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Metrobus carries half of all 16th Street traffic

During the morning rush hour, Metrobus carries 50% of all of the people traveling on 16th Street NW towards downtown DC, despite using just 3% of the vehicles. However, it still gets stuck in traffic.

How people use 16th Street. Images by the author.

It will come as no surprise to regular riders of the Metrobus S1,2,4, or MetroExtra S9, but ridership has grown tremendously in recent years on 16th Street, from just over 16,000 riders per weekday in 2008 to about 20,500 this year. To keep pace, Metro has added lots of new service, most notably the S9 limited stop service in 2009.

In fact, Metro has added so much rush hour service on lower 16th Street that buses headed towards downtown DC now operate more frequently than any transit service in the region, including Metrorail, with buses arriving an average of nearly every 90 seconds.

Multiple S-Line buses crawl during rush hour near 16th and Irving Street NW.

And these buses move a lot of people. A recent analysis found that at the maximum load point, at rush hour into downtown DC, Metrobus services combine to carry about half all the people through the corridor with just three percent of the vehicles and using only eight square feet of available street space per person. These statistics are all the more impressive considering that buses currently have no priority over cars to improve travel times and reliability, leaving riders stuck in traffic.

By allocating roadway space on 16th Street based on the highest capacity and most efficient modes, dedicated bus lanes could allow bus speeds to increase, improving the travel times for riders. That could attract new riders, further increasing transit mode shares in heavily traveled corridors like 16th Street.

Fortunately, Metro is working with the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) to develop a new transit signal priority system for 16th Street that will help buses communicate with traffic signals and improve reliability and travel times. Metro will also work with DDOT to investigate the potential for exclusive bus lanes through the development of Metro 2025.

You can also provide your comment on exclusive transit lanes and other priorities through the District's Move DC Plan, which will map out surface transit improvements like these as a part of a long range transportation plan for the city.

Crossposted on PlanItMetro.

Jonathan Parker works in WMATA's Planning Office and lives car-free in Columbia Heights. He graduated from North Carolina State University and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners. 


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Time for a metroline under 16th St.

by Jasper on Nov 4, 2013 1:50 pm • linkreport

The volume of buses makes it extremely bad for residents of 16th st based on the noise (and vibration), pollution and pedestrian safety.

And a huge part of the delays during rush hour seem to be buses blocking other buses. I'd start reducing the number of stops.

by charlie on Nov 4, 2013 2:01 pm • linkreport

So, why doesn't DDOT create a dedicated lane for buses? What's stopping them? It seems like changing painted lines on the street is one of the easiest infrastructure changes to make.

by Derrick on Nov 4, 2013 2:03 pm • linkreport

>The volume of buses makes it extremely bad for residents of 16th st based on the noise (and vibration), pollution and pedestrian safety.

Today I learned that cars emit nothing but flowers and happiness?

by ImThat1Guy on Nov 4, 2013 2:04 pm • linkreport

This info screams support for making the rush hour lanes bus only. Relatedly, the evening rush hour time for the lanes should move from 4-6:30pm to 4:30-7pm.

by 7r3y3r on Nov 4, 2013 2:06 pm • linkreport

As we've seen on 7th street and 9th street, painted bus only markings do nothing without enforcement.

I'd be curious to know the technical details how signal priority works with buses coming every 90 seconds is what is mostly gridlocked traffic during the morning and evening rush.

by ChrisB on Nov 4, 2013 2:34 pm • linkreport

I agree with Chris B. If there are only two lanes (which is what 16th Street has), and one is empty while the other is clogged, some paint ain't going to cut it.

by Crickey7 on Nov 4, 2013 2:39 pm • linkreport

The capacity is often still inadequate. I rarely ride during morning peak, but the last time I tried at least six crammed S2/S4 busses drove right past us. I gave up and just walked to Dupont metro (and barely made it to my 1st appointment).

Easy service improvement: Actually enforce rush hour parking restrictions on 16th!!! The north and southbound 16th St commutes would be vastly improved if the outer lanes were actually clear. Potential revenue win for the city as well.

