The National Park Service and Georgetown leaders have been working on a plan to change the C&O Canal from a sleepy back yard to a front yard show piece. The goal is to restore, revitalize and reimagine the 1 mile of the C&O Canal in Georgetown.
The project recognizes a lot of needs and components, but most important to cyclists are ideas to widen and rebuild the towpath and create more connections to it. They view it as one path, with 8 sections and 5 gateways. One goal is to connect the end of the towpath at Rock Creek with Mile 0 at the watergate possibly with a boardwalk and trail.
The towpath used to be on the west side of Rock Creek, but was destroyed and can't be easily restored. The existing towpath could be widened from 6' in places to 8' with a 4' overhang cantilevered over the canal.
The design also seeks to utilized the Aqueduct abutment, create better plazas, elevators, etc.... There's also the idea of bicycle parking and service station at Lock 1.
Where the canal meets Rock Creek, they're also considering a new footbridge.
Some Georgetown residents, though, are more concerned with what the canal might look like in the future than how it’s looked in the past. At the meeting, attendees were asked to comment on the design concepts using sticky notes. Among some of the concerns they attached to designs: “There is no consideration for the residents who live about the water!” and “Too much focus on space for people — too many people — what then happens to serenity.”
Pelegrin pointed to photos of High Line-goers basking on chairs along the walkway, and expressed concern that the canal would face the same fate: “When you open up a space in that fashion, you’re gonna get a lot of people–tourists–a bazillion people. That’s my concern,” she said. Pelegrin, who lives in a building along the canal, expressed interest in preserving “the bucolic and historical nature of it,” but was unenthusiastic about attracting more tourists the the already-bustling neighborhood.
We moved to a tourist neighborhood, but we don't want any tourists or people around.