ANC approves intercity bus stop installation near campus

Media Credit: Danielle Towers | Assistant Photo Editor

The Foggy Bottom and West End ANC voted to approve the installation of a Flixbus stop and hosted a discussion with D.C. Council member and mayoral candidate Robert White at the meeting.

A local governing body approved plans to install an intercity bus stop in Foggy Bottom during a monthly meeting Wednesday.

The Foggy Bottom and West End Advisory Neighborhood Commission unanimously voted to install the bus stop on the 400 block of 19th Street near the F Street intersection, offering transportation service to Richmond, Virginia or New York City. Commissioners also received an update about the D.C. Council’s ongoing work from at-large Council member Robert White, who launched a campaign for mayor last month, and approved an alcohol license for a restaurant preparing to open in Western Market.

Here are a few of the meeting’s highlights:

ANC greenlights Flixbus stop near campus

Following the ANC’s approval, the application to install the intercity bus stop, which will replace five parking spots, will now head to the D.C. Public Space Committee and the District Department of Transportation. Flixbus officials developed plans to add a stop in front of the International Monetary Fund last year before scrapping the idea because of traffic concerns.

Francesca La Brecque, a spokesperson for Flixbus, said the stop’s new location south of the Elliott School of International Affairs has minimal impact on traffic and residential parking, which were previously concerns related to the stop.

“The schedule that we proposed to DDOT is a seven-day-a-week schedule with more service on the Monday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday timeline,” she said at the meeting.

La Brecque said the bus stop could be operational before the holidays next month, but stipulations from the Public Space Committee at next month’s meeting could delay that timeline.

White talks homelessness, crime in D.C.

Commissioner Trupti Patel introduced White as her guest at the meeting, where the mayoral candidate and Council member delivered updates about the Council’s work and fielded questions from commissioners. White voiced his opposition to the District’s controversial pilot program to remove three of the District’s largest homeless encampments, which he said regressed the city’s support for unhoused people.

White said the program, which is set to close the E Street encampment near campus, offers housing to people in need but leaves behind those who don’t immediately accept assistance from District officials.

“Getting people to use these housing vouchers and support services that come with them requires a level of trust, and it takes some time often, to build that trust,” White said in the meeting.

White said city officials should listen to activists who protested against the pilot program and said they should extend the program’s timeline to expand outreach efforts to unhoused people who may take longer to decide to accept housing vouchers. He said he hopes to work within the Council to separate the timelines set for residents to obtain housing vouchers and city officials to close encampments, and prevent the implementation of no-tent zones, which he said is “criminalizing poverty.”

“I think we shoot ourselves in the foot by trying to rush this process,” he said. “We want to do it quickly, but we don’t want to rush it to a degree that is unreasonable.”

White also updated the ANC on the Council’s budget for the Metropolitan Police Department to address concerns that lawmakers were either defunding or failing to defund the police. He said the Council decreased MPD’s budget by $22 million from Fiscal Year 2021 to FY 2022 but also maintained a department of nearly 4,800 employees, the most at MPD since 2014.

White said the Council budgeted more money to local crime-fighting efforts through the Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement, which takes a “public health approach” to violence prevention, to reduce crime instead of defunding the police.

“The Council approved an increase in the budget for the Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement of $12.3 million for violence prevention, which means that that office now has a budget of nearly $30 million,” he said.

Commissioners approve alcohol application

Commissioners unanimously voted to approve an application from Onkei, a Japanese food and sushi restaurant opening soon in Western Market, to serve alcoholic beverages. A representative from the restaurant said the business would use the alcohol permit to sell sake, a traditional Japanese alcoholic beverage.

The representative said the restaurant’s hours will match Western Market’s hours of operation when the business opens.

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