BNCA Monthly Meeting
July 16, 2019 — DCTV
Meeting came to order, 7:08 p.m.
Dan: Welcome! Thanks for coming. Please be sure to go to the back to get some free ice cream from Bri McCullough, owner of Bri’s Brookland Creamery. If you haven’t signed in, please do. If you’re not a member, please join! See Rene McCray in the back.
A couple of items. Last night Howard U held a charrette, a community meeting to get input, regarding the 23-acre campus up on Taylor. HU is looking at how to repurpose it. Over 100 attendees were at the meeting. Several years ago Urban Land Institute was retained by HU on how to redevelop the land and produced a report. They restarted the process earlier this year. This was the second charrette on that piece of land; their first was in January. HU did present a more specific plan on residential use of the property–they’re proposing low-density single family housing on the west side, and on the east side alongside S. Dakota, 5-6 story housing. It’s no surprise they’re looking at housing. BNCA and community concerns about protecting green space and the historic value of the property were well-voiced.
Question: When they are ready to build does it go through the ANC? What’s the opportunity for input?
Dan: Depending on what they build, there are different regulatory pathways. HU always tells us they don’t know enough to know what they path would be. The ANC would be involved to provide input, but they don’t have decision making authority. BNCA has taken no official position on this and we can discuss that going forward. Private groups have filed an application to get Mays Hall protected under historical status and that application is pending. Because there’s an application pending nothing can happen to it. HU has said that they don’t want to do anything to the facade of the building.
Kathy: They did say they are going to sell part of the land.
Dan: Yes, that was interesting. That was a wishy washy answer, whether they are selling. They are thinking about selling homes to people and they would lose control over the land in that capacity. They have said they want to be stewards in some capacity. They want to house students and faculty and people involved in the school. If they’re selling below market rate housing to students and faculty, that’s great, but what happens when those people turn around and sell at market rate? HU hasn’t figured that out yet, and they acknowledged that.
Leroy: The meeting was mostly noise and confusion. Nobody could hear anything. Basing the height of buildings on sea level, that makes no sense.
Dan: Yes, that was a confusing way of presenting what they might want to build in terms of building heights. They don’t intend to build higher than the parapet of Mays Hall. They tried to show that in absolute terms using sea level.
For more information about the project, visit https://hueast.com/
Dan: Caroline, please speak about what’s going on with the Comprehensive Plan (CP).
Caroline: You all are familiar with the CP effort? No? I will explain.
Caroline: The CP is the planning guidance for city planning in all sorts of different respects. Housing, commercial retail development, health care, education, environmental. The document looks over a 20-year timeframe and charts a course across the city. The City is now amending the CP, the one that was last developed and that’s currently on the books, which dates to 2006. There have been a few amendments to it. City is in a major amendment cycle. The Council solicited the public for comments, BNCA submitted some comments. Most of the energy is focused on two areas: affordable housing and consternation mostly from developers because of lawsuits that have stymied development projects across the city. Some of these projects are familiar to us–for example, 901 Monroe, and McMillan.
A year ago, Office of Planning submitted a bill for approval to the Council for an amendment to Framework Element–that’s the opening chapter of the CP, it sets an overarching framework for the rest of the elements that follow. It addresses population growth, housing across the city, the nuts and bolts of facts on the ground that then determine how the rest of the city development will proceed under it. About a year ago The Mayor submitted her proposed changes to the Framework Element for approval to DC Council. That was controversial, there was a hearing, hundreds of people testified, went till 4 a.m. There was a feeling that the plan was bending over backward in response to the lawsuit issue and the changes muddied the waters, made things more ambiguous, eliminated the possibility for successful lawsuits going forward. That’s not planning. Last week CM Mendelson introduced a mark-up to the Mayor’s bill. Committee of the Whole did a mark-up of the CM’s substitute. It’s a major improvement to what Mayor Bowser introduced. A lot of the ambiguity-inducing amendments have been removed. Now there are fairly clear definitions. Also CM McDuffie made a major push to put new language into the plan on racial equity–new language that would require greater consideration to racial equity on housing, commercial interests, and other areas–that’s a major improvement. There’s a couple of areas that remain of concern to BNCA and we’ll be reviewing those. We are concerned by the treatment of Small Area Plans under Mendelson re-draft. About 8 years ago, Brookland went through major effort for SAP including Metro area. Everyone was involved in over a year’s worth of effort and while nobody got everything they wanted it was a collaborative effort and it satisfied many needs. Mendelson’s treatment of SAPs is to give them a whole lot less weight. What would be lost and what significant changes as a result? Another concern is language regarding industrial lands and calls for no net loss, which we found odd. An amendment we submitted would change the planning map for areas just north of Metro and south of the tracks–we proposed a change that would change industrial uses for areas abutting low-density residential. Our proposal would change the land use map to mixed use. That wouldn’t shut everything down but in the case of future development of those areas or re-zonining of those areas, they could be zoned mixed use, transit-oriented development. Not industrial.
