October 1 Friday Night Live Jazz at Eastern Market Metro Plaza: Jazz Artist Aaron Myers – 5:00-6:30pm
By Larry Janezich
Aaron Myers – DC based jazz artist (4 albums), author (2 books), Obama activist, and WPFW Jazz Stories host – will bring his music and poignant cultural insights to Eastern Market Metro Plaza for an early evening performance on Friday, October 1. (The performance, orginally scheduled for September 10, was cancelled at the last minute owing to a medical emergency on Eastern Market Metro Plaza.)
Myers: “It is an artist’s responsibility to use their platform to shed light, bring about awareness, and thoughtfully engage others on the issues of the day.”
The performance is the part of a series of October Friday Night live events brought to the Plaza by Barracks Row and Eastern Market Main Streets, Champs, the Capitol Hill BID and the Hill Center as an on-going Plaza activating effort for the benefit of the community.
The schedule for the rest of the month includes performances by Elijah Balbed, October 8; Zach Cutler, October 15; Amy Bormet, October 22; and Imani Grace-Cooper, October 29.
CM Charles Allen provided $150,000 in the current FY’s budget for programming for the Plaza for the next 12 months.
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This Is Why DDOT Is Tearing Up Pennsylvania Avenue, SE
By Larry Janezich
Posted September 28, 2021
What you are seeing is the $19.5 million Pennsylvania Avenue Streetlight Upgrade Project.
The project will improve existing streetlights and traffic signals along Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, and extends from 2nd Street, SE, to 14th Street, SE. The streetlight and traffic signal upgrades will improve overall lighting and enhance transit safety for vehicular traffic, cyclists, and pedestrians, as well as bus operation and local business foot traffic along the corridor. Since Pennsylvania Avenue is a historic street according to the DC Streetlight Policy Guidelines, it requires special treatment in the lighting and operations of the avenue.
The section of Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, beyond 14th Street will receive streetlight upgrades as part of the Penn-Potomac Intersection Project.
The project will feature:
Cobra head lighting fixtures and pendant post
Washington Globe fixtures (LED luminaires)
Enhanced lighting distribution
Upgraded traffic signals along project corridor
Improved roadway safety for pedestrians, motorists and cyclists
ADA compliant intersections
DDOT and AASHTO streetlight policy guidelines
Upon completion, DDOT will begin installation of the project to reduce Pennsylvania Avenue SE’s current three travel lanes in each direction to two lanes in each direction. The plan anticipates the addition of bicycle lanes and peak hour bus lanes which accommodate street parking during off peak hours.
The project will take approximately 20 months to complete, weather permitting – currently the construction period is likely to end in late 2022 or early 2023. Daytime construction hours are from 9:30am – 3:30pm, Monday through Friday.
Last Monday night, ANC6A’s Transportation and Public Space Committee voted in favor of rank order preferences for the installation of bike lanes on the 1300 block of North Carolina Avenue, NE. Six alternatives were presented by Will Handsfield, DDOT Bicycle Program Specialist. DDOT is completing a continuous connection between RFK field, Eliott Hine MS and the larger Hill community. The full ANC will vote on the preferred alternatives at its next meeting on October 13. The committee voted for the designs in the order of preference below. (For more, see GGW post by ANC6A Chair Amber Gove, here: https://bit.ly/3ucxDm5 )
The Week Ahead…and Some Photos from the Past Week
by Larry Janezich
Posted September 26, 2021
The Week Ahead…
Monday, September 27
ANC6A Community Outreach Committee holds a virtual meeting at 7:00pm.
Bowser’s Situational Update – School Vax Mandate & Booster Shots – Main Takeaways
by Larry Janezich
Mayor Bowser and members of her administration held a situational briefing on Monday, September 20. Here are some of the main takeaways from the briefing.
By November 1, all adults regularly in schools and child care centers must be vaccinated against covid. No test out option. This includes DC public schools, DC public charter schools, private schools, parochial schools, child care facilities regulated by OSSE.
After November 1, all student athletes 12 and over must be vaccinated to participate in school-based sports. This does not apply to athletics at DPR facilities or private club sports and athletics unless they train or compete at DC school facilities.
