Petition Launched to “Preserve Local Bus Service on 16th St. NW”

via “Preserve Local Bus Service on 16th St. NW”

The petition from says:

“We oppose the elimination of any bus stops along the route of the S2 and S4, specifically the ones at L, Q, V, Lamont and Newton Sts. NW.

We support having all S2 and S4 trips serve Metro Center and Federal Triangle, arriving and departing from the terminus at 10th St. and Pennsylvania Ave. NW.

16th St. already has an express line, the S9, for riders who prefer faster trips with fewer stops. In addition, the time saving that DDOT projects from eliminating bus stops is minimal (1 to 1.3 minutes), while the inconvenience for older and disabled riders would be significant.

Forcing riders to transfer to make a short trip between downtown and Dupont Circle, Adams Morgan or Mt. Pleasant would also be a major inconvenience, and will reduce ridership, increase the Metro subsidy and put more cars on the road, thus increasing air pollution and traffic congestion.”

68 Comment

  • I don’t know which particular bus stops are being eliminated, but come on–there’s way too many stops on 16th Street. My northbound stop is literally one block past another stop. I’ve seen people walk faster that the bus between the two stops during rush hour.

    • Agreed there are a tad too many stops too close to each other. Also, I wonder if eliminating street parking on 16th (or at least parts of it) would help with traffic in general. It’s a major artery into/out of the city and could alleviate congestion.

    • Yes, that’s exactly the idea. The plan only eliminates two stops, both of which are serviced by other stops a block away or less in both directions. The petition is completely misleading.

      • petworther — do you have a link to the original plan? I didn’t see it but from the blurb above it seems to want to eliminate 5 stops. I agree there are too many stops in a few places but I think the elimination of the V St. stop could be potentially annoying because the U St. stop is already pretty crowded and would get the extra overflow.

        • Same thing would happen if two stops on either side of park road are eliminated. Park rd is already overcrowded, 3x as many people waiting to get on the bus would be a shitshow

        • This would affect the crowding at that specific stop, but not on the bus in general, obviously. It’s probably less costly – in terms of time – to handle more people at a given stop rather than make separate stops to handle the same number of people.

        • The plan calls for eliminating more than “two stops.”It would eliminate the L Street Stop in front of the Hilton; The Q Street Stop in front of DCJCC; both V Street Stops – Northbound and Southbound; the stops at Newton and Lamont. I believe there are 10 total. I can’t figure out how they concluded these were the stops to get rid of. Why not the S Street stops for example? Also, one of the arguments for getting rid of the Fed Triangle buses is that folks could transfer to the D1 Fed. Triangle bus at 16/K. Guess what? The D1 bus is on Metro’s list of proposed discontinued routes. I see many flaws in this proposal but the petition has problems too.

          • HaileUnlikely

            They arrived at these conclusions based on some function of number of boardings/offboardings and proximity to other stops. (Not defending, just explaining)

        • I was mistaken – it’s two stops from Mt. P and a few more in other places along the line with really high density of stops.

          Funny that the petition does not even link the actual plan, and perhaps a little to telling? I’ve seen it before but don’t have the link on hand. It’s not too hard to find with a little googling.

  • This is basically bus NIMBYism. I stopped taking that bus line because it stopped SOOOO much. Often 1 block apart. I actually think this is an issue throughout the city’s Metro bus lines, but particularly bad on 16th.

    Can someone make a counter-petition? ha I’ll sign!

    • HaileUnlikely

      Note that this petition conflates a six different issues: elimination of each of five different bus stops, and ending all of the S2/S4 service at McPherson Square (i.e., having no 16th Street buses continue to Federal Triangle). Personally I’m fine with eliminating the five proposed mid-route stops, but I do not support ending all service to Federal Triangle. I’ve only used the Federal Triangle stop once, but I know that a lot of people get on down there, because there are often already a lot of people on the bus by the time I get on at McPherson Square. And the McPherson Square stop is already a complete clusterf*ck with regular pedestrian traffic, people waiting for buses, and a metric sh!tloads of buses. If the Federal Triangle end of service is eliminated, some people who work down there will abandon the bus altogether (happy now?!), some will walk up to McPherson Square, and some will take another bus up to McPherson Square and transfer there, adding more people to the existing clusterf*ck. This would also make it considerably less convenient to reach the Smithsonian by bus. I’d be fine with having *fewer* 16th Street buses serving Federal Triangle, but I think it would be a mistake to eliminate that whole end of the route altogether.

      • I’m one of many commuters who takes the bus to and from Federal Triangle. This change would be a major pain in the ass, adding a ton of time to my commute for bus transfers, or me having to give more money to Metro to pay for a transfer to the subway. Of course they probably see that as a benefit.

    • this actually came up on a local list serve, and the main opponents were the churches close to the stops. someone actually pointed out that the walk from some of the churches would only be .1 miles further to the new stops. the nimby’s then started talking about gentrification and relying on the “i’ve been here longer” argument, among other incoherent arguments. it’s not surprising that wmata has trouble improving service bc they’re hamstrung by these clowns.

    • The terms “NIMBY” and “NIMBYism” are getting awfully stretched here (and often on PoPville in general). If what someone means is “small-minded focus on one’s local area” (or something along those lines), it would be better to say that.
      It’s particularly confusing in this discussion because the idea with “NIMBY” (Not In My Backyard) is that one _doesn’t_ want something in one’s neighborhood, and in this case the people protesting _do_ want bus service at the specified stops.

      • Stretch your mind, Sir. The principal is the same: A person doesn’t want something that is good for the system applied to their particular part of the system.

  • Not a huge deal- Probably can lose a few stops between U and K streets, and everything will be fine.

  • I don’t agree with elimitating these stops – don’t see the overall benefit. Overcrowding at the remaining stops won’t make the bus traffic move more efficiently.

    • The benefit is having the bus not stop as often, speeding up the trips for all riders.

    • “Overcrowding at the remaining stops won’t make the bus traffic move more efficiently.”
      This is 100% wrong. Buses move more quickly by loading more people at fewer stops.

  • SilverSpringGal

    No, don’t eliminate them! I loved the 16th street S2/S4 lines. If ppl want fewer stops take the S9. But the S2/S4 is perfect to reach whatever intersection you need on a vital thoroughfare that runs directly through the heart of DC and at least 3 different wards. Its not like traffic will suddenly get better with fewer stops.

    • This only eliminates two stops, both of which are serviced by other stops a block away in either direction. These particular stops are also major choke points on 16th street. It will make everything move faster and nobody will walk more than a block extra.

      • Whats your evidence that these four stops are choke points?

      • Also, as others here have noted, there are two issues here: The downtown terminus and the stops along 16th. The stops on 16th are completely superfluous and should definitely go. The current terminus makes a lot of sense, and the petitioners are trying to tie this to their issue (the stops along 16th).
        “Its not like traffic will suddenly get better with fewer stops.” – It definitely will. That’s the whole reason they do a study rather than just making conclusions up out of thin air.

        • For what it’s worth, an update to the petition says:
          “The good news is that DOT has abandoned its scheme to truncate all S2 and S4 trips at H St. NW. But it is not considering restoring off-peak S4 service to Federal Triangle, a cutback made with minimal notice in 2012.”

  • maxwell smart

    Yeah, several of the letter street stops could be axed, although the same could be said on many bus lines. There should be a minimum distance rule put into effect to reduce the amount of essentially redundant stops. I ride one bus that stops on BOTH sides of the intersection – that’s ridiculous and a waste of time.

  • There are way to many buss stops between U Street and Downtown, maybe 1 or 2 people get off at each stop its really annoying. Either have more S9 busses or eliminate stops. Both would be better.

    • On face value, I tend to think so, but then I could walk clear across the city if I had to. Consider many of those people getting on and off–there are so many who use almost every bus line for which an extra block or two to traverse is a significant physical challenge. For those who don’t quite meet the threshold of needing Metro Access (which is also much less convenient that buses), I think it’s important that buses are an accessible and reliable form of transportation.

      • +1. I don’t know anything about these lines, but there should be a way to accomplish both goals during rush hour. Have one bus with limited stops to try and save a few minutes, and another bus with all of the tedious stops for people that cannot walk as well.

        • I think during rush hour 1 bus line that hits all the stops would be fine, if people want to wait extra time instead of walking an extra block to get to the faster routes with less stops, that’s fine. I know theres people who struggle with that but…there really are way to many stops south of U and before K Street.

          • I agree about the too many stops south of U and north of K. But I really think WMATA should get input from the bus drivers about whether there are blind or otherwise disabled people at those stops before they completely ax them. (Mostly because they ax’ed a stop on Wisconsin a couple years ago that was popular, and was also the stop a blind man on my bus every day had been getting off at for over a decade, and it posed some difficult challenges for both the passenger, bus driver, and all the people who didn’t realize it was no longer a stop for many months after it happened…)

          • ” I really think WMATA should get input from the bus drivers about whether there are blind or otherwise disabled people at those stops before they completely ax them”
            There could be blind or disabled people who don’t currently have stops. There could be blind or disabled people who move between stops in the future. There’s no moral argument for privileging the status quo, especially when we are talking about less than 0.1 miles. And even if they wanted to do so, an informal survey of drivers would certainly not be the way to go about it.
            Anyone not able to get to a stop can use MetroAccess. That’s why it exists.

