Maryland Avenue Safety Project: FAQ, part 4

Community Engagement

Q: I didn’t know that the City decided in 2012 to make changes to Maryland Avenue. Have there been meetings about those changes? Have they gotten much media attention?

Despite the best intentions and efforts of many within DDOT, the local ANC’s and community news outlets for over almost five years now, some residents still have not heard about this project.

The Maryland Avenue Safety Project has been discussed at more than 20 public meetings.  Some have been community meetings organized specifically to collect public comment on the City’s plans and others have been public hearings or meetings of the DC Council and ANCs at which Maryland Avenue was one of multiple topics addressed. Mayors Gray and Bowser attended multiple meetings in the community, as have Councilmembers Wells, Allen, and Silverman.

DDOT and/or its contractor sent out press releases and emails and hung over 1,000 door hangers on all homes within one block of Maryland Avenue to invite community members to attend the 2011 community meetings.  ANC commissioners emailed listserves, hung signs, and dropped leaflets off at people’s homes to announce those and other meetings. The community meetings in 2014 and 2015 were announced through leaflets, signs posted on every block along the corridor, and email lists, including New Hill East, ANC 6A, ANC 6C, Moms on the Hill, and others.

In addition to the email postings, DDOT’s plans have been extensively covered by the media, with over a dozen stories appearing on WAMU, the Hill Rag, and WUSA, plus a number of local blogs.

Q: Does the City have a regulation requiring it to receive a petition with signatures from 75-percent of the residents on a block before it can move forward with the Maryland Ave project?

No. People are confusing two different issues. DDOT has an application process by which neighbors may initiate a request to install traffic calming measures like speed bumps. These are very individualized measures and the request may be made by the ANC or by petition of 75% of the local neighbors. This in no way limits the DDOT’s own ability to identify and address systemic safety hazards as is the case with the Maryland Ave. project. DDOT began studying safety issues along Maryland Ave. in the early 2000’s in response to complaints from citizens and then-Councilmember Tommy Wells.