DC is closing three miles of Georgia Avenue for a day for "open streets" and no cars

Three years ago we reported on a partnership between the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) and the DC Office of Planning to close down Upshur Street to create an “Open Streets” initiative along with a $50,000 grant OPC obtained. Open Streets is an idea where a street is closed to cars and opened to pedestrians, bicyclists and others to move freely along the street. It also is meant to encourage local businesses and residents to come out and enjoy the open space created by the closure. It’s meant to “encourage people to think about public space in a new way,” WABA Events Manager Michelle Cleveland told Petworth News at the time.

The plan to close Upshur in 2017 moved forward as the Office of Planning (OPC) partnered with the Celebrate Petworth Festival to close that stretch of Upshur from Georgia to Rock Creek Church Road to coincide with the June 2017 Festival. Unfortunately, OPC backed out and canceled their part of the plan just two months before the Petworth event, leaving Festival organizers stuck and rushing to obtain new permits and the $8,000 in funding necessary for the road closure.

It ended up with the event moving to that September to accommodate DC regulations — and ultimately, the Fall date worked out well for the Festival weather-wise (budget-wise, it was exceedingly difficult). Shrugs all around and Open Streets and DC seemed to be looking for a new road to close and a way to spend the $50,000 grant.

Now, according to an order from Mayor Bowser, it sounds like they’re trying again by closing Georgia Avenue in a huge three-mile stretch from Barry Place NW up to Missouri Avenue NW, 6am until 5pm on Saturday, October 5th. They’re also closing a block on each side of Georgia Ave during that time.

“Open Streets is a program that temporarily closes streets to motor-vehicle traffic and opens them to people for healthy activities suitable for all ages and abilities,” states the Mayor’s Order. “Open Streets help inspire people to think differently about their streets by encouraging physical activity, creating recreational opportunities, and fostering community building and education.”

Last time this much of Georgia Avenue closed was for the awesome Caribbean Carnival, the last of which was in 2011.

According to WAMU, the DC Department of Transportation is supposed to make an announcement later this week on the initiative. Hopefully there’s good coordination between the city and local businesses and organizations to make the most out of the road closure and the “open streets,” car-free event.

The Georgia Avenue cross streets that will be closed:

  • Howard Place NW

  • Euclid Street NW

  • Fairmont Street NW

  • Girard Street NW

  • Gresham Place NW

  • Harvard Street NW

  • Hobart Place NW

  • Columbia Road NW

  • Irving Street NW

  • Kenyon Street NW

  • Keefer Place NW

  • Lamont Street NW

  • Morton Street NW

  • Park Road NW

  • Newton Place NW

  • Otis Place NW 

  • Princeton Place NW 

  • Quebec Place NW 

  • New Hampshire Avenue NW

  • Rock Creek Church Road NW

  • Quincy Street NW 

  • Randolph Street NW 

  • Shepherd Street NW 

  • Taylor Street NW 

  • Upshur Street NW 

  • Kansas Avenue NW 

  • Iowa Avenue NW

  • Varnum Street NW  

  • Webster Street NW 

  • Allison Street NW  

  • Buchanan Street NW  

  • Crittenden Street NW  

  • Decatur Street NW  

  • Delafield Place NW  

  • Emerson Street NW  

  • Farragut Street NW  

  • Arkansas Avenue NW  

  • Gallatin Street NW  

  • Hamilton Street NW  

  • Ingraham Street NW  

  • Jefferson Street NW  

  • Kennedy Street NW  

  • Illinois Avenue NW  

  • Longfellow Street NW

  • Madison Street NW

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