This is a written interview with Juan Lopez, who is running for Commissioner of district 07 of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 1B/U Street.
Lopez is the incumbent. His first term as Commissioner started in 2009 and he served as ANC Treasurer the same year. He was ANC1B Chair in 2011. Lopez's opponent is Jessica Laura Smith. Read an interview with Smith here.
District 07 is a compact district in the northwest corner of ANC1B (upper left of map). It includes much, but not all, of the territory between 14th and 16th Streets NW, and between Euclid and Girard Streets.
Don't know your ANC district? There are two search tools: one by the DC government, the other by Code for DC.
– Where can voters go to find out more information about you and what you stand for?
– ANC1B issues are often about development issues (parking, zoning, liquor licenses) on heavily-travelled main streets. But your district is tucked in a corner, away from 14th Street, U Street, and George Avenue. What are some of the issues that are important to voters in your district?
Public safety and transportation are key concerns for my constituents in our single member district. Residents want to have safe streets for themselves and their families and friends, as well as reliable mass transit and parking availability.
– What, if anything, can ANCs do to improve the on-street parking situation for residents in your district?
ANCs can work with residents to extend the hours of resident only parking in order to ensure that the people who live in the neighborhood can also park in the neighborhood.
– In the abstract, people agree that greater density in city centers is a good idea. In practice, no residents want expanded buildings and large developments near the homes they own. How can ANCs help reconcile this conflict? How can we achieve greater density if residents continue to oppose larger, taller, and bigger buildings?
It is important the ANC Commissioners work with residents and developers to address concerns. We should balance the desires of local residents and the District's need for affordable housing.
– Sixteenth Street runs along one side of your district. What do you think about the proposed dedicated bus lane on 16th Street? Is the District Department of Transportation dragging its feet on this proposal?
I support increasing enhanced bus service to those who use the 16th Street line. The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) has taking small steps to improve bus service, but still has more work to streamline the 16th Street corridor. Additionally, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) has added articulated buses that will help reduce the buses being overcrowded. I urge DDOT to ensure their Transit Priority Study be completed as soon as possible and not be delayed.
– The Reeves Center brings daytime life to 14th and U Streets. What do you think about the proposed land swap deal that would probably mean the sell-off of the property to private developers? If the deal goes through, what should be priorities for the use of the land? What's the best way to insure that community interests are heard?
I believe that any land swap deals should benefit the residents of the District. In the case of the Reeves Center, the voices of the residents of the Greater U Street area should be heard. I think any project that supports daytime foot traffic and responds to community needs (i.e. hotel, affordable housing) would be a positive step.
– Is there anything I should have asked you but didn't?
When I first ran for Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner, the Commissioner in my Single Member District (SMD) was absent not only from the monthly meetings but also the community. This prompted me to step in and serve so that our Single Member District had a voice in ANC 1B. During my time as an ANC Commissioner, I have worked on ensuring that children have a safe playground at Girard Street Park, worked with constituents and business owners on Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) settlement agreements, and have worked with the Police Service Area Officers to ensure public safety is a priority in our community. I have also mentored new ANC Commissioners and with the potential for up to seven new Commissioners with the upcoming elections, I think it is important not only for our SMD, but the overall Commission, that I run for election again. The opportunity to serve again will allow me to share my experience and help the Commission run smoothly in the next term so that residents have the representation that they deserve.
End of interview.
ANC1B, in addition to U Street, includes all or part of the following neighborhoods: Columbia Heights, LeDroit Park, Pleasant Plains, Shaw, University Heights, and lower Georgia Avenue.
The election will take place on Tuesday, November 4. Thanks to all candidates for responding to my questions.