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16th Street Morning Rush Hour Bus Service Southbound From Adams Morgan to Increase

By Anthony L. Harvey

Accompanying images can be viewed in the current issue PDF

In a deftly orchestrated sequence of community meetings, negotiations with transportation planners at WMATA, and carefully crafting recommendations for additional rush hour buses traveling south on 16th

Street to the downtown world of work, Dupont Circle ANC commissioners whose single member districts span the 16th Street corridor beginning at U Street, will present a resolution to the full ANC at its March 12th monthly meeting recommending that the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority (WMATA) add two, or eventually three, southbound buses for the S1, S2, and S4 bus lines during the weekly Monday to Friday morning rush hour, starting with the heavily crowded Euclid Street Metro bus stop.

Led by ANC Commissioner Kishan Putta at a January 28th community meeting at the Jewish Community Center and assisted by Commissioner Noah Smith at a second meeting held at the Chastlelton Apartments where the commissioners were joined by more than 30 fellow residents on the bitterly cold night of February 20th, an assembled group heard presentations from James Hamre, Planning Office Director for WMATA’s Office of Bus Services and several of his staff, supported by two experienced supervisory bus operators.

Major problems on this bus line were summarized; they are all well-known and include morning rush hour buses that are typically packed by the time they reach Adams Morgan and proceed through Dupont Circle and typically do not stop for additional passengers, buses are prone to bunching and consequently lengthen travel time for every bus in the bunch, and late bus arrivals throw travel schedules completely out of wack.

The factors laid out by these officials for alleviating these problems were clearly articulated following a lengthy but concise presentation and an impressively informative question and answer period. These factors focused on the costs and conditions of three alternatives, including those of the availability and costs for the number of two or three additional buses for this heavily used segment of 16th Street, and the trade-offs between the bus stop where the additional buses would start, and the time sequence at 15 or 20 minutes for these additional buses.

In recognizing that this problem is affecting Adams Morgan residents as well as those south of U Street, Dupont Circle Commissioner Noah Smith proposed that the starting point for the additional southbound 16th Street morning rush hour buses be in Adams Morgan at Euclid Street.

Commissioner Smith did acknowledge that bus layover spaces for the two additional peak hour buses between 7:45 and 9:15 a.m. being initially proposed would require the use of three on-street residential parking spaces in  Adams Morgan even though the majority of benefit for the augmented bus service would accrue to Dupont Circle residents. Nevertheless, he noted, by starting at Euclid Street three Adams Morgan stops would be serviced before reaching Dupont Circle’s first stop at U Street.

Commissioner Putta joined Smith in this recommendation, as did a roughly established majority of those residents present. Given confidence by Smith and Putta that the full ANC would look favorably on such a resolution at its March 12th meeting, Director Hamre announced that WMATA would immediately begin planning for such augmented service with a projected start date of March 24th. Precise details will be revealed at the March 12th ANC meeting. Further, it was clarified that the recently established southbound S9 express bus will continue as scheduled.