Dan: Thank you. That’s very complicated. It’s wonky and legalistic but it does set the course for the future of the city. It’s about what the city will look like in the future–it’s about having input into what we want the community to look like going forward, so we will continue to stay involved in this.
Clyde: Good to see you. I’m presenting the July report which reflects activity for June. We had a good month, with 14 new or renewed members. We had two expenses–paper statement fee, and we joined DC Federation of Citizen Associations–you met Earl Williams from that organization. We started with $3890 and change and ended with $4001 and change. Rene anything to report for membership?
Rene: We are currently at 200 members. We crossed that threshold in June. It’s our highest number of active members yet. Does that stand up Caroline?
Clyde: If you want a copy give me your email I will send it to you! I ask that treasurers’ and membership report be accepted.
Seconded. No opposed or absentions. Accepted.
Dan: Next up, Brianna McCullough from Bri’s local Brookland Creamery. We want to promote local businesses as much as possible so we’re glad to have her here tonight.
Bri McCullough: Thank you Dan. I I moved to Brookland in 2015, with my then-boyfriend and now husband. We’re at 9th and Kearney. We loved the neighborhood. We love our friendly neighbors. We saw exciting restaurants popping up. Noticed there wasn’t a good ice cream place. I grew up churning ice cream on my family’s farm. I was doing it for fun. Friends were taste testers and encouraged me to start a business. We started and last year were Brookland Farmers Market. We’re in 8 farmers markets now. We sell around Good Food Market’s [Rhode Island and 20th], Wardman Wine [Monroe and 7th]. We make our ice cream in Tastemaker [10th and Franklin]. Our future is looking to expand footprint across DC and hopefully open a brick-and-mortar store.
Helen: Do you take flavor suggestions?
Dan: Our next speaker is a resident of Brookland–she’s here on behalf of Emily Lucio who has been involved with an ad hoc Halloween Parade. I’m turning it over to Audrey Reese who is an organizer.
Audrey: Emily couldn’t be here so I’m here in her place. The Halloween Parade has been going on for at least 5 years. It started at Arts Walk and then the route goes down 10th street. One year the parade went to Turkey Thicket but after that no one could get a permit to do that again. Over the past few years we’ve grown a bit. We have a partnership with Friends of Noyes Park. We did that last year–they applied for the permit for the park and we did publicity and organizing.
It’s been a parade on the sidewalk–Emily had the idea to do it on the street. We’ve worked with Community Police walking with us and stopping cars to pass side streets. This year Emily said let’s try for the permit–to make the parade bigger, and have even more community involvement. Last year we tried to get spectators –we flyered on 10th street but only one family came out. A week ago Monday we went in person to a DCRA Board. We have provisional version of the permit. They sent us this sheet with all the next steps. Emily and myself and some officers from FONP and a few other volunteers are leading. We want to move to 12th streets to get more visibility–we need more signatures. We have to get 75% of people. There can’t be cars on that street. The idea is that the parade moves to street and that will encourage people to come out. We want to gather at St. Anthony’s. For that amount of time there would be a re-route of buses.
Question: What’s the proposed route?
Audrey: We’d begin at St Anthony’s down 12th to Franklin, then turn on Franklin on the sidewalk and go into the park.
Question: Given logistics and buses running on 12th–wouldn’t it be easier to keep it on 10th?
Audrey: Yes, it would be easier, and we’re kind of feeling our way into this. We’re trying to make the parade bigger and more parade-like. But there is a lot to do.
