The Gondolas Are Coming … Maybe

Paul_Revere's_rideHoyas, take a deep breath, close your eyes (don’t actually because then you couldn’t read this) and imagine soaring above the crystalline waters of the Potomac River, gently gliding through the sky on a springtime morning.

To your left is the Key Bridge, congested with commuter traffic. On your right spans a breathtaking landscape, the river below you extending gracefully until it vanishes into a lush expanse of Virginia fauna. Behind you is your Georgetown home, featuring the both beloved towers of Healy Hall and the dreaded concrete facade of Lau. In front of you is the thriving metropolis we call Rosslyn.

Open your eyes (though you shouldn’t have ever closed them). Although this might seem like some magical dream you had while passed out in a Regents booth at 3 a.m., it is something that actually might become reality. As previously reported by The Hoya, the Georgetown Business Improvement District has proposed the construction of a gondola system over the Potomac River from Georgetown to Rosslyn as part of its fifteen-year 2028 Plan.

See? It's not a dream!
We told you it’s not a dream.

There’s only one problem: It doesn’t have enough funding … yet.

According to InTheCapital and UrbanTurf, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments recently announced it will not give funding towards a feasibility study necessary for the current gondola project.

The [gondola] project did not enter this round of [COB] funding,” Georgetown BID spokesperson Rachel Cothran said to UrbanTurf reporters.

But don’t get your knickers in a bunch too quickly. Although the gondola project isn’t getting off the ground (get it?) with the COB, it has still received approximately $100,000 in private sector money for the feasibility study. BID officials are confident that despite the setback, the project will continue and the the study will be completed by the end of 2015.

So just kick back and enjoy the summer, Hoyas! Before you know it (read: in about 15 years), you’ll be soaring over the Potomac like Aladdin on a magic carpet!

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See, Jasmine? Gondolas are great!
Photos: Georgetown BID, wifflegif.com, en.wikipedia.org

DCTC: Dulles International Airport

DCTC DULLES

Earlier today, we showed you how to get to Union Station and Reagan National Airport in preparation for spring break at the end of this week!

By popular demand, here is a guide to getting to Dulles International Airport as well!

Route 1 Take/book a SuperShuttle! SuperShuttle is a shared van-ride system that can take you from the front gates right to Dulles. You need to make an online reservation to get one!

Cost: The fare is around $29 to Georgetown main campus for the first passenger in your group and $8 for each additional passenger (up to 5 passengers), excluding tip (check their website for price updates).

Route 2 MetroBus 5A is an express bus going from Rosslyn Metro Station to Dulles. You can take the GUTS bus from the McDonough parking lot to the Rosslyn Metro and take the 5A to the airport.

Cost:  The GUTS bus is free, the fare for this MetroBus is $3.

Route 3 A good ol’ taxicab. And to quote the helpful advice of Matt Caulfield from his article directing you to Reagan, “Hint: Sometimes even if you have a small or manageable bag, the drivers will insist on picking it up for you to put it in their trunk. BEWARE that some services add a bag-handling fee to your fare.”

Cost: It’s about a $60 cab ride (sadly) so grab one or two friends to make it more manageable! 

DCTC: Shipping Out to U Street

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Welcome back to the D.C. Travel Companion, where we try to help you find the cheapest way to expand your horizons, get out of the “Georgetown Bubble” and explore D.C.! Coming up this Monday we have a great guide to the sights, activities and food available in the U Street neighborhood, so what better way to kick things off than showing you how to get there!

U Street can be a far walk, so the G2 bus (highlighted here last week) or Metro are two easy and affordable ways to get close to there; in this edition of DCTC, I’ll focus on the Metro route.

If you aren’t on campus, or are going out on the weekends, the G2 MetroBus (to Dupont directly from the front gates) or the Circulator are great options to get you close to U Street. The Circulator runs every 10 minutes and has stops on M St./34th St. and M St./Potomac St to Dupont for only $1 (use SmarTrip or exact change). You can find a full list of stops here.

If you are traveling on any day besides Sunday, the Rosslyn Metro Station or the DuPont Circle Metro Station can get you directly to U Street using the GUTS bus. The GUTS Bus is an easy and free option to get to these Metro stations during the week.

Once you’re at a station:

From The Dupont Metro Station

Cost $1.70 with a SmarTrip, $2.70 with a paper fare card (Unless during rush hour! Check times)

Metro Route Once at the Dupont Circle Metro Station, you have two options to get to U Street. You first catch the Red Line towards Glenmont, and get off at Gallery Place-Chinatown. From there, you will switch lines, and this is where you have two choices. Option 1 is to take the Yellow Line towards Fort Totten and ride it until the U Street Metro Station (est. travel time is 18 minutes). Option 2 is to take the Green Line towards Greenbelt and ride until U Street (est. travel time is 25 minutes). Either check the in-station schedule or the WMATA website to decide which route will best serve you.

