Monday, November 07, 2005

COLUMBIA HEIGHTS: All Ripped Up

IF YOU'VE BEEN UP ON 14TH STREET NW in recent weeks, you know that the area between the Green Line Metrorail station at Irving Street and the Tivoli theatre is one massive construction site. If you're facing north, you'll notice on the left where the massive DCUSA retail complex will rise (currently they're digging what will become the District's largest underground parking garage). As has been noted before, the Target, along with the Giant grocery store and other proposed retail projects will transform the upper 14th Street corridor. (Here are some of my photos of the DCUSA site taken from Hiatt Place and Irving Street, via Flickr.)

AS THE NEIGHBORHOOD'S COMMERCIAL CORE grows, the lack of frequent Metrorail service on the Green Line is likely to become more of an issue. Users of the Columbia Heights and U Street stations can be quite vocal when they have to wait 20 minutes for a train, especially on weekend nights. Some give up and walk. Others know that using Metrobus might be a faster option. Many would like Yellow Line service to continue from its terminal stop at the Mount Vernon Square station on through the Green Line Mid-City corridor. Check out this thread on the Columbia Heights message board from last month. This poster really wants his Yellow Line and predicts a dire future without more frequent rail service to 14th Street and beyond.
I personally don't take Metro on Sunday's for this very reason. Can you imagine the chaos that will exist on the Columbia Heights platform alone once that area has been fully developed? Again this can be corrected by providing extra rail cars.
ALSO, WHAT ABOUT THE GYPSY CABS? If you are a shopper at the Giant supermarket on Park Road, you've probably noticed the introduction of unlicensed cabbies lurking outside to take you home with your groceries. A friend of mine has used the unofficial services of the so-called gypsy cabbies. It's just $5 for front-door service U Street. All you do is negotiate the price prior to entering the cab. But I'm assuming that the District frowns on this type of transportation arrangement.

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