Currently, third doses of Pfizer vaccine are only approved for certain immunocompromised individuals – those over 65 and those at risk for severe illness. (Health care providers and pharmacies are now providing booster shots for qualifying residents if eight months have elapsed since their second Pfizer shot.)
The CDC Advisory Committee is meeting on September 22 and 23 to make recommendations on the clinical use of the Pfizer vaccine.
It is not expected that the CDC recommendations will apply to persons receiving Moderna and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
If and when third doses are approved for additional populations by the FDA and the CDC, eligible individuals will be able to take their vaccine card to any vaccination site and receive their third dose.
Residents should expect recommendations of risk of severe illness to mirror conditions in the original vaccine rollout. New data may influence these decisions. (Presumably, this means that barring new information, if third doses are approved, distribution will be authorized in the same order as the original vaccine was.)
Residents can get ready for the distribution of third doses by:
Locating their vaccination card
Calling their health care provider to discuss options
If residents can’t find their vaccination cards, consult DC MyIR (a web-based portal that gives District residents secure, easy access to their official COVID-19 vaccination records) here: https://dchealth.dc.gov/page/dc-myir
1300 block of North Carolina Avenue NE bike lane installation options. The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is currently considering what type of bicycle facility to add to the 1300 block of North Carolina Avenue as part of its high priority bicycle network, and to ensure continuity between the C Street project (under construction) and the rest of the city’s bicycle network. This includes consideration of different options for directions of placement of car traffic and bicycle traffic lanes, including conversion to one-way vehicle traffic, as well as consideration of car parking and traffic calming measures. Will Handsfield, DDOT Bicycle Program Specialist, will follow up on questions raised at the July 2021 TPS meeting. DDOT is seeking the recommendation of the ANC as to which of the proposed designs (A through E) the community would prefer. In addition, DDOT is seeking input on proposed design adjustments to the intersection at 14th Street and North Carolina Avenue NE.
Discussion about the ANC 6C letter to DDOT requesting permanent bike lanes around the Capitol Building on Independence and East Capitol Avenues; discussion of temporary fencing.
Update on DDOT walkthrough of 17th Street and 19th Street from C Street NE to Potomac Avenue SE.
Traffic Safety Assessment (TSA) request for all-way stop at local-local intersection of 16th Street and Constitution Avenue, NE. Requesting raised crosswalks if DDOT does not grant request for all-way stop control.
Rock ‘n Roll Marathon Route. Diane Romo Thomas will discuss planned street closures along H Street, NE, eastbound from 4th to 13th Street to Constitution Avenue to North Carolina Avenue to C Street to the finish line at RFK for the race taking place on November 13, 2021.
Friday, September 24
Friday Night Live Jazz at Eastern Market Metro Plaza with Herb Scott – 5:00pm to 6:30pm.
Saturday, September 25
Children’s Programming at Eastern Market Metro Plaza with Marsha and the Positron – 10:00am to 11:30am
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Samuel Prather at Eastern Market Metro Plaza Tonight at 5:00pm
by Larry Janezich
Samuel Prather. Soulful jazz fusion. Pianist, drummer and vocal artist. DC native. Four albums. For more info, go here: https://www.samuelprather.com/
The performance is the third in a series of September Friday Night live events brought to the Plaza by Barracks Row and Eastern Market Main Streets, Champs, the Capitol Hill BID and the Hill Center as an on-going Plaza activating effort for the benefit of the community.
Last Friday’s concert featuring Aaron Myers was cancelled at the last moment, and has been postponed to the first Friday in October.
The last Friday in September will feature a performances by Herb Scott on September 24.
Funding is being provided by the two Main Street organizations and the Capitol Hill BID. CM Charles Allen was successful in providing $150,000 in next year’s budget for programming for the Plaza in FY 2022.
Programming for September will feature more live music for kids and families on Saturday mornings from 10:00-11:30am. Tomorrow, Saturday, September 18: The Bubble Guy.
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2021 Memories – Art Show at Frame of Mine Store – Barracks Row – through October 15
545 8th Street, SE
Capitol Hill Art League participating artists were asked to explore their interpretations of the theme 2021 Memories using any media, including photography .
