ANC Discusses Public Space Use
Published: Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, February 5, 2013 18:02
Debate about local space permits for events dominated discussion at the Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2E’s February meeting Monday, which was held in Georgetown’s McShain Lounge instead of the usual meeting room at Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School.
Commissioners first heard proposals for public space permits for events such as the Rose Park egg hunt on March 23rd, Bike D.C. and Sprint For the Cure 5k. While most proposals were passed with little or no discussion, one in particular gave the commissioners pause.
The Nike Woman’s Half Marathon is an annual event in San Francisco and a partnership between Nike and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. This year the marathon’s inaugural event will be in Washington, and the organizers hope to hold a recreational exposition for the participants on the Georgetown dock.
The tent set-up and high volume of visitors would require the organizers to close Thomas Jefferson Street for the duration of the event in order to allow pedestrians to go back and forth between the Nike Store and the tent set-up.
A few of the commissioners said that they would be hesitant to close-off a public street in order to accommodate a private event.
“I need to be able to know what your community would get out of it,” Commissioner Tom Birch said.
“I’m not prepared at this meeting to say that we’re willing to close off an entire street in exchange for [increased business],” Chair Ron Lewis said.
A decisions on a permit for the race, which is to be held in April, have been postponed until the next ANC meeting March 4.
Commissioners also decided to postpone any actions on resolving complaints about the reconfiguration of traffic lanes on Wisconsin Avenue.
“The reported impacts of the reconfiguration have been an increase in traffic, especially at peak hours,” Lewis said. “Let’s take another month and receive more comments.”
Commissioners Peter Prindiville (SFS ’14) and Craig Cassey (COL ’15) both said that while the change in location was due to a scheduling conflict at Visitation, it also represents Georgetown’s increasing engagement with the community. Prindiville expressed hope that student presence at ANC meetings could lead to a renewed relationship between the student community and permanent Georgetown residents.
“I think that students should be involved with civic affairs in the neighborhood. If students are engaged, we will see a better reception. It is very easy to write-off the student perspective if they don’t come to meetings. A lot of people said that about the voting too,” Prindiville said. “The November elections disproved that. Students do care.”
Cassey said that the change in location presented an opportunity to connect with the surrounding neighborhood.
“It was a matter of convenience, but it also recognizes our university and that it is a part of our community. Holding the meeting here offers the best chance for Georgetown constituents to come to the meeting,” Cassey said. “We recognize the student body as residents of the community.”
Both Cassey and Prindiville pointed towards the community planning boards for the New South Student Center as future projects.
“We hit the ground running. At our January meeting, we considered the New South Student Center plans. Recently the university submitted plans to redesign Dahlgren Quad. That’s in my [district]. We’re considering a lot of things,” Prindiville said. “I’m happy with the work we have done so far.”
Cassey also spoke about presenting Georgetown’s 26 Acts of Kindness plan to the wider Georgetown community at the ANC meeting.
“We have kicked off the 26 Acts of Kindness project to honor the victims of the Newtown shooting. It is a national movement that we want Georgetown to be a part of,” Cassey said.