Dan: Yes, I had the same question. I’m happy to support but it is worth considering whether to move it?
Question: Can we walk in costume?
Question: The Fire station on Monroe offered to put fire truck in parade when we tried to organize a 125th anniversary parade. Have you talked to them?
Audrey: Yes, the Fire Department has been really helpful! Also there’s an interest in a marching band.
Dan: I also recommend outreach to Noyes Elementary.
Audrey: Yes, great idea, thank you!
Nolan: I talked to someone with connection to a marching band–they’re really interested.
Clyde: Is the parade open to all kids in area?
Audrey: Absolutely! We have no age limits. FONP has a parade page on their website. If you want to see pictures et or donate money or time please do.
Dan: Are you looking for donations?
Audrey: Yes, definitely. We won’t want to accept donations to march in the parade. We’re going to apply for all the grants we can and the Mayor’s office of special events has been hugely helpful to us in identifying grants but there will be costs that can’t be covered by the grants so we need donations. We will need banners and they will be at Noyes Park.
From Emily: People can donate right now here on our website. In step 2, select other amount and input whatever contribution they would like to make. In step 4, they should add a note to designate the funds for the 2019 Halloween Parade.
Clyde: Are the costs of going on 10th the same as 12th?
Audrey: I don’t know. I think the cost of re-routing buses and police are major costs of doing it on 12th.
Dan: Thank you Audrey. We look forward to further updates. We have a check for $250 in support. We encourage others to support too. This could be a great community event.
Dan: Our main event tonight relates to Franklin Street calming measures that DDOT has proposed. They’ve issued a Notice of Intent–that’s basically an opportunity to comment. We’ve had a couple of meetings with DDOT on these issues–we’ve been working with DDOT on traffic, for years. This is one of the first major products of that work we’ve been involved in for years to get DOOT to think more comprehensively about these issues.
Michael Goodno will present. He can take questions and then we can decide whether we want to vote on a resolution in support. Comment periods August 21st.
Mike: Good evening everyone. I’m a Transportation Planner at DDOT.
You’re aware of Franklin street. Michigan to Rhode Island Ave. is the general area we’re discussing. We’re looking at 4th to 12th street. One travel lane in each direction and parking on either side of the road from 12th to RIA.
Traffic goes from one lane to two lanes, you see some bad behavior. Pretty heavy vehicle volume. It’s classified as a “Minor arterial.” We have speed data–85th percentile speed. 900 bikes per day on MBT. Plus there are difficult pedestrian crossing. More than 30 crashes per year, ¼ of which are sideswipes.
There are a lot of schools in the area. Lot of children walking to school. Noyes park in the area. Bikes would go with traffic.
Bridge section–would like to get the bikes in the road. Would like to have a center turn lane.
Right now NOI is just for 7th to 10th stretch of Franklin. It would end at MBT because there’s controversy on the stretch from 7th to 4th–we want more comment and study on 4th to 7th.
Elise: It’s not the most recent data–you’re using old data. We brought forward the idea of changing minor arterial to residential. We had a whole lot of ideas– you’re putting the cart before the horse.
Dan: Let’s hold comments and let him get through presentation.
Mike: We’re limited on what we can put on the bridge–we are thinking about planters, or possibly even using epoxy to affix something down on the bridge deck. We are limited in what we can do on the bridge because we can’t damage the bridge.
Reiterating that 4th-7th is not part of the current plan. There was discussion about removing 30-34 spaces and put it bike lanes on both sides but that’s on hold for further study.
Clyde: If you do that, where do those cars park?
Mike: We have some analysis showing that there is available capacity in the neighborhood and some people have parking in their homes.
Elise: Very limited parking is available.
Dan: Nick is the ANC here for that side of the bridge.
Nick: I don’t want to slow the process. Cyclists want to get across that bridge and onto the trail. It’s important to build a protected bike lane. Given all dynamics, my goal was, does this make Franklin more safe? I support moving ahead with 7th-12th. I think full-time parking is better than rush hour restricted parking on 4th-7th and that’s how I view the 4th-7th section.
Mike: The minimum width required for a travel lane is 10 feet and 7 feet for a parking lane.
