Reporting on pedestrian life in the D.C. area

O and P Streets Project hopes to preserve crumbling infrastructure, streetcar tracks

February 13, 2012 - 08:55 AM
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No streetcars anymore. (Photo: DDOT)

Georgetown's streets are broken, D.C., and the city hopes to fix them. Last week marked the first completed block, 34th Street, of the District Department of Transportation's O and P Street Rehabilitation Project, which focuses on seven streets in Georgetown. The project is one part for beauty, with historic brick and old streetcar track being reinstalled, and part utility, addressing deep structural challenges that have developed thanks to the age of the roads and infrastructure.

Work began early last year and will continue for the next four to six months or so. People have hoped to restore these blocks as long ago as 2003, however. Here's a photo of Councilmember Jack Evans appreciating how far all this has come. Even the rain can't keep this politician away from the crumbling streets.

The D.C. government notes that heavy traffic and century-old water leaks have caused parts of the Georgetown-area roads to fail and create sinkholes. Construction workers will install new asphalt on the five blocks between O and P as well as rebuild curbs, gutters, and sidewalks. Don't expect any of the streetcar work to actually one day benefit the hyped 37-mile system the D.C. government is building though. These tracks, a remnant of the 100-mile-long system that operated from 1862 to 1962 — will be preserved just for the fond memories of Georgetowners. You'll admit they do look rather distinguished. Georgetown university's student newspaper, The Hoya, recently noticed the tracks, too, and seems glum to note the promise of new streetcars won't be reaching their doorstep.

Like all rehab and maintenance work, of course, the O and P work can be a nightmare for the area's drivers. Just look to its Twitter account for a regular barrage of parking restriction updates. Ugh. DDOT has released 30 photos of the construction work, which you can view here, and offers more information on the project at its official website here.

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