TRAFFIC: The major increase in traffic under the GDS plan will strain already heavily burdened neighborhood streets and commuter thoroughfares. Estimates by GDS consultants indicate that a more than doubled student population, a large proportion of which will be of elementary and middle school age, will add hundreds more car drop-offs and pick-ups daily. Add to that a commensurate increase in faculty and staff vehicular traffic in and out of this four-block square every weekday. Add to that again the traffic generated by residents of the two apartment towers, employees of the retail space, retail customers and deliveries. Traffic issues will affect the entire neighborhood, not only those adjacent to GDS because, as is so often the case, commuters will seek to bypass Wisconsin Ave by using neighborhood side streets far upstream and downstream to avoid congestion. Despite the anticipated increase in vehicular traffic, GDS traffic management plans are inadequate. Unlike other private schools in the DC area, GDS does not require students to arrive either by public transit (the latest figures show only 15% student use of metro or bus service), car-pools, shuttles, bikes or by foot.
PARKING: The neighborhood currently experiences limited parking for residents and their visitors, with competition from current GDS students & visitors, commuters using Tenley Metro, patrons of local restaurants and retailers, and those who enjoy Fort Reno Park facilities. The GDS plan does little to mitigate its impact on parking.
INFRASTRUCTURE: The two high-rise apartments, with up to 290 units and and hundreds of residents will necessarily have an impact on already overburdened and underfunded city services. Janney Elementary School, Deal Middle School and Wilson High School are already operating over capacity. Metro and buses are crowded during commuter hours, and the Red Line is subject to service disruptions. Tenleytown police and fire departments valiantly serve us despite diminished staff and resources.
QUALITY OF LIFE: The twin residential towers will diminish the panoramic westward view - a view that was critical to the defense of our nation’s capital during the Civil War and a view that makes access to Ft. Reno Park so gratifying. We fear similar plans are waiting in the wings and if a variance is granted to GDS to build as high as they propose, the precedent will be set to do the same along the entire Wisconsin Avenue corridor. The DC Comprehensive Plan for this section of Wisconsin Avenue specifically states (See Page 23, Policy RCW-2.2 Wisconsin Avenue Corridor), "The scale and height of new development on the corridor should reflect the proximity to single family homes .... This means an emphasis on low-to mid-rise mixed use buildings rather than high-rise towers."