National Capital Planning Commission (USA) Meeting, July 12, 2018

MR. GALLAS: Good afternoon and welcome to the
National Capital Planning Commission’s July 12 meeting. MR. GALLAS: For all in attendance today, our meeting
is livestreamed and will be available as a video as well. Noting the presence of a quorum, I would like
to call the meeting to order. Pursuant to our bylaws, in the absence of
Chairman Bryant, the Commission must elect a member to run the meeting. Would anyone care to make a motion for that? MS. WRIGHT: So moved. MR. GALLAS: And someone second? MR. MAY: We have to make a motion. MR. GALLAS: Sorry. MR. MAY: I would make a motion that Mina Wright
chair the meeting. MR. GALLAS: No. MR. MAY: I told you I was going to do it. I would like to make a motion that the Vice
Chair chair the meeting. MR. GALLAS: Thank you. Is there any discussion? A second? MS. WRIGHT: Second. MR. GALLAS: Second, Ms. Wright. Please signify your approval by saying aye. MR. GALLAS: All opposed? Thank you. The motion is carried. If there’s no objection, the open session
agenda is adopted as the order of business. MR. GALLAS: Agenda Item 1 is the Report of the
Chairman. I’d like to start by saying, it’s a pleasure
to be a part of this and the opportunity to run this meeting and we’ll do our best in
Chairman Bryant’s absence. This morning, several Commissioners had the
opportunity to visit the Naval Observatory through a tour of the Master Clock Facility
and some of the other historic buildings. And that’s an item on today’s agenda. I really want to thank the Department of the
Navy and their staff for providing such an informative tour on this beautiful historic
site. I’d also like to please note that the Commission
will not meet in August and our next meeting will be on September 6. On a personal note, I also note for the record
that Delegated Action ZC 18-01 is a Map Amendment that advances a development being designed
by my firm, Torti Gallas and Partners. The decision on this project was delegated
to the Executive Director for action and as such, I did not vote on this proposal. MR. GALLAS: Moving to Agenda Item 2 is the Report
of the Executive Director, Mr. Acosta. MR. ACOSTA: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I just have a few notes for today’s report. First, I’d like to welcome two interns to
NCPC. First, we have Brenae Smith. Brenae is a rising sophomore at the University
of Maryland and she is pursuing a business degree. We’re pleased to host Brenae who is participating
in the Mayor’s summer youth employment program. She is working in the Office of the Secretariat. Next, we have Morgan Feldenchris. Morgan is a rising senior at the University
of Virginia, studying political and social thought, with a minor in urban planning. Morgan has been assigned to our Policy and
Research Division. Finally, congratulations to our Office of
Public Engagement. Our team received two national awards from
the National Association of Government Communicators for the Commission’s new website. Many thanks to Julia Koster, Steven Morgan,
Stephen Staudigl, Paul Jutton, and Nick Bonard for their excellent work. This website was actually done in-house, so
kudos to all of you. MR. GALLAS: Bravo. MR. ACOSTA: And you do have a written report. And that concludes my presentation. MR. GALLAS: Thank you, Mr. Acosta. Agenda Item 3 is the legislative update. Ms. Schuyler? MS. SCHUYLER: Thank you. Mr. Chairman, I do have something to report. It’s Senate Bill 1692, which is the National
Emergency Medical Services Commemorative Work Act. This authorizes the National Emergency Medical
Services Foundation to establish a commemorative work in the District or its environs to commemorate
the commitment and service represented by emergency medical services. The Bill was approved by the Senate on June
6 of this year and sent to the House. The House has a corresponding bill, H.R. 1037. It too has been approved and it’s been reported
out of committee and placed on the calendar, which means it could be voted on at any point
in time. The two versions, the House and the Senate,
do differ slightly. It’s possible the House could simply pass
the Senate version or the House could pass its own and the two will have to reconcile
the Bill. Thank you. MR. GALLAS: Thank you, Ms. Schuyler. Let’s move to Agenda Item 4, which is the
Consent Calendar. There are four items on the Consent Calendar. Item 4A is for approval of the final master
plan addendum for Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, submitted by the Department of the Navy. Item 4B is the approval of preliminary site
development plans for three antennas at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, submitted
by the Department of Agriculture. Item 4C is for approval of the final master
plan for the National Institute of Standards and Technology at their Gaithersburg Campus,
submitted by the Department of Commerce. And Item 4D is for approval of the final master
plan addendum for the Naval Support Facility Carderock, submitted by the Department of
the Navy. May I entertain a motion to approve the items? MR. DIXON: So moved, Mr. Chairman. MR. GALLAS: Thank you. Any second? MS. WRIGHT: Second. MR. GALLAS: Thank you. MR. MAY: Mr. Chairman? MR. GALLAS: Yes? MR. MAY: I just want to make a comment about the
Carderock Facility. The report, the Executive Director’s report
notes that there is further coordination needed between the Navy and the National Park Service,
having to do with stormwater retention. It’s unfortunate that that hasn’t already
advanced more at this point. And we remain optimistic that that kind of
coordination will happen. MR. GALLAS: I’m curious, is there someone here
from the Navy about that project? Or is it — nobody is — oh, there is someone,
okay. I mean, I don’t have a question for you, I
just want to know that you’re here to listen. Okay. MR. MAY: On Carderock, we’re just going to make
sure that we have the kind of coordination that’s necessary to make sure that the stormwater
issues are addressed and the damage to parkland is addressed as well. So, thank you. MR. GALLAS: Is there any reason you’d like to
change that from Consent Calendar at this point? MR. MAY: No, not at this point. MR. GALLAS: Okay. MR. MAY: But we’ll be watching closely. MR. GALLAS: Any further discussion on any of the
items on the Consent Calendar? Is there a motion to approve this Consent
Calendar? MR. DIXON: It’s been —
MS. WRIGHT: Yes, we already have it. MR. GALLAS: Oh, second, oh, thank you. All in favor, please signify by aye. MR. GALLAS: Any opposed? Unanimous. MR. GALLAS: So, first on the open session is Agenda
Item 5A, approval of preliminary site development plans for the South Capitol Street Corridor
and Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge Project, Landscape Design, submitted by the District
Department of Transportation. The Commission provided comments on the concept
design at their April 2018 meeting. Mr. Flis will be making this presentation. Thank you. MR. FLIS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, members of
the Commission. As mentioned, the District Department of Transportation
has submitted site development plans for the South Capitol Street Corridor. As the Chairman just mentioned, you did review
and approve the preliminary and final site plans for the bridge component of the project
in April. You also provided comments on the concept
design for landscape at that time. Since then, DDOT has continued to revise the
plans in response to the Commission and other agency comments. And while DDOT did submit the application
for preliminary and final approval, staff is going to describe some additional details
that we believe can be worked out before a final approval is granted. So, I’ll describe those throughout the presentation
today. So, just a background. Again, South Capitol Street is an important
corridor and a link between the main access of the Capitol Building, as well as Suitland
Parkway, which extends down to Joint Base Andrews. The Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge, which
opened in 1950, does provide the crossing at the Anacostia River. So, here, you can see that important view
looking north, with the Capitol in the distance, and Nationals Park is on the right side. And here, looking south, you can see the Anacostia
River and how the bridge is the link between both sides of the river. So, today, South Capitol Street provides an
important connection for visitors, residents, and commuters, as shown here in this aerial
image. It also represents an important element in
the ongoing revival occurring along the Anacostia River Waterfront, serving both as a focal
point connecting both sides of the river, including Poplar Point, Historic Anacostia,
as well as the Capitol Riverfront. So, as I mentioned, the project does include
two major components: the Frederick Douglas Bridge, shown here, as well as the improvements
to the South Capitol Street Corridor. The bridge, just as a reminder, includes a
triple arched form, including six travel lanes, dedicated bike paths, as well as pedestrian
paths, and four overlooks. The bridge has been subject to numerous consultations
with many agencies and we note that if any changes to the design are proposed, they will
need to be submitted to the Commission again for review. We also noted in April that the project does
include architectural lighting, but the specifics have not yet been determined. The bridge is south of the Capitol, as I mentioned,
and there may be impacts to nighttime views, depending on the type and intensity of the
lighting. The current submission does not include additional
details regarding lighting, but DDOT has acknowledged the importance of this issue, both in this
instance, as well as other bridges across the District. NCPC staff have been working to develop a
study of bridge lighting for both rivers, thinking about a variety of issues, including
city identity, the monumental core, natural systems, and historic resources. This analysis will be provided to DDOT to
help inform some of the lighting discussions. And in this particular case, for the Frederick
Douglass Bridge, staff believes that white lighting is appropriate for illuminating the
bridge at night. But again, the intensity and brightness should
respect the lighting hierarchy of the U.S. Capitol and other important monuments and
memorials. Further, the issue of temporary colored lighting
is one that we’ll need input from other federal agencies, including the Commission of Fine
Arts and the National Park Service, because of their oversight in certain areas of Washington,
D.C. and the Anacostia River, and of course, additional coordination with other District
agencies. Staff, therefore, requests that if temporary
colored lighting is considered in this case, that DDOT continue to work with NCPC and other
relevant parties. So, for the remainder of the presentation,
I’m going to really focus on the site improvements, and particularly, how the designs have changed
since your last review. I’ll focus on your previous comments, as well
as some other aspects of the design that may need consideration. So, starting off, the Commission, in April,
did require DDOT to provide some additional information regarding pedestrian and bicycle
access. In particular, there were questions about
the width and operation of the proposed pedestrian and bicycle paths. So, here, you can see an overall framework
of the connectivity to and through the site. In response, DDOT has provided some examples
of other bridges, both locally and nationally, for comparison purposes, and those, you can
see here on the screen. Among the examples that were provided, the
path widths were typically around ten feet. The widest path was 14 feet in Portland, which
was a bridge that was recently completed in 2015. For comparison, the proposed trails on the
Frederick Douglass Bridge will be 18 feet. This will include two five-foot bicycle lanes
and then, one eight-foot pedestrian zone. And again, this is on both sides of the bridge. In a lot of these examples, pedestrians and
bicyclists did share the same path. However, in most cases, the path is marked
on the ground to denote these two pedestrian and bicycle zones. Staff did inquire as to whether some barrier
could be used to provide some separation between pedestrians and bicyclists. However, this separation would require at
least a foot for the structure and then, at least one foot on either side to allow — avoid
conflicts with bicycles and pedestrians. Therefore, the additional barrier and this
buffer area would start to decrease the amount of circulation available by several feet. Based upon staff’s analysis and also these
examples, the proposed path widths appear appropriate and they do provide the needed
connections to the surrounding neighborhoods and existing trails. And this is just an enlarged area showing
those connections. DDOT has indicated that after the bridge is
completed, there is an opportunity to take a look at how they function and whether operational
changes can be necessary. And this may include making the bicycle trails
one direction on either side of the bridge. As such, staff does suggest that DDOT evaluate
whether changes to pedestrian and bicycle operations are necessary after the bridge
has been completed and in use. So, next, I’m going to talk about the West
Oval, which is shown here on the screen. Today, this is a growing entertainment area. It’s also a neighborhood anchored by Nationals
Park, as well as the new D.C. United Stadium, or Audi Field, which is in
nearby Buzzard Point. Given the surrounding context, the West Oval
is proposed to have active programming in a variety of ways. And this proposal is consistent with the concept
review you saw in April. The design continues to emphasize that axial
relationship with the U.S. Capitol, which is to the north. Now, in addition to that important north view,
the northwest to southeast access of Potomac Avenue is also an important alignment found
within the L’Enfant Plan. And so, you can see that here on the screen,
cutting diagonally across the site. And because this quarter in particular connects
the two stadiums, it will likely serve as an important pedestrian connection. In April, staff did note that this access
through the Oval was not fully successful, because it did not align with the cartway
on either side of the Oval. It also did not resolve pedestrian flows. As such, the Commission requested the applicant
explore alternative design concepts to address this alignment, as well as the views of Potomac
Avenue, where it crosses the Oval to the north. So, in response to the Commission’s comments,
the applicant has revised the design to better resolve this crossing and the intersection
with the West Oval. For example, the viewshed has been defined
now through the introduction of new trees to help frame that view and a star-shaped
plaza has been created that reconciles the pedestrian flows from various points. The resulting design creates a space that
can be programmed for a variety of events, while still accommodating pedestrian movement,
and also, again, preserves that view to the U.S. Capitol. So, here’s an enlarged view of that area,
including the proposed plaza, and also how it would connect to the surrounding sidewalks
and paths. And then, there on the right, you can see
a diagram that shows how the plaza form was generated. At concept review, the Commission also requested
the applicant consider how the West Oval could accommodate a gateway element, such as a memorial
or public art. In response to this request, the submission
includes this diagram that shows how a future memorial could be provided, or other element
could be provided at the southern end of the Oval. This location does take advantage of the axial
view of the U.S. Capitol, as well as the alignment of the new bridge, which enters there from
the southeast. The topography at this location is also raised
slightly to provide a focal point. In general, the staff finds this proposed
location appropriate. And I will mention that the design of the
bottom of the Oval was actually modified to accommodate this. Staff does find, however, that the memorial
location and this point where the Corridor pivots towards the bridge, shown here in this
rendering, could be strengthened by better framing the southern end of the Oval. While the other sides of this space are clearly
defined through tree plantings and hardscape elements, the southern end of the Oval has
a more diffuse edge, as shown here in this rendering. Improving the southern backdrop of the Oval
will help provide a better terminus to the Oval, as well as South Capitol Street. And will also help visually connect the Oval
to the bridge. As such, staff does recommend the applicant
consider adding additional trees and plantings at the southern end of the Oval to terminate
South Capitol Street, better frame the public space, improve the setting for any future
memorial or public art, and also help reinforce this visual connection between the bridge
and the West Oval. So, next, I’m going to talk about the East
Oval. This area is designed as a more passive space,
with pathways, natural plantings, and the esplanade that will help connect this area
to the Riverfront and Poplar Point, further north. These diagrams here show how the Oval accommodates
circulation, programming, landscape, as well as plantings. The East Oval is generally surrounded by open
space, including the Anacostia Riverfront, and low density development, as it borders
Poplar Point, again, Anacostia Park, which is owned by the National Park Service, and
Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, which is to the southwest. Portions of Poplar Point and nearby Howard
Road could redevelop in the future, although the setting will likely remain more open as
compared to the higher density development occurring on the West Oval. In addition, I’ll note the East Oval is only
one small component of the larger improvements proposed in this area. So, as you can see here, the landscaping and
reconfiguration of Suitland Parkway, which extends south from the Oval towards Historic
Anacostia, is significant and the project scope is much larger here than on the west
side. Because of the setting, the East Oval could
provide an opportunity to develop a larger scale local memorial or public art. In this location, it would not compete directly
with the views of the U.S. Capitol and it could also provide a gateway to Anacostia. Therefore, staff does suggest the Commission
find that the East Oval is an opportunity for a gateway element, a future memorial or
public art, and further, that this Oval has the most potential for a large scale element
to distinguish it from other nearby open spaces. In addition, this site could also provide
interpretive opportunities related to Anacostia River, Poplar Point, and the Historic Anacostia
neighborhood. And staff also recommends the applicant consider
other opportunities for interpretation and programming which could serve as an amenity
to the surrounding community. Like with the West Oval, the Commission also
requested that the applicant consider how this Oval could accommodate a national memorial,
local memorial, or other public art. And again, they provided this diagram that
shows how this element could be placed in the Oval. Again, staff does concur with this placement,
given its alignment with the bridge, and also its prominent location at the top of the Oval. Staff does believe that the visitor experience
could be enhanced by increasing the number of trees and other landscaping. Such plantings could be used to reduce the
visibility of traffic and also dampen the noise from cars, while still being consistent
with the more natural landscape proposed. Landscape elements would need to avoid areas
with utilities. Changes in topography could also be incorporated
with similar effects. Therefore, the staff does suggest incorporating
additional trees and plantings where possible to help buffer pedestrians from the noise
and views of traffic, particularly in the south end of the Oval. And then, finally, at concept review, the
Commission requested the applicant consider an additional pedestrian access to the Oval
from the northeast corner of the site, which is circled here in red. Staff still believes this suggestion is relevant,
as a crossing could provide further connectivity from Poplar Point and Howard Road, which is
further to the east here. We suggest the applicant continue to explore
this direct pedestrian and bicycle connection. At concept review, the Commission also requested
additional information regarding stormwater management. The applicant has provided that information
and they will comply with the District Department of Energy and Environment Regulations. Runoff will be captured and filtered in several
locations throughout the project. We have bioswales and other measures situated
in certain locations which will accommodate that runoff. And finally, other information regarding signage,
lighting, and other elements have yet to be fully developed. And as such, staff recommends the Commission
request that DDOT provide the following information for future review. This would include a lighting plan for the
Ovals and the esplanades, as well as the bridge, which we discussed. A signage plan that describes how that will
be accommodated. And then, also details regarding the cultural
legacy of Frederick Douglass and how they might be incorporated into the project, consistent
with the visual design goals described in the final EIS. And so, it is therefore the Executive Director’s
recommendation that the Commission approve the preliminary plans for the South Capitol
Street Corridor Landscape and Site Improvement. Notes that staff is developing an analysis
of bridge lighting, and in this case, finds that white lighting is appropriate, but the
intensity and brightness should respect the lighting hierarchy of the U.S. Capitol and
other monuments. Request that if temporary colored lighting
is considered, that DDOT will work with the appropriate stakeholders on an operational
agreement. And also recommends DDOT evaluate pedestrian
and bicycle operations after the bridge has been completed. Regarding the East Oval, notes that the setting
here is different compared with the West Oval, and finds that the site could be an opportunity
for a large scale memorial or art element, and also, additional interpretive and programming
opportunities related to the river, Poplar Point, and Historic Anacostia. Staff also recommends additional trees and
plantings to help buffer traffic views and noise and request DDOT consider other pedestrian
connections at the northeast side of this Oval to improve connectivity. And then, finally, request DDOT provide information
regarding lighting, signage, and also details regarding the cultural legacy of Frederick
Douglass and how they might be incorporated into the project. And that concludes my presentation. I’m available for questions. We also have representatives from DDOT and
their team here as well. Thank you. MR. GALLAS: Thank you. Any questions for Mr. Flis? Oh, yes? MR. MAY: I had a question. We received one question from a member of
the public in advance, or a comment letter, from Brenda Richardson, siting a disparity
of treatment between the two Ovals. And I’m wondering if that’s an issue that
staff discussed with DDOT or with others or whether you can address it in any way? MR. FLIS: I think that’s probably a question for
DDOT. MR. MAY: Okay. So, maybe we should — I mean, I’d be happy
to hear from them now, if that’s okay. MR. FLIS: Okay. MR. MAY: So, who’s going to speak for DDOT on
this? MR. KENNEY: Good afternoon. My name is Rick Kenney. I’m with the District Department of Transportation. I’m the Deputy Chief Engineer. Delmar Lytle is unable to join us today. For those of you who know him, he’s our Program
Manager. He’s on a well-deserved summer vacation with
his family. I am nevertheless familiar with the project
and will do my best to cover today. We’d like to begin with some broader aspects
of our design approach and discuss how we got to the concept that we’re with today. The project design is context-sensitive. It means that specific elements of the project
are designed to respond to their specific surroundings. The west side Oval in particular responds
to being part of the L’Enfant Plan and also high density urbanized development. On the east side, the difference is, the surroundings
are the Anacostia River, the Anacostia Park, the Suitland Parkway. It’s notable that the Suitland Parkway is
listed on the National Register of Historic Places. And in our EIS, it is also noted as a historic
asset. The second point I’d like to make is that
both Ovals are designed to be attractive destinations and to host special programming. While each design is different, both Ovals
will be able to host special programs and special events. Special events bring the community to the
waterfront and this is an opportunity for community development and economic development. One can imagine in the future even a situation
where activities are coordinated between both Ovals, such as the Cherry Blossom Festival,
Anacostia River Fest, and hopefully, someday, when the Nationals win a World Series Championship. The third point, the discussion of open space
on both sides of the river really needs to include both the Ovals and the Waterfront
esplanades. The open spaces connecting the bridge to the
Ovals with the Anacostia River are critical components of the project. On the east side, the esplanade is much wider
and more generous space allows for greater programming opportunities. This could include family gatherings, group
picnics, and even a small carnival. The fourth point, the East Oval and the esplanade
are the catalyst to further transform the point of Poplar Point. Federal legislation has been passed to transfer
Poplar Point to the District and the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge Project is the first
step towards opening this part of Ward 8 to the public as new public space for the users. This project will also make open space improvements
between the Oval and the Riverfront. And that would be another new place for the
community to gather. Special events, we can imagine permits in
the future for weddings, concerts, and fairs, right at the river edge, where you can take
in views of the city skyline, the iconic bridge lighting at night, and the reflections in
the water, we can imagine that. The last point, the East Oval and the esplanade
design facilitates multi-modal access to all of Anacostia Park. The design of the East Oval is intended to
bring many people to Anacostia Park, with a dedicated access road and dedicated multi-purpose
trails. This will increase access to Anacostia Park
for all the communities adjacent to it, the residents of Ward 8, and the city as a whole. With that, that’s kind of our broader approach
of what guided us in developing the concept. I’d like to also acknowledge, we received
comments from ANC Commission Greta Fuller at our quarterly communications committee
meeting that were also very good comments about looking more closely at the programming
opportunities in the East Oval. So, this — with the comments that you formally
made mention to, we see an opportunity to further refine this design with that goal
in mind. And if successful with a concept approval
today, we will be back with a final design approach. We do hope to emphasize the broader aspects,
there’s the river edge to take advantage of here and an Oval, that’s the benefit of the
