Greater Greater Washington

Proposed Circulator will connect Ward 7 to the rest of DC

Earlier this month the District Department of Transportation released its plan to expand the Circulator. A group of residents has proposed a similar but slightly different route.


Photo by ElvertBarnes on Flickr.

Two of the proposed routes would connect Wards 7 and 8 with Barracks Row. These routes could help solve the problem of poor connectivity east of the river.

The proposed Eastern Market-Minnesota Avenue line would connect some of the commercial areas in Ward 7 to destinations west of the river. This line would start at the Minnesota Avenue Metro station, and run down Minnesota Ave to Naylor Road, where it would turn south. After a major stop at the soon-to-come Skyland project, the route turns west onto Good Hope Road to Historic Anacostia. The route would cross the 11th Street Bridge to connect through Barracks Row.

The Ad-Hoc Ward 7 Circulator Group, which was formed in January 2010, proposed a similar route with one major difference: Instead of connecting Minnesota Ave to Skyland via Naylor Road SE, the group proposed using Branch Ave SE and Alabama Ave SE to make that connection.

DDOT's justification for using Naylor Road is to build ridership for the proposed streetcar that will run almost the entire length of Minnesota Ave. However, the residents think the Branch Ave and Alabama Ave connection is extremely important. For one, it would bring Penn-Branch Shopping Center into the fold, which houses the only Department of Motor Vehicles East of the River.

Second, there are no bus lines that currently service the 0.7-mile stretch of Branch Ave between Pennsylvania and Minnesota Ave. On the other hand, there are currently three WMATA bus routes that service Minnesota Ave SE between Good Hope Road and the Minnesota Ave Metro Station.

The Ad-Hoc Committee also left open the possibility of the route ending at either the Anacostia Metro Station, Barracks Row or the Navy Yard. There was an emphasis that the route should end where it could connect to the Navy-Yard Union Station line.

During the DDOT Circulator Meeting on November 13th at Benning Library, Ward 7 residents also proposed ending the Eastern Market-Minnesota Ave Line at the H Street and Maryland Avenue terminus of the Adams Morgan-H St NE line by using Benning Road NE.

The residents of Ward 7 are hopeful that the dialog between DDOT and the community will remain open as the next phase of planning begins. We believe that Circulator should connection the commercial areas within our ward, in addition, to connecting us to west of the river.

Veronica O. Davis, PE, has experience in planning transportation, urban areas, civil infrastructure, and communities. She co-owns Nspiregreen, LLC, an environmental consulting company in DC. She is also the co-founder of Black Women Bike DC, which strives to increase the number of Black women and girls biking for fun, health, wellness, and transportation. 

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If they were going to add a place where there is no bus lines why not go up Mass Ave between Minnesota and Alabama Ave or Ridge Road south-east of Texas Ave.

From Mass Ave between Minnesota and Alabama Ave you are not in any walking distance to a bus stop at all as well as on Ridge Rd from Texas Ave on east to Maryland.

Did any one actually go out and survey this areas to actually see the need for bus lines vs others

by kk on Nov 22, 2010 3:40 pm • linkreport

Hey KK... The problem with Mass Ave is the density is way too low. There are the single family homes on one side then park service land on the other between Minnesota and Texas/Ft Davis. Between Texas/Fort Davis to Alabama the church takes up most of the block. I do agree that stretch needs bus service, but I would not recommend it as a Circulator route.

One of the routes I proposed at the meeting was to run a line from Skyland up Alabama Ave to Mass. Down Mass to Texas then down Ridge to pick up most of the public housing on Ridge.

In general, I did not get the sense that the consultant team has driven the areas to get an understanding of land use patterns. I also suggested that future maps show how the Circulator interacts with WMATA lines.

by Veronica O. Davis (MIss V) on Nov 22, 2010 3:49 pm • linkreport

I noticed that the biggest-ridership subways/metros in the world seem to have a circular line. i've read that circular transit like are The Worst Thing Evah, but i never really bought it. So, seeing as how we have 'Circulator' buses, why not a bigger circle/ring bus -- just a bit more serious, not quite as 'touristy'? Would it work? Is it needed? Could it simplify transit maps? Are the existing circular highways surrounding cities enough? (And, of course, we need these 'circular highways' for bikes, first, but that should go without saying.)

I think folks have at least thought about the Purple line eventually becoming part of this circular line. If these Circulator buses are popular, I'm curious why, and would the be even more popular if they were even more circular?

A circular line seems like a good idea to me for several reasons, but one would be to help balance development within the city, and to stop trying to overstress existing infrastructure, and stop trying to find workarounds to various problems that seem to be created because we're pushing too hard to have 'downtown' be The One Place To Do Business, whereas maybe that's not the best idea...???

Part of this is informed by my liking of this 'multi-centric downtown' approach to development (can't remember where I first saw/read that), part by viewing these large-ridership Metro maps (in particular, Moscow), part from my experience riding the subway and light rail in Toronto (which doesn't quite have a circular metro line, but has a cirle-like/DC Metro Red Line-like yellow line which can be connected-across using subway or light rail, if one so chooses), and finally by my reading of (still in progress) a thoroughly informative and confusing and engaging and confusing and assumption-challenging and frustrating book by an MIT prof called Downtown (which has a chapter on height limits and is almost certainly something every serious urban planner-type will want to read) (video here).

by Peter Smith on Nov 22, 2010 6:04 pm • linkreport

@ Peter Smith

How does what you mention have anything to do with this article.

by kk on Nov 22, 2010 7:42 pm • linkreport

How does what you mention have anything to do with this article.

shorter me: we should think harder about circular transit lines, as opposed to the jagged, non-circular one you see proposed in the picture above.

by Peter Smith on Nov 22, 2010 8:56 pm • linkreport

@Peter... In a perfect world a smoother line would be ideal. However, the road network East of the River prevents that. The proposed line would connect the major commercial areas in Ward 7.

by Veronica O. Davis (Miss V) on Nov 22, 2010 9:08 pm • linkreport

I have a fear that Wards 7 and 8 will become like the rest of DC, TOO FAST PACED. One thing I liked about this part of DC is that is still kinda slow paced and feels more southern and sticks to its roots. I'd hate to see anything happen in Deanwood, its has a lot of history to it and it has this "mayberry" feeling to it.

by Shadow Inc. on Dec 3, 2010 10:40 am • linkreport

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