Georgetown Observer, Oct. 5, 2011


DDoT Makes Changes to Circulator Route

At the beginning of this week, the D.C. Department of Transportation made some changes to the Circulator route through Georgetown. It eliminated stops and then added or combined others.
Stops at Wisconsin Avenue and P Street NW, both eastbound and westbound, were eliminated as well as at Wisconsin Avenue and N Street NW heading westbound, and M and 31st streets NW heading eastbound.

The Circulator website posted that while these changes may have caused customers to walk a few extra blocks to and from the new stops, they have reduced the amount of stops and helped maintain their 10-minute headways to get everyone to where they want to go faster.

On PostOpinions in the Washington Post, Topher Mathews explained that users will be pleased and angered depending on the amount of times they use these stops.

The Georgetown Metropolitan explains the same situation for the Circulator users. “Eliminating a handful of stops at N and P St,” the Georgetown Metropolitan explained, “probably makes sense in that the stops at O and Q will still exist and are really very close to the eliminated stops.” In other words, because some stops are so close together, eliminating some basically created one large, combined stop out of another.

A stop was also added at 35th Street and Wisconsin Avenue. This is where the Georgetown-Union Station buses turn back around to head back toward Union Station. This is giving the line an expansion but because of the eliminations the 10-minute headways will still have room to improve and stay intact.

This week will determine whether these goals were met or not.

Upbeat Mayor Agrees With Community on Campus Plan

Aside from residential real estate questions and a re-design for Washington Harbour, the main event for the Oct. 3 meeting of the Georgetown-Burleith Advisory Neighborhood Commission was Mayor Vincent Gray, who told the capacity crowd at Visitation Prep, “I support the community.”  Introduced by Ward 2 councilman Jack Evans, Gray was talking about Georgetown University’s 10-year campus plan which the residents of Georgetown opposed as it stands today and which the mayor found the opposition “well-grounded.” He also said he would not lift the student cap on the university.

“Based on information that I have, it looks like there has been some positive movement and hopefully we’ll continue in that direction,” the mayor said, citing a student shuttle plan. There would be, he said, “a campus plan on which the university and the community can agree.”  There were more compliments to the mayor than questions about the university plans, as Gray seemed to give both a pep talk and victory speech about D.C. and his administration.

The mayor then listed four major goals he said the District government had achieved: fiscal stability, “a structurally balanced budget” that does not exceed revenue and a self-imposed debt gap of 12 percent; quality education, where special needs were addressed and student-teacher ratios maintained between 1 to 20 or 1 to 22; jobs and economic development, given the new City Center and an adult jobs program that is fully funded; public safety with 35 new police recruits added just that morning, with more to come.

Gray touted that D.C. had sold $900 million in bonds at .27 percent interest.  Stressing his commitment to education, Gray added that D.C. is “the only city in America with universal pre-K” programs. As for unemployment hovering at 11 percent, the mayor announced his “One City – One Hire” project with the goal of getting 10,000 hired in the next year. When he spoke of greater District representation and Congress, he called it “the hypocrisy of democracy” and pointed to commissioner Jake Sticka’s D.C. Votes sticker on his laptop on the commissioners’ dais.

As for the ANC redistricting plan that passed the local group, Gray said he would defer to those who worked on the panel and Evans and got little push back on the matter.  The mayor even brought up the possibility of talking to the consortium of local universities on some kind of service tax or their abilities to pitch in to help the District.

In other discussions, Evans said that two of his bicycles had been stolen from his van but remained positive, talking about how great Georgetown is for Halloween and the new Waterfront Park. Commissioner Tom Birch thanked the mayor and Lt. Hedgecock for the police’s swift response to a purse-snatching on P Street recently. Earlier, Hedgecock had said that residential property crime were up 88 percent but was happy to report that homicides were down 17 percent for D.C, year to date.  
Acknowledging neighbors’ frustrations, commissioner Jeff Jones reported on the progress of the reconstruction of O and P Streets: “There is more work being done than seen, replacing the underground utilities.”  Neighbors had complained about delays, parking tickets and the general construction mess and noise. There is also temporary resident-only parking, at all times, on a few streets.  Visit for updates. The District Department of Transportation has a Twitter account to sign up for as well.
The next campus plan meeting at the zoning commission is planned for Nov. 17.


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