Maret School asks zoning board to remove traffic-counting requirement

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Maret School is asking the city to take away a years-old provision that requires the school to conduct an annual traffic report.

In a recent filing with the Board of Zoning Adjustment, the school reports that traffic levels in recent years have remained below the board’s cap of 772 automobile trips in the morning. Thus, Maret officials contend, with no plans to expand, the burdensome reporting requirement is no longer necessary for the 3000 Cathedral Ave. NW private school. Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3C (Cleveland Park, Massachusetts Avenue Heights, Woodley Park) agreed at its April 17 meeting, citing Maret’s consistent compliance.

However, the D.C. Department of Transportation recommends the reporting requirement remain in place. While the school has stayed below the cap, 772 trips “is high compared to other private schools” considering the school’s size and half-mile proximity to a Metrorail station, the department wrote in a filing. The agency wants the requirement in place until Maret can keep morning vehicle trips below 631 for two consecutive years; the school instead saw 677 morning trips in a September 2016 report, the most recent.

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The traffic cap and the reporting requirement was made a condition of the school’s 2014 agreement with zoning authorities, when Maret requested the student enrollment limit be expanded from 635 to 650. In addition, the school had to produce a “robust transportation demand management” plan. Without the reporting requirement, the Transportation Department worries that the traffic management measures “will decrease and negatively impact nearby roadways.”

That 2014 agreement also imposed an approval term of three years for the school, in order to evaluate whether the school is meeting its traffic goals. The Board of Zoning Adjustment will hear the case May 10.