Greater Greater Washington

Transit


DC pulls back on the one bus lane it was actively planning

The snail's pace of progress on speeding up DC's busy bus routes has taken another step, but a step backward: A dedicated bus lane east and west across downtown has moved from being on the list of projects to build in the near future back to the purgatory of projects in planning.


Photo by M.V. Jantzen on Flickr.

Elected leaders and transportation officials have been talking for several years about designing dedicated bus lanes for H and I Streets past the White House, which carry some of the highest volumes of bus traffic in the region. Numerous routes all converge there to travel east and west.

In 2011, staff from then-transportation chair Tommy Wells' office, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), and WMATA were talking about how to move forward on bus lanes. Wells was really pushing the city to do more for bus riders, and WMATA had recently issued their "Priority Corridor Network" vision that recommended bus lanes, queue jumpers, signal priority, and more to maximize the region's large investment in bus service.

There was a consensus at the time around starting with one really high-quality bus route with dedicated lanes, real enforcement to make the lanes work, signal priority, and more. This demonstration project would go in a corridor where there are enough buses to make such a project really improve travel times for a lot of bus riders. Folks at the time agreed that a good place to start was H and I.

DDOT started collaborating with WMATA on a study about how to design these lanes. It also added a bus lane project for H and I onto the regional Constrained Long-Range Plan (CLRP), a regional mechanism for DC, Maryland, and Virginia to assemble their lists of transportation projects and ensure they comply with federal air quality rules.

Momentum stalls, and DDOT stops being supportive

The study took a long time to get through procurement, and there were other bureaucratic obstacles that slowed things down. Still, by late 2012 WMATA was close to having options ready to go. Instead, DDOT basically pulled out of the study.

In June of 2013, DDOT Director Terry Bellamy sent a letter to WMATA planning head Shyam Kannan, which we have been able to obtain. The letter says DDOT wasn't interested in pursuing the option of two-way buses using a contraflow lane on H Street, which is what the study ended up recommending.


Potential H Street contraflow bus lane. Image from WMATA.

This year, DDOT removed the bus lanes from the CLRP, and is listing them as a study rather than a project to actually happen. Councilmember Mary Cheh asked about the project this spring in preparation for the annual oversight hearing, and DDOT's response is a classic engineer non-answer saying, in effect, that there are a lot of technical details to work out, and maybe they will work them out sometime in the future, but not now.

What's going on? Mostly, DDOT couldn't do this and the streetcar on K Street at the same time. According to Sam Zimbabwe, DDOT's Associate Director in charge of planning, building the K Street dedicated lanes for the streetcar will likely require moving buses temporarily off K, rerouting traffic, and more, although DDOT has not decided the details this time. DDOT may need the flexibility to configure H and/or I in various ways during construction on K.

The agency is also concerned about operational issues, such as how driveways into parking garages and deliveries would work with the lane. As DDOT's responses to Mary Cheh show, the agency also wants to look at fixes identified by the WMATA study that don't involve a lane, such as ways to reduce bus dwell times at stops or prohibiting right turns at some intersections during rush hours.

Sources who participated in internal bus lane discussions, and insisted on remaining anonymous, also say that during the study, DDOT was going through environmental review for the K Street streetcar, and having better bus service on H and I would have reduced the apparent benefit of investing in the streetcar.

Will bus lanes take a generation?

DDOT is still keeping this project on its list of projects under design, and the moveDC long-range plan still shows bus lanes here. But it's clear that, perhaps because of staff turnover or political priorities, DDOT has gone from trying hard to build a bus lane to thinking of this as a low priority at best.

There's more momentum at the moment for a 16th Street bus lane, and maybe that can be the first example instead of H and I. But any lane will need a detailed analysis that could take a year or more, and would have to go onto the CLRP. The H and/or I Street concept had already surmounted at least these obstacles, and could have become reality more quickly.

Even if DDOT has good reasons to wait on H and I, there are always reasons to slow down or not to move forward. Over the years, there has also been plenty of off-the-record finger pointing between DDOT and WMATA about which agency is not doing what needs to be done. Ultimately, it takes courage and commitment to actually work through all of the issues, problems, and community concerns and build something, just as DDOT is now doing with several streetcar lines.

