Key Transportation Project Updates: 17th Street, Barney Circle, Penn-Potomac

November 24, 2014

17th & 19th Streets Safety Improvement Project 

During a Nov. 18 community meeting, we learned that we will have to wait another 18 months for the already delayed construction and implementation of the 17th Street SE recommendations of the District Department of Transportation’s 17th & 19th Street Safety Improvement Project. The reason? DC Water needs to replace water mains from C Street NE to Potomac Avenue SE. DC Water contractors will begin the water main work in Jan. 2015 (weather permitting) at C Street NE and will proceed down 17th Street until they reach Potomac Ave SE. DDOT contractors will follow the DC Water crews down 17th Street until the safety improvements are complete, likely by May 2016.

While I’m still extremely frustrated about the additional delays and lack of communication between DDOT and DC Water, I am appreciative that both agencies came out to the neighborhood to explain the project timeline and answer questions. I also suggested that DDOT work to implement the 17th Street safety improvements between Potomac Ave SE and Barney Circle SE as soon as possible since this area will not experience water main construction.

Note that construction on the 19th Street portion of the project will begin soon and will be completed by March 2015 (again weather permitting).

If you could not attend the meeting, here are the handouts:

Barney Circle-Southeast Boulevard Project

Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells is hosting a community meeting on Thursday, Dec. 11, 7:00 pm to share the Office of Planning’s final concepts for the Barney Circle-Southeast Boulevard Planning Study. The meeting will be at Friendship Charter School Chamberlain Campus (1345 Potomac Ave SE).

Prior to the Dec. 11 meeting, OP has circulated the following document with updated concepts:

While all three concepts are much better than DDOT’s original concepts for the study, I’m curious to hear from residents. Feel free to post your comments below and/or attend the Dec. 11 meeting. In 2015, DDOT will be evaluating the final OP concepts and resuming the BC-SE Blvd. transportation planning study.

Pennsylvania-Potomac Avenues Intersection Study

DDOT has released three alternatives for the ongoing Pennsylvania-Potomac Avenue Intersection Pedestrian Safety Study. The three alternatives – Triangle Parks, Rectangular Park and Ellipse Park – are totally different from the concepts reviewed by the public and ANC 6B in May 2013. The T-intersection option – favored by ANC 6B – has been eliminated. Even more confusing is DDOT’s apparent decision to avoid scheduling another public meeting to review the new alternatives. The only opportunity for public input on the new alternatives was a DDOT “information booth” placed at the Potomac Avenue Metro station on Nov. 6 between 3 and 5 pm, a time when a majority of residents are at work.

Please e-mail DDOT at pennpotomac@prrbiz.com and tell them they need to schedule a public meeting on their alternatives. Comments are due Dec. 8.


ANC 6B November Meeting

November 16, 2014

Around 50 residents attended ANC 6B’s November 12 meeting at the Hill Center. Here is a recap of major actions:

