ANC Meeting Got Lively Late in the Evening  

Two unusual occurrences considerably livened up an expectedly normal-business monthly meeting of the Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC 2E) on Oct. 2. They happened after 9 p.m. at that.   

First, the meeting was held in-person for only the second time since 2020 when everything went virtual due to D.C.’s responses to the outbreak of Covid-19. Now post-pandemic, tables were set up in the Visitation School meeting room for ANC audience members, and a large screen was positioned for live streaming with captions and identification of virtual presenters and one commissioner (Kishan Putta, who initially attended the meeting from home but later suddenly appeared in person). Still as in pre-pandemic times, there were no mics for audience speakers and commissioner questions. About two dozen people were in the audience at 6:30 p.m.    

Then the second unusual thing happened. Around 8:30 p.m. and a good halfway through the agenda, people started coming in. They filled the tables and the chairs around the room until there was only standing room. By 10 p.m., some two-dozen people had taken part in what turned out to be the big agenda item of the evening: a review of the “Public Space Application by Thor Equities for Streetscape Improvements, including Building Sidewalks, the Closure or Reduction in Size of Curb Cuts, the Installation of Bike Racks and Tree Plantings on M St.” 

Several interest groups were involved in the discussion, including supporters and questioners of a two-year Pilot extension application by the Georgetown Business Improvement District (BID). It had been funded initially in 2021 for the BID in conjunction with the DC Department of Transportation “to create spaces in Georgetown for outdoor dining and social distancing – that came to be known as the “streateries” program. The BID Pilot quickly included plans for other uses of public space as well, such as non-dining lounge areas (aka: expanded sidewalks), bike/scooter racks and bus waiting stops.  

The BID Pilot extension was questioned by a newly formed Georgetown Coalition for Public Spaces (GCPS) made up of former ANC2E Commissioners Tom Birch, Ron Lewis, Elizabeth Miller, Monica Roaché and Bill Starrels. Their petition calling for a “common-sense re-adjustments” to Georgetown’s streateries programs has garnered hundreds of signatures.  

New ANC 2E Commissioner Daniel Chou circulated a concise rundown of proposals accepted and rejected. During the discussion there were also reminders that the BID’s pilot has to be re-evaluated at the end of 2024, and must reflect the recommendations of the Georgetown Access and Circulation Study to be issued in the spring of 2024. 

In the ANC’s subsequent letter to the Old Georgetown Board for its Oct. 5 meeting, a section about the streateries program says the Georgetown BID Pilot:   

“…has drawn a strong reaction as evidenced by a survey showing solid support and also a widespread petition opposing the pilot’s continuation without measurable commitments and goals to improve and change existing operations. ANC 2E agrees with the sentiment that the pilot is worth continuing and further agrees that short, medium, and long-term improvements must be made. The improvements must address ongoing concerns relating to: aesthetics and quality of materials used, consistency with the historic district, impacts to traffic circulation, consistent year-round usage, maintenance (including sanitation and aesthetics), commercial delivery and trash-collection management, and pedestrian and cyclist safety.” 

After extensive presentations and discussion, the commissioners voted narrowly, 5-3, to approve the extension of the BID’s streateries program for another two years, with caveats.

Other Business 

The announcement that brought cheers and high-fives among commissioners during the Monday Oct. 2 meeting was confirmation of the acceptance of an e-bike station to be established in Rose Park, expectedly at the north end next to 27th and P Streets NW. Updates were noted for several events including Georgetown Main Street’s “Art All Night” event and the coming week’s reception “The Spirit of Georgetown” to honor 34-year staff member Delores Jackson and the staff of the Georgetown Ministry Center on Oct. 4.    

The DC Gas project to replace all pipes in the District was criticized by some at the Monday meeting as being too expensive and unnecessarily comprehensive. And while some progress had been made on both the Department of Parks and Recreation’s Jelleff Recreation Center Project and the Duke Ellington Field Project, commissioners reported they were still demanding and awaiting significant town hall and community leadership meetings with the department regarding some reported but not reviewed changes to plans that had been almost finalized last year. 

Updates by Georgetown University campus commissioners reported a growing interest in not only preserving but also making the Foundry Branch Trolley Trestle, built in 1896 and connecting Glover Park with the GU campus, safe for use by pedestrians and possibly bikers. The commission passed a funding support resolution.   


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *