Thursday, April 21, 2011

Testimony - FY12 Budget WMATA


RE: Public Testimony for Fiscal Year 2012 Budget for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority

Monday April 18, 2011

We would like to thank Councilmember Wells and the honorable members of the Committee on Public Works and Transportation for the opportunity to submit testimony on the Fiscal Year 2012 budget for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

The Hillcrest community is comprised of single-family homes, and two large medium-density communities (Fairfax Village and Naylor Gardens). The closest Metro station to our community is Naylor Road in Maryland, which is as far as 1.5-miles for some of our residents. This makes us a bus-dependent community.

At the Ward 7 Transportation Summit and Listening Tour Jim Hamre, Director of Bus Planning, presented a list of bus enhancement recommendations to improve bus service in Ward 7. The Street, Traffic, and Transportation Committee went through those recommendations to identify the lines that serve the Hillcrest Community. We attempted to rank the recommendations in order of priority to the community should the funding become available.

  • 35: New limited stop route between Southern Ave Metro Station and Archives via Naylor Road and Penn Ave SE. 20-min frequency during AM and PM peak WMATA estimates this improvement costs $800K. This would provide our community with an express bus to Capitol Hill and Penn Quarter.
  • 36: Increasing the evening frequency to every 30 minutes for weekdays and weekends. Currently the headways are every 60 minutes. WMATA estimates $700K for the subsidy, but that number also includes improvements to the 32 line.
  • W4: Increase weekday midday frequency to every 22 minutes and increase Saturday frequency to every 25 minutes. This is the only North-South route that connects Wards 7 and 8 on the eastern side. WMATA estimates $500k for this subsidy
  • 39: Limited stop one-way rush hour bus. WMATA recommends increasing rush hour span from two the three hours and improving frequency from 15 minutes to 10 minutes. WMATA estimates $300K span, $500K frequency.
  • V5: Limited stop one-way rush hour bus. Extend route to Metro Center. WMATA estimates $300K for this subsidy.

Even during tight budget times, we believe there are some actions WMATA can implement to improve reliability and safety of the existing systems. For example:

  • Alternative SmartTrip Locations: Many times buses are delayed because people load their SmartTrip cards on the bus. We recommend WMATA consider SmartTrip kiosks in prominent locations in Ward 7, such as grocery stores, CVS, and high transfer bus stops such as L’enfant Square (Minnesota-Benning). This action needs to be coupled with informing people of these locations.
  • Transit Police presence on Bus Lines: Some residents do not feel comfortable riding in the late evening and the hours when school lets out. We recommend for certain lines, such as the W4 to have transit police ride on the buses in the evening. Another option would be partnering with non-profit or community organization that has volunteers willing to ride the buses to improve safety.
  • Communication Strategy (Incident Management): During predictable incidents such as snowstorms and unpredictable one such as accidents, WMATA buses are detoured with little to no communication to residents. As a phased approach, WMATA can start with developing a communication strategy for predictable incidents. During snowstorms, our community members should not be standing at a bus stop waiting for a bus that isn’t coming.
While the City and WMATA face a budget crisis, let’s not forget that many families in Ward 7 are facing that same crisis. As gas prices continue to rise, more people are opting to use public transportation.

Submitted by
Veronica O. Davis
Street, Traffic and Transportation Committee Chair

No comments:

Post a Comment