Most of Georgetown is witnessing a reduction in traffic and parking on our streets, which began right after Memorial Day. I do not recall previously having seen such a drop-off in traffic. Many students at Georgetown University have departed for the summer, but those who work in or around the neighborhood normally park their cars on the streets of Georgetown, and these numbers have also dropped off. I am not complaining; I enjoy the reduction of traffic. In past years, vacation departures occurred in July and August. This year, some residents clearly have chosen to leave sooner than later.
There is a glaring exception to the reduced traffic, as I saw firsthand last Saturday afternoon and evening on the Georgetown waterfront. Along K and Water streets NW there is a serious congestion issue, and the Citizens Association of Georgetown and the Georgetown Business Improvement District have developed plans to improve mobility along those streets. The flow of cyclists averages 2,500 to 4,000, and there are dangers for pedestrians. Moreover, although tour bus operators are directed to park in the area by the Aqueduct, the size of the buses creates risks for maneuvering in the narrow confines under the Whitehurst Freeway.
Two proposals have been put forward to address these problems. A cycle lane from 29th to 31st streets could be created, which would incorporate mobile barriers to encourage cyclists to use it. And a turnaround circle could be built at the base of 34th Street, with the turning lane helping to ease traffic congestion. There is a downside to the proposals, however: 43 of the area’s current 141 parking spaces would be lost to accommodate these changes. The Georgetown BID is working to open up 88 additional parking spaces at 3333 Water St. NW. Let us hope those additional spaces become available to make the other plans more palatable.
— Bob vom Eigen