From The Rosslyn Metro Station

Cost $2.25 with a SmarTrip, $3.25 with a paper fare card (Unless during rush hour! Check times)

Route 1 There are two ways to get to U Street from Rosslyn.  One route starts by taking the Blue Line towards Largo Town Center.   At L’Enfant Plaza, switch to the Green Line towards Greenbelt, and ride it until the U Street Station (est. travel time is 24 minutes).

Route 2 The second route starts off on the Blue Line towards Francona-Springfield, which you take until the Pentagon Metro Station. There, you switch over to the Yellow Line towards Fort Totten and take it to U Street (est. travel time is 28 minutes). Again, be sure to check out the Metro schedule to see which route will work best while you are traveling. 

Now that you know how to get to U Street, be sure to check back for the guide to U Street so you know what to do once you get there. Happy travelling, Hoyas, and see you back here next week!

Photo: SoulOfAmerica, Blog.NJ, Flickr

DCTC is a weekly post that is designed to help Georgetown students break the bubble by highlighting a different form of public transportation.

Where to Run in D.C.

Last week, The Hoya went for a run. We profiled the unique, almost obsessive, running culture in this city. Everywhere you go, people are running around, enjoying the great natural and architectural beauty this city has to offer. But, running doesn’t come so naturally for everyone. If you want to join in with the trend, we’ve got the tips and routes you need to look like a native when you run around town.

Where to start?

The best place for any new runner to start off is probably The Running Company at 3401 M Street. Inside, you’ll find everything from shoes to clothes and fancy GPS watches and pedometers to track your runs. The Running Company also hosts running events for those who need a group to motivate them to tie up their laces and hit the streets. Once you’ve got the attire, download the Map My Run app for your iPhone or Android. Start an account online and track your workouts. Map My Run has the added bonus of using GPS information to track you around on your cell phone. If you want to make running a social activity, consider joining the Georgetown Running Club or Georgetown Triathlon Team.

Where to go?

Part of the reason for D.C.’s obsessive running culture is the enormous network of running trails around town — many of which are within a couple-minutes run from the Hilltop. Here, we’ll highlight some great routes for anyone. Also, remember that the best part of running in D.C. is the ability to explore the city as much as you want to, without having to spend money. So strap on those running shoes, load Google Maps onto your phone, and explore beyond these options if you’re comfortable with it.

Teddy Roosevelt Island (3.5 miles): This is a great run for anyone just beginning in D.C. It’s quick, relatively flat (which is hard to get when you live at the top of a hill), and simple to navigate. In the map at left, I left from Leo’s through the canal road entrance, then crossed the street and headed across the Key Bridge. Take a left at the sidewalk just before the second stoplight (Lee Highway) and follow the running trail down to the parking lot. From there, take the footbridge across to the island and loop back the same way you came. You can lengthen or shorten the run by taking a longer or shorter loop on the island. There are also plenty of great rocks to rest on while taking in the view of a normally tranquil Potomac.

The Waterfront (4 miles): This is the prototypical D.C. run, and it’s again perfect for people who prefer flat runs. The other best part of running along the waterfront is the near-constant breeze coming up off of the Potomac to cool you off or wipe off your sweat. From the Front Gates, follow O Street to 34th or 33rd (either works) and follow the streets across M and then across the footbridges over the Canal until you hit Water Street or the Georgetown Waterfront Park. From there, it’s fairly simple: Just follow the Potomac until you reach the back of the Lincoln Memorial! To extend the run, keep following the river until you reach the Jefferson (which will make the round trip almost a 10k) or keep following Constitution Avenue to the White House. But don’t forget, the National Mall is a long stretch of green, so pace yourself and don’t get carried away.

Glover Park to Cleveland Park to Rock Creek Park (5.3 miles): This is hands-down my favorite D.C. run. But it’s only for those who like hills (you run up Wisconsin from Georgetown and then up and down a bit more in Cleveland Park). Also, this run illustrates my favorite thing about running in D.C. — you get to see so much within a short amount of time. In this short run, you pass embassies, the Naval Observatory, the National Cathedral and Dupont Circle, but then you escape the hustle and bustle of the city with a 1.3 mile stretch running through the amazingly beautiful Rock Creek Park. To run this route, start from the Front Gates and head to 35th Street. From there, hang a left and follow until you reach Wisconsin, which you follow uphill until Garfield Street. Take a right on Garfield and follow to Cleveland Avenue. Cleveland dead ends at Calvert Street, where you take a left. Then, take a right onto the footpath before you  reach Connecticut Avenue to enter Rock Creek Park. Follow the running path until the P Street bridge, and take P, Dumbarton, O or N back to Georgetown.

Photo credit: Sari Frankel/The Hoya

Catch a Movie on the Mall

In the mood for a movie? Don’t want to shell out 12 bucks for the movie theater? No worries, because Screen on the Green starts tonight!

The annual outdoor film festival runs for the next four weeks, showing classic movies on a 20’ x 40’ screen on the National Mall (between 7th and 12th streets). Tonight’s show will be Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and later in the summer you can catch It Happened One Night, From Here to Eternity and Psycho. The schedule can be found here.

