Posts Tagged “Parking”
Yesterday night, the student-run advocacy group DC Students Speak reintroduced an online petition against the D.C. Council’s proposed law to discourage students from parking around the District. The D.C. Council will vote today on this “Residential Parking Protection Act of 2011,” which, according to DCSS, “will, if passed, impose unnecessary and costly burdens on student drivers” and “remove common-sense rules with regard to college drivers in the District.” As of this morning at 10:30 a.m., the petition had 750 signatures.
The D.C. Council’s Residential Parking Protection Act on today’s voting agenda is part of a larger effort to reduce the number of residents with parking passes. Full-time students may be the first residents targeted for the denial of these privileges. The bill, according to the WJLA, “could mean those $35 a year residential parking permits will become more expensive, street parking rates may vary by demand and guest parking passes could come with a fee.”
DCSS encourages students to sign the petition to Mayor Vince Gray and Attorney General Irvin Nathan before today’s vote. According to the group, the law will force students to register their motor vehicles in D.C. and purchase D.C. car insurance. “Students will also be required to pay fees in order to register their car and obtain a D.C. driver’s license, potentially in excess of $150,” the petition reads. The group has introduced a Twitter hashtag, “right2park,” to spread awareness on the issue.
Photo: DC Students Speak website
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While us undergraduates are battling it out on the sidelines for our compromised interests in the Campus Plan, we tend to forget that graduate students are affected by these provisions too. At tonight’s advisory Neighborhood Commission meeting on the campus plan, ANC Chair Ron Lewis mentioned that “graduate students will be parking ‘downtown’ in the next few years.” A cursory statement like that holds a lot of weight for these adults who live and study at Georgetown but also have families, children, and established lives.
For graduate students, on-campus housing is not provided as an option. Many students live in Foxhall and West Georgetown to decrease their commute, especially given Georgetown’s lack of access to a Metro station.
“Basically the first year of grad school I was on Connecticut Ave. and I would commute by Metro and shuttle bus and it really made it difficult to schedule time,” Alison Thomas (MSFS ’13) said. “You end up wasting a lot of time in transit or waiting for transit. This year, living near campus made a huge difference to my quality of life.”
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Posted by: Molly Redden in News, Vox Populi, tags: 1789 Block, 2010 Campus Plan, Burleith Citizens' Association, CAG, Georgetown Neighborhood, Lenore Rubino, Parking, Sustainability, The Burleith Community Fund, Traffic
It’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for. Right?
On Thursday, Georgetown University publicly released the final draft of its 2010 Campus Plan (PDF), which it will present to the community on Monday, April 26. Administrators have already presented most of the plan to Georgetown residents in a series of community meetings in November—Transportation, the 1789 Block, and Housing, Enrollment, and Off-Campus Life, but at least a few things have changed in this final draft—we’ve listed them below.
Meanwhile, the neighbors have been gathering their forces to fight the campus plan once it goes before the Zoning Commission for approval, where it will be studied at length by the Office of Planning.
Both the Citizens Association of Georgetown and the Burleith Citizens Association are raising funds to hire urban planners and zoning experts to counter the findings and testimony of Georgetown University’s experts, influencing the Office of Planning report and the Zoning Commission’s ruling on the plan. BCA President Lenore Rubino wrote in an e-mail to the Burleith listserv that in the last three weeks, the BCA has raised $4500.
In any event, here’s what’s new or has been clarified in the 2010 Plan:
- The convocation center, which would have been built on the McDonough parking lot for events like graduation, has been removed from the plan.
- The two staffers who will live near students in off-campus, non-Georgetown housing and act as Resident Advisers will start work this August. The summer SNAP car that Georgetown is funding will be patrolling neighborhoods this June.
- Three additional MPD officers will be hired through the reimbursable detail program to patrol “higher activity areas” on Thursday through Saturday nights.
- The University has scaled back its plans to develop the 1789 block, where it will build graduate housing. Instead of building housing for 250 – 300 students, the new apartments will house 120 students. The structures will be three to four instead of five stories high. Ten percent of the 80 parking spaces under the structure will be reserved for resident use. The retail the University planned for that area—like a coffee shop or a dry cleaner’s—will take up 8,500 square feet instead of 26,000 square feet.
- The University had originally proposed 1,000 new parking spaces for University and Hospital use. They are now only proposing 700 new spaces.
