Tag Archives: WMATA

Guess Who’s One?: Fourth Most Popular Post

In celebration of the Georgetown Metropolitan’s one year anniversary, GM is taking a look back at the top five most popular articles from last year. Today: Where Would a Metro Stop Go Anyway?

While it is now little more than a glimmer in transit nerds’ eyes, the likelihood of a Georgetown metro station getting built is larger than you may realize. On the right is a map that appeared in the Washington Post in 2001. It described long term plans that WMATA was considering for the expansion of the Metrorail system. Those plans called for a splitting of the Orange and Blue lines. The new Blue line would split off from the Orange line at Rosslyn and travel parallel to the Orange line through downtown, finally meeting up with it again at Stadium-Armory. In building this separate Blue line, WMATA would have the chance to remedy the mistake it made decades ago and finally build a Georgetown station. In an act of enormous cart-before-the-horseing, GM wonders: where exactly would this station go anyway? But before we get to that, we need to go back to the 1960’s first.

History

The first thing to address if you’re going to start talking about the history of Metro and Georgetown is the old canard about why Georgetown doesn’t have a station in the first place. The story goes that in the 1960’s a bunch of rich Georgetowners didn’t want hordes of minorities coming into their neighborhood on the Metro so they successfully petitioned WMATA to nix any plans for a stop. This telling of this story chugs along year-after-year because it fits in with the negative stereotype of a Georgetown resident: rich, racist, and well-connected. Unfortunately for the storytellers, it’s fiction.

George Mason professor Zachary Schrag tracked down the true story of why there’s no Georgetown stop. In his definitive history of the building of the Metro “The Great Society Subway“, Schrag writes that while there was some opposition to the building of metro stop in Georgetown from the residents, the engineers never seriously considered building one there. The grade from the Potomac up to M St. was too steep. Moreover, plenty of neighborhoods across the city were not too excited about a metro stop coming into their neighborhood, but it wasn’t out of racism or xenophobia. It was out of a fear of the disruption to business that construction would bring. Indeed many stores in areas like U St. and Clarendonwere knocked out of business due to Metro construction.

Remedying a Mistake

So that’s why we don’t have a Georgetown station, but was that our only shot? WMATA doesn’t think so. In 2001 WMATA recognized that it could not indefinitely send both the Orange and the Blue lines through the same tunnel between Rosslyn and Foggy Bottom. A new crossing would be required to handle the increase in traffic expected over the next couple decades (particularly with the addition of the Silver Line to Dulles and Loundon County). In building a new Blue line parralel and north of the Orange line, we would be afforded an opportunity to finally build a Georgetown station. The Post wrote back in 2001:

The suggested 22-mile leg, which is being called the new Blue Line, could include room for 11 new stations. Among them would be a stop in Georgetown — at M Street NW and Wisconsin Avenue — where the idea of a Metro station was shunned a generation ago but is now welcomed as a tonic for parking and traffic problems.

[It doesn’t help in stopping the urban legend when even the Washington Post keeps repeating it].

What happened to those plans you ask? Money. The new line would cost $6.3 billion to build and WMATA was already running a $5.2 billion shortfall. So the plans simply faded away. That is until last year.

Last August WMATA staff gave a proposal to the WMATA Board of Directors addressing the long term structural needs of the system. In those plans was a revived proposal of a split Blue line, including a Georgetown stop. David Alpert at GGW has written extensively about this.

But Where?

But where exactly would that stop specifically be? In 2001 WMATA suggested M and Wisconsin, and frankly that seems like the most likely possibility. But where would it even fit? GM thought it over and can think of a couple possible locations from Metro exits. They are:

Next To PNC Bank:

Option 1

Right now this is parking lot. There seems like there would be adequate room to build an escalator exit here. While no location around here would be without serious complications, this one seems the least complicated.

Next to the Canal

Option 2

The modern canopy is unlikely under any situation, by GM threw it in here just for consideration. As for the space itself, there seems to be a decent amount of room for an escalator here, but there may be a lot of complications trying to build so close to the canal.

A Bump Out

Option 3

This plan would take out some of the parking spots and perhaps a lane on Wisconsin just south of M. in GM’s opinion, this would probably be a decent trade-off. There is never a ton of traffic coming up Wisconsin from K, and it is hoped that with a Metro there’d be a significant drop in driving anyway.

