Two ANC’s and H Street Businesses Have Had Enough of DDOT’s Slights
By Larry Janezich
Last Tuesday night, the Transportation Committees of ANC6A and ANC6C held an unusual joint meeting to plan a response to DDOT’s ignoring repeated requests to address traffic and safety issues on H Street NE. The committees are chaired respectively by Mark Brumer and Christy Kwan. Brumer chaired the joint meeting.
Commissioners cited a January 10, 2021, letter signed by 25* H Street businesses to then DDOT Director Jeff Marootian describing a December 22nd incident when a reckless driver lost control while speeding down H Street NE and crashed into Joy of Motion Dance Center, severely damaging the studio space. The letter said, “Luckily, no one was hurt, but with this being the third such incident in three months along the H Street Corridor, next time we might not be so lucky. We … believe that the current configuration of H Street a public safety hazard and urged DDOT to consider large-scale safety improvements.”
The ANC Committees want a comprehensive review of transportation and safety issues on H Street and are requesting a traffic study of the corridor from North Capitol to 15th Street NE. A Special Committee was formed to write a letter to DDOT, copying CM Charles Allen. The letter will reiterate the asks from the H Street merchants which they believe will make H Street safer:
- Bus/Streetcar-only lanes. Convert the right travel lanes in each direction to all-times, red carpet bus/streetcar-only lanes. Bicyclists should not be encouraged to ride in these lanes due to the danger associated with the streetcar tracks.
- Wider Sidewalks. Reclaiming a significant portion of on-street parking spaces would allow for creation of wider sidewalk “bulb” outs. This space could be used for increased transit rider space, al fresco dining, and bicycle parking.
- Pick-Up/Drop-off Zones only. Long-term parking on H Street should not be allowed. We propose those remaining spaces not reclaimed by sidewalk be used as pick-up/drop-off zones with maximum parking time of no more than 30 minutes.
Once drafted, the letter will come up before the full ANCs for their approval, probably at their March meetings.
Among the city agencies which give the ANCs short shrift, DDOT has a reputation of being especially cavalier in attitude. ANC6B has jousted with DDOT for years over traffic safety issues on the “17th Street Speedway”. Marootian has recently moved on, having been named as Special Assistant to the President for Climate and Science Agency Personnel in the Biden Administration.
The 25 businesses signing the letter to DDOT are as follows: Atlas Doghouse, Atlas Performing Arts Center, AtlasVet, Aurora Salon, Craft Beer Cellar, DC Harvest, Fare Well, Granville Moore’s, H Street Country Club, Joy of Motion Dance Center, Maketto, Moody Graham Landscape Architecture, Mozzeria DC, Pie Shop, Physicality DC, Pow Pow, Rice Bar, [solidcore], Solid State Books, Sospeso, The Daily Rider, The Pug, The Queen Vic, Toki Underground, Yoga District.