Earlier this year the results of the 2010 Decennial Census were released and headlines across the region announced the first increase in DC’s population since 1950.
Across the country, government officials and politicians have been dissecting the data from the 2010 Census to determine new political boundaries based on population shifts. Locally, DC’s eight wards are required by statute to adjust their boundaries so Council members from each ward represent roughly the same number of people.
Closer to home in the Borderstan neighborhoods of Dupont Circle, Logan Circle and U Street, the population change in Dupont was flat, while Logan and U Street saw significant gains in residents. This was not particularly surprising since Dupont saw its building boom in the 1980s and 1990s, while the push to Logan and U Street did not pick up steam until 2000.
Proposed Maps before City Council: ANC 2B/Dupont‘s internal boundaries shifted only a bit with no new seats; ANC 1B (which includes much of the U Street corridor) will gains one seat; and ANC 2F/Logan gains two additional seats. A revamped ANC 2C shifts from being Shaw-centric to a new downtown ANC. A few weeks ago the redistricting task forces submitted their new maps to the DC Council, which is expected to approve them later this month; they will take effect in 2012.
Redistricting Impacts Wards, ANCs and SMDs
At the neighborhood level, DC’s eight wards are divided into Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (ANC) and then subdivided into smaller Single Member Districts (SMD). Each SMD represents roughly 2,000 residents.
The ANCs and SMDs are also required to adjust their borders by redistricting, based on the census data. ANCs present their positions — usually based on resident input — on issues such as zoning, traffic, liquor licenses, and public safety to various DC agencies and the DC Council.
ANC 2F to Add 2 Seats
In ANC 2F, centered around Logan Circle, the 10-year increase in population was so great that it will require the addition of two new SMDs. (Redistricting did add a handful of blocks the eastern side while sparsely populated areas around the National Mall were transferred to a completely revamped ANC 2C.)
The population growth in some Census tracts in ANC 2F exceeded 30% during the 2000-2010 period. It’s easy to figure out how this happened — the new rental and condo buildings on the 1400 blocks of P and Church Streets NW, plus additional units on the west side of 14th Street and on the 1400 block of Rhode Island Avenue.
In addition to the creation of two new SMDs, the proposed new boundaries for 2F would end at I (“Eye”) Street NW on the southern edge. Currently the ANC’s southern edge in SMD 2F03 is Independence Avenue, which runs along the National Mall. (View the current ANC 2F boundaries at the ANC website.)
“While the ANC, and SMDs, are geographically smaller, they represent more residents. The proposed alignment should make the commission more effective and able to focus on consistent and comparable issues that are important to everyone in the area,” said Michael Benardo, vice chairman of ANC 2F.
The downtown blocks given up would form the western chunk of a reworked ANC 2C associated mostly with the Penn Quarter neighborhood. Much of the current ANC 2C in Shaw will now become part of Ward 6 — part of the District-wide effort to balance ward populations. The 2F proposal also calls for a few blocks around the Convention Center north of Mount Vernon Square to be merged into what is now SMD 2F06.
Confused yet? In a nutshell, the proposed changes gives ANC 2F a geographically smaller footprint, which in turn gives us a Commission focused on local issues. The challenge moving forward is finding residents dedicated to being the voice for their neighbors.
ANC 2F currently has a vacancy in SMD 2F05, the addition of two news SMDs will require three new commissioners. ANC 2F monthly meetings are open to the public and are usually held at 7 pm on the first Wednesday of the month. Unless announced otherwise, the monthly meeting is held in a conference room at the Washington Plaza Hotel.