Georgetown BID Test:

April 24, 2013

Return Traffic Officers to Return to Wisc. & M?

Relief for drivers and pedestrians alike is coming to the intersection of M Street and Wisconsin Avenue. Those who cross the intersection daily, both in their vehicle and on foot, know all about the congestion, headaches and danger that it can cause, but there may be a possible solution in sight.

The Georgetown Business Improvement District has teamed up the District Department of Transportation to test the use of traffic control officers at the intersection to respond to recurring concerns regarding pedestrian safety as well as commuter and bus delays.

Also named Joseph Pozell Square, the intersection is the most famous one in Georgetown and one of the busiest in Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Reserve Officer Joseph Pozell was struck by a sport-utility vehicle, while working May 14, 2005, at the corner. Pozell was well known in Georgetown for his civic work and as superintendent of the historic Oak Hill Cemetery on R Street, NW. The volunteer traffic officer died from his injuries three days later on May 17.

“We are hoping that intersection management will improve conditions for everyone, including bus riders on the two D.C. Circulator Routes and five Metrobus routes that traverse this spot,” said BID transportation director Jonathan Kass.
Five traffic control officers tested out the idea on April 5 and quickly eased and increased the flow of traffic and eliminated pedestrian congestion at M Street and Wisconsin Avenue.

Upon completion of the trial run, the BID will collaborate with DDOT to determine whether permanent deployment of traffic management officers should be put into place at the intersection.

Residents, business owners and visitors to the area are encouraged to comment on the impact traffic officers have on conditions to info@georgetowndc.com.

Washington Club’s Patterson Mansion for Sale

April 11, 2013

The members-only Washington Club’s historic Patterson mansion at 15 Dupont Circle NW is up for sale at an undisclosed price. The Washington Club, founded in 1891, was the first women’s organization to be incorporated in the District. It was established for “literary purposes, mutual improvement and the promotion of social intercourse.” The club purchased its Dupont Circle location in 1951. The club’s membership — which brings in $2,500 annually per person in dues — has declined significantly in recent years to 62 members. Last fall, the members voted to put the mansion up for sale. The city assessed the value of the property at $12.6 million. Due to a confidentiality agreement, the spokesperson for the Washington Club cannot disclose any prospective buyers at this time.

‘Made in D.C.’ Comes to Local Hardware Stores


Five locally owned Ace Hardware stores, including Logan Hardware, are teaming up with Think Local First D.C. to spotlight locally made products in their stores. The goal of the program, called “Made in D.C.” is to offer local vendors an opportunity to sell their products in a larger market and to create a sense of community within the stores while supporting small businesses. The stores will choose one vendor per quarter to showcase on an endcap. Vendors must live in D.C. and produce their products locally. Ace is looking for products that fit into one of their departments, and vendors must be able to fill the shelving allotment available. The first deadline for applications was Friday, March 15, but the program will continue to accept applications to bring in new vendors. Locally-made products will hit stores in April.

Glen’s Garden Market Takes Place of Safeway Townhouse


On Earth Day weekend, Dupont Circle will be home to an independent specialty market dedicated to sourcing locally grown foods. Glen’s Garden Market will open at 20th and S Streets NW — the former location of the Safeway Townhouse store. The 5,000-square-foot space will feature foods from the states of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, which includes D.C., Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware and New York. “It seemed like the perfect place to nestle our neighborhood market,” according to a release. Glen’s Garden Market has been under construction since December 2012.

BASIS DC Looks for Support


BASIS DC, a new charter school downtown, is reaching out for support and asking community members to host a supply drive for school or personal supplies for students, or channel your shopping sprees on Amazon.com into real dollars for the school. Thirty-seven percent of the school’s diverse student population—which hails from all eight of the city’s wards—are underserved and lack the necessary supplies to succeed in school. BASIS DC seeks loose leaf paper, red and blue pens, pencils, erasers and expo dry erase markers in addition to personal items such as travel size toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, and mouthwash. Contact Chris Irvine, the head of operations, at (202) 393-5437. BASIS DC is part of Arizona-based BASIS Schools, Inc., which provides “an accelerated liberal arts education at internationally competitive levels.” The school opened in August 2012 and has 410 students in grades 5-8, and will eventually expand to grades 9-12.

Downtown Neighborhood Association Closes


The Downtown Neighborhood Association has shut down. The organization started seven years ago by Miles Groves to represent community interests. DNA partnered with Business Improvement District to develop an annual neighborhood survey to help attract new and better retail to Downtown and worked with the the Metropolitan Police Department and others to establish a 10-officer patrol near Gallery Place and the Verizon Center. In 2008. In a parting notice to, the DNA urged all downtown residents to attend ANC 2C meetings, held on the second Monday of each month at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, in Room 221.

Capital Pride Changes Parade Route


Capital Pride announced it will change the end of the parade’s route, changing the route from turning south after 14th and P Streets NW to end in Thomas Circle to heading north on 14th St. and ending at S St. NW. A map of this year’s Pride Parade is available on the Capital Pride website. The 2013 parade will take place on Saturday, June 8 at 4:30 p.m. As in past years, the parade will begin at P and 22nd Streets NW. It will go around Dupont Circle, up New Hampshire to R, down 17th Street and then east along P Street before hitting 14th Street.

