Last week, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) published a proposal to restructure several bus routes in the city. Some of those changes affect the busy 16th lines, including the S4, S2 and S9 Limited-Stop buses that run through Shepherd Park. Here are the essential changes outlined in the proposal:
Modified Bus Routes on 16th Street
WMATA seeks to eliminate the entire S4 route along the length of 16th Street. This service would be replaced by an expanded S9 service that would stick to 16th Street and no longer make the triangle shaped trip on Alaska and Eastern Avenues. The S2 would continue to serve the Eastern/Alaska Avenue route.
This plan call for eliminating thirteen bus stops along 16th Street NW within Shepherd Park and Colonial Village.
The new S9 service would run more frequently during the weekday peak (every six minutes verses every 10-12 minutes currently). Weekday Off-peak and Saturday Day service would maintain the current level. However, Saturday evening and Sunday service would be less frequent.
WMATA’s stated purpose for the change is to “restructure 16th Street NW corridor service to better serve existing customers and attract new riders to Metrobus.” It also notes that less than 1% (0.9%) of Route S2 and S4 ridership boards at the Route S4 stops on 16th Street north of Alaska Avenue NW
So, in other words, Metro wants to “streamline” service for customers north of Alaska Avenue so that customers to the south can have a more frequent and reliable timetable.
Make Your Voice Heard
You can share your opinions about the proposal in several ways:
- Take the online survey
- Download, print and complete a paper survey
- Attend the Open House and Public Hearing
Metro Headquarters, 600 5th Street NW, Washington, DC on Wednesday, October 2, 2019. The Open House will be from 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. and the Public Hearing will begin at 4:30 p.m. and end at 6:30 p.m. or until the last registered speaker is heard. (Speaker registration is on-site only.)
All feedback must be received by October 7th.
I think that most neighbors in Shepherd Park and Colonial Village will view these changes as a reduction in service. Improving overall bus service along the 16th Street Corridor is a worthy goal, especially with the planned 16th Street bus lines on the horizon. However, when that efficiency comes at your expense, the pill is a little harder to swallow. If this change occurs, there will be a 1.25 mile stretch of 16th Street NW from Aspen Street to Eastern Avenue that are served by only three bus stops. Having senior citizens and high school students negotiate that gap in service seems counterproductive. These are already two very highly car-dependent neighborhoods; this will probably make them more so. Whatever you think, let Metro know by next week.