December 4, 2009
For Immediate Release
Lack of Funds Forces Popular H Street Shuttle to Discontinue
The very popular H Street Shuttle which carries arts, food and entertainment patrons to and from trendy H Street NE and the Atlas District is forced to stop operations due to a lack of continued funding from the District. Sunday, December 6, 2009 will be the last shuttle run unless the money required to operate can be secured.
“The shuttle has made a definite impact on our business. We will immediately notice its significance when it's gone,” said Tony Tomelden, owner of one of H Street's busiest establishments, The Pug. “With the holiday season coming up, losing the shuttle will have major repercussions. Without the shuttle we are really isolated,” said Tomelden.
The H Street Shuttle provides free transportation to the newly bustling H Street Corridor by linking the Chinatown and Minnesota Avenue Metros. In anticipation of the trolley system being installed as part of the Great Streets Program, and in an effort to make the corridor easily accessible in a manner other than the often crowded X2 Bus, the shuttle has been a safe and popular mode of transportation not only for patrons to H Street's music, arts, bar and food patrons, but for the many employees of those establishments as well as many residents of the H Street NE neighborhood. Since its inception, ridership has been in the tens of thousands, and trends show that use continues to grow.
Managed by a group of business owners and managers via the H Street Business Cooperative and operated by local business U Street Parking and Transportation, the shuttle program is funded through a grant from the District of Columbia Department of Transportation (DDOT). This grant was designed to provide the funds necessary to operate the service during the Great Streets Program construction period, initially anticipated to be three years. The shuttle has only operated since January 2009. The H Street Business Cooperative was told by District officials in November that DDOT will not continue the funding, and since then, have been working with Ward 6 council offices to find new funding.
The H Street Business Cooperative and Atlas District business, such as the Rock and Roll Hotel, the H Street Country Club, the Atlas Performing Arts Center, SOVA, the Argonaut Tavern, the Martini Lounge, Granville Moore's, The Pug, Sticky Rice and many others, hopes that the discontinuation in service is only temporary, but currently, the source of new funding has not been identified.
“This is really very unfortunate,” Atlas Performing Arts Center Communications Director Jen DeMayo said. “There was a real sense of synergy between the District, the businesses and the H Street community that I hope continues. The shuttle was a real testament to that synergy.”
WHO TO CONTACT:
Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells' office (202-724-8072)& At-Large Councilmember Kwame Brown 202-724-8174. Live in Ward 5 (Harry Thomas 202-724-8028, or 7 (Yvette Alexander 202-724-8068)? Both are touched by the shuttle. You too can contact your Councilmember. Any DC resident can contact the remaining At-Large Councilmembers (David Catania 202-724-7772, Phil Mendelson 202-724-8064, and Michael Brown 202-724-8105.
Chairman Vincent Gray is also fair game for all. 202-724-8032.
Some of those are just phone numbers, and not links because I'm working off a slow internet connection.
+++++++++++++++++++Here are two more names:
Call and email the DDOT Director (Gabe Klein; firstname.lastname@example.org) and Dep. Mayor of DMPED (Valerie Santos; email@example.com).