By Kaylan Ware, Howard University News Service
Last month, recent gas leaks and lack of communication on the part of gas providers has increased resident concern. John O’Brien, Washington Gas Executive Vice President of Strategy and Public Affairs, spoke to address recent repairs and future planning.
“We are in the middle of Project Pipes, which is an initiative that will last for many years,” O’Brien said. “It is [a plan] to replace and update all of the piping throughout the city.”
He explained that many urban areas have older systems and that Washington Gas has been replacing piping throughout the city with a final goal of having a completely updated system.
O’Brien also proposed a communication plan to residents so that they can be alerted when repairs are taking place in their neighborhood and receive weekly summaries and forecasts.
In addition to resident concern caused by gas leaks, residents communicated the conditions of high traffic roads in the 2E area. ANC 2E commissioners and residents raised questions regarding the status of repairs within their communities.
The Ward 2 Liason for the Mayor’s Office addressed residents in attendance. Amr Kotb discussed street conditions and confirmed that the mayor’s spring initiatives like Pothole Palooza and AlleyPalooza would take place this year. Through these initiatives, the District Department of Transportation employees work to expedite repairs, decreasing turnaround time from 72 hours to 48 hours.
Jack Evans, Ward 2 council member and the longest serving DC council member, discussed the overwhelming availability of retail space in Georgetown and how increases in rent and property values have affected the area.
“What I’m trying to figure out is how can I keep property taxes at least leveled out in Georgetown,” Evans said.
Though Evans did not propose a definitive solution to this issue, many of the representatives that spoke proposed solutions to concerns raised by residents that appeared to settle their immediate concern. Commissioners and residents shared positive developments they have witnessed in the community as a result of the city’s responsiveness.