Greater Greater Washington asked ANC candidates across the city to answer the question, "How would you like your neighborhood to look in 20 years? How will you help bring that
about?" This is my vision for our future:
Cleveland Park’s Connecticut Avenue corridor is not just a road to get travelers from one place
to another–it’s a business district, a commuter hub, and a central gathering place for friends,
neighbors, and visitors. In essence, it’s Cleveland Park’s ‘Main Street–the social center of our
We are lucky to have great amenities on Connecticut Avenue, from grocery stores and restaurants to pharmacies and gift stores, but we also have clear signs of challenges around us. As I walk up and down the corridor, I am troubled that there are six vacant storefronts, four of which have been empty for almost two years. These vacant properties aren’t just visually unappealing; they can lead to blight and quickly become public safety hazards. I see sidewalks in need of repair, weeds growing out of asphalt, and trash littering tree boxes and flower beds. Our historic corridor–our Main Street–is in need of attention.
Twenty years from now, I hope to walk the streets of an enhanced Main Street, one which touts the historic beauty and significance that we see today while demonstrating the results of smart growth that lead to an environmentally sustainable, healthy, and livable community.
“Main Street 2036” will be a hub for walkers and bikers. With redesigned sidewalks and traffic intersections, pedestrians will walk along our corridor and cross streets safely; sit on benches; and gather at cafe style sidewalk tables and chairs. Bikers too will have increased security in riding along Connecticut Avenue. With the introduction of a bike lane, they will be able to safely store their bikes using racks along the corridor, and/or be able to pick up a Capital Bikeshare at one of many points.
Public transportation will be enhanced with the introduction of bus rapid transit along the
corridor to ensure a delay-free, reliable riding experience. And between our buses and regularly maintained Metro system (sorry that one is not in the ANC purview!), residents from new mixed-use development projects won’t be contributing to gridlock, but rather contributing to WMATA's ridership and coffers.
"Main Street 2036" will be home to thriving businesses and a bustling commercial corridor that is busy morning, noon, and night with residents, workers, and patrons. With an increase in both residential density and commercial space (via improved land use of non-historic structures and tracts such as the Exxon gas station), businesses once struggling to stay open during the day flourish; civic engagement is at an all-time high; and Cleveland Park is home to a diversity of residents who contribute to make this neighborhood one of the most treasured in the city.
As ANC Commissioner, I would help bring about this vision by:
- Encouraging engagement from constituents across ANC 3C05 through a variety of means (in-person, email, etc.) during the Cleveland Park Streetscape and Drainage Improvement Project and the Comprehensive Plan update process. In conversations with constituents, it is clear that there is a desire for a Cleveland Park that moves forward together–one in which residents consider what Cleveland Park could be rather than what it shouldn’t be and one that represents the whole rather than a minority with greater time and resources;
- Advocating for elements of this vision in the in the Streetscape and Drainage Improvement Project and advocating for opportunities to increase both residential and commercial density where appropriate in Comprehensive Plan update process; and
- Talking to the experts and gathering best practices from other U.S. communities on urban development in neighborhoods with similarities to our own.