- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Ongoing redevelopment at The Wharf, the District’s newest mixed-use destination, has city leaders and residents there thinking that more transportation options will be needed to handle the anticipated influx of new neighbors and visitors on the Southwest waterfront.

“Our population is going to double by the end of what’s scheduled to be built,” said Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Andrew Listsky. “That’s pretty significant.”

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser addressed the city’s growing population Wednesday during a ribbon-cutting ceremony for work space-sharing firm MakeOffices at The Wharf.

“We are experiencing somewhat of a boom here in Washington,” Miss Bowser told the crowd of entrepreneurs. “This month we are going to celebrate our 700,000th resident.”

“People are moving here and staying here and choosing to open up businesses here because of the great opportunities we have in Washington,” she said. “It is really no more able to be demonstrated than right here at The Wharf.”

With construction cranes scraping its skyline and earth-moving machinery excavating its landscape, the District in recent years has seen some of its long-neglected areas become revitalized spaces that attract fresh dwellers and businesses.

Nowhere is that change more prominent than at The Wharf, which opened in October featuring new restaurants, entertainment venues, office spaces and a boardwalk. Developers have a second phase of construction planned until 2022 for building more offices, hotels, condominiums, and retail space, according to The Wharf DC website.

“They’re adding a significant amount to the tax base,” Mr. Listky, an 18-year ANC member who has lived in Southwest for 40 years, said of the new arrivals.

But all of incoming tourists, residents, workers and shoppers will strain road traffic, parking and public transportation in Southwest, residents say.

“This isn’t the easiest to drive to, so most people never came down here,” said Michael Blank, a 44-year-old co-founder of a hotel investment firm who has lived in the District for 20 years. “You don’t want to increase the traffic that’s already here. There needs to be a greater awareness of the distance between L’Enfant Plaza Metro and this place and the shuttle bus, because most people perceive it as an inaccessible location unless you drive.”

Mr. Litsky noted the area’s three subway stations — L’Enfant Plaza, Waterfront and Navy Yard — that work in tandem with ridesharing apps to move people in and out of the waterfront, but said they lack the combined capacity for the rush of people who will flock to Southwest as the weather warms.

“Our city has to prepare for that,” he said, adding that the ANC is “working with [Metro] to reroute a couple of the bus lines to provide more frequent and better stops to more properly accommodate the development happening here.”

Meanwhile, the District already has added a waterfront bus shuttle between The Wharf and L’Enfant Plaza Metro station to encourage more people traveling to Southwest to ditch their cars.

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