east side, that we’re working with much more green space and much more opportunity. As you know, there’s these parking opportunities
too, at Anacostia Drive, if I was going to go there today, that that’s how I would access
the river’s edge. So, with that, that will conclude my response
to the comments. And I’m available for any further questions. Thank you. MR. MAY: If I could continue on this just a bit. First of all, I appreciate your stepping in,
I know Mr. Lytle is very well versed on the project and you’re stepping into the breach. Sorry about that. The — I guess, you kind of addressed the
question, but it has to do with the difference in treatment and how the Oval that is on the
west side of the river has been designed to be more formal and be more like other circles
and squares in the L’Enfant City. And what we heard in this comment was something
that, well, why would we treat the Oval on the other side so differently, in terms of
the design approach? I can understand how on the west side, it’s
all surrounded by buildings. They’re going to be — they’re not there yet,
but there will be buildings all around it. But there’s — once Poplar — well, if Poplar
Point is ever transferred and developed, because it’s only been 12 years and six months so
far since that was authorized. There’s also other development that’s happening
along Howard Road that’s going to be butting up against this, right? MR. KENNEY: Sure. MR. MAY: So, I mean, it seems like at least on
one side, you’re going to have the same kind of urban context. So, I mean, that’s — I guess it’s a legitimate
question. You’re saying that this something that you’re
looking to refine further? MR. KENNEY: Certainly. I think as it shows, some of the original
terms, guiding words for this concept were pastoral, natural, respecting the river. It’s a much different environment. It’s fair to say that there is going to be
a desire to use the Oval space. It’s possible that it be more desirable to
be out at the river’s edge, because that space hasn’t been made — it hasn’t been a desirable
space in the way that it will be once the bridge is complete. And so, I guess, I was only trying to emphasize
that we would like to look at the area as a whole and look at opportunities to improve
access and programming opportunities. Clearly, there’s an emphasis right now, because
we’re constrained, the city is constrained with green space on the west side of the river
and it’s heavily urbanized. So, the Dupont Circle comparative was quickly
made. That’s not today on the East Oval. Quite possibly, in the future, it will be. Today, we have Anacostia Park, so National
Park Service land, undeveloped. Howard Road, planned development coming. Joint Base is still on the south side. And then, Suitland Parkway to the south. So, I guess, what we’re trying to say is that
we started with a fairly strict interpretation of natural, pastoral setting. And that’s what the images were showing. It is not a major change for DDOT to be able
to adopt this landscape to some design to accommodate further programming needs. It’s not a major change. But because it’s a departure from what we’ve
shown to do, we’re going to have to, after we make those changes, incorporate them into
the final design, and bring it back for review and comment. It is different than how we’ve been marching
along thus far. MR. GALLAS: I just want to remind everyone, we
haven’t yet heard from the public. So, if you have any questions directed to
the presentation, let’s take those now. MR. GRIFFIS: Absolutely. MR. GALLAS: Or we can wait until after public
comment. Questions now? Okay. So, —
MR. GRIFFIS: Mr. Chairman, can I just follow up
on that first one? MR. GALLAS: Absolutely. MR. GRIFFIS: I appreciated the address of the
one comment that came in. On the reverse, I wonder, if they had been
done exactly the same, how many comments would we have saying, how come you didn’t treat
these differently? But what I found in the substance of it is
that the site context, I believe is what you’re saying, was really reflected in the design
that’s being proposed today. And I think it’s very appropriate. I think the more formal aspect on the one
side represents exactly what’s happening there currently. And then, the connection to the park and the
green, I also think works fairly well. So, in my opinion, looking at this, I think
the immediate site context has been reflected well in the proposed design. MR. GALLAS: I’d like to go to public comment. And then, we’ll come back and have more time
to discuss this, if that’s okay. So, before we discuss this further, we have
three people registered to speak today. MR. GALLAS: Marian Dombrowski, speaking as an
individual. Greta Fuller, on behalf of ANC 8A. And Philip Pannell, with the Anacostia Coordinating
Council. Ms. Dombrowski, you will have three minutes
to speak. Are you here? Ms. Dombrowski? Okay. Let’s move to speaker number two, Ms. Fuller,
you are speaking on behalf of ANC 8A. Welcome. You have five minutes. MS. FULLER: Good afternoon, everyone. And thank you for taking the time to listen
to us today, to me especially. I did bring copies of the letter from the
ANC. And I know you didn’t receive it, because
we just had our meeting on Tuesday, so we weren’t able to get that out to you. So, I’ll read it very briefly. And what it says is, Advisory Neighborhood
Commission 8A, ANC 8A, conducted a public meeting on Tuesday, June 10, 2018, at the
Department of Housing and Community Development, Housing Resource Center, located at 1800 Martin
Luther King Jr Avenue Southeast, to address the above design, the design that we’re speaking
of today. At the Commission’s monthly meeting, the Commission
voted 5-0, all in favor of forwarding a recommendation to the National Capital Planning Commission. The recommendation and motion is to support
the overall project. However, we think that more emphasis is needed
on the programming and event space on the East Oval of the Frederick Douglass Bridge. The Commission, ANC 8A, appreciates the conservation
of green space. We very well know green space. We live on the Anacostia River. We have Oxon Hill Run Park. We have Fort Dupont Park. We back up to Joint Base Anacostia. We very much know green space and conservation. And that’s why, today, we’re saying more programming,
more events, to have a more balanced side of the river for us. We also realize that — I’m kind of going
off script, but you’re going to see all of this. We also know that Poplar Point itself is going
to have a certain amount of space that will remain green space, just because of the laws
in place and because of the conservation that we want to continue to see there. But we also know that a piece of that land
at Poplar Point is also known as Columbian Quarters. And Columbian Quarters will, they are owned
by a private developer, and at some point, it will be developed and it will have space
that will accommodate housing, accommodate retail, and other types of amenities, such
as businesses. So, we’re trying to say, let’s get ready for
that. We only have one chance to build the Frederick
Douglass Bridge. And when we build the Frederick Douglass Bridge
and we build the Ovals and we think of this bridge and the East and the West Ovals, let’s
think of amenities that bring people to the park. We already come to Anacostia Park, we already
see otters, beavers, birds, and whatever other kind of animals are at the riverside. And we enjoy all of them. Sometimes not all, raccoons and possums. MS. FULLER: But what I’m saying is this, is that
we need something on the East Oval to actually bring the people from Ward 8 down to the East
Oval. Let’s not forget, we already have Anacostia
Joint Base, we already have Homeland Security, we have a thriving Historic Anacostia community,
of which I am the ANC Commissioner for. And we all want to enjoy this new Frederick
Douglass Bridge. Let’s not miss the point. We missed a little bit on the 11th Street
Bridge. I was also a part of that. I understood, when the 11th Street Bridge
came that they couldn’t put down the tracks for the train, because they said it wasn’t
approved yet. But yet, we still have lighting on that bridge
that was not approved and they keep saying, we’re getting train tracks. I don’t see any train tracks. I even heard this gentleman say, 12 years
ago, they said we had — Poplar Point was going to be turned over. Waiting on the train tracks coming across
that bridge. So, let’s not miss this opportunity while
we’re digging up dirt, while we’re moving construction, while we have people moved around,
and we have this vision, let us all enjoy this side, the East Oval, as well as the West
Oval, during my lifetime. I don’t want to come back and Poplar Point
still isn’t turned over to the District of Columbia properly. I’d really like more people to really understand
and feel like this is true, what the Mayor says, one city, one city, there is no separation. The river is a gathering place, it’s not a
separating place. And with that, I’d like to say, ANC 8A asks
the Commission to consider implementing and improving the programming and design to attract
more visitors on the East Oval, as well as the West Oval of the Frederick Douglass Bridge. Thank you for your time and I will submit,
if I’m allowed to, my written speech that I said today. Thank you. MR. GALLAS: Thank you, Ms. Fuller, and please
do submit your comments. MS. FULLER: Okay. MR. GALLAS: We would appreciate them. And appreciate your wisdom and passion in
representing your community. MS. FULLER: Thank you. MR. GALLAS: And it’s a good thing you’re still
young, you said in your lifetime. MR. GALLAS: Next, I’d like to invite Mr. Pannell,
who is speaking on behalf of the Anacostia Coordinating Council. You’ll have five minutes to speak, Mr. Pannell. Thank you. MR. PANNELL: Thank you. Good afternoon, Commissioners. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to
testify this afternoon. I am a Ward 8 resident and a member of the
Frederick Douglass Bridge Quarterly Communications Committee. At this last committee meeting, a PowerPoint
presentation was given regarding possible conceptual use for the East and West Ovals
at the feet of the bridge. The possibilities presented for the West Oval
included a large screen on which sporting games and movies could be shown, a farmer’s
market, and other amenities. The East Oval was presented as an area consisting
almost completely of green space. While the residents of Ward 8 prize green
spaces and welcome the opportunity to engage in passive recreational activities, in my
opinion, they would equally appreciate having the same or similar amenities that are offered
on the west side of the bridge. I realize that at the current developmental
stage of the bridge, future programming of activities in the Ovals is purely conceptual. But I hope that equal weight will be given
to think about possibilities for active recreational activities in the East Oval. I am the Executive Director of the Anacostia
Coordinating Council, ACC, which is in its 35th year as a nonprofit consortium of individuals
and organizations concerned with and involved in revitalization of Anacostia and its adjacent
neighborhoods. Your NCPC colleague, Arrington Dixon, is ACC’s
Chairman Emeritus. Although today I am not testifying in my official
role with that organization, I can safely state that the ACC is willing to engage in
collaborative efforts to keep Ward 8 residents informed of the developmental stages of the
bridge and gather input from them regarding plans for programming in the East Oval. Thank you. MR. DIXON: Mr. Chairman? MR. GALLAS: Thank you, Mr. Pannell. Yes, sir? MR. DIXON: Point of personal privilege, I want
to welcome Phil here. This is his first time testifying before NCPC. Now, that is either a good thing or a bad
thing. MR. DIXON: Because Phil testifies at the Council
and other places all the time. And he’s been very important in Anacostia
and with the Coordinating Council in particular. So, thank you, Phil, for coming. We welcome you back again on other issues. MR. PANNELL: Okay. Thank you. MR. GALLAS: We look forward to it. I just want to also note that the — in concluding
the public testimony, we also received some inspirational comments from Ms. Brenda Lee
Richardson, which we all received prior to the meeting today. Thank you, Ms. Richardson, for that. MR. DIXON: Mr. Chairman —
MR. GALLAS: I’d like to go —
MR. DIXON: — I want to keep the floor, if I can. MR. GALLAS: Yes, sir. MR. DIXON: I intended to wait until the public
had spoken before I got into this. And so, my colleagues have made some points
that I wanted to make also, but they did them very well as always, they got ahead of us
on this. I want to make it clear that we are very,
as always, apparently, optimistic and hopeful that things will come to our side of the river
that will not only be futuristic, but be for the current population. But we also want to be vigilant, because if
we’re not, things can slip. We also, as has been said, we appreciate the
— in fact, we encourage this grass, pastoral, park area, because we don’t really want to
become overwhelmed with buildings and lose our beautiful Anacostia Park. I think it’s just a real gem. But we don’t want to be a park that’s being
maintained for another population to come across the bridge and nothing is done right
now while we’re doing to make it suitable and attractive to those who live there now. So, I think that’s one of the pitches, to
see whether we can get focused now. I think the esplanades gives a clear picture
of how we want to connect this more to the river and less to the Oval I think. And I talked with the staff a lot about this
and I made it clear, I think they’re doing a great job I think they’re very sensitive. I think the fact that they recognize that
this isn’t a gateway to the city, this is a gateway to Anacostia and a gateway to the
Capitol area. But our community is the beginning of the
city and we think that’s very important to remember. We want to be included in that. I do have to point out that, if you look at
your slides, like Page 19, it’s a very thorough presentation of amenities and activities,
but there is no Page 19 for the East Oval. I think there was one at one time, but I think
that reflects the fact that staff and others are taking us seriously about trying to think
this through and using, clearly, the broader space, not just the Oval, but the space that
is on the park, to be connected to this. All this, though, is very contingent upon
what happens to Poplar Point. There’s a of — that’s a lot going on around
that which we are very hopeful about that could also affect this whole development around
this Oval. But I want this to be a popular point for
people east of the river now, not just a popular point for people later on, once the buildings
get brought up on the west side and then, people will happily come across the bridge
to use the park the way we’d like to use it now also. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I’m very encouraged that we’ll go forward
with this. And I think that Phil has already indicated,
as we have historically for the 30 years I chaired the ACC, try to engage the community
in this. And I think that Greta and the ANC Commissioners
will do the same if we get inclusion in the process. Thank you very much. MR. GALLAS: Thank you. Other comments? Ms. White? MS. WHITE: I appreciate the conversation around
the programming and the access to the river and public space. And one thing that strikes me in both the
writeup and in the graphics is, how will people get there safely? And I don’t quite understand these pedestrian
crossings, so I’d like to hear a little bit more about, how will this work with the traffic,
because this is going to be really busy to cross three lanes and where you have these
crossings look a bit challenging. And I don’t know if there’s thinking about
traffic signals or what have you, so I’d like to hear more about that. And then, in the writeup, it says that the
Commission recommends that DDOT evaluate whether changes to the pedestrian and bicycle operations
are necessary after the bridge has been completed and in use. I’d like that to be a whole lot stronger than
recommend, because after you build it, that’s when you know how people are going to use
it, and I think it would be important for us to ask that that be a requirement that
that happen and that they come back and show us what their finding, how it’s going to change,
if it needs to change. But if you could tell us a little bit more
about, how are pedestrians safely going to get into that Oval and —
MR. FLIS: Sure. MS. WHITE: — around the network? MR. FLIS: So, I’ll just use the East Oval as an
example. All of these that are proposed crossings are
signalized. So, essentially, you would have to cross at
a signal to an island and then, wait for the next signal to cross the next set of lanes. So, very similar to like in Dupont Circle. So, they are all signalized. MS. WHITE: And you’re going to have gatherings
in this space and that looks like a pretty small island in there. I imagine that will get worked out as you
have events, to do traffic control. But I’d just like to hear more as this is
developed, what kinds of traffic counts are you expecting with pedestrians and bikes? And if I missed that in here, I apologize. MR. KENNEY: I’m not sure if we addressed that
question specifically, but it’s clearly a good question. One of the major changes that’s going to happen
here is the design speed of the Oval to 20 miles per hour. And the speed limit posting is 15 miles per
hour. So, this is a completely different experience
for drivers and pedestrians as compared to — you’re familiar with how it is today, after
you go over the bridge, the choice between South Capitol Street or Suitland, and there’s
an opportunity to pick up speed as long as traffic isn’t backed up at rush hour. But this is going to be a completely different
experience after the project is completed, 15 miles per hour. I think a bit more like a Lincoln Park, minus
probably the speed humps. Also, the — each crosswalk is signalized. So, there will be an opportunity to push to
get a pedestrian-controlled right-of-way. Lower speeds. And I think, also, a lot of the emphasis,
as we discussed earlier, on the east side, is not just about the Oval, it’s also the
riverfront access. Did I answer your question? MS. WHITE: You answered it. I’ll be curious to see how this works. MR. KENNEY: Okay. MS. WHITE: And I think, taking a harder look at
perhaps some traffic calming, besides the speed —
MR. KENNEY: I want to —
MS. WHITE: — because the tendency will be, people
will want to go faster. MR. KENNEY: And I want to roll that out for the
future. A lot of times — and I appreciate the comments
about the bicycle and pedestrian multi-use path on the bridge, to see how that would
work. But we’re proceeding informed by best practices
and design guidelines. It’s not secret, we have many intersections,
much less complicated than this, that aren’t performing in further traffic calming. But I think, as we see here, it would probably
be — on days when this is programmed, as I think we would all aspire to, thinking a
World Cup celebration or a festival in the summer, there’s probably temporary parking
around it, it’s very busy. It’s something more like a Lincoln Park, with
a wedding in the middle of the Oval. So, completely different personalities at
different times of day. Thank you. MR. CASH: Mr. Chairman? MR. GALLAS: Yes, Mr. Cash? MR. CASH: Just looking at the site, I just want
to throw out there, this reminds me a lot of Detroit. There’s a similar oval, and this is called
Campus Martius Park, it’s won a ton of awards. But the reason that it’s very successful,
it’s right in the middle of downtown and it has a lot of signalized intersections, it’s
a big enough oval, I think actually smaller than this, but it’s really the programming
that’s the key to keeping that activated and just to being a good urban space, versus just
having this park and not doing the programming. So, I just really urge the District, as we
move forward with this, to make sure there’s a very robust programming effort here, especially
because we’re not talking about the downtown BID or a lot of these other programmatic things
that go one, like right now in Freedom Plaza, there’s a ton of programming going on there. So, I think it might be one of the challenges
that is unique to this area, having this kind of urban park down there, without the support
of the BID. So, I just wanted to throw that out there. MR. KENNEY: If I could respond, please? As the District Department of Transportation,
we can do our best to find ways to turn the site over for different uses and have programming
capabilities, but we don’t work with programming. As you mentioned, the BIDs, the neighborhood
groups, private events, that’s all — others will adopt that and carry that banner. And I agree that that’s going to be very important
here. I just wanted to be clear that we love the
idea of helping further facilitate that, but once it — to commit about how the programming
is happening, we can only make good suggestions. MR. DIXON: Mr. Chairman, I want to add to that. I think it’s pretty obvious that the programming
opportunities will come on the west side. Just look what’s around it. MR. KENNEY: Right. MR. DIXON: I mean, all these huge sporting events. I mean, the baseball team would have their
opening of the stadium in Maryland and Virginia, they didn’t have an opening even in D.C.,
if you all remember that. I will never forget that, when they opened
up outside of the city. But celebrating, we don’t want that to happen
with these two Ovals. And I think we’ve got to find a way to get
those folks to understand that they have to spill some of their resources across the bridge
to the other side where we also need to benefit. And it makes sense. I also think, I want to — the esplanade that
goes under the bridge, programming up in that area, is probably more — is very significant
to us too, more so than even the Oval, which I think you all are thinking about. I do have a question, though. I know that there’s a sewer issue going on
here. And I want to understand that before we go
too much further, if I could, Mr. Chairman. MR. FLIS: Yes. There are two utility lines, that are old
sewer lines, that bisect this site. So, there are some limitations in terms of
what we can put on there, which I understand from the design teams limits planting trees
and things on those sewers. They’re actually relatively close to the surface,
so — MR. DIXON: You mean, in terms of the Oval? MR. FLIS: — that is a constraint. Yes, going through the Oval. MR. DIXON: How do they proceed through the Oval? Can you —
MR. FLIS: They go kind of north-south —
MR. DIXON: Wow, through the whole thing? And the sewer problem happens to be, what?,
old pipelines that could be damaged? What’s the story? What’s the —
MR. FLIS: Yes, that’s what we understand. I don’t know if DDOT has more information,
but they are kind of older utilities that are in place, they are used, so they can be
damaged. MR. DIXON: Can they be replaced so they can’t
be damaged while they’re digging? MR. KENNEY: I mean, certainly, any facility could
be replaced, it’s not currently programmed in D.C. Water’s Capital Improvement Plan. There’s also 108-inch diameter sewer running
right under the bridge abutment, where it touches ground, and that’s presenting incredible
design issues for us too. It’s a force main, it can’t be taken out of
service. And so, there’s a lot happening below the
surface here with the existing aging infrastructure. But the D.C. Water’s position on these were to protect-in-place,
as opposed to replace or relocate. MR. MAY: How big are the lines that are running
through the Oval? MR. KENNEY: I think, two 96-inch pipes in the
Oval and 108-inch running north-south at the bridge abutment. MR. DIXON: This is very troublesome to me, because
the residents in the southeast are facing some very high water bills now, which is very
hard for us. I say, us. And we’re paying for a new system to go in
that some of us won’t be around to even benefit from. And now, we have an old sewer system underneath
of something that we would like to optimize and it’s threatening to crumble on us. That’s my reminder to drink water, by the
way. So, it seem to me that maybe, something needs
— if this is fragile, then maybe we need to think about it now, rather than later,
I don’t know. MR. KENNEY: Sure. If I could offer, some of the things that
were discussed earlier, like a screen to be able to watch movies and things like that,
those types of programs won’t be precluded. MR. DIXON: Right. MR. KENNEY: And typically, we’re looking for viewsheds
through the circles and ovals anyhow, that’s what’s happening on the west side. So, I think, while it presents some constraint,
we aren’t contemplating multi-story buildings in the Oval. And I think, clearly, that’s not on the table
today. And so, I think we could work around it. We’re probably talking more like buried landscaping. You saw the image earlier where there was
lots of native grass and things like that. That would probably be replaced with permeable
hard surface, so that we could have tables and chairs and a farmer’s market area. But a lot of these type of programming opportunities,
I don’t think would be precluded by D.C. Water’s infrastructure. MR. DIXON: Thank you. MR. KENNEY: And I’m sorry if that had ever been
indicated as a way to preclude programming. I don’t think that that’s a fair response. MR. DIXON: Thank you. MR. GALLAS: Commissioner Wright? MS. WRIGHT: I think part of the problem is that
the — could you zoom out to the two — the bridge and the two Ovals as a composition
doesn’t hang together, in my view, because of the disparity in the level of formalism. The West Oval is very formal. I would say too formal, almost feels regimented
to a point where I might not even want to be there. And it doesn’t feel appropriate, not only
in juxtaposition to the East Oval, but also, if you think — if we really zoom out, you
start thinking about a planning hierarchy. The next stop is the Mall. And the Mall is — and the West Oval has its
triple rows of trees and all of that, but it almost feels too small to carry it off. And I have to say, I don’t agree with CFA’s
entire letter, because I think the creation of a wetland area is kind of nice to think
about in this space. But I do think that it’s a fair criticism
to say that the design of the West Oval is — it loses some appeal, I think, in comparison
to the East Oval, despite what a lot of people have been saying. I think the East Oval is a place where I would
want to be, before I’d want to be in the West Oval, as it’s designed right now, because
if you then layer on all the programming ideas, there’s going to be a lot going on in the
West Oval and I’m not sure that you’re going to have too much room to feel comfortable
doing it. So, the part where — and I think it’s kind
of true, it feels like it was designed by planning in two dimensions instead of three. And I would urge the design team to just relax
a little bit on the West Oval and bring a little bit of the joie de vivre that you can
see in the East Oval. It feels way too formal for this space. And maybe that’s maybe some of the discomfort
that we’re hearing about, if you really think about it as a composition, it’s just too — they’re
too different. What they have in common is the paperclip
oval shape and that’s it. MR. SHAW: Mr. Chair? MR. GALLAS: Yes, Mr. Shaw? MR. SHAW: Well, I thank you for your comments,
