Plans to bring the D.C. Circulator — the District government’s public bus system managed by the D.C. Department of Transportation — to the Deanwood section of the city has neighborhood leaders upbeat about the possible expanded transit options and its potential to increase economic development.
“The D.C. Circulator coming to Deanwood is one of my top priorities as an advisory neighborhood commissioner,” Anthony Lorenzo Green, who represents single-member district 7C04 said. “For many years, Deanwood was considered this far-off Northeast community in D.C. for many years that was considered living in the country. That’s not the case now but we are in a fight to reimage our area to get more attention from the city.”
Green’s sentiments about Deanwood — bordered by Eastern Avenue to the northeast, Kenilworth Avenue to the northwest, Division Avenue to the southeast and Nannie Helen Burroughs to the south — are prevalent among leaders in Ward 7 as the neighborhood gains in reputation as having lots of affordable housing units. The website, realtor.com, reported single-family houses in Deanwood ranging from $125,000 to $1.1 million while in the District overall a similar house could cost $809,500 according to the website Curbed DC in June 2019. Green said as more people come to Deanwood to live, they want more transit options other than the Metro Station located in the western part of the neighborhood and the Circulator would work as a transportation option.
DDOT has discussed with advisory neighborhood commissions and civic and community groups in Ward 7 about expanding the D.C. Circulator service there for a number of months. The agency has drawn up a plan of seven routes of which three have stops in the Deanwood neighborhood. One route would start at Union Station and end up at the Deanwood Station by going through East Capitol Street and servicing the Stadium-Armory and Benning Road Metro Stations while another proposal starts at the New York Avenue station and head to Deanwood Metro and terminate at the Benning Road station. The third route would start at the Skyland Town Center and move north to the Minnesota Avenue station and terminate at the Deanwood Metro.
Green said he wants more than one D.C. Circulator route coming to Deanwood.
“If we could get two, that would be great,” he said.
The Circulator has been in Ward 7 previously but it didn’t extend to Deanwood. The former route grazed the ward’s southern edge near Skyland and the District closed it due to low ridership in 2018.
Antwan Holmes, who represents 7C07, agrees with Green on Deanwood being a part of a new Circulator route that will help his constituents who sometimes struggle with getting to Metrobuses.
“When it comes to Metrobus, Metro seems to want to close routes that come through Deanwood, like the U4 which starts here and ends up in River Terrace,” Holmes said. “Routes like the U4 are what our residents need. I feel the Circulator can fill those routes that Metro may want to cut. The Circulator could complement the well-used X2, X9 routes.”
While advisory neighborhood commission 7F chairman Tyrell M. Holcomb doesn’t represent Deanwood, some of the proposed routes come into his area. Holcomb embraces the D.C. Circulator expansion, saying it beats the streetcar — a project he never supported but recognizes it as a reality–as a transportation mode.
“The Circulator won’t cause disruption and commotion the way the streetcar will,” he said. “I see the Circulator helping Deanwood and Ward 7 residents quickly get to grocery stores and other places that could bolster the economy of the ward.”
The 2020 Transit Development Plan is <a href=”https://ddot.dc.gov/release/bowser-administration-celebrates-15-years-dc-circulator-bus-service” target=”blank”>expected to recommend implementing service</a> to Ward 7 by 2022, according to a July press release.