Photo by ElvertBarnes on Flickr.

Earlier this month the District Department of Transportation released its plan to expand the Circulator. A group of residents has proposed a similar but slightly different route.

Two of the proposed routes would connect Wards 7 and 8 with Barracks Row. These routes could help solve the problem of poor connectivity east of the river.

The proposed Eastern Market-Minnesota Avenue line would connect some of the commercial areas in Ward 7 to destinations west of the river. This line would start at the Minnesota Avenue Metro station, and run down Minnesota Ave to Naylor Road, where it would turn south. After a major stop at the soon-to-come Skyland project, the route turns west onto Good Hope Road to Historic Anacostia. The route would cross the 11th Street Bridge to connect through Barracks Row.

The Ad-Hoc Ward 7 Circulator Group, which was formed in January 2010, proposed a similar route with one major difference: Instead of connecting Minnesota Ave to Skyland via Naylor Road SE, the group proposed using Branch Ave SE and Alabama Ave SE to make that connection.

DDOT’s justification for using Naylor Road is to build ridership for the proposed streetcar that will run almost the entire length of Minnesota Ave. However, the residents think the Branch Ave and Alabama Ave connection is extremely important. For one, it would bring Penn-Branch Shopping Center into the fold, which houses the only Department of Motor Vehicles East of the River.

Second, there are no bus lines that currently service the 0.7-mile stretch of Branch Ave between Pennsylvania and Minnesota Ave. On the other hand, there are currently three WMATA bus routes that service Minnesota Ave SE between Good Hope Road and the Minnesota Ave Metro Station.

The Ad-Hoc Committee also left open the possibility of the route ending at either the Anacostia Metro Station, Barracks Row or the Navy Yard. There was an emphasis that the route should end where it could connect to the Navy-Yard Union Station line.

During the DDOT Circulator Meeting on November 13th at Benning Library, Ward 7 residents also proposed ending the Eastern Market-Minnesota Ave Line at the H Street and Maryland Avenue terminus of the Adams Morgan-H St NE line by using Benning Road NE.

The residents of Ward 7 are hopeful that the dialog between DDOT and the community will remain open as the next phase of planning begins. We believe that Circulator should connection the commercial areas within our ward, in addition, to connecting us to west of the river.


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Veronica O. Davis, PE, has experience in planning transportation, urban areas, civil infrastructure, and communities.  She co-owns Nspiregreen, LLC, an environmental consulting company in DC.  She is also the co-founder of Black Women Bike DC, which strives to increase the number of Black women and girls biking for fun, health, wellness, and transportation.