On The Look Out

FBI Investigate Attempted Burglary at Georgetown’s M&T Bank

August 25, 2012

Hole-in-the-Wall Gang? Early Friday morning, an attempted burglary took place at the new M&T Bank 1420 Wisconsin Avenue.

(Photo by: Judith Beermann)

"At least one burglar working overnight Friday cut through a wall of a vacant building to get inside a bank in Georgetown," Washington Post blog reported.  Apparent similarities between this attempted burglary and two other recent break-ins is being noted by police. "The break-ins all occurred during the overnight hours at banks with walls abutting a building that is either vacant or under construction."

The FBI and the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department are combining forces on this ongoing investigation. If you have any information, please contact the FBI at 202.278.2000 or D.C. Police at 202.727.9099.


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Glover Park Residents Concerned Wisconsin Avenue Streetscape Threatens Pedestrian Safety

July 26, 2012

Glover Park Residents for Pedestrian Safety have expressed concern to D.C. Department of Transportation (DDOT) that safety and pedestrian access in residential Glover Park and many adjoining neighborhoods will be greatly impacted by the soon-to-be-completed Wisconsin Avenue Streetscape project.

More than 120 residents signed a July 23, 2012 letter to draw attention to street and crosswalk improvements needed to address the safety of pedestrians using Tunlaw Road, 37th Street, Calvert Street, and other neighborhood streets in Glover Park. “As a result of the Wisconsin Avenue Streetscape project, the busy Wisconsin Avenue corridor in Glover Park will be reduced from three lanes each way to two during peak hours and from two lanes each way to one during off-peak hours. This corridor serves not only as access to Glover Park’s homes, businesses, and recreation, but also to those in Burleith, Georgetown, Cathedral Heights, Observatory Circle, and other neighborhoods.”

The residents pointed to DDOT’s own admission that “no prior study was made of the potential Streetscape traffic overflow onto residential streets.” In a follow-up traffic study released by DDOT in June, construction restriction on Wisconsin Avenue on select days in April during off-peak hours greatly increased traffic on 37th Street alone:

 An estimated 2,840 additional vehicles diverted onto 37th Street to avoid work zone delays.  This would account for most of the 3,550 increase in volume through the 37th Street/Tunlaw intersection.

In their letter, residents acknowledge that DDOT has responded to numerous resident complaints by agreeing to add two crosswalks and improve the problematic intersection at 37th Street and Tunlaw Road. However, residents also express frustrations with DDOT:

(1)  DDOT disregards the heavily used 1/3 mile stretch of 37th Street between Tunlaw and Whitehaven Parkway, where no stop signs or crosswalks exist despite hundreds of daily pedestrian crossings, increased Streetscape spillover traffic, and speeding cars.

(2)   No plans exist for future study of spillover traffic onto residential roads after Wisconsin Avenue lane reductions and medians are in place.

(3)  Residents were promised that the lane reductions and medians were “reversible” if shown to be a detriment to pedestrian safety on residential roads, but no plan for reversal or for further traffic modifications has been made public.

(4) To date, DDOT has not responded to the resident group since May 4th, despite numerous attempts to reach DDOT.

With lane reductions on Wisconsin Avenue in Glover Park, residential streets such as 35th Street, 36th Street, Observatory Circle, Fulton Street, and New Mexico Avenue will become logical alternatives for spillover traffic, affecting residents in Georgetown, Burleith, Observatory Circle, Cathedral Heights, and Wesley Park, among others. Additionally, as drivers seek to avoid Wisconsin Avenue’s backups, Glover Park, Burleith, and Georgetown businesses may suffer.

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D.C. Council Votes Tuesday on Uber Amendment to Taxi Modernization Bill

July 9, 2012

The D.C. City Council plans to vote Tuesday on a proposed amendment to the D.C. Taxi Modernization Bill that would make it illegal for Uber (the on-demand private car service launched late last year in D.C. and now in nine U.S. cities) to lower its prices or to offer a low cost service in any form.

On July 4, 2012, Uber announced a roll out of a lower cost service called Uber X for its all-hybrid fleet around the country, with the exception of D.C.

The Uber Smartphone app (Photo by: Uber) The Uber Smartphone app

As Uber writes on its blog, “The Council’s intention is to prevent Uber from being a viable alternative to taxis by enacting a price floor to set Uber's minimum fare at today's rates and no less than 5 times a taxi's minimum fare. Consequently they are handicapping a reliable, high quality transportation alternative so that Uber cannot offer a high quality service at the best possible price. They want to make sure there is no viable alternative to a taxi in Washington D.C., and so on Tuesday (tomorrow!), the DC City Council is going to formalize that principle into law.”

Uber has asked anyone who is concerned to write or call D.C. councilmembers asking them to strike down the MINIMUM FARE language from the Uber Amendment.

Sign the petition here.

 Phil Mendelson (Chairman), (202) 724-8064, pmendelson@dccouncil.us

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