New Facebook group advocates for 14th Street express busline

There's been a desire for an express busline on 14th Street for several years. DDOT studied the need in 2011 and 2012, and recommended that an express line be established. But so far... nothing has been done. There's a new Facebook group set up for residents to work together to push the city to move forward with the plan called the 14th Street Bus Riders Alliance.

"Have you ever wondered why, despite soaring demand of people of all ages and races, 14th Street doesn't have the level of service that other major streets do?" asks Zach Teutsch, ANC 4C Vice Chair. "Why is there no express bus even though WMATA recommended it? We are residents of the 14th Street neighborhoods and we are tired of overcrowded and infrequent buses. We demand better bus service."

If you want to add your voice to the call for an express line on 14th Street and keep up with the latest news on the effort, join the Facebook page created by Commissioner Teutsch.

Related article: What about a 14th Street Express Bus? (August 21, 2015)

Below is the description from the Facebook page on why the line is needed:

WMATA would like to add 14th Street bus express service. ANC 4C and ANC 4A have passed a resolution supporting this action.

The study recommending this express service was conducted in 2011 and 2012. The key recommendation for express service, is discussed in detail, beginning on page 33. More related materials are available here

The 14th Street buses stop very frequently, for some stretches, at every corner. If a rider gets on the 54 at Buchanan Street and get off at I Street, it takes 26 stops. The S9 covers the same distance with 9 stops. Many people who live along 14th Street take these buses for several miles.

The 14th Street, NW line was selected for study because about 14,900 passengers use the line on an average weekday, which is one of the highest levels of ridership in the Metro bus system. That study concluded that Express bus service (called limited-stop bus service in the study) would benefit riders of the line. It would increase route capacity, increase service frequency of key stops, reduce travel times for riders of the 59.

Though this was a good idea in 2012, it’s an exceptionally good idea now. Just in my five blocks of 14th Street there are dozens of new residential units and approximately ten new businesses have opened. The rate of additional housing development is even more staggering in the U Street area and in the downtown area, covered by Ward 2. The vast majority of these new residents don’t own cars and rely on transit and other transportation services. Thousands of new residents would be served by this new express bus as would the existing 15,000 users. We should have major service growth where we have major commercial and residential growth. Given the remarkable increase in those using these lines, not increasing service has the effect of a cut.

Currently, 14th Street buses are often crowded. Express buses on 16th Street are badly oversubscribed, leading to delays, slower-movement, and lessened performance. Many of the 16th street bus users are actually 14th Street residents and go out of their way due to the slow travel speeds of the 14th Street buses, due to frequent stops and lack of express service. Serving these residents would benefit everyone by lessening crowding on 16th and Georgia express buses and also offering more convenient service for 14th Street residents. We should use what we’ve learned on other major North-South routes to improve this one.

More bus service is needed in this corridor due to the planned single tracking and shut downs planned for work on Metrorail system over the next year. MetroExtra service from the Takoma Station on Route 59 could help Red Line riders when there is a total shutdown of this line between NoMa and Fort Totten. All of these riders will be forced to travel on buses downtown or transfer to the Green Line at Fort Totten. This will create an even greater demand.

Residents and businesses would benefit tremendously from faster service, more service, and better service. The city as a whole would benefit from this investment, better employment opportunities for people seeking jobs, less traffic congestion on important north-south streets, and a broadening tax base which can support better services for all District residents (and more money for schools). Adding this service would be relatively inexpensive (about $1.25M). It may even generate more revenue in increased commerce than it costs to fund. These buses are needed for longtime residents and new residents as well. This would be a huge (and cheap) win for DC.

Drew Schneider

Local DC blogger in Petworth, Washington DC.



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