Campus Plan woes: GUTS buses route to Dupont extended, again

Dupont GUTS mapA few years ago, ANC Chair Ron Lewis said at a meeting: “They’re still in our communities and on Reservoir Road in our neighborhood and that is unacceptable.” If you can’t already guess who the “they” is in that sentence, well, it’s us, the students. And we just won’t stop living and transporting ourselves around the city. Shocking.

After escalated pressure from neighborhood groups, the University tested out a different, longer route for the Dupont GUTS buses in 2009. Now we’re back at square one with a proposed route in the new Campus Plan which uses Canal Road instead of Reservoir to get to Dupont.

“The new circuitous GUTS bus routes through Canal Road will lengthen the commute to Dupont, making it more difficult for students to access the city,GUSA President Clara Gustafson (SFS’ 13) and Vice President Vail Koehnert-Yount (SFS ’13) said in a press release to all students last night. This was one of the several provisions the GUSA executive agreed was a disappointing result of the campus plan.

The route change has the potential to offset students’ trips to their internships and jobs in the city. This decision will affect undergraduate students but also graduate students living off campus, faculty, and staff. Some of the most frequent users of GUTS bus are in fact staff working for the Georgetown hospital and other parts of campus.

Although it remains unclear why the University continues to engage the neighbors on this conversation over a longer bus route to Dupont, especially considering its failure in the past, the new reroute is likely to be tested within the next academic year.

Students at last week’s ANC meeting thought the GUTS bus route changes weren’t going to go through as planned. “I think that when it comes to traffic stuff, I think given time the neighbors will realize that they did some things that are counterproductive,” Nate Tisa (SFS ’14) said. “I think they shot themselves in the foot a little bit on that one.”

The text in the campus plan describing plans for changed bus route:

Within three years after final approval of the Campus Plan (and with a goal of within two years after the final approval of the Campus Plan), the University shall complete improvements required to maximize the use of the Canal Road entrance and minimize the use of residential streets by GUTS vehicles to at least the same extent as the previously submitted turnaround proposal, subject to such exceptions as the parties agree to via the GCP.

Another portion that describes the left turn lane:

On or before the commencement of such increased use of the Canal Road entrance by GUTS vehicles, the University shall install traffic control gates (or similar devices) at the Canal Road entrance that will restrict use of the Canal Road entrance for left turns during the AM peak period (6:15 AM – 10:15 AM) to GUTS vehicles, which shall be the only vehicles equipped to activate such gates or devices during such period and to use the left turn lane to exit the campus during such period. The Universitywill evaluate the effectiveness of such measures and, from time to time as appropriate, may modify the control mechanism or other operational measures limiting left turns to GUTS vehicles during the AM peak period.

16 Comments on “Campus Plan woes: GUTS buses route to Dupont extended, again

  1. This is absolutely ridiculous. Anyone driving down M St during rush hour can tell you that it can often take 30 minutes just to move several blocks, much less get all the way to Dupont. I frequently commute home on the 38B, which runs down M St and over the Key Bridge to Arlington, and the portion of M from the Pennsylvania split all the way to Key Bridge is literally at a standstill.

    Using M St to get students to Dupont is the worst idea GU could come up with, if they have any hope of encouraging students to get out of the Hilltop bubble. This is needlessly circuitous and punitive to students and workers who want or need to access a Metro station efficiently.

  2. maybe we could just have the guts bus drive to dulles, then everyone gets on a plane which flies to Reagan, making sure not to pass over Georgetown of course, and then from there we can take the metro to dupont or wherever.

  3. Well I left my job about 5 o’clock
    It took fifteen minutes go three blocks
    Just in time to stand in line
    With a freeway looking like a parking lot

  4. The GUTS bus doth tread
    On all the residents heads
    And brings them such dread.

    Ron Lewis
    Writer of Haikus & Douche
    Georgetown, 2012

  5. The D2 and the G2 both run through West Georgetown. Is the GUTS bus really that much noisier than Metrobuses?

  6. The plan is to use the Whitehurst, not M Street. Very different experience. GW uses the same basic route for its shuttle between Foggy Bottom and the Mount Vernon campus and the shuttle works, even during rush hour. Yes it is longer in mileage, but fewer traffic lights and stop signs.

