A 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.