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🚨 Support Georgetown Extended Sidewalks - Due Tomorrow Nite

🚨 Support Georgetown Extended Sidewalks - Due Tomorrow Nite
By Gordon Chaffin • Issue #146 • View online
I’m Gordon Chaffin and this is my newsletter to friends and supporters. I could really use your help job searching. I’m looking for a mid- or senior-level role in an organization doing public policy, communications, and/or political advocacy. Please hit reply or email me at gordonchaffin@gmail.com if you have leads/ideas. My up-to-date resume is here - bit.ly/GordonChaffinResume

Some of Georgetown's extended sidewalks have been used as "streateries" as shown above: a few parking spaces get re-purposed for outdoor dining. Many of those sidewalk decks are left open to increase walking and rolling space for disabled residents and visitors.
Some of Georgetown's extended sidewalks have been used as "streateries" as shown above: a few parking spaces get re-purposed for outdoor dining. Many of those sidewalk decks are left open to increase walking and rolling space for disabled residents and visitors.
Please fill out this short survey by tomorrow evening – Sunday, June 27 – to support widened sidewalks in Georgetown. <https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GeorgetownDecksResidentSurvey>
The neighborhood’s Business Improvement District (BID) is collecting feedback on this temporary, pandemic-related project. I’m sending an action alert about it because nearby residents have become mobilized against this people-first, business recovery-first use of public space. I need your help to convince the Georgetown BID that we visitors and money-spenders in their neighborhood like this re-use of private car storage space for festive dining, for much improved walking comfort, and to travel with or as disabled persons.
Please also send positive feedback about Georgetown Decks via email to the BID and Citizen’s Association.
Georgetown Decks Resident Survey June 2021
Georgetown DC Pandemic Sidewalk Widening -- June 2021 Update on Pilot
Georgetown DC Pandemic Sidewalk Widening -- June 2021 Update on Pilot
During a public meeting this past week – presentation video embedded above – residents living blocks away from M Street and Wisconsin Avenue NW complained that they couldn’t drive and park at the public curbside. There was repeated speculation - without concrete data – that traffic congestion is much worse on those two Georgetown thoroughfares. Those residents – whiter and wealthier by a large margin than DC overall and the people who work in service economy jobs there – insisted that an additional deluge of visitors have parked on nearby residential streets because of the 190 re-purposed public parking spaces. Georgetown residents also theorized that all the businesses were failing because of lack of parking and not aspects of the COVID pandemic.
I’m asking for your help to push back against that complaint-driven NIMBYism which is probably an unrepresentative sample of even Georgetown’s total population. None of those complaints and anecdotal allegations are novel. These are always the complaints of select few people when public spaces like on-street parking are reset as locations of outdoor commerce (e.g., farmer’s markets) or human movement.
There are lots of studies that show curbside parking is *much* less important to businesses thriving than these other uses of streetscapes. Google is your friend. Beginner-friendly bike lanes bring in more money than parking. Programmed public spaces like Silver Spring’s ice rink/music stage bring in more money than if that space were – like – 4 additional floors of a parking garage.
I appreciate any positive comments you can send to the Georgetown decision-makers in this survey. I asked them to increase bike parking using the extended sidewalks.
Slide from Georgetown Decks update shows that residents don't like shopping on Wisconsin or M Street because the sidewalks are too narrow.
Slide from Georgetown Decks update shows that residents don't like shopping on Wisconsin or M Street because the sidewalks are too narrow.
More Info via Georgetown BID - https://www.georgetowndc.com/
More info via Citizen’s Association of Georgetown - https://cagtown.org/
From the Citizens Association of Georgetown:
“The Georgetown Business Improvement District (BID) is hosting two community meetings next week about the Georgetown Decks project.
The BID installed 3,400 linear feet of sidewalk deck extensions to support streateries (outdoor dining for restaurants) and to provide space for pedestrians to help Georgetown recover from the pandemic. The Georgetown Decks project is a pilot and the BID has a permit until December 31, 2021.
The BID is hosting these meetings to gather feedback from residents and businesses, report on early observations about the decks, and identify any modifications to the pilot project that may be necessary.
Staff from the Georgetown BID, the ANC, and CAG President Tara Sakraida Parker will participate in the meetings. A Q&A will follow the presentation and it’s important to make your voices heard!
If you are unable to attend, the BID invites you to send comments or questions to georgetowndecks@georgetowndc.com.
A survey will also be open for residents June 21-27, we need your participation!”
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Public Feedback Opportunities
  • Tuesday 6/29 | 7 PM: Public Meeting about Beach Drive Closure, by Congresswoman Eleanor H. Norton“the congresswoman will hold a virtual community meeting on whether the portion of Beach Drive that has been closed to vehicle traffic during the pandemic should remain closed permanently. Norton initially supported the closure, saying it has become apparent during the pandemic how important and healthy it is to be outdoors, but has since heard from many constituents would like the road reopened to cars. This meeting will provide a chance for both sides to speak and make their respective cases before a final decision is made.” [Email NortonEvents@mail.house.gov to RSVP]
  • Thursday, 7/8 | 6 PM: Public Meeting about Beach Drive Closure, by National Park Service“NPS will host a virtual public meeting and begin a public engagement process to inform the future management of the section of Beach Drive that runs from Broad Branch Road NW to the Maryland border.” [Meeting Details | Link to Join Meeting on MSFT Teams | Dial-In: 202-640-1187 + enter passcode 815310000# | Recording Posted Here Afterward]
  • July 8 through August 22: Public Comment Period to NPS Regarding Upper Beach Drive Closure; “You are invited to review the proposal and provide comments and ideas from July 8 through August 22. To provide comments online starting on July 8, 2021, visit https://parkplanning.nps.gov/beachdrive. If you prefer to mail your comments, make sure they are postmarked by August 22, 2021, to receive consideration. Mail comments to the address below. SuperintendentATTN: Beach Drive Rock Creek Park 3545 Williamsburg Lane, NW Washington, DC 20008”
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Gordon Chaffin

This is Gordon Chaffin's newsletter. By day, he's a local journalist and current events storyteller living in Washington, DC. The goal: produce writing and multimedia -- civic participation resources -- that include, inform, and equip stakeholders with the least power to improve their community. On evenings and weekends, Gordon is a freelance audio/video producer and photographer. Topics of interest: transportation -- especially non-car transit -- plus housing, environmental justice, social and gender policies like family-medical leave, and education -- especially early childhood. Please send news tips to gordon[AT]streetsensemedia[DOT]org and freelance job inquiries to gordonchaffin[AT]gmail[DOT]com.

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