Posts Tagged “Circulator”
Tuesday night’s Advisory Neighborhood Commission meeting came after a very happy morning for the organization and the neighborhood, in which Mayor Adrian Fenty (D) visited Georgetown to announce that the Circulator’s service on Wisconsin Avenue would not be discontinued. In this spirit of goodwill, the ANC unanimously approved a thank-you letter to Mayor Fenty for his sympathy to residents.
Apparently that goodwill did not translate into holiday spirit, though, as Commissioner Charles Eason criticized the Georgetown Business Improvement District’s plans for its 2nd annual “Merriment in Georgetown” celebration.
Planned for Sunday, December 6 at the corner of M St. & Wisconsin Ave., “Merriment in Georgetown” will feature free photos with Santa, hot chocolate and cider and strolling carolers. Sounds delightful, but Eason was concerned that the celebration is too disruptive to traffic and that not enough residents will attend. Thankfully, that didn’t stop the ANC from approving “merriment”.
The tensions over the new Philly Pizza location on Potomac St. are boiling over. The late-night hot-spot has been a thorn in the side of neighbors since it opened.
At last night’s meeting, Potomac St. residents shared eye-witness accounts of “intoxicated teenagers,” Commissioner Bill Starrels provided photos of the “mob scene” present early Saturday morning and referenced reviews on Yelp.com glorifying the pizza’s particular appeal to drunken folks. According to the ANC, Philly P’s lack of space, liquor license and general chaos separates it from other late-night establishments.
An important meeting regarding the fate of Philly P’s will be held next week, involving the ANC, Metro, Councilman Evans’ office and Georgetown President Jack DiGioia. Although the details seemed a bit hazy at the meeting about what can actually be done, it’s clear that nobody from the ANC is a fan of thin, tasteless slices of pizza doused in ranch sauce.
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Adrian Fenty, bus savior
Cheap, reliable transportation fans rejoice: The Wisconsin Avenue portion of the Georgetown—Union Station Circulator route that was slated to be discontinued this Friday has been saved, according to The Washington Post‘s Dr. Gridlock.
According to the Post:
D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty is scheduled to go to the D.C. Circulator bus stop at Whitehaven Place NW on Tuesday morning to announce that the extension of the route up Wisconsin Avenue will be preserved.
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We reported last week that the Wisconsin Avenue portion of the Circulator route was in peril, and it appears the worst has come to pass: The District Department of Transportation announced that the cut was a done deal.
According to a DDOT press release, widely circulated (and cursed) on local listservs, the new route will take effect Sunday, October 4. In addition to eliminating service on the stretch of Wisconsin Avenue north of M Street on the Georgetown-Union Station line, the Smithsonian-National Mall Loop is going to be discontinued during the fall and winter months. Service on that route will resume on April 3, 2010.
In the press release, DDOT Director Gabe Klein describes the motivation for the cuts thusly:
We regret having to make any cuts in service. It was not a decision we took lightly and the reductions were targeted to affect the fewest riders and produce the greatest savings. At the same time, when we took a closer look at our service, we were able to find some ways – within our budget constraints – to make improvements that will make the Circulator easier to ride for many of our passengers.
In an e-mail to a Georgetown resident who had complained about the cut, DDOT’s Jeff Marootian further elaborated on the rationale behind the move (his full e-mail is included after the jump):
Passenger counts previously conducted along this portion of the Circulator route showed approximately 30 individuals traveling on the Circulator north of M Street on Wisconsin Avenue in both directions between 7am and noon daily. This translates to nearly 70 daily passengers if extrapolated to an all-day count; or about 17,000 passengers on an annual basis.
Given that the Union Station-Georgetown route carries about 2 million passengers annually, cutting the Whitehaven Extension is expected to affect less than 2% of the riders on this route while saving 3 buses or 15% of the operating cost for the east-west route. These daily trips could easily be absorbed by service provided on the 30s Metrobus routes.
According to Georgetown Metropolitan, given the recent cuts that were made to the 30 Series, the Circulator change means there will be an overall 70 percent service cut on Wisconsin Avenue.
Read Marootian’s full email after the jump!
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In our interview with Jennifer Altemus, president of the Citizens’ Association of Georgetown, you may have noticed that she mentioned the possible cut of the Circulator route up Wisconsin Avenue.
The Circulator buses (which aren’t nearly as ugly as the Metrobuses) run relatively reliably every ten minutes, providing one of the few good public transportation links between Georgetown and downtown D.C. But if DDOT gets its way, that may not be the case for much longer: they’re hoping to lob off the Wisconsin Avenue portion of the Circulator route.
According to GM, the change is being made due to budgetary concerns and has already been signed off on by City Administrator Neil Albert.
Last year, Metrobus’ 30s series service to Georgetown was thinned out in the name of reliability. Instead of five 30 routes connecting Georgetown to downtown, there are now two (and a third that heads to Foggy Bottom). At the same time, the Circulator also planned to cut its route back from Wisconsin.
Only pressure from residents, along with the need to pick up the slack from the pared down 30s, kept them from cutting down the route. Now, the Circulator may finally go the way of the 30s, effectively crippling good bus service in Georgetown.
CAG is campaigning to keep the Circulator running up Wisconsin. If you want to join their crusade, you can send Mayor Adrian Fenty a letter or e-mail asking him to intervene.
After the jump, check out the form letter CAG wrote up which you can send to the Mayor.
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Next fall, you may be hopping the Circulator for $1 to escape the Georgetown bubble via Rosslyn, as opposed to one of the Blue Buses that currently rumble down the streets of Georgetown.
Why? Well, WTOP reports in vague terms that it has something to do with increased efficiency (Works for me).
The Circulator, which the D.C. Department of Transportation runs, already includes several routes around the city, but adding this one might be tought. According to WTOP:
There are some legal issues to tie up first—crossing the Key Bridge would add buses to what is an already congested Potomac Crossing. The D.C. Council would likely have to weigh in on the proposal before the expansion to Rosslyn could happen.
DDOT replaced the Blue Bus, officially the D.C. Metro Connection, thta runs between Georgetown and Rosslyn with the Circulator as part of a “pilot program” in 2007. Guess it didn’t stick.
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