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The Rhode Island Ave NE corridor is on the verge of great things but it is missing one key component to spur it forward: transportation. The Rhode Island Ave segment was added to the 2010 Updated Street Car plan. The problem is that of the three phases that they place the segments into (under construction, in design, and planning phase), the RIA phase is not listed. This could mean that it is not going to be considered for some time to come (I would highly encourage everyone to contact the Council members below and tell them to push RIA for the Street Car plan).
So what are we to do while we wait for the Council to recognize that Rhode Island Ave (Rt 1) is not only one of the most historic roads in America, but also a changing area that has been considered a diamond of the District?
Perhaps a shuttle service?
The H Street Business Cooperative was able to establish, through City funding, to have a free shuttle service along the H Street Corridor to take residents from a metro station on one end to another on the other end. The shuttle service was to help serve the business community and encourage further business growth while the Street Car construction was under way. (note: the shuttle service has ceased operation as of Dec 31, 2010 mainly because it had served its purpose during the heavy construction times of the Street Car project).
A shuttle service from the Rhode Island Metro station development to South Dakota Ave with various (probably 3-4 stops) could potentially be a boon for residents, Metro, the new development at the Metro, and small businesses along RIA. First, it would bring those from the well established neighborhoods on the north side of RIA down to the Rhode Island Station to spend money and patron the retailers there. Second, those same residents could take it to ride the Metro (especially since many people would rather leave their cars at home). Third, it would bring Metro riders and others to frequent stores along Rhode Island Ave.
Having this shuttle service could help spur the redevelopment of Rhode Island Ave. When small business owners see that their potential customers have a means to reach them and that a shuttle drops off patrons throughout the day and evening, they see the potential for business. This could also alleviate parking situations for businesses along RIA.
Although the H Street shuttle was free, there is no reason why a RIA Shuttle couldn’t charge $1 or something minimal to ride. It will be dedicated to the business district areas of RIA and be dedicated, which the bus system is not. Through my discussions with Council member Thomas, he has been encouraging in relation to providing transportation solutions for RIA. But he cannot push this issue alone…he needs all of our help!
So what say you? Is it time that our Council starts giving the so called “diamond of the District” some attention?
Click the “Take Action” button below to send an email to the Mayor, Council, and ANC to let them know that you want a shuttle service for Rhode Island Ave and then comment on this post and let us all know you wrote them! Tell your friends to do the same!