On Nov. 9, the ANC2E Commissioners released a joint motion to reinstate two Circulator bus stops in Georgetown: the M St., NW stop between Wisconsin Ave. and 31st St., and the P St. stop on Wisconsin Ave., both northbound and southbound. District Department of Transportation (DDOT) has recently cut these stops to save time on its Circulator routes. To those of us in Georgetown, cutting a thirty-second bus stop does not amount to much time saved, and of greater concern is the tremendous benefits these stop afford local businesses and community members. The stop helps to draw shoppers to the area and encourages the use of public transportation in Georgetowners.
The P St. bus stop was a popular one for business along Wisconsin. As locals know and visitors quickly discover, the walk up and down Wisconsin can be a deterring one. Meanwhile, the P St. intersection is an oasis of small and local businesses, including The Phoenix clothing, The Lantern Bryn Mawr Bookstore, Marvelous Market, Thomas Sweet, Café Bonaparte and Wedding Creations & Anthony’s Tuxedo. A petition was signed at the beginning of the month by 30 small and local business owners around the area to reinstate the bus stops, as a noted decline in business has been noticed since their removals. It also poses an inconvenience to nearby residents that use public transportation, who have lost convenient access to the Circulator.
According to Ed Solomon, owner of Anthony’s Tuxedo’s, local residents have voiced their concerns to business owners in the area, and a few even spoke out in support of reinstating the bus stops at the Nov. 1 ANC meeting two weeks ago.
The M St. stop between Wisconsin Ave. and 31st St. is simply too much of a focal point to cut. It is the nucleus of Georgetown’s M Street territory and retail district, and its removal is confusing pedestrian traffic that much more by overcrowding the streets at the stops nearest by.
What DDOT and city officials really ought to focus on is evaluating alternate methods to expedite traffic in this area of town. We live in one of the most heavily trafficked areas in the country, and it houses the city’s most vibrant retail district. On an average day, it takes easily over 30 minutes to navigate the stretch of road between K St. and M St. Buses are a part of this congestion, but in an urban environment they are all but mundane inevitabilities, and decreasing the number of stops on a route by one cannot possibly have any significant impact on the efficiency of the bus route or the easing of surrounding traffic. Whether bus lanes at certain times of day should be in discussion, or alternate HOV restrictions applied to promote the use of public transportation, we are not here to say. What we are here to say is that the current solution is not the answer.
We greatly appreciate DDOT’s efforts in Georgetown, specifically their opening access to the harbor and movie theater on K St., and we hope they will reinstate these stops. At a previous ANC2E meeting this year, DDOT representatives said they would seriously consider input from the community since they changed the bus routes. If they want to address community concerns, now is their chance.