Dear PoP – Southwest Circulator Route and other Changes

Photo by PoPville flickr user fromcaliw/love

“Dear PoP,

You’ve probably already heard, but the Convention Center to Southwest Waterfront Circulator route is in danger of being terminated. A new “Priority Plan” recommends that the route end for two years and a new route be added in 2012. This Circulator route directly connects the hotels in the Convention Center area to Southwest Waterfront and provides a really important economic boost to the Arena Stage, Southwest marina and the few new businesses that have begun opening in the area. The city has invested millions of tax payer dollars in Southwest Waterfront’s revival – ending a key transportation source will seriously undermine the economic growth spurred by that investment.

If readers want to submit their comments in support of maintaining the route, they can do so on Circulator’s website here.”

Hmm, according to the press release below it looks like there will still be SW service.

From a DDOT press release:

On April 1, 2011, the DC Circulator will implement service changes affecting the Smithsonian-National Gallery of Art route, the Union Station-Navy Yard route, and the Convention Center-SW Waterfront route. Public notice of these changes was made on March 2 and a public meeting was held to discuss them on March 17. Details of the changes are as follows:

  • All service will end on the Smithsonian-National Gallery of Art route. Last year, an average of 2,427 passengers per month – fewer than 11 passengers an hour – utilized this route. The District was subsidizing each passenger an average of $11.50 per trip and has decided to end the service because it did not meet ridership or financial targets. (All historic ridership metrics can be found on our performance measures dashboard located at Visitors to the National Mall should consult or the Metro Trip Planner at to discover alternative public transit options in the National Mall area.
  • Savings gained from ending the Smithsonian-National Gallery of Art route will be reinvested to extend hours on the Union Station-Navy Yard route, providing a great travel option for evening activities on Capitol Hill and in the Capitol Riverfront area. Beginning April 1 through September 30, 2011, this route will operate Monday through Friday from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., and on Saturdays from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
  • On Nationals home game days, the Union Station-Navy Yard route will continue to operate later into the evening and on Sundays in order to transport fans to and from baseball games. A 2011 baseball schedule with Circulator service hours can be found at under the “Where We Go” tab.
  • In the Southwest Waterfront area, service will be moved off Water Street, SW and onto Maine Avenue, SW, a very short distance away. Circulator stops will move to Maine Avenue at 7th Street, SW and Maine Avenue at 9th Street, SW. This change is made necessary due to pending construction of the Washington Kastles stadium on Water Street that will narrow traffic lanes.

You can see the full plan in pdf below:


10 Comment

  • What happened? Did they close your Metro station?

  • very few people used that route. They are wisely moving the resources to other areas that people do use. They have provided for the ability to restart the route at a later date.

    The simple fact is that route never made sense, how many peopel really want to go from the convention center or downtown to the waterfront? If they did, why are they taking the circulator instead of the metro? The green line runs from both the convention center and downtown straight to the waterfront. People coming from a hotel downtown to go to the waterfront (and I don’t think there was that many)almost certainly used the metro for that trip.

  • If only there was some other kind of rapid transit that ran between the two, in a straight line, with frequent service…

  • PoP, the route change is a done deal and not too controversial. It just shifts service a block away while there’s construction on Water St.

    Closing the line all together is a separate proposal. I ride that bus frequently (and it is always full in the mornings during rush hour), but I agree that if something needs to be cut, that line is duplicated by other services. Plus, if the Circulator fare is raised to the same as Metro buses, I wouldn’t mind taking the 70/71 or Metro instead.

    I do find it disingenous that they’d consider extending a line across the Anacostia because that area is ‘ripe for development’ and discontinue a line connecting the Wharf site to the O Street Market site–there’s a lot more development a lot further along there!

  • This route always seemed redundant to me anyways. I like the Dupont-Georgetown and Adams Morgan-McPherson Square routes because they connect neighborhoods that otherwise aren’t really accessible on a straight line trip on metro.

  • I agree that this route should be shutdown. Seems to cannibalize Metro as it provides nothing new. Circulator should focus on filling in the gaps of existing service like it does for Woodley-Admo-Mt Pl-Columbia Heights-U Street, not simply providing a cheaper alternative for the same route.

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