  • The commission voted unanimously to send comments (pdf) to Mayor Gray on his plan to close the temporary emergency family homeless shelter at DC General. The comments, based on conversation and feedback from an Oct. 30 Hill East Task Force meeting, voiced support for the general thrust of the plan but also concerns about the plan’s lack of specificity and urgency.
  • After a lengthy discussion, ANC 6B voted 5-3 to support a new liquor license for Bayou Bakery, a restaurant that plans to open in the Hill Center carriage house. I voted with the majority. While I certainly understood concerns raised by nearby neighbors on trash, I felt that the applicant deserved an opportunity to demonstrate that his trash plan would work and not contribute to rat problems – particularly since the location is not on Barracks Row. I’m also convinced that the Hill Center will be extra vigilant in making sure trash doesn’t become an issue. If trash or noise do become issues, the commission can take it up with the applicant when his license is up for renewal in 2016.
  • The commission voted unanimously to send a letter (pdf) to the Washington 2024 Olympic bid committee inviting the committee to present their plans at a community meeting. Robert Sweeney, senior advisor to Washington 2024, was in attendance and said that the committee would be happy to hold such a meeting. He also confirmed that RFK Stadium and Hill East (Reservation 13) are being looked at for potential venues and the Olympic Village – though he was quick to point out that other locations are being considered as well. I hope to get this meeting on the calendar ASAP.
  • Commissioner Nichole Opkins (6B06) announced that the commission would consider the first-stage planned unit development application for 1333 M Street SE at a special call meeting on Wed., Nov. 19, 7:00 pm at Christ Church Washington Parish (620 G Street SE). This development will bring a large number of residents to the Anacostia waterfront between Barney Circle and 11th Street SE.
  • The commission decided to postpone consideration of a proposed resolution on the Exelon-Pepco merger until December. The resolution raises a number of concerns about the proposed merger and asks the Public Service Commission and DC Council to ensure that DC ratepayers are protected in the deal. A number of commissioners requested additional time to consider the merits of the merger and the proposed resolution.
  • The commission unanimously endorsed a new vending and soliciting policy (pdf) for Eastern Market, a policy that protects the rights of candidates and other individuals to seek petition signatures at the market.
  • Commissioner Brian Pate (6B05), chair of the ANC 6B Outreach & Constituent Services Task Force, shared an updated list of high priority vacant and blighted properties in ANC 6B. The commission voted unanimously to submit the list to the Vacant Building Enforcement unit at the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs and to send letters to the homeowners on file.
  • Steve Ricks, chairman of the Historic Anacostia Boating Association, shared a presentation on the association’s plans to redevelop the Boathouse Row area south of the freeway between Barney Circle and 11th Street SE.
  • I reminded attendees about a Tues., Nov. 18 community meeting on the status of the District Department of Transportation’s 17th and 19th Street Safety Improvement Project. The meeting will be at 6:30 pm at St. Coletta of Greater Washington (1901 Independence Ave SE).
  • ANC 6B’s December meeting will be on Tuesday, Dec. 9, 7 pm at the Hill Center.

Attend Nov. 18 Community Meeting on 17th Street SE Safety Improvements

November 14, 2014

On Tuesday, Nov. 18, I’m convening a community meeting to discuss the status of the 17th & 19th Street Safety Improvement Project. The meeting is from 6:30-8 pm at St. Coletta of Greater Washington (1901 Independence Ave SE). Representatives of the District Department of Transportation and DC Water will be in attendance to explain why the improvements are being delayed and to provide an updated timeline. Attendees will also get an update on the status of the reopening of the Southeast Freeway between Barney Circle SE and the 11th Street SE.

I encourage residents who live on or near 17th Street SE to attend the meeting.


Hill East Task Force Recap: DC General Closure Plan, Eastern Branch Bldg RFP

November 11, 2014

Around 25 people attended the Oct. 30 ANC 6B Hill East Task Force meeting to discuss Mayor Gray’s DC General Shelter replacement plan and the status of the Eastern Branch Building Request for Proposals. Here is a recap:

  • I opened the meeting with a quick update on the status of Phase I of the Hill East Development (Reservation 13). The Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development’s office held an Oct. 29 disposition meeting on parcels F1 & G1. Attendees at the meeting spoke in support of the disposition and urged DMPED to get disposition legislation in front of the DC Council as soon as possible. ANC 6B and the Hill East Task Force will continue to monitor progress on Phase I.
  • The task force discussed Mayor Gray’s plan to close the temporary family emergency homeless shelter at DC General. I provided a brief summary of the plan which was released by Mayor Gray on Oct. 14. ANC 6B is on record in support of closing the shelter at DC General and has urged the city to identify better housing alternatives for homeless families.
  • Generally, the plan calls for replacing the 288 units in DC General with 5-6 smaller scale, neighborhood-based shelters throughout the city. The Department of General Services and the Department of Human Services are working to identify privately-owned buildings and city-owned buildings that could be quickly converted into shelters. If efforts are successful, DC General could be closed as early as fall 2015.
  • Though pleased that the Mayor released a plan, the task force agreed that the plan is very vague. Concerns raised about the plan included:
    • Open-ended Solicitation for Offers – the Department of General Services has issued a Solicitation for Offers seeking privately owned facilities that could be used as shelters. The SFO is a “rolling solicitation” without a deadline. The task force is concerned that the lack of a deadline will remove the time pressure necessary to encourage developers/owners to respond to the SFO.
    • Lack of Potential Locations – the plan is silent on potential locations for the smaller-scale shelters. The task force would feel better about the plan’s prospects if at least one or two potential locations were identified.
    • Lack of a Specific Closing Date – while the plan states that DC General could close as early as the fall of 2015, the Administration does not identify a specific closing date. Again, the lack of a closing date contributes to the sense that there is a lack of urgency to close DC General.
    • Recent Increase in DC General Population – if the goal is to close DC General, why is the city continuing to move more families into the deteriorating building. Recently, 60 families were moved from hotels into DC General. The city should be working to reduce the population at the shelter so it can be closed.
  • The task force also discussed potential drug activity at DC General. Resident Member Pat Taylor said that she had recently seen evidence of a significant open air drug market taking place outside of the shelter next to the new playground. Attendees suggested working with MPD, DGS Protective Services, CSOSA and the DC Department of Corrections to address these issues on the site.
  • The task force agreed that ANC 6B should send formal comments on the plan to Mayor Gray. Flahaven offered to write draft comments to be reviewed by the task force and then forwarded to the full commission for Nov. 12 consideration.
  • The task force transitioned to discussing the current Request for Proposals for the Eastern Branch Building, the former Boys and Girls Club building located at 261 17th Street SE. DGS released the RFP in mid-September with a deadline of Friday, November 20.
    Organizations/development teams who plan on responding to the RFP were invited to share their concepts with attendees. The following three representatives shared their concepts:

