ANC Round-Up: Back From the Beach Edition

Just hours after taking the above photo of the idyllic southern Massachusetts coastline, GM found himself racing back to Washington in order to attend the June ANC meeting. This fact has no bearing on the meeting itself, but GM just felt you ought to know what sacrifices he makes to keep you informed.

That said, the ANC meeting last night was jam packed and more than justified GM’s sacrifice. Unfortunately, it ran rather long so GM is going to have to keep it short in order to avoid falling asleep at the wheel.

Streetcars

DDOT presented plans for the streetcar and how those plans would affect Georgetown. In DDOT’s ambitious 37 mile plan, the agency calls for a cross-town route to come into Georgetown along K St.

The ANC is generally supportive of the plans but is nervous about how the streetcar could affect traffic, parking, and the viewshed. The overall message from the DDOT representative is that it is way too early to really say what DDOT is going to decide for Georgetown, but he also added that it is likely that there will not be dedicated lanes and that no overhead wire will be used in Georgeown.

On that last point, though, the DDOT representative was a bit ambivalent.  He showed up with an actual cross-sections of the proposed 3/8th inch overhead wire along with several images of what that wire would look like in action. He also discussed the council’s proposal to authorize overhead wires along H St. NE (areas outside of the L’Enfant Plan and Georgetown allow overhead wires already). You could argue that he was trying to soften up Georgetown to accept overhead wires, at least temporarily.

And surprisingly enough, it looks like the ANC may go along with that. They unanimously adopted a resolution that was split into two parts. The first part essentially said that the ANC supports streetcars on K St. so long as there are no dedicated lanes, no parking was removed, and any overhead wires are approved by the Commission of Fine Arts (there was also a request to consider what effect the possible removal of the Whitehurst would have on those plans).

Secondly, the ANC would not object to streetcars on Wisconsin Ave. (or M St., which was added to the resolution after the DDOT rep mentioned that streetcars could end up coming into Georgetown by M St. not k St.) again so long as there are no dedicated lanes and no removal of parking. For Wisconsin and M, however, the ANC put its foot down and said absolutely no overhead wires.

All in all, it was a good resolution for supporters of streetcars in and through Georgetown.

Washington Harbour

Three restaurants in the Washington Harbour complex came before the ANC last night to request a termination of their respective voluntary agreements. They are Cabanas, Nick’s Riverside Grille, and Tony & Joe’s.  Essentially they would like to redraft the agreements from scratch since, they argue, the agreements are overly complicated and cause a form of double jeopardy since they restate the law throughout (thus, when the bars violate the law, they also violate the agreement).

The ANC appears open to redrafting the agreements for the sake of streamlining, but they are likely to oppose some of the additional requests that the restaurants are seeking, most notably their request for amplified music.

How Are Our Hours?

The question of operating hours seemed to wind its way through many items last night. First of all, apparently ABRA will be allowing bars to apply to open up very early to show World Cup games (the games will be early since they’ll be played in South Africa). Specifically, from June 11th till July 11th, bars that apply to ABRA will be able to open at 7AM Monday through Saturday and start serving alcohol at 8 AM (10 AM on Sundays). However, if a bar is subject to a voluntary agreement restricting what hours it may operate, it must get approval from the agreement’s signatories. Unlike how it handled the late inauguration hours, the ANC gave blanket approval for those changes.

Also on the hours topic, three different restaurants requested extensions of hours. All three got the backing of the ANC for those changes. They are:

  • Chop Sticks: Monday through Wednesday till 12 AM, Thursday through Saturday till 2 AM, and Sunday till midnight
  • Il Canale: Sunday through Thursday till 2 AM, and Friday through Saturday till 3 AM
  • Crepe Amour: Sunday through Thursday till 12 AM, and Friday through Saturday till 3 AM. (Earlier they had requested to become a 24 hour operation, but they’ve backed off from that request.)

This Mural Brought to You by Eagle Bank

Eagle Bank brought a proposal to paint a mural on the side of its building at 1044 Wisconsin Ave. They hired local artist Byron Peck to come up with a plan. Peck is well known for painting some of the more memorable murals around town such as the one of Duke Ellington on U St. In GM’s opinion though, this design was not up to his usual standards and would be terribly out of place in Georgetown.

Essentially what they proposed was a giant bald eagle swooping down with a blue sky (and what looked like the moon, oddly enough) behind it. To be perfectly blunt, it looked like something that the Franklin Mint would sell.

The ANC adopted a resolution against it (both because of the design and because it operated like a billboard for the bank), and GM hopes the Old Georgetown Board agrees.

Safeway Development

As discussed here, Safeway is proposing a massive new development just south of its new store on Wisconsin. They didn’t present much more information than what GM already discussed last week. The only really interesting new piece of information is that they intend the car traffic in the new buildings’ parking lot to come from the Safeway driveway and flow one-way back out to Wisconsin.

The ANC objected to this traffic pattern since it would seriously complicate the already messy intersection. They also objected to the design, sort of (they simply asked OGB to require more references in the design to the Georgetown “vernacular”.) We’ll see how this project advances.

