Wisconsin Avenue portion of Circulator route may be cut
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.
Dear Mayor Fenty:
This letter is to express our deep concern about plans to cut the Circulator route up Wisconsin Avenue. Our reasons are as follows:
• Until a couple of years ago, bus service on upper Wisconsin Avenue was very good. We had a choice of Nos. 32, 34 and 36, plus the Circulator. At the time of the 2008 “Metrobus 30s Line Study” we were assured that our level of service would be maintained. This has clearly not happened – and the latest plan would reduce that level still further.
• Currently, we have just two regular busses that now go down Wisconsin Avenue and serve the center of Washington, namely the 32 and 36, plus the Circulator. The new limited-stop busses (37 and 39) travel from Friendship Heights to downtown, but go via Mass. Avenue.
• The third bus which comes down upper Wisconsin Avenue is the 31, which travels from Friendship Heights just to Foggy Bottom – a not-very-useful- for-most- residents service.
• However, we do appreciate the efficient Circulator. If plans to cut the Circulator service to upper Wisconsin are in fact implemented, our bus service will be decimated – halved, in just two years.
• The Circulator services a diverse population. At the starting point (Whitehaven Parkway) are two schools (Hardy and the British School) which attract a large number of users. The Safeway Supermarket will reopen in the Spring. The bus travels through a significant residential area. These users will all lose a key option for downtown travel.
• Just 18 months ago, in April 2008, you issued the following Statement:
“After hearing significant feedback from the community and Jack Evans, Ward 2 Councilmember, on the current route of the Circulator, the District Department of Transportation has decided to maintain the route along Wisconsin Avenue. While Metrobus’ 30’s line has been streamlined and enhanced, there is still an identifiable need along the most southern section of Wisconsin Avenue for a more fluid and timely service, making the supplemental service offered by the Circulator every 10 minutes a great solution for transporting residents and visitors around the District.”
The Metrobus’ 30s line has not been “streamlined and enhanced” from our point of view. Repeat: If the Circulator service is cut, our bus service will have been halved in just two years.
We urge you to act, and to maintain a basic service which is essential to discourage car usage and provide reasonable access to downtown.