+1 on a 16th St Metro line (or at least streetcars).

by sproc on Nov 4, 2013 2:46 pm • linkreport

Also, I agree with Charlie. The stops, at least on lower 16th st are too close together.

by ChrisB on Nov 4, 2013 2:47 pm • linkreport

Looking at the alert in the picture, I also forgot to mention that the traffic pattern and light timing on 16th through Columbia Heights is abysmal. There's gotta be a better way than that string of lights around Columbia/Harvard.

by sproc on Nov 4, 2013 2:50 pm • linkreport

@Crickey7 and ChrisB:
WMATA could use the bus mounted cameras like those used in SF to photo enforce bus-only or rush hour lanes:

by 7r3y3r on Nov 4, 2013 2:55 pm • linkreport

A Metro line is extremely appealing, but the density of population next to the parks is quite low, suggesting a 14th Street corridor instead. If a 16th Street Metro line were built, several things would have to happen.

1) Downtown tallest possible height office towers would have to be legalized to get the tax base to invest in expanding Metro rail.

2) A route through downtown DC, such as turning onto L Street, and wriggling the line through downtown to Union Station is required.

3) The new Metro rail line would have to serve downtown Silver Spring.

4) finding a branch to balance this new line, preferably serving Maryland, to minimize risky and expensive water crossings is required. I would guess New Hampshire Ave north east is best, crossing both east and west branches of the new line somewhere like White Oak Maryland, would provide the most stable and self indemnifying route for this line idea, because shuttle buses could move people between branches if a line branch can't reach downtown during a disruption, or people could walk as much as 1 mile from the working branch of the line. Balancing like that also means major maintenance can be done to one branch at a time, or even one branch shut down earlier at night, to save money.

5) very tall apartment towers, 200 to 600 feet tall would have to be built on 16th Street at each new Metro rail stop, to assure the density of population to support the line.

6) Many parking structures would have to built in Maryland to transfer car drivers efficiently to/from Metro rail, presumably including at Alaska Ave west of the Walter Reed campus, and on the Maryland DC boundary, perhaps including buried parking under Rock Creek Park, to balance green space with extremely efficient mode switching.

by Nathaniel Pendleton on Nov 4, 2013 2:58 pm • linkreport

Anyone ever look at how many S-bus riders come from/to Silver Spring? I have to think there are a decent amount at certain times of day who'd rather take the bus than spend more $ to ride the Metro.

by Mony on Nov 4, 2013 3:03 pm • linkreport

Needs more rail transit.

by h st ll on Nov 4, 2013 3:09 pm • linkreport

I hate to be the party pooper, but I'm guessing a fair amount of that car traffic drives by at least one, and possibly even three, Metro stations.

by Crickey7 on Nov 4, 2013 3:13 pm • linkreport

I miscounted. Up to 4 (SS, Forest Glen, Wheaton and Glenmont).

by Crickey7 on Nov 4, 2013 3:15 pm • linkreport

Very interesting statistics that really show how efficient public transportation is compared to driving in cars -- 3% of the vehicles move over 50% of the commuters.
One quibble: I'm not sure it makes sense to include trucks in the mix when discussing how many people are moved on 16th street. Whereas the buses and cars are there to transport people, the purpose of trucks is to transport stuff. They normally have only one person in them, a driver, in order to get the goods delivered, not because the driver is going to work.

by mike on Nov 4, 2013 3:21 pm • linkreport

@ Nathaniel:the density of population next to the parks is quite low, suggesting a 14th Street corridor instead. If a 16th Street Metro line were built, several things would have to happen.

Sigh. You have one of the busiest bus corridors in city, and you suggest there are not enough people to justify a metro line? When is it ever enough?

