Metro Stop Is Still in Georgetown's Future

The current plan is vague and far in the future, but residents could see a Metro Rail station in Georgetown by 2040.

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority released its latest strategic plan, "Momentum," which describes a $740-million-per-year investment for the projected growth, including possible plans to separate and extend Metro lines. In addition, the report states that $1 billion per year is “necessary to continue to maintain safety and reliability of the system” as well as $500 million more to “maximize the capacity of the system’s core and prepare it for the transit projects that are coming on line in the region.”

The priority is to focus on the immediate needs of the transit system, but Metro is also looking into the future to prepare for the anticipated 30-percent increase in the area's population in the coming years. Metro Rail is the second-busiest rapit transit system in the U.S. after New York City, according to the American Public Transportation Association.

The proposed plan is to separate the Orange and Blue lines, allowing more commuters into the city and alleviating strain on the Metro in Rosslyn. Doing so would connect Rosslyn to Georgetown by way of a tunnel underneath the Potomac River.

Once work on the Silver line -- Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project, connecting Loudoun, Dulles Airport and Tysons Corner to downtown Washington -- is completed, the expected increase in traffic to Rosslyn is the reason for the suggested M Street stop. While the plan specifically mentions the tunnel, it doesn’t necessarily include a station in Georgetown.

Bob Starrels, an advisory neighborhood commissioner for the south of Georgetown where a subway station might be located, cautioned about expecting a Metro stop in the District's oldest neighborhood. “If there were a possibility of a station it’d be orientated more towards Virginia Avenue or U Street most likely," Starrels said. "Never say never, but the chances are slim.”

The idea of a Metro stop in Georgetown has long grabbed the attention of the public. In fact, it is the lack of such a stop that has created an urban myth: At the very inception of Metro Rail, Georgetowners actively campaigned in the 1960s against a Metro station because it would bring in more of the city's black population into the historic village. This is untrue. While there were a few residents who did voice opposition at that time to any additional visitors, especially blacks, most Georgetown businesses simply did not actively lobby the Metro board -- which determined where subway stations would be built. Not filled with office workers like downtown D.C., Georgetown did not have the daytime business traffic to warrant a stop.

To read Metro's "Momentum" plan, click here.

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Sun, 23 Nov 2014 05:58:11 -0500

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