This month’s edition of Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2E came with a visit from the ANC’s northerly neighbors. ANC3B and friends traveled all the way from Glover Park to defend their plan to revamp a segment of Wisconsin Avenue north of Safeway.
The hotbed issue of last night’s meeting was a proposed construction project… that’s happening in another ward. The ANC of Glover Park has been working with the District Department of Transportation and the Office of Planning for some time to modify Wisconsin Avenue from Massachusetts Avenue down to 35th Street. The proposed construction project will widen the sidewalks, add a designated left-turn lane, and reduce the number of lanes to two going each way.
According to Brian Cohen, Chairman of ANC3B, the project has two goals. First, it will improve pedestrian safety by slowing cars down and giving pedestrians an easier time crossing the street. Both the narrowing of the road and the addition of a few lighted cross walks are in response to two pedestrian fatalities that took place on Wisconsin in Glover Park.
The second goal for the project is to reduce the visual clutter in the area. According to Cohen, making the streetscape more pedestrian-friendly will help the commercial district too.
All this is fine and dandy, but ANC2E was worried a construction project might cause (cue ominous music) cut-through traffic.
Originally, it was commissioner Bill Starrels who raised the issue, but the infamous Stephen R. Brown was the one complaining at the meeting.Brown asked if construction on Wisconsin would cause commuters to turn to residential side streets. In response, the DDOT representative at the meeting admitted that conduit installation on some roads would force commuters to circumvent the construction, but it would be limited mainly to the surrounding block.
Another resident demanded to know why the Glover Park ANC was initiating a construction project that reached down into Georgetown. Also, Lenore Rubino, former president of the Buleith Citizens Association, expressed concern about some projects continuing onto 37th, which runs through Burleith. Both these worries proved unfounded: the project would be contained within the boundaries of Glover Park.
But darn those ANC3B-ers for not providing them with that information beforehand!
After the opponents of the plan expressed themselves, the ANC2E endorsed the initial phase of the construction unanimously.
On an unrelated note, as if fifty cupcake bakeries weren’t enough, Georgetown might be getting a high-end macaroon vendor on Wisconsin. With a twist, of course.
The couple opening the shop wants the ability to open their front window and sell baked goods and coffee directly to pedestrians passing by through the window. The commission had two issues with this plan. First, they didn’t want to open the door to vendors selling items that weren’t overpriced confections. The image of late-night pizza shops trafficking their wares to drunken Georgetown students through storefront windows is enough to keep the commissioners up at night.
Second, does Georgetown really need another bakery that drags its business onto the street?
“It’s like Georgetown Cupcake,” groaned commissioner Charlie Eason. “But worse.”
ANC2E approved the installation of the opening window on the promise that only high-end baked goods would be sold through it, and making clear that they were not setting a precedent.