The streetcar is a good project, but there will still be many bus lines serving large numbers of riders. The streetcar will attract a lot of transit riders and drive growth in corridors like H Street, but without dedicated lanes (and in most places, there won't be), it won't be a speedy way to get from one part of the city to another. There also won't be streetcars everywhere in the city, and definitely not Metrorail lines, which are extremely expensive.

Buses move a lot of people today, and if they could spend less time in traffic, could move a lot more without more expense, or save a lot of money. (On 16th Street, for example, the delay around not having bus lanes adds $8 million a year in costs that either could go to more bus service or other city priorities.)

The reasons are clear, and many opportunities are available if and when the transportation department wants to pick up on them. It will just require leadership that's interested in actually making it happen.

David Alpert is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Greater Greater Washington and Greater Greater Education. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He loves the area which is, in many ways, greater than those others, and wants to see it become even greater. 

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Jesus, I'd much rather torpedo streetcars and get dedicated lanes everywhere. Dedicated lanes dedicated lanes dedicated lanes ARGGGHHHH

Other than increasing frequency, dedicated lanes is the best possible, most cost-effective improvement DDOT could make, and Bellamy's cowardice on any dedicated lanes anywhere has been appalling.

by LowHeadways on Mar 19, 2014 10:27 am • linkreport

^ +1

Agreed. The K street streetcar is a pipe dream - let's get our other streetcars running before we start worrying about that, no? Meanwhile, because of streetcar fantasies, bus lanes are dead in the water. Bus lanes that would move the thousands that already take the bus even faster, and help reduce congestion. Too bad.

by Nick on Mar 19, 2014 10:41 am • linkreport

Pretty ironic that DA is feeding the streetcar critics with their best argument -- that DDOT can't do two things at once, and bus travel as usual is second class.

What I never see addressed on bus lanes is the stops. For example, on K st during rush hour a huge problem is buses stopping and blocking other buses. Commuter buses are usually the worst at this but it is problem across the board.

(And yes, that is an argument for streetcars with larger capacity but the ones we are proposing don't reallly have that)

by charlie on Mar 19, 2014 10:48 am • linkreport

I'm not sure I saw this called out in the article, but removing the H and I bus lanes was part of the recent proposed changes to the MWCOG CLRP:

http://www.mwcog.org/clrp/projects/new/proposed_2014.asp#DC4

So yeah, they are basically DOA. Unbelievable.

by MLD on Mar 19, 2014 10:49 am • linkreport

DDOT can do 2 things at once. It can do 10 things at once. They are simultaneously doing several streetcar studies, and the South Capitol Bridge, and planning a SE Boulevard, and adding a few bike lanes (slowly), and repaving roads, and so on. They just seem unable to do 2 transit things at once, but that could be easily fixed with organizational changes.

by David Alpert on Mar 19, 2014 10:50 am • linkreport

This is really a shameful lack of leadership and vision, in this alignment and down 16th street. How can DDOT staff say it will take "years" to get a bus lane on 16th? I suggest a couple of DDOT staff try actually riding the S buses so they can experience the delays. IMO, the first section of bus lane needs only stretch from 16th and Arkansas to Florida, where 16th has three southbound lanes already. The worst back-ups on 16th are from Arkansas to Florida, and that is where moving buses through will make up the most time. DDOT needs to get back to serving all road users!

by 16th street rider on Mar 19, 2014 10:50 am • linkreport

MLD: Thanks. The CLRP change was the whole impetus for the article, but then somehow I managed to leave out the key sentence that actually said that it had been taken out. I've re-added it.

by David Alpert on Mar 19, 2014 10:52 am • linkreport

@Dave Alpert; fair enough, but I'd say the problems are deeper than a change in org or leadership.

by charlie on Mar 19, 2014 10:54 am • linkreport

That and the K street lanes are transit lanes that will feature both buses and the streetcar.

by drumz on Mar 19, 2014 10:56 am • linkreport

What I never see addressed on bus lanes is the stops. For example, on K st during rush hour a huge problem is buses stopping and blocking other buses. Commuter buses are usually the worst at this but it is problem across the board.

