Last night the ANC met for its last meeting of 2012. It was also the last meeting for Commissioner Jake Sticka, who did not run for reelection this year due to the fact he’ll be graduating this spring. As is normal, the commission will honor him with a special commendation at the February meeting.
But he wasn’t gone yet. And he dutifully took notes through the length of the relatively uneventful meeting. (GM wonders if the next crop of student-commissioners will refuse to serve as secretary. They’ve been stuck with the job going at least as far back as Jenna Lowenstein.)
One of the more substantive topics on the agenda last night was the city’s proposed signage regulations. This is something GM has mentioned briefly before. In short, the city is proposing the adoption of signage rules for the whole city. Technically speaking signage rules are nothing new for Georgetown. But too often they are more honored in the breach than the observance. The new rules would bring some more vigor to the rules, even those that already apply to Georgetown.
Last night the ANC voted to submit a letter supporting the new rules with some proposed changes. For instance, the ANC’s comments suggest that neon signs should be banned unless they meet certain criteria such as being the only sign on the store identifying the store name (like Bridge Street Books does). Additionally, they suggest that sandwich boards should be kept off of the main drags but remain allowed on the side streets.
(Full disclosure: GM drafted CAG’s comment letter on the same rules. CAG took a more conservative approach. For instance, rather than list exceptions out to the blanket prohibition on electronic signs, CAG suggested the rules be drafted to make it clear that the Old Georgetown Board’s review standards should apply.)
Everyone is in agreement that something needs to be done to crack down on the proliferation of ugly and illegal signs. Hopefully these rules can lead the way.
The ANC touched on a couple transportation related items. First, Ron Lewis announced that the G2 bus would return to its full route by “mid-December”. Additionally, Metro agreed to change the buses used. They will now use a shorter and quieter bus that runs on a hybrid engine. GM’s own favorite route, the D2, switched to shorter quieter buses last year, and he can attest that the differences are very noticeable.
Speaking of the D2, regular riders of the G2 might look to it as a model for more than the buses used. Years ago the D2 switched from long buses to short little buses. At the same time, the frequency of the route increased. After a while, ridership increased so much that they had to go back to larger buses, but with the new higher frequency. One of the major drawbacks to the G2 is its infrequency. GM has no doubt that if WMATA increased the frequency, like with the D2 it would lead to higher overall usage of the line.
Ron Lewis also expressed a little discontent over the changes to Wisconsin Ave. in Glover Park. He says he’s heard some complaints about increased congestion or cut through traffic. He has asked people to “take note” of such conditions and let the ANC know. GM doesn’t doubt that road capacity changes lead to temporary increases in either congestion or alternative routing. But asking people to submit what is by definition anecdotal evidence that has been self-selected to report one side is a pointless exercise. Will people write in “Drove by on a Saturday. Everything’s flowing well!” Of course not.
Finally, Lewis announced that in mid-January, DDOT and the ANC will hold a joint meeting for the public on proposed parking changes. This will be the first time potentially significant changes will be rolled out to the public. Expect to hear more about this soon.
There were a couple quick ABC matters on the agenda too. Gypsy Sally’s Acoustic Tavern had their voluntary agreement signed. Second, Taj of India is looking to add a sidewalk cafe.
GM just has to note this: while Lewis and Bill Starrels were signing the voluntary agreement, Gypsy Sally’s lawyer offered them a pen as a gift (the pen said something on it, but GM couldn’t see it). Lewis politely declined and said they couldn’t accept gifts. Starrels suggested they would fit under the $25 exception, but Lewis wasn’t budging from his ethical high-ground. The lawyer mumbled to himself as he took the pens back that they were just “$2 pens”. Huzzah for good government!