    I believe the Dupont bus uses a similar route on weekends right now.

  7. @public transit

    A couple years ago when the neighbors started attacking GUTS (around 2007), one of the campus papers asked Lewis why they were fine with Metro buses. His answer, and I’m not joking here, was that they were fine because residents use them. That’s right, the neighbors now think they should be able to decide what travels on public roads based on whether they use them.

  8. If I ever grow up to be like these neighbors, any and all of you can slap me in the face and tell me to grow a pair. Seriously this is the stupidest shit I have ever heard. If neighbors can’t deal with a bus driving by their house or college kids having fun, then they need move out to the middle of the forest somewhere where they can live and die alone and no one needs to deal with their ugly ass. This is America, and no one will ever be able to take my right away to shotgun a Natty, yell “FUCK YEAH” at the top of my lungs, and slam it to the ground.

  9. Screw the University, and screw the Neighbors.
    This means war. Figuratively, of course. It’s time to get creative, folks.

  10. @Vanya

    That map is off – the agreement calls for all buses (except for the Wisconsin Ave. one) to use the Canal Road entrance, so the Dupont GUTS would enter/exit there, rather than on Reservoir, as it does now.

    @Daveslow

    Whitehurst works better than M Street, certainly, but the streets around Washington Circle and the Golden Triangle are badly congested, especially during rush hour. K Street, New Hampshire, 20th – all are slow as molasses. The L2 bus was so horribly slowed down by the New Hampshire Ave./Dupont Circle segment that it’s been rerouted as of this week to stay on Connecticut and go underneath the Circle, bypassing it entirely. The L1 routinely suffers massive delays due to New Hampshire/20th traffic. And K Street is scarcely any better, especially once you’re east of Washington Circle.

    There may be fewer lights and stop signs, but the alternative route would takes the GUTS through multiple traffic sinks. The Vern Express stays off of K Street entirely and skirts to the south of the problem areas I mentioned above. It also maximizes use of the stub freeways in Foggy Bottom – not an option for a Dupont-bound route.

  11. Agreed, time to get creative. Students will continue to be students, nothing will change behavioral wise.

  12. The same people attended every meeting for the campus plan discussions. The turnout of neighbors was low. Very low. I would bet that the vast majority of residents do not support the complaints at the level portrayed by Ron and Jennifer. GUSA should mobilize the students to conduct door-to-door surveys of the entire population of the ‘hood. Create questions that are unbiased, focused, and relevant. Get a statistically relevant sample, analyze the data, and refute what the small and over-involved folks perpetrate as “truth.”

  13. OR, they don’t want the buses in order to force more people to drive to the neighborhood to get to work on campus. That way, they can charge even more to rent out their parking spots….

  14. I have no problem with this. As long as Ron Lewis agrees to drive to West Virginia and then back down every time he wants to cross Rock Creek. Given that he’s adding hundreds of man-hours of commute time each day, seems like more than a fair trade.

    If the neighbors want students out of the neighborhood so badly, they’re sure making it difficult. for us to leave.

    @Ron Lewis’s Withered Soul: Indeed. That was extremely insulting, especially given the implications that students weren’t real people.

    What’s the excuse this time? Rattling wood-frame houses? Do any of the neighbors even remember why they want this?

    _Theoretically_ restrictions on living off-campus should only affect the people with disciplinary/academic problems, which is at least in principle consistent with the fact – as the neighbors have conceded – that it is a small minority of students that cause problems. This is a way of punishing the other 10,000 people minding their own business.

    And really, the only talking point we need is this: city buses travel the EXACT SAME routes. That’s it. That’s the ball game. There’s no excuse for this other than blatant hostility towards students.

  15. Why don’t we just tell the ANC to get fucked and do as we like, crotchety old neighbors be damned? Unless we decide to demolish the entire university and relocate to NE or Anacostia they will never be satisfied, and one begins to question the value of the ‘good will’ we strive so intensely to garner when it affords no material benefits to the student body beyond continued the continued bitchings of overgrown children.

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