A plan to put bike lanes along Connecticut Avenue is once again causing controversy, after a newly elected ANC commissioner posted a photo showing detractors pointing out signs against the lanes in front of DC businesses.
On election night, Commissioner-elect Hayden Gass tweeted a since-deleted photo of her Advisory Neighborhood Commission colleagues giving the middle finger in front of siblings Sue and Vic. “The majority of the ANC 3C has something to say – we are doing the bike lane. Operation,” the headline said.
Jose Ventura has worked at Brother Sue and Vic for over 30 years. Over the past three decades, renovating the space and running the Cleveland Park store, he’s seen many changes along Connecticut Avenue.
Now he says the bike lanes will take the air out of their business by blocking foot traffic.
“They’re going to take away all the parking we have on Main Street,” Ventura said.
That’s why, he said, the owner put a sign in the window a few weeks ago. It was part of the Save Connecticut Avenue campaign against Mayor Muriel Bowser’s plan to add about three miles of protected bike lanes along the busy thoroughfare.
The proposal has been praised by bike advocates, but condemned by people like Ventura. And now the hot button issue has landed some newly elected local leaders in hot water with their constituents.
“You know what we need to support them and the way it looks, we’re not getting it,” Ventura said.
The problematic post didn’t sit well with business owners like Christopher Studnick. His father opened the Frame Mart Gallery on Connecticut Avenue in 1968.
Against bike lanes, he said the image is a slap in the face.
“It’s a shame that they can go down to somebody else’s basic facility and give the bird and get rid of it. Nobody’s going to their house to stop them,” he said.
Gase did not respond to interview requests from News4. She tweeted an apology over the weekend, saying the message she was sent was insulting to people with different opinions.
“I think elected representatives should be listening to their constituents rather than taking pictures for the sake of pictures,” Studnick said.
The group behind the signs has launched an online petition that has already received nearly 2,400 signatures.
As for what the bike lanes will actually look like, that won’t be known until the project goes into its design phase, which should begin in the spring.