May 18, 2021
Officers Present: Dan Schramm, Kathy Jacquart, Joe Miller, Leila Duman, and Fred Jackson
1. Welcome – Dan Schramm
Dan welcomed everyone to the call and noted the evening would be focused on transportation safety and planning.
2. Traffic Safety and Bike Lanes on Monroe – Kelly Jeong-Olson and Sharada Strasmore (DDOT)
Sharada discussed the plans for the Monroe St. Protected bike lane between Michigan Ave and 12th St NE.
- The western section, between Michagan and 8th St, will be modified to include a 2-way bike lane on the north side of the street. The eastern section, between 8th and 12th St, the existing protected bike lanes that pass over the Monroe bridge will be extended to 12th St.
- DDOT is currently in the design period and will be issuing a Notice of Intent (NOI) to collect feedback shortly. After that, the final design will be completed and eventually installed.
- UPDATE: The NOI has been issued: https://wiki.ddot.dc.gov/display/NOI/NOI+21-140-PSD. Comments are due August 4.
A group discussion probed further into DDOT’s plans:
- The protected bike lane will be “protected” with concrete curb stops and/or larger barriers.
- Concerns were raised about the way in which the lanes would transfer onto Michigan Ave at the Monroe intersection due to the narrowing of the traffic way and existing issues with how bicyclists must currently use the intersection. Shandra committed to addressing this in the continuing planning process.
- This project is stand-alone in that it will not immediately tie in directly to other sections on Michigan, such as a connection from the Crosstown. DDOT is aware of the importance of such a connection and is considering possibilities, though there are limitations on right of way along Michigan they must consider.
- This project is more of an extension of the concomitant expansion of the bike lanes on 8th St. to protect the Metropolitan Branch Trail all the way through. The Monroe and 8th St intersection would likely follow the traffic light, and these plans will also be included on the NOI.
- There is community concern about traffic on Monroe St. to the east of 12th. While there is the possibility of bike lanes eventually extending towards 16th or 18th St (which would cause significant parking loss and would therefore require community support) the scope of this project ends at 12th.
- A traffic study was conducted in association with this project, but is not publicly available. Shandra will follow up.
- In order to accommodate both a protected bike lane and the bus stop that currently exists on the north side of Monroe St., DDOT is looking into raised platforms like a Zicla (an ADA-accessible pedestrian crossing of the bike lane to allow for loading). This would also help solve the problem of pickup vehicles which are currently often parked in the bike lane at the bus stop.
3. Treasurer’s Report – Joe Miller
The beginning balance carried over from March was $6003.79 and the current balance is $6225.88; one deposit of $619.23 and two withdrawals, totalling $397.14, were made. $1439.40 of GoFundMe funds are available.
BNCA has resumed providing food to the Brookland Union Baptist Church food pantry, which René is purchasing out of the GoFundMe funds raised last year. The donation for the last month will appear in the May treasurer’s report, and will be deducted from the PayPal pseudo balance.
The report was accepted with no objections.
4. Call for Comprehensive Traffic Safety Review – Tom Bridge
Tom Bridge expressed frustration with the status of traffic safety in Brookland, citing the example of a recent crash in front of Bunker Hill Elementary. He noted that traffic
fatalities in DC are higher this year than last and that despite Vision Zero, the Mayor’s Office does not seem to be prioritizing traffic, pedestrian, and cyclist safety.
Tom proposes that DDOT should do a thorough, top-down traffic safety review in Brookland. This would review the ways the neighborhood streets are being used, particularly by drivers trying to get off the main arteries and, in the absence of traffic control measures, speeding through the streets. This holistic review is different from the street-by-street approach (making individual changes to specific trouble spots) which DDOT has favored in the past. In an informal conversation with DDOT, Tom was informed that such a study would need support at the ANC and Council levels.
To that end, he has spoken with ANC 5B03 Commissioner Prita Piekara who will be submitting a resolution. Tom has also written a letter summarizing his position and is asking for signatories. He encourages residents to call or email their Commissioners, asking them to support the resolution and make it known that this is a priority for the neighborhood.
Group discussion covered several additional points:
- Spring and summer drag racing on Michigan Ave was discussed. DDOT would categorize that as an enforcement issue which MPD is supposed to handle.
- Previous interactions with DDOT resulted in their citing concerns that changes and safety measures could stop the cross traffic flow; removing traffic from one area, they suggest, simply moves it to another.
- Traffic apps like WAZE may be contributing to the issue of non-residential traffic. There are measures that can be taken to combat this, but they are complicated.
- Last week, the Mayor’s office announced a Summer Program for Vision Zero, committing $5 million for spot-specific safety improvements. How exactly this will be implemented is unclear.
- As DC opens up post-pandemic, we will likely see an increase in traffic as well as in the built environment which is another reason why a comprehensive traffic review would be very useful. But will not be conducted unless the community is very vocal about its necessity.
- Community buy-in is paramount to getting more than a street-by-street approach. Such actions have yielded incremental progress in particular problem spots. But concerns remain that the City is still not doing enough; the resolution under discussion would be directed at DDOT and the Mayor to ask for help in dealing with traffic safety. The more traction the community can muster, including signatories and media attention, the more it will help initiate change.
- It was observed that street-level approaches had made some progress in the community. ANC 5B04 has seen some successful improvements implemented, such as the Franklin Street bike lanes. Others agreed that there is no reason not to continue to seek such improvements where possible, while a push for a top-down review is also made.
Dan asked whether BNCA should pass a short resolution to set an official BNCA position on this issue for the purposes of advocating. Traffic and safety concerns are ubiquitous throughout the neighborhood and BNCA has historically been in favor of a comprehensive approach to the problem. While we may not get that, a resolution would reflect that the organization is deeply concerned by the systemic issues and think they need more resources, attention, and creativity than is currently being applied to addressing them.
A motion was made for BNCA to support Tom’s letter with a resolution. It was unanimously supported.
5. Other Announcements –
Ra Amin – 5B04 ANC
- ANC 5B full body meeting will be on Wednesday the 26th at 6:30 PM.
- This Thursday, the 20th, Ra will meet with residents at 9th and Kearny at 6:00 PM (20th) for a walkthrough discussing a redesign via placement of speed bumps, etc..
- There is a new streatery in front of Right Proper Brewing! By removing 3 parking spaces, 4 properly-distanced tables could be set up.
Brittany Butler – MOCRS
- Brittany has taken notes on the issues discussed this evening and will bring them up to the Mayor’s office.
- This Saturday the 22nd is the Day of Action, and residents are encouraged to volunteer by arriving at Turkey Thicket at 9:00 am to door-knock to check the vaccination status of Ward 5 residents or make a plan for those who are unvaccinated (12 years old and older) to get to the closest walk up site.
- Mask mandates have been modified through DC. Now if you are fully vaccinated, you do not have to wear a mask, but you are expected to follow mask rules in schools, transportation, private businesses, etc.
Friday the 21st is National Bike to Work day. DC residents are encouraged to participate, or at least to avoid transportation by car that day, even if they do not currently commute to work.
Meeting Adjourned at 8:44 PM.
The next Zoom meeting will take place on Tuesday, June 15th at 7:00 PM ET.
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