New Bike Lanes Offer More Protection

June 18, 2013


-A modified bike lane plan on Pennsylvania Avenue will offer more protection for cyclists by keeping motorists out of the bike lanes.

In the new plan, the District Department of Transportation has returned traffic lanes to motorists and moved the cycling lanes to the median, according to the Washington Post. This will offer better protection for the cyclists and should help to ease traffic congestion, DDOT said.

However, the revised plan will still use new signals from the original plan, in order to protect bikers and pedestrians from traffic turning left, according to the Washington Post.

Such signals are necessary as the two bike lanes are located in the center of the avenue surrounded by three lanes of vehicle traffic on either side, the Post said. Traffic light cycles are being altered so cyclists will have an exclusive green light in order to turn left.

DDOT said the cycling lanes should open to bikers in about a week.

The lanes will continue to expand in D.C. and will soon include L, I and Ninth Streets. Fifteenth Street will also be expanded.

To view the revised cycling lanes visit the DDOT’s website.

The Body Shop Closes Doors in Georgetown

A shop located in Georgetown will close its doors Saturday after a ten-year presence in the area.

Fans of The Body Shop, 3207 M. St., are encouraged to stock up on products before the store’s closing at the end of the week, Sofia Owen, a part time manager, said.

Owen said the closing is not a surprise considering the economy and the closures of other shops in Georgetown.

“It’s just the way things have been,” Owen said.

The location of the store was not bringing in enough business even in a shopping destination area, Owen said. It is a sad situation, as the store is known for its ethical business, as many of the products are community traded, she said.

“It’s a shame,” Owen said. “Many people will be sad.”

Most of the store’s customers have been shocked over the news of the store’s closing, and the store has been attempting to call other customers to inform them of the change, Owen said. The store did not receive a “good warning,” only being told officially that the shop would be closing Saturday, she said.

“It’s a short time frame,” Owen said. “Many of our customers won’t even know until after we close.”

Customers of The Body Shop can still find the products at other chain locations at Union Station and Pentagon City.

Georgetown Apple Store to Open Friday

After waiting more than two and a half years following a purchase of a Wisconsin Avenue building, Apple Inc. will open its doors in Georgetown on June 18 at 5 p.m.

Apple purchased the building, located at 1229 Wisconsin Ave., in 2007, according to the Washington Business Journal.

A lengthy approval process, focused on the storefront’s design, delayed the store’s opening, according to the Washington Business Journal. The Old Georgetown Board and the Advisory Neighborhood Commission turned down the store’s original designs because they did not fit into Georgetown’s historic look.

The board and commission rejected four designs before eventually approving a modified store design in March 2009, according to Vox Populi.

The Georgetown Apple store is the most recent of eight Washington area stores.

After Conspicuous Absence, Fenty Notes Education Achievements

After not appearing at Monday night’s debate on education, Mayor Adrian Fenty spoke Tuesday at Payne Elementary School in Southeast on the educational achievements of the city’s public schools since he took office.

Fenty noted making progress in meeting court-ordered benchmarks in special education and a new teachers union contract, according to the Washington Post.

During the news conference, Fenty said he never confirmed that he would appear at Monday’s event at what was intended to be a debate between him and Vincent Gray, the chairman of the D.C. council and the mayor’s challenger in the Democratic primary. He added that he had attended nine out of 12 forums but could not appear at every forum before the Sept. 14 vote.

Fenty’s absence at the education debate raised several eyebrows, especially since the struggling school system has been a focus of his administration.

However, Fenty said he had other obligations, such as attending a vigil for Steven Mahogany, who was shot and killed Saturday. However, council member Harry Thomas Jr. said the mayor arrived at the vigil around 8:30 p.m. when it began at 8 p.m. and the debate was scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

Gray answered questions Monday concerning how he could do a better job than Fenty in the area of education. He continued to promote educating the city’s youth from birth through age 24. Gray said this distinguishes him from Fenty, since the mayor focuses only on kindergarten through 12th grade.

Read the Washington Post article here.

DC Lifts Evening Meter Limits

The D.C. Department of Transportation has relaxed its evening parking policy by lifting meter time limits in the evening, and will implement a new pilot program in July to explore ways to make parking easier.

Recent complaints concerning the policy of ticketing for meter violations until 10:30 p.m. caused this minor change, the Washington Business Journal reports. While enforcement will continue into the evening, the two-hour parking limit at meters has been lifted.

This means drivers who decide to park at a two-hour meter in Georgetown do not have to move their car after two hours. However, they will have to put more quarters into the meter in order to stay longer.

While people did not mind paying for parking in the evening, many did complain that the two-hour limit made it hard to enjoy certain activities, such as a movie or going to dinner at a restaurant.

Under the proposal, meters in high-demand areas will be reprogrammed so drivers can insert four hours worth of quarters when they first arrive.

The District is also working on new technology so drivers won’t have to carry quarters or continuously circle streets to find one of the city’s 17,000 metered spots, according to the Washington Examiner.

