A shuttle bus will run between Georgetown and three Metrorail stations every 10 minutes beginning Sept. 4, a move officials hope will alleviate some of the District’s worst traffic and parking woes.
The new service will help, but is no end-all solution, local leaders conceded during a cake-cutting ceremony yesterday. In fact, some used the opportunity to rally for a Metro station in Georgetown.
“I don’t think you should stop until you have a Metro stop,” Rep. James P. Moran, Virginia Democrat, said to loud applause.
He joked that “the streets are exploding anyway,” a reference to the recent four-day blackout caused by underground electrical fires and explosions.
The Potomac Electric Power Co. and city officials have said the system underneath Georgetown is aged, in part, because the neighborhood has no Metro station. Utility companies have used Metro construction as an opportunity to update underground lines while the ground is torn up.
D.C. Council member Jack Evans, Ward 2 Democrat, said Georgetown made a major mistake several decades ago when it didn’t go after its own station. He urged residents to get busy planning future transportation needs.
“I want to remind everyone that if Metro had come to Georgetown, we would celebrate today the 15th anniversary of its opening,” Mr. Evans said.
Each day more than 13,000 workers descend upon Georgetown, home to more than 200 shops, 120 restaurants, seven hotels and a major university and medical center.
There are 3,662 commercial parking spaces in 18 lots, almost all filled to capacity. Parking costs, on average, $12.50 per day and $180 per month.
Within the next two years, two development projects — a Ritz-Carlton Hotel and the Design Center West retail outlet— will add hundreds of new jobs.
Two months ago, planners at Metro proposed a rail line that would extend into Georgetown to ease overcrowding in the next 25 years. In the meantime, the shuttle bus service, called the Georgetown Metro Connection, will connect the neighborhood with the Dupont Circle, Foggy Bottom-GWU and Rosslyn stations.
Shuttles will run from 7 a.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday with hours extended to 2 a.m. on Friday. On Saturday, the hours will be from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. and on Sunday from 8 a.m. to midnight.
One-way fares will cost 50 cents, or 25 cents with a Metrorail transfer.
“It’s going to make our job a lot easier in dealing with the traffic,” said Metropolitan Police Cmdr. Peter Newsham.
The shuttle will run two routes.
The Wisconsin Avenue Line will travel between Georgetown and the Foggy-Bottom-GWU Metro station via Wisconsin Avenue, the Georgetown Waterfront and K Street.
The M Line will run between the Rosslyn Metro station, Georgetown and the Dupont Circle Metro station via Key Bridge, M Street, Pennsylvania Avenue, L Street and New Hampshire Avenue.
This transportation initiative was conceived as a three-year demonstration project, paid for by the federal government, Arlington County and Georgetown and Rosslyn business-development groups.
Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Peter Pulsifer said residents are hoping the shuttle will reduce congestion and get cars off residential streets. Just driving to the local 7-Eleven can be an ordeal, he said.
“In Georgetown, the traffic jams can go on for 24 hours,” he said. “It’s holding us hostage.”