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).
Bus stop elimination always pleases some people (namely those that don’t use that stop) and angers others (namely those that do). And it is a balancing act for the system to ensure only 10 minute headways between buses. Eliminating a handful of stops at N and P St. probably makes sense in that the stops at O and Q will still exist and are really very close to the eliminated stops.
However, eliminating the 31st St. stop is a mistake. Right now there is a stop immediately in front of the Sports Zone and another in front of Barnes and Noble. There really shouldn’t be two stops so close together, so eliminating one makes sense. However it’s the one in front of Sports Zone that should go. As it is, Circulator buses heading west on M St. from Wisconsin Ave. immediately have to pull over to pick up or drop off passengers. This ends up disrupting the flow of traffic through the intersection. The stop down in front of Barnes and Noble is far enough from M and Wisconsin that a bus can easily move in and out of traffic to service passengers. That one should stay.
GM misread the DDOT release, the stop being eliminated is the stop in front of the Sports Zone, which is confusingly called “M and 31st” on the press release despite being called “M and Wisconsin” on the Circulator map.
The new stop actually makes GM laugh a bit. At an ANC meeting several months ago, an elderly woman stood up and testified quite vigorously for the creation of a new stop at 35th and Whitehaven. She argued that the buses sit there waiting to start their run, so why can’t they allow passengers to board? Apparently DDOT couldn’t come up with a reason why not, and thus a new stop is born.