Ms. Wright. And I think we talked about this before, about
the context of place, right? That we just put the green over the ovals
and don’t look over the fact that — I was at Buzzard Point for the ribbon cutting and
it’s amazing how it was changed and the really intense streetscape plan and open space plan
for Buzzard, the openings for the Nationals Park. And so, to sort of see this more in context,
these two green things doesn’t give the appropriate context of how it’s fitting into a larger
planning system. And that’s on both sides, as well. So, we had a strong intention of the green
space and sort of that like — I remember when doing Shepard Parkway, we were fighting
over the brick sizes and all that. It’s meant, you remember the little lanterns,
it’s meant to look and feel a different way and we planned it that way, right? MS. WRIGHT: Yes. MR. SHAW: And so, I think that both of these are
responding to the respective places in which we sort of put those two sides. And so I like that it has the two personalities
there, but once again, this may be, just in the future, how we show the larger context
of what’s going on here. And then, for DDOT, just once again, we’ve
been a very happy partner with you, as the Office of Planning, on all the things that
come here, in terms of design. And so, I think for any of the comments that
come to DDOT, I’m taking those also as the Office of Planning, for making sure that we
can, either in our engagement, programming, and other things, make sure that we can get
the appropriate larger planning context for this. MR. GALLAS: Commissioner Cash? MR. CASH: I actually had another question, it
just struck me. Who owns the Ovals, the interior? It’s the District, correct? MR. KENNEY: It is. MR. CASH: There’s no Park Service or anything? Is DDOT going to be maintaining these or are
you going to turn them over to DPR? Because I’m thinking from the programming
discussion and all that, DDOT really — that’s not your forte. But DPR has a lot of experience with programming. And I think these Ovals are going to be an
interesting addition to the District’s portfolio, because when we talk about Stanton Park and
a lot of these other ones, Dupont Circle, all of those, those are federal government
circles and there’s a lot of programming that goes on there in coordination with National
Park Service or because they’re closer to downtown. But this is really going to be the District’s
first bite at the apple, I guess, with trying to have these interior road parks. And no offense to DDOT, but I mean, I think
that you should really consider maybe turning this over to DPR to make sure that it doesn’t
just turn into a piece of grass surrounded by a road and that the piece of grass is actually
programmed. So, are there plans for that or have you gotten
to that stage yet? Is OP just going to run it? MR. KENNEY: So, it is a public right-of-way, it’s
District owned land in DDOT control. On the west side, the — we usually partner
when we can with the BIDs. The Capitol Riverfront BID is already interested. It would not surprise me if we see increased
interest also from Audi Field and Nationals Ballpark for that park. For the East Oval, as future plans come to
fruition, right now, there is no sponsor looking to program immediately, as upon ribbon cutting,
can we have that event? So, as it stands, it would be DDOT, DPW maintaining
the grass and it wasn’t contemplated to turn it over to DPR as a Parks and Recreation Facility. MR. CASH: Yes, because I’m just thinking about
Stead Park over near 17th and P, where that’s run by DPR and it’s a lot of green space and
there’s opportunities to program a lot of stuff. So, I would just really urge the Executive
to consider maybe partnering, especially when you’re talking on the East Oval, if you don’t
have a lot of partners already, DPR is kind of like that natural District partner that
can kind of force some programming down there and bring their little stage trailer down
there — MR. KENNEY: Right. MR. CASH: — and have some concerts or something
to program that side, when it might not otherwise kind of come naturally. So, I just really implore you to see about
maybe putting this into DPR’s portfolio instead of DDOT’s, after it’s completed. MR. KENNEY: Thank you for your comments. MR. GALLAS: Anything further? MR. MAY: Yes. MR. GALLAS: Commissioner May? MR. MAY: So, I agree with a lot of what has been
said today and I agree with some of the comments that we heard or read from Ms. Richardson. There does seem to be a bit of a disconnect
in the design and there is — it’s very hard for me to conceive of these Ovals as having
grown beyond their inherent nature as traffic facilities, right? They’re a way of managing traffic with lots
of roads intersecting with them at relatively high speeds. I mean, I know we may dream of the speed limit
being only 20 miles an hour. I mean, the speed limit around Lincoln Park
is 25 and you can go 25 even over the speed humps. I know, because I do it all the time. (Laughter.) MR. MAY: But it is, I mean, it is also a widely
used neighborhood facility and that has to do with the way it has both matured over time
and the spaces that are within it and the relationship of that park to the surrounding
neighborhood. I mean, it fits within that overall context. And I’m just having a hard time getting comfortable
with this. And I’m a little bit confused about exactly
what action we’re taking today. This was submitted for preliminary and final,
and we’re contemplating giving preliminary, but not final? MS. FULLER: Correct. MR. MAY: Right. And I also, I mean, I read the CFA letter
over and over again, but I’m trying to understand exactly what direction they are providing
and I don’t think that’s very clear either. But I do think that staff are thinking more
three dimensionally and thinking more about the future development at Poplar Point actually
would be very important for understanding that, because having the meadow kind of approach
— first of all, this is a weird shape to begin with, right? We don’t have any ovals like this and it’s
not really an oval, I mean, it’s like a circus, right? I think I’ve said that before. The shape is not really an oval. MS. WRIGHT: I looked it up, it’s a paperclip oval,
because I had the same thing. MR. MAY: Oh, it’s a paperclip oval? MS. WRIGHT: Like, this is not an oval. MR. MAY: Yes, it’s not an oval. MS. WRIGHT: Yes. MR. MAY: Anyway. But it’s —
MS. WRIGHT: That’s the generic term. MR. MAY: But it’s weird and it doesn’t — it’s
weird in the sense that we don’t have anything else like it in Washington. We have plenty of circles and we have plenty
of squares. And it’s hard to envision how this is going
to happen when we also know that this is a heavily trafficked road, right? I mean, the volume of traffic that’s going
to come out of these circles far exceeds that probably of those around Lincoln Park, right? It’s probably two, three, four times as much. And the speeds at which people will want to
take it is going to be driven by the curve of the road, not the number on the sign. So, I mean, I want these to be very successful
and useful spaces, but it still feels like it’s not where it needs to be yet. So, I mean, I’m not going to stop this from
getting a preliminary approval, because I know we’re going to see the final, but I think
that there does need to be substantially more development in the design approach to both
of these circles. And I wish I could offer some perspective
on how to do that, I can’t, I’m kind of at a loss as to how it should be. All I can say is, try to make sense of what
CFA says and think more about Poplar Point’s future, and that may help figure out what
it’s going to be. But I just would hate to have it all be reliant
on more traffic lights and speed humps and things like that in order to make it a safe
place for people to be. By the way, the —
MS. WRIGHT: Or pleasant, that’s the thing. MR. MAY: Pleasant, right. MS. WRIGHT: I mean —
MR. MAY: Yes, I mean —
MS. WRIGHT: — I get why they put all the trees
in, that’s buffers from the traffic and all that, but it’s almost — it’s pinching it
into this little lawn area that when all is said and done, it’s kind of uninteresting. MR. MAY: Yes. MS. WRIGHT: And so, the three dimensional thing
is, I was with CFA until they got to the wetlands thing, because then, you’re just adding another
ingredient. It feels just too uniform. MR. MAY: Yes, I do feel like there are some other
lessons in making parks like this that haven’t been examined at this point. So, and I don’t know where those lessons are
here. I mean, some of the things about Lincoln Park
that help it, I think, are the changes in grade. You have a high platform in the center and
then, you have the more recessed area, which is where kids feel more comfortable playing. And you’ve got a lawn there and there’s the
Bethune statue, which the kids love to climb all over it, hide under it, and everything. But it has the sort of refuge sense to it,
even though there are cars moving around it all the time. It’s also not far from where people live. It’s two lanes of traffic and one lane of
parking. And here, we’ve got, how many lanes? Three? MR. KENNEY: Three. MR. MAY: Three lanes and it’s all travel lanes. I’m not sure that — I think some manipulation
of grade is important in order to create some refuge. And you obviously can’t sink much on the east
side, but something more, something more that creates manageable space or habitable space. MR. GALLAS: Any new additional ideas that haven’t
been expressed so far, we want to hear it. I mean, I think we’ve heard concerns about
pedestrian safety, clearly programming, who will be the partner. We hear on the west side, there’s a BID. Who’s the partner on the east side? Is it ACC? Who is it that can help to — with this programming? And then, who will manage these parks and
how to design in a way that will make it a safe refuge and an inviting destination for
the community to be a part of? So, I think we’ve given a lot of feedback
to Department of Transportation. And if there are no further comments, I would
like to entertain a motion to approve the preliminary site development plan. MR. SHAW: So moved. MR. GALLAS: Thank you, Mr. Shaw. Yes? MR. FLIS: Sorry, I think Commissioner White had
a recommendation, too. MR. GALLAS: Oh, pardon me. MS. WHITE: I didn’t know if we needed a motion
first and then, I would — MR. GALLAS: We do —
MS. WHITE: — seek to amend. MR. GALLAS: Yes. MR. DIXON: To remove it? So moved. MR. GALLAS: Okay. Any discussion on that motion? MS. WHITE: The discussion is, I would request
that we change the language. Instead of recommending that DDOT evaluate
whether changes to pedestrian and bicycle operations were necessary after the bridge
has been completed and in use, I don’t know what the appropriate language is, but require
that they do that and come back and let us know what they find. MR. GALLAS: I think require is a very clear word. MS. WHITE: Okay. MR. DIXON: I accept that for an amendment. MR. GALLAS: Do I have a second to that amendment? MS. WRIGHT: Second. MR. GALLAS: Any discussion on the amendment? MR. ACOSTA: Just to clarify, this is an advisory
action. So, we hope that DDOT will come back, but
I just want to make it clear that this is an advisory action, because it’s outside the
central area. MR. SHAW: And I just —
MS. WHITE: So, what are you suggesting — how
could you make this stronger — MR. ACOSTA: So, you can put required. MS. WHITE: Required? Okay. Just can’t enforce it? MR. ACOSTA: You can’t enforce it, no. MS. WHITE: Got it. MR. ACOSTA: Okay. MS. WHITE: But our approval is based on this,
in my mind. So, but I hear what you’re saying, that the
overall action is — MR. SHAW: I have a concern about the amendment,
just because we’re not traffic engineers. I feel like at some moment DDOT is going to
be doing these things and adjusting accordingly once the infrastructure is in. And I just don’t see how we can — where we
would have the expertise to provide any value in them telling us what they did. I mean, that’s a moment, once again, where
there’s oversight from the City Council and there’s others agencies and their own accountability
for their processes. But I just don’t see what value coming back
to us would add. MS. WHITE: So, I guess, in my mind, we’re already
recommending they do it. I think our approval is based on wanting this
to be a safe place. It would be almost, just as a report back
to show what happened. The other thing is, recommending that something
be evaluated is not a commitment from DDOT to do that. And DDOT saying, we’re open to evaluating
it, if they don’t commit to it, it could just slip by. Not that it’s nefarious, but unless it’s in
the actual approval item and there’s a commitment to do that —
MR. DIXON: Mr. Chairman, we have DDOT here, would
they object to this kind of requirement? Is that a fair request? MS. WHITE: I think that’s a great question. MR. KENNEY: What I was thinking as I was sitting
there is that, regardless of whether it’s entered as a requirement or not, our stakeholders,
our users, both Pedestrian Advisory Council and WABA, they’re going to be there with us. They’re the advocacy, we’re going to hear
from them how the bridge is performing. And that’s going to — we’ll be getting immediate
feedback and we’re accustomed to responding. If a fix is required and brought to our attention
and we go out and assess that. That’s part of DDOT’s responsibilities. So, I — on some projects, it moves slower
than others, but when we get into this commissioning period, that’s — we’ll still have our contractor
on board and it’s the easiest time, it’s kind of a soft finish to the project, because we
open the bridge while we’re demolishing the old structure, for six months. And so, we — I fully expect we’re going to
get feedback if it’s not operating appropriately and we’ll be handling it regardless of whether
we come back. MR. DIXON: Mr. Chairman, let me repeat my — is
it acceptable to you to do this? Can you — is there a yes or no problem in
here? MR. KENNEY: I don’t know logistically if it’s
a problem with the direction, due to the approval authority or not. We’re going to do it anyway. I can commit to that. MR. DIXON: So, it’s not a problem for you, because
you’re going to do it? That’s the question I wanted an answer for. MR. KENNEY: Yes. MS. WHITE: And to me, just formalizing it also
helps to educate us. If we got a report afterwards to show what
worked, what didn’t, and then, it helps us evaluate the next project. So, I hear what you’re saying and I respect
it and I’m not saying we’re traffic engineers, but I do think it makes a difference to see
how it worked. I can’t think of another place that’s quite
like this in D.C. that we’ve reviewed. So, that’s the spirit in which I put it out
there. I think this is going to be a challenge for
you. MR. KENNEY: There’s only a partial risk, I guess
I would say, is sometimes we do get into situations between all of our stakeholders, where DDOT’s
striving to find the right balance. And depending on which perspective is coming,
whether it’s bicyclists, pedestrian, vehicular, freight, it’s a hard decision to make. I wouldn’t ask anyone else to join us in that
decision-making — MR. KENNEY: — process, but you’re welcome to. That is all I wanted — that’s one of the
hardest parts of our jobs is finding that balance. And so, I expect, if it’s not performing,
we’re going to have to address it. And you’re welcome to participate together,
it’s fine. MS. WHITE: Thank you. MR. GALLAS: Thank you, Mr. Kenney. MR. KENNEY: Thank you. MR. GALLAS: We appreciate the commitment to engage
the community in this process. So, we have a motion to amend the — to change
the word from recommends, in the last paragraph, to say require DDOT to evaluate whether changes
to pedestrian and bicycle operations are necessary after the bridge has been completed and in
use. We’ve had a motion and a second. MS. KOSTER: Can I —
MR. GALLAS: Yes. MS. KOSTER: Mr. Chairman, and so, also, after
in use, to say, and that DDOT report back to the Commission on this issue. Is that —
MS. WHITE: That would be my desire. MS. KOSTER: — that was what I wrote down. MR. GALLAS: Okay. So, if we could, I’d like to move to a vote
on the acceptance of the motion that has been raised and seconded accordingly. All in favor, please say aye. MR. GALLAS: All opposed? MR. SHAW: No. MR. GALLAS: One no. Okay. Now, let’s move to entertaining a motion to
approve the preliminary site development plans as presented. Is there a motion? MR. SHAW: So moved. MR. GALLAS: Thank you. And seconded? MR. DIXON: Yes. MR. GALLAS: Any further discussion on this? Yes, Commissioner May? MR. MAY: One thing I forgot to note is that we
do remain very concerned about the lighting of the bridge itself, I look forward to further
discussions on that. And we’re not a fan of color, I think that’s
probably not a secret. MR. MAY: But how we maintain the proper hierarchy
between the things that are lit at night in Washington, I think is incredibly important. And so, we want to understand that very, very
well. And so, I look forward to hearing more about
that later. MR. DIXON: Mr. Chairman, I want to speak to that. I think the my normal — the residents east
of the river will miss the blue lights. I think we’re talking about white lights now,
we had blue lights before. So, we’ll miss the blue. But I think there’s going to be an opportunity
for a lot of celebrating around this bridge, from the soccer stadium to the baseball stadium,
so who knows what. So, I don’t know, we may — those lights may
be very nice, to be able to flip on once in a way. I just want to make a pitch on the other side
of the issue. MR. MAY: They have those things on the stadiums
themselves. MR. DIXON: No, but —
MR. GALLAS: Okay. So, we’ve had a motion to approve the preliminary
site development plan. All in favor, say aye. MR. GALLAS: Opposed? Okay, thank you. Next is a even simpler item on today’s agenda. MR. GALLAS: Item 5B, the approval of preliminary
and final site development plans for supplemental perimeter fencing at the National Zoo. The Commission has received hundreds of public
comments on this proposal and we certainly appreciate the public interest in this project. Today, we are reviewing Phase 1 of the National
Zoo’s Visitor and Security Project, which addresses both the perimeter fencing and consolidation
of entry points. Phase 2, which hasn’t been submitted for the
Commission to review yet, will address visitor screening facilities. Also, we are not reviewing proposals for a
parking garage at the Zoo at this time. That project will also be submitted for concept,
preliminary, and final review at a later date. Mr. Gerbich is going to lead this presentation. Thank you. MR. GERBICH: Great, thank you. So, good afternoon, Mr. Chairman and members
of the Commission. The Smithsonian Institution has submitted
site development plans for supplemental perimeter fencing at the National Zoological Park in
Washington, D.C. The project was reviewed as a concept design
last month and is now before the Commission for preliminary and final approval. So, the National Zoo is located off of Connecticut
Avenue in northwest Washington, D.C. in a largely residential area of the city. It’s generally bounded by Klingle Road to
the north, Adams Mill Road to the east, and Calvert Road to the south. The Zoo also sits within Rock Creek Park,
which is managed as a unit of the National Park Service. The Zoo currently has 13 identified points
of pedestrian entry, as shown with orange circles on the image on the left, most of
which are informal. As can be seen here, nine of the points of
entry are clustered at the top of North Road near the bus parking lot, with another near
the Amazonia Exhibit and Research Hill at the bottom of the Zoo. These entries would be consolidated to three,
as shown in orange on the right, including the main entrance on Connecticut Avenue, another
near the bus parking lot, and a third at the Lower Zoo. The yellow circle on the map to the right
is a potential future entrance associated with the parking garage that the Commission
reviewed as an early concept design, though the entrance is not included as part of this
project, as was noted. The large majority of pedestrian entry points
are a short walk from the consolidated entrances, which is where most pedestrian traffic currently
enters the Zoo. This map shows where existing entry points
would be closed, as well as their closest entrances. The blue circles are entry points with nearby
access to the consolidated entrances. And the red circle would have no alternative
access nearby. The only area where pedestrian access would
be closed without a nearby alternative is the location near Research Hill and Amazonia,
which is in an area of the Zoo property that is largely identified for use by staff only. Of note is the fact that half of the entrances
to be closed are clustered in Parking Lot B, which is highlighted here. This image shows an example of one of the
entrances that would be closed in the area. While Zoo visitors will have fewer entry points
from Parking Lot B as a result of this project, future plans for the Zoo include converting
this lot to exhibit space, so these access points will not be needed in the long-term. The Smithsonian has indicated that several
studies have identified that open access to the Zoo is a safety concern and that there
have been a series of high profile security incidents and threats to the safety of visitors,
staff, and animals. To meet security needs, the Zoo is proposing
a Visitor Access and Security Fencing Project, which it is planning to implement in multiple
phases. The first phase, which is the subject of this
review, will secure the perimeter through the installation of fencing and serve to formalize
the three visitor access points. It’s important to note that public access
through the entrances would still be open at the completion of this phase. The future phase will include the installation
of facilities for visitor screening at each entry, which will be submitted for Commission
review as a separate project in the future. The extent of security measures to be implemented
at these facilities is still under consideration by the Smithsonian and would be brought to
the Commission along with this future project. Staff would like to note that to date, the
Commission has received many comments in opposition to the idea of visitor screening facilities. To address outstanding concerns, staff suggests
the Commission requires any submission for future screening facilities to include supporting
documentation explaining the need for and benefit of such facilities. Before I review the new fencing, I first want
to review the layers of existing fencing that have been installed in various locations to
meet several different objectives. The image on this slide shows the extent of
existing fencing, as well as the main Zoo area that will be secured as part of this
project, which is shown here in red shading. The outermost layer of existing fencing is
shown here with a red dashed line and secures the Zoo’s property line, which reaches out
across Rock Creek and Beach Drive towards the adjacent neighborhood roads. During a re-accreditation process with the
Association of Zoos and Aquariums, it was determined that the perimeter fencing in red
was unable to meet animal containment needs, because of gaps at three locations. Two were Rock Creek flows at the north and
south ends of the site, which is marked with a blue line. And the third where the Harvard Road Bridge
crosses into the Zoo to the east. Because of these gaps, the boundary fencing
could not effectively contain Zoo animals in the event of an escape or fully protect
them from surrounding wildlife. To address this deficiency, the Smithsonian
submitted a containment fencing project for Commission review and approval in July 2012,
which is shown on this map in purple. While this fencing meets the Zoo’s animal
containment needs, you can see that certain areas along North Road still have open access
to the central Zoo for visitors. The current proposal seeks to close this fencing
gap and to upgrade other areas of fencing to meet new security standards. This slide shows the overall site plan for
the proposed fencing, as well as images of the three consolidated entrance locations. Overall, the dashed lines on this map show
existing fencing and the solid lines show the proposed fencing. The different colors indicate different fence
types, as shown on the legend. I’ll review each area of existing and proposed
fencing in detail in a moment, but want to note that all proposed fencing will be visually
similar to fencing that’s already installed at the Zoo. Additionally, the existing perimeter fencing,
including adjacent planters at entrances, are not considered historic and the DC SHPO
has indicated that the project would have no adverse on historic properties. In its concept submission, the applicant indicated
that the fencing would be installed with minimal impacts to existing mature trees or important
vegetation and that new plantings would be added to integrate fencing into the landscape. At that time, the Commission requested more
information regarding potential impacts on existing trees and the addition of new plantings. NCPC staff has had several conversations with
National Zoo staff since that time, who has noted that the alignment will avoid any desirable
native species and that any undesirable, nonnative, or invasive species may be removed as part
of the effort. They’ve also stated that their tree replacement
policy dictates that any tree would be replaced at a minimum of a one-to-one ratio to maintain
the tree canopy, which is generally consistent with NCPC tree replacement policies. As part of this project, the applicant has
indicated that it plans to install several pedestrian and vehicular gates in the new
fencing that would allow for operational and maintenance access at key locations along
the perimeter. They’re marked here in yellow. The circles represent pedestrian entries and
the squares are vehicular entries. There would be a combination of swing or slide
gates at these locations, examples of which are shown here. In concept review, the Commission requested
additional information regarding which types of gates would be installed at each proposed
location, as well as renderings that showed the placement of the gates. The map on this slide provides the additional
detail requested in that review, including the width, style, and function of gates at
each proposed location. The applicant also provided updated renderings
that show more precise locations of each gate, which will be shown on the following slides. Based on the updated information, staff finds
that the proposed gate types are consistent with others used throughout the Zoo and that
the locations align with existing service entrances. I’ll next review all of the areas of proposed
fencing by segment, along with submitted renderings that demonstrate visibility of the fence from
key viewpoints, which are marked on each map as a grey circle. This first segment of fence is at the northwest
corner of the Zoo at the intersection of Connecticut Avenue and North Road, adjacent to the main
entrance and Visitor Center. Eight to 12-foot tall black vinyl coated chainlink
fencing is proposed for this location, which, as shown in the rendering, would run along
the ridge of the hillside adjacent to areas of vegetation. In the previous submission, ornamental fencing
was planned for this location, but in its review of the project, the Commission of Fine
