Photo by jrodmanjr.
Yesterday, GM introduced the Georgetown 2028 report and discussed its most pressing goal: getting Metro to Georgetown. But the bulk of the plan’s 75 recommendations address what changes can be made to the transportation network before we get Metro. And GM would like to discuss some of the highlights of this group today.
Clang Clang Clang Goes the Trolley
The District government is planning on building a 37 mile streetcar network. The first line is currently being constructed on H St. (in fact a car was just brought to the tracks the other day to begin testing). This line will ultimately snake through downtown and terminate in Georgetown.
The city considered different routes, but appears to have settled on having the streetcar come in to Georgetown on K St. The plan calls for the streetcar to travel on a new transit-only lane down K St. between Mt. Vernon Square to Washington Circle. Unfortunately the current plan calls for the streetcar to return to mixed traffic between Washington Circle and Georgetown.
The Georgetown 2028 transportation working group decided that this would cause unacceptable delays. Thus they concluded that the streetcar should continue to have its own lane west of Washington Circle. This would ensure that the streetcar offered fast and reliable service to and from Georgetown.
Georgetown University has also expressed an interest in the alignment of this line. They would like the line to ultimately connect to the campus. But if it comes in on K St., that goal will be tough to achieve without the demolition of the Whitehurst and the construction of a ramp from Canal down to Water St.
Alternatively, the streetcar could come in on the Whitehurst itself. Pedestrian access could be created via ramps or elevators. Then the streetcar could more easily continue on to the campus.
Either way, the recommendation from the report is just to make sure that the streetcar is fast and reliable all the way to Georgetown.
Clang Clang Clang Goes the Gondola?
As GM floated last February, the BID report is recommending the exploration of constructing an aerial gondola from Rosslyn to Georgetown. It would connect the Metro to M St. and the university.
The benefit of this admittedly unusual idea is that it is supposedly is a lot cheaper and quicker to build than Metro. It would provide a system similar to what you see at ski mountains. The cars would arrive constantly and it would guarantee a five minute ride from the Rosslyn metro to M St. and the university.
There are obviously a ton of hurdles such a project would have to clear, but it could be up an running in far less time than it will take to get a Metro here. Continue reading