Fillmore Arts Center Faces Cuts


The D.C. Department of Public Schools’ 2013-2014 budget includes cuts to the Fillmore Arts Center that leave the program “with no hope of viability,” the Friends of Fillmore group says. Fillmore — part of the D.C. Public School system — provides classes, workshops and summer programs in dance, music, theater, visual arts, creative writing and media arts to more than 3,500 D.C. Public School students each year. The students who benefit from the programs are pulled from Garrison, Hearst, Houston, Hyde, Key, Raymond, Ross, Stoddert and River Terrace schools.The latest round of cuts will force Fillmore’s principal to eliminate four of the five full-time teaching positions that remain at the arts school. Friends of Fillmore is asking DC Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson to restore $300,000 to Fillmore’s budget for next year. So far, the petition has more than 600 signatures of support. Fillmore Arts Center has been active for more than 30 years. It operates two locations, including one at 1819 35th Street NW and one at 915 Spring Road NW.

Georgetown BID CEO Joe Sternlieb Sounds Off

April 10, 2013

Five months ago, Joe Sternlieb took office as CEO of the Georgetown Business Improvement District. After some months under his belt, Georgetowner features editor Nico Dodd checks in to see how Sternlieb has adjusted to his new job and what his plans for the future are.

Georgetown 2028
“Our goal is to make sure that the businesses here do better. Better for the retailers on the streets and more customers in the stores spending more money. Better for the office buildings, meaning lower vacancy rate. Greater stability in the tenant base… So, it’s just thinking about making it work for everybody.
I’ve embarked on a long-range vision process called Georgetown 2028, which is a 15-year vision process that we’re engaging lots of people on our board of directors, key stakeholders and property owners, people in Georgetown, who aren’t on our board, and CAG, GBA, ANC folks, residential neighbors and city agencies. We’re just ready to kick it off. We’ve been doing focus groups for the past month. We’ve done six or seven focus groups, where we ask people a bunch of different questions. So, to think big about what’s happening here. Asking them what’s great and what works about Georgetown, what doesn’t work at all. What areas are really thriving in Georgetown? What areas really need help? We’re collecting all that information, and we’re going to come back to people with, sort of a heavy lift. We’re doing a task force with 25 to 40 people, that’s going to meet for 33 hours. We have 11 3-hour meetings planned to deal with transportation issues, because that’s the number-one problem everyone talks about.”

Transportation & Parking
“Transportation, huge problem. You talk to the merchants, and they say that their customers are always having a hard time finding parking and they’re always getting tickets. They come in to buy $100 worth of stuff, they get a $50 ticket and they’ll never come back. So, the city, they say, is too aggressive. The folks in the ANC say, ‘Look, you’ve got all of these people circling our blocks looking for parking and we want to be able to park in front of our houses.’ You’ve got the parking lot owners and operators, sometimes often not the same people, who are saying we don’t have enough business to stay open on the weekends. Well, part of it’s because you charge crazy amounts of money, right? They can go to Tysons Corner for nothing, or they can charge you $18 for all-day here. It’s an easy decision, right? So, we’re trying to work with all of these folks, and also with the city.
I’ve brought two people on. I’ve been here five months now. The first thing I did was I interviewed everyone on our board. Everyone said transportation. So, the first board meeting we were all at, I said, ‘O.K., this is what you all told me. And transportation’s the number one problem that we have, and this is where we spend our money.’ And I said, ‘We spend $20,000 on transportation.’ We write a check to the D.C. surface transit to market the circulator, and that’s all we spend on transportation. That’s 3 percent of our budget. No, what am I talking about? It’s less than 1 percent of our budget.”

Fashion Night In?
“We are trying to decide what to do about Fashion Night Out this year because Conde Naste cancelled it. So, we can’t use that name. They own the brand and the trademark. So we’ve been talking about what we can do to help the Georgetown fashion industry, and what would be clever and what would be Georgetown-centric and maybe not one night, but maybe over the course of a week or two.”

The Possibility of a New Boathouse
“Georgetown and GW both have the money to build boathouses and get out of Thompson’s and expand their ability. Peter May [Associate Regional Director, National Park Service, National Capital Region] says he’s ‘getting close’ to the Park Service making a decision. It should never take 20 years to decide anything. It’s too long to make a decision. It can take you 20 years to build a Metro system or 20 years to found a country or something, but to make a decisions seems, to me, too long.

Jack’s Boathouse
“The Park Service should have gone to him [Jack’s Boathouse owner Paul Simkin] and said to him, ‘We can’t do this the way it is, and we need to figure out something else.’ If it’s done right, and you play ball, you’ll get to stay there. There’s no nuance in what they do. So, they evict him. It’s crazy.”

Attracting New Businesses to Georgetown
“The Georgeotwn BID has not traditionally done much B2B [Business to Business] marketing. A lot of consumer marketing and advertising that are aimed at the consumer to come to what’s here. What I’ve done is get everyone lined up to get people to reach out to the business community to tell them you need to be here.
What we’ve got is we’ve got a great product. And we’ve got to convince people that sometimes it’s worth paying a premium for a better product.”?

Franklin Park to be Redesigned


The National Park Service, D.C. Government and the DowntownDC BID have come together to transform historic Franklin Park, with nearly five acres of green space. On March 13, the D.C. Office of Planning issued a request for proposals, for the park’s redesign, kicking off a planning process that will extend through the beginning of 2014. After engineering drawings are developed, construction is scheduled to take place in 2015-2016, coinciding with the NPS’s centennial.