New Rosslyn circulator considered

October 15, 2009

Councilmember Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) introduced legislation last week that would allow the Circulator buses, such as the Union Station – Georgetown route to expand into nearby areas like Rosslyn, Virginia.
The bill, introduced on Tuesday, October 6, would amend a section of D.C. Official Code that limits the Circulator to stops inside the District.

If the bill is approved in the Council, the groups that fund the Circulator, including the District Department of Transportation and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, will need to find the money to expand service. According to Jeff Coudriet, spokesman for Evans’s office, the involved groups are cooperating.

Mayor Adrian Fenty, who recently saved the Whitehaven extension of the Georgetown Circulator line, is also supportive of the expansion into Rosslyn, Coudriet said.

If the expansion is approved, the Circulator line will replace the blue Georgetown Metro Connection buses, privately operated by the Georgetown Business Improvement District.

James J. Bracco, the executive director of the Business Improvement District, said the BID always operated Georgetown Metro Connection in the hopes that the line would be taken over.

“The blue bus was eventually going to go bye-bye entirely,” Coudriet said.

Councilmember Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), however, is critical of a possible expansion of the Circulator, according to Coudriet. As chair of the Council’s Public Works and Transportation Committee and a member of the WMATA board, Graham has some control over the passage of Evans’ legislation and any WMATA funding for the expansion.

“We need to make sure we have the money,” Jonathon Kass, Graham’s Deputy Legislative Director, said when asked about Graham’s position on the expansion. Graham said through a spokesperson, Brian DeBose, that he plans to hold a hearing on the issue.

The DDOT, one of the partners in the Circulator line, has not responded to Evans’ bill.

“We are aware of the councilmember’s bill, but it’s not something we are actively planning to do at this time,” John Lisle, a DDOT spokesperson, said. Lisle added that DDOT currently has no plans to expand the Circulator lines.

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