Dan: 12th to 7th is priority for us as it is in our jurisdiction. My understanding is there are a few folks on Franklin who don’t have parking in back but most do. But many commute and ride that route and so we care about it. So a bike lane there may be possible in the future.
Question: Thank you for all of this. When you’re going westbound to have left turn lane on 7th, it’s important. I like that you have that. But when DC Prep lets out is an important data point–and also Inspired Teaching. Schools let out at different times. Westbound traffic gets really dense because the kids are all going to school at the same time. But when you’re assessing and studying the various options, look at the dismissal time.
Kathy: I hear on list serv about accidents at 13t and Franklin. What’s the relationship of this project to that issue?
Mike: I have a colleague who has been working on that intersection, he has some proposals. I can’t speak to them.
Elise: We have a very long list, and they’re chunking it bit by bit, and not doing it in order. Why isn’t the whole thing zoned as a school area so you have to go slow no matter what? There are other issues, people speeding, schools let out, Tastemakers, etc. We need a comprehensive approach. We’re putting bandaids on certain things.
Mike: Thank you, happy to answer questions, please get more input.
Dan: I would defer to engineers on this. My understanding is that shrinking of this street, adding bike lanes, should have spillover effect, slows things down, eliminates the problem of people gunning it toward the intersection.
Leroy: There should be safety patrols by schools, and 30 MPH not speeding. 36 MPH is speeding. Traffic control is a big problem in DC. I think you should be clear about what is speeding and why you’re working on Franklin when you can’t put a bike lane throughout.
Dan: To clarify–85% of cars are going 33 MPH, that’s the meaning of that statistic. 8 miles over the limit is speeding, especially in a school zone. There are other drivers going 40, 50, 60 mph on that stretch of Franklin sometimes. There is definitely a speeding problem on Franklin, as many neighbors can attest.
Caroline: I like what I’m hearing, it’s the first time I’m hearing it, I appreciate all the hard work. I firmly believe anytime the District takes steps to make this a more bike-friendly city it redounds to the benefit of other vehicular traffic. I applaud that.
Elise: Assuming this goes through, if there’s a problem with schools with that turn,, there has to be a period of time where we assess a change, what if people can’t make turn and schools are out and it sees a lot of accidents, how do we assess the impact?
Mike: Yes, usually we try out something like this for 6 month. The nice part about this is that it’s really just paint. We can change it pretty easily. We do make modifications and we’re open to comments. We can tweak it—adjust signal timing for example.
Elise: I just want to make sure it’s a fluid thing, I want to work with you to make amendments, I don’t want it to be a done deal.
Mike: Yes, you’ll be working with me, I’ll be working with my colleagues. We’d like to get it perfect right away but that rarely happens.
Dan: This isn’t the end of our issues with DDOT by any means. My view is this a good step. I would like to propose for discussion that BNCA take a vote on it and pass a resolution—that would allow us to speak to DDOT on comments.
13 eligible members in attendance and more than two officers. By bylaws we have a quorum.
Lucky: I’d like to make a motion that BNCA adopt a resolution in favor of DDOT proposal for bike lane from 12th the 7th. Seconded.
Lucky: As many people attended Edgewood meeting—this is a compromise proposal. Recognizes that there are issues with people missing parking from 4th to 7th. DDOT will continue working on the remaining section. The plan is good for pedestrians and bikers and sends an important signal to motorists.
Clyde: No opposition but I would like to close discussion and take a vote.[A vote by a show of hands of voting members in good standing was taken.]
Dan: 11 in favor, 1 opposed, 1 abstention. Motion passes. BNCA will prepare a resolution and send a letter to DDOT. Thank you for participating in local democracy.
Statehood hearing postponed for Bob Mueller hearing. September 10th was mentioned for rescheduling. Franklin Garcia came and dropped off buttons.
We don’t meet in August. We’ll be back in September.
Calabash: Thanks for all the support. We’re open W-S 11-7 Su 11-6 closed M-T. We’re preparing letter of application for outdoor space.
Leroy: Many people have hesitation on 51st state because they think the city should be in better shape.
Dan: BNCA has been a longtime support of statehood. Meeting adjourned. 8:33 p.m.