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Dedicated bus lanes on H and I streets NW aim to speed up rush-hour service, starting June 3

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The city is running a pilot program through September to increase bus ridership

CQ Roll Call/Getty Images

Update, May 29:

D.C. transportation planners are painting the town red, literally. The District Department of Transportation is using red paint to mark off dedicated bus lanes downtown for rush hour during the summer. The lanes are on H and I streets NW, roughly from Pennsylvania Avenue to 13th Street NW. They constitute a pilot program that will last through September 27, 2019.

“In addition to buses, right-turning vehicles, bicycles, charter buses, school buses, and marked taxis would be allowed to use the bus lanes,” the department notes in a release. “Parking is currently restricted on both H and I Streets NW, so no parking will need to be removed as part of this pilot. All alley and driveway access will be maintained.” The routes that will benefit from the dedicated lanes serve about 20 percent of D.C. Metrobus riders, and officials say they will collect data throughout the pilot to inform future transit planning.

Map of downtown dedicated bus lanes
District Department of Transportation

Residents are expressing a mix of hope and skepticism about what the lanes will accomplish.

Original post, May 3:

Washington plans to run up to 70 buses an hour through new dedicated bus lanes along H and I streets as part of a pilot program starting June 3. The program ends September 30.

There are two reasons for the approximately 1.5 miles of lanes, which will service more than a dozen routes through Washington’s downtown. One is that officials want to speed service. So the dedicated bus lanes will be in effect from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. each day—in other words, during rush hour.

The second reason is that D.C. officials are trying to get more people to take the bus in the first place. Faster service is seen as an obvious way to do that.

“We see this as the beginning of really speeding up the implementation of bus lanes and delivering high-quality transit,” Cheryl Cort, policy director for the Coalition for Smarter Growth, told the Post’s Luz Lazo. “We will bring back the riders that we have been losing and we will attract new riders because it is going to become a fast, efficient and inexpensive way to get where you need to go.”

Important note re: the pilot: Other vehicles will be allowed to use the dedicated bus lanes for right turns.