Arts expressed concerns over the visibility of ornamental fencing. CFA recommended chainlink fencing in this
location, which they noted would be less visible in areas of dense vegetation. Staff has analyzed this change, concurs that
chainlink fencing would be less visually prominent here, and further notes that it’s consistent
with adjacent segments of existing chainlink fencing. Continuing around the Zoo, the second segment
would run from the Visitor Center to the buss drop-off. This segment would use a new fence type, an
eight-foot tall vehicular-rated ornamental fence, which would be used in visible locations
along the roadway to prevent ramming. It would be similar in style to the existing
ornamental fencing used at the Zoo, with the exception of larger post sizes and horizontal
reinforcing channels and cables to meet crash-rating standards. It would connect to the east to a tall wooden
stockade fence, shown with a dashed orange line, which is used to shield the maintenance
area from public view. As can be seen in the rendering, this segment
of fencing would separate an internal walking path from North Road and the outer Zoo perimeter. Continuing along the perimeter, the fencing
on the third segment will connect at the west to the bus drop-off entrance and will extend
along the American Prairie exhibit and North Road. Because of its proximity to the road, it will
also use the vehicular-rated ornamental fencing. As can be seen in the rendering, the fence
line would run across the existing landscaping and would cross the existing driveway into
Parking Lot B. Move along North Road, another segment of
vehicular-rated ornamental fencing will be used along the perimeter of Parking Lot B,
shown here with the purple line, with a second layer of chainlink fencing that is marked
with the green line. The chainlink fencing at this location would
be temporary, because Parking Lot B is temporary use. When visitor parking is consolidated into
the central parking facility, Lot B will be removed and become exhibit space, as I noted
earlier. The temporary chainlink fencing will also
be removed at that time. The rendering on this slide shows the location
of the ornamental fencing along the outside of the parking lot. Moving past Parking Lot B is another new segment
of chainlink fencing, which would connect further down to an existing segment of chainlink,
marked with the dashed blue line on this map. In concept review of the project, the Commission
noted that this segment of fencing was highly visible, which can be seen in the original
rendering at the top of the slide. The Commission requested at that time that
this segment of fencing was moved back into the vegetation. The revised rendering at the bottom of the
slide shows the modified fencing placement, which staff notes is further back into the
dense vegetation and will be less visually prominent. It also pulls this portion of fencing away
from North Road and allows for open pedestrian access to the adjacent sidewalk. Staff believes that this solution adequately
addresses Commission concerns expressed in review of the concept design. Near the Zoo’s power plant, modified chainlink
fence would be built upon existing flood control walls. The fencing in this location would serve to
secure and isolate the power plant from the main Zoo. The initial proposal for this location was
the use of modified ornamental fencing, but again in response to comments from CFA, the
applicant has revised the submission. Staff has analyzed this change and supports
the use of chainlink fencing. The last segment of fencing on this side of
the Zoo is the purple area highlighted here. The existing ornamental fencing in this location
would just be replaced with the vehicular-rated fencing, which would prevent ramming along
North Road. Staff believes that this change will not affect
the overall character of this segment of fence. Continuing past the existing fencing at the
Lower Zoo entrance to the other side of the Zoo, vehicular-rated fencing would be used
to secure the pedestrian walkway along the Zoo’s Amazonia Exhibit. Please note that while the rendering shows
existing security gates at this location, the project would include the removal and
replacement of these gates for consistency in style and to avoid redundant security measures. This segment of fencing connects to existing
ornamental fencing to the east and existing chainlink fencing in the vegetation over to
the west. In conclusion, it’s the Executive Director’s
recommendation that the Commission approve preliminary and final site development plans
for supplemental perimeter fencing at the National Zoo. Notes the purpose of the project is to replace
some areas of existing fencing, add segments of fencing to eliminate gaps, and consolidate
pedestrian access points. Notes that these future consolidated entrances
are the primary entrances to the Zoo today and that the only area where pedestrian access
will be closed is intended for staff use only near the Amazonia Exhibit and Research Hill. Notes the applicant has changed two segments
of ornamental fencing proposed in vegetated areas to chainlink fencing, which would be
less visually prominent in these locations. Notes that the applicant has moved the segment
of chainlink fencing along North Road back into the existing vegetation, which will reduce
visibility. Notes that the Smithsonian will submit a proposal
for visitor screening facilities in the future and requires any submission for visitor screening
facilities to include supporting documentation explaining the need for and benefits of such
facilities. Before I conclude the presentation, I’d like
to note that staff has received many public comments in opposition to this project, which
are attached to the ERs in front of you. As noted earlier, most of the concerns were
related to the construction of visitor screening facilities at the consolidated entrances,
which will be considered under Phase 2 of the project. We anticipate that these outstanding concerns
can be addressed during this future review process. That concludes my presentation. I’m available to answer questions, as are
representatives from the Smithsonian, the Zoo, and the consultant team. MR. GALLAS: Thank you, Mr. Gerbich. I’d like to now invite Al Horvath, from the
Smithsonian Institution, who is here to speak to this project. Welcome, Mr. Horvath. MR. HORVATH: Thank you, Vice Chairman Gallas and
members of the Commission, for allowing me just a few minutes to add to the thorough
report provided by Mr. Gerbich. I would briefly like to emphasize just a few
points. The safety and security of our visitors, staff,
volunteers, and collections are of paramount importance to the Smithsonian. And of course, at the National Zoo, our collection
happens to be a living one. At the same time, we work very hard to balance
this with the desire to provide a high quality of experience for the millions who visit our
public spaces every year. It’s sometimes a challenging task, but I believe
that we have done an excellent job historically. Our approach to security is not static, but
it evolves over time, responding to our own experiences, events that happen around us,
and information that we gather from our continual research and engagement with other security
organizations. We also regularly benchmark with other zoos
and with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums on this and many other matters. We don’t apply a broad brush to our security
approaches, given the diversity and breadth of our facilities and operations. We don’t view the Zoo in the same way that
we do the Air and Space Museum on the Mall. The project before you this afternoon is a
logical step in rationalizing security of the Zoo, guided by the master plan developed
in 2008. We will add 3,800 feet of fencing to the almost
16,000 feet already in place. We will replace 530 feet of existing fencing
with upgraded material. The focus of this new fencing will be primarily
around the perimeter, between the public areas of the Zoo and roadways and parking areas. It will allow us to consolidate the number
of pedestrian entrances from the current 13 down to three primary access points, through
which the vast majority of our visitors now enter: Connecticut Avenue, Harvard Street,
and now, the bus drop-off area on North Road. This will enable our Zoo police officers to
manage their efforts more efficiently and allow the Zoo to provide more effective visitor
service offering to the more than two million people who come each year. The addition of the fencing included in this
project will not result in changes to the current visitor experience, nor will it result
in a daily screening protocol. We greatly value the park-like setting of
the Zoo and the affection that many people have for this space. As I mentioned earlier, however, our security
procedures are regularly evaluated. If at some future date, we believe that we
need to make further changes to our approach at the Zoo, we are committed to a public engagement
process with neighbors and other stakeholders before we bring any proposed actions to the
Commission for its consideration. The National Zoo is an incredible access for
the D.C. area community, as well as visitors from afar. The beauty of the Zoo and its natural setting
are characteristics that we value and we are committed to maintaining in the future. Thank you. MR. GALLAS: Thank you, Mr. Horvath. I know there are going to be questions, but
I think, in the interest of time, I’d like to first ask the three registered speakers
to speak, so we can hear their observations as well. MR. GALLAS: First is David Alpert, representing
Greater Greater Washington. Mr. Alpert, you have five minutes to speak. MR. ALPERT: Thank you very much, members of the
Commission. My name is David Alpert. And for those of you who — I know many of
you and those of you who don’t know me, I am the founder of Greater Greater Washington,
a news website and advocacy organization around urban planning, transportation, housing, and
other issues about the development and growth of our region. We have volunteer contributors from Greater
Greater Washington write many of our articles and one submitted one last week about the
proposed Zoo screening and fencing project, which yielded over 1,600 signatures and comments
in opposition to both screening and fencing, which are in your packets. I want to speak briefly about both the fencing
and the screening. But in general, as many people have pointed
out, the park is the National Zoological Park, it is explicitly intended from its founding
to be a park-like setting, to be a part of the park, and was designed by Frederick Law
Olmsted to be an integral part of the park, rather than a completely standalone facility. As such, residents of the area have often
enjoyed the interplay between surrounding neighborhoods, park facilities, and the Zoological
Park itself. But unfortunately, the fencing and other things
that have happened in the Zoo recently, such as closing the Zoo to early morning people
walking through, like joggers being able to traverse the Zoo, has set the Zoo on a trend
of withdrawing from being as much of a part of the park and being as much a part of the
city. And this is something overall that is of great
concern to many of our readers, community members, residents, and others, as I think
to some extent, but I know it’s not before you, the parking garage concept, which in
some sense is giving up or turning your back on the ability for the Zoo to be as much of
an integral part of the city and as much reached by public transportation as it has been in
the past. And that’s not to say that the Zoo is removing
public transportation access, but by investing resources in having people just drive to a
garage instead of making opportunities to add transit, walking, and biking access, I
think that’s also part of a trend that worries me of the Zoo seeming to be withdrawing somewhat
from the city. Let me speak briefly about the fencing and
then, about screening. While it’s true that many of the comments
are opposed to the screening facility, I also have heard very many concerns about the fencing. It doesn’t seem to be very clear, even from
the presentation, why it is necessary to close most of the entrance, other than it will rationalize
access. I understand it’s easier for the police if
everyone only goes through a very small number of pathways, but that same argument could
be used for saying maybe people should only go on and off the National Mall at one or
two streets and not all the streets that currently exist. That’s not entirely persuasive. Also, and if you go to the picture, the site
that the staff recommendation cites as being only adjacent to staff — areas that are supposed
to be accessed by the staff, it is, I believe, unless I am confused here, also adjacent to
the Rock Creek Park trail, which actually is closer to that entrance than the staff-only
facilities. The Rock Creek Park trail, as you know, weaves
through the Zoo property. It is a significant problem already with access
in Rock Creek Park that the walking and biking trail requires people to deviate through the
Zoo, through a path that’s closed some of the time, while people on Beach Drive can
drive under the tunnel at all times. When that is closed, people have to navigate
an extremely narrow sidewalk in order to get through the Zoo. So, I’m not sure that’s entirely true to say
that this is only a staff-only access. Finally, about screening, I understand that
this is not before you, but it certainly sounded to me, from especially the last — Mr. Horvath’s
comments, that it is very much in the intention of the Zoo still to move towards screening,
with statements like saying that, in the presentation materials, that security needs to be upgrade. Upgrade is a dangerous word to me. It simply means that there’s an assumption
that more of something it always necessarily beneficial. And there’s a lot of what I see in this presentation
that suggests that. The previous study that the Zoo has cited
only said occasional closures should be enough. And I would suggest that the Commission strengthen
the language in order to say something like that it has significant concerns about any
future plans for screenings, and not just that it would like to see information before
there be screening, but actually expressing a greater level of concern about that. Plus residents have extremely strong concerns
about that, as was clear from the reaction to this proposal. Thank you. MR. GALLAS: Thank you very much, Mr. Alpert. Next, I’d like to invite Mr. David Epstein,
as an individual. You will have three minutes to provide your
testimony. MR. EPSTEIN: Thank you very much. I was somewhat encouraged by the two gentlemen’s
presentations. I’m a relatively new resident of Woodley Park,
for almost two years. And I’ve certainly noticed an anti-change
streak in our neighborhood that I find troubling at times. Also, I’m not oblivious to security concerns,
both personally and professionally. I myself was a high school student in Chicago,
present at a school shooting that prompted discussion of screening stations at my school. Professionally, I was a former crime reporter
at the New York Daily News who started at midnight. I assure you, nothing happy that’s going in
New York Daily News happens between midnight and 10:00 a.m.
MR. EPSTEIN: But I also learned during that time
two important things. One, that people’s perception of danger or
violence is inversely proportional to actual violence in the world. And that’s backed up by psychological research. And two, that developed urban parks are among
the safest inhabited areas in the world. I learned that it was news when something
happened in Central Park or Prospect Park, not because the parks were so dangerous, but
because they were so safe. A quick glance at crime statistics suggests
to me the same is true for the National Zoological Park. The lone high profile incident I could find
seemed to have occurred near, not in the park. Though I did, when I was there, I did witness
a problematic domestic interaction between Kyle and Bonnie, the orangutans. MR. EPSTEIN: But they already have security. As to the rest of the primates who traffic
the Zoo, I found it to be a wonderful melting pot of visitors and locals from all walks
of life, flowing freely in for visits short and long. Due to the layout of the Zoo, spread out over
a large area, I think decreasing entrances will endanger some of those shorter organic
visits, like the ones that — people who get off at Gallery Place, stop into the Smithsonian
American Art Museum here. I could have driven a car right into that
just before I got here. This security plan, I think, in some regards,
is a solution in search of a problem. And once implemented, is one that we can never
go back on. The character of the park, and this is a public
park, will be changed forever, in order to make a place that is already ridiculously
safe appear like it could potentially be dangerous, and ultimately, that it might need magnetometers. So, I’d like to leave you with a literary
image to consider in the hope that it will serve as a pneumonic that sticks in your mind. In the 14th century, Giovanni Boccaccio wrote
the Decameron, shortly after the Black Plague wiped off half of Europe’s population. The structure of the book, which I highly
recommend, is a series of stories told by students who have retreated to a garden to
tell tales of romance and comedy and all these aspects of civil society that they wish to
restore that were taken by the Plague, that they restore through storytelling. The Zoological Park is one of the precious
few gardens to which we can retreat from that which plagues us outside of the park and I
hope that you demand great evidence for the need and efficacy before turning our garden
retreat into what amounts to an outdoor building. And I think we should take a lesson here from
the epidemic of overtreatment in medicine and consider base rates, which is that when
a problem is very, very rare, it takes an extraordinary intervention to make it less
rare, to treat it. And it amounts to a screening programs that
treat a tremendous population to try to get at a very, very rare problem. And if you see what’s happen in medicine logistics,
it simply doesn’t work, it creates more problems than it solves. And so, I hope you’ll keep that in mind going
forward and demand great evidence for a great intervention. I also happen to have been stuck on one of
those running paths when the gates were closed and it took me about three seconds to hop
one of those big iron fences. So, I would also question that efficacy. That said, I was very encouraged by the presentations
by these two gentlemen, I thought it was very thoughtful. And so, I was glad to see that. And thank you very much for this process and
for allowing public comment. Thank you very much. MR. GALLAS: Thank you, Mr. Epstein. We have one additional speaker, Jonathan Herz,
who will be speaking as an individual. Welcome, Mr. Herz. MR. HERZ: Thank you. MR. GALLAS: You have three minutes. MR. HERZ: Thank you for the opportunity to speak. I’m speaking from the other side of the park,
from Mount Pleasant. And also, not in my official capacity on Historic
Mount Pleasant. I’d like to bring back the idea that was mentioned
in the presentation on the Frederick Douglass Bridge, which had to do with people in the
community. This entire presentation review had to do
with the construction and the aesthetics of the fence, but nothing about the communities
surrounding the Zoo, who are going to be impacted by this and future actions by the Zoo. This seems to be a continuation of the theme
that neighbors don’t matter, which the Zoo has unfortunately been speaking on since at
least the 1990s when they closed the Adams Morgan entrance to the Zoo. I think the comment that the neighborhood
will be consulted needs to be examined and needs to be made a little bit more forceful. Before the hours were changed for access to
the Zoo in the morning, there was a community meeting of sorts. It was last minute, it was basically more
an announcement than a discussion. Questions were asked about what was the security
basis for limiting the hours? And there was no evidence presented. The Chief of Security at the Zoo was asked
why this was being done and she just said, well the Director asked us to consider this. And I think that we need much more discussion
than that. I think also the idea of the image of the
Zoo and what it projects to the city and to the world is also very important. Another thing that was not mentioned and perhaps,
understandably at this point, is pedestrian and bicycle access. Right now, the path was mentioned, the currently
unmaintained path. I think it’s very important to look at that,
to maintain that access for the community around, particularly to the east of the Zoo,
where people are not driving to the Zoo from the suburbs, where there will be a parking
garage that can accommodate them, hopefully. And I think another also, in light of the
unfortunate recent reconstruction of the bridge south of the Zoo, tunnel, it was not built
as constructed and the actual sidewalk is narrower than had been presented to the community,
we don’t want any more problems built on top of that. So, I appreciate the presentation, the staff
comments, and the excellent work you’re doing. And I hope you will also give great scrutiny
to this project. Thank you. MR. GALLAS: Thank you very much, Mr. Herz. I’d like to open up now for discussion from
the Commission. Commissioner May? MR. MAY: So, I have a handful of questions to
start with. I’m a little unclear on what action the Commission
of Fine Arts took and how that might affect what we are doing. They approved the concept, with comments for
further development, and we’re already at final? It seems like we’re slightly out of sync. MR. GERBICH: Yes. I mean, I know that the comments from CFA
were primarily kind of related to the use of ornamental fencing in certain locations. And that was kind of — and kind of refining
that, met their needs and it also wasn’t objectionable to the staff. So, that was kind of — they moved forward
with preliminary and final — MR. MAY: Okay. MR. GERBICH: — response to our concept. MR. MAY: They moved with —
MR. GERBICH: They submitted preliminary and final
— MR. MAY: Okay. MR. GERBICH: — in addressing our concept. MR. MAY: Got you. And on one of the concepts that — in the
CFA, was about the fence points, the — I’m wondering, I mean, that raised the question
for me. Because if I look at this, I’m picturing that
this is tubular metal that is just compressed and made pointy. Is it actually solid bar fencing or is it
— MR. GERBICH: I don’t know the detail of the fencing
materials. I do have an elevation, if that’s helpful
to take a look at. But it doesn’t show —
MR. MAY: Yes, I’m just — I mean, maybe this is
a — just because this came up at CFA — MR. GERBICH: Yes. MR. MAY: — and it’s one of those minor, small
points that is important to me. MR. HAYS: I’m Doug Hays, I’m with Michael Vergason
Landscape Architects, and we’ve been working on this project. And it’s a tubular fencing by Ameristar. And they are compressed at the end. And the fencing type, the ornamental type
that is currently installed, was approved by the Commission and the Fine Arts —
MR. MAY: And that was the same style? MR. HAYS: Exactly the same style. MR. MAY: Have they had problems with wear and
tear on those? Because I know that it only takes one person
ramming it — I don’t know, maybe Mr. Epstein didn’t have that problem when he climbed the
fence. I’ve seen them bent pretty easily. MR. HAYS: To my knowledge, I don’t know of any
problems, that’s why we’re continuing with it. The main issue is that we’re going to be using
a vehicular-rated style for protection of the visitors between North Road and the close
pedestrian walkways. So, that’s —
MR. MAY: That’s fine, this is a small point. MR. HAYS: Yes. MR. MAY: The — and maybe this is a question for
the Smithsonian, but what’s the funding and timing situation for this? I mean, is it funded for construction? Do you know when it’s going to go? MR. HORVATH: It’s in our Fiscal 19 plan. And we, assuming we receive the level of funding
that we’re expecting, we plan to do this in 2019. MR. MAY: Start construction in 2019? MR. HORVATH: Starting and finishing in 2019. MR. MAY: Starting and finishing in 2019? MR. HORVATH: Yes. MR. MAY: And also, the question — one of the
— because we have so many comments about this, one of the questions had to do with
bicycles, and I don’t even understand where bicycles are allowed now. I assume they’re not allowed through the main
gate, people can’t go riding around in the main body of the Zoo. But can they — do people on bicycles make
the transit from one side to the other along North Road. Is that where cyclists go? Do we know where they go now? Anybody —
MR. HORVATH: Well, I think one of the places where
bicycles go is along Beach Drive. MR. MAY: Right. MR. HORVATH: And some of the comments we’ve received
is for the pathway around the tunnel, that is sometimes open and sometimes closed —
MR. MAY: Right. MR. HORVATH: — and we would continue to close
that — MR. MAY: And that one I know about. It’s the going from Beach Drive to Connecticut
Avenue, is that a transit that anybody makes on a bicycle? It was implied in some of the comments. Nobody seems to know about that? Well, maybe somebody does. MS. WORKMAN: Hi, Kim Workman with the Smithsonian. Currently, bikes are not allowed through the
main part of the Zoo. MR. MAY: Right. MS. WORKMAN: People can walk them through the
Zoo, but they cannot ride them. MR. MAY: Right. MS. WORKMAN: So, if somebody’s coming in from
Connecticut Avenue and going down to Harvard Street, they would walk it through the Zoo. And they will still be able to do that after
this fence is — MR. MAY: And do they ride their bicycles around
on North Road? Does North Road connect from Connecticut to
— MS. WORKMAN: They do, but I’ve never seen bikes
along there. MR. MAY: Okay. So, maybe I misunderstood what was in the
comments. And what is the rationale for having to close
the connection along the trail, near Amazonia and Research Hill? The reason I ask this is that one of — the
Park Service, the Rock Creek Park staff also reviewed this and that was their one question
about this. I mean, generally, speaking, the visibility
of it and the look of it, they didn’t have issues with it. But they questioned that, because they thought
that was frequently used, that people go off the trail and use that entrance regularly. MS. WORKMAN: We actually don’t get that many visitors
that come in that way. We get a few, handful of joggers that might
come in that way, but they can just go down to the next exit/entrance, which is down at
the Lower Zoo. Really, most people on that path, just jog
through the one gate, out the other gate, that doesn’t even come into the Zoo. MR. MAY: So, it is used by people who — I mean,
people go across that bridge or whatever, but they don’t —
MS. WORKMAN: No. MR. MAY: — they don’t go actually into the Zoo. MS. WORKMAN: They don’t actually come over the
bridge. The pathway comes in off of Beach Drive, goes
around through on the other side of the creek from where this is, drives along the path,
then goes back up out towards the tunnel on Beach Drive. MR. MAY: Okay. MR. GERBICH: And also, to clarify, having gone
out there and seeing a little bit of this, kind of the direct access from Research Hill
kind of over into Amazonia, there are these sidewalks that kind of come up across the