It's been addressed: when the K Street transitway is built, commuter buses will not be allowed to use it:

http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/3835/which-k-street-do-you-prefer/
http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/4359/k-street-option-2-is-the-preferred-alternative/

If you are concerned about bus dwell time, then let's talk about pre-boarding fare payment to reduce dwell time. The transitways will help provide that infrastructure.

by Alex B. on Mar 19, 2014 10:56 am • linkreport

And let me clarify: my dream is to have proper light rail running in dedicated lanes everywhere across the District. But if we have to pick one or the other - rail or a dedicated lane for transit - I think the latter is the obvious choice.

(And in case it isn't: http://www.humantransit.org/2009/07/streetcars-an-inconvenient-truth.html)

by LowHeadways on Mar 19, 2014 11:21 am • linkreport

The H street lane is being delayed due to the K Street transitway.

The K Street Transitway will accommodate buses as well as street cars.

Therefore I do not think its correct to say that the H Street lane is being delayed for street cars. If there were no streetcar, would the K Street transitway still be justified?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Mar 19, 2014 11:29 am • linkreport

For suburban commuters too much.

DC residents really suffer from poor inner-city transit (exception: Circulator) and many of these proposed projects are to speed up commuting times for suburbanites coming in with negatives for DC residents.

I get that WMATA is about getting suburbanites in and doesn't give a damn about DC residents but at least DDOT needs to insist on projects that help DC residents' transit needs more and minimize the negative effects of commuter lanes.

Or, just stop all Metro and commuter buses at Florida Avenue and let them walk the rest of the way to work. That's what we usually have to do to get around if there's not a Circulator available.

by Tom Coumaris on Mar 19, 2014 11:32 am • linkreport

This all goes back to a leadership (council, mayor, agency heads, you name it) where the leaders don't walk, bike, or take transit. They all drive. They put no priority on these things because they don't understand it, see their own commutes will suffer, and don't have the political will to push things through. It's time for new leadership.

by dc denizen on Mar 19, 2014 11:33 am • linkreport

"DC residents really suffer from poor inner-city transit (exception: Circulator) and many of these proposed projects are to speed up commuting times for suburbanites coming in with negatives for DC residents."

Just to clarify, by suburbanites you mean marylanders. I can't imagine many Virginia commuters will use any metro buses in DC.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Mar 19, 2014 11:38 am • linkreport

sure, besides the 16y, 3y, 38B, 5a, and Circulator, no, not much.

by charlie on Mar 19, 2014 11:45 am • linkreport

@AWITC: Do you mean politically or actually? K Street, 14th St., 16th St., 7th St., H St., etc. all actually justify dedicated transit lanes. I'd go so far as to say that in virtually every case, transit deserves its own ROW.

But of course, based on the current 16th St. experience, politically, bus lanes are a hard sell. Doesn't mean they're unjustified, though.

by LowHeadways on Mar 19, 2014 11:47 am • linkreport

Charlie

How many people do those carry in total - compare that to metro ridership - or to ridership on metrobuses from Md to DC - or for that matter, ridership of DC residents on the proposed bus lanes.

Low - actually - but in the absence of street cars, do you think there was political support for H street bus lanes, but not the K Street transitway?

What Im getting at is "DDOT is putting K Street over H Street" /= "DDOT is putting streetcars over bus ROW" which is what I read several folks here saying.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Mar 19, 2014 11:52 am • linkreport

"to metro ridership from Va to DC"

by AWalkerInTheCity on Mar 19, 2014 11:53 am • linkreport

Was considering voting for Gray as my Anyone But Bowser candidate but after this I can't do it. Just going to give the vote to Wells and let the chips fall where they may.