Several pilots, started by July 19, will include “pay-by-space” programs where drivers enter the space number when they pay and sensors on spaces that are able to tell if the spot is empty, allowing drivers to find available spots.

A pay-by-phone feature is also expected, which will include a smart phone application to 1,000 spots in Foggy Bottom, Georgetown and around the Nationals stadium.

Liquor Licenses Increase in Georgetown

Under the Ward 2 moratorium law, Georgetown can accommodate no more than 61 liquor licenses issued in the neighborhood. However, a new ruling has added seven licenses, extending the allowed number to 68.

An amendment to the moratorium, which has been in effect since 1989, was approved unanimously by DC’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Board Wednesday night according to a report by the Washington City Paper.

The D.C. Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration will accept license applications on a first-come, first-served basis, starting at 8:30 a.m. June 17.

Members of the ABC Board believed the increase in licenses would not adversely affect the neighborhood, but residents at the June 16 hearing argued it would add noise and disorder to Georgetown, according to the Washington Post.

The board will revisit the decision in three years to determine if changes need to be made.

Rumors of Apple Store Sinkhole Squashed

Rest assured.

If you’ve visited the Apple Store in Georgetown lately, you can’t help but notice that half the sidewalk is blocked off and under construction. Rumors have even circulated suggesting the blocked-off sidewalk is actually a sinkhole.

However, one construction worker at the site told The Georgetowner the sidewalk in front of Apple is not that at all. Instead, the workers are tying lines into the water and sewer for the new store.

“It’s all for the Apple Store,” he said.

The worker said the construction should be completed in a few days.
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Five Bike Sharing Stations Coming to Georgetown

Under a new bike sharing system in the District, Georgetown is expected to receive five stations, as announced by the D.C. Department of Transportation today.

The system called Capital Bikeshare will begin in the fall and will replace the SmartBike program that was introduced in 2008, according to the Georgetown Metropolitan.

Georgetown’s five stations will be among the 100 Capital Bikeshare stations that will set up in D.C. The five stations are spread throughout the Georgetown area, including one on K and 30th Streets in front of the Swedish Embassy. Another location — which was a proposed expansion area of SmartBike — is on Wisconsin Avenue just above the canal. The third will be located at Georgetown University and the fourth will be at Hardy Middle School across from the Social Safeway. The final bike station is on Wisconsin Avenue near 34th Street, as shown by DDOT’s Capital Bikeshare map.

Each Capital Bikeshare station will have the BIXI system, a solar-powered docking station that has multiple capabilities, according to Vox Populi. The stations will accept cash, credit card or a BIXI key.

The cost of the program has not yet been announced.

Fenty, Gray Compete in Ward 2 Straw Poll

UPDATE: Fenty comes out on top, 97 votes to Gray’s 63. Read more here.

Incumbent Mayor Adrian Fenty and Democratic challenger Vincent Gray will compete in a Ward 2 straw poll tonight at the Washington Plaza Hotel at 10 Thomas Circle.

On the whole, the D.C. council chairman lags behind Fenty when it comes to straw polls, the Washington Post reports. However, Gray may be making headway in Ward 4, where Fenty served as a councilmember for six years.

The two leading contenders for the mayoral seat, it seems, are booked solid tonight — before sparring at the straw poll, the two candidates will face off in Ward 4 at a public forum organized by five neighborhood groups. The debate will be held at 6:30 p.m. at Takoma Park Baptist Church, 635 Aspen St. The event will not be a one-on-one debate, as other mayoral candidates have confirmed their participation. It will also feature a forum for D.C. council chairman candidates Kwame Brown and Vincent Orange.

The Ward 2 straw poll is sponsored by the Ward 2 Democrats and the Logan Circle Community Association. Registration for the event will begin at 7 p.m.

View the Washington Post article here. [gallery ids="99173,103168" nav="thumbs"]

July a Big Month for Retail Openings, Closings

The end of July is a busy month for possible openings and closings in Georgetown. Check out this list of retail changes in the area.

Tenative Store Openings:

Calvin Klein Underwear
Georgetown may see a store dedicated entirely to men’s underwear move into the building which used to inhabit The Body Shop at 3207 M St., according to the Georgetown Metropolitan. Only one other Calvin Klein Underwear store exists in the U.S., but there are over a dozen in Hong Kong.

The store is a more modish and younger version of the parent store Crate and Barrel, leaning toward more modern furniture. CB2 is still negotiating its move into Georgetown with EastBanc. If the store gets the go-ahead, it will occupy a space at 3307 M St., next door to the temporary Georgetown public library, and could open as early as 2011.

British clothier Allsaints may replace Club Monaco, 3253 M Street, according to the City Paper’s Lydia DePillis. Allsaints currently has no stores in D.C. but is already in Boston, New York, Miami, Chicago, San Francisco, L.A. and Santa Monica.

Store Closings:

Georgetown Belle Pet Boutique
A local pet store is closing its doors just a few months after its opening on P Street. Todd Walderman purchased the pet store, which was originally on O Street, in 2009 and renamed it the Georgetown Belle Pet Boutique. The store offered anything related to pets and even had pet salon services.