Category Archives: Transit

Another Metro Line Through Georgetown Considered

Back in January, GM discussed the long range plans that a WMATA group was considering that would, among other things, bring a metro stop to Georgetown (actually, two metro stops). The new stations would be part of a plan to create a new cross-town Metro tunnel underneath M St. to accommodate the added traffic on the Silver Line.

Recently this same group considered another radical plan that would also bring a Metro stop to Georgetown. It would be called the Brown line and it would travel roughly parallel with the Red line from Friendship Heights down to Georgetown. From there it would travel across town south of the Blue/Orange lines before turning back north to head up through Petworth and on to 16th St. Heights.

This line is actually quite like another Brown line that was suggested by David Alpert three years ago (although even he hasn’t included it in fantasy maps he’s done since then). The WMATA group considered the impact that such a line would have on the overcrowding of the other lines. Among other impacts, the group estimated that the new Brown line would add approximately 20,000 more daily trips and increase the percentage of DC and Arlington residents using transit from 70% to 74%.

Of the various proposed new subway lines, GM thinks this one has the least utility. There isn’t much density around Ward Circle, nor is there much hope of adding much. Wisconsin and Mass is an even more screwy location for a Metro stop. Sure, people would use it to get to National Cathedral, but there just aren’t enough residents in the immediate vicinity to justify that. A Metro stop in Glover Park, on the other hand, would make a lot more sense, but this map doesn’t include one.

The idea of sending a Metro across town under Constitution Ave. was considered as an alternative route for the split Blue line. And the study group found that it would result in less ridership than a route under M St. GM thinks the same considerations would apply to the Brown line too. Continue reading

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Google Adds Bus Stop Info to Maps

About two weeks ago, Google finally added WMATA transit information to its DC map. So now you can quickly find out how to get from Point A to Point B in the District using the bus and/or metro.

One of the side-benefits to this improvement is that Google maps now shows where all the bus stops are. As you can see above, there are a lot of them in Georgetown. Unfortunately, if you click on the the little icons for each stop, it doesn’t give you any information other than the name of the stop. It would be nice if it were to at least tell you what bus-lines service the stop and where they go. But it’s still nice to be able to quickly locate where a stop specifically is if you only know generally where one is. Continue reading

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Carrying Pizza on the Bus: Rude?

Pizzeria Paradiso Pizza by Joe Beone.

So, GM asked this question a long, long time ago, and he got some advice at the time, but he’s got more readers these days, and he needs some reassurances: Is it totally rude to carry a pizza on the bus?

See, GM has a Thursday night ritual. On the way home from work, he calls and orders a pizza from Pizzeria Paradiso in Dupont. He picks it up when he gets out of the Metro and catches a bus home.

So for about five minutes GM is sitting on a relatively (or sometimes completely) full bus holding a hot pizza. It’s never anything elaborate, just a plain margherita. But it’s still a hot pizza and it can probably be smelled by anyone within a few feet.

Is this rude? Should GM just suck it up and walk the mile home?

OK, and if pizza’s ok, what’s not?

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More on the Future Georgetown Metro Station

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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All You Need to Know About the Georgetown Metro Stop

Last week when GM was writing about the debate over Georgetown University’s Ten Year Plan, he mentioned that ultimately the best way to tackle the transportation challenges facing the university and the neighborhood would be for both parties to get behind the effort to bring a Metro stop to Georgetown. This comment led a reader to write to GM and ask what the status of that effort is.

Rather than just answer that question, GM thought he’d take this opportunity to write about all he knows about a Metro stop in Georgetown: why we don’t have one and why we may yet get one (eventually).

Why There is No Georgetown Metro

If you take anything away from this article, please let it be this: the reason there is no Metro station in Georgetown has absolutely nothing to do with neighborhood opposition. Nothing. No “rich Georgetowners wanted to keep out minorities”-conspiracy. No matter how much it fits with the popular stereotype, it’s just not true.

As rigorously documented in Zachary Schrag’s Great Society Subway, the planners behind Metro simply never seriously considered putting a station in Georgetown. The reason: the Potomac. To get under the river, the Metro tunnel has to start heading down far enough away so that it’s not like a roller-coaster.

Commercial Georgetown is very close to the river and on a steep hill, which wouldn’t give the tunnel much distance to reemerge from underneath the river. Thus a Georgetown station would be extremely deep. It would be physically possible to build, but it would be extremely expensive.