- Georgetown will explore the feasibility of getting a ZipCar station located closer to campus, potentially near the main gates.
- A quadrangle will be built between the Hariri Building and the new science center.
- Georgetown will explore adding new solar panels to campus buildings and “wind spires for on-campus outdoor lighting”
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They’re still not OK with this
This month’s ANC meeting was low on the fireworks, but neighbors turned out to protest valet parking by the Georgetown Club and continue their battle against late night pizza.
Philly P has been a common topic of discussion at ANC meetings this year, with neighbors loudly grumbling about late-night patrons of the restaurant (read: students). The discussion was largely a rehashing of old complaints, but Commissioners passed an important resolution for the upcoming January 12 hearing with the D.C. Board of Zoning Adjustment. The resolution allowed ANC Commissioners to present their findings at the upcoming Zoning hearing and act as a party with full rights to present evidence and testify.
Student Commissioner Aaron Golds voted against the resolution, which passed by a vote of 5-1.
Commissioners and residents remain steadfast in their efforts to shut down Philly Pizza, charging that it is a fast food restaurant.
Georgetown Club Valet Parking
A surprising amount of time at yesterday’s meeting went to discussing the parking arrangement for the Georgetown Club, located at 1530 Wisconsin Ave. Neighbors complained that valet parking was creating a public safety hazard by blocking traffic on Volta Place. ANC Commissioners also chastised the establishment for failing to send a representative to the meeting. A resolution was unanimously passed that encouraged the Public Safety Board to allow valet parking at night during a special trial period to ensure the Club was responsive to neighbor complaints.
The rest of the meeting, after the jump!
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Posted by: Juliana Brint in News, Vox Populi, tags: 1789 Block, 2010 Campus Plan, Dupont Circle, Georgetown, GUTS Buses, Karen Frank, Parking, Town-Gown Relations, Transportation
The proposed loop road and new GUTS routes
The last time University officials discussed the transportation aspect of the 2010 Campus Plan back in May, they said they were tentatively planning to send the Dupont GUTS bus through the Canal Road entrance, meaning the shuttle route would be extended to the experimental 4.7 mile test route permanently. At last night’s meeting presenting the University’s first draft of its transportation plans, University officials made it clear that the rerouting isn’t just tentative—it’s now part of the University’s preferred draft plan.
Vice President for Facilities and Student Housing Karen Frank, who presented the University’s transportation plans to neighbors last night, explained that Georgetown would like to build a loop road on the west side of campus (as illustrated above) which would allow more buses to use the Canal Road entrance.
When the University requested the rights to build the Canal Road entrance in its last ten year plan it promised neighbors that the new entrance would be used for GUTS buses. Georgetown students, faculty and staff have been spared from the extended route thus far thanks to the fact that the current set-up of the parking lot near McDonough makes it nearly impossible for buses to turn around on campus.
The other problem is that between 6:15 a.m. and 10:15 a.m. on weekdays—prime rush hour time—drivers are not permitted to make left turns off of the Canal Road entrance. If the University could get the left-turn prohibition lifted and build the loop road, all buses besides the Wisconsin Avenue route would be able to enter and exit through Canal Road.
The potential roadblock for the plan is the Park Service, which owns the land west of campus that abuts the proposed loop road. While the road would be on GU property, the University has an agreement with the Park Service to only use that part of campus for service vehicles. Frank said she is pushing for the definition of “service vehicles” to be any vehicle “dedicated to the University,” which would include GUTS buses. However, Frank said, the Park Service is “not real easy to work with.”
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Posted by: Juliana Brint in News, Vox Populi, tags: 2010 Campus Plan, 61-D Citations, Adrian Fenty, Burleith, Burleith Citizens' Association, DCPS, DCRA, Georgetown, Jack Evans, Landlords, MPD, Parking, SNAP, Town-Gown Relations
Last Thursday, the Burleith Citizens’ Association held its annual meeting. Yes, annual.
“One per year? I love it!” exclaimed guest of honor Mayor Adrian Fenty (D). “That’s unprecedented, at least in D.C.”
With only one meeting per year, the agenda was pretty packed, with Burleithers (Burleithians?) discussing everything from 61-D citations to the University’s ten-year plan, parking changes, D.C. Public Schools and cracking down on neglectful landlords.