    • Corey Powell of Dantes Partners shared his firm’s concept for a senior housing facility combined with first floor community space. The preliminary concept includes adding a two-story addition to the existing building, with a total capacity of 49-units.
    • Joel Kelty of Century Associates shared his firm’s concept also includes senior housing but without additional stories (Kelty suggested that an existing cell tower lease may make building any rooftop additions impossible). Century Associates envisions 24-30 larger residential units with a children’s activity space in the existing building’s gymnasium.
    • Mai Fernandez, a Capitol Hill resident and executive director of the National Center for Victims of Crime, envisions using the existing building for 39-units of senior housing and office space for her NCVC. Training space for NCVC could also be used by the community for meetings and recreation. She is seeking a development partner for the residential side of the project.
  • Attendees asked each representative a number of questions, including whether their concepts would be consistent with the site’s R-4 zoning and whether they planned to use tax credits to fund the housing portion of their projects. HillNow.com has an excellent recap of this portion of the meeting.
  • The task force thanked Ms. Fernandez, Mr. Powell and Mr. Kelty for their presentations and reminded attendees that ANC 6B would have an opportunity to review and comment on RFP responses.
  • The meeting adjourned at 7:50 pm so that attendees could individually ask questions of the three developer/organization representatives.

Vote Flahaven for ANC 6B09

November 4, 2014

Today is Election Day! Polls open at 7 am – 8 pm. Please VOTE – you can find your polling place on the DC Board of Elections website.

The following is the candidate statement I’ve been sharing with my constituents:

Dear Neighbor,

I’m running for reelection as your ANC commissioner to continue fighting to improve the quality of life of residents in Barney Circle and Hill East.

My second term has been a busy one. My single member district – ANC 6B09 – has seen a number of large construction projects. There are currently three residential projects underway or planned for the eastern end of Pennsylvania Ave. We’ve seen two great new businesses open along the 15th Street SE mixed-use corridor – The Pretzel Bakery and Curbside Café. And we are on the cusp of seeing the first phase of the Reservation 13/Hill East Development become a reality.

I’ve also been active on our behalf at the Wilson Building. Over the past two years, I’ve testified 8 times in front of the Council on issues such as Reservation 13, DC General and the future of RFK Stadium. I’ve also testified at Zoning Commission and Alcoholic Beverage Control Board hearings and been a strong advocate for projects that would connect our neighborhood to the Anacostia waterfront.

And I’ve been a leader on ANC 6B. For the past two years, I have had the privilege of serving as chair of the commission. During my tenure as chair, the commission has been extremely active weighing in on major citywide issues, from education to public safety to transportation. We have also improved our operations and procedures with the goal of making it easier for residents to understand and be engaged with ANC 6B.

While I’m proud of these accomplishments, there is much work left to be done. If I’m re-elected, I will:

  • Push the Mayor and Council to continue making progress on mixed-use development plans for Reservation 13
  • Urge city officials to find alternative housing for families living at the temporary emergency family shelter at DC General so that the facility can be closed and demolished
  • Continue to oppose the reopening of the Southeast Freeway and advocate for a Barney Circle-Southeast Boulevard plan that doesn’t increase commuter traffic through Hill East
  • Ensure that the neighborhood has a voice in the city’s Request for Proposals process for the Eastern Branch Building
  • Push DDOT to expedite the long-stalled safety improvements to 17th and 19th Streets SE
  • Increase neighborhood engagement with, and ANC support for, Payne, Watkins and our DC public schools
  • Support efforts to bring more retail and restaurants to the eastern end of Pennsylvania Avenue SE

In addition, I plan to keep my constituents engaged and informed on ANC activities by posting frequent updates on my blog, holding periodic community meetings, distributing flyers with information on key meetings and events and organizing groups of residents to contact and/or visit with DC Councilmembers.

