Photo courtesy of the Georgetown Voice.
This week the Georgetown University Transportation Shuttle (the “GUTS” bus) began its new route for the Dupont Circle-to-campus line. Rather than using a more direct path from the north exit of campus, the bus now leaves out the Canal Road exit.
This change was not done to make things easier for the students and staff of the school. Hardly. It was done pursuant to the approved campus plan. Some neighbors, particularly along Reservoir Rd., had long complained about the buses passing by their homes. It was an early demand from the neighbors during the campus plan negotiations that the bus start using the south exit.
There really can be no argument that this change is not to the detriment of the students and staff that rely on the GUTS bus. There is little to no congestion along the route the bus was taking, which was this:
Now they will take this route:
During non-rush hour times the travel times will probably not increase noticeably. But during rush hour, however, the new route could be significantly worse. Canal Rd. gets very congested during peak hours. And the roads through Foggy Bottom also can get excessively backed up. This could easily add 10-20 minutes to a commute during the busiest hours. Depending on the student or staffer, that could mean tacking on an additional 40 minutes to a commute.
The odd thing about this change is that it was a very early concession on G.U.’s part during the campus plan negotiations. It was agreed to long before any of the more tricky provisions–like numbers of beds on campus–were agreed to. When the students talk about not wanting to get “screwed again” as the next campus plan comes around, this is one of the primary things they’re talking about. It’s an overused phrase and punny in this circumstance, but the students and staff were really thrown under the bus on this decision.
It’s early still and tweaks to how traffic is managed on Canal Rd. may improve the situation. GM hasn’t heard yet how it is going. Do any readers have any observations?
Making transit less appealing is almost never the correct decision. But the political reality here is such that even with residents like GM not particularly in favor of this change, with the GU administration not willing to put up a fight for it, there’s not much that can be done. At least not much that can be done for now. If the new route proves disastrous, GM hopes the the school forces a reevaluation of this decision. That won’t make some residents on Reservoir Rd. happy, but that’s not dispositive.