Screen on the Green started back in 1999, and “is dedicated to promoting outdoor movie festivals in the Washington, DC Metropolitan region.” It almost lost its funding in 2009, but Friends of Screen on the Green made sure that the festival stuck around.

If the classic movies at Screen on the Green aren’t up your alley, there are plenty of other outdoor movie festivals around the D.C. area. NoMa Summer Screen has screenings on Wednesday evenings (their theme is End of the World!) and the Capitol Riverfront shows movies on Thursdays. Gateway Park, just over the bridge in Rosslyn, is showing political comedies on Friday nights. All are free and most are just a short walk or metro ride away.

So pack some snacks and a blanket and check out some of D.C.’s outdoor movie festivals!

Photo: Flickr via user riacale

Metro+ Changes: Coming Tomorrow

Tomorrow, Metro riders are about to see the culmination of a project more than a year in the making that aims to improve rush hour service across the Metrorail system. Rush+, as WMATA has termed it, will add trains in overcrowded segments of the Metro system to alleviate crowding, especially on the Orange Line from Downtown D.C. to Northern Virginia through Rosslyn.

To help riders with the upcoming changes, WMATA has put together a handy-dandy website with a clickable Metro map to discuss the upcoming changes to the system. The changes include:

  • Three additional Orange Line trains in each direction during rush hour, but each of the new trains will run between Vienna and Largo Town Center, not New Carrollton (as most Orange Line trains do).
  • Three fewer Blue Line trains in each direction during rush hour, but the three lost trains will be rerouted onto the Yellow Line, so riders from Pentagon south won’t see any decrease in service. Also, keep in mind the three additional Orange Line trains running to Largo. In all, only one station will see a decrease in service — Arlington Cemetery.
  • Three additional Yellow Line trains in each direction during rush hout, but those trains will run from Franconia-Springfield (replacing lost Blue Line service) to Greenbelt.

All in all, Orange Line stations in Northern Virginia and Green/Yellow Line stations in D.C. will see increased rush hour service. Only Arlington Cemetery station will see decreased service, and all other stations retain their normal service during rush hour (including Dupont and Rosslyn).

For Georgetown students, whose stations won’t see any new service, the biggest change to the Metro system will be with updated signage and snazzy new Metro maps (which are already installed in the trains).

First Taxis, Now Metro?

As if increasing cab fares in the District weren’t bad enough, there has been some talk within WMATA (no we’re not the only ones fond of acronyms), of imposing a flat fare on Metro. I’m sure those of you from other cities who are used to flat fares (New York, Boston, St. Louis) may like the idea, but it actually could end up hurting those living in the city.

To put this in perspective, lets say next year if you want to go to a basketball game and decide that cab fares are more expensive and you want to take the metro, it would cost you $1.95 to get to Metro Center from either DuPont Circle or Rosslyn during regular hours ($2.15 at the most during rush hour, but the check WMATA website to see peak hours and off peak hours fares). Using rider statistics and current rates, WMATA estimates that in order for a flat rate to be effective, the fair would have to be $2.90 for all riders, which is higher than in other cities with flat rates (it’s $2.20 in New York). This would make your trip nintey-five cents more expensive for each leg of the trip.

But if ninety-five cents doesn’t seem like that much thank about it this way. If you had gone to all the home games this year and took the metro there and back, it would have been $28.50 more expensive under the flat rate (that’s at least four pitchers at Booey’s on Half Price Wednesday), and its more likely than not that the flat rate would be more expensive.

While it would make figuring out how much to put on your smartcard or metro ticket easier, it just isn’t cost effective for those in the city. It would mean that higher fares for us who don’t have to travel as far would be subsidizing those coming from farther away, and the Metro reaches out pretty far into the more rural areas surrounding D.C. This may end up not even mattering, as its only an idea that WMATA is considering, but next time one of your friends complains about Metro prices, be thankful, because it could be worse.

Photo: thedctraveler.com

 

Georgetown Metro Headaches

by Martin Hussey

As if Georgetown didn’t have enough transportation problems, the main conduit for off-campus transportation, the Rosslyn metro station, will be closed for track work this weekend, according to a WMATA press release. The authority will replace trains with free buses between the closed station, but warns Orange and Blue Line riders that delays could reach 20-30 minutes through the construction zone.

Since a trip to Rosslyn from campus already can take up to 20 minutes, try alternate bus routes, particularly the 38B, 32/36, G2, D6 and Circulator.

For the all-important basketball game against South Florida at 11 a.m. on Saturday morning, special game day buses will run between Dupont Circle and the parking lot in front of McDonough, according to an e-mail sent to season ticket holders Thursday. Careful, though, the south entrance to the Dupont metro stop is also closed due to escalator repair.

According to WMATA, the station closure will allow workers to replace rail fasteners and remove sludge in the tunnel under the Potomac River. The rail closures are all part of a $5 billion project over five years to fix aging rail lines that can lead to problems like cracked rails, which have been found in recent weeks at Rosslyn and Tenleytown, causing delays to commuters.