Category Archives: Transportation

NEWS: ANC’s Transportation Committee Recommends Three Proposals to Keep Neighborhood Moving Safely and Efficiently

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.

NEWS: TPI Committee Meeting Minutes, June 5

ANC2B Transportation and Public Infrastructure Committee
Thursday, June 5, 2014 – 7:00 p.m.
Dupont Circle Resource Center (9 Dupont Circle NW)

Meeting Minutes

1. Introductions and review of scope of goals for the TPI Committee

In attendance:

Tom Hay
Daniel Warwick
Brian Knudsen
David Suls
Comm. Mike Feldstein (2B01)
Comm. Noah Smith (2B09)
Moira McCauley
Comm. Will Stephens (2B08)
Tom Lipinsky (Office of CM Evans)
James Nozar
Rudi Riet
Susan Volman
Sarah Moulton
Comm. Mike Silverstein (2B06)
Comm. Abigail Nichols (2B05)
Mike Brennan

Committee Chair Noah Smith (2B09) opened the meeting with a review and update of the scope and role of the committee:

-Communicate with the Dupont Circle community and serve as a resource for neighbors on matters related to transportation and the public infrastructure. -Coordinate with other ANCs -overlap of issues with neighboring ANCs is important to analyze so we can compare successes and failures.

-Citywide transportation and infrastructure issues – upcoming opportunity to comment on legislation – formulate a statement to contribute.

2. Update on progress of goals and assignments

Walking tours of individual SMDs so show DDOT deficiencies in pedestrian safety, parking and tree boxes-contacts have been made and will begin with 2B08 and Will Stephens.

***
DDOT signage along 15th street cycle track is inconsistent and confusing -Contact has been made with DDOT. Discussed need for consistent signage. Many of the new enhancements across the city are in “beta” or testing mode, so permanent solutions are few and far between. Issues may be addressed once focus moves away from building new cycle tracks to actually maintaining the existing ones. Committee will look at national and international standards for signage. Uniformity and simplicity are key.

***
Rudi Riet and Kishan Putta -Repainting of R and Q cycle tracks. -Contact has been made at DDOT about need for painting. DDOT agreed and said they would address. Need to track progress.

***
Kishan Putta -16th street bus lane -Majority of DC Council have made statements in support. Feasibility study is next step and would address pedestrian safety.

***
Mike Silverstein -Circulator advocacy -There have been public outreach events. SW Waterfront and Shaw / Dupont are being considered as part of new routes. National Mall route is also being considered with funding coming from parking fees around the Mall. Either way, it looks like Dupont will get a new route through the neighborhood.

***
David Suls -Identify process to expand on street recycling -No specific process outside of a Business Improvement District (BID) to get recycling bins. Challenge may be who will be responsible for emptying the cans. Noah Smith will assist in getting contact at DPW.

***
Mike Silverstein -WMATA -Dupont North Metro stop -allowing ANC to water trees on Metro plaza. Bring proposal to next meeting. Added to agenda for July.

4. Discussion on the Residential Parking Program (RPP) for 1000 Block of 16th Street, NW (2B05)

Residents of the 1000 block of 16th Street (2B05) want to be eligible to participate in the residential parking program (RPP) and receive RPP passes. Mike Brennan of the Presidential Coop in the 1000 block of 16th Street NW explained that his building is not part of the RPP program. He was told by DDOT that he needs to present a petition to the ANC for inclusion.

Noah Smith explained that in the RPP, buildings are tied to whether there is restricted parking on your block. Intent is not to change any of the parking spaces. There are no residential spots on the block. Noah suggested the ANC have more discussion and find out why the building was not included and the implications before endorsing the plan. The ANC offered to help the residents talk to the right people at DDOT to have their questions answered.

UPDATE: DDOT responded that the block is zoned commercial is not RPP eligible.

5. Draft Parking Statements

The committee spent considerable time defining the actual issues associate with parking in our neighborhood. This exercise is meant to develop clear and impactful goals for the committee to pursue related to parking this year. For each of the following issues, the committee will develop realistic options to address the concerns and present them to the community for guidance.

Visitor Parking Program (Will / Daniel / Noah)

Residents have difficulty securing parking privileges for recurring visitors, such as home health aides, contractors, and nannies.

Residential Parking Issues (Daniel)

Residents have difficulty finding parking within a reasonable distance of their homes.

Under Utilized Parking (Susan / Rudi)

There are parking spaces, both public and private, in our neighborhood that are underutilized. This could be due to a lack of awareness of private parking options, unnecessary restrictions in place, or poor utilization of multi-use parking, among other reasons.