bridge and there’s this crosswalk on the right side. But other than that — that crosswalk actually
runs into a gate. On the left side here, there’s a gate. And then, there’s no sidewalk that kind of
continues around that path. It’s like, you kind of come up, you can see
that there are the two gates there. MR. MAY: It feels like it’s clearly back of house. MR. GERBICH: It doesn’t imply that it’s a place
you would to kind of — like a main entrance for the Zoo now. MR. MAY: Okay. So, the debate on this changed dramatically,
in the last couple of weeks, right? We saw a presentation in June and it was all
about fences and it seemed like a logical consolidation of fence points. But then, the internet explodes with all these
comments and it seems to be largely a reaction to the prospect of screening. And frankly, I did not know anything about
the prospect of screening from our past reviews. So, I’m really confused about that. And it raises a question for me about whether
we are looking at enough of the picture at this moment to be able to take action. I was not thinking about the prospect of screening. I mean, it might have been mentioned at some
point. And, certainly, we all face that prospect,
certainly in the Park Service, we deal with that potential all the time and we design
new facilities with the possibility of screening needed in the future. But we try to be — try to explain that right
up at the very beginning. And I’m a little concerned that we would be
taking an action related to the fence that anticipates this other aspect without understand
that other aspect. So, I mean, I think that’s probably my biggest
concern at this point. Certainly, the prospect of doing that begs
for substantial community outreach. I mean, that’s pretty apparent. And I can also say that when we face moments
like that, we take a break and we stop and we go back and look at it. I mean, right now, we are reexamining a bridge
that already got a level of approval here, a pedestrian bridge across the Anacostia River,
that we heard very late in the process, like years after we had done an EA about this and
had done extensive public outreach, we learned that there was a concern among the rowing
community who made substantial use of that portion of the river. And we worked very closely with DDOT on this,
it’s actually sort of jointly funded with DDOT, but we’re having to go back and look
at the design of that bridge. And we are — I mean, this is fully funded
for design and construction and we’re having to take a step back. We’re going to have to go through some more
Commission reviews and approvals. So, it’s not a happy thing to have to do things
like that, but this kind of calls for it. Surely, the Commission did that with the Kennedy
Center pavilion in the river. Again, with the rowing community. And there are other examples. I mean, there was the ICC in Bethesda, where
the Commission was prepared to take an action and the neighbors raised major issues and
brought up these concerns and the project changed significantly as a result of that. And I wonder if this is another circumstance
like that. MR. GALLAS: Commissioner Wright, would you like
to — MS. WRIGHT: I would. I feel like this is the same thing. I’m more than concerned. It feels like being asked to approve perimeter
security for a building one elevation at a time. And we would never do that. Or a jewelry maker would not evaluate a necklace
without the clasp. It feels like that. It doesn’t — it’s not a complete composition. And it does feel a little bit. I think the explosion in the public is — I
read all of it. I read all of the comments, I read all of
the letters. And setting aside the template ones, there
seems to me to be a variety of legitimate concerns. And once again, we don’t have an explanation
for what the threat is. Is there a threat analysis that’s been submitted? Even as recently as yesterday, the press release
from the Smithsonian doesn’t really say, it says, we’re catching up with what everybody
else is doing. And I understand that too. I mean, we’ve spent a lot of time at GSA kind
of retrofitting our buildings and I’ve said many times, okay, we just got to stop wringing
our hands, we have to do this, stop worrying about and just accept it as a fait accompli
and we’ve got to do it. But this is not a building. It was designed to be porous. And I know that times have changed, but I
feel uncomfortable with it, because we don’t know why it’s necessary. It’s incomplete, in terms of showing us — we’re
seeing it in increments and I too was sort of — I thought last time, well — and I think
I asked a question about going from 14 to three entrances and I was satisfied with the
answer. But when you add then the screening pavilions
that were published in the Washington Business Journal, I think it elevates it to a whole
different kind of project. So, I feel it’s — I’m not sure we should
be asked to opine on this until it’s complete and we have the full picture of, why do we
need it, and the full perimeter security apparatus, all as a whole. And I also have to say the same thing, I — the
planners on our staff are called community planners. And community planning involves the community. And the community is making a big push to
be heard here. And I think that we owe them a fuller examination
of the why and the how at this point. So, I would suggest that we defer altogether,
but I’m not sure that — despite — I wrote a briefing memo for people at GSA on Monday
recommending that we vote for this, but I did not understand all the things that I just
explained. And I know that our staff has been debating
it all week, since the revelation of the final piece really started to bubble up. And I think there’s a great deal of discomfort
with it. So, I would suggest deferring until we get
a full picture. MR. GALLAS: Any other comments? MR. DIXON: Mr. Chairman? MR. GALLAS: Yes? MR. DIXON: I’d like to ask the Smithsonian what
impact this would have on their planning, and et cetera, et cetera, if there is a delay? MR. HORVATH: We are ready to go with this fencing
plan. And I would try to put it into this kind of
context. Think about our approach to security as a
master plan and think about this as an element of that master plan. We are not coming to you today with a proposal
to erect structures at the entrances. We are not here proposing changes to the current
way in which people get in and out of the Zoo. To the point that Mr. May made earlier, certainly,
we’ve taken a step back as a result of the feedback we’ve gotten over the last several
days and have reevaluated our own thinking. But there is not a final decision on moving
ahead with tighter security. And it’s our believe that this project, this
incremental fencing, will have very, very limited impact, if any noticeable impact,
for visitors and their experience. One does not lead necessarily to the other. MR. DIXON: So, it’s not going to have any impact
then to delay it for another month, would not be a major problem for you? Yes or no, I mean? MR. HORVATH: No. But by the same token, I won’t be able to
come to you in another month and say, well, we are or we aren’t some time in the future
going to change our security approach. Today, we’re not. And 25 years ago, the way that you got into
some of our museums is very different than today. We’re not desirous to change the feel of the
National Zoo. It is one of the gems of the city. MR. DIXON: There’s no question about that, I just
react a little to the public outcry about this at this time and whether the delay of
a month would give us a chance to deal with that concern within the community. That was my only thought. MS. WRIGHT: May I ask why you’re — what is the
price tag? MR. HORVATH: It’s $1.5 million. MS. WRIGHT: So, and that’s just for this phase,
for the incremental — MR. HORVATH: It’s for the fencing. MS. WRIGHT: And what is the budget forecast for
the screening facilities? MR. HORVATH: We don’t have a hard estimate yet
because we’ve only done a concept. We haven’t done any —
MS. WRIGHT: No cost estimating came with the concept? MR. HORVATH: It’s about $2.5 million, I think,
but it’s a very, very high level. And there are no real specific designs that
we’ve done. They were all —
MS. WRIGHT: Well, what was in the Washington Business
Journal then? MR. HORVATH: It was a concept study. MS. WRIGHT: Okay. So, well, I guess, you just said that you’re
not seeking to change the feel of the Zoo, and I think a lot of the comments, I think,
address that issue particularly. It was sort of this ephemeral stuff, that
very subjective, the character of the Zoo as an urban park and its porousness and all
that. So, I think the community disagrees with you
about whether or not even the incremental fencing would change the character of the
Zoo. And I should note, it would be two months,
because we don’t meet in August. MR. DIXON: Right. MR. HORVATH: I would urge you also to consider
the challenge that our Zoo police officers have and our desire to try to create a situation
for them where they can be more effective and more successful in what they do. So, I just want to make sure that we balance
that. We’re trying to balance both the desire to
make sure that we can effectively secure this space —
MS. WRIGHT: But that’s part of the problem though,
is there’s this big mystery about what is the threat? Has there been a threat assessment done? MR. HORVATH: Yes, it’s ongoing. We —
MS. WRIGHT: And are we going to be —
MR. HORVATH: — do ongoing assessments. MS. WRIGHT: — would two months give you the time
to share that with us, even in executive session? Because it’s difficult to understand the need
for this. And it may also be, we may be at a point where,
in the continuum, where people, because the variety of incidents and the breadth of typologies
is such that we may be, as a culture, coming to a point where we are thinking, well, maybe
there’s just no way to protect against every psycho out there, or terrorist or whatever. I don’t know, but I will say, I was as surprised
as anybody. Like I said, I recommended a yes vote on Monday,
but I’m not prepared to support it now, because I think it — the public’s outcry, at the
very least, needs to — requires a more thorough explanation of the need, it seems to me. MR. SHAW: Mr. Chairman? I have another question about the consolidation. And I know we’re looking at it from the security
fence side and if there’s a Phase 2, but I think we’ve talked a lot about the idea that
some of these consolidated are in a parking lot that was going to be another building. So, I just, all of our conversations right
now, I think still — was that Lot B? Can you go back —
MR. GERBICH: Yes. MR. SHAW: So, I mean, a lot of your conversation,
Mr. Gerbich kept saying, well, we’re consolidating because there’s an anticipation of future
development there as well, at some point. Was that —
MR. GERBICH: It was that the impact would be relatively
low — MR. SHAW: Right. MR. GERBICH: — considering that that will all
be kind of moved into an exhibit space eventually. MR. SHAW: I just — so, that’s another piece for
me, as we think about this going forward is, I don’t want to have conversations where — so,
this might be once again an issue, and I haven’t been here when we’ve done that new facility. If that new facility is coming in, I don’t
want a conversation that precludes the ability also for other physical expansion in the future. So, I know we’re thinking about the fence
now, but if this consolidation is also under the idea that at some moment in the future,
this would be another facility expansion of the Zoo, I just want to be mindful of a conversation
that doesn’t preclude us from having conversation about the expansion of the Zoo and its parking
lot in the future. So, I think we’re conflating there. I know we’re talking about porosity and those
ideas as well, but we just got to put a pen in that for future development as well and
what that impact might be. So, if there’s some more conversation and
thinking about that, I’m fine. But to me, right now, that’s where I’m at. MR. CASH: Mr. Chairman? MR. GALLAS: Commissioner Cash? MR. CASH: So, not to be a pessimist here, but
I’m kind of starting to see these different projects in one big light. I mean, sure, we’re consolidating several
entrances there along the north side to create a single entrance. And we’re looking at maybe doing security
checkpoints. But, I mean, I think that this is — one of
the things this is setting up might be less about security and we’re creating more of
a defined access and maybe going back and looking at what the Simpson-Bowles Commission
recommended years ago, which is a means to maybe start charging admission sometime in
the future. And this just raises a lot more questions
when you’re controlling the access to what’s now essentially uncontrolled access with all
those entrances. And I mean, it can be a slippery slope, I
think, under the guise of security, to say that could be an easy next step. Because now, we can just take your tickets
and you can buy them at these, eventually, four entrances. So, I’m hoping that’s not the case and that
there’s cold water thrown on any future plans for admission. But the other thing I want to say is that,
with these renderings that made it out to the Business Journal, I’m not sure why they
made it to the Business Journal. This isn’t the first time we’ve had an issue
with the Smithsonian issuing renderings that have actually caused you greater headaches. I’m thinking about the South Mall Master Plan,
where these really cool looking renderings of some possibly structures that not everyone
agrees with. And now, we’ve had renderings go out there
a little bit prematurely and you’ve started this whole firestorm, where if you’d just
kept it to the fence for now and then, come back to us later and say, okay, now this is
our Phase 2. But I think that it was kind of a self-inflicted
wound here with the public, judging from everything that’s gone on online and with a lot of the
testimony here. And I urge you in the future to be careful
about releasing those things that can really much up a potentially unrelated project, like
this fence project, and it really has, I think, combined the two. So, I just wanted to put that out there and
make that suggestion to the Smithsonian. MR. GALLAS: Mr. Hays, did you have a —
MR. HAYS: I just wanted to comment on that that
the renderings were requested by CFA, the complete package to them. So, that’s where they came from. I just wanted — it wasn’t something that
was done surreptitiously. We were requested by CFA and provided it to
them. MR. GALLAS: Mr. Griffis? MR. GRIFFIS: So, first of all, I agree with some
of the things that have been said. And I think in terms of community input, it’s
important for us to understand that. I recall some very supportive community input
on the last time we were here looking at parking garage, particularly — most importantly,
I think our charge is to take that under advisement, along with the application and along with
the staff report, and then, render decisions. So, first and foremost, I think it was used
to say, we were conflating a lot of issues and then, summarizing them in community opposition. I don’t agree with that. I don’t think that’s what we should be doing. I do find some rationale and logic to what
is being presented here. In reverse, I would say, can you imagine if
Smithsonian had come to us and said, you know, we kind of what to create this Zoo based on
a spine. So, I don’t know that I agree that it’s a
porous design, it’s a spine that has a top and a bottom and all kind of exhibits feed
off of that, but ultimately, it’s that spine. But we would rather have 13 kind of random
entrances, no real edge definition, and we’ll kind of throw some surface parking here and
entrances off that. And we don’t really know how we’re going to
control it, but whatever, things will happen. I’m not sure that would be so successful. Looking at this, I find some rationale and
some logic in closing off those, especially with the potential for what’s happening in
the future. I think, in terms of the gates and entrances,
that some of the structures that are being proposed, again, we’re taking that up later,
I don’t think that precludes us from doing any action on those. I was mostly concerned with some of the comments
that were raised about the connection to public transit. But I don’t see any of those blue that are
proposed closing on North Road as being any sort of community entrance or access. I mean, I’ve been there for 30 years, I’ve
lived on both sides of the Zoo. I don’t think I’ve ever gone in there. I mean, I could on the main entrances off
of the south side or the north side, but from east and west. So, I think we need to look strongly at some
of the rational points that are before us, before we kind of throw it all out because
we can garner up some major opposition, which is, listen, in any change, it’s easier to
get opposition out than it is support. I think one of the critical pieces and substantive
issues is the comments that were made off of the Rock Creek entrance. And that has been sporadic in terms of opening
and closing and things like that. But that’s a specific element that we can
actually address and I think we should. But the others, in my opinion, I don’t see
why we can’t move forward on the portions that I find to be, or I hope people find to
be fairly logical. MR. GALLAS: Any other comments? Go ahead. MR. MAY: So, I just want to say, I don’t think
— I don’t want to be confused of where I’m coming at this from, it’s just that, I mean,
I support much of what the objectives are here. And I think what we’ve encountered is substantial
community concerns and I think that, based on what Mr. Horvath said and other things
that have been said here, I think that it’s entirely possible and hopefully likely that,
with a little bit of conversation with the community, the concerns that were raised can
be address. And there might be some small ways in which
the plan is tweaked, like keeping one or more of these other entrances open. But I feel like we are — for us to move ahead
right at this moment and give even a preliminary approval to this seems premature. And I don’t detect that there’s an absolute
urgency about going to construction. Yes, it might set things back a couple of
months, but in the bigger perspective, I mean, it’s been here a long time, it’s going to
be here a long time, and there doesn’t seem to be an immediate threat that they’re trying
to address. So, I mean, I would just say we put it off
for a couple of months, give the Smithsonian a little room to have conversations with neighbors,
and maybe the issues will be fully addressed with the current plan or maybe they get tweaked
a little bit, but I’d much rather do that than race forward with an approval at this
point. MR. GALLAS: Commissioner White? MS. WHITE: I completely concur with Commissioner
May. And I think what is troubling me, this all
feels very piecemeal. And we’ve gotten more scrutiny around a high
threat defense installation and more evidence about why that’s needed than here. And I don’t know, it feels a little out of
balance to me. And if closing those entrances for something
that’s coming in the future makes sense in the future, great. That doesn’t seem to be a big threat right
now, unless it’s a security threat. But I’m just not hearing a comprehensive argument. And then, seeing that there will be screening
facilities and gates coming, from a holistic perspective, why not look at how the whole
system works together? And I agree wholeheartedly with the need for
just further discussion with the community. There may be a simple tweak here and there. And we hear this much concern, and I love
the phrase, we need great evidence for a great intervention. Clearly, a lot of people see this as a great
intervention. And fences are something this Commission has
struggled with mightily in lots of places. And what that means from the symbolic nature
of these fences and how — the conversations we had around the bike paths. This is not the White House, this is not the
Pentagon. So, I think we need to just understand what
this is. And I want to be totally respectful to the
Smithsonian, I can imagine a place this big is difficult to figure out. But I just think we need to hear more of what
that analysis is and how the concerns are addressed for the community. So, I would concur that postponing is the
correct way to go. MR. GALLAS: I think there’s been a lot of input
here. I think what we’re hearing is an action that
the current Visitor Control and Security Checkpoint Project, as it is called, seems to — that,
combined with the additional information about the screening that has come up, has certainly
created a lot of wonderment about what’s in store in the future that we don’t know. And I think that’s what we’re hearing from
the Commission here today. And so, there has been sentiments to defer
from several Commissioners here today. And I’m wondering whether anyone wants to
make a motion to that or whether we should move on the action as it’s been recommended
by the ER? MS. WRIGHT: I’ll make that motion —
MR. MAY: I’ll second. MS. WRIGHT: — that we defer it until the September
meeting. MR. GALLAS: And what would you like to happen
in the interim of that deferral? MS. WRIGHT: A more thorough explanation of the
need for the security writ large. Doesn’t have to be — I mean, if there is
a threat assessment that we could — that could be shared or some — I don’t even think
we need to see that, but some explanation. Doesn’t have to be a novel, just a more complete
explanation about what the threat is. And then, a thorough going conversation with
the community. Some public process that is a little bit — that
is a two-sided process, where there’s some response to the community. Because I agree, I mean, it doesn’t — when
it was just a fence project, it seemed to make perfect sense, in large part. But the security pavilions really kind of
change the whole nature of the thing. MR. GALLAS: So, there’s —
MS. WRIGHT: Plus, the need for the explanation,
why? MR. GALLAS: Okay. So, there’s been a motion and it’s been seconded. Any further discussion? Mike? MR. RHODES: I would just like to align myself
to the earlier comments of Commissioner Griffis. While there can always be more discussion
and if members want other information, would like to better understand and get context,
I think there’s an inherent logic in what is in the underlying principle of what they’re
trying to do there. It was piecemealed together in the first place,
all the fence lines, and the primary and secondary reasons. And this is just putting a logic to that. I think there’s an underlying inherent logic. While there’s other things that can be discussed,
there’s understanding of context or potentials for the future that could be understood, I
don’t think there’s a lack of an underlying logic in this. This just seems logical to me in it’s element,
so I would just like to align myself to those comments. Thank you. MR. GALLAS: Any further discussion on this motion? Okay. Yes, Commissioner Shaw? MR. SHAW: So, just, once again, for me, I talked
about the idea of storytelling and I’ve said that before, just what’s the context from
the master plan that we approved in 2008? What’s the context of the surrounding community? I know we — so, I’ve actually heard from
some people in the cabinet around sort of the Mount Pleasant interactions. So, just what that looks like. Just sort of check the boxes that says, I’ve
thought about how this looks all the way around, right? Because I think we’ve had some real conversations
of understanding about access to the Metro and all of the other things that we’ve been
talking about, they make sense. Let’s say that, but just once again, we get
tripped up when there’s not — they get to 355 and not 360. And that last five is the one we’re always
trying to sort of figure out. And so, if there’s any sort of additional
guidance you need from our office about any existing small area plans or things that we’ve
done, I’m happy to provide those to you, as well understanding the context in which we’re
thinking about this as well. But I just want to better understand the planning
context. MR. GALLAS: Okay. So, there has been a motion to defer this
action until our next meeting, which would be in September. Have you taken a shot, Julia, at what this
would say? MS. WRIGHT: Could I ask, would that be enough
time? MR. HORVATH: Absolutely. MS. WRIGHT: Okay. MR. HORVATH: Well, as long as we understand what
you expect in return, certainly. MR. GERBICH: And we can clarify that as well for
you, and we’re with you on that. MR. CASH: Mr. Chairman? MR. GALLAS: Yes, Commission Cash? MR. CASH: Can I just ask too that when this does
come back to us, that we can receive some kind of a briefing on even the rudimentary
security requirements? MS. WRIGHT: Yes. MR. CASH: Because the last big project we had,
which was the DHS NAC, which I think this fencing is going to be more heartened than
the NAC at this point, and we’ve had the White House fencing, all these fence projects, we’ve
always had some kind of briefing, even a low level, to understand the threat. So, I think — I wouldn’t necessarily be comfortable
with moving forward with the package of these until we have that, some kind of even very
modest threat briefing — MS. WRIGHT: Yes. MR. CASH: — included with it. MR. GALLAS: Giving Ms. Koster more work here. MS. KOSTER: That’s okay. That’s not a — how about this? That you have moved to postpone the Commission
action until our next regular meeting and request the Smithsonian provide a briefing
on security assessments and conduct public outreach through meetings and other information
with the community and other stakeholders. MR. GALLAS: Is that acceptable? Okay. So, all those in favor of this amendment,
signify by saying aye. MR. GALLAS: All those opposed? MR. GRIFFIS: Opposed. MR. GALLAS: All right. One opposed. Thank you very much. Appreciate your work to help us all better
understand what your plans are. Thank you very much. Look forward to seeing you — that song, right? See you in September. MR. GALLAS: Okay. Next is Agenda 5C. The Commission’s comments on the concept design
for access and safety improvements for the Rock Creek Park Trail and rehabilitation of
Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway. And, again, Mr. Gerbich, you’re working hard
today. You’re going to need a vacation as well. MR. GERBICH: I’m going to go ahead and —
MR. GALLAS: Please, go right ahead. MR. GERBICH: — go ahead and stand up here again
then. Move through the next project. So, again, good afternoon, Mr. Chairman and
members of the Commission. The National Park Service has submitted concept
design plans for Rock Creek Park Trail access and safety improvements and rehabilitation
of Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway in Washington, D.C. The extent of the improvements to Rock Creek
and Potomac Parkway and Rock Creek Park Trail are shown here in red. And as can be seen, are generally comprised
of two main sections. The first area of work, shown here in blue,
includes improvements to segments of both the Parkway and Trail that span from Virginia
Avenue to Ohio Drive, along the Potomac River. Major work includes the rehabilitation of
the Parkway, including asphalt mill and overlay, and replacement of lightbulbs and luminaries. While staff supports these projects, general
maintenance work and replacement in-kind is outside of the purview of the Commission and
will not be described in detail. Other work in this area, however, such as
