About a 100 residents marched along the area's main strip on 12th Street recently, demanding the city divert $10.5 million allocated for a streetscape improvement project toward burying utility lines.
Residents say trees in the area are cut in odd ways to make room for the aboveground wires. They say the disfigured trees are eyesores and fail to provide shade, creating a lack of vibrancy.
Pepco officials say they must prune trees to power homes and businesses. They say converting to underground cables can cost up to $8 million a mile, or six to 10 times the cost of aboveground wiring.
The District Department of Transportation says the money already budgeted for the improvement project will upgrade sidewalks, curbs and other infrastructure but not bury electrical wires.