Starting last weekend, and running through the summer, the BID arranged for sidewalks along M St. between 33rd and Wisconsin to become temporarily wider. This is an expansion of a pilot they’ve tested several times in the past year. It’s great that they’ll be running it every weekend all summer long, but it should be seen only as a stepping stone for a broader sidewalk expansion plan.
When the BID first arranged for the pilot (seen in the video above) the idea to do something more was already percolating. So long as the pilots were successful, rolling it out more regularly was the goal. And because the pilots were successful, the BID was able to get approval to do just that. This summer program is the result.
M St. west of Wisconsin is the stretch most in need of the expansion. So it has been the focus of the current program. But M St. east of Wisconsin is also pretty crowded on weekends. So ultimately it too should be regularly widened. And assuming this summer’s program is successful, perhaps the eastern half on M will be included next year.
And shouldn’t we be considering doing it more than just the summer? And can we widen Wisconsin too? Should we widen them permanently? Maybe, maybe not, but it’s great that we’ve gotten to point where it would even be a possibility. And all credit goes to Will Handsfield and the staff of the BID for taking this idea and running with it.
GM once suggested that we should shut down M St. entirely during the summer. That’s probably still a bridge too far, but because of the good work of the BID, the pedestrian experience in Georgetown is improving without such radical measures.