Posts Tagged “Transit”
Is there any reason not to love the Circulator? Their buses are clean, frequent, and cheaper than most other forms of D.C. transportation, and they follow pretty convenient routes.
They’re so reliable, in fact, that they’re probably the last form of District transportation that needs to provide a way for riders to check when the next bus is coming.
But you can do that, too, even in an age where a recalcitrant WMATA still has not worked out a deal with Google to provide real-time updates for its trains and buses, because the Circulator is so awesome.
Using Google Maps, you can see approximate arrival times for the next two Circulator buses for any given stop in the route—just click a blue bus icon when you’re zoomed enough to see them.
For regular WMATA buses, you’re still stuck with NextBus, which is seldom helpful.
Via Georgetown Metropolitan
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In effort to close its daunting $189 million budget gap in 2011, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority is exploring a host of fiscal measures that involve raising fares, cutting rail service, and cutting bus service in 2011, including cutting buses to the Georgetown neighborhood (pdf, page 46).
Local blogger Georgetown Metropolitan is reporting that WMATA has proposed cuts which, if enacted, will eliminate eight late night buses that go to and from Dupont on the weekends. The following lines could be affected:
- G2 – The G2 would experience a 33 percent reduction in weekend service. All Westbound service from Howard would end at 11:44 p.m. on Friday night and 11:47 p.m. on Saturday night. Service from Georgetown would stop at 12:18 a.m. on Friday and 12:22 a.m. on Saturday.
WMATA would also space out all weekend buses by 40 minutes (currently, they run every half hour). On weekdays, it would lengthen the time between buses in morning peak hours from 10 minutes to 11 minutes, and the time between buses from 15 to 18 minutes during evening peak hours.
- D2 — The D2 would stop running after 12:44 a.m. Friday night and after 12:55 a.m. on Saturday night—cutting a total of four buses a night.
- 31 — Cut six westbound and four eastbound buses from the early morning weekday lines, and cut four buses from early weekend morning lines.
GM makes the excellent point that G2 buses are so frustrating to wait for on weekends already that the ten minutes of added headway on their Saturday and Sunday lines could render them almost useless. Between this, and the maddeningly long new routes GUTS buses will be taking under the 2010 Campus Plan, future Georgetown students may find themselves sealed even more tightly in their Georgetown bubble.
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The District Department of Transportation is undertaking a massive effort to install 37 miles of streetcar tracks in D.C. That includes uncertain plans to run a streetcar line up Wisconsin Avenue, connected to the line that will run down K Street and Benning Road to the H Street NE corridor, shown in red on the map at right.
A group of Georgetown residents, however, are trying to turn the potential line into a sure thing. They’re called the Wisconsin Avenue Streetcar Coalition, and they want DDOT to make firm plans to route a streetcar through Georgetown.
Of course, as with any local ambitious project, there’s a lot of anxiety surrounding this issue.
Ben Thielen, who is heading up the Coalition, wrote on the wall of the WASC Facebook page that a member of the Tenley neighborhood listserv posted a Human Transit article to erode support for the streetcar. (The article argued that streetcars aren’t any faster than buses.) Meanwhile, he’s suspicious that upcoming construction on Wisconsin Avenue near Glover Park will impede streetcar tracks, and Glover Park residents are questioning how serious about the possbility of expansion DDOT really is in the Gazette (PDF).
For its part, the Voice is internally divided over whether a streetcar is such a good idea. In the Fall, the editorial board warned that streetcars were a foolish thing to pursue, considering that DDOT has enormous year-to-year budget shortfalls. In his feature story about the up-and-coming Atlas District, however, Chris Heller pointed out that the connectivity a streetcar line offers can mean big things for individual D.C. neighborhoods.
Via Georgetown Metropolitan
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The D.C. City Council is considering a bill that would allow the Circulator—the frequent, clean, and inexpensive buses that link multiple core areas of the city—to run outside of the District. That measure’s approval, writes the Washington Post‘s Dr. Gridlock, would mean that a new Circulator route running through Georgetown may take over the route that is now covered by the Georgetown Blue Buses, which ends at Rosslyn Metro Station.
At the same time, D.C. City Councilmember Kwame Brown is pressing his fellow councilmembers to approve a measure to extend the Circulator into Anacostia. He is not having much luck with his amendment but has vowed to keep trying.
Via Georgetown Metropolitan.
Photo from Flickr user afagen used under a Creative Commons license.
