Prospect Street Tree Huge Hit; Residents Without Power

A massive Prospect Street tree fell perfectly down the sidewalk, sparing most cars, but smacked houses and blocked residents' front entrances
Robert Devaney
A massive Prospect Street tree fell perfectly down the sidewalk, sparing most cars, but smacked houses and blocked residents' front entrances

We all want to go green, but this is ridiculous.

The June 29 storm felled a huge tree at the corner of Prospect & 35th Streets, NW. The downed tree is a traffic-stopper and apparently wins the prize for biggest tree on the ground in Georgetown.

The entire tree snapped from its roots and landed directly along the sidewalk. The branches destroyed windows, damaged roofs and blocked access and egress to the several homes for a time. While cars were parked on the street, all but one BMW escaped serious damage.

At one Prospect Street house, which has no power, tree branches not only damaged the roof and smashed glass and paster into a second-floor bedroom, it pulled an electrical box off the outside wall of the house near its main entrance which is now blocked by tree branches. (All other homes on the 3400 block of Prospect Street have power.)

D.C.'s Department of Transportation stopped by the corner to look at the tree June 30 in the afternoon and recorded information into its system. (The tree is on District of Columbia land.) Advisory neighborhood commissioner Bill Starrels rushed to the scene when called July 1 by a resident. He, too, was astonished by the downed tree, saying, "It is the biggest one I've seen in Georgetown." Starrels immediately contacted the mayor's office.

Residents sawed off branches to clear the entrances to their homes. All the while, curious on-lookers photographed and posed alongside it -- verifying the phenomenon, known as "disaster tourists."

As for the powerless Prospect Street home, the owner who has lived there for decades said that she saw tiny sparks coming from the smashed outside electrical box. Pepco arrived to check the house without power around 9 a.m. July 2 and said tree branches were blocking its access to the box and walked away.

Meanwhile, the popular tree in front of six houses now poses traffic safety problems: curious amateur photographers take pictures of the tree, sometimes in the middle of the busy intersection, and cars stop to gawk and further block traffic. (Prospect Street is a mini M Street with delivery trucks, tour buses and commuters using it constantly.)

As for the Prospect Street residents, like many around D.C., they are fed up -- and are chopping, sawing and clearing a pathway, waiting no longer.

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Tue, 21 Oct 2014 09:33:21 -0400

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