Georgetown BID Launches 2028 Plan
Published: Friday, January 31, 2014
Updated: Friday, January 31, 2014 02:01
The Georgetown Business Improvement District formally launched its 2028 15-year action plan and announced its intention to increase transportation between Georgetown and greater D.C. in a ceremony held at the City Club Tavern Thursday.
The plan was drawn up in collaboration with members of Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2E, the Citizen’s Association of Georgetown, Georgetown University, the Georgetown Business Association, the National Park Service and the D.C. government, as well as over 200 members of the Georgetown community.
“Georgetown 2028: Preserve what is great about Georgetown, improve what’s broken, and create what’s missing, and all within a context of doing no harm and really preserving the great character of the residential community,” Chief Executive Officer of the BID Joe Sternlieb said in his introduction.
Of the 2028 plan’s 75 action items, 23 concerned public space, nine concerned economic development and 43 focused on improving transportation in Georgetown, including improved bus service and bike facilities, potential implementation of a gondola service, as well as the creation of a metro stop in Georgetown proper, an idea that has been discussed since the 1970s.
The BID has received 50 percent of necessary funds from the private sector, but it is still waiting for the District’s Department of Transportation to match the funds so that it can begin the gondola feasibility study. If successful, the gondola aerial lift will carry riders over the Potomac to and from Georgetown and Rosslyn Metro Station.
“I think the transportation initiatives are going to have a huge impact on Georgetown undergrads. We want to make it easier to bike here. We want to make it easier to walk here. We want to make it easier to get to major transit,” Sternlieb said. “I think all of these will have a big impact on Georgetown undergrads,” he said.
The BID aims to have two metro stops in Georgetown on a second, separate Blue Line by 2028 that will run between Rosslyn and central D.C., one near the university and a second near the intersection of M Street and Wisconsin Avenue, to increase the neighborhood’s accessibility to the District.
In another attempt to reduce traffic coming into Georgetown, the 2028 Plan has proposed the construction of a streetcar program near K Street, as well as the creation of more bike-friendly routes. To improve bus service, the plan proposed an extension of bus routes and more frequent service. Additionally, the BID is working with local tech firms to create an app that will give users real-time information on the whereabouts of the Circulator bus.
These various new modes of transportation will all converge on K Street, with the hope of transforming K Street into a vibrant major gateway. Sternlieb stressed the importance of improving Georgetown’s gateways.
“None of them sing the praise of what a great place you’re coming into; all of them need to be improved,” Sternlieb said.
Along with K Street, the BID also hopes to beautify the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, one of Georgetown’s most unique features, according to Sternlieb.
‘The C&O Canal, probably the most unique asset in any retail district, certainly in the mid-Atlantic, maybe in the country, and what can we do to enhance it – make it better, more vibrant, starting a campaign to raise money to build a new canal barge.”
In the next couple of years, Georgetown students can expect to see the improved bus and bike service as well as more retail and restaurants in the next four to five years.
“We’re not going to snap our finger and have all 75 things done in two years, some of them will take all 15 years and beyond, and other things you’ll see up in March,” Sternlieb said.
Georgetown Vice President of Public Affairs Eric Smulson voiced his approval on behalf of the University.
“We whole-heartedly endorse this plan,” Smulson said.