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Is Widening the Sidewalks the Future for Georgetown?

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Big is beautiful, and the same goes for sidewalks. For one weekend in October, Georgetown widened the sidewalks along M Street, which created — shocker — less congestion. What's being described as a "success" was the accommodation of a rise of pedestrian traffic by 9.8 percent. To make more room on the sidewalks, 47 parking spaces from Wisconsin Avenue to Potomac Street were barricaded. Surprisingly, parking wasn't terrible with spaces replaced three-fold by nearby garages. Garages and posted signs also gave discounts to the public. While it my seem strange that news outlets are reporting on something that happened a month ago, the responses to the now reported results have been unanimous: widen the sidewalks of Georgetown already!

Georgetown's sidewalks are eight feet wide, "much narrower than most around the city," according to Transportation Director for the Georgetown Business Improvement District Will Handsfield. Considering this, he brought up Georgetown 2028, a 15-year action plan that strategizes different ways to improve Georgetown. Handsfield said, "The pedestrian experience is an important theme of the plan." One of the ways the Georgetown 2028 plan hopes to improve transit is with a Metro Station in Georgetown. See below for additional proponents of the Georgetown 2028 plan that relate to pedestrian and bicycle transit as well as responses from the public on Georgetown's street widening last month.

Proponents of the Georgetown 2028 Plan That Relate to Pedestrian/Bicycle Transit Include:

• Improving the reliability of the bus service

• Creating a Streetcar service to the Waterfront

• Adding Capital Bikeshare stations

• Constructing a pedestrian/bicycle bridge to Roosevelt Island

• Installing additional bicycle corrals

• Connecting the Capital Crescent Trail and Rock Creek Parkway Trail


Responses for Georgetown Widening Sidewalks:

"Would they consider removing those parking spaces permanently?
You could then widen the sidewalk and also have a badly needed bike lane there too."
- Brett Young

"I vote for removing the parking and replacing it with a protected bike lane so that pedestrians and bikers feel safe. Signs directing drivers to garages with the number of spaces available would also be helpful. Accomodations should be made for delivery trucks and business, but pedestrians should rule!"
- Manuel Ochoa

"I avoid Georgetown, and pedestrian crowding is a huge part of the reason. The crowds are very unpleasant. Those 47 spaces will do a lot more for Georgetown as part of the sidewalk than they currently accomplish as parking."
- massysett

· For one weekend, Georgetown got wider sidewalks [GreaterGreater Washington]