The End

Actually, that wasn’t so short after all. Oh well. Here are a few last points:

  • Cafe Divan wants some sidewalk tables. It looks, though, that they aren’t likely to get approval for more than a couple of tables on its northernmost corner.
  • We’re soon going to lose our Chevy Chase Bank. It’ll finally be renamed Capital One to reflect their merger.
  • Violent crime is apparently down, which Commissioner Solomon was quick to attribute to all the reimbursable details Georgetown organizations support

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11 Comments

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11 responses to “ANC Round-Up: Back From the Beach Edition

  1. SSC

    Was EastBanc’s Fillmore/Corcoran proposal not discussed?

  2. GM

    SSC: I literally came right from the airport to the meeting and missed the first 20 minutes or so. I think I caught the end of the discussion on the Fillmore School, but I got the sense that the ANC was saying that there was nothing they could do at this early stage. Others who were there can correct me.

  3. Jayce

    GREAT recap – thanks for your diligent work to keep us all up to speed!

  4. Ken Archer

    re: Corcoran

    Chairman Lewis explained that no proposal had been made by Eastbanc, and that the ANC cannot take action on projects based on what might be in them and must wait for a proposal.

    This seemed to frustrate some residents who showed up wanting to convince Eastbanc to not complete their purchase because of community opposition to developing on the parking lot and playground.

  5. I generally agree with the assessment of the ANC’s streetcar resolution and overall it is positive. The ANC needs to maintain some balance, however, on issues such as overhead wires and possible elimination of curbside parking.

    First DC’s streetcars can hold up to 143 passengers. Each city block has space to accommodate approximately twelve cars. If you figure 1.2 passengers per vehicle this is 15 passengers per block of curbside parking. I would gladly trade a streetcar for this possible loss of parking, especially when you consider many passengers will ride a streetcar who wouldn’t ride a bus, enhancing mobility. Additionally, I think it is unlikely that it is Georgetown/Burleith residents that currently use most of the curbside parking. The commercial strip of Wisconsin Avenue and K Street are both a short walk for Georgetown residents. Instead, I would expect that it is mostly MD/VA residents who drive to Georgetown and cruise for curbside parking.

    As for the overhead wires, where is the concern that overhead traffic signals (which are much bigger than the wires) threaten views in Georgetown? As Scott Kubly from DDOT showed people last night, the cables DDOT intends to use are about the diameter of a pen. Certainly, the will not ruin any views. Any obstruction from these wires needs to be weighed against the reduction in auto use that streetcars will bring, improving air quality in Georgetown and the broader DC region as the amount of emissions and particulate matter is reduced.

  6. Ken Archer

    My main question is why some people in the ANC and CAG aren’t engaging streetcars as a boon for Georgetown that should be central to their agendas. For example, when Chairman Gray threatened to cut funding for streetcars last Wednesday, why didn’t the ANC and CAG officials contact Gray and Evans’ offices urging them to keep streetcar funding? That they didn’t shows that they generally don’t see streetcars as a boon for Georgetown.

    At least 30-40% of streetcar riders will be people who otherwise would have driven to Georgetown. That data is consistent in other cities with streetcars, and there is absolutely no reason to think streetcars in Georgetown will be different. If anything, it will be higher because 13 blocks of the route into Georgetown (9th to 22th streets) will be dedicated streetcar lanes.

    Georgetowners are beginning to understand this, and I look forward to the day when the ANC and CAG make Georgetown streetcars a central part of their agendas for Georgetown.

  7. David

    Fully Agree with Ken — as a Gtown resident the one downer to Georgetown is the lack of accessability to local transportation options. The ANC/CAG and others should see streetcars (and I might add the bikesharing proposals) as CENTRAL to the success of local businesses and for the future of the neighboorhood. We still have some NIMBYism’s here in Georgetown, but that is changing rapidly.

  8. Pingback: Georgetown ANC won’t object to streetcar wires on K Street « BeyondDC Newsfeed

  9. I like the idea of streetcars in Georgetown. We took two in Tampa last month, and it was really nifty…. it gave a feeling of history to to older parts of the city we were exploring. And yes, our other choice was to drive. Driving a rental car in a city we didn’t know seemed like a really silly idea when we saw the beautiful, cost-effective alternative. Can anyone direct me to a photo of what the DC/Georgetown streetcars might look like? The one we rode in Tampa was gorgeous, gleaming wood throughout. Very retro in a very good way.

  10. Cynthia–

    Here’s are some photos from the DC Streetcar Open House held last month at the site of the former Convention Center.

    http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=181478 (photos courtesy of Beyond DC)

    The streetcars offer lower (i.e. easier) boarding and spacious aisles, more like riding metro rail than riding a bus.

  11. I like the murals of Byron Peck that grace different neighborhoods in the city. If the eagle mural is not appropriate for Georgetown, perhaps he could come back with design more in keeping with Georgetown today………say a giant cupcake and ice cream cone with lots of sprinkles.

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