3 ‘Must-Follow’ Issues at March ANC Meeting
By March 8, 2021 0 1290•
The monthly meetings of the Georgetown-Burleith Advisory Neighborhood Commission aren’t usually edge-of-the-seaters, especially since the virtual meetings tend to last past 10 p.m. (perhaps because the at-home participants feel more comfortable and less time-conscious). But the March 1 meeting of ANC 2E was both long and newsworthy, tapping into hot issues that The Georgetowner intends to cover in the coming weeks and months. Below are recaps of three “must-follow” issues.
31st Street Closures
ANC 2E members seemed surprised to learn that 31st Street NW south of Wisconsin Avenue will be partially to fully closed, off and on, for the next 18 months. Major, long-planned gas and water projects will be undertaken, necessitating the excavation of the just-repaired, just-reopened street. A District Department of Transportation project to rebuild the 31st Street Bridge blocked off the street in 2019 and 2020.
“You do know there will be many unhappy residents, restaurant- and shopkeepers and guests about this,” the usually soft-spoken ANC Chair Rick Murphy told Amanda Zander, senior public outreach officer at DC Water. Zander announced the closure plan during her long report on pending projects. “I find it personally unacceptable that the project has already begun with early morning drilling without notifying residents,” said Commissioner Lisa Palmer, who lives in the area. “Oh, that’s probably the gas company that has begun to relocate gas lines to accommodate our project,” Zander explained. The project hotline number is 301-772-7358.
Bus Service Cuts
Metrobus routes D6 and G2 are headed for the chopping block in the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s new budget, with public comments scheduled for the middle of the month. The cuts, proposed in 2019, elicited the same outrage from the advisory neighborhood commissioners on March 1 as they did two years ago. It was pointed out that the routes are widely used by Georgetown residents to get downtown and to Sibley Hospital, Georgetown University and Capitol Hill, as well as by hundreds of employees and visitors to get to Georgetown.
In 2019, the entire proposal was dropped after extensive protests from Georgetown University, the hospitals, business owners and residents. “That campaign will happen again,” said ANC Chair Murphy, “but we need more time to put together our arguments.” The commissioners unanimously adopted a resolution asking for at least a month to prepare their opposition statements.
Speed Limit Reductions
Lowering the speed limit on M Street and Wisconsin Avenue to 20 mph, an idea that has been circulating over the past month, was met with a suggestion approved by the commissioners. Should the new limit go into effect, to prevent commercial traffic from the slower main streets from taking alternate routes through residential areas, it was recommended that the limit on residential streets be lowered even more, to 15 mph.