And the Metro planners didn’t see a reason to spend that sort of money on Georgetown. In the 1960s when the plans were developed, Georgetown had little office space and few apartment buildings. It simply was not a destination of suburban commuters. Since that was the audience for which the Metro was primary designed to serve, Georgetown was not considered a worthwhile station location.

That’s it. No matter how affirming of all the stereotypes of Georgetowners the myth is, it’s absolutely false.

Why There May Someday Finally Be a Georgetown Metro

In 2013, the first phase of the new Silver Line will open. As planned, the Silver Line will branch off of the Orange Line at East Falls Church and head out to Tyson’s Corner and onwards to Dulles and beyond. Since the Silver Line will share tracks with the Orange Line from East Falls Church to Rosslyn and the Blue and the Orange Lines from Rosslyn eastward, the Silver Line will ultimately add a significant amount of riders to already overburdened rails. Continue reading

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Georgetown to Get Yet Another Circulator?

From GGW and DCist, GM learned yesterday that DDOT is considering adding several new Circulator lines. Included amongst them is a possible third route through Georgetown.

DDOT held a recent public meeting to unveil their long term plans for the Circulator. They are proposing some pretty ambitious expansions (some of which could simply be placeholders for an eventual streetcar line). Here’s a map of the corridors they identified (c/o DCist):

Continue reading

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Capital Bikeshare to Come to Georgetown on September 20

The District’s new bikeshare system is set to roll out, so to speak, on September 20th. The original plans call for four stations to be in Georgetown: on K St. in front of the Swedish Embassy, on Wisconsin south of the canal, in front of Hardy, and in front of the university.

The first three  of those stations appear likely to be ready in time. Although GM hasn’t seen any sign of the stations yet, they are installed quickly due to their reliance on solar power (thus no complications with Pepco, as delayed the SmartBike rollout). And these stations have cleared ANC and OGB review. Continue reading

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Where the Circulator Goes Now

So, we can all basically agree that DDOT rolled out the Circulator in a pretty ham-handed fashion. Despite the fact that the takeover of the Blue Bus was well known to be coming, there was no official word coming from DDOT or the Circulator website (which, for what it’s worth, is registered to the Downtown Business District Corp., so perhaps they control it).

But more troubling is the sudden change of the old route. As you may be able to tell from above, the Union Station-Georgetown route now stays enters Georgetown on K St. before turning up Wisconsin towards M. This change has some benefits but a lot of drawbacks. (As previously discussed, the new route mirrors the old Blue Bus route but removes a couple stops including the stop in front of the Marriott).

The Benefits: It will get you to Georgetown a bit faster. M St. (particularly on weekends and during evening rush) gets pretty backed up going westbound. Staying on K will avoid that (although K St. itself, particularly just west of Washington Circle, can get bad itself). Second, some argue this will avoid the confusion an redundancy of running two Circulators along the same road. Continue reading

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Circulator Takes Over for the Blue Bus Next Sunday

GM mentioned yesterday that in September the Circulator will take over the remaining Blue bus route between Dupont and Rosslyn. He learned yesterday that that the start date is a tad sooner: next Sunday.

As you can see from the above map, the new Circulator route is identical to the Blue Bus. What will be different are the rates: normal fare will still be a buck, but you won’t get a 50 cent discount for showing a Smartrip. Although, you will get to pay with a Smartrip, which is probably worth 50 cents.

So, that means the last call for the Blue Bus will be sometime around 2 AM Sunday morning. By the next morning, Georgetown’s Circulator service will double.

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New Circulator Route Targeted for Fall Rollout

Last October, DDOT started floating the idea of replacing the remaining Blue Bus route between Rosslyn and Dupont with a new Circulator route. There’s precedence for this since the Circulator already replaced the Foggy Bottom route of the Blue Bus.

Since the new route would require the District-run Circulator to cross jurisdictions, the Council needed to approve legislation authorizing it. But since then, there’s been somewhat of radio silence as to when the Circulator would actually take over.

GM made some inquiries to DDOT and found out that the target is to start up the route by the Fall. GM asked whether the route would be altered from the current Blue Bus route. In particular, GM is curious to know where the bus will stop in Dupont. As it is the Blue Bus stops in the slightly-off-the-beaten-path of N and 19th. It would be ideal if when the Circulator took over, it would stop directly in front of the Metro stop. Unfortunately those details haven’t been hashed out yet. Continue reading

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