Advocates for restaurants and stores downtown and in Adams Morgan are blasting a Metro proposal to permanently cut its evening operating hours for train service, warning that the plan could have a dire effect on local businesses.
Officials with the Downtown and Adams Morgan Partnership business improvement districts said in statements yesterday that axing hours would leave workers and visitors without a major mode of transportation to and from their neighborhoods late at night on weekends.
The plan, which Metro general manager Paul Wiedefeld proposed this week, calls for the system’s closure at 10 p.m. on Sundays and midnight on other days, indefinitely, in an effort to better maintain Metro’s infrastructure. Before SafeTrack repairs in June brought midnight closures every day, trains ran until 3 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
“The elimination of late-night Metrorail service could halt the transformation DowntownDC has been experiencing over the past 17 years,” Neil Albert, the Downtown BID’s executive director, said in a statement.
Scrapping Metro’s late-night hours would create a “disaster for Adams Morgan businesses,” Kristen Barden, executive director of the Adams Morgan BID, added in another statement. She noted that train service “as a late night transportation option is critical for the entire city.”
Local business managers echoed the concerns of Albert and Barden.
“My staff uses Metro to get to and from work, and these changes would have a direct impact on their already tight personal transportation budgets,” DeHaas said in a statement.
Arianne Bennett, a co-owner of Amsterdam Falafelshop in Adams Morgan, also expressed frustration with Metro’s plan.
“What is the realistic expectation here?” Bennett said in a statement. “Will people only be able to work within their own neighborhoods after midnight? Surely that can’t be the direction that D.C. wants to go.”
Photo by Alyse Mier