What parts of the Washington region ought to have a Metro station, but don’t?
I have long maintained that our region should be more open to transit modes other than Metrorail. Metro is great, but with its extremely high price tag and with over a hundred miles of it already in service, what our region needs most now is better network coverage. At this time, a billion dollars would be better spent on 10 new streetcar lines than one new suburban Metro extension, for example.
But that having been said, it’s still interesting to look at Metro’s missed opportunities. Considering its contemporaries, Metro is a shockingly well-planned system, but it obviously could have been better. So putting aside questions of maintenance, funding, operations, engineering, etc, and assuming the completion of the Silver Line, here are the top 10 places that deserve Metro stations. They generally fall into two categories: activity centers and dense walkable neighborhoods far from an existing station.
Number 10: Kalorama
Aka the Hinckley Hilton. Although you can get to this spot halfway between Dupont Circle and Woodley Park easily enough, the gap between those stations feels enormous. This is the sort of station that would make Metro more of an urban subway and less of a commuter operation.
Number 9: Cardozo
Same deal as Kalorama, except it’s more important at 14th and Euclid because of the escarpment between Clifton Street and Florida Avenue, and because the neighborhood isn’t as wealthy. There aren’t many places so near the regional core that a strip mall could have survived so long. It wouldn’t have if there were a Metro station nearby.
Number 8: Starburst
H Street will soon have a streetcar, lest the most isolated-from-Metro of the District’s neighborhoods would have to be higher on the list.
Number 7: Brightwood
The Georgia Avenue corridor is the city’s longest, and in some ways its most urban. A station at Brightwood would fill the long gap between Petworth and Silver Spring left by the Green Line’s sudden turn east.
Number 6: Langdon Park
There is a tendency to think of everything in the triangle between North Capitol Street, New York Avenue, and Eastern Avenue, NE as “Brookland” and call it a day. Actually, the Rhode Island Ave corridor is a lot like the Georgia Avenue corridor. A station at Rhode Island and 18th, NE would open up dozens of city blocks to the primary transit network, and drastically improve Rhode Island Ave itself.
Number 5: Old Town Alexandria
The only non-District location in the top 10, this one is kind of a no-brainer. Only the most dedicated pedestrians walk from King Street Metro, and that fake trolley is a little embarrassing, on top of being slow.
Number 4: Adams Morgan
One of the city’s biggest nightlife destinations as well as one of its most walkable neighborhoods. Adams Morgan is a natural. It might be even higher on the list if it weren’t already relatively easy to access from Woodley Park and Columbia Heights.
Number 3: Truxton / Bloomingdale
Too big, too dense, and too close to the core not to have a direct connection.
Number 2: Lincoln Park
The Orange/Blue tunnel serves the southern part of Capitol Hill very well, but leaves the central part uncovered. A station exactly at the midpoint of the Capitol, the Anacostia River, H Street, and the Southeast Freeway - that is, right at Lincoln park - would serve the entire greater Capitol Hill area. It would be the go-to station for at least 100 of the city’s most walkable blocks.
Number 1: Georgetown
Could number one on the list be anything else? Washingtonians have been lamenting the lack of a station in Georgetown for as long as I can remember, and for good reason. A Georgetown station would serve an area as large and walkable as Lincoln Park, and as much of a regional nightlife destination as Adams Morgan. It’s the perfect storm of transit want.
I still think that streetcars, BRT and improvements to
interurban rail would be a better investment at this time than expanding Metro, but if nothing else fun exercises like this can inform us about what gaps in the system need to be filled, via Metrorail or other modes.
Cross-posted at BeyondDC, where it is part of an occasional series of “Top 10” lists concerning DC-area urbanism.