City to Reduce Cost of Parking at Barracks Row Lot under Freeway to 75 Cents per Hour – Transportation Issues Move to Front Burner for Community Organizations

City to Reduce Cost of Parking at Barracks Row Lot under Freeway to 75 Cents per Hour

Transportation Issues Move to Front Burner for Community Organizations

by Larry Janezich

Two prominent community organizations are gearing up to focus on transportation issues.  Last night, new the ANC6B Transportation Committee held its first meeting.

The news coming out of the meeting of immediate interest to the community is that DDOT has agreed to reduce the parking rate to 75 cents an hour in the 8th Street lot under the freeway.  This idea came out of the recommendations of the work last year of the ANC’s Retail Mix Taskforce and was facilitated by subsequent discussions with DDOT by Commissioners Garrison, Oldenburg, and Metzger.  Garrison said that the new parking rates would become effective once DDOT had reprogrammed the parking meters and could begin in several weeks, though the timing is uncertain.  The Retail Mix Taskforce made the recommendation in an effort to encourage use of the lot to relieve parking pressure in residential areas around Barracks Row.

The new ANC6B Committee is chaired by Commissioner Oldenburg.  Commissioner Garrison is Vice Chair.  All ANC6B Commissioners are also members of the committee, which will include resident members from several Single Member Districts.  (Commission by-laws permit one resident member per single member district to serve on committees.)

One of the first acts of the new committee was to select itself to lead the effort to find ways to spend the monies accruing from the Performance Parking Fund.  Commissioner Garrison characterized the fund as being akin to the Federal Reserve’s ability to print money.  20% of the funds from the additional parking created by the impact of the new ballpark go to a fund which can be tapped for non-automotive improvements to the area most affected by the stadium parking.  So far, the funds have been or will be spent on the new biking program, digital signs for real time announcements of bus schedules, solar powered trash compactors, the soon-to-become-real information kiosk at Eastern Market Metro Plaza, and landscaping for the Plaza.

The committee will solicit ideas for using the funds from other commissioners and other community organizations.  Garrison singled out CHAMP’s Chuck Burger for his work in promoting the information kiosk, saying it was valuable infrastructure and a significant addition to the community.  Garrison emphasized that it is essential to bring forth a structured process for effecting the completion of a project, and not just having an idea.

Looking forward, the Committee intends to concentrate on changes associated with the 11th Street Bridge Project and the CSX tunnel reconstruction.  To that end, the committee began laying the ground work for a meeting in July where commissioners would be briefed by representatives of DDOT, the 11th Street Bridge Project Contractors and CSX regarding how the community will be affected while transitioning to new traffic patterns during the construction of these two projects.

Meanwhile, the Capitol Restoration Society is reconstituting its Transportation Committee under the Chairmanship of Board Member Monte Edwards.  Membership of the committee, which has been defunct for almost two years, has not yet been established.  The primary purpose of the committee will be to engage on the issue of streetcars, but it will also concern itself with pedestrian and bicycle problems and supplement the work of mayoral taskforces on these issues.

Edwards will moderate a film presentation showing Washington’s streetcars in operation during the 1950s at the June 7 CHRS Membership Forum at Maury Elementary School.  Laura Trieschmann, from EHT Traceries, will talk about the history of Washington’s streetcars, including its car barns.

Maury Elementary School is on the corner of Constitution Avenue and 13th Street, NE.  The entrance is on 13th Street and doors will open at 6:45 pm. This event is free and open to the public.  No reservations are necessary.  For more information, e-mail CapHRS@aol.com or call 543-0425.

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