Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Advisory Neighborhood Commission Votes to Continue Georgetown’s ‘Streateries’

Georgetown’s Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC 2E), a local government entity that represents the Georgetown, Burleith and Hillandale neighborhoods, voted to extend the permit on the District’s “streatery” projects for another two years. 

Streateries, the sidewalk extensions in front of many restaurants, cafes and businesses in Georgetown, have been in place since July 2021. The Georgetown Business Improvement District (BID), a publicly chartered nonprofit made up of business owners in the Georgetown area, began discussions about streateries in 2020 as an effort to revitalize outdoor dining during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The commission voted five to three in favor of a resolution for a two-year extension of the streateries. Both commissioners representing Georgetown students, Joe Massaua (SFS ’25) and John DiPierri (SFS ’25), voted in favor of the resolution. 

Faith Broderick, the economic development director at the BID, said the installation of the boardwalk-like decks has promoted a resurgence of business for restaurants, lowered car accident rates and made the city more wheelchair and sidewalk-accessible. 

“Our goal is to deliver beautiful public spaces that create vibrancy and safety and contribute to Georgetown’s economic vibrancy,” Broderick said at the Oct. 2 meeting.

The resolution on the table was to extend the pilot program of the streateries for another two years, giving the various organizations involved time to address the complaints and concerns that the public has brought forward and come up with a long-term plan. 

The District Department of Transportation is currently working on a year-long study of transportation access and commuting in Georgetown, the results of which will be published in March 2024. DiPierri said that a two-year extension is essential to planning the future of the streateries using the results from the study.

“Part of the reason why we advocated for two years versus one year was because we wanted to give the BID enough time to respond to the access study when it comes out in the spring, as well as the foundation of that BID, CAG, ANC committee to give them enough time to understand how transportation is going to change and affect the street pilot program,” DiPierri told The Hoya. 

Wikipedia | The Georgetown Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC 2E) voted on Oct. 2 to extend the Pandemic-era project of sidewalk and boardwalk extensions along Wisconsin Ave. and M St.

The Georgetown Coalition for Public Spaces, a group of business owners and residents from the area, argued at the meeting that the District has not made sidewalk extensions a priority and that many are in the need of renovation.

Elizabeth Miller, a member of the coalition, expressed her frustration with the current condition of the streateries. Members of the coalition showed images of run-down furniture, abandoned decks and trash buildups, to which they claim the BID has not been responsive. 

“We’re really, really hoping that there’ll only be decking directly in front of operational restaurants, that they will be seasonal like other large cities like New York City, that [they] will be consistent, and you will be responsive to our concerns,” Miller said. “It’s been three years, and I think the lack of response gives us a little pause.” 

In response, the coalition urged the ANC to prioritize the aesthetic elements of the extensions, including by removing jersey barriers; creating strict style guidelines approved by the Old Georgetown Board, an advisory board of three architects that conducts reviews of projects within historic Georgetown; and reevaluating the streateries in one year. 

Sarah Swabb, owner of the local interior design firm Storie Collective and a resident of Georgetown, said that a greater effort needs to be made to maintain the streateries. 

“In my mind, it’s really quite awful for a historic area to see a plastic sidewalk or metal bent up, and it feels a little bit dangerous,” Swabb said at the meeting. “We deserve to have streateries that reflect the beauty of our overall village and make us proud to come home and proud to do business each and every day in this space.” 

Commissioners and residents also said at the meeting that streateries and sidewalk extensions significantly reduced parking availability. 

According to Broderick, the streateries’ scope has diminished from the original 4,200 square feet to 2,500 square feet, as business owners, residents and tourists remove the streateries as they are beginning to prioritize parking space over COVID-era social distancing strategies.

Deborah Winsor, local business owner of August Georges, a home furnishing store, said the restricted parking makes it difficult for patrons to access stores in the area. 

“People are not coming to Georgetown due to the parking issues and traffic jams. And this is not good for a lot of businesses,” Winsor said at the meeting. 

Georgetown student Jaibin Mathew (SFS ’24) said that the streateries are important in fostering connection and community between the neighborhood and students. 

“People talk about Gen Z being the loneliest generation ever,” Mathew told The Hoya. “I think streateries represent a callback to this idea of running into a friend at a cafe. Walking around and seeing people, bustling life in the streets, is so important for your sense of well-being as a human.” 

DiPierri said that while he and Massaua respect the neighbors’ desires for preserving the historical aesthetic of the neighborhood, their top priority is making the neighborhood practical and accessible for students. 

“Certainly, the historic character is something that’s very, very important to the neighbors and to the students as an aesthetic of the neighborhood.” DiPierri told the Hoya. “But we as commissioners, and as representatives of students, feel that the primary interest has to be function.” 

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Hoya Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *