I am committed to an actionable, solution-oriented, and community-first approach to tackling the challenges in our neighborhood.
Read on to learn more about the issues affecting Cleveland Park and some of my ideas for how to move our great community forward together. If you have any feedback, ideas, questions, or comments on these—or any other topics—I'd love to hear from you!
ENHANCING OUR COMMERCIAL CORRIDOR
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, Connecticut Avenue is Cleveland Park’s “Main Street” and the social center of our community.
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 at least six vacant store fronts, 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 sidewalk patches in need of repair, missing curb cuts at crosswalks, and tree and flower boxes overgrown with weeds and littered with trash. Our historic corridor—our Main Street—is in need of attention.
Meanwhile, the District is transforming right before our eyes. Investments in new housing, new transportation options, and new eateries are coming to fruition every day. Bon Apetit magazine recently dubbed Washington, D.C. the “Restaurant City of the Year.” Entrepreneurs have the money to invest, so why aren’t they coming to Cleveland Park?
When it comes to preserving and enhancing Connecticut Avenue as one of Cleveland Park’s greatest assets, I have three principles:
- Infrastructure: We must invest in and maintain Connecticut Avenue’s infrastructure to ensure it remains a safe and efficient route of travel for cars, buses, and bikes as well as a source of adequate parking for business customers;
- Walkability + Beautification: We must enhance the design and walkability of Connecticut Avenue sidewalks to ensure safety of pedestrians and increase consistent foot-traffic, which would ultimately benefit the businesses along the corridor; and
- Business Development: We must make planning and policy decisions to ensure that the corridor is a place where businesses can invest and thrive. Without foot and car traffic, paired with adequate parking, businesses will struggle to attract customers.
Across the District, and in our great neighborhood in particular, we are facing an increasing number of cars, buses, bikes, and pedestrians that share the transportation corridors. With the diversity in modes of transportation, we must ensure that we are sharing the streets and sidewalks with safety in mind. The Cleveland Park Streetscape and Drainage Improvement Project will similarly address many public safety challenges. It's imperative that we take advantage of this opportunity to:
- Address sidewalks and curb cuts in need of repair/replacement to increase safety and accessibility particularly for youth, elderly, and those with disabilities;
- Widen the heavily trafficked sidewalk along the service lane;
- Increase on-road biking accommodations to allow bikers, drivers, and pedestrians to travel more safely;
- Redesign intersections with enhanced focused on pedestrian safety; and
- Sync pedestrian crossings with traffic light timing.
In addition to these items, while not covered through the Cleveland Park Streetscape and Drainage Improvement Project, many residents within the neighborhood have shared concerns regarding speeding between Wisconsin Avenue and Connecticut Avenue. We must explore and implement means to calm traffic in such a manner that residents are safe to use the streets on which they reside and travel.
Cleveland Park is a community that cares. Time and again we have seen our neighbors rally in support of one another—and in support of those across the region and the globe. While much of this engagement is initiated on the local listserv and in smaller pockets of the community, we have opportunities to increase usage of and connect with one another along our "Main Street" through the following ideas:
- Redesign the east side of the Connecticut commercial corridor such that the sidewalk, parking, and street are level and the service lane can be temporarily closed for community events. Cleveland Park neighborhood groups (including the Cleveland Park Citizens Association, Cleveland Park Business Association, etc.) can then take advantage of this space for a revival of Cleveland Park Day, the creation of First Friday business-oriented nights, and other neighborhood-oriented gatherings.
- Add benches and sidewalk cafe style seating on the west side of the commercial corridor and at intersections with sufficient space to increase the number of gathering spots for residents.
- Pass resolutions at the ANC level in appreciation and support of those who go above and beyond to give back to the community.
- Identify and disseminate a list of gathering places for community groups to access once the library is closed for renovation.
- Create wi-fi hubs to encourage residents to use and congregate around outdoor community amenities.
- Establish a community bulletin board on which residents and businesses can post information about meetings, events, services, etc.
Cleveland Park was designated a historic district 30 years ago—a significant recognition of the architecture and urban design that make it the unique community that it remains. One of the great "streetcar suburbs" in the Washington, DC area, Cleveland Park has transformed from a community on the periphery of this great city to a hub of activity in Northwest DC. While the area has—and will continue to evolve—it is imperative that we protect our historic assets. In making major decisions, the ANC must engage historic preservation experts and make decisions that both uphold the historic integrity of the community and reflect the latest best practices in the field of historic preservation.
Over the last year, Cleveland Park residents have disagreed on many proposed developments and projects—from the family homeless shelter and Hearst Park pool to the expansion of the Washington International School. But one area that all residents can agree is that in order to move our community forward together, process matters.
It's imperative that elected officials share information about proposed plans, actively solicit feedback from residents through a variety of means, and demonstrate transparency in the decision-making process—in addition to seeking the counsel of issue area experts.
As your ANC Commissioner, I would create an email list for residents of ANC 3C05 through which I would:
- Share updates about upcoming meetings (ANC, DC government-sponsored, etc.);
- Solicit feedback via links to surveys on "hot topics" through which all residents would have the opportunity to voice their opinions;
- Inform constituents about ANC opportunities including joining committees, applying for small grants, etc.; and
- Update residents on commitments that I make and questions that I'm asked, as applicable to the larger constituency.