*Cross Posted on Noah Smith’s Blog (anc2b09.weebly.com)*
Several news agencies have reported an overnight fire at 1610 Riggs Pl NW in our neighborhood. Tragically, two residents are confirmed to have died in the fire and more were injured, including up to three fire fighters. The Dupont ANC has been in touch with fire officials and a resident of the address who was out of town at the time. We’ve offered our assistance and condolences.
Our neighborhood is beautiful, historic, diverse and vibrant; what completes that mix are the fantastic people who live here. Today we must come together to support our neighbors in any way we can.
While the cause of the fire remains under investigation, this is a great opportunity to confirm that your smoke detectors are working properly. The DC Fire and EMS Department installs smoke detectors free of charge to residents, simply call 311 or request one online by clicking HERE and selecting “FEMS – Smoke Alarm Application” from the drop down menu.
On January 3, 2015 a physical altercation and stabbing occurred inside Heritage India/Zanzibar located within the boundaries of the Dupont Circle Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC 2B) at 1901 Pennsylvania Ave NW. ANC 2B believes this event indicates an emerging pattern of violence at this establishment and at its meeting on January 15th voted unanimously to send a letter to the ABC Board strongly encouraging them to consider revoking this license and finding its owner to be unfit to hold a license.
Violence cannot be tolerated. Not only are the impacts extremely serious for the victims, but there are also real and negative impacts to the character and reputation of the neighborhood.
You can read the full letter to the ABC Board here: ANC Letter to ABC Board on Heritage India Violence 1-15-15
Today, after an over ten hour hearing on the matter, the ABC Board continued its suspension of the liquor license for Heritage India until the establishment “provides an enhanced security plan that addresses the Board’s safety concerns”. The full media release from the Board is below:
At its regular monthly meeting on January 14th at 7:00 pm at the Brookings Institution (1775 Massachusetts Ave NW) the Dupont Circle ANC will host Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans, and representatives from the Mayor’s Office and PEPCO to discuss the response to the recent neighborhood-wide power outages.
On January 6th an underground cable fault occurred shortly before 7 a.m. near 18th and Corcoran streets, NW. That affected three underground feeders and led to power outages for approximately 6,100 customers. At first, customers were told power would be restored before noon. That assessment was incorrect, but residents made plans without proper information, and some were stranded in unheated homes in sub-freezing temperatures. By nightfall, a warming center had been set up in Petworth, but it was more than 2 miles away, and many residents did not learn about it until after dark. Many did not feel safe leaving their homes to walk icy sidewalks with no street lights.
Above all, our neighbors did not receive enough timely and accurate information to make proper decisions about their own health and safety. While the ANC fully understands that infrastructure breaks down and that it can be difficult to diagnosis and fix the problem, our concern here is about how we respond to such emergencies. What went wrong here, what can we learn from that, and what steps can we take now to improve our communications systems so that future emergencies are better managed?
At the same meeting, four new Commissioners and five returning Commissioners will be sworn in by Mr. Evans and the ANC will discuss a range of regulatory applications as well as their 2015 goals. The full agenda, which will be updated on Sunday, is available HERE.
The Dupont Circle ANC’s Transportation and Public Infrastructure Committee has been hard at work the last several months on several projects intended to help keep our neighborhood safe and moving efficiently. This Wednesday, the committee will present three of those projects to the ANC and seek their support. We hope you can join us at 7pm at the Brookings Institution on November 12th to discuss the following resolutions:
- Traffic signals on 60 second cycles in residential areas might not be the most efficient or safe way to control an intersection. Led by new member David Alpert, the committee has recognized potentially inefficient traffic signals in residential areas and requested a study of their appropriateness for the neighborhood. There are several options for remedy, including elimination of traffic signals or a simple change to their timing.
- The committee, led by Susan Volman and Rudi Riet have audited the utility and appropriateness of signage along the 15th Street Cycle Track and recommended comprehensive changes to signage for bikers, motor vehicles and pedestrians. Inconsistent, confusing and poorly placed signage along 15th Street can lead to dangerous interactions among all road users. The Committee’s audit (including pictures!) resulted in several recommendations for infrastructure changes that bring our cycle tracks in line with international standards and better prepare users for potential hazards. The Committee recommends that by Spring 2015, DDOT replace the signage of the 15th Street cycle track to:
- Ensure the intended audience for each type of sign is clear and consistent
- Simplify and make uniform all signs
- Place signs at optimal height and location for visibility by their intended audience; and
- Add more signs to inform cyclists and motorists about the existence of the cycle track and lane layout.
- The committee recommends enthusiastic support for the DC Circulator plans for expansion through Dupont Circle to Howard University and is asking for further opportunities to provide input. The committee supports any and all additional public transit options in our neighborhood and had previously recommended a new Circulator route from the National Mall to U Street.
The full ANC agenda for this Wednesday is available here.
[Cross-posted at www.willstephensanc.com]
I had my first Pedestrian Advisory Council (PAC) meeting as the Ward 2 representative on Monday, March 24th in Capitol Hill. The meeting was chaired by Jason Broehm, a former 2B08 resident (from the Meredith).
I learned some interesting details about how the District handles pedestrian safety and enforcement (and traffic safety and enforcement generally):
- Traffic Captains: While the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) doesn’t have traffic safety division, each police district does have a designated “Traffic Captain.” The traffic captain from the 7th District attended the PAC meeting.
- Major Crash Division: The MPD also has a special division covering “major crashes,” which is defined as crashed which result in a fatality (or may result in a fatality). Sergeant Terry Thorne of the major crash division reported at the PAC meeting indetail on the 4 fatal pedestrian-related crashes so far this year – one on the Sousa bridge, one at 13th & I Streets NW, one on I-695, and a construction worker that was killed by falling construction equipment and material when a driver crashed into the construction site.
- Special Prosecutors: The District has two special prosecutors for traffic enforcement, paid from grant funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The PAC is split up into two committees, a “Walking Environment Committee” and an “Enforcement and Education Committee.” The report from the Walking Environment Committee had some interesting items:
- Sidewalk Repair Backlog: The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) has an $18 million backlog of sidewalk repairs, which the Mayor covers in his FY 2015 budget.
- Traffic Signal Optimization: DDOT is going to be posting a new PowerPoint presentation on traffic signal optimization, including data collected at hundreds of intersections (# of pedestrians, # of right turns, etc.). The report will not deal with Leading Pedestrian Intervals (LPIs), where pedestrians are given a few seconds to begin walking before turning cars are given a green light.
- ANC / DDOT / PAC Collaboration. The Committee Chair, Marlene Berlin, would like to focus on collaboration with ANCs. There is an ANC in Ward 6 that has a particularly good relationship with DDOT, and representatives from that ANC and DDOT representatives are going to talk about this at the next meeting.
Regarding the PAC itself, there were a few items of note from the March meeting:
- The full PAC meets every other month, with Committees meeting in the off months.
- The last PAC vacancy (Council Chair Phil Mendelson’s appointee) should be filled shortly.
- The PAC has access to some limited funding through DDOT.
- The PAC just hired a part-time program/administrative associate.
I’ll be joining the “Walking Environment Committee,” which is going to be discussing ANC collaboration and outreach at its April meeting. If you have any comments or questions related to pedestrian issues, please let me know (firstname.lastname@example.org).