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The Georgetown Metropolis

3200 block of Reservoir Road

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ANC Preview: How a Culture That Accepts Children’s Deaths to Move Cars Around Keeps Rolling On

ACP-9
Photo by Aimee Custis.

The ANC is meeting for its October session next Monday night via Zoom at its normal 6:30 pm time slot. The agenda is a full one but one item really jumps out at GM: The resolution concerning a proposed bike lane on Dumbarton St.

The city is proposing to add a contra-flow bike lane on Dumbarton St. This is a type of bike lane that the city has successfully installed across the city, particularly in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. It essentially adds a lane just for bikes in the opposite direction from the normal traffic. This is what it looks like:

Contraflow Bike Lane
Photo by Travis Estell.

To those not familiar with them, they appear weird. But they work, and they provide a way for cyclists to travel safely in both directions on a street. For that reason they are often installed on quieter less busy streets, as it gives them a safe option away from nearby more dangerous parallel routes.

The proposal for Dumbarton St. would not call for the removal of any parking. It would not limit the use of the road by anyone who currently uses it. It would simply add a new safer route for people traveling through Georgetown on a bike.

And, of course, people lost their goddam minds about it.

Starting off, the Commission expressed skepticism about the lane, primarily focused on the contradictory assertions that the lane is neither necessary nor good enough because it wouldn’t connect with other bike lanes. (“These bike lanes are terrible, and what small portions!”).

But then caller after caller from the public vented their spleens about how much they were offended that such a proposal was even put forth. Essentially the complaints boiled down to assertion that to provide this lane, you would attract cyclists. That’s it. That’s the complaint. Attracting cyclists is a priori viewed as an assault on a certain group of residents. And any facility built by the city to offer even meager protection to cyclists is viewed as nothing but an attractive nuisance by these upstanding residents.

And since that last meeting a five year old girl riding a bike was run over a killed right in front of her father in a DC crosswalk.

Allie Hart 2016 – 2021

A contraflow bike lane would not have saved her. But her death was just part and parcel with a transportation system that says dead children is an acceptable cost of moving cars around. It’s a system that is willing to make roads safer only up until the point at which those measures slightly inconvenience an impatient driver or offend the sensibilities of a Georgetown homeowner who has never met a bicycle safety measure they didn’t object to.

It’s a system where a simple bike lane that removes not a lick of parking gets greeted with howls of condemnation and makes progress towards a future with genuinely zero traffic fatalities literally impossible. It’s a culture where safety advocates have to trade in tombstones to get speed bumps.

And on Friday, a four year old boy on a bike was run over in a crosswalk in Dupont.

It’s so, so, so tiring to face the same pushback from the same people over and over again. People who swear up and down that they are for safe roads. (They even have a bike they use on the weekends!) But who will never actually back any measure to make roads safer if it means even the slightest inconvenience to a non-cyclist. Even when the inconvenience doesn’t actually exist, as is the case here.

And so the ANC will likely successfully block this lane, and a culture that produces ghost bikes with training wheels will just keep rolling on.

(Update: Literally minutes after this article was posted, yet another child was slammed into by a driver on DC streets. They’re already chalking it up/excusing it due to “the sun”):

Here’s the rest of the agenda:

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The Morning Metropolitan

Early fall in the meadow
Photo by Jeff Vincent.

Good morning Georgetown, here’s the latest:

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Hon, Hon, Hon: The French Market Returns This Week

The French Market returns this weekend to Book Hill. The festivities start Friday and they run all the way till Sunday. Friday and Saturday, it is from 10 am to 5 pm, and on Sunday it’s noon to 5:00.

This is a return of an in-person French Market for the first time since the pandemic. There was a virtual French Market last spring, but this will be a return to the lively street fair that characterized the event in the past. This is a great opportunity for huge crowds to descend on Book Hill, with stores from Q to Reservoir out showing their wares on the sidewalk.

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The Morning Metropolitan

Fog rises from the Potomac River
Photo by Jeff Vincent.

Good morning Georgetown, here’s the latest:

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The Georgetown Metropolis

Volta Park

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Juice Shop Coming to Wisconsin Ave.

A new juice shop is coming to the corner of N And Wisconsin (1300 Wisconsin Ave.) in the space formerly occupied by the Papyrus stationery store. The company is called Pressed, and it’s got locations scattered across the US. This appears to be one of at least two stores in DC the company is planning (the other is on P St. in Logan Circle).

The company appears to have offerings ranging from the woo-woo “cleanse” type juices to simply lemonades. But one thing that doesn’t vary is the cost; the bottles go for about $5-$6 a pop. And like most new internet companies that use all lower case in their branding, it appears that getting you into a subscription is their goal.

But having a shop right here will help you avoid that, if you’re so inclined.

No word yet on when the shop will open, but GM would guess that it will be up and running by mid-winter.

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The Morning Metropolitan

The Chesapeake & Ohio Canal …
Photo by Jeff Vincent.

Good morning Georgetown, here’s the latest:

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The Georgetown Metropolis

Georgetown Waterfront

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Felled Oaks Find New Life in Dumbarton Oaks Park

Sometime last year two large mature white oak were felled in Montrose Park. They were among the larger such oaks that dot the park. After laying on the ground since then, their massive trunks have found a new life in Dumbarton Oaks Park.

Large planks from the trunks will be used to reconstruct several of the iconic bridges that hop scotch back and forth over the park’s brook. One of the bridges is the Clapper Falls bridge, seen in this vintage photo:

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