While the eastern half of Washington DC searches for ways to build tracks for its dust-collecting trolleys, the western half of DC has long been dealing with the opposite problem: plenty of tracks, no trolleys. The west side's problem may be at an end within the next two months. The District government will rebuild Georgetown's historic trolley lines that have divided Georgetowners over the fate of the iconic streetcar lines.
The District is proceeding with plans to rebuild the trolley lines that, depending on your perspective, are either an indispensable piece of Georgetown's culture and character, or make driving and parking a dangerous tightrope walk, or both. The problem is in fact not so much the trolley lines, which have remained intact, but the cobblestones that form the street that have sunk around them, creating a mid-street ridge as much as 4 inches high in some places. The city has wrung its hands over the issue for decades, with minor repairs that included patchwork asphalt that did little to quell the debate. Now the District will repair O and P Streets between Wisconsin Avenue and 37th Streets, removing the cobbles and tracks, laying a new foundation less prone to sinking, and reusing as much of the existing materials as possible. After renovation work the stone and rail will be flush. Motorists will still be able to test their driving acumen by aligning their tires on the rails, but without the tire-scorching thud now associated with an errant swerve. Sidewalks on both streets will also be rehabilitated.
Not all residents see the wisdom in repairing the rails. "Why not just cobblestones? Why do we have to have the rails? I don't quite see the need" said Georgetown resident Arne Peterson. Work on the project is expected to commence in "early November," according to a DDOT official familiar with the project.