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It’s long frustrated public transportation advocates that the city required a huge amount of parking be built alongside retail development in Columbia Heights—only to sit largely empty. Other neighborhoods, though, would love to have that problem. Space-starved Mt. Pleasant, seeking to attract outside visitors for its shops and restaurants, has been eyeing all that parking and wondering how to use it.
One idea, offered by ANC 1D Commissioners Jack McKay and Gregg Edwards, would be to offer a shuttle service—or a “jitney,” as Edwards likes to call it—between the parking garage and the Mt. Pleasant commercial strip. For those reluctant to walk few blocks, it would cost a dollar or two, like the Circulator. And it would free the community from having to shift around bus stops to create a few extra parking spaces on their own, crowded corridor. It’s nowhere near implementation, but McKay and Edwards are working it through the process with Ward One Councilmember Jim Graham—stay tuned.
Meanwhile, Edwards and McKay are also still pushing their proposal for a “pedestrian encounter zone” on Mt. Pleasant Street, a concept imported from Europe, which would curtail vehicular traffic and allow pedestrians to cross the street wherever they wished. The ANC passed the resolution in December, but Mt. Pleasant Main Street is reportedly opposed to the idea. But many residents have gotten the impression that Edwards and McKay want to shut the street off to cars altogether, a misperception might limit the proposal’s forward momentum—something that seems hard to come by in the thicket of Mt. Pleasant politics.