DDOT Responds with Alacrity to Capitol Hill Traffic Concerns After Latest Stumble before ANC Committee

DDOT Responds with Alacrity to Capitol Hill Traffic Concerns After Latest Stumble before ANC6B Committee

by Larry Janezich

After the newhilleast listserv lit up last week with a host of complaints about left turns from 695 onto 11th Street, SE, DDOT moved quickly to address the issue.  ANC6B Chair Kirsten Oldenburg posted to the listserv on Friday that DDOT would make signal adjustments and add signage and striping to alleviate the difficulties in making the turn.

Maybe it’s just the extra attentiveness characteristic of city agencies in the early days of a new administration.  Or maybe it’s sensitivity about the continuing perception in Hill East and among some ANC6B commissioners that too often DDOT does little other than pay lip service to community concerns.

DDOT has had a history of exhibiting a dismissive attitude toward issues raised by ANC6B (and, for that matter ANC6A).  See CHC posts here:  http://bit.ly/1ozcgmW and http://bit.ly/1BjGT8J

The latest example occurred at the January 7 meeting of the ANC’s Committee on Transportation when two DDOT representatives made a background presentation on a proposed DDOT study on parking in the Eastern Market area.  The presenters were clearly unprepared, citing information 12 years old as “current,” and provided little or no useful information, according to some commissioners.  The committee report to the full ANC said: “Some Commissioners expressed outrage at DDOT’s inability to provide more timely information.”

Commissioner Krepp (6B10) revisited the issue at ANC6B’s monthly meeting on January 13, terming the briefing “mind numbing, inept, incompetent and insulting.” Citing the reliance on 12 year old information, Krepp said the presentation prompted her to engage in a Twitter conversation with DDOT officials who claimed that the presentation was occurring without their knowledge.  Krepp expressed her conviction the DDOT needs to be held to a higher standard.

ANC6B Chair Oldenburg, who as chair of the Transportation Committee, had arranged the briefing, responded saying “Unfortunately, the presentation was truncated” referring to Krepp’s sharp questioning during the presentation which eventually brought it to a close.  Oldenburg added that” Listening to poor presentations is part of the job of ANC commissioners, and commissioners should get used to it.”

Krepp responded by saying, “Commissioner Oldenburg, I’m not going to sit here and get used to it. We have a right to insist that presentations be worth out time.”  She was backed up by Commissioner Daniel Chao, who was not at the committee meeting but had heard a report from a representative who attended.  Chao said that time management was an important issue for him, and “I’m not opposed to closing down a meeting if presenters are unprepared.”

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One response to “DDOT Responds with Alacrity to Capitol Hill Traffic Concerns After Latest Stumble before ANC Committee

  1. It is so easy, isn’t it, to bash a bureaucracy? But, I view my job as a Commissioner as one in which I try my best to get results for constituents. Bashing often doesn’t get me there. Nor, do I have time to change the culture of an agency. Over the years I have sat through lots presentations, good and bad. I manage to take away what I can–what is useful–from both types.

    DDOT is a large bureaucracy and not monolithic. Some parts work better than others. This article does not make the distinction, but there were two separate presentations at the 6B Transportation Committee. One that applies somewhat to the matter of getting DDOT’s attention on the freeway exit problem last week although the subject at the meeting was on the Pennsylvania & Potomac Avenues SE Intersection Pedestrian Improvement Project and DDOT’s willingness to delay moving ahead until 6B had an opportunity to comment.

    The other presentation had to do with 6B trying to ameliorate parking issues for residents, vendors, and customers around Eastern Market on weekends. We have been batting heads with DDOT for several years on this one. The phrase “12 year old information” came from reaction to this latter presentation, which was intended to be an overview of a new initiative on EM parking. Despite the fact that the presentation on January 7th was truncated such that we never got to the part about the new initiative, as chair of that meeting, I did manage to get a DDOT commitment for a community meeting in early Spring. Call me a cockeyed optimist but frustrated as I have become on our inability to fix EM parking, I am hopeful the community will see some positive signs early this year. If not, I will continue pushing DDOT on getting results.