I live along N. Capitol and we need dedicated bus lanes badly. Why must people who ride the buses be treated like second class citizens?

by 11luke on Mar 19, 2014 12:00 pm • linkreport

@AWITC: That's a fair point. I think I do read the latter part as true, though - DDOT seems far more invested (though you know, what's four times zero) in getting the streetcar up and running than in dedicating transit lanes anywhere in the District. I don't know if that's a Bellamy prioritization issue or if it comes from somewhere else, but it still remains that we have one streetcar to come and zero bus lanes, with more of the former on the horizon and none of the latter.

by LowHeadways on Mar 19, 2014 12:13 pm • linkreport

11Luke- Would you feel the same if those dedicated lanes on N. Capitol were to take Montgomery County commuters off Metro rail and have them take express service on buses instead? What if they don't pick up passengers in your area anymore because of the increased load from Montgomery County?

by Tom Coumaris on Mar 19, 2014 12:34 pm • linkreport

So you'd rather have slower bus times to make it harder for MoCo commuters? That hardly seems like the ideal way to advance mutual interests in improving transit. There has to be a better way.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Mar 19, 2014 12:49 pm • linkreport

I can understand Philadelphia having some issues getting dedicated bus lanes in because in many parts the streets are so narrow that they would have to completely redo the existing infrastructure for them to fit...but in DC, the roads are humongous. Connecticut Ave is 6 lanes wide for almost the entire way out to Aspen Hill. That's a lot of streetscape to work with. Put the BRT system in and people will adapt.

I also find it odd I don't hear about the diagonal state streets coming up in the discussions on BRT options all that often. I would think the diagonal streets that serve as major motor vehicle corridors, that also hit twice as many intersections because they are diagonal, could really benefit from having buses sync'd with the lights to move all of the people through. But I haven't put too much thought into that idea...

by UrbanEngineer on Mar 19, 2014 12:56 pm • linkreport

@Tom Coumaris

Not sure I understand the question. All public buses should be able to use the dedicated bus lane.

by 11luke on Mar 19, 2014 1:24 pm • linkreport

I was greatly disappointed to see this article. This is a project that I've been following for years being seemingly stuck. Now we know why. Two thoughts:
1) 16 St bus lanes are getting a seemingly big push. Perhaps if those get implemented (and I don't know why other than politics it should take years to get those implemented), then H/I can follow instead of lead
2) Is there anything that can be done to reduce the argument that the lack of H/I is needed to make the K street transitway appear stronger?

by GP Steve on Mar 19, 2014 1:33 pm • linkreport

It's just really dishonest and cynical for these plans to be promoted as helping residents of close-in neighborhoods when everyone knows they're the opposite. Their intent is to take away available empty seats in inner DC so that people in the suburbs (and far-out DC) won't have to deal with Metro but can take express buses.

by Tom Coumaris on Mar 19, 2014 1:35 pm • linkreport

It's a new theory every day with Tom! First, it's that "just more buses!" are the answer. Then it's "well 14th street would be better!" Now it's "these bus lanes are just for suburban commuters!"

We get it, you don't like transit!

What "empty seats" are being taken away?

by MLD on Mar 19, 2014 1:37 pm • linkreport

"It's just really dishonest and cynical for these plans to be promoted as helping residents of close-in neighborhoods when everyone knows they're the opposite. Their intent is to take away available empty seats in inner DC so that people in the suburbs (and far-out DC) won't have to deal with Metro but can take express buses. "

My impression was that A. many parts of "far out DC" dont actually have good metro access, and need bus access and B. that given congestion in the core stations, its desirable generally to shift some metro riders to surface transit modes

by AWalkerInTheCity on Mar 19, 2014 1:41 pm • linkreport

It's just really dishonest and cynical for these plans to be promoted as helping residents of close-in neighborhoods when everyone knows they're the opposite.

