfaction with the NOI process. “You had the plan when you came before us and you have stuck to it,” stated Commissioner Hamilton.

A dozen residents then testified both in favor and against DDOT’s proposal. In favor, many cited the importance of alternative transportation modalities in preventing climate change and emphasized the need for protected lanes to increase cycling safety. Those against the proposal cited the needs of adjacent lower income residents especially seniors for parking to allow them to easily commute to jobs and access healthcare. Many of these residents do not have money to rent off-street spaces or purchase alternative transportation.

“If we vote to approve the resolution (against the cycle track) that proposal can be pulled back and we can have real conversation. We can create a bike solution that serves all,” stated Vice Chair Litsky. The commission voted unanimously to oppose DDOT’s cycle track design. The resolution specifically cited the commissioners’ concerns regarding its impact on lower income residents.

We Work Building to Pop Up

Representatives from Goulston & Storrs and Hickok Cole briefed the commission on their plans to add three more levels and a penthouse to 80 M St. SE, which most people think of as the “We Work” building. The project, which will increase the building’s height to 120 feet, is a matter of right.

The new floors would be constructed out of “mass timber,” the architects stated. It features a cantilevered wooden roof. New wood accents would be installed as part of a complete facelift of the building’s M Street entrance.

The commission took no action. The developers will return in coming months to seek a letter of support as they submit their design for review by the DC Zoning Commission. They expect to file an application in January.

Commissioners insisted that developers meet with members of the adjacent Velocity Condominium before returning to the commission. The new floors may obstruct the view to the condo’s south.

Other Matters

Andrew DeFrank, the new Ward 6 liaison from DDOT introduced himself to the commission. Lyft briefed the commission on the company’s plans to create scooter corals on private property. They stated that they were looking for a location in ANC 6D. Commissioners complained about dock-less bikes and scooters “littering” the streets. They requested that Lyft require scooter riders to wear helmets. They also expressed concerns about whether the vehicles carried third party insurance in the case of pedestrian accidents.

Lowe Enterprise briefed the commission on the Randall School project, 65 I St. SW. The developer plans to secure the property with a fence. Art will be installed in some of the windows and all will be securely boarded.

MPD officers briefed the commission on the Fall Crime Initiative. They reported no news on the Southwest murder that occurred near the Greenleaf Recreation Center.

A representative from Revel Moped gave a presentation on their four-month DC pilot program. Operators have to be 21 years of age or older with clean driving records. All bikes carry third party liability insurance and are equipped with two helmets. The mopeds speed is throttled at 30 miles per hour.

Listened to a presentation by representatives of the Capital Experience Lab (CEL). CEL is planning to establish a public charter school in the L’Enfant Plaza area in the next two years.

Douglass Development asked the commission’s support for a change of consequence to the plans for their redevelopment of the old Coast Guard Office Building at 1900 Half St. SE. The project expects to deliver 250 units this spring with more coming by the following fall. Commissioners requested that Douglass foot the bill for the cost of repairing adjoining cycle track infrastructure. The developer agreed and the commission voted to send a letter in support of the project.

The commissioner unanimously resolved to:
• approve moving the November meeting to
1100 Fourth St. SW to accommodate the special election;

• approve the community agreement and send a letter in support of the Thompson Hotel’s, 215 Tingey St. SE, application for a stipulated and permanent liquor licenses;

• send a letter to the Alcohol Beverage Control Board reiterating the commission’s request to be consulted on all major license changes;

• appoint Keara Mehlert to an At-Large position on the commission’s ABC subcommittee;

• protest a liquor license application for Mission, 1221 Van St. SE, on the grounds of peace, order and quiet in the hope that a community agreement can be reached in the interim;

• send a letter to the DC Department of Energy and the Environment (DOEE) asking the agency to continue to monitor the environmental impact of Superior Concrete as it moves its operations to its new Buzzard Point location;

• approved quarterly Treasurer’s report and FYI 2020 budget.

ANC 6D’s next meeting will be held on Nov. 18 at 7 p.m. at 1100 Fourth St. SW. Visit www.anc6d.org/ for more information.