Circulator to the Mall, How About U St?

Back in 2010, DDOT floated the idea of creating a new Circulator route that would travel the National Mall between Union Station and Georgetown. It also suggested that the Rosslyn-Georgetown-Dupont route be extended to U St. Now the former is looking likely to happen soon, and the latter is getting some strong support.

From 2006 to 2011, there was a seasonal Circulator route that went around the Mall. It suffered from turf-battles with NPS and was never terribly successful.

On Friday, the city announced that a new route would be created by 2015. The route would stretch from Georgetown on the west to Union Station on the east. It would likely travel along Constitution Ave., although the actual route has not been decided. (GM’s guessing that the bus will travel into Georgetown on K St. and terminate at the Waterfront.)

The new route will be far superior to the defunct Mall route. For one, NPS is more supportive of the service now that it no longer has the Tourmobile concession contract interfering. Second, this route will actually go somewhere, rather than traveling in a circle. (Yes, getting from one end of the Mall to the other is “going somewhere” but that is a very limited market). Depending on the final route, this could end up being more useful to Georgetowners.

The press release announcing this expansion mentioned nothing about the U St. extension. But during testimony on Friday, the BID’s transportation director, Jonathon Kass, made a strong case for the extension. He stated “Remarkably, there is no public transit service directly linking the rapidly growing U Street Corridor, Shaw, and Adams Morgan with Dupont Circle and points further west, such as Georgetown. These are dense, walkable, transit-reliant neighborhoods – places where you get the biggest bang for your transit buck.” Kass went on to argue with some impressive data how many Georgetown workers live in and around the U St. area.

Via Twitter, At Large Councilmember David Grosso expressed support for the expansion. Councilmembers Cheh and Graham also appear supportive.

So it’s not there quite yet, but hopefully DDOT and the Mayor will include the expansion in their plans.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Circulator to the Mall, How About U St?

  1. Andy2

    I think it makes more sense to extend the Georgetown/Union Station Circulator to Glover Park – 4 more blocks and a huge increase in utility. Small additional cost but amazing benefit.
    The focus of the Circulator system should be to serve transit needs not currently met (or inadequately met by current systems). I’d be all in favor of extending the Woodley park line west of Connecticut to improve cross town circulation.

    Full disclosure – I live in Glover Park so this is a somewhat selfish request.

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  3. Gigs

    Why would they create a new route, Georgetown to Union Station along K Street, when they already have one? I think Constitution or Independence Ave would be better routes, especially for tourists.

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