And yes, of course, the line should go to Silver Spring. In fact, it should probably to Columbia or Baltimore, roughly following US-29.

by Jasper on Nov 4, 2013 3:25 pm • linkreport

Every 90 seconds? Why can't Metro get the X buses to run that frequently down H St/Benning, a line that is always packed to the gills during rush hour? Heck, even during non-rush hour, sometimes...

by wylie coyote on Nov 4, 2013 3:28 pm • linkreport

I've been saying it for 5 years now, I want a bus lane on 16th st!

by BTA on Nov 4, 2013 3:29 pm • linkreport

Also anyone who rides that line knows it doesn't operate every 90 seconds, it operates 3 buses every 270 seconds ;)

by BTA on Nov 4, 2013 3:31 pm • linkreport

@Mony: Anyone ever look at how many S-bus riders come from/to Silver Spring? I have to think there are a decent amount at certain times of day who'd rather take the bus than spend more $ to ride the Metro.

I'd guess that it's not that many. For one thing, many (1/3? 1/2? I have no idea) 16th St. rush hour buses start at the 14th & Buchanan bus barn, loop up to Military and then head down 16th. And my own experience is that when I board at 16th & Colorado, I nearly always get a seat.

by ZetteZelle on Nov 4, 2013 3:31 pm • linkreport

16th St is really dense even being next to a park and north of Columbia Heights has no Metro access til Silver Spring. I the long run I think you could make a case for a separated yellow seriving 16th St at least through Adams Morgan/Mt Pleasant and Crestwood and I think all the way to Silver Spring. That is obviously on the long long range horizon though.

by BTA on Nov 4, 2013 3:37 pm • linkreport

Dedicated bus-only lane (with camera mounted on the front of the bus to enforce it) on 16th street is a no-brainer. Move people, not cars. They've done this in other cities and it's about time we do it here. Every car driver wants to implement some magical trick (more stops, signaling, whatever) instead of facing the cold, hard facts: Simple math will tell you there is X amount of road space and cars take up too much space without moving enough people. They are inefficient in dense urban spaces. Of all the modes of travel during rush hour, they are the least efficient. Get them off the road. They can have their space at other times, but give the roads to efficient modes during rush hour.

by dc denizen on Nov 4, 2013 3:41 pm • linkreport

@Mony: Anyone ever look at how many S-bus riders come from/to Silver Spring?

I don't suppose that many. I ride the S buses daily, sometimes starting at Newton and other times at U Street. When I catch it at Newton, there are approximately half a dozen seats open and no one standing. At Park there are no more seats and people are left standing. At Euclid, the bus often fills. Often enough that on days when I try to catch the bus at U Street, I frequently give up after the third bus has passed me by and simply walk to my destination (17th and M). In short, I'd venture that at least half the passengers of the S buses come from between Newton and U Street and disembark at P, M, or K Streets (which is probably why the S1 route mirrors this hypothesis of mine).

by 7r3y3r on Nov 4, 2013 3:49 pm • linkreport

There may be a lot of buses, but by the time they get to Meridian Hill park, they are full. They need to add more buses. There may be a bus every 90 seconds but when it takes 6 or 7 buses to pass before one has room to stop and pick up people, its not as convenient as the article would suggest. Also - the bus drivers are often rude and frequently yell at passengers who are just trying to get to work.

by Alex B on Nov 4, 2013 3:52 pm • linkreport

I think these graphs serve a strong purpose in the case towards getting dedicated bus lanes. By showing that they move 1/2 the people in a given corridor you can justify giving them 1/3 the space (one lane out of three during rush hour periods). Ideally it'd be the peak travel curb lane, and in non rush hour time periods it'd revert back to it's normal parking state.

As to Charlies comment, if you make that the case, then you can start looking at electric buses with induced chargers in the lane that are now starting to pop up around the world for quieter service.

by jj on Nov 4, 2013 4:05 pm • linkreport

When I get on, I usually get on at Newton and 16th. I'd say thats where the crush starts. There is huge demand to get downtown from lower Crestwood/16th St Heights through Adams Morgan/U St/ Dupont. There is really no good downtown access unless you want to transfer from the green line. You could take the yellow from l'enfant to union and bank a hard left up massachusetts to K with a connection and McPherson and then go straight up 16th.

by BTA on Nov 4, 2013 4:11 pm • linkreport

Or maybe something like the loops they were proposing for a seperated blue? Maybe a yellow loop that goes L'efant to Union up -> Hospital Center over to Petworth to Mt. P and then back down 16th and over to L'enfant again. That would hit all the existing high ridership, though I'd rather plan for long term growth.

by BTA on Nov 4, 2013 4:17 pm • linkreport

@Alex B

They don't need more buses, they need bigger buses.