Um, this plan is about bus only lanes on the streets that literally drive by the white house. I don't know how much more inner city you can get.

by drumz on Mar 19, 2014 1:42 pm • linkreport

It's not hard to calculate how much extra capacity would be generated by dedicated lanes and it's not hard to estimate how many additional suburban commuters would shift to express buses, mostly from Metro. If, as likely, the second is greater than the first, then you're proposing lowering available capacity in inner DC.

by Tom Coumaris on Mar 19, 2014 1:57 pm • linkreport

Not to mention that I can't for the life of me catch an S-bus at 16th and S. With dedicated lanes, they'd be circulating smoothly enough that I'd finally be able to board one. That's about as inner-city as you're looking for, I think.

by LowHeadways on Mar 19, 2014 1:58 pm • linkreport

"It's not hard to calculate how much extra capacity would be generated by dedicated lanes and it's not hard to estimate how many additional suburban commuters would shift to express buses, mostly from Metro."

If its easy, than by all means give the numbers and your basis for calculating them.

"If, as likely, the second is greater than the first, then you're proposing lowering available capacity in inner DC. "

What are the times and frequencies going to look like from Silver Spring to downtown DC? I would be surprised if they are going to be competitive with metrorail. Is there going to be a dedicated bus lane and signal priority all the way up to the state line?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Mar 19, 2014 2:07 pm • linkreport

Low Headways- Nope. You'd have much less of a chance because the buses would be full of additional suburban commuters. That's Metro's plan, not opening seats at 16th and S.

by Tom Coumaris on Mar 19, 2014 2:08 pm • linkreport

It's not hard to calculate how much extra capacity would be generated by dedicated lanes and it's not hard to estimate how many additional suburban commuters would shift to express buses, mostly from Metro. If, as likely, the second is greater than the first, then you're proposing lowering available capacity in inner DC.

"AS LIKELY"

Do you have some special secret data you are basing this assumption on? Or are you just pulling it out of you-know-where?

Seems unlikely to me that seats on buses running on I St like the 42, 30s, etc., which will benefit from a dedicated contraflow lane on H, will be filled up with suburban commuters. Likewise, I don't know how the 80 buses on North Capitol could be filled with suburban commuters.

I'm also not sure why this is an issue or a bad thing. "Let's keep transit crappy so it's not so crowded" is hardly a compelling argument for investment. And are suburban commuters, especially those who ride transit, a bad thing for DC?

by MLD on Mar 19, 2014 2:09 pm • linkreport

Nope. You'd have much less of a chance because the buses would be full of additional suburban commuters. That's Metro's plan, not opening seats at 16th and S.

Suffice it to say you are wrong about this. I suggest you read some of the metrobus studies that recommend dedicated lanes and the preliminary studies DDOT has done.

by MLD on Mar 19, 2014 2:11 pm • linkreport

I hope that DDOT lives up to their own goals, which includes prioritizing pedestrians and then including either a transitway or cycletrack (and where possible, both).

Slide 14/15 of this WeMoveDC slideshow looks good, but I've seen no action whatsoever to indicate DDOT has any intention of following up their pretty words.

by LowHeadways on Mar 19, 2014 2:18 pm • linkreport

If they really wanted the H/I street lanes but needed the space for K Street construction they'd integrate the two projects.

Under a traditional project model, they'd do a lot of the planning for H/I now and ensure that, once K is finished they can quickly turn and do H/I.

Under a more flexible model, DDOT would use this time to test-run temporary lanes, tear them out during K Street construction, then put them back in with the lessons learned after K Street's done.

This is just... eesh. Bad planning all around.

by David Edmondson on Mar 19, 2014 2:28 pm • linkreport

It's pretty clear that increased capacity from greater frequency should happen, but probably not as great as some think.

But the number of commuters from Wheaton, Viers Mill, and upper 16th who would clearly switch to an express bus instead of dealing with transfers to and from Metro is fairly certain and I don't see any way that empty seats on low 16th wouldn't decrease.

This has always been a WMATA plan to establish express thru-bus service to downtown from the Wheaton area avoiding Metro's inconvenience with no concern for lower 16th riders. Quite clever to try and convince them it would also increase empty seats in their area. But cynical.