It’s worth thinking about the definition of memory when viewing this show: “The faculty by which the mind stores and remembers information” – “something remembered from the past; a recollection.” These pieces reflect sometimes one, sometimes the other, sometimes both. I had to look up the definition of saudade – the title of Jan Zastrow’s piece: “a deep emotional state of nostalgic or profound melancholic longing for something or someone that one cares for and/or loves. Moreover, it often carries a repressed knowledge that the object of longing might never be had again.” Wiki
ANC6D Scorches Developer on Lack of Affordable Housing in South Capitol Street Project
By Larry Janezich
Posted September 14, 2021
Monday night, ANC6D began its review of the design for W.C.. Smith Development’s 13 story apartment complex at the intersection of South Capitol Street and I-695. The DC Zoning Commission has regulations for projects on the major arteries leading to the Capitol Building and part of that review is by the affected ANCs.
Representatives of W.C.. Smith knew they would be criticized for the lack of affordable housing in the project. But regulations for the development of parcels designated D-5 high density zoning provide that affordable housing Inclusionary Zoning requirements do not apply. Otherwise, 10% of the project’s floor space would have to be reserved for affordable units.
Holland and Knight attorney Shane Dettman’s approach was to lecture the ANC on Inclusionary Zoning, affordable units, and how their responsibilities in the pending design review did not included a responsibility to consider Inclusionary Zoning issues.
The comments did not sit well with the ANC and after the presentation, one commissioner after another voiced their resentment.
Chair Daniels: “You choose not to recognize the housing problem because you are operating with a golden key. You are displacing residents, you bring no benefit to residents, offer no ownership opportunities, and no retail. You could add affordable units to address the housing crisis in the city, but you’re not doing that. You are part of the problem….”
Commissioner Kramer: “I found it offensive to be lectured on Inclusionary Zoning laws….The Southwest Plan says we will be the exemplar of inclusion and equity…. You’ve done nothing except tell us how ignorant and insufficiently informed we are and how we need to understand what Inclusionary Zoning is.
Commissioner Hamilton: “I was appalled at being lectured on Inclusionary Zoning … you should be ashamed of yourself….and the disrespectful in way you are pushing this project….We need the developer to be a good neighbor and recognize the needs of the community…I urge the developer to find more respectful way….We will push to do what is in the best interest of the community.”
Commissioner Litsky said, “You bought a car wash to construct a building with several hundred units and not one is affordable. You purchased the property based on a zoning which allowed you to not offer affordable units.…There is a housing problem in the city….This is a matter of equity – not a matter of what you can do but of what you should do. There should be affordable housing on this site…not to meet housing needs creates a greater problem. You offer no retail – no benefits to the community – none, none, none. You schooled us on the legality of affordable housing. We schooled you on the morality of affordable housing. You can talk about the legality; I’m talking about the morality, because that’s what you need to stand up against.”
Commissioners Collins, Bossi, and Weiss offered comments making the Commission’s criticism of the project or the developer’s approach unanimous.
In response, Holland and Knight Attorney Leila Battles told the Commission that W.C. Smith has built 4000 affordable units across the city – a number of projects have been all affordable. She said that the developer purchased the site based on the legal and regulatory framework for the property. The developer, she said, “made a business decision to comply with applicable regulations….Providing affordable housing is not consistent with the developer’s business model or calculation”. She urged the ANC to work within their area of responsibility – design review – and to address what it is legally permitted to do; “affordable or not affordable is not among the criteria for consideration by the ANC”.
The commission was in no mood to vote on the design review Monday night. Battles noted a number of design issues raised by commissioners during the meeting and said that they would be back in October with responses to ANC design issue concerns. She did not mention their affordable housing concerns.
Chair Daniels closed, saying he would be happy to meet with the developer’s representatives any time to discuss affordable housing.
