A plan to put bike lanes along Connecticut Avenue is causing controversy once again, after a newly elected ANC commissioner posted a photo gesturing offensively at an anti-bike lane sign outside a business d.c.
On election night, Commissioner-elect Hayden Gise tweeted a since-deleted image of the Sew and Vac brothers with their fellow Neighborhood Advisory Commission members giving the middle finger. The caption read: “Most of ANC 3C has something to say: we’re making bike lanes. On operations.”
Jose Ventura has been working at Brother’s Sew and Vac for 30 years. Over the past three decades, repairing vacuum cleaners and managing the Cleveland Park store, he has seen many changes along Connecticut Avenue.
Now he says the bike lanes will suck the air out of his business by blocking foot traffic.
“They’re going to take out 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 group’s campaign against Mayor Muriel Bowser’s plan to add nearly three miles of protected bike lanes along the busy street.
The proposal is applauded by bicycle advocates, but attacked 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 their support and the way it looks, we’re not getting it,” Ventura said.
The problematic post also didn’t sit well with business owners like Christopher Stadnyk. His father opened the Frame Mart Gallery on Connecticut Avenue in 1968.
Besides being against bike lanes, he said the photo is a slap in the face.
“How privileged they are to be able to walk up to someone else’s basic establishment and give them the bird and take them out. Nobody goes up to their house to take them out here,” he said.
Gise did not respond to News4’s interview requests. He tweeted an apology over the weekend, saying the message he conveyed was disrespectful to those with differing opinions.
“I think elected representatives should be listening to their constituency, rather than posing for photos,” Stadnyk said.
The group behind the signs started an online petition that has already garnered nearly 2,400 signatures.
As for what the bike lanes will actually look like, that won’t be known until the project enters the design phase, which should begin in the spring.