MPD and 61-Ds: Lieutenant John Hedgecock, who has been in charge of West Georgetown and Burleith since early August, talked about the neighborhood’s crime stats and how the Metropolitan Police Department has been using 61-D citations.
When Hedgecock announced that issuing 61-Ds has been “very effective in quelling parties,” the crowd broke out in applause. According to Hedgecock, once MPD receives a call, they assume that there’s been a breach of the peace. If they observe a party and the noise “is too much for a residential area,” they will issue a 61-D citation to the person on the lease of the house or in charge of the party.
Hedgecock says while last year there were six “problem houses” in the area (four in West Georgetown and two in Burleith), this year there is only one.
“When we see a party starting, we put an end to it or advise them what will happen,” Hedgecock said.
One neighbor voiced concerns about the citations saddling students with a criminal record; Hedgecock replied that those who receive 61-Ds can contest them in court.
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Over the weekend, the Washington Post highlighted one of the eternal scourges of attending college in the District: the exorbitant cost of parking. According to a recent survey from AAA, the Post reports, D.C. college students pay between $225 and $1300 a year to park.
Of all the local universities profiled, though, it looks like Georgetown drivers are the most fleeced. Georgetown’s Director of Media Relations Andy Pino tells the Post that students living on-campus aren’t eligible for on-campus parking, and the AAA survey finds that Georgetown students pay $656 a semester to park at lots in Rosslyn.
The next most expensive school for auto owners is at GW, where students pay $550 per semester for a parking decal. American takes third place in the most ridiculous parking prices competition, charging $964 per year to park in a lot on Nebraska Ave., the AAA study shows.
DCist caught wind of the story and, instead of just letting us wallow in our vehicular-induced bankruptcy, they decided to cheer on the shakedown, justifying it with this jibe:
If anything, it seems that students — who, I’m sure we can all agree, don’t really do anything with those cars but cause trouble — aren’t paying enough to park their jalopies in the District.
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The University is formulating its 2010 Campus Plan, which, once it passes ANC and D.C. Zoning Commission muster, will dictate how the University can expand over the next decade. Previous Campus Plans excluded neighborhood input in their planning stages, much to the neighbors’ dismay. So this summer, University officials will hold a series of meetings to gather community input. For those of you who aren’t here, Vox will be attending all meetings and recapping them here on the blog. Keep in mind that the proposals under discussion are only tentative. At the same time, they do comprise, as University architect Alan Brangman told Vox, Georgetown University’s “wishlist.”
As Kate mentioned on Tuesday, at Saturday’s community meeting Georgetown’s permanent residents were just as down on the University’s affect on local traffic as they were on its students’ behavior. It should come as no surprise then that a major portion of the afternoon session focused on the University’s transportation plan, especially GUTS buses.
Historically cited for noise and even house-shaking, on Saturday, the neighbors and attendant ANC representatives described GUTS buses as both carelessly piloted and wreaking havoc on Reservoir Road traffic (speaking to the former charge, a University official said that the Georgetown had implemented better training for drivers a couple years ago, but that perhaps further improvements could be made).
ANC commissioner Ron Lewis said, “They’re still in our communities and on Reservoir Road in our neighborhood and that is unacceptable.” The neighbors seemed to agree and collectively insisted that the University included a provision in its 10 Year Plan that all buses use the Canal Road entrance to leave and enter the school—a demand University officials seems ready to comply with.
That’s right: on the University’s “wish list” is a tentative plans to send all buses in and out Canal Road, with the exception of the Wisconsin Avenue bus. Most noticeably altered would be the Dupont Circle bus route. Instead of its traditional 2.1 mile route, it would permanently follow the 4.7 mile test-route it has been using recently in spite of student protestations.
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If you live in a townhouse, have a car, and don’t have as many parking spots as you’d like, you can get help from an unlikely source—Advisory Neighborhood Commission member Ron Lewis. If you e-mail him and suggest that parking spots with restricted parking have those restrictions lifted, he’ll do what he can as part of his “Parking Lot Treasure Hunt” initiative. With luck, the restrictions will be lifted and you will have opened up another spot in Georgetown.
Even if you can park in front of your townhouse, opening another spot on your street will make your life easier because other cars won’t take your space. With that in mind, you might as well suggest a bunch of spaces, especially considering that Lewis’s other campaign is extending the new party regulations off-campus. Isn’t this a more constructive use of his time?
-Will Sommer, blog editor. Flickr photo from leftymgp.
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