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Sunday, February 25, 2024

ANC 7D Report: 19th Street Traffic Plan Critiqued

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 7D met May 9 via Zoom. Commissioners Siraaj Hasan (7D01), Wendell Felder (7D03, chair), Ebony Payne (7D05), Marc Friend (7D06), Brett Astmann (7D07, treasurer), Brian Alcorn (7D08, vice chair), Ashley Schapitl (7D09, secretary) and Brianne Eby (7D10) were in attendance. Single Member Districts 7D02 and 7D04 remain vacant. 

DDOT plans to reconfigure 19th Street between C Street and Benning Road NE. To increase public safety near schools, the agency is installing a Protected Bike Lane (PBL) and raised pedestrian crossings at D Street and Rosedale. It is relocating parking on the 300 to 600 blocks from the west to the east side of 19th Street and updating parking restrictions in line with its new guidelines to improve sightlines at crossings. The changes will eliminate four parking spaces.

The commission is overall supportive of the project, stated Commissioner Marc Friend (7D06), and does not want its momentum slowed. However, more community engagement is necessary, he added.

Commissioners asked for the removal of the crossover movement at Gale Street NE. They also requested changes to bike lane positioning to make construction and maintenance easier; the removal of the mid-block speed hump on the 400 block of 19th St NE; and the provision of a protected corner, or other intervention, to separate cyclists and pedestrians from vehicular traffic at the 19th Street and Benning Road NE intersection.

Lastly, the commission requested DDOT schedule a public meeting after the release of the 90 percent plan in June. In particular, they asked the agency to include residents, schools and local businesses in that proceeding.

The commission voted to send a letter to DDOT summarizing their requests.

CRYSP Discusses RFK Future
At their May meeting, commissioners reviewed with the Capitol Riverside Youth Sports Park (CRYSP) potential plans for the empty, unused space in the lots surrounding RFK Stadium, 2400 East Capitol St. NE.  In addition to managing The Fields at RFK, CRYSP conducts advocacy and research to expand youth recreation space in the District. The overall RFK site remains under the purview of Events DC.

After a decade of work, the Fields on the RFK Campus have accomplished CRYSP’s initial vision, said Board Member Robert Coomber. After the facilities opening, CRYSP polled residents about their additional recreational interests. In response, the organization created a frisbee golf course in 2021. The organization is now looking for ideas for future projects, with the goal of providing space for seniors and youth to “positively release their energy,” Coomber said.

Commissioner Brett Astmann called the Fields a “total gem.” Echoing his appreciation, Commissioner Siraaj Hasan expressed gratitude for the existing facilities.

Commissioners Ebony Payne and Ashley Schapitl expressed interest in involving their constituents in further developments to the campus. They floated the additions of pickleball courts and a dog park.

Coomber welcomed their feedback. CRYSP planned additional outreach to ANC 7D residents, he said.

Hasan raised questions about the timeline of the discussed additions. New developments are dependent on funding and likely “years off.” “We really depend on the kindness of strangers and the generosity of EventsDC,” Coomber responded.

The commission held no vote on the matter.

Other Matters
The ANC voted to:

  • send a letter of support for the Marshall Heights Community Development Organization in their search for a Main Streets program grant.
  • approve an expenditure to advertise their meetings as part of the fulfillment of their public notice requirements in both the Hill Rag and East of the River newspapers.

The commission has posted a draft of their bylaws to www.7d0761.wixsite.com/anc7d-1. Further discussion is planned in the June monthly meeting.

ANC 7D meets next on June 13 at 6:30 p.m. via Zoom. Learn more about the commission and register to attend the meeting at 7d0761.wixsite.com/anc7d-1.

Sarah Payne is a reporter for Capital Community News. She can be reached at sarahp@hillrag.com.

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