Rock Creek Park Trail access and safety improvements, will be the focus of this presentation. The second area of work is highlighted here
in purple and includes resurfacing of Rock Creek Park Trail from the John Ericsson National
Memorial to the Tidal Basin Bridge. In general, the project components that are
pertinent to the Commission can be broken into four categories. They include the widening and resurfacing
of Rock Creek Park Trail, the extent of which is shown on this map in orange. The redesign of the Belvedere, the Constitution
Avenue Northwest turnaround, which is marked here with a blue circle. The construction of a tunnel for the Rock
Creek Park Trail under the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Bridge, which is marked here with
the green circle. And the Trail improvements along the Potomac
Waterfront, near the John F. Kennedy Center. This segment is marked here in purple. I’ll next describe each of these components
in more detail, including staff analysis and key recommendations. So, the first major component is the widening
of many Trail areas and resurfacing of the highlighted segments. Trail widths currently range from eight feet
to ten feet, many of which are out of compliance with established trail standards that recommend
a minimum of ten feet. The northern segment of Trail, from Virginia
Avenue to Ohio Drive, will generally be widened to 14 feet, with a width of ten feet in areas
constrained by important trees or other landscape features. The southern segment will remain at nine feet. The entirety of the highlighted Trail will
be resurfaced with a consistent porous asphalt pavement as well. The photos on this slide show several different
areas of existing paving, which demonstrate both the variability of paving materials,
as well as the condition of existing pavement. So, pavers are currently used along the Potomac
River Waterfront, near the Kennedy Center, which is shown on the left. And the existing asphalt, shown on the right,
is generally in poor condition. These conditions can be both uncomfortable
and unsafe for cyclists to navigate. Staff believes that the use of porous asphalt
along the length of the Trail will provide a much smoother, more consistent experience
for cyclists and that the additional width in many areas will allow for improved navigation
and reduce the risk of cyclist-pedestrian conflict. Further, the use of porous pavement will help
meet stormwater regulations and serve to reduce runoff into the adjacent Potomac River. The second major component includes the redesign
of the Belvedere. So, the Belvedere was the original turnaround
for Constitution Avenue at its western terminus, but since the construction of Rock Creek and
Potomac Parkway, it has not served a traffic function. Because of its prominent location at the end
of the National Mall, adjacent to the Potomac River, the site was identified as a prime
candidate site for a future memorial in the NCPC Memorials and Museums Master Plan, and
as you recall, was recently considered as a potential location for the National Desert
Storm and Desert Shield Memorial. The site, however, is primarily auto-oriented,
with a paved drive aisle that allows for vehicular access. The applicant is proposing a redesign that
will accommodate enhanced landscaping, realign the Trail, and provide a site layout in preparation
for a future memorial. The major planned improvements to the Belvedere
are shown here, with the existing site conditions on the left and site plans on the right. The red line shows the existing and proposed
circulation patterns. As can be seen here, the intersection would
be reconfigured to allow the Trail to move around the east side of the Belvedere site,
where a new crosswalk would be constructed. The area show in yellow, to the right, would
become a planting bed. And the area that is green would be landscaped
as a green line. The footprint of the original turnaround would
be retained, slightly mounded and planted. The renderings here show a comparison between
the existing and proposed conditions, as can be seen from the northwest, along the Theodore
Roosevelt Bridge. Staff believes that these improvements would
greatly improve safety for pedestrians and bicycles. And the removal of asphalt will reduce stormwater
runoff. The proposed landscaping will also serve to
create a park-like setting that is more appropriate for commemoration and contemplation, which
would support it’s potential future use as a memorial. The third major component of the project is
the construction of a new Trail tunnel through the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge abutment, just
north of the Belvedere. The Trail in this location currently shares
a vehicular tunnel with the Parkway and narrows to six feet in width. This is well below safety standards and has
a high potential for bicycle-pedestrian-vehicle conflict. This project proposes the construction of
a new 14-foot wide dedicated Trail tunnel that will pass through the hollow bridge abutment. Two tunnel entry options are proposed, including
an arched and rectangular option, as well as two possible alignments from the north:
one through the center of the abutment and another slightly off-center. This slide shows the existing six-foot wide
Trail route that is shared with vehicular traffic on Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway. Note that, in addition to the narrow width,
there are no hand-railings or other interventions here to improve safety. I next would like to review the tunnel options
as they would look from the south end of the bridge, near the Belvedere, which can be seen
here. The existing condition is shown on the left
and the two tunnel entry options are shown on the right. Entry Tunnel Option A is arched, with stone
detailing, as shown in the top photo. The bottom photo shows a rectangular entry
option. In general, staff supports efforts to create
a dedicated tunnel at this location, which would allow for a wider Trail and greatly
improve safety for Trail users. Further, staff finds that the arch option
is more architecturally interesting and would be consistent with the arched entry of the
existing vehicular tunnel and the arched spans that cross the Potomac River. This rendering shows the other side of the
bridge and provides another view of the existing tunnel alignment on the left. The photos on the right show the two proposed
Trail alignments that could occur from this side of the bridge, with Alignment 1 at the
top, centered on the abutment, and Alignment 2 at the bottom, slightly off-center. While the abutment is hollow, the applicant
has noted that the center tunnel in Alignment 1 would impact a counterfort and would require
structural reinforcement of the bridge. Alignment 2 would avoid this counterfort and
require fewer engineering interventions. Further, the plans indicate that the Trail
in Alignment 1 would need to be curved to achieve the appropriate angle moving into
the tunnel, as can be seen here. Staff believes that this would reduce visibility
to and through the tunnel and could pose a safety concern, while Alignment 2 would be
more direct and allow for greater visibility. In summary, for this component of the project,
staff supports the slightly off-center Alignment 2, with the arched tunnel entryway, because
it would avoid impacts to major structural elements of the bridge and allow for clear
lines of site through the tunnel for pedestrians and bicycles, while the arched entry would
complement the existing bridge design. The last major improvement is on the segment
of Trail next to the John F. Kennedy Center Waterfront, shown here with a purple line,
which includes the widening of the Trail and removal and replacement of existing trees
and benches. The Trail is currently ten feet wide, but
setting areas and benches constrain the functional width to six feet. The Trail would be resurfaced with porous
asphalt pavement and widened to 14 feet, which would require the removal of several trees,
many of which are fair to poor health. It’s important to note, while discussing this
segment of Trail, that this is the location of the pedestrian bridge across the Parkway
that was approved by the Commission as part of the Kennedy Center Expansion Project. The improvements here and at the Belvedere
will not affect access to or from the Kennedy Center near the future bridge. This slide shows the improvements planned
for this Trail segment. As noted, the Trail is currently ten feet
wide, but is functionally constrained to about six feet, due to the benches and seating,
as shown on the left. The proposed condition on the right shows
a widened Trail, as well as the porous asphalt surface. It also shows that the recessed areas for
seating would be reduced, effectively creating a consistent 14-foot wide Trail in this area. Trees will need to be removed to accommodate
the change and several new trees will be planted. While the submission notes that many trees
would be replaced, staff would like more information to better understand the extent of mitigation
and compliance with the tree replacement policies in the Comprehensive Plan. Accordingly, staff requests that the applicant
provide a narrative that describes the tree replacement strategy for the project, as well
as how it will prevent a net loss of tree canopy, in accordance with the policies related
to tree canopy and vegetation in the Comprehensive Plan. In addition to the more significant project
elements, there were a couple other minor improvements of interest to the Commission. The first is the removal of a segment of sidewalk
along the north side of Virginia Avenue, adjacent to the Parkway, which is shown in orange on
the image on the right. There are no crosswalks on this side of the
street that connect to any adjacent sidewalks or Trail segments, nor does the sidewalk continue
along the Parkway. The placement of the sidewalk is confusing
for pedestrians, encourages inappropriate street crossings, and presents safety concerns. Staff believes that its removal will help
improve navigation for pedestrians and cyclists at this intersection. Lastly, the submission notes that signage
will be provided throughout the project area, which will further improve way finding information. Staff supports the need for additional signage,
but to ensure sufficient information to analyze the scope and scale of its placement, staff
requests additional information regarding the extent and location of any proposed way
finding signage. In conclusion, it is the Executive Director’s
recommendation that the Commission comments favorably on the proposal to improve Rock
Creek Trail. Finds that site improvements and landscaping
proposed at the Belvedere will help formalize this location as the site for a potential
future memorial. Supports Trail Alignment 2 with the arched
tunnel entryway, because it would avoid impacts to major structural elements of the bridge,
allow for clear lines of sight, and complement the existing bridge design. Notes that several trees will need to be removed
to widen and realign the Trail segment near the Kennedy Center. Requests that the applicant provide a narrative
that describes the tree replacement strategy for the project, as well as how it will prevent
a net loss of tree canopy as described in the Comprehensive Plan. And requests additional information regarding
the extent and location of any proposed way finding signage. That concludes my presentation. I’m available to answer any questions, as
are representatives from the National Park Service and design team. MR. GALLAS: Thank you, Mr. Gerbich. Wondering if Commissioner May has any comments
on this fantastic plan? MR. MAY: It’s fantastic, thank you for capturing
that. MR. MAY: No, we’re just very pleased that this
has moved along, it’s been a long time — this is a remnant of prior projects having to do
with improving access for pedestrians and cyclists to the Kennedy Center. And in conjunction with the pedestrian bridge
that’s already been approved, we are accomplishing a lot of that. And I think making it easier for our visitors
to get to the Kennedy Center, making it easier for people to pass through the area, making
— finally being able to do something with the Belvedere, which has been a neglected
resource for us. So, we’re very excited that this is now moving
forward and it’s funded all the way through construction, so we want to get it built. So, that’s —
MR. GALLAS: Any other comments? Questions? I have one minor question on Slide 14, please. I’ve just been trying to understand the road
network that’s happening in the proposed. Or maybe Slide 13 helps. But I couldn’t get it from this. MR. GERBICH: Yes. So, basically, the area that you can see,
the kind of expanded green area over on the right side, so that would kind of move out
to the right. And that side lane there would kind of move
back onto the main roadway. And the turn would occur kind of where that
existing leg is over on the right side. So, it would be kind of reorienting that,
so you have an intersection that occurs, kind of a more traditional intersection that occurs
in that location. MR. GALLAS: Okay. And that’s two-way? That’s one-way traffic at this point or two-way
traffic? MR. GERBICH: Two-way. Right now, again, we kind of having it coming
in from one side and out the other, it’s going to be kind of going in and out the same area
in the proposal. MR. MAY: It’ll be two-way, but of course, you
can only go one-way certain hours of the day, when the Parkway reverses. So, but, yes, it’s —
MR. GALLAS: Some people actually follow that. MR. MAY: And this is an important part of it. We’re capturing a little bit more green space
instead of asphalt, but it’s very important actually to regularize that intersection a
little bit, because right now, people come off that Parkway and shoot right up to the
Memorial Bridge, and it’s just a speedway there. So, this will slow things down. MR. GALLAS: One other quick question on the timing. Since this is a concept design at this stage,
when do we think we’ll be seeing preliminary? Any sense of that? MR. GERBICH: It’s probably a question for the
Park Service. MR. MAY: The compliance path is pretty easy, this
is a categorical exclusion. And we have more compliance work to do. But I actually would ask Tom Shifflett from
Federal Highways if you can tell us more about when we think we’ll be submitting for preliminary. I mean, I think it’s in a few months. MR. SHIFFLETT: Well —
MR. GALLAS: You need to come to the microphone. MR. MAY: Come to the microphone, please. MR. GALLAS: And please announce your name and
your role in the project. MR. SHIFFLETT: All right. My name is Tom Shifflett. I work for Federal Highways and Federal Lands. I’m the Project Manager for this project. The next schedule will be about the end of
August, beginning of September. I don’t remember the exact date. So, that will advance these concepts a little
bit more, probably would be the preliminary stage. Some of the other work, which is mostly rehabilitative
in nature will be actually to a 70 percent. And so —
MR. MAY: But you’re talking about the design development. I think —
MR. SHIFFLETT: Yes. MR. MAY: — what that boils down to is that we’ll
be back in September/October — MR. SHIFFLETT: Oh, okay. MR. MAY: — time frame for preliminary and final,
something like that? MR. SHIFFLETT: Yes. MR. MAY: Yes. Okay, thanks. MR. GALLAS: Okay, thank you. Any other comments or discussion? Okay. Hearing none, I would like to entertain a
motion to approve — MR. RHODES: So moved. MR. MAY: Second. MR. GALLAS: All in favor, say aye. MR. GALLAS: Opposed? Unanimously approved, thank you. MR. GERBICH: Thank you. MR. MAY: Fantastic, thanks. MR. GALLAS: Next is Agenda Item 5D, for approval
of preliminary site and building plans for the new Master Clock Facility and the rehabilitation
of several historic buildings at the U.S. Naval Observatory, submitted by the Department
of Navy. And I hope, I’m looking at our clock on the
wall and I’m hoping that we’re right on time with the Master Clock. MR. GALLAS: And again, we really appreciated the
very, very informative presentation on our site visit this morning and thank you for
taking the time to walk us through that, very much. So, today, Mr. Flis will again give another
presentation on the Master Clock. MR. FLIS: Yes, thank you. No more bridges, this is a submission by the
Department of the Navy regarding the Master Clock Facility, which also includes the rehabilitation
of several historic buildings at the Navy Observatory here in Washington, D.C. So, the Observatory campus is on about 72
acres in northwest Washington, D.C., about a half of mile west of Rock Creek, near Massachusetts
and Wisconsin Avenues, it’s right up here on the screen. You can see, it’s in the middle of several
highly densely populated neighborhoods, with Woodland Park to the east and Glover Park
to the west and Georgetown is to the south. The campus has four primary tenants. They include the United States Naval Observatory,
the Oceanographer of the Navy, the U.S. Secret Service, and also, the residence of the Vice
President. The areas of work for this project are highlighted
here in blue. The Commission did approve a master plan for
the Naval Observatory campus in 2014. However, the new Master Clock Facility, which
you’re considering today, was not captured in that plan. Since that time, the Navy has done extensive
basic facilities requirements analysis and also, some additional programming, to identify
the need for this facility. The analysis also identified the need to rehabilitate
the old Clock House Building, which is 3, Buildings 52, 52A, and 78, which I’ll walk
through at the end of the presentation. The old Clock House will continue to serve
as the operations base and also the sleeping quarters for the astronomers. So, the Naval Observatory performs an essential
scientific role for the United States, including the Navy and the Department of Defense. Its mission includes determining the positions
and motions of the Earth and other celestial objects, maintaining precise time, determining
the Earth’s orientation in space, and maintaining the Master Clock for the Department of Defense. The campus has been determined as eligible
as a historic district for the National Register of Historic Places, including the buildings,
structures, and landscape elements contributing to its significance. This period of significance begins in 1881
and ends in 1954. Architect Richard Morris Hunt designed many
of the buildings and landscape features for the campus, beginning in the 1880s. And these buildings are the only known examples
of his work in Washington, D.C. These include the Clock House, which I mentioned,
as well as the Administrative Building. So, as part of the process, the Navy did compile
a historic landscape survey in 2017. This identified significant historic landscape
elements, which informed the decision for locating this new Master Clock Facility. And this diagram just shows you some of the
analysis that they undertook as part of that. So, moving on, I’m going to talk now about
the proposed siting of the facility, including its location and design. And so, while consolidating many functions
into one building, the design of the new Master Clock Facility must address many requirements
and constraints, while meeting the mission needs and project needs, integrating into
the existing site and landscape, and also being compatible with the existing buildings,
and also the spatial organization of the campus. So, for mission reasons, the Master Clock
Facility needs to be located as close as possible to the Clock House, while addressing some
of the constraints on the site, including security, avoiding some geothermal fields,
archeological sites, and also, avoiding sites that interfere with some of the existing telescopes. So, these are all constraints on where this
building can be located. Prior to the submission you have before you,
the Navy actually looked at some other options and met with the agencies earlier in the design
process to look at a different location, actually directly north of the historic Clock House. And that’s shown here. This was problematic in several aspects, because
it would visually compete with the historic buildings, including the Clock House, and
the axial relationship established by the historic building would also impact the landscape
elements. This location shown here was dismissed and
the Navy identified the new location, which is here before you today. I will also, with this particular scheme,
that the Navy and the agencies found that the concepts to the exterior design, which
are there in the top right, were problematic because they started to replicate the more
traditional architecture and stylistic designs found on the campus. As you’ll see, the Navy has submitted a different
design approach in response to some of these conflicts. So, here’s kind of a blown-up plan of the
proposed facility. This location is slightly northeast of the
historic Clock House, because it does best address some of the site constraints that
I mentioned. Vehicular access to the facility will be provided
by extending the existing avenue around the site. And this extension will eliminate an existing
dead end. Pedestrian access to the Clock House will
be from the existing network of sidewalks on the site and there will also be a new sidewalk
planned along this road, with ADA access to the new building. The new facility will also comply with stormwater
retention and erosion regulations and will also include rain gardens at the front and
rear of the building, which are highlighted here in blue. Therefore, staff does recommend the Commission
support the Department of Navy’s proposed location for the new Master Clock Facility,
as well as the site location, noting that it is lower in grade than the historic Clock
Building. So, now, looking at the proposed design for
the Master Clock Facility, there’s a rendering here. The function of the facility requires the
building to be linear in plan, one story in height, and approximately 15,000 square feet. It is served by a redundant and equipment
rooms, located in each end. For security reasons, a single entrance is
the primary ingress and egress, with some additional emergency exits. The building’s operational program requires
there be no windows. And therefore, the only other opens are those
related to mechanical systems. Following some the latest agency discussions,
the design has evolved to reflect more minimalist, contemporary design, which really quiets the
building, allowing it to be in the background, and also, not to compete with some of the
existing historical landscape. As you can see here, the design is rectangular
in form with two lanes that intersect near the main entrance. The facade of the building, facing the old
Clock House, has three openings, the main entrance, as I mentioned, plus the emergency
exits. The function of the Master Clock Facility
requires some special security features, including perimeter fence. An additional sliding gate for egress and
access will also be provided. Here’s a rendering of the rear view of the
building, looking from the northwest. And this is a rendering showing the Master
Clock Facility in relationship to the historic buildings, which are kind of up in the upper
left. The exterior finishes, shown here, are intended
to complement the other buildings on the campus, especially the telescope structures. And therefore, staff recommends the Commission
support the design of the Master Clock Facility, as well as its minimalist, contemporary architectural
expression, finding that it does not compete with the architectural character of the historic
buildings designed by the Architect Hunt and that it also relates in function to the Master
Clocks for the Department of Navy. Staff does, however, recommend the Commission
request the Navy provide some additional views and perspectives, particularly from the north
side of the Clock House, again, Building 3, looking northeast towards the entrance of
Building 1, as well as from the ceremonial drive to the northwest. And these are indicated here in red arrows. And then, finally, very quickly, I’m going
to walk you through some of the proposals for rehabilitation of some of the other buildings. The first is Building 3, again, the original
Clock House. This will continue to serve as an operations
base and, as I mentioned, sleeping quarters. The foundations for the historic transit houses,
which are Buildings 6 and 7, on either end of this building, will also be stabilized. Some of the improvements include removing
the current vinyl siding and replacing it with wood siding and trim. The existing standing seam copper roof will
also be retained. And other original historic elements, such
as crown moldings, flooring, and the chair rails, will also be restored. In addition, a new ADA access lift will be
provided, in a manner that’s complementary to the existing building. Buildings 52 and 52A will also be rehabilitated. Again, existing non-original windows and other
materials will be replaced, as well as the addition of anti-terrorism protection requirements. And then, stormwater management has also been
incorporated into the project. And then, finally, Building 78, which consists
of the original one-story astrographic laboratory, which was built in 1932, with a later addition
in 1961, shown here. And this rehabilitation will include some
stone repair, repointing, and cleaning, as well as some additional modifications. So, overall, the design of the new Master
Clock Facility balances a constrained site, as well as some specialized operational requirements
and historic preservation considerations. The site location, design expression, massing,
and palette of the proposed building are proposed to be compatible with the existing historic
buildings, while avoiding competing with some of the historic facilities. And therefore, it is the Executive Director’s
recommendation that the Commission approve the Department of the Navy’s vision to consolidate
the Master Clock Facility into one facility and the vision to rehabilitate historic contributing
buildings on the campus, including the old Clock House. Support the Department of the Navy’s proposed
location for the new Master Clock Facility. Support the design of the building and its
minimalist, contemporary architectural expression. And also request the Department of the Navy
provide additional views and perspectives from the north side of the Clock House, looking
northeast, as well as from the ceremonial drive, looking northwest. This concludes my presentation. I’m available for questions, as well as representatives
from the Department of the Navy. Thank you. MR. GALLAS: Thank you, Mr. Flis. I’d like to open this up for any comments,
questions. Commissioner May? MR. MAY: Yes. I mean, I thought it was very, very helpful
doing the site visit earlier today and understanding what goes on there. It really is a fascinating facility. I think that — I appreciate the work that
the staff has done and the Navy has done to design this and place it carefully and I think
that’s the right strategy. I think, generally, the architectural strategy
is right. I do find the rendering of the building, and
I don’t know if I mean literally how it’s drawn or how it is finished, to be lacking. And so, I feel like we need to understand
that better and hopefully, as we go through further reviews, that will be refined and
it’ll look better than just a step-on warehouse kind of thing, because it kind of — I mean,
part of it is just the drawing. It’s just the drawing. I look forward to seeing it again, but I —
