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Mayor Bowser Launches Bus Lane Pilot Through Downtown DC

Friday, May 31, 2019

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser launched a pilot project to test the impact of high-visibility, bus-only lanes along H and I Streets, NW during peak rush hours. The pilot will begin on Monday, June 3 and continue through September 27.

“When people have affordable, reliable, and safe public transit options – they use them,” said Mayor Bowser. “Establishing dedicated bus lanes on our busiest routes is one way we’re making bus transit in the District more efficient.”

H and I Street NW through downtown is one the District’s busiest bus corridors, with up to 70 buses traveling per hour during the peak rush hours. Currently, buses traveling in the corridor experience very slow travel speeds, as slow as 2.8 mph in some sections.

“This pilot is an important opportunity to demonstrate the critical role of dedicated bus lanes to improve bus service and relieve congestion,” said Metro General Manager/CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld. “We commend Mayor Bowser for her leadership and commitment to creating a strong and reliable bus system that will provide better, more efficient service for our Metrobus customers.”

The lanes will function as dedicated bus lanes during the morning rush hour from 7:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. and the evening rush hour from 4:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. The temporary bus lanes will operate in the right curb lane on H Street between 18th Street and 14th Street NW and along I Street NW between 13th Street NW and 20th Street NW. While the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) has marked with lanes with red paint, pavement markings, and signage, the Department of Public Works, and the Metropolitan Police Department will work together to keep the lanes free of other vehicles during the designated times.

“This pilot will give us important data about how we can make bus travel more reliable and attractive for residents and commuters traveling through downtown every day,” said DDOT Director Jeff Marootian. “Improving bus reliability is a major step in the right direction for meeting our sustainable transportation goals.”

DDOT expects the pilot to improve bus travel speeds and reliability for up to 80,000 District Metrobus riders each day. DDOT will collect data throughout the pilot period to evaluate the performance of the bus lanes.

The bus lanes on H and I Streets, NW are part of a larger effort to improve bus travel speeds and reliability across the District through Bus Priority projects and program areas. DDOT is building dedicated bus lanes on K Street NW, 14th Street NW, and 16th Street NW.