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.
It’s crucial for Georgetown to start working on a master transportation plan immediately. It must address short term goals (like parking management) with mid-range goals (enhanced transit access with the streetcar) and ultimately build up to the construction of a new metro stop in several decades time. Don’t laugh, it can happen if we start planning for it now and getting every stakeholder (the BID, CAG, and GU to name the most significant) are on board with the vision.
This isn’t just myopia of GM’s pet issue. How people get here and how the move about here significantly impacts the experience of resident and visitor alike. And it will ultimately contribute to the economic development of the neighborhood as well. If we can attract more people here, and do so without overwhelming or streets and sidewalks, more stores and restaurants will thrive.
With these hires, it’s clear that Joe Sternlieb and the BID get it. And we’re lucky to have each of them.