Category Archives: Transportation

BID Adds Two Exciting Staffers

Yesterday the BID announced the hiring of two exciting new hires. The first is Jonathon Kass as the BID’s new Transportation Director. He comes from the staff of Councilmember Tommy Wells, where he specialized on transportation issues. The second is Josh Hermias, who will be the BID’s new Economic Development Director. He comes most recently from Georgetown University, and before that worked in the District City Administrator’s office and at Brookings.

These hires are exciting for several reasons. This first is that they’re happening in the first place. It’s fantastic that the BID is seriously focusing on these two issues. Transportation and economic development are the two most significant challenges that the Georgetown business community faces over the next 10-20 years. Secondly, this is exciting because both Kass and Hermias bring such heft to the positions. Continue reading

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Lively Discussion on Parking Last Night

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Last night DDOT hosted a meeting with the community to discuss parking. The meeting came out of a long series of discussions that have been going on for years between representatives of the ANC, CAG, and the BID to address the parking situation in Georgetown.

As expected the meeting was lively and well attended. After a short introduction by DC’s parking Czar Angelo and his colleague Damon Harvey, the crowd of about 40-50 was broken up into three discussion groups to tackle three topics of challenges: residential parking, parking for commercial establishments, and institutional parking.

The bulk of the crowd (and GM) gravitated to the first group, where opinions were strong although not always in agreement.

For instance, early on in the discussion, someone suggested the creation of a ANC2E-only parking permit. Under such a scheme, only those who live in Georgetown or Burleith would get the benefit of unlimited parking in those neighborhoods. As it stands now, anyone who lives in Ward 2–which stretches all the way to the Convention Center and down to Southwest DC–can park without restriction in ANC2E.

Lots of heads nodded in approval for that proposal. But then one member piped up, essentially, “Hey I like parking in Dupont. If our zone is reduced, then I can’t drive and park there unrestricted.” Some other heads then bobbed in approval of that, and cited the distance to the Metro. Others then responded, hey if you want to go to Dupont, take a bus. It’s not like there’s any parking anyway.

And that pretty much set the tone for the evening. Lots of impassioned opinions, with nods of agreement often followed by rebuttals.

Probably the most contentious issue was that of the idea of making the side streets pay-for-parking. Some of the objections to the idea were to the aesthetics of not wanting physical meters on the side streets. That, in fact, is not a likely proposal anyway. Any plan for pay-for-parking in the side streets would involve the use of pay-by-cellphone, which only necessitates the signs be changed.

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Meeting on Parking Tomorrow Night

Photo by Matt Hurst.

Tomorrow night at 6:30 pm at Hardy School, DDOT will be hosting a forum on parking issues for the Georgetown community. GM knows that sounds incredibly dry and boring, but this will actually be interesting! The thing is, the city is taking dramatic steps to address how it manages on street parking throughout DC. And the likely changes it will recommend for Georgetown will be based on the concept of performance parking.

Performance parking is a topic GM has discussed several times before. The basic idea is this: on blocks where there is more demand than supply, the city will add meters and charge high enough rates to discourage enough people from parking on that street in order to always have a few spots open. Residents would be exempt from the meters and residents would be given some means to provide guest parking. Continue reading

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What’s More Valuable: A Bikeshare Station or Three Parking Spots

Photo by Jason Pier.

Back in November, DDOT moved the Capital Bikeshare station, that was on the sidewalk of Wisconsin Ave. by the canal, about 20 feet south and into the street. This was reported at the time by the Patch. DDOT explained that with the eventual construction of the new condo building where the Verizon parking lot is, there would not be enough space on the sidewalk for the station.

Moving the station into the street would necessitate eliminating three metered parking spots. To mitigate the impact of that change, the ANC requested that DDOT convert a loading zone across the street into a metered space and to introduce multi-space also across the street to enable more cars to park there.

When the parking spots were removed, the grumbling began. Most of it originated from Grace Episcopal, in front of which the parking spaces were removed. A church bulletin read:

While Grace supports the Bikeshare program (we have members that frequently bike to services), many members of our congregation rely on convenient access to street parking to attend services here. They include older members with health issues, families with young children and others for whom cycling to church is not an option. The loss of these three spaces is already being felt.

ANC chair Ron Lewis mentioned at the ANC meeting Monday night that he expected a compromise to be found whereby the station would be moved somewhere else. And GM is happy to support a compromise that each side can live with. But this situation presents a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate just how disproportionate the impact car parking has versus bike parking. Continue reading

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Is Georgetown Missing Out on the Bike Lane Boom?

Photo by AJfroggie.

Monday night, DDOT finally began construction of the long awaited separated bicycle lanes (or “cycletracks”) on L St. from the West End to downtown. This will hopefully precede another lane to be installed on M St. from 29th to Thomas Circle. This will bring improved biking facilities right to the threshold of Georgetown, but not through it. Will this mean that Georgetown will miss out?

For those unfamiliar with these types of bike lanes, the parking lane is moved one lane away from the curb, and the bike lane is installed with barriers between the parking lane and the curb. Studies have shown how dedicated lanes like these can cut cycling injuries by up to a half. And when lanes like these have been installed on 15th St. and Pennsylvania Ave., bike traffic along those routes skyrocketed while the impact to car traffic has been negligible.

The new lanes on L and M will provide a very much needed east-west route for bikers. However for Georgetown bikers, the lanes are tantalizingly close, but not close enough.

The L St. lane will travel eastbound from 25th (by Trader Joe’s). That means that if someone wants to bike from Georgetown to the lane, they will probably have to travel on M St.and Pennsylvania Ave.

GM is a confident city biker, but even he gets seriously unnerved trying to ride on M St. and Pennsylvania Ave. This gap between the heart of Georgetown and safe separated bike lanes will discourage people from riding bikes to Georgetown. But what can we do about it? Continue reading

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No Annual Visitors Passes in Georgetown

Photo by ThisisBossi.

As the Georgetown Patch pointed out the other day, unlike their Ward 3 neighbors, Georgetowners don’t get an annual visitors parking pass. If a Georgetowner has a guest coming, they may obtain a temporary parking pass, but the resident must travel to the police station in Cleveland Park with enough paperwork to secure the pass. But this pass is only good for a maximum of two weeks. The police are known to reject a resident who tries to renew the pass.

With a permanent permit like those issued to Ward 3 residents, the resident doesn’t need to go to the police station, the pass is mailed annually. And it can be used over an over again. And it’s this flexibility that’s why Ward 2 leaders have been wary about extending the annual guest pass program to their ward.

The problem boils down primarily to two concerns. The first is that in many (but not all) sections of Georgetown, parking is short. Making it easier for lots of visitors to park will exacerbate the problem. Secondly, there is a fear that Georgetowners would simply sell their guest parking pass to the highest bidder. Continue reading

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Looking Back at the O and P St. Construction

As the construction on O and P Streets draw to a close, GM thought it would be good to look back at how the project has progressed with this DDOT video.

The project should be complete by the end of the month. This would make the project under time. The original projection was 18 months. They’ve been working on it since the spring of 2011, so it’s only been about 16 months so far. GM said he thought it would take two years minimum, so he admits he was wrong about that.

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