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Metro to Add Additional Short Trips For 16th Street Buses

by Borderstan.com February 21, 2013 at 8:00 am 1 Comment

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com.

"Metro"

ANC Commissioner Kishan Putta, 2B-04, and Metro’s Director of Bus Planning Jim Hamre. (Rachel Nania)

Metro’s Director of Bus Planning Jim Hamre and five additional Metro employees joined ANC 2B Commissioners Noah Smith and Kishan Putta, and a handful of local residents on Wednesday night to present potential solutions to the overcrowding on 16th Street buses.

Wednesday night’s meeting was the second meeting Metro attended to work with local residents on the bus-crowding problem. Hamre presented three options to attendees, all of which include additional short trips between 7:35 and 9:15 am on weekdays.

“We need something short-term until we can come up with some long-term solutions,” said Hamre, who also mentioned that adding buses will be a part of the long-term solutions due to the District’s population shift and recent boom in development.

According to Hamre, Metro sees a 3:1 commuter pattern ratio, meaning most commuters travel on the same days and during the same hours, compared commuters in other cities.

Below are the proposed options, as presented on Wednesday night.

Metro’s Proposed Plans

Option 1A

  • Extra short trips every 15 minutes from U Street NW to H Street NW.
  • Bus layover at U and 15th Streets NW.
  • Annual additional cost: $130,000.
  • Requires two additional morning peak buses.

Option 1B

  • Extra short trips every 15 minutes from V Street and 14th Streets NW to H Street NW.
  • Bus layover at 15th and V Streets NW.
  • Annual additional cost: $130,000.
  • Requires two additional morning peak buses.
  • Will not cover any additional stops than covered in 1A.

Option 2

  • Extra short trips every 20 minutes from Euclid Street to 16th and K Streets NW
  • Bus layover at Euclid and 16th Streets NW.
  • Requires two additional morning peak buses (going to a 15-minute frequency would cost $195,000 and require three additional morning peak buses).
  • 15th Street NW becomes one lane north of W Street, potentially causing delays if street is blocked.
  • Would not cover stops at Lafayette Square and McPherson Square that are covered in Option 1.

Residents at the meeting took a straw poll — more residents were in favor of increasing the frequency of buses than increasing the area covered (as described in Option 2).

“Residents may be in disagreement about one option, but there is total agreement that we want to see one of these in place,” said ANC 2B-09 Commissioner Noah Smith.

Hamre said he and his employees will take the response from the meeting back to headquarters and begin to work on implementing the change. He expects the changes could take place as early as mid-March.

Putta and Smith will work with local residents to conjure up additional support from residents in the form of a letter to send to Metro, as well.

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Comments (1)

  1. When I originally read about this issue, I thought the issue was that the buses heading to Silver Spring were full by the time they got up to Columbia Heights and would have to skip some stops on their way because of the lack of space. Now reading it, and seeing what the proposed solutions are, I see the issue is about getting people from the U-Street and Columbia Heights neighborhoods down to the business district in the AM. The one proposal suggests spending $130,000 annually to provide additional buses that travel from U-Street down to H-Street. That is a 1 mile long bus route. That’s a 15-20 minute walk or a 5-10 minute bike ride. If all the people who could walk or bike, did walk or bike, we wouldn’t need to spend $130,000 annually on this. Of those who can walk or bike, I know many of them would rather not. If these people electing to not walk or bike is causing an organization that receives funding through subsidies to spend an additional $130,000 annually, I would tell these people to walk or bike and allow these tax dollars to be spent more usefully elsewhere. This distance is very easily traversed on foot or by bike. Get those who can walk or bike to walk or bike and the problem will go away.

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