Some Shaw residents have asked Metro to delay by a week the scheduled May 4 opening of three new Green Line stations to avoid a conflict with the annual school patrol parade.
"We are very concerned about this date," said Edward Archie, president of the Green Line Action Association. "We want the celebration to focus on our Shaw station, and we want it to happen one week later."
Archie said the annual parade held on Constitution Avenue will feature many of the local school bands that might otherwise participate in the Metro opening ceremonies. He said he also thinks the celebration tentatively planned for the U Street station should instead be held at his neighborhood Shaw station at Seventh and R streets NW.
Marilyn Dicus, a Metro spokeswoman, said there will be no change in the May 4 date.
"Whenever we are ready to open, we open," she said. "We had hoped to use two of the local bands at the ceremony, but they are tied up with the parade. Delaying a week because a parade is elsewhere in the city is probably not sufficient reason to change an opening date."
Dicus said no decision has been made about the number and location of the opening day ceremonies for the three Green Line stations: Mount Vernon Square-UDC at Seventh and M streets NW, Shaw-Howard University at Seventh and R streets NW and U Street-Cardozo at 12th and U streets NW. However, she said the ceremonies probably will be held at the U Street station.
Archie said he and other business owners have endured five years of mostly impassable streets. Because the Seventh Street corridor was hardest hit by the street disruptions, he said, the businesses there deserved to have the honor of the opening.
Seventh Street between R and T streets opened last weekend after years of either limited access or entire closure.
Leaders of community organizations for the neighborhoods around the other two stations had suggestions that would modify the parade plan and maintain the scheduled opening date.
Jeff Koenreich, co-chairman of the new Cardozo-Shaw U Street Metro Task Force, countered the change-the-date proposal with a suggestion to change the parade route.
"Our watchword is no further delays for Metro," he said. "I propose that the parade come up Seventh Street and across U Street and unite the three stations in one celebration. That would solve everyone's problems."
In the Mount Vernon Square station neighborhood, Paul Aebersold, vice president of the Blagden Alley Association, wondered if both the parade and the Metro opening couldn't take place at different times on the same date.
"I am very pleased to hear so many of my neighbors are planning to celebrate this occasion," he said.
Dicus said such intense interest in a station opening is not unusual.
"Everyone takes ownership of the station in their community," she said, adding that neighbors become customers and also make sure the station is well-maintained.
She said Metro usually plans the ceremony and residents sometimes hold their own celebration in conjunction with the actual opening.
"The official ceremony will go with speeches," she said. "The community may plan a 10K race or a festival with food. Some of them have been quite a feast."