As part of its update to its Transportation Plan for the Circulator, DDOT is proposing to cancel the Wisconsin Ave. leg of the Georgetown-Union Station route. It is a move the agency has proposed multiple times in the past, and it would be very bad for Georgetown residents.
Right now the Circulator comes up Wisconsin Ave. from K St. and continues past M St. all the way up to Whitehaven. Since a large portion of Georgetowners live closer to the stops on Wisconsin than to M St., this provides residents with access to the route.
But DDOT hates this leg. It has proposed cutting it multiple times in the past. For instance, back in 2009 the agency tried to kill the leg, and it took intervention from Mayor Fenty to save it.
The logic behind the animosity is that this leg does not get the ridership to justify its cost. As a result, the subsidy-per-rider is high. This is true, as far as things go, but the subsidy to this leg is nothing compared to, for instance, the subsidy for the Navy Yard or Skyland routes. But since those lines have powerful defenders on the Council, DDOT will keep them chugging along.
DDOT argues that because the 30 series also serves this stretch, the Circulator shouldn’t have to replicate it. But the 30 series has become a shadow of its former self in recent years. Service cuts mean that while arrivals are still relatively frequent, the buses don’t go as far as they used to. For instance, in the morning rush, only seven buses an hour go east of Foggy Bottom. Only three per hour go east of the National Archives. Years ago, the 30 series routes were way more useful. Now they’ve been chopped up.
And the 30 series aren’t very useful if you’re going to the East End part of downtown (i.e. the area around Gallery Place and Mt. Vernon Sq.). The 30 series veers down to Pennsylvania Ave. east of 15th.
Of course, one of the reasons this leg of the Circulator doesn’t have a high ridership is that it doesn’t really go anywhere super useful north of Georgetown. If DDOT would instead follow the legislated mandate that they extend it up to the Cathedral, then maybe the ridership would increase. But they refuse to do that. And by refusing to improve the leg, they ultimately end up justifying its demise, and in doing so give a huge middle finger to anyone who lives in mid or upper Georgetown. “Be satisfied with the degraded 30 series service” they’re telling us “because screw you.”
The proposed cut is contained in a survey that DDOT will use to pretend that they cared what the public thinks before they do what they plan to do anyway. Please take it and let them know you don’t want the new service. It’s unlikely to make a difference, but maybe our Councilmember will protect it like the Ward 6 and 8 Councilmembers protect their lines?