Bus Relocation Proposal Moves to WMATA Board
Ballpark and Beyond is from Jacqueline Dupree's blog on development in Near Southeast Washington, an area between Capitol Hill and the Anacostia River that is being transformed by the construction of the Nationals baseball stadium.
At last Thursday's meeting of Metro's Planning, Development and Real Estate Committee, a proposal to relocate the buses operating out of the Southeastern Bus Garage at Half and M streets SE to other garages throughout the region was first not supported, then ultimately forwarded to the full WMATA board without a committee recommendation.
Maryland and Virginia representatives on the committee balked at having to shoulder additional operating costs of $1.2 million and $1 million a year, respectively, through 2010 to relocate the buses (the District's share would be about $2 million a year), saying that baseball is a D.C. amenity and that the removal of buses from the garage to "accommodate" baseball is the city's problem.
Board member and D.C. Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), along with Metro General Manager John B. Catoe Jr., emphasized that attempting to continue the garage's operations during baseball games, with the street closures and large numbers of pedestrians, would be impossible to do safely. Catoe also said that the current operation of the garage is not safe "by any stretch of the imagination."
Graham reminded the committee that the construction of a garage at D.C. Village in Southwest is dependent upon the use of proceeds from the sale of the current garage and suggested that a decision not to allow the relocation of the buses scuttles the sale of the garage, an interesting comment coming just as the committee was about to go into executive session to discuss the winner of the garage sale Request for Proposals.
It was also mentioned by John Dittmeier of WMATA that there is no "no-action no-cost" alternative; if the buses don't get relocated, and if it's decided not to build temporary facilities elsewhere until the D.C. Village site is ready, there will be an additional $1 million a year in costs for the rental of the employee parking lot at the Pepco site at Buzzards Point, which apparently the District government has been paying but which will become Metro's responsibility in 2008. And, if the sale of the site were to go forward without relocating the buses, Metro would have to pay a lease-back cost to the new owners to remain there, which Graham indicated he would oppose.
After voting not to support the recommendation to relocate the buses, the committee reconsidered that vote and decided to forward the relocation proposal without a committee recommendation to the full board at its Sept. 27 meeting, when "hopefully we'll have more information," according to one board member.
You can listen to an audiocast of the meeting, and look at the proposal documents, at http:/
WalkingTown Tour in SE
On Sept. 29, the WalkingTown D.C. Fall Edition, presented by Cultural Tourism D.C., will offer 45 free tours in neighborhoods across the city, and one of them is in Near Southeast (or "Capitol Riverfront," as some organizations are rebranding it).
The description of the tour: "Between the Anacostia River and the U.S. Capitol Building, alongside construction of the Nationals' ballpark, a new cityscape is emerging based on a unique nautical history: the Capitol Riverfront. Explore the industrial buildings of the Yards, where the Navy once produced ships' instruments and ammunition. Move on to the Washington Canal and the new environmentally sustainable Canal Park and then visit the historic Pump Station that previously supplied power to the Capitol. End the tour with a boat ride along the river." It will be led by Michael Stevens, executive director of the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District.