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I like to think of them as having dorkish charm
Yipee! By this summer, DDOT will expand SmartBike DC, the bike sharing service that launched earlier this year, to include Georgetown. WTOP reports:
The expansion will bring the total number of bikes on the city’s streets to around 500.
The goal is to get Smartbike running in all eight Wards of the District. The upcoming expansion will not touch all eight Wards, but there will be numerous neighborhoods that get the bikes, including Adams Morgan, Columbia Heights, Capitol Hill, Anacostia and Georgetown …. DDOT has set aside about $3 million in stimulus money to fund the upcoming expansion.
$3 million? Startup costs eat up most of the money, especially if you want to start with a bigger system, like Arlington does. From Greater Greater Washington:
The biggest obstacle is startup cost. Systems cost very little to maintain, since subscription fees and ads cover most of the operating and replacement cost …. Arlington Commuter Services head Chris Hamilton says they’re hoping to find more money to start with a bigger system. A maximal system of 1,400 bikes of the fancier kind DC uses, he said, would cost at most $6 million for capital and operating costs for the first two years.
According to WTOP, the expansion should be complete by this summer, will take the total number of racks from 10 to 50. Annual subscriptions cost $40 and they’ve got a cool map that tells you how many bikes are left at a given location, (but be careful, GGW notes that the markers go screwy at different zoom levels).
When the program launched in August, Vox’s Will Sommer decried the bikes’ ugliness. Me, I think they’re kind of cute.
Photo taken from Flickr user afagen under a Creative Commons license.
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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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Center for American Progress blogger Matt Yglesias noticed today that WMATA is refusing to provide information for Google Map’s new Transit feature. The free service allows users to plan trips using public transit schedules and actually see their routes, too.
But apparently, WMATA thinks they have a superior trip planner on their own site–which is not quite true. Search results on WMATA’s site are texty and confusing, and lacky the sexy mapping features of Google Transit. Plus, it’s hard for me to see how restricting information about Metro could benefit WMATA is any way.
But don’t despair just yet–GreatergreaterWashington has a petition you can sign here. Maybe the powers that be at WMATA will come to their senses.
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At the conclusion of finals, some students’ travails will continue as they schlep their way to Dulles International Airport. If this describes what’s ahead for you, try take heart in the fact that your progeny will have it easier. Via The Loudoun Extra, The Washington Post reported that the Metro Silver Line, which will connect Dulles to D.C., is on its way:
“Federal regulators have approved a long-awaited extension of Metrorail to Tysons Corner and Dulles International Airport, virtually assuring construction of a $5.2 billion project that regional leaders say is crucial to ease congestion and spur economic growth in Northern Virginia.”
Of course, the project won’t see completion for quite some time. In a congratulatory editorial, The Washington Post hopes to see it happen by 2013, which is something like ten years from now in bureaucrat-speak.
What you can enjoy right now is D.C.-area commentators having a ‘here’s-some-perspective-for-you’ gala. In its editorial, Post tells its readers that one of the Silver Line’s greatest proponents, Gov. Tim Kaine, was only four years old when the fight for a train line to Dulles began. DCist recalls that this was before man landed on the moon. And as for us, this paper wasn’t even born yet.
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A movie theater turned CVS in Brookland
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority will discuss a proposal on Thursday night that would allow 187 DC CVS pharmacies to sell SmarTrip cards. The cards would run $10 each ($5 for the card itself, and $5 of Metro cash so you can ride right away without putting any more money on). WMATA’s General Counsel recommends approving the proposal, which releases CVS from liability for any problems, so it looks like it’ll pass.
Considering the ridiculous lines to buy a Metro card at the Gallery Place-Chinatown stop after last night’s basketball game, plenty of Georgetown students haven’t managed to get their hands on a SmarTrip card yet. With three CVS locations within walking distance of campus, there will be even less of a reason not to buy.
Photo from Flickr user NCinDC used under a Creative Commons license
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Prepare to say goodbye to paper bus transfers–WMATA will be scrapping those on January 4th. “Bus drivers will no longer hand out paper transfers, and machines that dispense paper rail-to-bue transfers inside Metro stations will be removed,” DCist’s Sommer Mathis writes.
Cathy Asato, a spokesperson for WMATA, says this decision will save them about $350,000 a year and encourage WMATA users to purchase SmarTrip cards. DCist says to expect homeless advocates to raise clamor in the near future, but Asato insisted that WMATA isn’t penalizing anyone, especially when you consider that SmarTrip cards are cheaper.
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