The ANC is faced with having to support or not support the project based solely on design issues, and if they do not support, will have to detail the design issues with which they disagree. The Zoning Committee is not likely to respond to any concerns regarding affordable housing, since current regulations provide that Inclusionary Zoning requirements do not apply to this project. ANC6B, which is an affected ANC and where some commissioners also raised concerns about the lack of affordable housing, will likely consider the design review for the project at its October meeting.
The Hirshhorn reopened to the public last Friday. There is essentially one exhibit – the works of Marcel Duchamp – and love him or hate him, his works helped change the course of painting and sculpture in the early 20th Century.
Presentation: Jamaal Jordan – Upcoming Pepco work – the G Street Conversion Project.
La Casina DC, 327 7th Street, SE. Application for Class “C” Restaurant liquor license.
Crazy Aunt Helen’s, 718 8th St SE. Application for Class CR liquor license – request to change/ the existing Settlement Agreement.
921 G Street SE. Application for Zoning Adjustment to allow construction of a two-story rear addition to an existing, semi-detached, two-story principal dwelling unit.
Letter of support for H.R. 5002, the District of Columbia Zoning Commissioner Home Rule Act. The legislation would remove the two federal appointees to the Zoning Commission and give those spots to the Mayor to fill and Council to approve.
Wednesday, September 15
ANC6A Economic Development & Zoning Committee will hold a virtual meeting at 7:00pm.
Friends of SE Library (FOSEL) Campaign to Save the SE Library Book Sale
By Larry Janezich
Posted September 12, 2021
This weekend, Friends of SE Library (FOSEL) launched a “major public and political campaign to generate support” for continuing monthly book sales at Southeast Library. The current plan for the renovation of the library, FOSEL maintains, will leave it without adequate space to continue managing the monthly book sale. In a letter to Richard Reyes-Gavilan, Executive Director DC Public Library, FOSEL President Neal Gregory stated FOSEL’s position:
The monthly sale attracts thousands of visitors and raises thousands of dollars annually. All of the funds are used to benefit the DC Library system – most are spent for children’s programs at SE Library but funds are also made available to other branch libraries and programs supported by DC Public Libraries.
FOSEL operates the book sale using space at the SE Library. The Friends’ room is about 175 square feet.
The latest plan for the library renovation would allocate only 86 square feet of space for FOSEL after the renovation.
All activities in the new library will have more space except FOSEL which will lose 50% of its space.
FOSEL does not believe that the Library’s plan to restrict book donations to the week before the sale and allowing those donated books to be stored in a study room is a viable approach.
FOSEL will continue discussions with Library management and states clearly that FOSEL’s goal is to end up with at least the same amount of space in the new library that it has in the old.
FOSEL does not believe it is possible to operate a successful monthly book sale with less space than it currently has.
Copies of the letter went to Mayor Bowser, CM Charles Allen, and ANC6B Chair Brian Ready.
On Saturday, FOSEL started circulating a petition urging DC Library to grant them space at least the size of the space they now have. In 24 hours, the petition garnered more than 400 signatures.
Last July 21, DC Library officials told FOSEL that their allotted space for staging of the monthly book sales would be half of what they currently have. At the time, the Friends told the design team it would not be nearly enough. Designers said they were trying to maximize public use and that prioritizing others is the best use of the space they have.
FOSEL member Bob Gellman told Capitol Hill Corner, “The reasons that management give for reducing the space for the sale don’t make much sense. In the course of a year, somewhere between 15,000 and 20,000 people participate in the sales as buyers, donors, or workers. The book sale is a major community activity that the library should welcome and support. Everybody likes a book sale, especially when most books are a dollar each. The Friends are not asking for more space. Other branch libraries have bigger Friends rooms, and some don’t use their space at all.”
Despite hopes that the renovation of Southeast Library could be finished before the library’s 2022 anniversary date, on March 5, 2020, officials announced that the start of construction had been pushed back to late 2022 making spring of 2024 the target for reopening the library. The Library will remain open until late 2022 instead of closing in late 2021.
Chuck Wray, head of Quinn-Evans Architect’s library renovation design team, said that the complexity of the approval process for work on the historic Carnegie Library caused the adjustment of the project timeline.
(Full disclosure: The editor of Capitol Hill Corner is a member of FOSEL.)
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