Meetings on BID Proposal to Extend Use of Streateries, Dec. 21

“Over the last seven months we have created more streateries than any neighborhood in the city. The response to widening sidewalks for enclosed street cafes in Georgetown has been overwhelmingly positive, and we believe is the key to its recovery in 2021,” wrote Joe Sternlieb, CEO and president of the Georgetown Business Improvement District, on Dec. 14. Now the BID — a tax-supported organization — is proposing that the use of streateries extend beyond their expiration date at the end of next year, as set by the city.

On Monday, Dec. 21, at 10:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., two virtual community meetings will be held via Zoom to discuss a BID proposal to expand about 5,000 linear feet of sidewalks on Wisconsin Avenue and M Street through the end of 2021, when Mayor Muriel Bowser’s streatery permits expire. “We will discuss the sidewalk platform and barrier designs, locations, commercial loading, vehicle parking, pick-up/drop-off zones, transit, bike/scooter parking, accessibility, sidewalk uses, utility access, snow plans and other issues at both meetings,” wrote Sternlieb.

The BID has designed two sidewalk extension platform prototypes on M Street — at Bodega on the 3000 block and at Clyde’s on the 3200 block. “Wider sidewalks for pedestrians, dining and eventually outdoor retail sales will change the look, feel and success of Georgetown,” according to the BID. “They also are friendlier to those in wheelchairs and with disabilities, and to families with strollers, who have always found Georgetown challenging. The new outdoor dining options will encourage more restaurants to open, and the increase in sidewalk activity will induce more retailers to sign leases here.”

Shop and restaurant owners have questions and mixed feelings about the proposal, especially after city warnings of a snowstorm on Wednesday evening, Dec. 16, forced restaurants and cafes with streateries to remove all structures on the street — including tents, lamps and landscaped barriers — to allow snowplow access. As it turned out, less than half an inch of snow fell in the District.

The prospect of giving streateries a longer urban life on Georgetown’s narrow streets and sidewalks raises such issues of concern as competition for space for parking, deliveries and public transportation, responsibility for cleanup and liability for injuries to customers and passersby. The registration page for the meetings is linked HERE.


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