The 16th Street Line faces two capacity crunches: the car barns won't allow those larger buses, and the lack of dedicated lanes means increased travel time and, therefore, costs.

16th Street would be an excellent corridor for a center-running transitway, like the one proposed for K Street, for its entire length to Silver Spring, including all-door boarding.

by David Edmondson on Nov 4, 2013 4:18 pm • linkreport

I would say that generally, almost on all Metrobus routes, the stops are too close together. WMATA needs some serious spacing adjustments.

by Adam Lind on Nov 4, 2013 4:19 pm • linkreport

16th St BRT corridor! Let's get another rapid transit line from Downtown up to Silver Spring. It'd be a great addition to mobility in the upper NW and would support higher density development on the whole corridor. The MoveDC plans call for dedicated transit space along the corridor, so let's get going.

If buses stuck in traffic can move this many people this efficiently, imagine how many would choose to ride a bus that came more reliably, and got them to their destination much faster than sitting in car traffic.

by TransitSnob on Nov 4, 2013 4:23 pm • linkreport

16th St doesnt have K St's width. It's only five lanes wide in places. Most of K is nearly twice that.

by BTA on Nov 4, 2013 4:24 pm • linkreport

16th Street is a particularly miserable corridor. My first DC job involved a reverse commute along it. The headways between SS-bound buses in the am were terrible and this guaranteed a stop at every block. I switched to driving, but always avoided 16th itself, using other routes because the drive was equally aversive. Now that there is more bus service, it may be less miserable.

Bus lanes would be a great solution to current problems and if the buses run every 90 seconds in rush hour, then enforcement should be less of a problem than on other corridors. It is likely that this will dump some car traffic onto 14th and 15th and some consideration of those effects will be needed.

I usually argue against eliminating stops because of the large numbers of elderly and disabled who use transit, along with parents with very young children. My occasional trips on 16th suggest that this is much less true than on 14th, where there are enormous numbers of people shouldn't would face real inconvenience (not just the first world kind) with reducing the number of stops. Consideration of dropping a few stops in high density areas probably would help the ride w/o too much inconvenience to those who need transit.

16th seems like a poor candidate for light rail, which would be years away anyhow and it's doubtful that people in the 16th corridor would support higher buildings along the street.

by Rich on Nov 4, 2013 4:25 pm • linkreport

The idea of making the parking lanes on 16th Street buses-only during rush hour is an interesting idea, but it doesn’t help with the fact that the buses are at capacity. I still think we need a higher-density mode of transit, such as a streetcar; you can't add any more buses, so you need higher-density vehicles.

by Matt on Nov 4, 2013 4:26 pm • linkreport

@Matt - we may need higher-capacity transit, such as a streetcar, on 16th but I think we should take this one step at a time and first try dedicated bus lanes, especially since the higher-capacity transit option should also be in an exclusive lane otherwise it's just as slow. And it's cheaper.

by 7r3y3r on Nov 4, 2013 4:42 pm • linkreport

I agree with everyone that we need dedicated rush hour lanes, and that having cameras mounted on buses is probably the easiest way to achieve that. However, that will require a lot of driver education so that people understand just exactly when they can and cannot drive in the bus lane.

I'd be interested to see how the traffic light improvements work and determining how many articulated buses can be used on the route; for a few weeks it seemed like Metro had increased in the number of longer buses but now they're mostly gone, except on the S1 line.

