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Saturday, March 9, 2024
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ANC 3E holds monthly February meeting, recommended speed limit reduction on Nebraska Avenue

Nebraska Avenue is “effectively a highway”

American University students are represented in undergraduate councils, club executive boards, media staff and more, but there is one more representative that students may not know about: the Advisory Neighborhood Commission. 

ANCs are boards of elected officials who serve as a voice of the neighborhood to the local government. AU has two student representatives of the eight commissioners for the 3E district, as per its population. The commission held its monthly general meeting over Zoom on Feb. 8 to discuss items on the agenda.

The agenda featured a presentation on local D.C. schools and student movement, a zoning variance application and a change to Nebraska’s speed limit from the current 30 mph to 25 mph. The meeting, held at 7:30 pm, had an audience of more than 50 citizens online.

Diego Carney, a sophomore in the School of Public Affairs, and Rohin Ghosh, a junior in SPA, represent AU’s student body in the ANC. Ghosh explained the importance of having a lower speed limit and how it pertains to AU specifically.

“I think Nebraska Avenue is actually one of the most important spots for this. The way it bisects AU, AU housing specifically, between where several thousand people live and walk across multiple times a day creates a situation where we cannot have what is effectively a highway cutting through that,” Ghosh said at the meeting. “The speed limit reduction is a start but we need more.”

A resolution was amended and accepted unanimously as the “Resolution Regarding the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) Notice of Intent 24- 02-TESD regarding reduction of the speed limit on Nebraska Avenue NW.” The resolution serves as a recommendation to the city to implement change to the street. 

According to the resolution, the ANC supports installing speed and red light cameras and “building physical traffic calming infrastructure such as traffic islands and reducing travel lanes in areas with high pedestrian traffic.” The resolution cited a 2016 study that explained that injury and death fell with the implantation of lower speed limits, along with an article about the rise in traffic safety deaths in D.C.   

The commissioners agreed, specifically Commissioner Alexandria Gianinno, that Nebraska Avenue would be safer with a speed reduction.

“On lowering the speed limit I think that makes perfect sense. I think that Nebraska Avenue is incredibly dangerous, we’ve talked about that in many different meetings discussing all the different intersections that Nebraska either intersects with or just on Nebraska,” Gianinno said at the meeting, adding that it is also about the greater issue of traffic safety as a whole. 

“We have a lot of intersections and areas that have significant traffic issues and safety issues,” Gianinno said. “So I think it’s definitely good to put a placeholder in this document to say we need to come up with some better options for ways to make the intersection more safe.”

Additionally, there was a presentation by the Office of Deputy Mayor for Education on an adjustment of a boundary for local elementary schools Janney and Horace Mann. The reasoning was that it “potentially balances enrollment between Janney ES and Mann ES boundaries,” according to the presentation by Rebecca Lee, senior policy advisor, and Jenn Comey, director of planning and analysis. 

The rest of the meeting discussed an application for a variance for a home to be built on a lot on Ellicott Street. This brought many neighbors to voice their opinion against the new construction during the Zoom call since the area is considered an alley lot, meaning a single-family house is not a permitted use.

Item five on the agenda — construction of a “combined dorm for Wesley [Theological Seminary] and apartment building for American University students” — was pushed to a future meeting. 

“Several commissioners have been working with them [Wesley and AU] to try to [come to] a consensus approach, to their development proposal focus specifically on affordable housing,” said Commissioner Chairman John Bender at the beginning of the meeting. Bender suspects the presentation to be in March.

The next meeting is on March 14 at 7:30 pm.

This article was edited by Abigail Hatting, Abigail Turner and Abigail Pritchard. Copy editing by Luna Jinks, Isabelle Kravis, Ariana Kavoossi and Sydney Kornmeyer.

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