If we want to see the area prosper, we need to let WMATA know they’re failing all of us

After five years of living in the northwest neighborhoods of Adams Morgan and Dupont Circle, I moved to the Southwest area in August 2017 into a new residential building on 4th St., very close to the Waterfront metro station. Although I’m excited to be in a newly developed area that’s experiencing rapid growth and transition, I’ve been greatly disappointed by the lack of service on the green line.

The development and growth surrounding the Navy Yard and Waterfront stations did not happen overnight. The area has been under constant construction and gradual transition over the past five years, so I’m curious to understand WMATA’s reasoning behind running the green line trains eight to 15 minutes apart during peak hours. Five or more years is more than enough time to respond to an area’s growth, but WMATA has failed.

Mayor Muriel Bowser, a former member of WMATA’s Board of Directors, issued a press release commending The Wharf grand opening for bringing a projected $94 million in tax revenue and producing 6,000 new jobs. The Washington Post, The New York Times, and many other local and national outlets covered the billion-dollar development project before, during, and after its Phase One completion.

So, with all the hype surrounding them, did WMATA think people just wouldn’t visit? That residents wouldn’t actually want to move to the area? Was this WMATA decision-makers’ thinking when they cut service to the green line in June of this summer, just four months before the grand opening of one of the largest development projects on the eastern coast of the United States?

I’m no expert in public transit, but I’ve been a passenger long enough to recognize a gross disparity in service between the green line and almost every other line in our metro system. Why is WMATA sending six-car trains on the green line during peak hours? Why are the trains arriving eight or more minutes apart during peak hours? As an alternative, why doesn’t WMATA open more bus lines in the area that help residents get downtown faster?

For all the surveying of passengers, committee meetings, budget discussions, and #Back2Good damage control campaigns, WMATA has proven to be nothing short than the biggest embarrassment of our nation’s capital.

Perhaps it was WMATA’s haphazard decision-making and lack of response to Southwest’s growth that was top-of-mind when Amazon decreased the odds of opening their second headquarters in the city. After all, we’ve proven that although DC businesses and residents can handle the growth, it’s the decision-makers of WMATA who can’t—even with several years’ notice.

By: Caitlin Reagan

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