Business Patrons (Moira)

Businesses often have difficulty guaranteeing parking availability for their patrons.

Next meeting scheduled for Wednesday, June 25, at 7pm at the Dupont Circle Resource Center

 

NEWS: Proposed Resolution Affirming Support for Conn Ave Underpass Project

This resolution will be proposed at the ANC’s May 19th special meeting:

Resolution affirming support of covering Dupont underpass

WHEREAS, in June 2010, the Commission passed a resolution asking the District (including the Office of Planning and the Department of Transportation) to study the feasibility of covering the Connecticut Avenue underpass north of Dupont Circle with park space;

WHEREAS, for many years, residents and other stakeholders in Dupont Circle have advocated for such a project, which would have an extremely positive impact on the community and take advantage of an underutilized piece of public space;

WHEREAS, over the past two years, an ad hoc group of Commissioners, business community representatives, and representatives from the Office of Planning, the Department of Transportation, and the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Engagement have held a series of productive meetings to develop the project more concretely;

WHEREAS, the working group has developed an initial rendering of the park space (designed by a local volunteer architect) and an initial budget estimate for the work (developed by a local construction contracting company);

WHEREAS, the proposed project would cover the 1500 block of Connecticut Ave NW (between the Circle and Q Street NW) and a portion of the 1600 block of Connecticut Ave NW (just north of Q Street NW);

WHEREAS, Ward 2 Council Member Jack Evans has endorsed the project at budget town hall meetings and other public fora and has requested that it be added to the capital improvement budget for FY 2015;

Therefore, be it resolved that ANC 2B continues its support for the Dupont Circle Underpass Project;

Be it further resolved that ANC 2B recommends that the City Council fully fund the project by allocating sufficient funds in Fiscal Year 2015 to allow for the project to move forward;

Be it further resolved that Commissioners Mike Feldstein (Mike.feldstein@dupontcircleanc.net) and Will Stephens (will.stephens@dupontcircleanc.net) be the Commission’s designated representatives in this matter, and that the matter be delegated to the Commission’s Transportation and Public Infrastructure Committee for further follow-up and development.

NEWS: Transportation Committee Sets Goals for 2014

(This post is co-located at my ANC2B09 blog)

On April 23rd, the Transportation and Public Infrastructure Committee met for the first time. Created in March by ANC2B, the committee helps to coordinate many of the ongoing transportation, traffic, and infrastructure projects in our neighborhood and helps make real improvements to our community.

The committee membership is fantastic and includes five commissioners and five residents, all passionate about transportation and our neighborhood infrastructure.

At our first meeting, we set short- and long-term goals for the year that we believe are achievable and will have a significant positive impact in our neighborhood.

TPI Goals

Click to read our 2014 committee goals

Detailed minutes, which include timeframes for the above goals, can be downloaded here: TPI Committee Meeting Minutes 4-23-14

The committee is also a forum and a resource for anyone in the neighborhood. We encourage you to bring issues to our monthly meetings or to contact us directly. You can contact the committee by emailing TPI@dupontcircleanc.net or contact me, the committee chair, at noah.smith@dupontcircleanc.net.

 

BLOG: Notes on April 2014 Pedestrian Advisory Council Meeting

[Cross-posted at www.willstephensanc.com]

The Pedestrian Advisory Council (PAC) met in April 2014 for committee-level discussions.  (The PAC trades off every other month between full PAC meetings and committee meetings.  For a report on my first full PAC meeting as Ward 2 representative in March 2014, find a prior blog post here.)

This was my first committee meeting, and I joined the “Walking Environment Committee.”  Our special guest was Earl Eutsler (earl.eutsler@dc.gov) from DDOT’s Urban Forestry Administration (UFA), to talk about the interplay between the walking environment, the tree canopy in DC, and UFA’s management of street and island trees.

The most useful and interesting discussion points were as follows:

  • Getting Repairs Done:  Earl advised that using the 3-1-1 system is the best way to get repairs into the queue for action by UFA.  Other DDOT staff confirmed that UFA in particular makes good use of the 3-1-1 system.
  • Tree canopy:  UFA manages about 10% of the total DC tree canopy, with National Parks, other Federal agencies, the Department of Parks & Recreation, and private space accounting for the remainder.  The District has a goal to reach 40% tree canopy coverage within the next 10-15 years.  Earl noted that all pavement, including sidewalks and streets, last longer with greater tree canopy coverage, because of the shade provided.
  • Flexi-pave: DDOT is now using a special porous material for paving around street trees called Flexi-pave.  This is meant to replace and improve upon the “rubber sidewalk” squares that they previously installed in places like 17th Street, which buckles after only a couple of years.  If there are places with rubber sidewalk buckling, residents should note this in the 3-1-1 system as a “tree inspection request,” and these areas will be prioritized for Flexi-pave installation (if they are not already in the system).
  • Mapping:  UFA has comprehensive, interactive maps of street trees, including planned replacement and planting spots, on the agency website.
  • UFA Representatives: The UFA representatives for our area are “Team 2” and include Carlson Klapthor (carlson.klapthor@dc.gov, mostly north of the Circle) and Simoun Banua (simoun.banue@dc.gov, mostly south of the Circle).