To learn more about me, visit www.flahaven6b.com or e-mail flahaven4anc@gmail.com. You can also follow me on Twitter at @BFlahaven.

Thank you for your time, consideration, and hopefully, your support. It has been an absolute privilege to represent our neighborhood on ANC 6B. I ask for your vote on November 4.

Brian

Brian Flahaven
Candidate, ANC 6B09


ANC 6B Hill East Task Force to Discuss DC General, Eastern Branch on Oct. 30

October 24, 2014

The next ANC 6B Hill East Task Force will be on Thursday, Oct. 30, 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm at Congressional Cemetery Chapel (1800 E Street SE). The task force plans to take up two items:

Regarding the Eastern Branch RFP, the task force invites any organizations/developers who are considering or planning a response to the RFP to attend the meeting and provide some brief remarks about their plans. The Eastern Branch RFP discussion will likely begin around 7:15.

The chapel is located in the center of the cemetery. Attendees can enter Congressional Cemetery through the main gates at the intersection of 18th, E and Potomac Ave.


ANC 6B October Meeting Recap

October 19, 2014

Thanks to a large number of planning and zoning cases that ended up on the consent agenda, we had a relatively light load for ANC 6B’s Oct.14 meeting. Here are the highlights:

  • After a lengthy debate, the commission voted 6-0-2 to protest the application for a substantial change to the liquor license at Ugly Mug (723 8th Street SE). The Ugly Mug is seeking to almost double their seating capacity by expanding into second floor and adding a retractable roof. In considering the case, the commission heard from a number of neighbors about problems with noise and trash at the property, including the illegal storage of kegs in the alley. Though my inclination is to try to work with Barracks Row businesses on expansion plans, it is clear that the Ugly Mug is having trouble managing noise and trash at its current capacity. Thus, I voted with the majority to protest the substantial change.
  • The commission voted to approve liquor license renewal requests for Roland’s of Capitol Hill (333 Pennsylvania Ave SE), Capitol Supreme Market (501 4th Street SE) and 7th & L Street Market (700 L Street SE). All three establishments signed settlement agreements with the commission outlining how they will deal with noise, trash, etc.
  • The commission did vote 7-0-1 to protest the liquor license renewal for Yes! Organic Market (410 8th Street SE), mainly to afford the commission and owner some additional time to reach a compromise on disputed settlement agreement language. I’m confident we will reach an agreement.
  • ANC 6B voted 7-0 to send a letter (pdf) to the Metropolitan Police Department requesting a red light camera on the south side of the Pennsylvania Ave and 7th Street SE intersection.
  • The commission also voted 7-0 to send a letter (pdf) to the District Department of Transportation in support of the proposed expansion of the Navy Yard-Union Station and Potomac Ave-Skyland Circulator bus routes. However, the letter does urge DDOT to ensure that the proposed expansions do not diminish reliability of service on the lines and to add weekend service to both of the lines.
  • Interim DC Fire and EMS Chief Eugene Jones provided an update the commission and community with an update on the department. Chief Jones will likely serve as interim chief until a new mayor is sworn in next January.
  • I announced that the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development’s office would be holding a disposition meeting for parcels F1 and G1 of the Hill East/Reservation 13 development on Wed., Oct. 29, 6 pm – 8 pm at St. Coletta of Greater Washington (1901 Independence Ave SE).
  • Two representatives from development teams interested in responding to the Eastern Branch Building RFP introduced themselves and shared brief details about how they would use the site. The RFP deadline is Fri., Nov. 20.
  • The commission voted unanimously to ratify ANC 6B Executive Committee action for a one-month lease extension for the commission office at the Hill Center and for the funds to pay an additional month’s rent. The commission still plans to move its office to Eastern Market but is working with the Department of General Services on an appropriate office space.
  • Since the second Tuesday of November is Veteran’s Day, the commission’s November meeting will be on Wednesday, Nov. 12, 7 pm at the Hill Center.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 151 other followers