Transitway Delayed for D.C.’s K Street
The intersection of 10th and K Streets, NW in Washington, D.C. Flickr photo by NCinDC.

The intersection of 10th and K Streets, NW in Washington, D.C. Flickr photo by NCinDC.

A recent post by by Joey Katzen of Greater Greater Washington indicates that the project to retrofit Washington, D.C.’s K Street into a transitway has been delayed (again).

This is not good news. The concept of creating dedicated lanes for buses is very appealing, especially since, currently, the Circulator buses and other routes on this stretch operate below 10 miles per hour at commercial speeds. Retrofitting the corridor could be a low-cost, rapidly implemented solution in the heart of the nation’s capital. It would be important to upgrade it as one item on the list of infrastructure projects in the capital region, as part of the nation’s “economic stimulus package” (but this could just be wishful thinking.)

Even though light rail seems to be more appealing to most of the general public and other decision makers, it’s worth nothing that a well-designed and -operated bus system in the corridor is much more cost-effective, and also has the potential to reduce greenhouse gases to a greater degree than electric trains, given rail’s heavy reliance on coal power sources in the D.C. metropolitan area. See, for example, the World Resources Institute’s recent analysis of Maryland’s proposed Purple Line corridor.

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  • Ethan Arpi

    After the inauguration of Obama, I took the 16th Street bus from K Street to Mt. Pleasant. What an experience! Because there was no traffic on the streets, and the bus made few stops, i got home in just 5 minutes. Pretty amazing for a bus ride that can take up to 20 minutes during rush hour. It was just a taste of what things would be like if we put dedicated bus lanes in DC.

  • sasha

    It seems that as the price of gas has dropped again even the politicians are abandoning transit initiatives.

    too bad! it’s very short sighted considering the price of oil will inevitably rise again.