RESOLUTION SUPPORTING IMPROVEMENTS TO THE TENLEYTOWN-AU METRORAIL STATION
- In 2013, the Washington Area Metropolitan Transit Authority (“WMATA”), in coordination with the D. C. Department of Transportation (“DDOT”), began a study of the Tenleytown-AU Metrorail Station with the goal of enhancing public space, improving pedestrian and bicycle safety with clearly marked and ADA compliant sidewalks and paths, upgrading the transit user’s waiting areas and amenities, providing adequate space for bus operations and layovers, and improving the alignment of nearby intersections to decrease the number of auto – pedestrian conflicts.
- Over a three-year period, WMATA developed a number of alternative plans. WMATA sought and received input on the alternative plans from Metrobus and Metrorail customers, AU Shuttle and other bus customers, cyclists, pedestrians, local businesses and their employees, local residents, community stakeholders including Tenleytown Main Street and ANC3E.
- In December 2016, WMATA issued the Tenleytown-AU Station Access Study – Phase II (the “Final Study”) which lays out recommendations to deliver:
- Improved pedestrian desire lines;
- Improved intersection geometry;
- Decreased auto – pedestrian conflicts;
- Expanded pedestrian and public spaces;
- Improved bicycle facilities;
- Additional bus shelter and layover areas; and
- Clearly marked and ADA-compliant sidewalks and paths
- The Final Study would deliver overdue upgrades to a heavily-used Metrorail station that opened 33 years ago in 1984 and serves the business and social center of Tenleytown. In addition, the Final Study includes vital safety and convenience improvements that will benefit not only Metrobus users and the 6,000+ daily Metrorail users but also large numbers of students, neighborhood residents, cyclists and vehicles.
- The Final Study is not without drawbacks. Its shortcomings include the omission of a canopy over the Station’s escalator and elevator that would enhance the comfort and convenience of transit users and improve customer safety by keeping escalators stairs from becoming wet and slippery. Another important gap is the failure to include the block of Fort Drive and 40th Streets between Brandywine and Chesapeake Streets as urged by ANC3E’s resolution dated June 14, 2016. Certain design features, including bicycle access, could be improved and, while the Final Study would deliver vital functional improvements, it largely ignores the social and aesthetic aspects of a space that is the crossroads of the community.
- Furthermore, although the project would substantially benefit WMATA, it is not clear to what extent WMATA will share in its cost.
- Nevertheless, it is important to note that WMATA’s Final Study is not the last word. It now falls to DDOT as the project co-sponsor to complete a Development Review, an Environmental Review, and submit the project for inclusion in the District’s Capital Improvement Plan. Over the next few years as the project moves forward, there must be ample opportunity for all stakeholders including ANC3E to work with DDOT and WMATA
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED:
- ANC 3E commends WMATA, DDOT, and the hundreds of transit users, residents, businesses and others whose participation helped shape and improve the Final Study.
- ANC3E supports in principle the important safety and convenience improvements envisioned by the Final Study and looks forward to working with DDOT, WMATA and all stakeholders to complete the project.
- ANC3E urges the project partners to work closely with stakeholders including ANC3E to address concerns, including those noted above, as the project moves forward through the Development Review, Environmental Review and funding process.
- ANC 3E also urges DDOT, WMATA, the Mayor, and the Council to work to achieve an equitable allocation of the project’s cost.
The resolution passed by a vote of 4-0-0 at a properly noticed meeting held on February 9, 2017, at which a quorum was present, with Commissioners Bender, Hall, McHugh, and Quinn in attendance.
by Jonathan Bender