Fun fact: Besides a small section of track in London, Georgetown has the only remaining segments of conduit system streetcar track, a road design that was commonly used in the late 19th century.

For most of the Georgetown community, the construction on such streetcar tracks has been adding a degree of navigational difficulty to O and P Streets between the university and Wisconsin Avenue since last spring. Sponsored by the District Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration — and notably, not taxpayers’ money — the project will complete a $12 million rehabilitation of the cobblestone roadways, 100-year-old water mains and century-old trolley tracks by next summer.

Complaints have circulated for years about the public safety and structural integrity of the cobblestone streets and trolley tracks — DDOT and FHA dragged their feet for five years trying to determine what to do. We understand the frustration; after all, the DDOT is essentially removing old tracks and cobblestones for new ones without a working trolley. The abject condition of the streets and old tracks along O and P Streets, however, demands new construction to enable actual navigation through West Georgetown.

While neighbors and students are nearing the limits of their patience, the safer, historically preserved streets will ultimately improve the accessibility of the area and enhance the historical atmosphere of West Georgetown. The cost of the project may be high in both dollars and inconvenience, but it ensures the maintenance of the trolley tracks and the historical atmosphere West Georgetown’s, retaining a part of our historical campus character.

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