ANC Resolved About Widened and Cemented Sidewalks


Before a historic number of online participants – 140 – the Georgetown-Burleith Advisory Neighborhood Commission on Aug.  30 amid a packed agenda, spent a good proportion of the time on three issues, two concluding with unanimously approved resolutions. Both measures having to do with sidewalks in Georgetown received full approval from all commissioners present.

One resolution opposed the extension of the sidewalk expansion platforms on M St and Wisconsin Avenue in their present form. The second resolution requested that the city’s illegal application of a tar-looking surface called Porous Flexible Pavement (PFP) covering four large sections of historic brick sidewalk in Georgetown, be removed and the walkway repaired in the original brick as required by historic district codes.

A third subject that took up much of the time of the ANC2E’s September meeting was two proposed marked bikeways on Dumbarton St. and N St. between 28th and 31st Sts. NW, where N St. would also be designated one-way going west while Dumbarton St. would remain one-way going east. As reported in The Georgetowner newsletter on Sept. 2, that proposed idea by the D.C. Department of Transportation elicited a good amount of discussion, but no resolution. No residential parking would be affected on either street.

But the elimination of some 200 parking spaces on Wisconsin and M Sts. NW was one of the bases of the opposition to the sidewalk widening project that the Georgetown Business Improvement District had proposed last spring and implemented on a temporary project basis during the summer. In the animated discussion over whether or not the project should be extended if not expanded or reduced in 2022, most speakers and commissioners made a clear distinction between the platforms put up for streateries — the platforms designed and laid down for approved eating establishments up and down M St and Wisconsin Ave and the sidewalk widening areas. Most comments seemed to support the streateries as expanding business and enlivening the commercial parts of Georgetown, despite their taking away dozens of parking spaces.

But the platforms that merely expanded the sidewalk in front of stores – even many that are empty – in order to facilitate social distancing during the pandemic, were not so positively supported during the discussion. The unanimously-passed ANC resolution states that “in the ANC’s opinion, it is not in the interest of the Georgetown community to exchange parking spaces that were always full for empty platforms that are seldom used by pedestrians.”

The BID plans some fall town hall meetings to elicit more opinions about the project.

The matter of the porous pavement covering sections of historic brick sidewalks has become a real thorn in the side of Commission Chairman Rick Murphy it seems.  An attorney, he has been involved in several legal advisories to prevent DDOT from pouring the distinctly black tar-looking substance over sidewalks without advising the ANC first, something always done in the past. Now DDOT has acted in preemptory ways that violate their own regulations, according to the ANC resolution. The document was addressed to Mayor Muriel Bowser and Ward 2 Council member Brooke Pinto for action.

Below are selected additional news reports from the Aug. 30 ANC 2E meeting, written by Steve Holton.

City Update 

The Mayor’s Office announced the Test Yourself DC program has been expanded to 11 new sites where free Covid-19 testing kits are offered. The program’s goal is to give residents the option to take the test at home without waiting in line and to have every citizen within a 20-minute walk of a city-provided test kit. The 11 new site locations and the existing 16 D.C. public libraries, which offer the kits, are listed at testyourself.dc.gov. 

Ward 2 Council member Brooke Pinto’s office discussed budget funding priorities for next year. Funding will modernize a Georgetown recreation center and place an electric vehicle charging station at the site of the former Exxon gas station located across from the Key Bridge on 3607 M St. NW. A potential Welcome Center along the C&O Canal as well as funding for the Glover Park Clean Team were discussed. Putting unhoused residents into homes will be addressed, and public safety will be bolstered by enrolling more MPD cadets. 

Phasing the DC Clean Water Project 

A representative of the DC Clean Rivers Project attended the ANC 2E’s meeting to discuss the different work phases that will occur throughout the project’s duration. Currently, phases one through three are ongoing at 31st and Water Streets NW and are expected to be completed in late September. Phases four through seven will start in October on 31st Street which will have traffic flow one-way in the southbound direction with sidewalk closures. Access to businesses and residential properties will be maintained and project closure is expected in January of 2022. 

Annual Marine Corps Marathon 

The U.S. Marine Corps will be holding its 46th annual marathon on October 31. The marathon has served as a positive public relations event by promoting physical fitness and goodwill. This year’s course will be similar to the 2019 route where the district portion will start on M Street after making a right off of Key Bridge followed by a left on K Street and another right on 27th Street NW. Setup for the marathon will start at 5:00 a.m. that morning. Additionally, it was discussed that the DC Clean Water Project will be in phase four of its work where traffic in some areas will be traveling one-way. Concerns were raised on how the project and marathon will affect residents. The commission and the marathon’s spokesperson agreed to further discuss a traffic control plan. A motion passed unanimously to support the event will be conveyed by letter from the commission to the city. “We’re here to make the residential impact as little as possible,” said the marathon’s spokesperson. 

ANC 2E August Quick Hits 

Covid safety masks will be required to be worn by all D.C. Public School students and staff. Students will be enrolled in Covid testing programs and can choose to opt out. Virtual school will be offered to those with qualifying health reasons. 

The proprietor of Brasserie Liberte, located at 3152 Prospect St. NW, requested support for an increase in inside seating of 64 to a total of 280. The restaurant’s representative said that the nearby parking garage can accommodate the extra diners and also noted that a significant portion of the current traffic walk-in locally or use Uber so residential parking shouldn’t be impacted. The commission passed a motion to support the increased seating. 

The owner of the restaurant Afghania requested support for a stipulated Class D liquor license so that his establishment can serve beer, wine, and cocktails. The new establishment will occupy a vacant parcel on 2811 M St. NW and serve Afghani cuisine. Afghania will only operate Wednesday through Sunday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and is discussing offering lunch on the weekend. It is a women-run business and the owner expressed the importance of this in the current context of Afghanistan where women’s rights are severely restricted. A motion passed to communicate support of the Class D license in writing to ABRA. 

The commission motioned support for a Public Space Application offered by the Kesher Israel Congregation of Georgetown for the installation of four bollards required for impact resistance. The bollards will be located at 2801 N St. NW and will not take up public space. 

The commission motioned support for a Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) Application to construct a two-story rear addition to an existing two story commercial use building located at 1218 31st St. NW. The BZA applicant noted that the design has the neighbor’s approval. 

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