Earlier this week, Mayor Muriel Bowser revealed during her State of the District Address that D.C. Circulator rides would remain free in perpetuity, after a month and a half of free service that she said has been popular. And on Wednesday, in announcing her proposed budget for the next fiscal year, Bowser said her administration aims to add Circulator service to Ward 7, largely located east of the Anacostia River and comprising parts of Northeast and Southeast.
D.C.’s 2020 fiscal year begins on September 1, 2019, so any changes are still months away at best. But expanded Circulator service could help connect areas of the city that are not easily accessible via Metro or existing bus routes, and make getting across town less burdensome. While the Circulator already has six routes, most are centered around D.C.’s downtown core.
Bowser told the D.C. Council that the addition of the Ward 7 route would cost $13 million, and that continuing to offer free rider would cost $3.1 million. The District Department of Transportation oversees the Circulator, which some have criticized based on transit equity.
As part of her budget presentation, the mayor also announced that she wants to invest $10 million in Capital Bikeshare, which would permit the regional service to add 18 new stations next fiscal year. Capital Bikeshare recently said it would offer 500 electric bikes throughout its system, which currently includes more than 500 stations and roughly 4,300 shared bikes.
Other transportation investments Bowser has proposed include $65 million for new traffic-safety improvements to roadways, intersections, bike lanes, and trails as pieces of the city’s Vision Zero initiative to eliminate road deaths. $2.8 million would “increase towing services during rush hour and create a new bike lane enforcement team to support safer and more efficient commutes,” the budget presentation shows. This would cover 20 major corridors.
Another headline-grabbing transportation proposal by the mayor: Money to buy and fix up one of D.C.’s most notorious street designs: “Dave Thomas Circle” at Florida and New York avenues NE, so monikered because of the Wendy’s that has long occupied that intersection.
Bowser’s administration is set to formally testify on her $15.5 billion budget proposal to the Council this Friday. Council committees will then spend the next two months marking it up.