NEWS: Pothole-palooza 2014 begins

The Mayor’s office just released this statement on repairing potholes now that Winter is over:

PRESS RELEASE

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, April 9, 2014

 

CONTACT:       Doxie McCoy (EOM) 202.727.9691doxie.mccoy@dc.gov

Rob Marus (EOM) 202.727.6853robert.marus@dc.gov

 

Mayor Gray and DDOT Launch Potholepalooza 2014

Effort Is 6th Annual Campaign to Expedite Pothole Repairs across the District; Residents and Commuters Encouraged to Report Pothole Locations

 

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — Mayor Vincent C. Gray and District Department of Transportation (DDOT) Director Terry Bellamy today launched the District’s sixth annual Potholepalooza campaign to expedite pothole repairs on roadways across the city. The Mayor and Bellamy helped fill potholes near the intersection of G Street and Benning Road SE to usher in DDOT’s month-long campaign for aggressively repairing potholes caused by winter weather.

 

“We’ve had several large snow storms and a lot of extremely cold weather this year, and this has taken a toll on our roads,” said Mayor Gray. “We’re grateful for the continued assistance of District residents in identifying potholes during this annual campaign so that we can make sure that our streets stay in good shape.”

 

This year’s Potholepalooza will run through May 9. During Potholepalooza, residents and commuters are encouraged to phone, go online, tweet, email or use the DC311 smartphone app to submit requests for pothole repairs. Residents can track the Potholepalooza campaign’s progress via an online map.

 

Reacting to the exceptionally cold winter of 2013-2014, DDOT crews have already filled well over 25,000 potholes – exceeding the total number of potholes filled in all previous Potholepalooza campaigns. DDOT will ramp up its already substantial pothole-filling efforts during Potholepalooza. As part of the campaign, DDOT is adding extra crews to fill potholes and aims to repair identified locations within 48 hours of the pothole being reported (the normal response time is within 72 hours).

 

“Our street and bridge maintenance crews have already been canvassing District streets for a couple months filling thousands of potholes,” said Bellamy. “With warmer temperatures, we’re accelerating our efforts and making an increased push to restore our roads.”

 

The first-ever Potholepalooza was held in 2009, and over the past five campaigns DDOT crews have filled 24,910 potholes. In 2013 DDOT received 849 service requests for pothole repairs during the month-long campaign and filled 3,899 potholes.

 

Operation Smooth Streets

DDOT has also partnered with local utilities to expedite repairs to utility cuts, which sometimes resemble potholes. This partnership, dubbed “Operation Smooth Streets,” aims to ameliorate more than 3,000 utility cuts during the Potholepalooza campaign.

 

How to Report a Pothole

Residents and commuters can notify DDOT about potholes in a variety of ways:

1) Call the Mayor’s Call Center at 311,

2) Use the Online Service Request Center at 311.dc.gov,

3) Send a tweet to twitter.com/DDOTDC,

4) Email Potholepalooza@dc.gov, or

5) Use the District’s new DC311 smartphone application.

 

Those who report potholes should identify the precise location of the hazard, including the correct quadrant (Northwest, Northeast, Southeast, Southwest) of the District. They should provide as much detail as possible about the hazard, including the approximate size and depth of the pothole. DDOT crews will also be out and about proactively identifying potholes.

 

How is a pothole repaired?

Road crews fix a pothole by filling it with replacement pavement material. Cold patches are used for small potholes in low-traffic areas because they can be quickly applied. Hot asphalt is used in high-traffic areas or on large potholes, because it will hold much more effectively. If the road has become pitted with potholes, it may need to be resurfaced. Resurfacing a roadway involves stripping the upper layers of asphalt off, roughening the bottom layers, and applying a new upper roadway surface.

