The DC Department of Transportation’s plan to close three miles of Georgia Avenue for an “open streets” test is set for October 5th. Since the Petworth News articles on the closure raised some community concerns, DDOT has agreed to make some changes.
The open streets event is designed to close down a street and turn it into a pedestrian-friendly area. DDOT defines it as “… a program that temporarily closes streets to motor-vehicle traffic and opens them to people for healthy activities suitable for all ages and abilities. [It helps] inspire people to think differently about their streets by encouraging physical activity, creating recreational opportunities, and fostering community building and education.”
The original plan called for DDOT-sponsored events and vendors only, and was not going to allow businesses along the corridor to put out tents, tables or otherwise market themselves to participants.
According to a source, DDOT is now planning on scheduling meetings the week of August 19th with local business owners at 5 or 6 different locations along the Georgia Avenue corridor to discuss how to leverage the open streets event and offering guidance on allowed activities.
This is a big plus for the 300-400 different businesses along the three-mile stretch of Georgia Avenue, and provides greater opportunity for attendees to discover what’s there.
DDOT will also make a greater effort to reach out to local Advisory Neighborhood Commissions and other groups to help get the word out. (Two commissioners on ANC 4C, for example, said they weren’t aware of the upcoming event.)
District Bridges, the non-profit charged with running the programming for the event, spoke Thursday evening at the ANC 1B meeting on Thursday, offering a prepared statement, “The Mayor’s Office, District Department of Transportation (DDOT) and District Bridges are working closely with all entities to finalize details for the event. We understand that community engagement and accurate information are critical, therefore we are planning an intensive outreach strategy over the coming weeks that will include impacted business owners, ANC Commissioners, Civic Leaders and residents.”
The event will focus on health-related activities, encouraging people to ride bikes, scooters, skates — or just get out and walk the street.
The event’s hours are now 10am-2pm, though the avenue will still be closed from 6am until 5pm.
You can sign up for updates from DDOT about the event, volunteer and get more info on their Open Streets website.