Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Public Testimony for WMATA Hearing 10/11/11

We would like to thank you for the opportunity to submit testimony regarding bus service to 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.

As part of my written submission I’ve included a report from the Ward 7 Transportation Summit & Listening Tour and testimony submitted on behalf of the Hillcrest Community Civic Association in April. Tonight I want to use my time to focus on 3 specific recommendations.

Recommendation #1: Enhancement of the W4
The W4 is a vital bus line East of the River. It is the only North to South route that truly connects neighborhoods in Ward 7 and Ward 8. Based on riding the W4 and observing it as a pedestrian, that bus is always full. I’ve seen standing room only on Sunday afternoons. That W4 needs newer buses and it needs shorter headways.

Per a presentation by Jim Hamre, WMATA recommends increasing weekday midday frequency to every 22 minutes and increase Saturday frequency to every 25 minutes. WMATA estimates $500k for this subsidy. The W4 needs to be a priority for improving service.

Recommendation #2: Inter-Agency Coordination at Bus Stops
Simple tasks of keeping bus stops clean and lights operable can cause the biggest headaches. Regardless if you call WMATA, DPW, or DDOT, and add in NPS if it’s Federal land, it appears one agency believes another agency is responsible. For example, we have been trying to get the light bulbs changed at the bus stop on 38th and Pennsylvania Ave SE for over a year. We would like to see WMATA show some leadership to coordinate with the agencies to ensure there is proper lighting at the bus stops, they remain free of litter, and they have accurate bus information.

Recommendation #3 Proactive Bus Planning
We all know that in 2014 we will likely have three major developments in Wards 7 & 8 come online: Homeland Security at St. Elizabeth’s, Skyland Shopping Center, and Capitol View Walmart. Our road network cannot handle more motor vehicles without impacting our quality of life. Now is the time to plan a limited stop route that connects these three developments.

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

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