          • MetroAccess is terrifically expensive for WMATA to operate. (I remember seeing the numbers once and was really, really surprised.) I doubt it’s in WMATA’s best financial interest to divert to MetroAccess customers who could/would otherwise use regular Metrobuses.

          • “Anyone not able to get to a stop can use MetroAccess.”
            In addition to textdoc’s point, WMATA actually says on it’s website that if there is a path leading to a stop, WMATA can reevaluate MetroAccess eligibility. So I don’t think that’s the answer petworther. And frankly, while you seem well versed on transit issues, I’d be curious to hear why you feel you know so much about the services they offer and the clients they serve. Additionally, no one said a survey of bus drivers was “informal.” While my remark was off-handed, I think it would be VERY useful for WMATA to incorporate feedback from ALL affected parties before making any changes (not to mention that the initial study was actually by DDOT and not WMATA at ALL. They could have very different opinions, theoretically.)

      • All the Mt. P whiners keep saying “but think about the old people.” If you check out the stops though we’re literally talking about a block maximum, and for most people far less. And that’s on 16th street with wide well paved sidewalks. Anyone who can’t make that extra 50 yard walk probably should be using Metro Access.

        • HaileUnlikely

          I support eliminating several of the mid-route stops, but these folks are every bit as entitled to their opinion as we are to ours. If they were proposing to remove the stop where I get on (close to Silver Spring, nowhere near here) I’d probably exercise my right to voice my opposition, too. I recognize that I’d probably lose – my stop is not used by a large number of people – but you darn well better believe I’d do what I could to defend my interest anyway. It’s Metro’s job to weigh the input and make the call.
          And while I do not know who specifically wrote the petition, I attended every single one of DDOT’s public meetings on the 16th Street Bus Corridor project, and there were two individuals there who consistently opposed the removal of bus stops in Mt. Pleasant, and I can vouch for the fact that they indeed were elderly.

          • ” these folks are every bit as entitled to their opinion as we are to ours.” They are indeed entitled to their opinion, but they are not entitled to have public policy based on their poorly informed opinion.

          • HaileUnlikely

            I don’t think their opinion is “poorly informed,” I think they value different things than you evidently do. And that is ok.

          • To the extent that the petition and statements of many people contain misrepresentations (e.g. connecting downtown terminus changes to 16th street ones), factual inaccuracies (wrong distances between stops), and wrong conclusions (e.g. the claim that fewer stops won’t speed things up) their opinion (or at least the arguments they are making supporting that opinion, are indeed poorly informed.
            Mostly this is because people with a poor sense of community don’t want to walk another block (maximum) to their bus.

          • “Mostly this is because people with a poor sense of community don’t want to walk another block (maximum) to their bus.”
            Ouch. petworther, i have to say that while i value your opinion on this thread you’re pushing it too far….

          • Agreed, FridayGirl. That comment is a stretch.

  • This petition is completely misleading. There is no proposal to eliminate “local bus service”. Currently the S buses stop at every single bock in Mt Pleasant. This clogs traffic and slows down buses considerably. The proposal is to eliminate two stops that are both serviced by other stops within 100 yards. Nobody is going to have to transfer buses if they are willing to walk 100 yards.
    This petition is the height of id!ocy, selfishness, and laziness. The residents of Mt P are forcing slower bus service on the thousands of people who take the bus from further up 16th street to avoid walking less than a block. Please listen to the transportation experts on this and ensure the S buses continue to run reasonably quickly and efficiently.

    • HaileUnlikely

      The petition isn’t written very well and conflates a couple of things. I agree with you regarding the elimination of mid-route stops, however, the elimination of all service south of McPherson Square (no S bus to Federal Triangle – none) is a different story altogether. 10th & Constitution is way more than 100 yards from 14th & I. Some people will walk that. But for somebody who is old, ill, injured, or disabled, that’s a big trek.

      • The petition seems to be led by MtPer who are attempting improve their case by tying their completely unreasonable demands to the much more logical argument about the lower end of the line. Many of the comments on the petition are from people in SS who want the end of the line preserved, but it reality would be better served by eliminating a few stops.

    • Buses absolutely do not stop at every block in my pleasant. And his stops are further than 100 yds

      • The L street stop is serviced by the K st stop (0.05 miles). The Q street stop is serviced by the P st stop (0.07 miles). The V street stop is serviced by the U Street stop (0.1 miles). The Lamont stop is service by the Park Road stop (0.07 miles). Newtown is also serviced by Park (0.1 miles).
        In each case the maximum distance someone would have to walk is a block extra, often far less. The density of stops is simply far too high on these lines.