And this is a pet peeve of mine, but it seems like an increased number of buses list the wrong destination. Of particular problem: buses that say they're headed to Federal Triangle that magically stop at Franklin Square. When you ask the driver they either mumble some response about not being able to change the signage or claim that they informed passengers when they got on.

by Adam Lewis on Nov 4, 2013 4:42 pm • linkreport

Wouldn't bus lanes allow buses to make faster trips and therefore more trips per hour increasing capacity that way? I n my experience car congestion is absolutely the main factor in slow travel times on 16th (and I've been riding the S buses on and off since 2006).

by BTA on Nov 4, 2013 4:43 pm • linkreport

Regarding requiring fewer stops, Metro already does that via the S9 bus route. It helps a little.

What happened to the idea of starting a shorter S route from 16th and U NW to the White House? It would run with rush hour traffic only and could alleviate some of the crowding on the longer routes.

by Tim on Nov 4, 2013 5:08 pm • linkreport

Jasper re your sigh, why is it not enough for Metrorail service? Because a subway line is justified when you have multiple hours of at least 15,000-25,000 or more riders each hour for preferably 3 hours at last 2x/day. That's 90,000 to 150,000 riders vs. 20,000. By comparison, the LR Purple Line is supposed to get about 70,000 daily riders.


(not a perfect article as it doesn't provide enough detailed information to distinguish between various fixed rail transit modes.)

2. Great points about dedicated transitways and bus-mounted cameras.

by Richard Layman on Nov 4, 2013 5:12 pm • linkreport

What happened to the idea of starting a shorter S route from 16th and U NW to the White House? It would run with rush hour traffic only and could alleviate some of the crowding on the longer routes.

I believe it's here:

by ZetteZelle on Nov 4, 2013 5:15 pm • linkreport

If possible, off-board fare collection and all-door boarding might also be helpful in the long run... actually, pretty much anything in the BRT toolkit would probably help S bus riders substantially (while also helping us get past the gold-plated BRT vs. LRT debate).

Also, Go [Wolf]Pack!

by Steven H on Nov 4, 2013 5:17 pm • linkreport

16th St is nowhere near maxing out its capacity for moving people via buses. It just needs to be configured to actually prioritize moving people, not moving cars. This means dedicating space to buses, and configuring stops to make them function effectively.

The Guangzhou BRT corridor has nearly 1,000,000 trips per day on a single bus corridor. For reference, the entire Metrorail system has only 760,000 trips per day.

by TransitSnob on Nov 4, 2013 5:26 pm • linkreport

These numbers are striking. Where are the ANCs near 16th Street on getting at least a rush-hour bus lane here?

Over the longer term, the streetcar going somewhere between 7th and 16th -- well, this seems to make a good argument for putting it on 14th or 16th, in dedicated right-of-way.

by Gavin on Nov 4, 2013 5:35 pm • linkreport

Turn 16th St into HOV only?

by grumpy on Nov 4, 2013 6:19 pm • linkreport

@Mony, 7r3y3r

As one of those commuters on the S/70 Metrobus who lives in Silver Spring, I wouldn't underestimate the number of commuters who come from/are headed to there. Though I admit I only use the S when I'm going as far as Columbia Heights or U Street - any further and, of course, I get stuck in traffic, at which point it makes more sense to take the Metro. Besides, between Spring Road and Missouri Avenue there isn't a lot of density on 16th Street - if it's not people from Silver Spring, there are still lots of riders just across the line in Brightwood and Shepherd Park.

If the service were faster and more reliable (i.e., had its own lane), I imagine many more people would ride the entire length of the line.

by dan reed! on Nov 4, 2013 6:43 pm • linkreport

Grumpy -- for the Brookland Small Area Plan I suggested HOV2 on Michigan Ave., potentially Monroe St. like how Alexandria does it on Washington Blvd. and Rte. 1. 16th Street makes an even more compelling case, as you point out.

Note that the idea isn't really mine. Former DC resident and MoCo planner Patrick Hare suggested it many years before.

by Richard Layman on Nov 4, 2013 8:02 pm • linkreport

Congestion charge chachacha! Congestion charge chachacha! Congestion charge chachacha!

