April 2012 Minutes

At 7:15 pm President Paul Wood opened the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance. About 22 people were present.

Meeting Minutes:  The minutes of the March meeting were approved without amendment and entered into the record.

Treasurer’s Report:   Treasurer Beulah Sutherland read the Treasurer’s Report which submitted for the record.

Meeting Announcements and Presentations:

1) ANC Commissioner Timothy Thomas and Paul Wood explained that MPCA’s application for historic status for the Bunker Hill School building, which was submitted four years ago, is scheduled for a hearing with the Board of Zoning on April 26th (9:00 am, 441 4th St., NW 220 South).  Because of the length of time which has passed since the MPCA submitted its application, Mr. Thomas asked that the Association reiterate its support for the historic designation.  Both the North Michigan Park and Queen’s Chapel associations, recently approached by Mr. Thomas, have approved supporting historic designation of the school building.  Historic designation would affect only the exterior of the building; it would not affect renovation of the interior.  MOTION by Gwendolyn Means: That the Association send a letter of support for the historic designation of the Bunker Hill School building.  Approved unanimously.  Commissioner Thomas commended the Association, and especially Roxanne Carter, for the foresight in beginning the process four years ago.

2) Commissioner Thomas also gave an update on the triangle park at 18th, Michigan, and Bunker Hill Road, which is located within his SMD.  Water in the park has been turned off since a pipe froze and burst during the winter. Also, a mower knocked over one of the spigots, which now needs to be repaired.  Mr. Thomas expects water to be turned on again soon.  Mr. Thomas believes that there is money left over from the $250,000 grant for renovation of the park.  Paul will invite Brent Sisco, manager of the project, to come to the May meeting.  Tom Lavash pointed out that during the March 31st tree planting several people spent three hours weeding the flower beds in the park, cleaning up about half of them.

3) Guest speaker Lisa Sutter (lisa.sutter@dc.gov 202-492-1150), program manager for the MPD photo enforcement program, gave a presentation on the history, success, and future of photo traffic enforcement in DC.  Ms. Sutter was hired 3½ years ago to improve the photo enforcement program and expand it in new directions.

Since 1999, when the first red light cameras were used in the District, and 2001, when the first speed cameras were used, violations of both kinds have decreased by 60-90%.  Traffic fatalities have decreased by 50%.  The photo enforcement program is run by the MPD; vendors get a flat fee per camera for data collection and service.  Locations are chosen based upon crash data, fatalities, and complaints.

MPD is now in the process of expanding the photo enforcement program and purchasing seven new kinds of enforcement equipment for:

  • Intersection speed enforcement (“speed on green”), which captures the speed of cars going through intersections. The units are movable and will be attached to power poles or existing red light cameras in the District. Site selection will prioritize intersections with known speeding issues and where there have been crashes, injuries and fatalities associated with speeding
  • Portable speed units. Site selection will prioritize sites with known speeding issues and where there have been crashes, injuries and fatalities associated with speeding
  • Stop sign enforcement. Stop sign running accounts for 40%  of fatalities and serious injuries nationwide. Enforcement includes failing to come to a full stop and failure to yield right of way to pedestrians.
  • Grid lock enforcement. DC ranks third in very large urban area congestion, wasting over $2B in commuting and pollution costs. The units use video detection to determine if a vehicle has failed to clear the intersection and is blocking cross traffic or pedestrians.
  • Pedestrian safety (detects failure to stop for pedestrian at crosswalk). DC’s per capita pedestrian fatality rate is 2.33/100K residents, the third worst in the country. The units use video to detect vehicles approaching a monitored crosswalk when a person has entered the crosswalk
  • Oversized trucks. Site selection will take into account known routes where trucks drive off the designated truck routes and neighborhood requests. The units use video to detect overheight or over-length vehicles. If the unit detects that the vehicle is too tall or too long, it will store the associated images and video for manual review.
  • Overweight trucks. The units are manned with portable scales and will be deployed outside of construction sites. If the unit detects that the vehicle is overweight for its size and permitted tag weight, it will store the associated images and video for manual review

Under a five year contract with the District, the vendors will teach MPD employees to collect data and service the equipment, adding 20-30 new jobs.

Although the funding for this expansion was approved in the 2010 budget, the contract took a long time to be finalized.  In 2012, because the Mayor has directed that all revenues go to the general fund, rather than the special revenue fund as in previous years, funding is reduced and uncertain.  As a result, mobile car enforcement has been reduced from 21 to 12 cars per shift. Ms. Sutter will send Paul Wood further information about the funding problems. Paul will pass this information to the membership for the purpose of deciding whether to write a letter of support for full funding of the program.

