Posts Tagged “Transportation”
Posted by: Juliana Brint in News, Vox Populi, tags: 1789 Block, 2010 Campus Plan, Dupont Circle, Georgetown, GUTS Buses, Karen Frank, Parking, Town-Gown Relations, Transportation
The proposed loop road and new GUTS routes
The last time University officials discussed the transportation aspect of the 2010 Campus Plan back in May, they said they were tentatively planning to send the Dupont GUTS bus through the Canal Road entrance, meaning the shuttle route would be extended to the experimental 4.7 mile test route permanently. At last night’s meeting presenting the University’s first draft of its transportation plans, University officials made it clear that the rerouting isn’t just tentative—it’s now part of the University’s preferred draft plan.
Vice President for Facilities and Student Housing Karen Frank, who presented the University’s transportation plans to neighbors last night, explained that Georgetown would like to build a loop road on the west side of campus (as illustrated above) which would allow more buses to use the Canal Road entrance.
When the University requested the rights to build the Canal Road entrance in its last ten year plan it promised neighbors that the new entrance would be used for GUTS buses. Georgetown students, faculty and staff have been spared from the extended route thus far thanks to the fact that the current set-up of the parking lot near McDonough makes it nearly impossible for buses to turn around on campus.
The other problem is that between 6:15 a.m. and 10:15 a.m. on weekdays—prime rush hour time—drivers are not permitted to make left turns off of the Canal Road entrance. If the University could get the left-turn prohibition lifted and build the loop road, all buses besides the Wisconsin Avenue route would be able to enter and exit through Canal Road.
The potential roadblock for the plan is the Park Service, which owns the land west of campus that abuts the proposed loop road. While the road would be on GU property, the University has an agreement with the Park Service to only use that part of campus for service vehicles. Frank said she is pushing for the definition of “service vehicles” to be any vehicle “dedicated to the University,” which would include GUTS buses. However, Frank said, the Park Service is “not real easy to work with.”
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Posted by: Juliana Brint in News, Vox Populi, tags: Blue Bus, Circulator, DDOT, Georgetown, Georgetown BID, Jack Evans, Metro, Rosslyn, Transportation
Bye bye blue bus?
It’s been a banner month for the Circulator: after the Wisconsin Avenue portion of the Georgetown-Union Station loop was saved from elimination in in the 11th hour by Mayor Adrian Fenty, plans are in the works to create a new line connecting Georgetown with Rosslyn.
According to the Washington Examiner, local officials are pushing for the creation of a new Circulator route that would replace the Georgetown Metro Connection “Blue Bus,” which is currently run by the Georgetown Business Improvement District.
The Blue Bus was conceived of as a way to demonstrate the demand in Georgetown for public bus service to a nearby Metro stop, and currently serves between 35,000 and 40,000 riders per month. But the Blue Bus was only designed as a temporary solution, and the BID is hoping that the District Department of Transportation will take over the route.
Last week, D.C. Councilmember Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), whose district includes Georgetown, introduced a bill to change the rule preventing the Circulator from running outside D.C. city limits.
Although the BID says D.C. leaders have pledged financial support and Rep. Jim Moran (D—Va.) secured federal money for new buses, DDOT spokesman John Lisle said they “have no plans for a new route at this time.”
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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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