City Paper is not for tourists
The Issue: The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) has proposed service reductions for the Deanwood Metrorail station, leaving some residents none too pleased. In an effort to balance its budget, WMATA proposed several ways to cut spending and spare riders another fare hike (though some people favor increased fares). One option is to close the Deanwood station—along with the Morgan Boulevard and Cheverly stations in Prince George’s County—on weekends. According to WMATA, ridership at all three locations is less than 1,000 on an average Saturday and 600 on Sunday. This would reduce Metro’s annual cost by $200,000.
“All Hands On Deck!”: ANC 7C04 Commissioner, Sylvia Brown, put forth a battle cry on her blog Deanwoodenizen, urging Deanwood residents to mobilize by submitting written testimony against the proposed weekend shutdown. “This shortsighted move will harm the neighborhood and the neighborhood’s riders who rely on the station to get to jobs in downtown DC and in outer Maryland,” she wrote in a cover letter to WMATA. Brown, who doesn’t believe Deanwood was singled out, offered an alternative. Brown suggests that WMATA move forward with the transit-oriented Deanwood Strategic Development Plan, which would help push up neighborhood ridership on Metro and Metrobus.
Commenter brrgh2 says the weekend closure would place a hardship and restrict travel options. “Closing the station would subject the Deanwood residents to increased crime, longer wait time for transferring to and from the already not on time W4 bus, and the inconvenience of the already over-crowding ridership on the U4, U8 and the Minnesota Station,” says brrgh2.
On The Radar and Still In The Air: WMATA spokeswoman Angela Gates says that Deanwood was on the radar after looking into the limited number of weekend riders. “We looked into what would affect the least number of people,” says Gates. “We take into account everything. The last thing we want to do is cut service.” Metro has held six public hearings during March and this month seeking community input. They have asked the public to complete an online survey offering alternative ideas, which was due in earlier this week. “We’re currently in the process of compiling the information to present to the board of directors. No final decision will be made until April 22,” says Gates.
What’s Next?: Until a final decision is made, Deanwoodizens can carry on with business as usual.
Photo by Bruce Tuten, Creative Commons Attribution License