On April 11th, a portable speed unit will installed in the 4200 block (northbound) of South Dakota Avenue.  Ms. Sutter requested that residents call or Email her directly to request a camera at a particular site.  Members discussed other ways to enforce speed limits, including more signs, speed tables, and clearly marked crosswalks.  Paul will invite Terry Bellamy, Director of DDOT, to the May meeting.

Other interesting facts from Ms. Sutter:

  • Half of all traffic fatalities are pedestrians.
  • A pedestrian hit by a car going 20 mph has a 5% chance of being killed. A pedestrian hit by a car going 40 mph has an 80% chance of being killed.
  • Seventy-five percent of violators are out-of-state residents.
  • Fines for violations caught by cameras are the same as those caught by officers and about the same as those of other nearby jurisdictions.
  • The District has longer yellow lights than most other jurisdictions.  Federal regulations require one second per 10 mph speed limit.  In the District the minimum is four seconds per 10 mph.

4)    Paul explained the tax exempt sponsorship arrangement proposed by the Community Foundation.  Because the MPCA is a small organization and with limited financial needs, the Community Foundation will not need to sponsor the Association as a whole, but only individual grants.  When the Association identifies a funding opportunity, it will contact the Community Foundation.  The Foundation will help the Association meet the requirements of the proposed grant.  If the application is successful, the funds will go to the Foundation which will disperse them to the Association as appropriate.  For this service, the Foundation will keep 1% of the money.  Paul explained that this is an extraordinarily generous arrangement on the part of the Community Foundation, as most sponsors keep a far higher percentage.  MOTION by Roxanne Carter: The MPCA agrees to the 501(c)3 sponsorship arrangement proposed by the Community Foundation.  Approved unanimously.

5)    Paul announced the names of those nominated by the Election Committee.  Also, Roxanne nominated James Watkins for the office of Herald.  Those nominated are:

President – Tom Lavash

1st Vice President – Ralph Bucksell

2nd Vice President – Roxanne Carter

Herald – James Watkins

Treasurer – Beulah Sutherland

Sergeant-at-Arms – Barbara Henderson

At-Large Executive Board Members – Frances McCannon, Anne Gribbin, Paul Wood, and Luz Maria Prieto

 No one has been nominated for the office of Secretary.  The Election Committee recommended the nomination of Don Looney as Financial Secretary to help alleviate the many administrative tasks associated with finances to include tracking membership, updating mailing lists from the membership roster and mailing reminders.  An amendment to the MPCA Constitution is required to create the new office of Financial Secretary.  MOTION by Gwendolyn Means: Amend the by-laws to add the office of Financial Secretary to assist the Treasurer.  (Members approved the motion; but because amendments “must be submitted by the meeting prior to the one at which they are to be acted upon,” an official vote cannot take place until the May meeting.)


Ralph pointed out that our Friends of the Park agreement specifies that funds raised for the park will revert to the District should we lose our FOP status.  Ralph asked how the Association will ensure that FOP funds are kept separate from other funds and whether the Constitution addresses the issue of designated funds.  Ralph proposed that the Association set an annual budget, allocating funds for the park.  Paul will bring the FOP agreement to the May meeting to so that members may study its exact wording.

A weeding party and pot luck picnic will be scheduled for the park at Michigan Avenue, 12th and Shepherd Streets.  Lavinia Wolfarth will provide a tent and tables.  No date has been set.

Two candidates for Ward 5 Councilmember, Shelly Gardner and Andrew Hubbard, gave brief presentations about their candidacy.

Meeting adjourned at 9:00 pm.

Future speakers and topics

Scheduled April 2012 Agenda Items:

1. Historic Designation Bunker Hill School

2. DOT Representative

3. Spring Planting review and planning

4. 501c(3) Status Update

  1. Election of New Executive Committee
  2. Voting on Changes to MPCA Constitution


Paul Wood, President; David Conrad, 1st Vice President; Roxanne Carter, 2nd Vice President; Beulah Sutherland, Treasurer; Anne Gribbon, Secretary; Ralph Bucksell, Herald; Gwendolyn Means, Sergeant-at-Arms; Barbara Henderson, Tom Lavash, Elizabeth McGowen, & Lavinia Wolfarth, Members at Large



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