Report of the Old Georgetown Board to the Commission of Fine Arts, 20 May 2004

The Old Georgetown Board listened to a presentation from the DC Department of Transportation on the proposed rehabilitation of the O and P Streets in Georgetown during its meeting 6 May 2004. The proposed scope of work for the project includes the lifting up of the cobblestones for re-use on the new road; removal of the existing historic trolley tracks; new concrete crosswalks and handicapped ramps; re-paving of the brick sidewalks; new granite curbs where the existing bluestone curbs cannot be re-used; utilities upgrades and new water mains under the road beds; and replacement street lights to match the height and number of the existing lampposts.

Due to the unique historic configuration of the trolley tracks proposed for removal, the project is undergoing review by the Historic Preservation Division under the 106 Process. The Georgetown residents are divided between the two ideologies: removal of the trolley tracks which are unsafe for cars and pedestrians in their current condition; and the desire for the preservation of the late 19th century tracks which add character to the cobblestone streets, and are eligible to be listed in the National Register of Historic Places. These tracks are the last remaining visible example of this type of rail technology in its original installation in the world.

The Board offers the following comments:

I. historic bricks on sidewalks to be salvaged and reused, with new brick as needed to match existing,

II. historic cobblestones to be salvaged and re-used, with new granite cobblestones as needed to match existing,

III. historic bluestone curbs to be salvaged and re-used. Recommend looking into replacement bluestone curbs rather than granite,

IV. a section of the historic trolley tracks should be retained in its original context, and

V. new concrete crosswalks and ramps to match color of cobblestones.