Cats, Bikes and DGS… quick notes from ANC 4C’s April meeting

Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4C met on April 10th for their regular meeting. The agenda wasn’t too full. Below are the highlights, including discussion on HRA’s cat count project, the upcoming Bikeshare station on Illinois Avenue, and more.

Gabrielle Priest

Gabrielle Priest (Mayor’s Office Community Relations) spoke on some of the mayor’s recent budget updates. You can see a full list on DC.gov website. If you need to contact Ms. Priest, her number is 202-603-7182 and email is Gabrielle.Priest2@DC.gov.

Frazier O’Leary

Frazier O’Leary, the Ward 4 Member of the State Board of Education spoke about recent DCPS hearings to increase funding for DC school. He said Truesdell needs renovations (playground has problems), and that 160 people testified at DCPS hearings. He mentioned that West Education Campus will be torn down, with a new building coming. Students and faculty will go to Sharpe School on 13th Street during the 2-year construction period.

Katie Rotramel, the Director Community Programs from the Humane Rescue Alliance, spoke about the ongoing “DC Cat Count” program. It’s a census of outdoor cats in DC in order to understand how many feral cats are in the District. She said it’s a “data-driven project, nothing is happening to the cats (whether you like them or not!).”

Katie Rotramel, HRA’s Director Community Programs

Ms. Rotramel said that this is “kitten season” and asks residents to call them if they find kittens in alleys or out on the street. She said that kittens can be domesticated only up to the 8th week of life, and then they remain outdoor / feral cats. HRA will take the kittens in, spay or neuter and vaccinate them. If they’re too old, they will be released back into the city. (Cats that have been sterilized and vaccinated have the tip of their left ear clipped off, signifying they have been taken care of.)

She also mentioned that HRA will provide free vaccines, spay/neuter and micro-chip animals of households that make $55,000 or less. Additionally, HRA offers the “Pet pantry,” which provides free supplemental food once-a-month (no financial limit requirements, but obviously, it’s for those families in need). HRA also offers a “Safe Haven” program for residents fleeing a domestic violence situation. They will provide safe housing for animals during a domestic crisis.

Keith Anderson, the Director of DGS

Keith Anderson, the director of DC’s Department of General Services, spoke about what DGS does and some upcoming work. DGS basically is responsible for managing DC gov’s real estate, starting with determining costs to construction to maintenance. He said upcoming, based on the mayor’s new budget, Dorothy Heights Elementary is slated for a $60 million renovation, while Raymond Elementary is getting a $62.6 million renovation. Upshur Recreation park is getting $12 million. A few residents asked about Barnard Elementary playground, which has needed repair for over a year. Anderson said a team was at the school last week to look at the walkway, and took out the damaged playground slides. “We have ordered slides, and once they come in we will install them.” He said it will take 6-8 weeks for the slides to arrive. He said there is no plan to renovate the playground.

Petworth Rec Center will be (finally) upgraded this fall. (This project apparently lost a ton of steam.)

The ANC passes resolutions to send letters to DC Council committees to support making the Roosevelt High School pool have public access. (Not a simple project — first has to be funded, then DGS has to come up with the plans, do the construction, and the Department of Parks & Recreation will need to maintain and staff the pool, all while ensuring no negative impact on the school or student.

Proposed location of new Bikeshare on Illinois Avenue, south of Grant Circle

Then the ANC discussed and passed a resolution supporting DDOT’s proposed new Bikeshare station at Illinois Avenue. (Goodman)

Commissioner Jonah Goodman spoke about DDOT’s plans, He mentioned that DDOT was planning on adding new parking on 5th street (“for a net zero loss”), as well as making Illinois one way northbound on that stretch between Upshur and the Circle, and a left turn lane onto Upshur from 5th Street.

Residents got up to speak for and against the installation. Jim said they feel the project is being pushed on the residents. He said “There are no bikeshare installations facing single family homes west of the park,” and that some residents were looking at legal options to stop the installation. “Neither of us are going to stand by to make this an easy or comfortable decision.” 

Residents speaking for and against the Illinois Bikeshare location.

Eric Wolf, who lives on the 4000 block of Illinois, said he’s for the installation. He said he made 19 spot checks on the block to review parking, and said only on one occasion did he find no parking available, “And even then there were spots on Upshur and on 5th,” he said. He added that there were two spaces available each time on average.

Kathryn said the Bikeshare station was a “railroaded event… showing that community members don’t matter.” She said she doesn’t oppose a bikeshare, “I just don’t believe it should be on that short block.” Felt there was a “lack of vigilance on what residents think, as opposed to what DDOT wants.” 

Ezra said he likes how the process was conducted and supports the installation. He said he is an active Bikeshare member and user.

Another resident was in favor of the Bikeshare and appreciated Commissioner Goodman’s research and efforts. She said there was a Bikeshare station on T Street NW where bikes face houses. 

Denise, who lives on 5th Street, said she just wants the street fixed due to potholes and other problems.

The ANC then approved a resolution to submit comment to the Committee on Business & Economic Development for Department of Small and Local Business Development hearing on increased support for Main Street funding and related requests.

The ANC then approved an update to Slash Run’s (201 Upshur St NW) settlement agreement, changing the outdoor seating service time to allow for lunch service (starting now at 11am).

Commissioner Goodman then proposed (and the ANC approved) budget to fund new internet and phone service for the ANC. He said their current internet access is poor and expensive, he wants to find a cheaper solutions using a lower-cost cellular plan. “Hey, it’s our tax dollars, too,” he said.)

The ANC approved a resolution opposing cuts to DCRA residential housing inspectors. (Ed note: DCRA doesn’t have enough inspectors to fully help businesses and residents — cutting them further is a terrible idea.)

The ANC also proposed a small amendment to their Bylaws that would move an existing financial reimbursement policy passed in December 2017  into the bylaws. Will be voted on next month.

The ANC then passed a resolution to conduct Implicit and Unconscious Bias Training and Community-facing Inclusion Initiatives.

They sent a letter to DC’s Chief Financial Officer requesting the CFO’s office track costs spent on sexual harassment settlements (it’s not currently done).

They also approved a letter of support for Uptown Main Street grant application.

Billie Jean Armstrong

Resident Billie Jean Armstrong spoke during the Community Comment period to say (for the second month in a row) that she wants more to be done about bicyclists not riding responsibly. She said DC needs to protect car drivers, says bikers care less. Another resident got up to say there should be a painted crosswalk at 14th & Quincy Streets NW (ANC supports this idea.)

TREASURER’S REPORT:

Drew Schneider

Local DC blogger in Petworth, Washington DC.



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