On New Decks, Streateries to Multiply in Georgetown

Construction has begun on about 4,000 lineal feet of streatery decks — to be decked out for some 28 restaurants, cafés and bakeries — along M Street and Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown. In addition, “There are another nine restaurants that have streateries on other streets,” Jamie Scott, the Georgetown Business Improvement District’s director of planning and economic development, told The Georgetowner earlier this month.

Prototype decks were tested at three sites — Clyde’s (3236 M St. NW), Ladurée and Thunder Burger (3060 M St. NW) and L’Annexe (2917 M St. NW) — for several months. The more than 30 streateries expected to be operational in the neighborhood’s commercial areas, ravaged by the pandemic shutdown, have been called “the possible savior of Georgetown.”

The decking will extend Georgetown’s narrow sidewalks from an average of 9.5 feet to an average of 15 feet, using removable 4-by-6.5-foot panels, installed on M Street between 29th and 34th Streets and on Wisconsin Avenue between Q Street and the C&O Canal.

According to the BID, the deck extensions are designed to be accessible for those using wheelchairs or pushing strollers, to allow stormwater to flow under the deck to the curb and to keep storm drains and fire hydrants clear. The panels are being built with composite decking on top of a wood frame. A combination of black metal barriers and concrete barriers will protect the sidewalk extensions to keep diners and pedestrians safe.

The pilot program is expected to be fully operational from May through the end of the year. During that time, the BID and other agencies will be monitoring and evaluating the concept, developed with the involvement of almost a dozen city agencies and community organizations.

Several daytime and evening virtual town meetings were held in 2020 and 2021 seeking community input. The top concern expressed was parking availability, since the project would remove almost 200 street parking places in front of the eateries where the decks would be placed.

“Negotiations with nearby Georgetown parking garage and lot owners are taking place to provide streatery customers who drive private cars to Georgetown with discounted parking,” Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Gwen Lohse has reported at ANC 2E meetings.

“The project can be modified as necessary,” said Scott. “If at the end of the year it is deemed successful and the community wants to keep the extensions in place beyond 2021, the BID will go through another permitting process to keep them up longer.

“The city has not yet permitted retailers to use the deck to display merchandise,” Scott told The Georgetowner. “We’re hopeful that they eventually will.”



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