This is the only way for a city to have a world-class bus service (i.e. London): congestion charging AND dedicated bus lanes AND high frequency (already present).

Right now, we have one of the three legs of the stool -- the other two, sadly, don't seem like they will be coming anytime soon in typical American deference to private motorists selfishly occupying public road space that is the right of the thousands of people riding buses together, not the couple of people who feel they need a personal ride into DC's congested core.

by James on Nov 4, 2013 10:47 pm • linkreport

Agh! 16th is fine as is. Time lights better in CH and we'd get 20% more through it. But BRT or HOV does work for those of us in cars.

I don't live within 5 blocks of 16th, nor do I stop at K, and I have kids to drop off. So actually driving is my only reasonable option. Try to take that away and you will have a fight to the death.

by Stop madness on Nov 4, 2013 11:48 pm • linkreport

@stop madness

And 16th street is the only street you can use, even though you don't live within 5 blocks of it?


I wonder how much person traffic is covered by buses when you include the commuter buses on 16th? I wonder how this compares to person traffic when 16th used to have a bus lane?

by MLD on Nov 5, 2013 2:04 am • linkreport

Wouldn't all the traffic the 16th street bus carry be better handled by a BRT on Georgia where the commercial core is? I'm sure the people taking the 16th street route come a wider pool of riders than 1-2 blocks away.

by Thayer-D on Nov 5, 2013 8:49 am • linkreport

@Thayer: The streets in north Columbia Heights don't run straight, going from even 14th would require a lot of dog-legging to get to GA ave.

by Steve S. on Nov 5, 2013 9:06 am • linkreport

Your right. Maybe 14th street would better with a trolley line on Georgia.

by Thayer-D on Nov 5, 2013 9:28 am • linkreport

Thayer that doesnt make sense. I live on 17th st why would I walk over half a mile to get on a bus going downtown only to probably walk a half mile back going the other when when I get there? The Green line actually provides good coverage of the GA ave corridor if you look on a map. There is a 14th st bus line as well so really yeah the 16th st buses mostly carry people from between say 14th and 18th or so with a bit of wiggle room up at the top half.

by BTA on Nov 5, 2013 9:29 am • linkreport

I wish WMATA would consider what CTA (Chicago) does on the lakefront, which is waterfalling the routes. Have buses go express after a certain point towards downtown. Different tiers, and in reverse too. There's always a local as well. I think it works pretty well. They too have buses like every 90 seconds or less on that corridor and up Michigan Ave during rush.

by sedela on Nov 5, 2013 9:33 am • linkreport


As project manager for the WMATA 16th Street Line Study completed in 2009, I would like to add the following to this discussion:

Peak directional bus lanes were recommended for the segment on 16th Street between Arkansas Avenue and Irving Street. This is the segment where there are five lanes with the third lane reversed in the peak direction. It would provide the extra lane for buses in the segment of the corridor where ridership is highest.

Articulated buses were recommended for the local S route service but their use is limited by the number of these buses available at the Northern Bus Division which operates the 16th Street service along with artics on the heavy ridership route on Georgia Avenue. The restricted capacity of the garage is the major factor in not using additional articulated buses.

The limited stop Route S9 was implemented to provide faster and more reliable service to the 16 highest ridership stops on the S Line. Those stops include the ones at Silver Spring, Kalmia Road and Sheridan Street on the northern portion of the route and those below Spring Road on the southern segment. We continue to get requests to add additional stops to this route. But we remind riders that the purpose of this new route was to provide an alternative faster service and that more service has been added to the S1, S2 and S4 routes for those who need the local stops.

by Douglas Stallworth on Nov 5, 2013 11:29 am • linkreport

@Stop madness - as someone who has to drive, it's actually in your interest to have BRT. That way the people who do not have to drive are incentivized to take the bus instead, freeing up lane space for you.

