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A Gondola and a Metro Station? Georgetown in 2028

  • June 14, 2013

by Shilpi Paul

image
The intersection of M Street and Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown

Compared to rapidly transforming areas like 14th Street, NoMa and the H Street Corridor, Georgetown is a relatively static neighborhood with a steady reputation.

However as others parts of DC prosper — attracting restaurants, cool retailers and eager home buyers — Georgetown is in a bit of a crisis. Without a Metro station, it’s not a very easy place to get to, and stores that were once unique to the neighborhood have counterparts popping up in other parts of DC. Rents are rising, and some landmark stores and gathering places, like Barnes and Noble, have closed. While many tourists are still drawn to the historic feel and the waterfront, DC residents haven’t been making the trip to the west side of town as often as they used to.

Well, the Georgetown Business Improvement District (BID) is hoping to change that. They have launched an initiative — Georgetown 2028 — in the hopes of creating an actionable plan on how to improve the neighborhood over the next 15 years.

On Thursday night, the BID invited residents, business owners and other stakeholders to brainstorm about ways to make the neighborhood more dynamic.

“There is no cool factor left in Georgetown,” said one participant.

Long-time residents spoke to the deterioration of the retail scene over the past few decades, even while wealthy residents continue to live in the area. (According to the BID, residents between the ages of 25 and 34 who live within a one mile radius of the center of Georgetown have an average disposable income of about $100,000.)

Among the topics discussed were how to attract “hip” restaurants to the area, create more public spaces and outdoor events, better connect the neighborhood to the city through bike-friendly infrastructure and more managed traffic flow, activate the upper portion of Wisconsin Avenue, and enhance the historic appeal.

But perhaps most interesting are the ideas that the BID is considering, which include:

  • Building an aerial gondola to connect Rosslyn and Georgetown University.
  • Installing a giant outdoor swimming pool in the C&O Canal stone aqueduct, overlooking the Potomac.
  • Constructing a Metro station, along the proposed separated Blue Line, and/or a streetcar.
  • A repealing or relaxing of the current liquor license moratorium.
  • The creation of outdoor sidewalk seating.
  • Installing a pedestrian bridge or water taxi that connects to Roosevelt Island.

You can check out other ideas, and submit your own, here.

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/aerial_gondolas_and_a_giant_outdoor_swimming_pool_georgetown_in_2028/7202

17 Comments

  1. GP Steve said at 9:52 am on Friday June 14, 2013:

    How about along with sidewalk cafes, pedestrianizing M St so it’s just people and buses / street cars? The vibrancy that I’ve seen in similar pedestrianized areas is amazing.

  1. Zesty said at 10:28 am on Friday June 14, 2013:

    It’s funny how they fought against the metro to persumably keep certain people out of Georgetown. Now that they see the development generated by having a metro, i.e., Navy Yard. They’re back tracking and want a metro now. I hope they don’t get a metro; such hypocrisy shouldn’t be rewarded!

  1. xmal said at 10:49 am on Friday June 14, 2013:

    The Georgetown Metro story is apocryphal—-all the sources point to engineering challenges preventing a routing through Georgetown: http://www.welovedc.com/2009/10/13/dc-mythbusting-georgetown-metro-stop/

    Opposition due to fear of outsiders DID scuttle other Metro stations elsewhere:
    At UMD: http://rethinkcollegepark.net/blog/2007/523/

    And Oklahoma Ave NE: http://urbanplacesandspaces.blogspot.com/2011/07/bring-back-oklahoma-avenue-metro.html

  1. xmal said at 10:50 am on Friday June 14, 2013:
  1. Zesty said at 11:51 am on Friday June 14, 2013:

    The WeLoveDC article is hilarious….the article starts by stating that there was never a proposed metro in Georgetown. Then the article admits that “there was some opposition from Georgetown residents to a potential Metro station”. The article is laughable because it tries to parse potential and proposed.

  1. Patrick said at 11:57 am on Friday June 14, 2013:

    I live on Potomac St, so I think I can speak for the area since it’s right outside my front door. The first problem is the traffic/lack of pedestrian area. Look to the side area of Dean and Deluca for a model of how to best use outdoor space—Also the “Taste” festival 2 weeks ago that shut down the lower part of Wisconsin Ave had an excellent draw. The entire walkway area of M street should be widened to accommodate for this. Second, there has to be some mechanism for lowering rents for new restaurants/entrepreneurs. There’s no reason a commercial space in the area should sit. There’s an obvious mis-pricing occurring if something sits for more than a few weeks. Lastly, I agree that connecting Rosslyn/Arlington and DC through a better transportation route would probably benefit both areas.

  1. Duponter said at 12:04 pm on Friday June 14, 2013:

    I think some sort of above ground streetcar that goes from Dupont Circle over to Georgetown would be a good idea.  Georgetown is really just too far to walk from Dupont, which is a shame because I’d certainly go to Georgetown more often if it did not just seem like such a pain to get to.

  1. Dane said at 1:11 pm on Friday June 14, 2013:

    The challenge is balancing the needs of the BID with a residential community that wants Georgetown to become Colonial Williamsburg.

    Meanwhile, the neighborhood will atrophy and deteriorate as Metro moves more nightlife along the Green Line. Who would have ever predicted a bowling alley would now be a sign of development?

  1. xmal said at 2:14 pm on Friday June 14, 2013:

    Ahem—-UPSCALE bowling alley!

  1. Graham said at 2:15 pm on Friday June 14, 2013:

    Georgetown is already slated to get a streetcar line. The H Street NE line will eventually extend from Benning to Georgetown if all goes according to current plans.

  1. Monty Burns said at 2:22 pm on Friday June 14, 2013:

    The imminent arrival of big box stores i.e. home goods and TJ Maxx, as well as the bowling alley are a real shame. Georgetown Park was once a great place until the owners decided to incorporate a percentage lease (owners take a % of the stores profits up to a certain, agreed upon point). Ludacris in my opinion.

    It doesn’t help when rents for storefront within a block or two of M & Wisc are over $100/sf NNN!!!

  1. Jay said at 2:52 pm on Friday June 14, 2013:

    Horrendous traffic.  Tedious shopping.  Shabby restaurants.  Elusive parking.  Horrible mass-transit options.  Yep, that’s the Georgetown of today.  I’ve lived here for eighteen years, and avoid it like the plague.

  1. Mike said at 3:04 pm on Friday June 14, 2013:

    Zetsy - never proposed - read the Great Society Subway

  1. Dana Hollish Hill said at 3:23 pm on Friday June 14, 2013:

    How about a roller skating rink? It could also be the home of the DC Roller Girls.

  1. James said at 1:55 am on Saturday June 15, 2013:

    Georgetown seems to have morphed into Clarendon, without the walkability.

  1. laugh@loud said at 9:07 am on Saturday June 15, 2013:

    Georgetown thought they were to good for the rest of DC… floating on their golden cloud 9… trying their best to keep certain folks away due to price and accessibility… Not knowing Georgetown isn’t that special. Trust and Believe, Navy Yard / Anacostia will be a better waterfront location and H st will be the next shopping destination… who would have ever guess..lol

  1. mona said at 11:43 am on Saturday June 15, 2013:

    LOL….Karma, Georgetown deserves this. They built up its rep as being so posh and exclusive and now they are clamoring to get people to come down there. You got what you wanted now deal with it.

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