Thursday, November 15, 2007

DC Circulator to Expand

Two more routes will be added to the D.C. Circulator bus system and are expected to be up and running by the end of 2008. One route will run between the Convention Center and Adams Morgan, and the other will be between Union Station and the new Washington Nationals ballpark on the Southeast waterfront.

For a minute, I wondered why this story was on the Latest News section of the Noma BID website since none of the new routes would go through the New York Ave Metro. But of course, since my life revolves around Eckington, I tend to forget that the Union Station Metro anchors the southern edge of NoMa.

The Convention Center-Adams Morgan route is supposed to replace the Adams Morgan-U Street link, which is more familiar to people as the chronically late or absent 98 Metrobus. I lived in Adams Morgan for 6 years but only rode the 98 bus a handful of times. I never saw the point. It only takes 10 minutes at most to walk from the Woodley Park Metro to 18th & Columbia and about 20 minutes to walk from Adams Morgan to the U Street area. If the bus didn't come within 5 minutes, I started walking.

Since the current 98 bus route only goes as far as 9th and U, it will have to be extended to reach the Convention Center and intersect with the Convention Center-SW Waterfront route. All three routes do intersect at some point so you can transfer to another route.

I'm not sure how they decide these routes. From what the article says, other parts of the district have requested Circulator routes. I'm assuming connecting the Adams Morgan and U Street areas to the Convention Center would allow conference folks to easily access DC's nightlife and restaurants.

But for me, it would make more sense for the this new route to go through Adams Morgan and the U Street area, down to the Shaw metro and then maybe down Florida Ave, brushing close by Eckington pass the New York Ave metro and stopping at Union Station to connect with the planned H Street Trolley. If this trolley doesn't pan out by 2008, which it doesn't look like it's going to, perhaps the Circulator could also go down H Street.

Regardless, it would be nice to see the Circulator connect other parts of the city. I'd like to see it show some love to the NE quadrant, maybe connect unappreciated sights such the Basilica and the National Arboretum to both DC residents and tourists.

Photo by tom.arthur

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