MS. WRIGHT: I certainly hope so. Suffice it to say that Richard Morris Hunt
is not under threat by the new building. MS. WRIGHT: That’s the only thing I had to say. And maybe it is just the rendering, but it
looks like those container stacks down by the ballpark right now. The way it’s rendered, I’m being — I’m assuming
that’s a rendering thing. And it is a difficult problem, because you’re
— it can’t have any windows, right? And I imagine it’s got to be sealed like a
drum for humidity and all that other stuff, so it’s really hard to make a handsome building
with those specifications. And I’ll just leave it at that. MR. GALLAS: This clearly is a building in the
presence of greatness, some amazing armature around it that we need to make sure complement
what the — and continue to make this a wonderful site. Any other comments at this point? MR. MAY: I want to respond to something that Commissioner
Wright said, which is that, no windows and a lot of building controls, HVAC and that
sort of thing, I mean, yes, that’s true, but where else do you see that? You see it in museums and museums are very
often fine looking buildings. So, hopefully we will get that here. We know how hard it is to deal with a museum
with windows, right? MS. WRIGHT: Yes. MR. MAY: Personally. MS. WRIGHT: Personally, yes. However, there are some windows in most museums
in some part of it. And my understanding is, this thing has to
be a sealed container. And that’s a challenge. MR. MAY: Yes. MR. GALLAS: Sensing no further comment, I’d like
to entertain a motion to approve the preliminary site and building plans. MR. RHODES: So moved. MR. GALLAS: And a second? MR. SHAW: Second. MR. GALLAS: Thank you. All those in favor, signify by saying aye. MR. GALLAS: Opposed? Okay, thank you very much. MR. GALLAS: Next is Agenda 5E, the preliminary
site and building plans for the Consolidated Communications Center at Joint Base Andrews. Mr. Weil is here today to give a presentation. MR. WEIL: Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman and members
of the Commission. The Navy has submitted preliminary site and
building plans for a new Consolidated Communications Center on behalf of the Air Force, to be located
at Joint Base Andrews in Prince George’s County, Maryland. The Commission previously reviewed this project
for concept back in November 2017. And since that time, the Navy has modified
the design to reduce costs and respond to a number of our previous design comments. Joint Base Andrews spans 4,400 acres, bordered
by Allentown Road on the west, Pennsylvania Avenue on the east, and Suitland Parkway to
the north. The installation has a daytime worker population
of approximately 17,000, a residential population of 2,600, and is home to various organizations
from the Department of Defense, Maryland National Guard, Maryland State Police, and District
National Guard. The 20-acre project site is located in the
main administration district, which hosts a variety of uses, including the base exchange,
a commissary, a fitness center, a conference center, and the Jones Building, which serves
as the installation headquarters. The site is now home to a number of older,
vacant buildings, previously used for light industrial and maintenance service functions. Also included in the project limits are two
buildings, Buildings 1539 and 1558, which currently house the functions that will be
consolidated into the new Communications Center building. The project will be implemented in two phases. Phase One will demolish the existing onsite
buildings and construct a new Communications Building and associated site improvements. And Phase Two will demolish Buildings 1539
and 1558 and return these sites to open green space. The new Communications Building is sited near
the current operations, to allow reuse of existing underground utilities, which would
be prohibitively expense to extend to other, more distant locations on the installation. So, here’s a closeup of the preliminary project
site plan, with 270 parking spaces, rear building mechanical areas, loading and emergency access,
an arched driveway for drop-off traffic, and main entry walkway. And here’s the building’s potential expansion
area, which would allow extension of the building’s east wing in the future. Here’s a comparison between the concept and
preliminary designs, with a number of changes, which include maintaining the original inner-arch
roadway fronting the old headquarter’s site, as well as re-utilizing several radial paved
areas for the new building parking. Reducing the building size from 98,000 to
79,000 square feet. Fully connecting the limited access emergency
delivery drive along the south side of the building. Reconfiguring and relocating government vehicle
parking. And reducing the number of loading dock bays. The preliminary design maintains the required
stand-off buffer around the building, pursuant to Department of Defense security standards,
which is unchanged from the concept design. And here, you can see the stand-off buffer
drawn around the current building footprint, with its potential future expansion area,
which would likely require eliminating the closest one or two radial parking areas to
the east. The new Communications Building will have
two levels, similar to the concept submission, with a style based on current 2004 Joint Base
Andrews Architectural Standards. The building is designed with a brick veneer,
faux windows, accent bands, and a standing seam metal roof. In response to NCPC’s previous comments, submission
specifies that the building will include shower/locker room facilities, onsite bike racks, and reserved
carpool/vanpool parking in nearby lots. Preliminary plans also show an arched drive
in front of the building to accommodate drop-off traffic and potential future transit service. In recognition of these changes, the Executive
Director’s recommendation will include a finding that the Navy has modified the site and building
design in response to previous NCPC comments about minimizing project costs. Furthermore, in light of the Navy’s decision
to reuse nearby existing paved areas for parking, rather than constructing a new lot, the final
recommendation will recognize the Navy for reusing these areas to minimize construction
costs. One last point is, although the design of
the project is consistent with current 2004 Joint Base Andrews Architectural Standards,
we’re requesting an update to the installation standards to reflect better and more current
design practices. At the time of our previous Consolidated Communications
Center review in November, we requested broader level information on future area circulation,
street sections, parking, and vegetation, in an effort to understand how the project
would fit into installation plans for the area. In response, Joint Base Andrews submitted
its current Installation Development Plan to NCPC for review this past January. Although, as a Framework and Recapitalization
Plan, we were not able to glean enough information on plans surrounding physical development,
other than a notional westward extension of B Street to connect with North Perimeter Road
and Arkansas Avenue. To help us overcome this information gap,
the installation submitted an Internal Concept Plan for the administration and support district
from 2010, with conceptual building footprints, street network, parking, and area vegetation. The Installation Development Plan recommends
a more detailed Area Development Plan for the district and the Air Force has requested
funding for the plan in Fiscal Year 2019. So, you’ll see a reference to their request
in our final recommendation, based on the importance of a more detailed Area Development
Plan for our ability to review future projects in the district. The 2010 Plan serves as the redevelopment
vision for the area, reinforcing the district’s function as a primary activity hub and backdrop
to the Jones Building and other, more prominent uses. And we note the plan’s consistency with several
NCPC urban design policies, including providing extensions to adjacent streets, and developing
a shared open space in a new federal development, and breaking up super-blocks with open spaces
and shared access. In the next few slides, I will display the
Internal Concept Plan on the left and a satellite image on the right, with superimposed infrastructure
to help provide a larger planning context for the project. So, there’s the proposed new MR. CASH Building, situated within the current
Alabama Avenue alignment, just to the south of the Jones Building lot. And here is the existing and potential future
network, street network, depicted as solid and dotted lines, respectively. In particular, I would like to highlight two
key features of the area concept plan, as they relate to the new Communication Building
site. The first is the street that we referred to
as Center Street, extending roughly to the northwest of the project site, into the heart
of the administration and support district. And the second feature is the westward extension
of D Street across the front north side of the new Communications Building, to provide
a direct connection to Arkansas Avenue and North Perimeter Road. In recognition of these two planned features,
staff has expressed support in the final recommendation for Center Street and the D Street extension,
which will help structure the district’s future street grid network. In addition, the final recommendation includes
a finding that the projects preliminary site plan does not preclude a D Street extension
or Center Street element, as depicted in the Internal Concept Plan. Moving in a little closer, we can see Center
Street alignment’s skewed intersection with the arched driveway and front entrance of
the building’s point of inflection, which results from the project’s need to work within
existing developed areas as much as possible, in addition to a required setback buffer area
and the Meetinghouse Branch stream area immediately to the south. And we have noted these project constraints
in our final recommendation, with a finding that the building’s main entry is not on-axis
with Center Street, due to various site considerations. With the design and construction of the new
Communications Center prior to development of a more recent Area Development Plan for
the district, it is challenging to comment on the project’s relationship to other nearby
planned future development. Nevertheless, staff had identified two basic
relationships between the Internal Concept Plan and new building that should be maintained. First, the new building’s east wing should
orient roughly parallel to the D Street extension. And second, the location of the front arched
driveway should be at the terminus of Center Street, in support of good urban design planning
principles. Both of these relationship will help meld
the new Communications Building into the planned future administrative and support district
fabric and development. And we’ve captured both of these points in
the Executive Director’s recommendation, as summarized on this slide. Regarding the area’s interim circulation,
with traffic along Alabama Avenue diverting around the north side of the building through
two parking areas, the Air Force assures us that this circulation scheme is manageable
based on current traffic patterns, with virtually no through-traffic traveling between the Alabama
Avenue-D Street intersection and Arkansas Avenue So, we will be noting this finding
in the final recommendation to the Commission. In a couple of final project submission requests,
in anticipation of the project’s significant impervious surface reduction and required
compliance with state and federal stormwater management standards, we’re requesting a final
stormwater management plan and supporting performance documentation. And in support of the preliminary submission’s
promise to mitigate tree removal, based on a one-to-one replacement ratio, we’re requesting
a final landscape plan and other necessary documentation that demonstrates this in the
next and final project submission. So, with that, here’s the formal recommendation,
to approve the preliminary site and building plans for the new Consolidated Communications
Center. To find that the Navy has modified the design
to respond to concept comments by the Commission and to minimize project costs. To commend the Navy for eliminating the new
300-space lot from the concept plan and utilizing existing nearby parking instead. To note that the Air Force has requested funding
to complete an Area Development Plan for the district and, in the meantime, the Air Force
has submitted a Concept Plan for Commission use until an updated ADP is available. To support the planning district’s conceptual
framework, which creates a simple street grid around Alabama Avenue and D Street, in addition
to a Center Street through the heart of the district. Regarding the project site, we find that the
proposed site plan does not preclude the D Street extension, nor the proposed Center
Street alignment that’s shown in the Internal Concept Plan. The rerouting of Alabama Avenue traffic to
be acceptable in the interim, based on traffic patterns. And the building’s main entry is not on-axis
with Center Street, due to site limitations and cost-saving measures. We request that the Navy maintain the proposed
orientation of the east wing and driveway location at the terminus of Center Street,
to support the planned area street grid and development framework. And we request an update of the architectural
compatibility standards for the installation, to reflect current design practices when submitting
the district’s future Area Development Plan for NCPC’s review. And lastly, again, we’re requesting information
in the final submission that demonstrates compliance with applicable state and federal
stormwater management requirements. And we’re requesting final landscape plans
that reflect a one-to-one tree replacement ratio in the final submission as well. So, that concludes my presentation. I’m available for any questions. We also have David Humphreys here from the
Air Force, who is available to answer any questions about the future ADP or the master
plan. And we also have Nik from the Navy, who is
here to answer any questions about the project specifically. Thank you. MR. GALLAS: Thank you, Mr. Weil. Are there any questions or comments at this
time? No? MS. WRIGHT: No, I’ll spare you. MR. GALLAS: Okay. Hearing no comments or — I actually have
a comment. I do think that I want to commend the staff
for the urban design recommendations that you’ve made, especially related to the connectivity
of D Street and Center Ave. I think they’re really important to creating
— giving this building a presence and to making this entire campus a little bit more
connected. So, thank you very much for your work. MR. WEIL: Thank you. MR. GALLAS: Hearing no other comments or concerns,
I’d like to ask that there’s a motion to move —
MR. DIXON: So moved. MR. GALLAS: — to approve the preliminary plan? Moved and —
MR. RHODES: Second. MR. GALLAS: — second. All in favor, signify by saying aye. MR. GALLAS: Opposed? Unanimously carried, thank you. Okay. Finally, and next up is a presentation on
the Small Cell Infrastructure that’s occurring in the city here. I’d like to welcome Mr. Michael Bello, who
will provide this presentation. MR. BELLO: Thank you. Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman and members of
the Commission. I’m Mike Bello with the Physical Planning
Division. Today, I will be providing a brief on Small
Cell Infrastructure, which will include antennas and their related equipment placed in the
public space throughout the city. Kathryn Roos, a P3 Manager at the District
of Columbia’s Transportation Office of Administration, or DDOT, is the lead on this effort and is
also available to answer questions. If you recall, in May, Meghan Spigle and Kathryn
Roos briefed you on the Monumental Core Streetscape Project, which they indicated would include
wireless access points in the future. The presentation underscored the importance
of the quality of D.C. streetscapes, which reinforces its unique role as the nation’s
capitol and creates a welcoming and livable environment. Local and federal agencies, are working together
to address the impacts of this new cellular infrastructure across the city. We are seeing a surge of wireless infrastructure
across the country. Cities and towns are working with cellular
companies to prepare for the deployment of this new Small Cell Infrastructure, while
minimizing impacts on their community’s public space. This presentation will discuss what the infrastructure
is, examples of how it’s being deployed, its impacts, and how it’s being addressed in the
District. Small Cell equipment will initially meet 4G
voice and data demands, which we currently use. The providers are preparing to upgrade to
5G, which is the fifth generation of cellular technology. The underlying selling point of 5G is Internet
of Things, which is a seamless integration of the multiple devices at much higher speeds
on an unprecedented scale. Examples of Small Cell usage including times
when we’re paying for on-street parking, ordering delivery, or using GPS navigation systems. To meet the demand for high speed wireless
data in cities across the country, cellular providers have begun deploying Small Cell
Infrastructure, which is a new lower powered antenna technology that supplements rooftop
antennas and cell towers. Small Cells are installed every few blocks,
instead of miles apart. Small Cell technology consists of antennas
and related equipment that can be placed on structures such as streetlights, the sides
of buildings, or poles. They come in various sizes and are essential
for transmitting data to and from a wireless device. This diagram illustrates a variety of Small
Cell applications. Please note that this following graphic is
one of many images that are sourced through a variety of cellular providers. So, what we have here are streetlight, to
the left here, with an antenna and equipment. And utility pole, and to the right of it,
we have a standalone pole, with the antenna above the equipment. And to the right of that, we have the standalone
pole incorporating the antenna and equipment inside of its cavity. Some providers will install single-service
infrastructure, while others will provide hoteling infrastructure, which will house
up to four cellular companies. While Small Cell Infrastructure is an important
component to our city’s continued ability to innovate, we must also be aware of the
potential impacts. I want to underscore that implementation of
this technology could result in thousands of Small Cell antennas and related equipment
across the city and may result in several per block. National interest in this initiative includes
impacts to our viewshed, to our historic character, to access and circulation, and the potential
for streetscape clutter. The FCC, or the Federal Communications Commission,
has exempted small wireless providers from federal 106 consultation and NEPA review. However, applicable local and state government
approvals will still be required. To minimize impacts on the city and address
our shared interest to implement Small Cells fairly and consistently, NCPC staff is working
with DDOT and other stakeholders to develop guidelines for Small Cell placement and design. As long as the providers abide by the guidelines,
DDOT will review and issue permits without further agency review. NCPC will review applications on federal land. Why should we be concerned? If we’re not careful in managing how Small
Cell Infrastructure is deployed, the result can potentially look like what is shown here. These images are initial proposals provided
by the cellular providers and as you can see, each photo montage represents potential applications. To the left, we have a Simple CORBA, one of
our city’s Simple CORBAs with the antenna above, antenna just beneath, and equipment. We have a Twin-20, with the antenna. We have a Washington globe and we have a standalone
pole that mimics a Washington globe with the antenna and equipment. We also have a teardrop. And this teardrop, the antenna on the top,
as well as the equipment beneath, are both seven feet tall. This illustrates the types of standalone poles. The photo to the left is of a standalone pole
that has all of the equipment and antenna inside its cavity. This type of installation is what is called
future-proof, since it has the potential to add equipment, including the anticipated 5G
technology. It is approximately 18 inches in diameter
and requires a hand hole for access and maintenance. This is the streamlined pole here, anticipated
antenna above, equipment inside the cavity, and the hand hole for maintenance at the surface. The middle image is of a standalone pole with
the equipment and antenna sitting outside of the cavity. Future technology upgrades will require attachments
to the outside of the pole. The image to the right illustrates a scalable
standalone pole and its equipment for access and maintenance. Since the Small Cell providers have a limited
signal range, each provider may be installing hundreds of antennas and related equipment
throughout the city to meet their own independent coverage requirements, cumulatively resulting
in thousands of poles in the public space. So, our team took a quick snapshot, informed
by current discussions and other city precedents. Using our city’s distance criteria, ranging
from 250 to 300 feet distance, and taking a sample quarter-mile area of downtown in
the Federal Triangle, we can anticipate up to 29 new antennas and related equipment in
the right-of-way, as shown. This further illustrates the need for attention. What are we doing about it? DDOT is facilitating a collaborative interagency
team to address the local and federal issues mentioned previously. The team members include DDOT, DCOP, SHPO,
NCPC, CFA, and NPS has recently joined. DDOT entered into a master license agreement
with several cellular providers. Each provider will be installing their own
equipment throughout the District. However, some companies are hoteling and installing
the infrastructure which houses up to four cellular providers. DDOT will be administering the permit process. The providers will be issued permits on first
come-first served basis. DDOT is currently meeting regularly with three
cellular providers regarding their proposals. Additional providers may be entering into
master licensing agreements in the future. Meanwhile, the interagency team is currently
drafting design guidelines to address our shared interests. How is the District preparing for Small Cell
Infrastructure? The team has researched guidelines from other
cities and we are customizing our guidelines to address D.C.’s unique local and national
character, as well as functional needs. Because we are concerned about impacts of
this infrastructure being attached to our streetlights, we’re looking at further studies
to address, again as mentioned earlier, placement and design. The guidelines will address aspects of placement
and design of these poles, which include general design specification, spacing between Small
Cell poles, distance from tree boxes and root systems, accessibility, the amount of poles
per block, and the poles’ design and finish. The team anticipates completing the guidelines
for public meeting before the DC Public Space Committee at the end of September. The team will also be presenting this information
presentation to CFA next week. Staff would like to thank the District for
the opportunity to collaborate on this effort. The District has been really great in facilitating
and coordinating with our agencies. This concludes my presentation. We welcome any comments that you may have
today and Kathryn and I are available to answer questions. MR. GALLAS: Thank you very much, Mr. Bello. Are there any questions or comments —
MR. DIXON: Yes. MR. GALLAS: — about this topic? MR. DIXON: Yes, Mr. Chairman. MR. GALLAS: Yes, sir? MR. DIXON: What other cities have started this
process? MR. BELLO: Yes. Oh, what other cities? MR. DIXON: Right. MR. BELLO: What other —
MR. DIXON: What other cities have started the
process? MR. BELLO: Denver, Berkeley, San Francisco, San
Diego, Winter Haven — MR. DIXON: Okay. MR. BELLO: — Florida. A lot of them. MR. DIXON: Are they pretty far along, I mean,
in terms of the process? MR. BELLO: Some of them. Some of them are in the process of receiving
the approval or reaching approval with their guidelines. Some have achieved approval. And we’ve been looking at their guidelines
as precedents. MR. DIXON: The requirement or the ability to do
all your carriers or multiple carriers in one installation, is that regulated by the
government or is that based upon relationships of the carriers? MR. BELLO: I’m going to defer that to DDOT. MS. ROOS: Yes. So, there are one that we have right now a
signed MLA with that has already indicated that they will be what is called the hoteler,
and so, they will be housing numerous different cellular companies’ equipment. MR. DIXON: Great. MS. ROOS: There’s no requirement by any means
for any one particular company to hotel their facilities. It is a company’s decision whether they would
like to have their facilities, separate from a possible hoteler. MR. DIXON: Well, if we’re concerned about clutter
and distribution in the community, wouldn’t it be to our advantage as a city to try to
get them to hotel, to be multiples rather than single installations around? MS. ROOS: That’s something that is a business
decision by the individual companies. They each have —
MR. DIXON: I understand that, but I’m asking,
it seems it would be in the city’s interest to try to encourage it, if not require that
they get together or work out some relationships. Because otherwise, we’re going to have more
antennas, rather than fewer antennas. MS. ROOS: I absolutely see your point. I do not believe that the District has the
jurisdiction or ability. I’m not a lawyer however, and that is a question
that a lawyer would have to answer. But what we’ve been trying to do is, through
the design guidelines, is facilitate a conversation that allows us to implement this program as
gracefully into the urban fabric as possible, while still allowing what the businesses want
and need to do to extend their coverage. MR. DIXON: Okay. I’m not happy with that. I just — it would seem to me, the city would
have some ability to influence this, but maybe I’m wrong. My last question, what’s the street value
of one of these units? If one were to get them in their hands, what
would be the value? Would there be any street value in these items? MS. ROOS: That, I don’t know what the value of
— MR. DIXON: Somebody could —
MS. ROOS: — any individual equipment —
MR. DIXON: You have somebody that could tell me
that? MS. ROOS: — or pole. I don’t know that that’s something that the
companies would be wiling to share with us, we can certainly ask. But again, I don’t know that that’s something
that — we definitely don’t have that information now. MR. DIXON: Well, if you’re going to begin to put
these on poles, I think it would be good to find out what the street value is, because
somebody, some folks are going to find out what the street value is for you. MS. ROOS: Understand. And one thing that I think should be clear
is that all of the equipment, no matter how it is implemented or attached, is the responsibility
and the ownership of the individual companies. MR. DIXON: Okay. MS. ROOS: It does not by any means become ownership
responsibility — MR. DIXON: Now, you work with whom?
