This weekend the Office of Transportation Management tested a new weekend route for the Georgetown University Transportation Shuttles that transport students, faculty, and employees to and from Dupont Circle.
To travel from Georgetown to Dupont Circle using the new route, GUTS buses leave from Darnall Hall, take a left on Reservoir Rd. NW, and circle around the University before taking Canal Rd. to the Whitehurst Freeway. After passing through Washington Circle, buses travel northeast on New Hampshire Ave. to Dupont Circle. This new route is approximately 4.7 miles. The route through Q St. that GUTS buses take during rush hour is approximately 2.1 miles.
In April 2007, Georgetown announced that GUTS buses would not travel on Q St. during their afternoon and evening trips. During those hours, buses drive up Wisconsin Ave. before turning down Massachusetts Ave in a route that takes 3.5 miles. In 2007, the Office of Transportation Management said complaints from neighbors about the effects of GUTS buses shaking the foundations of their homes prompted the change.
Earlier this year, residents who live on streets affected by the Dupont shuttle lobbied through the Advisory Neighborhood Commission to have the buses to be rerouted to Canal Rd and Whitehurst Freeway.
In an interview with the Voice in late January, Ron Lewis, Chair of Georgetown and Burleith’s Advisory Neighborhood Commission, said that the buses shake the foundations of houses and that many neighbors complain to ANC commissioners about the Q St. GUTS route.
Georgetown University’s Commissioner Aaron Golds (COL ’11) had a different perspective on the issue of GUTS routes.
“In my opinion, any possible changes to the GUTS routes must be as safe as possible for all people involved, both on and off campus,” Golds said. “[Changes must also] keep the buses running on an appropriate time schedule to ensure reliable service for those who use the buses to commute to work and utilize any cost-effective measures deemed necessary.”
The University has not specified whether it plans to continue testing the new Dupont Circle route. According to University spokesperson Julie Green Bataille, the University is engaged in a dialogue with the neighbors about GUTS routes.
“We continue to work to find routes which provide the greatest safety on campus and put the least amount of traffic on neighborhood residential streets,” Bataille wrote in an e-mail. “For the first time last weekend, we tried a weekend Dupont route which utilizes the Whitehurst Freeway … We will continue to monitor and make adjustments as necessary and are constantly evaluating the system.”
Some GUSA Senators expressed an interest in the testing of the new Dupont Circle route. Speaker of the GUSA Senate Reggie Greer (COL ’09) said that he hoped that the neighbors and the University could come to a compromise that is acceptable to both sides. Greer also felt that Georgetown could be making unnecessary concessions to residents of the surrounding neighborhoods. GUSA Senator Nick Troiano (COL ’11) echoed
Greer’s position and said GUTS should strive to make use of the fastest routes for students.
Incoming GUSA President Calen Angert (MSB ’11) expressed concern about the Dupont Circle route test and is in the process of setting up a meeting with administrators to discuss route plans. Angert is working to gather support from a broad range of faculty and staff members.
“We would certainly be wary that this is more than a test,” Angert said. “This is certainly something that raises a flag and will be addressed.”
A representative from the Office of Transportation Management could not be reached for comment.