Photo by me and the syop.
Last night the ANC met for its April session. While GM had to leave after little more than an hour, most of the interesting stuff is up front, so here’s what he caught:
Close Lanes Not Roads
During two items last night, the ANC touched on an underused solution to a frequent problem. The problem: street closures for special events. The solution: close just a lane instead.
The two items were the annual French Market fair on Book Hill and the Thai Festival on lower Wisconsin.
The BID will hold the French Market April 19th and 20th. One problem with the success of this event is that the narrow sidewalks of Wisconsin Ave. get overcrowded with the crowds and the booths. The ANC posed the reasonable solution that the BID ought to seek to spread the event over to the parking lane. John Weibenson of the BID responded that he was working with the city to arrange for just that.
As for the Thai Embassy, they would like to shut down Wisconsin from South St. to Grace for their annual festival June 29th. The ANC objected to the request, but proposed a similar solution to the French Market problem: why not just take over the parking lane?
The problem is that the city has shown a strong aversion to allowing, essentially, pedestrian and automobile traffic to share the road like that. Even when proposing appropriate barriers, groups seeking permits like this have been rejected. Thus if these requests are granted, they would represent a great possible solution to the problem of too many street closings in Georgetown.
Updates to the Zoning Code
As described here before, the city is underway with an ambitious attempt to rewrite and modernize the entire zoning code. Unlike with some other neighborhoods, members of the Georgetown community came together amicably to work out a plan for how those changes could be applied here. The plan was hashed out among a group that included some with very conservative feelings on what changes should be known and some who are much more progressive. (GM was indirectly involved in these talks in his role as Secretary of CAG).
Last night the ANC signed on to the draft plan that was discussed both at an ANC meeting and a public meeting held by CAG. Hopefully the city will now move forward and adopt it.
Next Bus Signs
As predicted by GM, the ANC took up the question of the installation of transit information displays in Georgetown. The displays were demonstrated by the BID’s new transportation director, Jonathon Kass. They are about the size of an iPad and display helpful information such as when the next bus will come, as well where the closest bikeshare station is and how many bikes are there.
The ANC expressed some reservations that new signage rules being written by DDOT might make an exception to the default rule that no screens like this would be allowed without Old Georgetown Board approval. After contemplating requesting the signs be prohibited until further notice, the ANC settled on a position that the signs are fine so long as they go through the normal design review process.