And anyway, no one is suggesting that you not be able to drive. No one is proposing to make all lanes on 16th bus-only. Just that if 50+% of the people commuting along 16th do so by bus, then it's not unreasonable to allocate 50% of the roadway to buses for just 3 hours of a day.

by 7r3y3r on Nov 5, 2013 11:33 am • linkreport

Last night, there were zero buses in a 20 minute period. Zero. Hardly the 90 second frequency WMATA claims. That was a backup due to a motorcade at 16th and K, which begs all sorts of other questions, but mostly cries out for a way for buses to leapfrog the cars - that would be a dedicated, SEPARATED lane.

And while "all the demand" might be north of U, that means that it it virtually IMPOSSIBLE to get a bus going southbound in the morning from anywhere south of U. That's crazy. Buses were coming every 90-120 seconds...but NONE OF THEM WERE STOPPING BECAUSE THEY WERE FULL. It took THIRTY MINUTES for a single bus to stop at 16th and S. That is totally unacceptable. I pay taxes in DC and yet I can't get on a bus in my own city because they're too full of Marylanders. This is madness.

In this case, it doesn't matter what the land use is around 16th - it is an existing commuter and transit corridor that is desperate for capacity and priority improvements. That means, for SURE, dedicated lanes along most of the entire route. And more buses. And larger buses. And probably a higher capacity mode altogether.

by MetroDerp on Nov 5, 2013 12:14 pm • linkreport

If the president's motorcade blocks things off for half an hour there is nothing WMATA can do about it. It completely screws all traffic in the area. Just do what the rest of us do and either go to the metro or start walking.

As for no buses in the morning, walk up to U where you can try to get an S9 and there is more bus traffic stopping in general there.

The buses are not full of Marylanders, they are full of people getting on in DC. Few people ride the route the entire way, the S9 is still much slower than taking Metro from Silver Spring to Farragut.

by MLD on Nov 5, 2013 12:30 pm • linkreport

Why does everyone want another route to Silver Spring what is wrong with the current one ?

Why not create a line where there is no service which would be a east/west route north of K Street. Why not have the Yellow Line cross the Red Line north of Cleveland Park somewhere so those who are going east/west in the city don't have to travel to either Metro Center, L'Enfant Plaza or Gallery Place.

Have the Yellow line go north from Columbia Heights until Military RD then left toward Friendship Heights, with a Chevy Chase, Barnaby Woods (maybe), Walter Reed, Brightwood, Brightwood Park, Crestwood before joining the Green Line at Columbia Heights

Of the 16th Street bus traffic how many are DC residents over Maryland residents, whatever is done should benefit DC residents first and Maryland's second.

@ Adam Lind

So what should the spacing be every 5 or 6 blocks or so ?

I personally would survey each route and decide the stops based on schools, buildings in a 2-3 block radius, hills/slops, bridges and other routes that cross the line.

And make stops in both directions directly across the street from each other instead of what currently happens on many routes a north or eastbound stop could be on one block and the stop going the other way is 3 or 4 blocks up.

by kk on Nov 5, 2013 12:32 pm • linkreport

Man if we could get dedicated bus lanes during rush hour on 16th I wouldn't even bother taking Metro, the bus would then be just as quick. What they could do is take the center most lame and make it bus only during rush hour, but have it go in the direction of the commute. So for the AM rush the lane is for southbound buses (northbound would return in the normal lane of traffic since there wouldn't be as much chance of jams) then during the PM rush the lane becomes northbound with southbound buses using normal traffic lanes. During non-rush periods (12am-6am, 10am-4pm, 8pm-11:59pm) the lane could be used for regular vehicle traffic in the direction of the most need. I think 16th Street is a corridor they should seriously consider making a light rail corridor.

by Matt S on Nov 5, 2013 12:34 pm • linkreport


I'm sorry that you can't find a seat on the bus, but is it really constructive for you to blame "Marylanders" for that? Maryland and Virginia pay to support WMATA just as DC does.

