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Myth: Georgetown Residents Fought to Keep Metro Out

by Will Smith

Newcomers to DC often wonder why Georgetown — with all its retail, restaurants, bars, residences, the university and other attractions — doesn’t have a Metro station. The common explanation is that when Metro was being planned, well-to-do Georgetowners resisted a station in the neighborhood believing it would bring in “the riffraff.” They wanted their elite neighborhood to remain relatively inaccessible and pristine, goes the myth.

image
M and 31st, NW. Photo courtesy Kmf164.

Well a post today from We Love DC reveals that this widely-propagated explanation is just that, a myth. Metro planners never seriously considered installing a station in Georgetown at all, according to The Great Society Subway, a book about the creation of the Metro from which We Love DC draws its history. First, the Metro was envisioned as a system to enable easy access to downtown from the suburbs. Since Georgetown is near downtown, planners didn’t see much of a need for its residents to have a station. Second, Georgetown’s proximity to the river made the logistics and cost of a station unappealing.

We Love DC notes that it is quite possible Georgetown residents would have opposed a station if one had been actually planned. Evidently many neighborhoods opposed Metro for a variety of reasons. But as it happened, a Georgetown station never was planned, and so the idea that residents actively campaigned against it is not true.

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/myth_georgetown_residents_fought_to_keep_metro_out/1423

7 Comments

  1. Mike said at 10:44 am on Tuesday October 20, 2009:

    Awesome book - a book everyone who rides the metro should read.  It is amazing how a myth takes hold and becomes fact.  Believe it was the depth of the tunnel and the angle needed to get back close to ground level in Georgetown was the main reason.

  1. Ziona said at 11:00 am on Tuesday October 20, 2009:

    Wonder why the “Georgetowners” waited so long to refute the “Myth”

  1. Gtown said at 11:33 am on Tuesday October 20, 2009:

    Curious to know what people think a Metro in Georgetown would’ve done to property prices. While the impulse answer is that it would’ve bumped up prices, the lack of a station means that there is an air of exclusivity and that translates to higher prices and home valuation.

  1. Bloomingdale res said at 2:02 pm on Tuesday October 20, 2009:

    it seems wrong that gtown has been stuck with a snobby image. i find it more appalling that gtown with its strict building design codes restricts the influx of liquor stores.

  1. Dale said at 5:40 pm on Tuesday October 20, 2009:

    This reading of the history cries for a more facts and analysis.

    What if Georgetown residents asserted their interests during the pre-planning phase and thereby kept the issue off the table? What if they had disproportionate presence or influence on the planning board that set out potential station locations?

    That’s called agenda-setting, friends, and it is one of the most powerful yet invisible tools of the so-called democratic process.

  1. Mike said at 12:52 pm on Thursday October 22, 2009:

    Dale, go read the book, this article was not made up, it is been out there since the 1960/70s. 

    Geography dictated why there is no metro in G-town not resident’s interest/non-interest.

    Someone made up a story and then it became fact.

  1. Ralph J Chittams Sr said at 7:46 pm on Thursday March 11, 2010:

    If it’s in a book it MUST be true!  Yeah, right.

Comments are closed.

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