- Hello, Circulator. (Photo: flickr/elvertbarnes)
So what brings Mayor Vince Gray, DDOT director Terry Bellamy, Council Chairman Kwame Brown, Councilmembers Tommy Wells, Marion Barry, and Yvette Alexander all together on the D.C. Circulator at once? Yes, it's another of those transit kickoffs, this one on a bus.
Today the D.C. Circulator debuts a new route — the first ever across the Anacostia River into Southeast D.C. This new path, dubbed the Potomac Avenue Metro — Skyland via Barracks Row D.C. route, will hopefully provide a strong link to the rest of D.C. for the residents of Southeast, who are in dire need of more retail and jobs. The new Circulator route will run every 10 minutes Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. for $1 rides, with all stops listed on the Circulator website.
D.C. officials will kick off the route from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. today and ride the bus beginning at the Good Hope Marketplace shopping center. Expect press photos to emerge before too long of smiling politicians all seated on the bus. And who will be sitting next to whom?
This new route will hopefully create a community more friendly and accessible for people without a car. DDOT and the mayor had announced a partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency in August that would work to green the blocks surrounding the Anacostia Metro station. Officials then noted that the region east of D.C. was "heavily transit-dependent" and that half of the residents of Anacostia didn't own cars. Mayor Gray emphasized the city's desire to bring street cars east of the river at the time.
All this comes on top of the mayor's efforts to trigger growth in places like the Skyland Town Center and a recent emotional panel discussion about the effects gentrification would have east of the river.
The new Circulator route also begins just after residents of Anacostia will be forced to pay full, rather than discounted, rates for Metrobus service due to DDOT budget concerns. A 50-cent discount had been in effect for several bus routes there since 1991. WMATA is seeking public input on all its Metrobus routes in five different town halls happening later this month.