The ANC met last night for its March session. As with last month, GM’s new familial responsibilities meant he couldn’t stay for the whole meeting. But there was plenty in the first two hours he could attend.
Food Truck Regulations
Last month, the ANC adopted a rather hasty resolution requesting that in adopting final regulations for food trucks, DCRA should not allow food trucks on RPP streets (i.e. spots that require a RPP sticker to park more than two hours). After DCRA decided to open the regulations up for further comment, the ANC decided to make a more comprehensive resolution.
The commissioners ran through a litany of issues relating to the food trucks. While many of them, particularly those from Bill Starrels, could have been simply cribbed from press releases from the brick-and-mortar restaurants, who generally hate the food trucks and want to put as many roadblocks up to their success as possible, but some of the issues were valid beyond simply squashing competition.
After an occasionally fiesty back and forth, the ANC came around to a resolution that asked for three things. First, it repeated its request for a ban on food trucks on the residential streets. This is an expansion on its earlier request which was limited to RPP spots. This is an attempt to address the issue of trucks being parked in metered spaces right off of Wisconsin. Second, the ANC asked for a pilot period for the regulations, in order to allow a review before any permanent regulations go into effect. Finally, the ANC asked, quite rightly in GM’s opinion, that the final regulations call for proper trash disposal by the trucks.
Oh and GM would be remiss not to relate that Starrels twice made a point of objecting to the possibility that food trucks might park outside “$2 million condos” on Water Street. No explanation was offered why home price has anything to do with how the public space outside said home should be regulated.
Out of dismay that such rich people might wake up one day to see food trucks parked across the street from their $2 million condos serving people who don’t have $2 million condos, Starrels voted against the resolution for not being strong enough.
The ANC also addressed the issue of a right turn only light for eastbound M St. traffic at Wisconsin. Apparently there once was one there during the same light phase that allows northbound traffic on Wisconsin Ave. to turn left. When DDOT installed the new left turn light that allowed eastbound M St. traffic to turn left up Wisconsin, apparently it removed the right turn light. Normally in cases like this GM objects to putting drivers’ impatience ahead of pedestrian safety, but in this case pedestrians can’t cross the south side of Wisconsin or the west side of M, so adding the right turn won’t make a difference to pedestrians. So it’s a win-win, or at least a win-no-loss.
Sticking with traffic issues, the ANC passed a resolution calling for the city to install red light cameras at M and Wisconsin and M and Key Bridge to address drivers that block the box. Resident Patrick Clawson made the reasonable recommendation that instead of red light cameras, the city could paint cross-hatches on the intersection. This has been very successful elsewhere, but Ron Lewis objected to it stating that Georgetown has special concerns and that street painting like that would be ugly. Tom Birch replied that it would be “urban” and that we live in a city. GM heard an audience member murmur that it’s not like the asphalt is historic or something.
Finally, the ANC joined with the Burleith Citizens Association’s request for the city to explore traffic calming steps for the side streets to address cut through traffic. The ANC expressed a position against speed bumps, but was nonetheless for the general idea of traffic calming.
GM personally thinks the key to significantly reduce cut-through traffic is to prohibit it during rush-hours. For instance, so much car traffic comes down Wisconsin Ave. in the evenings and turns off on to 34th to get to the Key Bridge. This causes blocks of traffic to back up on 34th. But so much of the back up is caused because the 34th St. traffic is simply re-merging with the cars it left on Wisconsin Ave. Merging causes “friction” in the traffic flow, which reduces the overall through-put. It would be better if that 34th St. traffic just never left the Wisconsin traffic flow. That way, since 34th St. would theoretically only be for local traffic, the light at 34th and M St. could be retimed to prioritize M St. traffic, thus improving the flow on Wisconsin. Anyway, just a thought.
Officer Fitzpatrick of MPD related an amusing story about how an individual has been going around a scamming Georgetown hotels for free nights by presenting stolen credit cards. When the individual attempted his most recent escapade at the Four Seasons, the staff got wise to him and confronted him in his room. He ran away, but left a possibly innocent guest, plus some likely stolen laptops and iPhones. The police hope to make an arrest soon.
And finally, a group is planning an Easter Egg hunt in Rose Park. This apparently innocuous event nonetheless resulted in a resolution from the ANC with caveats: the organizers have to make sure all the eggs and candy get found so dogs and rats don’t find them instead. A somewhat dour response, but reasonable, GM supposes.