Tired of watching rush hour buses blow past your stop in the morning, because they are already too full? Or do you wish there was a bus line that ran the ENTIRE length of Rhode Island Avenue, from Mt. Rainier to downtown DC? Then we’ve got good news, but we need YOUR voice!
As you know, any bus heading into DC on Rhode Island Avenue NE from Maryland ends its service at the Rhode Island Metro station, then turns around and heads back to Maryland. And as far too many of you know, the G8 is undependable and overcrowded. As more apartments and residents are added to our communities, we MUST have this new bus line added.
In 2014, WMATA completed a study of the bus lines on Rt. 1 and Rhode Island Avenue. One of the recommendations was for an additional line to be added – the G9. To start with, this would be a Metro Extra route, that would be limited stop and during rush hours only. In time, as ridership increased, the G9 could be transitioned to a regular, 7-day service. But most importantly, it would provide direct service on Rhode Island Avenue, starting at the circle in Mt. Rainier, MD, and ending at Franklin Square in downtown DC. How amazing would this be? Not only would it supplement the existing over-crowded bus lines, but we could actually get BETWEEN neighborhoods on Rhode Island Avenue! Residents and businesses alike will benefit from this proposed route.
And this is where YOU come in.
On Monday, April 25th, the Committee on Finance and Revenue will be hearing testimony from the public about WMATA funding. In order for WMATA to implement any new bus lines, DC must
pay for costs of the set up – new buses, drivers, signage, etc. Implementing the G9 route would cost approximately $1.2 million, but would benefit riders and businesses in three different Wards (5, 1, and 2). Councilmember McDuffie has already asked for the funding for the G9 to be included in the FY2017 budget, but it will not be considered unless the rest of the DC Council and the Mayor’s office hears from YOU.
Here’s how to lend your voice to support the G9 route:
- Sign up to testify at Monday’s hearing. As an individual, you will have 3 minutes to speak, and it couldn’t be more easy. Just tell your story about why adding the G9 bus route to Rhode Island Avenue is important to you.
- Email Sarina Loy (firstname.lastname@example.org), or call 202-724-8058 to sign up to testify.
- Bring 15 copies of your testimony (plus one for you to read from ) to the hearing room – Room 412 of the Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Ave NW.
- Unable to testify in person, or just want to make sure you’ve covered alllllll the bases? In-person testimony is always the most effective route, but here are other ways to have your voice heard!
- Submit written testimony no later than May 13, 2016, to the Committee on Finance and Revenue.
- Contact the members of the Committee on Finance and Revenue directly, and share your testimony with them. The members are: Jack Evans (Ward 2, and Chair of the Committee on Finance and Revenue); Kenyan McDuffie (Ward 5); Vincent Orange (At-Large); David Grosso (At-Large); and Elissa Silverman (At-Large). Remember, the proposed G9 route goes through both Ward 5 and Ward 2.
- Contact Mayor Bowser to let her know you want the G9 route – the Mayor has the final say on the budget!
- Use social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc), to let these city leaders know that you want the G9 route! Bonus – use your smart phone to record a video of you saying why you want the G9 on Rhode Island Avenue, and share it!
Help us spread the word about funding for the G9 – we need all of your voices to get the funding to make this bus line a much-needed reality for Rhode Island Avenue.
Later this spring, kids will have a new indoor playground to visit on RIA Main Street! Kids At Play, an indoor play space, will open at 2312 Rhode Island Ave NE.
Owners Don Cole and Linda Cole McKay are on track to open in mid to late April, and say Kids At Play will have a ball pit, rock climbing wall, and bounce room, plus a dedicated room for tea parties. They’ll have regular play hours, in addition to renting out the space for birthday parties and other special events for kids.
Linda is a former teacher, and one of the directors for the DC Charter School Board. Don was one of the founders of the Washington Charter School Athletic Association, which is now part of the DC Charter School Athletic Association. Don and Linda were instrumental in the founding of the Mary McLeod Bethune Charter School, where Don is still the building manager. They both have family ties to the neighborhood, so they each feel like they are “coming home” to open a business on RIA Main Street.
Their website, www.kidsatplaydc.com will be live soon, so be sure to bookmark it and check back soon for more information.