BLOG: Report on quarterly ANC Chairs meeting with Mayor Gray: FY 2015 budget

Cross-posted at www.willstephensanc.com

On Monday, April 7th, Mayor Gray hosted his quarterly meeting with ANC Chairs and agency heads.  This is an initiative that the Mayor started about 3 years ago.  The meeting usually begins with introductions, and then a presentation or two from various city agency representatives, followed by questions and open discussion.  These sessions can be very useful because the Mayor includes all of the agency heads at the meetings.  This way, there is always someone to answer any question that arises, and the Mayor can direct an agency head to follow up on concerns or issues raised during the discussion.  I hope whoever is the next mayor will continue this new tradition.

Monday night’s meeting focused almost exclusively on the budget.  The session began with a presentation on the Mayor’s proposed FY 2015 budget by Eric Goulet, Director of the Mayor’s Office on Budget and Finance.  Full budget information is available here.

Some overall highlights of the budget overview included the following:

  • Increases the District’s fund balance to $1.75 billion (the highest ever) to improve the city’s bond rating;
  • No new taxes or fees;
  • Represents a 4.5% total increase over the approved FY 2014 budget;
  • Human services and education make up over 60% of the total budget; and
  • 71% of the budget is generated from local taxes and fees (with the rest coming from federal grants, payments, and Medicaid).

With respect to the ANC and our part of the city in particular, some highlights of the budget presentation included the following:

  • $38 million for renovation of Garrison Elementary School;
  • Property tax relief for seniors (based on the recent legislation sponsored by Councilwoman Anita Bonds);
  • Creation of a “One City Business Portal” for unified licensing and permitting;
  • Fully funds a force of 4,000 police officers; and
  • $114 million for sidewalk repairs, bicycle, and pedestrian improvements (including eliminating the current $18 million backlog of outstanding sidewalk repairs).

This is the third year that the Mayor has discussed the budget with ANC Chairs, followed by town hall meetings around the city.  I thanked the Mayor for respecting the intelligence of ANC Commissioners and residents by hosting these sessions.  The budget is probably the most important piece of legislation that the Council passes each year, but at the same also the hardest for individual residents and stakeholders to understand, because it is so large and dense.  The budget puts hard dollars toward priority items and thus reflects our values as a city — how we want to improve the quality of life and help people.  I appreciate that the Mayor is willing to explain clearly the priorities reflected in the budget proposal, package it in a way that is understandable, answer difficult questions about it, and solicit feedback on it.

With regard to specific budget items that we discussed at the quarterly meeting, I thanked the Mayor on behalf of our ANC for the Garrison School funding, as well as for funding the backlog of sidewalk repairs, given the heavy pedestrian traffic in our area.  I suggest that ANC Commissioners host walk-throughs of their Single Member Districts to make sure any necessary sidewalk repairs are noted and logged in the District Department of Transportation’s list in order to get repaired between now and the end of FY 2015.  I’ll be doing a sidewalk repair walk-through in 2B08 with DDOT representatives in May.

The Mayor, Mr. Goulet, and others will be holding town hall meetings in each ward to discuss the budget proposal.  The Ward 2 Budget town hall meeting will take place at the Sumner School (17th and M) at 6:30pm on Thursday, April 24th.  Community members are encouraged to attend.

BLOG: Report on first meeting with Pedestrian Advisory Council

[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 (willstephensanc2b08@gmail.com).

NEWS: Proposal for New ANC2B Standing Committee on Transportation and Public Infrastructure

At the ANC2B monthly meeting tomorrow (Wednesday, March 12), Vice Chair Noah Smith (2B09) will introduce a proposal for a new ANC2B Standing Committee on Transportation and Public Infrastructure. The purpose of this committee is to promote a safe and effective transportation system for the residents and visitors of Dupont Circle and improve the use of public space in our neighborhood. The committee will serve as a resource for commissioners and as a point of contact for DDOT, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Administration (WMATA) and the DC Water and Sewer Authority (WASA).

Learn more: Proposal for a New ANC2B Standing Committee on Transportation and Public Infrastructure

NEWS: ANC to discuss DDOT’s 2011 Circulator Transit Development Plan

Enclosed here is a PDF (4 MB) of the District Department of Transportation’s “Circulator Transit Development Plan” from March 2011.  Two of the proposed lines in the plan run directly through Dupont (see pages 59 and 67), and others go through other parts of the ANC.

This 2011 report will be the subject of discussion at tonight’s ANC meeting.  Bill McLeod, Executive Director of Historic Dupont Circle Main Streets, has asked the ANC for a resolution of support to keep the Dupont-Waterfront line (see page 59) in the plan as it goes forward.  Inter-related, we will also hear from ANC 2A Chair Patrick Kennedy, asking for support for a line that would start at the Lincoln Memorial and travel through Foggy Bottom, Dupont Circle, and up to the U Street Metro station.