These are just brainstorms. But it does seem that nobody has thought too hard about the location question more specifically than just “M and Wisconsin”. What do you think? Where would you put the entrances? Anywhere else you’d put the station? Maybe down closer to Key Bridge? How about the other direction towards downtown?

GM would love to be able to say we’ve made progress on working towards a split Blue line and that we’ve got to scout locations for an exit. But while we’ve had an exciting announcement on streetcars since this post, we’ve heard nothing on the metrorail front. One can still dream…

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WMATA Re-Evaluating 30 Series Changes

Something similar in the works for the D Series?

Tonight at 6:30 pm at St Columba’s Episcopal Church at 4201 Albemarle St. in Tenleytown WMATA will be hosting a public meeting on the 30 series. Last year WMATA adopted several significant changes to the line, incorporating semi-express routes and chopping up the line into shorter segments. GM evaluated some of the changes here, and found that they short-changed Georgetown. To wit:

While it was slow, it had an incredibly short headway of only 3-6 minutes (meaning there is only 3-6 minutes between buses). From a Georgetown perspective, the 30 Series offered a very frequently non-transfer ride straight through downtown or up to Cathedral Heights, Tenleytown or Friendship Heights…After the changes only three lines go through Georgetown: the 31, 32, and 36. Moreover, the 31 bus only goes to Foggy Bottom. The crosstown route now only comes every five minutes during peak and only every fifteen minutes during off-peak. That’s a significant cut in service, particularly for the off-peak hours which is when a lot of Georgetown’s senior citizens use the 30 Series to get around.

To WMATA’s credit, they are taking the chance to re-evaluate the changes and see whether they’ve worked out as planned. Are you unhappy with the changes? Come to Tenleytown tonight and let your voice be heard.

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The Morning Metropolitan

Good morning Georgetown, here’s the latest:

  • Georgetown student reportedly raped in her house two blocks from campus
  • Georgetown’s Sweet Green lost to Dupont’s Tangy Sweet in an NBC poll. Unlike the “people watching” poll (also against Dupont), Georgetown at least made this one close.
  • WMATA is taking another look at the changes to the 30s series it made last year. You have a chance to chime in during two meetings.
Photo of the Georgetown waterfront by Flickr user M.V. Jantzen used under Creative Commons.

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How to Use Nextbus

At the top of the Georgetown Metropolitan has been a link to a page explaining how to use the test site for Nextbus. Once WMATA discovered that people were using the test site without their permission, they shut it down. Thus the instructions on GM’s page have been futile. But since July 1, Nextbus has been officially rolled out. Here is how to use it:

Step One:

Go to either WMATA’s page or Nextbus’ page. (GM will explain the benefits and drawbacks to each below)

Step Two:

Select your route.

Step Three:

Select your stop

Select your stop.

Step Three-and-a-half:

If you used Nextbus’ website, you need to select a destination. Select “Show predictions for all vehicles”.

If you’re using the WMATA site, just skip the destination choice.

Step Four:

Voila

Find out what your wait is. You should bookmark this page in order to skip ahead next time you need it, particularly if you have smartphone (GM has his most frequent bus stops bookmarked in his blackberry).

WMATA Platform vs. Nextbus Platform Continue reading

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D2 to Remain the Same

The D2 Remains the Same

One more thing from Monday’s ANC meeting: Commissioner Ron Lewis announced that in response to ANC2E’s resolution, WMATA wrote to the commission announcing that they decided not to make any changes to the D2. This seemed to be the likely outcome after Glover Park and Georgetown let WMATA know of their objections, but it’s good to hear confirmation.

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Summary of D Series Community Meeting

D Series Changes Coming

Last night was the second of the community meetings with WMATA over possible changes to the D Series lines. For a review, check this out. The consultants got an earful about some changes, and it’s pretty clear the next proposal will be different. Check it out after the jump:

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Possible Changes to the D Series Announced

The D2

As discussed here, WMATA is considering changes to the D Series. After a series of meetings the consultants have come up with some initial recommendations. Some of them are quite radical and quite different than GM expected. Find out what they are after the jump:

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