"Transit" to me as an urban resident is not solely about getting commuters from suburbs where they've chose to live into their jobs downtown. It also means having effective transit in town to get around town.

by Tom Coumaris on Mar 19, 2014 2:34 pm • linkreport

"But the number of commuters from Wheaton, Viers Mill, and upper 16th who would clearly switch to an express bus instead of dealing with transfers to and from Metro is fairly certain and I don't see any way that empty seats on low 16th wouldn't decrease."

What would the frequency of bus service from wheaton and viers mill be? total transit time? Note of course upper 16th includes many residents of DC, not convenient to metro.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Mar 19, 2014 2:38 pm • linkreport

How many of the riders on the Red line to downtown are DC residents? Folks from Ft Totten, Brookland, RI Ave, as well as upper NW on the other side? Would diverting some people from the red line to buses be of benefit to them?

Do they not count because they do not live in Logan Circle?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Mar 19, 2014 2:41 pm • linkreport

But the number of commuters from Wheaton, Viers Mill, and upper 16th who would clearly switch to an express bus instead of dealing with transfers to and from Metro is fairly certain and I don't see any way that empty seats on low 16th wouldn't decrease.

Where is this proposal? As far as I can see it was in a preliminary report once, and did not appear in a final report nor anywhere else for that matter.

And upper 16th is in DC. And if those people aren't on the bus now they aren't taking Metro since upper 16th is nowhere near Metro.

"Transit" to me as an urban resident is not solely about getting commuters from suburbs where they've chose to live into their jobs downtown. It also means having effective transit in town to get around town.

So what policy do you suggest that doesn't result in massive increases in operational costs (remember, dedicated lanes reduce costs) that only helps transit in town? Also note that policies that help BOTH (like dedicated lanes) help make transit more effective in town.

But I can see you've latched onto this criticism so I guess alternatively we can just wait until next week when you've got a new problem.

by MLD on Mar 19, 2014 2:50 pm • linkreport

I understand that express buses may be desirable in Metro's larger scheme. But to promote them as being out of concern to lower 16th residents is deceptive and why people don't trust Metro.

Just be honest and say this is in line with Metro's desire for direct express bus service from Wheaton and upper 16th and may or may not help lower 16th residents.

But to say that this is out of concern for those on lower 16th who can't get on buses and that Metro knows this would cure that problem is simply a lie.

by Tom Coumaris on Mar 19, 2014 3:40 pm • linkreport

This isn't about express buses though. It's about bus lanes that the locals and expresses can use.

The only reason you think metro is deceptive is because you're making things up.

by drumz on Mar 19, 2014 3:49 pm • linkreport

@Tom Coumaris

How is increasing bus capacity along all of 16th street not going to help residents on lower 16th street?

by JDS32 on Mar 19, 2014 3:52 pm • linkreport

On Columbia Pike Metro is capable of running express buses that skip stops, and local buses as well, with different termination points for turn around. Why is Metro incapable of doing that on 16th Street in DC? Will the configuration of the bus lane somehow prevent that?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Mar 19, 2014 3:57 pm • linkreport

I think after Euclid street, if the bus is completely packed (and someone on requests to get off before M street) the bus should skip every other stop. That in and of itself would save a TON of minutes per trip

by corey on Mar 19, 2014 4:12 pm • linkreport

they also need to still start at least half of the busses around columbia heights to avoid over crowding and no service below florida ave

by corey on Mar 19, 2014 4:16 pm • linkreport

""" they also need to still start at least half of the busses around columbia heights to avoid over crowding and no service below florida ave"""

I'd support that. But no one cares about the people south of Florida so the chances of that are z.e.r.o

For so many years I've been shut out of buses at both 16th and S and 14th and S as much as anyone. When I first heard dedicated lanes I thought wow! Then I was clued in what a snow job it was that would probably make transit worse here. Same old Metro. Same old Metro groupie propaganda.

The best way to actually resolve the problems on 16th is to extend the Circulator there. That's the only decent transit we have on 14th. Circulator is transit for in-city, Metro is for suburbs to downtown.

The Dupont-Georgetown Circulator is too short and makes a strange end loop south of Dupont Circle. Extend it to 16th and U going up 16th and/or 15th & 17th. That 16th to GW routing is the most popular of the S routes anyway.

