Category Archives: Transit

Metro Planners Endorse Georgetown Stations

As GM has written multiple times in the past, WMATA’s long term planners have contemplated bringing the Metro to Georgetown in the distant future. While the future is still distant, the planners nonetheless took an important step recently and endorsed a Metrorail expansion that would create two stations in Georgetown.

The exact details remain somewhat fuzzy, but as you can see above from the map accompanying the announcement, the planners call for a new tunnel under the Potomac and a new subway line heading underneath M St. and onward to Union Station. This part of the plan is very similar to most ideas the planners have floated in the past. But what the train would do after Union Station is dramatically different in this plan than in the earlier ones.

Rather than branch out through H St. and of eastward, the line would head south towards the Capitol, and then curl back through SW DC towards the Pentagon. It would in effect create a loop line, similar to other loop lines around the world. Continue reading

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More Details on What a Metro to Georgetown Would Look Like

As a follow up to yesterday’s post about changes to the Rosslyn Metro Stop, GM thought it would make sense to re-run an article he published a few years ago laying out more details of what a new Metro line through Georgetown would look like:

Earlier this week, GM went over all that you need to know about a Georgetown Metro station. That same day, GGW pointed GM to a little bit more information on the possibility of finally bringing Metro to Georgetown.

GM originally wrote that other than a couple statements about the need to build a new split Blue Line through the central core–which would include a new station in Georgetown–little progress towards planning has been accomplished. That wasn’t quite right.

WMATA has convened a group of regional transportation and land use experts to form the Technical Advisory Group (TAG). TAG has been meeting for a little over a year to plan for the long term future of Metro.

Already the group has issued several reports of the problems Metro faces in the future and the possible solutions. Most interesting, for Georgetown, was the presentation published last October. This presentation discussed, among other solutions, the split Blue Line (as well as a split Yellow Line).

The presentation puts a little meat on the bones in terms of the numbers behind why a new line is needed and how it will help, but there are a couple other interesting points too. For instance, the group is contemplating two Georgetown stations, not just one:

Continue reading

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How Metro’s Mid Term Future Affects Georgetown’s Long Term Future

 

What Metro plans to do over the next ten years will significantly impact if and when Metro finally comes to Georgetown. GM recently became aware of a report by Metro’s long term planning project: Momentum.

The report is chock full of interesting stuff regarding the future of Metro, but today GM wants to focus on what Metro’s plans are for our neighbors to the south.

As part of preparing for the Silver Line, Metro made a couple of significant changes to rush hour service on the Blue Line. Called “Rush Plus“, the changes resulted in fewer Blue line trains going through Rosslyn during rush hour (essentially Metro added more Yellow line service and reduced Blue line service). Continue reading

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Georgetown 2028

What will Georgetown look like in 2028? More importantly, what do you want it to look like? Wider sidewalks? Easier parking? More restaurants? Better transit? You may soon have the opportunity to answer those questions, and actually have an impact.

Yesterday the Georgetown BID announced an ambitious new effort dubbed “Georgetown 2028″. The project is designed to take a deep look at what the neighborhood needs to do over the next fifteen years to face the challenges of a city growing and changing at an incredibly fast pace.

From the project’s website:

Future Georgetown must compete against new and “coming soon” commercial areas in the District and nearby areas so it remains home to fine dining, distinct retail opportunities, great hotels, and major businesses. Future Georgetown must have the transportation strategies and system to efficiently move people in, out and around. Future Georgetown, as a riverfront neighborhood, must have the forethought to protect itself from the impacts of a changing climate, including rising water levels. It must understand its future infrastructure needs and decide how it wants its public infrastructure to be designed, used, and managed. And finally, future Georgetown will need to manage all these issues as efficiently and effectively as possible.

The effort is a breathtakingly broad look at all the changes that need to be made to the physical and business environment in Georgetown. The project is organized around a task force of business, educational, governmental, and residential representatives (full disclosure: GM is on the task force representing the Citizens Association of Georgetown). Supporting the task force are three working groups addressing, respectively, transportation challenges, economic development, and the public space. Those topics give you a good sense for what sort of broad-based topics the project will consider.

And the project is also very wide-open in terms of solutions. And consistent with that, the project is seeking input from the public. There will be a community engagement meeting on June 13th at 1055 Thomas Jefferson St. at 5:30 to 8:00. There will be a second community engagement meeting in September.

But the input isn’t limited to community meetings. The project has already set up a community engagement website, which allows you to log in and offers your thoughts on what you want to see change about Georgetown over the next 15 years. There’s even a rewards program! Build up 150 points by logging in, referring a friend, and contributing enough ideas and you win a lunch with the BID CEO Joe Sternlieb, during which you can share your thoughts on Georgetown and what ideas you have to make it better.