By this logic, if you're traveling out of town for the holidays, I hope you're not driving or taking a train, because I'm really sick of DC residents clogging up MY highways and railroads.

by dan reed! on Nov 5, 2013 1:47 pm • linkreport

I just want my country back!

by Thayer-D on Nov 5, 2013 2:02 pm • linkreport

@Dan Reed

Well, maybe not constructive, but certainly helpful in terms of venting. Someone also might not be able to get on an Orange or Blue line train at Foggy Bottom, because it's filled up with people getting on in Virginia.

But really, what's needed are more of the short-turn buses on 16th (in addition to dedicated lanes and so forth). I still think that Metrorail can provide much better off-peak service through the city if it truncates the runs and doesn't have to go to the outer limits of the system every single time for the people who parked at Rockville or Vienna.

And anyways, don't worry, I never ride MARC and I hate driving on Maryland roads as much as you hate me doing so (also I don't have a car so this isn't a common concern).

by MetroDerp on Nov 5, 2013 2:49 pm • linkreport

@Dan Reed

Also, feel free to delete the last two comments if you like. I'm taking out my rage at WMATA on you and that's not fair. Having daily waits of 20-30 minutes for a bus at rush hour has been frustrating, to say the least, and with WMATA and DDOT seeming to not actually care about drastic improvements (i.e., dedicating lanes to transit and vastly more frequent rail service), little self-serving posts like this always upset me more than they probably should.

by MetroDerp on Nov 5, 2013 3:06 pm • linkreport

@Douglas Stallworth,
Can you advise why the recommendation to add bus lanes was not implemented?

by renegade09 on Nov 5, 2013 4:18 pm • linkreport

@Dan Reed:

Apologies, one more clarification ("I'm sorry that you can't find a seat on the bus"). I don't care about standing. I'm perfectly happy to stand. The issue is when every successive bus is too crowded to stop and board for 20+ minutes, as were 3 out of 5 days last week (and so far 2 for 2 in this one).

by MetroDerp on Nov 5, 2013 4:24 pm • linkreport

I'm guessing the bus lane was not implemented because it would have ignited a veritable sh_tstorm. Repurposing nearly half of the total infrastructure reaching into the Gold Coast would have made the battle over bike lanes look like a frowning contest.

by Crickey7 on Nov 5, 2013 4:38 pm • linkreport

Then let sh_tstorm begin! Bring on dedicated lanes!
Everyone is stuck in traffic because of the single passenger car driver, including the car driver themselves. Continuing down this path (with the continued reluctance of WMATA to actually face the problem head on) will just make it worse.

by dc denizen on Nov 5, 2013 4:48 pm • linkreport


The bus lanes were not implemented because DDOT felt an additional study was needed to consider the alternative of putting a median strip in the extra center lane in the segment below Spring Road to improve pedestrian safety following a fatality at 16th Street & Park Road.

by Douglas Stallworth on Nov 5, 2013 4:54 pm • linkreport


No hard feelings, and trust me, I've been at 16th & U at night trying to get on any S bus home and I can't because they're too crowded. It's just a sign of how successful this service is, but also a sign that we need greater frequency throughout the day, not just rush hour.

by dan reed! on Nov 5, 2013 5:03 pm • linkreport


Completely agree. DDOTs seemingly lack of care is quite frustrating. I think it comes down to elections. If we re-elect Gray, we know what we are going to get. Wells, I do not think would stand for the mediocrity we have come to expect from DDOT.

by Kyle-W on Nov 5, 2013 5:26 pm • linkreport

@ Richard Layman
"Jasper re your sigh, why is it not enough for Metrorail service? Because a subway line is justified when you have multiple hours of at least 15,000-25,000 or more riders each hour for preferably 3 hours at last 2x/day. That's 90,000 to 150,000 riders vs. 20,000. By comparison, the LR Purple Line is supposed to get about 70,000 daily riders. "

Not saying the math would work for a metro on 16th, but taking the current ridership and saying this is what the metro ridership would me seems off. What bus corridor had 90,000 people prior to a metro line existing?

by leeindc on Nov 7, 2013 5:32 pm • linkreport

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