Ward 6 District Councilman Charles Allen was named the Second Vice Chair of the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board, an organization that fosters cooperation between the District and its suburbs on transportation issues.
In 2016, Allen will work with incoming Chairman Timothy Lovain of Alexandria and First Vice Chairman Bridget Newton of Rockville to vet planned transportation projects across the region.
The TPB puts together transportation plans that must be approved by the federal government before those plans can be funded with federal money, according to the organization’s website.
Allen, Lovain and Newton were named the TPB officers for 2016 at a board meeting earlier today.
Allen said on Twitter that he is excited for the opportunity to advocate for the transportation needs of District residents in the new position.
Looking forward to it! Hope to represent the District well on this regional work. https://t.co/lrLpwMRrNb
— Charles Allen (@CharlesAllenW6) December 16, 2015
Martin Di Caro, the transportation reporter for WAMU 88.5, delivered some familiar news on The Kojo Nnamdi Show today: the H Street NE streetcar is still not ready to carry passengers, and likely won’t be ready by the end of the year.
The streetcar is set to start a final test phase that will take 21 days, after which D.C. Fire and EMS officials will be able to grant final approval to open to the public, Di Caro reported for WAMU.org.
However, officials have not yet set a date for the final testing phase, called pre-revenue operations, or PRO, will begin. Di Caro said it is very unlikely that the testing and approval from the Fire and EMS Department will finish by the end of the year:
“The fact that only 27 days are left in the year, therefore, shows time is running out in 2015. Moreover, there is no indication as to when oversight officials, led by Fire Captain Kelton Ellerbe, will give the go ahead to start PRO. His office continues to grapple with project managers inside the District Department of Transportation over the approval of documentation for the line’s safety systems.”
In September, Mayor Muriel Bowser said that the streetcar would carry passengers by the end of the year, a promise that will likely not come true.
It’s official: Bridj has rolled into DC.
Starting yesterday — Monday, April 27 — a smarter mass transit system called Bridj quietly introduced its service in the District. Bridj wants to make your commute to work — and everywhere else you go — quicker, more comfortable, and more efficient. Cozier than the Metro or a city bus, and less expensive than a cab, Bridj delivers a fundamentally different way to travel through the city. It takes you and your neighbors from where you are to where you’re going, with a guaranteed seat, Wi-Fi, and no transfers.
This “smarter transit” is possible because Bridj predicts how the city moves. Its algorithms crunch millions of data points to see how residents of DC are traveling, and conforms to meet their needs. Because Bridj is demand-responsive, the best pick-up and drop-off locations are flexible and change to serve those who need a ride.
“As more people ride, the smarter Bridj gets,” says Ryan Kelly, Marketing Manager at Bridj. They’ve been operating in Boston for over a year, and have changed the way thousands of Bostonians get around their city.
How It Works
It’s simple: download the app, tap in your destination and departure time (anywhere from minutes to days in advance), and choose one of the available trip options. Then take a short stroll to your designated pick-up point, which is typically no more than a five-minute walk away. You can track the progress of your Bridj in real time through the app, so you’re never stuck waiting for a ride that might not be coming any time soon.
During the first two weeks of the DC launch, Bridj will operate only in the morning, and for the time being service is being offered between the Dupont Circle and Capitol Hill areas. However, they plan to expand rapidly and if you are outside the initial zone, the service will track trip requests. The more people that sign up and tap in, the more likely service will be expanding to your neighborhood in the future as their algorithm takes this into account.
As an incentive to take a spin with Bridj, the first ten rides are free, using the code 10freefordc. After that, pricing moves to a $5 flat fee. “We’re also exploring a monthly membership option that could make Bridj even more affordable for daily users,” says Kelly.
Bridj, a clever cross between Uber and the city bus, provides a smarter option in the never-ending quest to get across town comfortably and inexpensively.
Private Bus Service Launches Today — A startup that aims to make commuting easier begins operations today in a limited area that includes Capitol Hill. The service will cost $5 per ride but is offering free rides now. [Washington Post]
Pepco Wants to Raze Brick Building on 7th Street SE — Pepco has filed an application to tear down its unused substation at 732 7th St. SE, near the fitness center Biker Barre. It’s not immediately clear what would replace the building near Barracks Row. [Hill Rag]
More Renderings of School Building Development — UrbanTurf has more images of apartments and townhouses in the works at 13th and D streets SE, on the site of the former Buchanan School building. [UrbanTurf]
How the Food Truck Parking Spot Lottery Works — Food truck operators are vying for prime spots at L’Enfant Plaza, in Navy Yard and near Union Station. [WAMU]
The D.C. Department of Transportation can expand transit options for Hill residents by increasing the number of protected bike lanes and adding small shuttle buses, Ward 6 City Councilman Tommy Wells said.
Wells weighed in on the long-term MoveDC transportation plan Mayor Vincent Gray released Tuesday. The councilman praised the extensive 25-year plan but said it didn’t “get into the fine grain of what to do.”
“There’s been a major increase in bicycling in Ward 6, so they need to continue to look at protected bike lanes, like on Pennsylvania Avenue,” he said.
Wells also called for the use of small shuttle buses in underserved parts of the district.
“It’s a way to expand public transportation in areas not necessarily served by buses,” he said.
MoveDC called for the restoration of funding for 22 miles of streetcar tracks. Wells said “bumps in the road” to create the H Street NE streetcar have hurt general will to support the expansion of the network.
“The future of the streetcar is going to require private business leadership to step forward,” he said.
The citywide plan calls for improved traffic signals, additional sidewalks, upgraded pedestrian safety measures, dedicated bus lanes and more.