MS. ROOS: — of the District. I work for the District’s Department of Transportation. MR. DIXON: Okay. All right. Just would like stronger presence on this. This is going to be very invasive and very
valuable, but — MS. ROOS: Okay. MR. DIXON: — you start putting equipment on streets
and it’s easily taken down and resold or whatever, it’s an issue. MR. GALLAS: Commissioner Shaw? MR. SHAW: Yes, I may need to talk direct to Director
Marootian about this. I’m confused, because I thought we had a policy,
when we had fiber, that everyone had to use the same conduit. So, like, I’m not understanding why everyone
gets their own pole. So, I mean, we had a precedent when we saw
fiber go down the first time that we didn’t want the cuts. And then, the other question for me, I’m just
speaking out loud, I know I’ll get a call in two seconds, is —
MR. SHAW: — why wasn’t an urban design — force
is the wrong word, I don’t like the word force or require, but strongly encourage hoteling,
so that you don’t — so, in the end, it’s not we just let one pole happen on the block
and it’s not 25 and that’s the real estate we give up? I mean, so I just feel like I may need to
have a conversation, and maybe I’ll report back to you guys too if I find some urban
design things on this, but I’m just — I’m excited. And then, I’ll say one more thing. And congratulations, I hear it’s your first
presentation, very good job. MR. SHAW: This is not Washington, D.C., I just
want to say that once again, thank you for that beautiful non-D.C. skyline. But also, too, with us being in a lot of — I’m
getting Commissioner Wright and May on me today. With us being parts of other networks, I know
that China is developing this as a pilot, San — I mean, just, it also would have been
helpful in some instances to maybe see what it looks like. I mean, we saw a lot of abstractions on this,
but if we have the same streetscape guidelines as San Francisco, how does it look in San
Francisco? I just want to make sure, I mean, as this
starts to get deployed, it can’t — it will never, ever look like this. And so, as we’re thinking about materiality,
about risks, about own our street trees, I just need to see how this looks in D.C., if
that makes sense. And so, I mean, I’ll loop back with DDOT and
Chris Shaheen on our team has been talking about this. And so, I just want to make sure that, if
we can find some rendering or some thinking to understand the real scale affecting D.C.,
I will personally commit to seeing if we can get some pictures on that. MS. ROOS: Absolutely. Can I briefly comment on two of your comments? I think, first, it’s important to understand
the role of DDOT in this. DDOT is a permitting — we permit the right-of-way,
aside from that of federal lands, within the District of Columbia. And because these are installations within
the public right-of-way, that’s where DDOT comes into this process. Because we know that this has been — has
significant potential impact, we decided to step in and take the role of facilitating
conversations amongst our various colleagues, such as NCPC, CFA, and SHPO, as well as with
the Small Cell companies, to try to find that balance between their own personal needs,
as well as the need for the community. And also recognizing that the District of
Columbia is unique. We are the only city in America that is explicitly
named in the Constitution and we have a historic nature as the nation’s capitol, and we very
much respect that and want to incorporate that. And that’s, again, where we’re trying to find
that design and balance. Michael here has done a fabulous job of researching
what other communities across the country are doing, but also realizing that not all
communities have the same historic context or the same historic elements as we do, such
as the Twin-20s, the Washington globes, even our L’Enfant globes that we have. So, we’re trying to balance all those together. To your point about the fiber, and we can
definitely — I will go back to the Director and mention your comments to him. I think fiber is a ubiquitous thing, in which
everybody uses the same type of fiber, from my very limited technological knowledge, whereas,
I do know that the providers each have different equipment and different systems that they
use, which might make hoteling problematic for them. But I very much take your points of how that
could be advantageous and it’s something that we should look into and discuss further. MR. CASH: Mr. Chairman? MR. GALLAS: Yes, Commissioner Cash? MR. CASH: I just have to jump in here too, because
I worked in crafting the P3 law that D.C. has. And I think I can maybe give a little bit
more context with this issue. So, one of the core reasons that we have these
Small Cells going on things like streetlights, because it’s part of an agreement. We’re not going to have to pay for all the
great infrastructure that we’re going to get, like streetlights, but now we’re going to
have capacity for other companies to have their technology on there, which they charge
for. So, I think that’s some of the tradeoffs and
benefits of these P3 projects, that will eventually come to the Council for approval. And I will say, because a lot of these outstanding
questions, this is one of the reasons why then Councilmember Bowser, now Mayor Bowser,
submitted the P3 legislation that we marked up and refined, and it will require any P3
project, RFPs that move forward, have to come to the Council for the Council to approve
the RFP. So, if we see something that’s completely
wackadoodle and we don’t agree with or anything like that, we actually have the ability to
put a stop to it, before we kind of get out of control with kind of some of these unforeseen
glitches down the road. MR. SHAW: Mr. Chair, the idea too, in the RFPs,
even in scoping and basic design guidelines, is just some think — I’ll talk to Director
Marootian about it. MS. ROOS: I would like to clarify though that
this, the Small Cell presentation here is not a DDOT initiative. It is, again, we’re a permiter and we’re a
facilitator. This is completely separate from the P3 streetlight,
because I actually manage that project as well for DDOT. And so, I just don’t want any confusion as
to this connection to the P3 project, because the P3 project is not funded by any money
or fees that come from permitting from Small Cells. Small Cells will have to pay a permit fee,
just as anyone pays a permit fee to do work in the right-of-way. That is in no way financially or in any programmatic
way connected to the streetlight P3. MR. CASH: Okay. So, now, I just have to jump back. So, the presentation you’re giving us today,
even though some of these Small Cells you show us examples of being, like, on the streetlights,
this isn’t specific to the P3 project and this is just completely private Small Cells? MS. ROOS: Yes. MR. CASH: Is going to be DC-Net carried on any
of them? We’re not dealing with any of our own infrastructure,
this is all for the private sector? MS. ROOS: This is all the private sector. The private sector, their proposals that we’ve
seen so far, have a strong desire to attach to our streetlights. And there’s also potential for them to install
completely separate poles, as you saw in the images as well. So, these are mockups of potential attachments
to our various streetlights. The next slide is another option of installation
of what we call standalone poles, that everything is incorporated and not attached to our streetlights. So, this is separate. What I will say is, the minor overlap between
the two, aside from the possibility of incorporating into streetlights, is that OCTO has — they
are part of our P3 project, you are very correct in that. And they will be installing a very small number,
we’re talking maybe 200 or 300 maximum, what are called WAPs, or wireless access points. And those are about this big. They’re a box. There are some, if you’re familiar with PA
2040, they are incorporated within that project. OCTO, it is my understanding, also has relationships
with the Small Cell providers that, as Small Cell providers go to install this equipment,
they will be provided, if OCTO so chooses, with an OCTO WAP that the providers will install
for free for them. They will be given the equipment to install. So, in addition to the Small Cell equipment
that you see, there could potentially be another box on there that, again, is about this big,
that would attached, and that would belong to OCTO and to the District. MR. CASH: I’m sure I speak for Mr. May when I
say that if it’s too ugly to go on the ground, just put them on top of the buildings. MS. WRIGHT: I don’t get this at all. Well, I have a bunch of questions. So, who’s the arbiter of what can and can’t
go from an urban design quality and in number, design, blah, blah, blah? That’s the first set of questions. The second one is, who said no NEPA? MS. ROOS: The FCC did. MS. WRIGHT: Okay. So, who’s the arbiter of whether or not these
things are safe? Because I know, I mean, I know more now about
antennas than I ever cared to know, in part thanks to Mr. May, who warned me that I would
have some ‘splaining to do the next time we came with a batch of antennas. And we have done some very thorough searching
on our rooftops and I’ve learned a lot about radio frequency. And that there’s some serious safety implications,
health and safety implications. For example, on our rooftops, there are safety
barriers and there’s a whole, theoretically, a bunch of signage that warns people, don’t
stand near these things if you ever would like to have a baby or not have cancer. And who’s going to be in charge of that? I mean, are we going to just trust the carriers? We are?
MS. ROOS: So, that — so, part of our permitting
process and part of the master license agreements that the District has signed with each of
the Small Cell providers requires the Small Cell providers to provide certification, FCC
certification, that the equipment that they’re using falls within FCC regulations. MS. WRIGHT: Okay. And then, but — so, who’s going to then follow
up and verify that what’s installed — and then, I get to the other stuff, that’s more
our swim lane. But who, from my own experience, who’s going
to verify that the carriers install what they say they’re going to? Because that, in my experience, has not necessarily
been the case, that approved designs, for example, that go through the gauntlet and
come out of here, don’t necessarily match what’s built on the rooftops, if nobody’s
paying attention. MS. ROOS: Right. So, DDOT has, as part of its permitting and
regulations division, has inspectors. I think that you bring up a very valid point
about the capacity given, how extensive this program could be, the District to be able
to go and inspect each and every one. And that is a point that I will bring back
to our team as an issue of concern. MS. WRIGHT: And if these things are at a very
low level — MS. ROOS: So, the lowest —
MS. WRIGHT: — I mean, elevation wise, like three
feet, five feet in the air, I mean, so who’s talking about the health and safety issues. I mean, DDOT’s not exactly equipped to do
that kind of analysis, right? MS. ROOS: Yes. MS. WRIGHT: So, you’re relying on the FCC for
that? MS. ROOS: Well, the FCC, we’re relying on the
providers to provide us with the certification from — that they’re abiding by FCC regulations
within their equipment. The MLA specifically states that OCTO has
a responsibility of certifying that. And —
MS. WRIGHT: What’s OCTO? MS. ROOS: OCTO is the Chief Technology Office
within the District of Columbia. And so, they are — within the MLA, I believe,
have that responsibility. MS. WRIGHT: So, are —
MS. ROOS: But that’s a question —
MS. WRIGHT: — they health and safety experts? MS. ROOS: They are technology experts. MS. WRIGHT: Okay. And so, there’s the health and safety stuff,
that feels like — I don’t know, I don’t know enough to know whether or not people who work
for FCC or OCTO or whatever have that expertise. But I’m not sure I’d want to be standing next
to one of these things, unless somebody who’s got that expertise says this is safe. I mean, I’m assuming that it is, but assumptions
aren’t a good idea. And then, so there’s no NEPA and there’s no
106 and there’s no urban design review, really. And with all due respect, and I really mean
this, to DDOT, I don’t think you guys are the ones who should be opining as to whether
or not this is cumulatively or block-by-block, this constitutes a detrimental affect to the
public realm. MS. ROOS: And that’s —
MS. WRIGHT: Who’s doing that? MS. ROOS: — exactly why we’re working with your
team at NCPC, CFA, and SHPO, to talk exactly about that. MS. WRIGHT: But nobody has the authority to tell
DDOT, no, you’re wrong and this is a horrible mistake, in terms of the public realm. MS. ROOS: So, there is jurisdiction. CFA and SHPO both have specific jurisdictions
that are outlined — MS. WRIGHT: They do? Okay. MS. ROOS: — and in approval process. But again —
MS. WRIGHT: But CFA doesn’t have regulatory authority,
they have moral authority. MS. ROOS: They do have — some approvals are needed
to go through them. And I also know that SHPO specifically has,
I believe it’s Section 9 within the District Code, which is similar to a Section 106. MS. WRIGHT: So, but I thought I heard you say
that there was no NEPA and no 106 — MS. ROOS: Correct. MS. WRIGHT: — per FCC. So, the SHPO —
MS. MILLER: No federal. MS. WRIGHT: Okay. MS. MILLER: But they still have to meet local
and state regulations, yes. MS. WRIGHT: All right. MS. ROOS: Yes. And again, I very much see your point. We’re trying to play the role of facilitator
to both make sure that the companies are able to implement this program, but also trying
to do it in the best way possible. And that’s why we are consulting with your
experts here in urban planning, along with the Office of Planning and others, to help
to create these guidelines. MR. SHAW: So, they will be approved through the
Public Space Committee, then? MS. ROOS: Yes, that is the plan right now, is
that the design guidelines will be sent out to all ANCs. The ANCs will have 30 business days to review
and comment. And then, there will be a hearing of the Public
Space Committee in which they will hear any comments, make any recommendations, any edits
that might be made MR. SHAW: But then, the projects would go through
the Public Space Committee? MS. ROOS: No. So, the idea is that the design guidelines
would then be adopted, if any edits are needed. And after they are adopted, then basically,
it goes through — as long as companies are abiding by the design guidelines —
MS. WRIGHT: But design —
MS. ROOS: — it then goes through —
MS. WRIGHT: — guidelines, you can drive a truck
through design guidelines. Design guidelines are not specific enough. MS. MILLER: They would be reviewed at the permit
— they would be reviewed through the Department of Transportation at permit. So, they would use the design guidelines to
make sure, if they don’t meet it, then they would have to do some type of consultation,
I believe. MS. ROOS: Yes. If a company chooses to put in an application
that does not abide by future approved design guideline, their application will then either
be rejected and/or go through additional review that could include review by each of the ANCs
that is impacted, by SHPO and CFA. The idea is that, again, we’re trying to find
the balance, the design guidelines, the talking to other cities, we found from their recommendations
that that was the best way to find that balance of the urban design aspects, as well as facilitating
a program for the business community. And that, if they abide by these, then it
fast-tracks their ability to implement this program. So, again, we’re really trying to find a balance
here, for being a business-friendly community, but also understanding the urban and residential
and historic nature of the place that we live in. MR. GALLAS: And what would be the time line for
these guidelines, at this point? MS. MILLER: They’re currently being drafted, actively
being drafted. And we are meeting about every week or two. I would say that — and what do you think,
Michael, a month? MR. BELLO: Yes. MS. MILLER: Kathryn, about a month? MS. ROOS: Yes. MS. MILLER: We hope to have a —
MS. ROOS: We’re hoping to have, at least to get
drafts out, for people to start reviewing and to get comment on. And we very much take your point. And I think when you see the design guidelines,
there are very specific things about how far you can be from a tree or a potential identified
tree bed. How far can you be from an additional pole. Alignment in terms of, if you’re place a new
pole, not aligning with an entryway into a house or into a building, so that, again,
we’re trying to have the best nature. We’ve also talked about color and what color
they need to be, so that they can quote/unquote fade into the background as much as possible. MR. GALLAS: All right. Well, I have a —
MS. MILLER: I just want to finish up an answer
to him, we are happy to come back when those guidelines are drafted for another informational
presentation. MR. GALLAS: Thank you very much. Commissioner May? MR. MAY: Yes. So, you mentioned a permit fee. Is that just like a processing fee or are
you charging them rent? MS. ROOS: No, there is a small amount that is
charged for rent. These fees vary across the country. I will say, compared to what I’ve seen in
other cities, D.C.’s is fairly modest. MR. MAY: Okay. So, right now, the District gets money when
a cellular antenna is placed on District property, whether it’s on the ground, with a tower,
or on top of a building. And that’s based on the appraised value of
that service they are providing. And there is big money in selling antenna
infrastructure. So, if the District is only getting a modest
permitting fee, compared to other jurisdictions, than somebody needs to take a very serious
look at this, because there is big money in this and if you’re charging them $50 or $100
so they can put up one of these things, there’s a lot of money that they’re making that the
District is missing out on their cut. Is — are you compelled to issue these permits
within a specific time line? MS. ROOS: So, once —
MR. MAY: Is there a — has, like, FCC imposed
clock ticking or something like that? MS. ROOS: No. I will say that, the Small Cell providers
are more than anxious — MR. MAY: I know they’re more than anxious —
MS. ROOS: — to get started —
MR. MAY: — I’ve been holding them at bay for
four years. So, I mean, what’s — is there — sometimes
FCC sets, there are certain time lines. Like when we got a request for a permit, we
have to act within a certain time line. Are you under that kind of a time line? MS. ROOS: So, it is not my understand that there’s
anything set out by the FCC. I will say that the District, in trying to
be customer service friendly, we have boundaries that we try to process —
MR. MAY: Okay. MS. ROOS: — permits within. MR. MAY: All right. And I don’t care about that. I mean, it’s not that I’m unfriendly to business,
it’s just that, business comes and goes and this technology changes and our obligation
is to the long-term preservation of the District of Columbia. And we have to think in those terms, not in
terms of, oh my god, we had to make them wait another 60 days for a permit. I mean, they can wait 60 days, it’s not going
to really hurt their bottom line. The — I’m glad that Ms. Wright mentioned
the safety issue. I mean, again, because of my familiarity with
these antennas, which is much more than I ever wanted in my life, I know that there
are these zones on rooftops where you can’t go anywhere near them —
MS. WRIGHT: Right. MR. MAY: — and there are all of these danger,
danger signs. MS. WRIGHT: Right. MR. MAY: It’s perfectly harmless, well, there’s
some mixed signals going on there. The — when it comes to the deployment of
these things, obviously, the Park Service controls certain rights-of-way, and I know
you’re not planning on issuing permits for any of those things, hopefully not even accidentally. But we also need to be sensitive to the fact
that these things go in sidewalks and some of the sidewalks on your right-of-ways are
actually our jurisdiction. So, DDOT needs to be careful about that. We have an agreement, kind of a handshake
agreement, that allows parking meters to be installed in those places. But we’re not going to do a handshake agreement
on stuff like this. MS. ROOS: We won’t even accept applications. So, for example, Pennsylvania Avenue between
— MR. MAY: Well, Pennsylvania Avenue, everybody
knows is ours. MS. ROOS: Rights. MR. MAY: But Fourth Street, Seventh Street, 14th
Street, those are ours too. MS. ROOS: Right. MR. MAY: The sidewalks, where they cross the Mall. And that’s not always known to everybody. There’s a stretch of Tenth Street that’s ours
as well. I mean, there are all these different complications
about it and you have to be careful about. I also, famously, have — we’ve encountered
numerous traffic control boxes that have been permitted by the District and actually been
installed by DDOT, right in the blocking path on our sidewalks. So, it requires tremendous attention to detail,
as DDOT goes through these permitting actions. And people will put stuff anywhere and the
— I mean, their mission is to improve some of your communication. It is not to make sure that people can walk
or that a wheelchair can get by or that a stroller can get by, right? So, there are all these issues that have to
be, not just to be in the guidelines, they have to be in the review process. And they have to be in an enforcement mode
too. You have to be able to send people out after
the fact and say, hey, you didn’t do it right, go back and do it over. And I think that that’s even more reason why
the District has to make sure they’re getting their cut of the proceeds here, because that’s
where you get to pay for the additional staff to do those things. And then, when it comes to what happens on
our land, I do not believe that we exempt from complying with Section 106 and NEPA. We will still have to do that for anything
that happens on the Mall or on any of our parks, because if it’s a separate permitting
action, then I think — MS. MILLER: We’ll round back up and just confirm
that — the way I read the FCC rules is that it does exempt federal NEPA and 106. MR. MAY: Just for Small Cell? MS. ROOS: Yes. MS. MILLER: Yes, just for Small Cell. MR. MAY: All right. Well, we’ll have to talk more about that. MS. MILLER: I mean, we all are on a huge learning
curve. MR. MAY: Yes. MS. MILLER: And it’s been a very fast learning
curve. MR. MAY: I mean, in — we have to go through extensive
NEPA and 106 for regular cell technology and we have been treating our discussions with
folks who have approached us about doing this kind of a deployment on our land as if it
falls into that same basket. MS. MILLER: Well, we could be looking at it incorrectly,
but we definitely will look — MR. MAY: All right. Well —
MS. MILLER: — forward to talking to you about
that. MR. MAY: — we’ll look at that more —
MS. MILLER: Yes. MR. MAY: — as well. And the — I mean, I’m glad that we said that
there’s still NCPC and CFA and SHPO review, right, of this on some level? MS. MILLER: On federal land. MR. MAY: On federal land, got it. MS. MILLER: And —
MR. MAY: So, would we —
MS. MILLER: — any open space around the federal
land. MR. MAY: All right. So, that’s going to be a little weird, we
wouldn’t have to do NEPA/106, but we have to come to you? MS. MILLER: And CFA will be reviewing — I mean,
they’ll review the guidelines and — MR. MAY: Right. MS. MILLER: — have some additional —
MR. MAY: So, the last thing I want to say is that,
when we talk about this kind of a deployment with individual antennas, if they are far
enough apart, it — I could probably cope with some of that stuff, but go to one of
the pictures with the lampposts. And these all look terrible. And that was one of the reasons why we’ve
been pushing off these guys from the Mall. They all just look terrible. And —
MR. GALLAS: And they could be right next to each
other from different vendors — MS. WRIGHT: Right. MR. GALLAS: — also. MR. SHAW: Exactly. MR. MAY: Exactly. And so, I think there needs to be a stronger
hand in this. Anyway, I’m sorry I got a little bit upset
here. MR. GALLAS: I think we’re going to try to wrap
this up, but obviously, we appreciate the cooperation that’s happening between the city
and NCPC and CFA and SHPO. And we know this is obviously a very, very
important topic to exactly what we’re passionate here about in this Commission. So, I also need to note that we did receive
comments regarding this technology from both Joe Gibbons of ANC 2E and Linnea Warren, both
concerned about the impact on the historic capitol city and the DC review process. I think, in light of the extension of this
meeting beyond the typical time, I’d just like to thank everyone for your hard work
and patience in this meeting. And I wanted to wish you all a terrific summer
recess. I know I personally will look forward to seeing
Chairman Bryant — MR. GALLAS: — in September. Have a great summer. Thank you.

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