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D.C. Transportation Projects Set to Impact Howard Students 

D.C. Metro Bus in Columbia Heights, photo by John Kendrick.

The District of Columbia received about $1.5 million in emergency relief funding for the pedestrian bridge over route 295 as part of the $513.2 million in Emergency Relief for Roads and Bridges Damaged by Natural Disaster and Catastrophic Events, over a year after the pedestrian bridge in the District was damaged due to a truck strike. 

The D.C Department of Transportation (DDOT) received roughly $20 million from the United States Department of Transportation as a result of President Biden’s Infrastructure and Investment Law passed last year.

The numerous amount of funding towards the District aligns with Mayor Muriel Bowser’s D.C Build Back Better Task Force and Secreatary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg’s goals “around making transportation networks safer and more sustainable.” 

Howard students who travel around the District through public transportation systems such as the metro bus and train will likely have their routes impacted by these recent investments. According to a DDOT official, many of the projects they’re working on will directly impact the Howard University community. One of those projects would be the expansion of the bus-only lane off of Georgia Ave Northwest. 

Bus routes 70 and 79 would be impacted by this proposal. Multiple Howard students utilize these routes due to their convenience and proximity to the campus. 

“DDOT has released a draft proposal that would introduce 24-hour bus-only lanes and new pedestrian safety infrastructure between Barry Place to Kansas Avenue (adjacent to a large section of the Howard University campus) as part of the District’s Bus Priority Program,” a DDOT official stated.  

Nearly $10 million, according to a statement released by Mayor Bowser, will go towards purchasing 17 electrical buses. Recent plans show that DDOT is looking to add to the 14 electrical buses they introduced in 2018 by 2023 and 2023 and have an entire fleet of electric buses by 2023. 

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Electric, gas or hybrid, students’ greatest concern with the metro bus seems to be tardiness and crowdedness. Marissa Wheeler, a junior chemical engineering major from Birmingham, Alabama, actively rides the metro, although highlighting that it can be crowded and unreliable at times, the buses get her to places.

“It also can be very hectic with all the people that ride [on the bus] but it gets me from point a to point b,” Wheeler said. 

Kendall Jones, a sophomore international business major from Northern Virginia has been riding the metro bus system for over 10 years, is hoping for more reliable communication. 

“I really like the metro because it’s simple. I definitely think the metro should be more open with the communication of when the buses are coming. It’s sometimes hard to find the bus times and sometimes the buses straight up never come,” Jones said. 

An official from DDOT assures the city that the department is creating new transportation goals and initiatives in order to improve the complaints made by students and everyday metro riders alike. 

“We’re excited about the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for the additional funding it will provide and for its focus on equity, sustainability, safety, and bringing our assets to a state of good repair,” they said. 

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Copy edited by Alana Matthew

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