City Paper Widget

Monday, September 15, 2014

1534 5th Street: Owner Has a Driveway but Can't Get a Curb Cut

At its regular monthly meeting September 2, Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6E/Shaw voted unanimously to oppose a curb cut in the middle of the 1500 block of 5th Street NW in Shaw, between P and Q Streets. A curb cut would reduce on-street parking on the block by at least two spaces.

1534 5th Street in July
"Parking is such a huge problem on this block and there's no other property that has a curb cut," said Commissioner Kevin Chapple (district 02). Chapple made the motion to oppose the curb cut.

The proposed curb cut would be in front of 1534 5th Street, which is in Chapple's district.

Abraham Soquar came before the ANC to plead his case. He is a newcomer to the neighborhood, and is building a three-and-a-half story semi-detached row house on the formerly empty lot. He talked about when he first saw the lot.

"When I passed by," Soquar said, "people would throw rubbish there, have homeless people living there, and so on."

He said the house, which is currently under construction, is his "first project" and he is hoping to live there. It has space for a driveway on the north side of the property, but there is no rear alley or other way for a vehicle to park there.

Soquar said the completed house would be "more of a sightly place and a better benefit to the street."

Soquar had a letter of support from one of his immediate neighbors, but many of the people in the area were opposed to the curb cut.

"I have received many, many other notices from my constituents that they are opposed to the curb cut," Chappell said.

Other than the next-door neighbor, Chappell said: "Everybody else who has contacted me -- and I've contacted -- are opposed to it because it would put added stress on everyone else..."

Shaw activist and neighbor Martin Moulton spoke briefly against the curb cut. Moulton said he had lived in the neighborhood for 14 years and had never seen homeless people camping out on the property when it was vacant. However, he conceded: "It was sort of a blight."

Moulton said there had been "at least three or four ground-up constructions" in the same block and "no one has received a curb cut."

"It's totally out of character with the types of blocks we live on," Moulton said.

Soquar had hoped to get ANC endorsement before a District Department of Transportation (DDOT) hearing scheduled for later this month. Curb cuts are the responsibility of the DDOT.

The proposed curb cut at 1534 5th Street was the subject of the SALM blog post of July 16.

ANC6E videos its monthly meetings in their entirety and posts them in half-hour segment on YouTube. See ANC6E's YouTube channel here. The discussion of the curb cut for 1534 5th Street can be on seen here, starting at time 24:10.

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