Comes every 10 minutes rain or shine and it's only a buck. And you can be sure it won't be full of commuters from Wheaton and Silver Spring when you want to get on.

by Tom Coumaris on Mar 19, 2014 8:48 pm • linkreport

@Tom

As a Silver Spring resident, I'd like to apologize on behalf of everyone in Montgomery County for taking up space on the buses that go through your neighborhood. I didn't realize that, by not driving into DC, we were actually making it worse. Sorry about that! It won't happen again.

by dan reed! on Mar 19, 2014 11:22 pm • linkreport

@Dan

Congrats on having Metro service.

by Tom Coumaris on Mar 20, 2014 12:08 am • linkreport

Then I was clued in what a snow job it was that would probably make transit worse here. Same old Metro. Same old Metro groupie propaganda.

Wow. I'd like to know who it was who clued you into this, because I'd like to talk some sense into them too. What factual basis is there for asserting that dedicated lanes are a "snow job" or that they would primarily benefit suburban commuters and not people along the bus route? I've seen you saying this over and over but it doesn't seem like there's any explanation or, god forbid, data, to back it up.

Your circulator routing idea is going to make for one hell of a delayed, winding bus route. AND it doesn't even go to where the people going down 16th are going now - Farragut Square.

by MLD on Mar 20, 2014 8:19 am • linkreport

Prior to the start of Metrorail service in the Washington area, there were peak direction dedicated bus lanes on a number of streets in the District including 14th Street downtown, 16th Street south of Spring Road, H Street, and Connecticut Avenue among others. These lanes were removed by the District due to the reductions in bus volumes with the implementation of rail service.

A number of comments referred to suburban residents traveling on buses into downtown Washington. But in comments received from District residents during the Priority Corridor studies, there was a great deal of interest from these riders wanting improved bus service to access jobs and other activities in locations such as Silver Spring and College Park. There is a large market for this type of reverse commute bus service.

by Douglas Stallworth on Mar 20, 2014 12:12 pm • linkreport

Douglas - I think the issue is whether the dedicated lanes would be for local DC traffic as they previously were or whether they would become more for suburban commuters who already have Metrorail access.

I'm not sure any final plan would have dedicated reverse-commute lanes and if so they'd probably be mostly filled with "no-pickup" buses rushing to get back to origin. But encouraging reverse commuting should be a part of regional development planning.

by Tom Coumaris on Mar 22, 2014 10:16 am • linkreport

@ Tom

Prior to the implementation of Metrorail service, the dedicated lanes on District streets where used by both District buses and buses from Maryland and Virginia. They were installed to speed bus travel into the CBD and encourage auto users to use public transit.

My comment about District reverse communters was intended to show that the corridor studies have identified a need and market for bus travel to inner suburban communities. A need was not identified for peak period lanes in the reverse direction.

by Douglas Stallworth on Mar 24, 2014 12:48 pm • linkreport

" I think the issue is whether the dedicated lanes would be for local DC traffic as they previously were or whether they would become more for suburban commuters who already have Metrorail access. "

I guess they would be for all buses, both those that originated in Md, and for those that that originated in DC. Its certainly logical to have the former for several reasons, including that there folks from Silver Spring who might need to commute to places along 16th street that do not have metro access - and then the same buses can pick up people in parts of 16th street in upper DC. Its of course possible that some folks ride the bus from silver spring to downtown DC who could ride the Red Line - just as of course its possible that there are folks who live south of Florida ave who take the bus downtown, who could easily bike or walk.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Mar 24, 2014 1:03 pm • linkreport

David:
A very simple request... kindly stop using phrases like "actively planning" -- as opposed to what exactly, "passively planning?" In the same vein, anyone who prefaces a verb in the present tense with the superfluous adverb "currently" merits honorable mention in the "Close-Cover-Before-Striking Institute of Bad Journalism." Please pay closer attention to the fundamentals of your assumed literary craft. As for the rest of you, [deleted for violating the comment policy.]

by Lembeck17 on Mar 26, 2014 1:16 am • linkreport

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