        • The L street stop regularly has 30+ people in the evening rush hour waiting for a bus. So does the P and the M street stop. Unless the city intends to expand the sidewalk, I’m not sure forcing those people to join the dozens at the other stops is a great idea. But I fully support eliminating a few of the stops once the buses get into neighborhoods- it seems to have worked out eliminating that ridiculous Riggs Place stop.

          • This is the issue. I understand that loading and unloading at less stops is supposed to save time but there are already too many people crowding the sidewalk/bus stops/etc. as it is. It would be a little better if we could form nice neat lines but I don’t think we’re entirely capable of that.

          • Yeah, the U Street bus stop will be a hot mess.

  • I can’t comment on the S lines directly, but I used to ride the 90s line (from 8th St NE to U St) fairly often. I always thought there were too many stops … nearly every block, another stop. It took way too long and I finally just stopped taking the bus.

  • About time some of these stops were removed. Helps us all get where we are going much faster.

    Next up? 14th Street line & dedicated bus routes on GA Ave. please.

  • I think there is a silent majority cheering this proposal to eliminate stops – it is a problem that perpetuates the entire system, slowing down buses and impacting traffic (and increasing pollution using one of the opponents arguments). I live in Columbia Heights and that stretch from Irving to Newton (about 0.3 miles or 1500 feet) has 4 freaking stops. The extra 2 blocks isn’t going to kill anyone. Same issue in the Scott Circle to U St area -constant stopping every 2 blocks. This is why the Circulator is so popular – it’s 5x faster because it isn’t stopping every 300 feet. As someone else pointed out, it is’t uncommon to be able to walk faster due to the bus stops and waiting for the signals to change.

  • Seems like a lot of consensus around eliminating a couple of redundant stops (too close together). I also saw at least on mention that “rush hour” hours should be looked at. perhaps along high volume corridors we extend rush hour to 10am, because as we all know things get really bad at 9;30 and there are still many, many people trying to get into town that that point.

    I would also really like to to see a “bus only” lane installed on 16th for morning rush hour. Even a short designated bus lane from Arkansas Ave to Florida Ave (an alignment with three lanes currently, allowing for one bus/bike and two car lanes) would alleviate a notorious bottleneck along 16th.

  • I’ve been in a hurry and run to an S9 stop, I’ve been injured and *Beyond Grateful* for not having to travel even one more block. Can’t we compromise and just remove the stops from, say, the S1 and S4 route? So the people who really need bus stops closer together still have an option on the S2 but the others can move faster…

  • I work all the way downtown at 9th & E so I’d really be inconvenienced if the end of the line for all the S buses was McPherson Square. As it is now I can’t take the S9 express bus because it doesn’t go all the way downtown to Federal Triangle. I think it’s completely stupid that an express bus doesn’t go all the way downtown. It’s really only convenient for people to work in the K Street area. I remember writing to former Councilmember Graham about it and he said the reason the S9 stopped at McPherson Square was that it allowed the buses to get back uptown quicker. But I still think that the point of a morning express bus should be to take workers all the way downtown to the federal government corridor, not just to the K Street area. Getting off at McPherson Square and walking all the way to Federal Triangle is a hump for a lot of people. So your alternative is the 14th Street buses – which are slow as molasses.

    • What about s9 then switch to another s bus or walk to 11th st and hop on the 63 or 64? Transfers between buses are free.

      • But transfers between buses sometimes take forever. It seems the problem a lot of people are having is that the proposal is supposed to *save* time but it will actually end up costing a lot of people a lot of extra time…

  • We oppose having buses run on time. We support people not having to walk one extra block.

  • I live in Silver Spring and could technically benefit from this, but why not just run a lot more S9s instead of eliminating stops and make everyone happy? That way if people don’t want to walk another block, they don’t have to. Eliminating those stops would at best save a few mins anyway.

    • Because more buses cost money and fewer stops don’t. Have you seen the state WMATA has been in lately? I’m sure additional buses (which also creates additional traffic) isn’t really what they’re going for (although frankly I wouldn’t mind a few extra S1 buses myself…)

  • 16th St Streetcar!!!!

  • S bus stops are (going north):
    16th + Irving; Lamont (0.1mile from Irving); Park (446 feet from Lamont); Newton (0.1 mile from Park); Oak (0.1 mile from Newton).

    So, if we’re eliminating stops that are too close together, getting rid of Park makes more sense than Newton/would more evenly space them.

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