Foggy Bottom residents said the expansion of the GW campus, homelessness and problems with area traffic signs concern them, and should be addressed by Advisory Neighborhood commissioners who are elected Nov. 3.
Most residents said student commissioners could meet the needs of the community, but they shared mixed feelings about students’ abilities to respond to the needs of all residents.
Nathan Pringle, a 35-year resident of the Claridge House, said students have a right to serve on the commission because GW is a part of the Foggy Bottom community. But Pringle said a student probably would not address the issues in a manner agreeable to him.
Sara Maddux, a current ANC commissioner and longtime resident, said it is important for an ANC commissioner to represent the whole district, not just one particular area.
Single-issue candidates are not highly effective in representing the entire population, Maddux said.
But other residents said GW students are an important part of the community.
Marifran Langvardt, a 16-year Foggy Bottom resident, said she was not aware that GW students are candidates in the upcoming ANC elections, but students should be allowed to be commissioners on the ANC.
“Students need to be involved – but they also need to be concerned with the needs of the residents with whom they live,” Langvardt said.
Pringle said one of his main concerns is the expansion of GW’s campus beyond 24th Street. He said the University promised not to move west of 24th street but expanded westward anyway. Pringle said he would like to see the ANC “keep GW out” because it is encroaching on the Foggy Bottom community.
Residents said a lack of traffic signs that mark crosswalks also is a concern; members of the community pointed to poorly marked crosswalks that are ignored by drivers.
Bernie Link said he often feels like a “chicken in traffic”
when he tries to cross Virginia Avenue in front of Colombia Plaza.
Link, who has lived in Colombia Plaza for the last year, said the crosswalks on Virginia Avenue outside his apartment complex are ambiguous. He said more visible signs are needed to indicate where and when to cross.
He also said the police should enforce traffic rules more effectively to ensure motorists follow traffic signs.
Another crosswalk problem is the absence of traffic signs indicating the cross walk at the intersection of 24th Street and New Hampshire Avenue in front of the 7-Eleven convenience store.
Lula Gentithes, who has lived in Foggy Bottom for more than a decade, said the increase in the Foggy Bottom homeless population is another problem plaguing the neighborhood. Gentithes said she wants the new ANC to address the rising homeless population.
-Anaklara Hering contributed to this report.