Basically this is exactly the sort of comprehensive and ambitious planning effort that GM has been calling for for years. GM is absolutely thrilled that it is finally happening, and he’s honored to be taking part.

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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. Continue reading

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A Georgetown Gondola?

Photo by jrodmanjr.

Way out in the other Washington (Seattle, Washington) some folks are pushing for a novel approach to urban transit: gondolas.

Two separate proposals for sky gondolas have been floated for the Pacific northwest city recently. One is a pipe dream, but the other at least stands a faint chance of seeing the light of day.

GM mentions this because he recently heard a not entirely unserious argument to bring such a system to Georgetown. It’s a crazy idea, but maybe not as crazy at is seems at first.

The idea would be to better connect Rosslyn with Georgetown University. Stringing a system between those to points could potentially move a great deal of individuals. Georgetown estimates that its GU-Rosslyn GUTS bus route carries over 700,000 riders a year.

There are two possible technologies for aerial transit: trams and gondolas. The only two aerial transit systems in the U.S. use trams: Roosevelt Island, New York and Portland. These systems have just two large cars that travel back and forth between just two stations. This limits frequency since the cars can’t come any faster than the length of the whole trip. Continue reading

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WMATA Recommits to New Potomac Crossing

Image courtesy of the Washington Post.

As reported in the Washington Post, WMATA leadership is recommiting to the concept of constructing a new Potomac river crossing between Rosslyn and Georgetown.

This is a topic GM has discussed previously. In short, the construction of the Silver line out to Dulles and beyond will eventually put too much pressure on the tunnel between Rosslyn and Foggy Bottom. As ridership increases, Metro will have to come up with a new way to get Virginia riders across the Potomac. Short term solutions involve sending more Blue line trains over the 14th St. bridge, but ultimately a more radical solution will be necessary.

The solution Metro has floated multiple times before involve the construction of a new tunnel between Rosslyn and Georgetown, with the tracks continuing under M St. heading eastward through downtown. Most plans called for the Blue line to take this new route (otherwise known as the “separated Blue line”). But some proposals involve the Orange or Silver lines taking it instead. Continue reading

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Several Circulator Changes Starting Next Week

This caught GM a bit unaware: Next week DDOT is making some changes to the Circulator route through Georgetown. It primarily involves eliminating stops. According the the Post:

Stops will be eliminated at Wisconsin Avenue and P Street NW, both eastbound and westbound; at Wisconsin Avenue and N Street NW heading westbound, and at M and 31st streets NW heading eastbound.

A stop will be added at 35th Street and Wisconsin Avenue, where the Georgetown-Union Station buses turn around to head back toward Union Station.

DDOT has long disliked the fact that the Circulator goes up Wisconsin Ave. and blames this segment for delays on the line. It has repeatedly either tried to eliminate stops or eliminate the extension altogether. All the attempts at stop elimination have been rolled back (GM remebers, for instance, that the Wisconsin and R stop was eliminated a few years ago, only to return). Continue reading

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WMATA Planning Some Changes to Georgetown Bus Routes

As reported by GGW, WMATA is now considering some changes to a host of bus lines. Metro is characterizing the changes as “adjustments” but in many cases a better description would be “cuts”. And some of those cuts will fall on Georgetown bus riders. But some proposed changes may actually benefit them.

First the bad: Metro wants to cut back weekend late night service on the D2 (Glover Park-Dupont) and the G2 (GU-Howard U). From Metro’s memo, what qualifies as “late night” is not specified. But GM hopes it is after midnight, at least.

Also on the bad side: Metro wants to extend the headways (i.e. the wait between buses) on the morning D1 route (Glover Park-Fed Triangle) from 8 to 10 minutes. Continue reading

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The Only Way You Should Get To and From Nats Park

Photo by Kevin H.

Last Saturday, GM took a trip out to Nats park to watch the Nationals get beaten up by the Phillies. But on the way home, he finally gave the new American River Taxi a try, and he can report that it’s the only way to get to and from the stadium.

GM had to buy scalped tickets because the game was sold old. As a result he had to show up late to the game (tickets are a lot cheaper at that point), so taking the taxi out to the park wasn’t an option (it arrives before the game).

After the final out of the game, GM got up and left the stadium with the rest of the crowd. But rather than heading back to the Metro, he made his way over to the First Base Gate. From there he crossed over Potomac Ave. and entered Diamond Teague Park.  Two water taxis were waiting for the crowd: the American River Taxi (which is a small pontoon boat) and the Potomac River Boat Company (which runs down to Alexandria).

GM hopped aboard the Dolly Madison (the name of American River Taxi’s boat). About 10-12 other passengers ended up accompanying him. After the stadium’s gates were closed (approximately 10-15 minutes after the last out) the ship set off. Tickets are $9 one way and can be bought on the boat. Continue reading

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