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Monday, March 22, 2010

...and here we have the H Street Shuttle

Considered by some to be an elusive creature, the Shuttle can actually be located with minimal effort by those who consult the schedule ahead of time. The Shuttle is generally friendly, but can be frightened by loud noises. It is generally far less tolerant of outbursts than its cousins the X2 and the 90/92. When you encounter an H Street Shuttle, you should not attempt to employ your Smart Trip card, or otherwise pay for the ride. Instead, you should simply take your seat, and allow the Shuttle to go about its business. It will periodically stop to graze, or drink when it comes across watering holes.

Shown below is a rare photo of a female H Street Shuttle outside of her normal habitat. She has strayed onto Bladensburg Road, possibly in search of a shrimp po-boy, or serving of seafood salad from Sullivan's.
IMG_6308

Where is the shuttle, and when does it stop, are two questions heard not infrequently along the H Street Corridor. For those who haven't ridden the shuttle:
1. it's free
2. it's clean
3. it will take you to Chinatown
4. the schedule is online (if the link is down it's because the Atlas is having a temporary problem with its website)
5. it runs until the Metro closes

54 comments:

The Whole Truth said...

6) its packed on Fridays and Saturdays...starting at Gallery Place heading eastbound. And they won't stop for you if you're seeking to get picked up on the west side of H St NE.

Anonymous said...

Pretty soon it's also going to take us to Michael Lundrums new steak place near the Benning Road Metro station. It should be open soon, and it will be awesomeness in the extreme.

Anonymous said...

I live at 3rd and H and it while it is free and clean, it is a huge pain in the ass to get on. I try to catch it at 5th and H but you have to nearly jump in front of the thing before it will stop to pick you up there. Also, when they do let you on, most of the time the guy is a dick... the passengers are always friendly though.

Chelsea said...

Consulting the schedule ahead of time? No, sir, that will get you nowhere. The one time I took the shuttle, I waited an hour -- after consulting the schedule AND calling the number I somehow managed to find for their operations office (or something). They didn't even know where the dang thing was. They kept telling me "10 more minutes" before finally admitting they were down one bus (apparently there are usually two?). It left me feeling empty and vulnerable. Also, two girls on the bus made fun of me for waiting an hour. HA-RUMPH.

Anonymous said...

Great news! There's a great new alternative to the H Street Shuttle, and you don't have to wait 30 minutes or an hour for it to come! I just discovered it - for those that don't know, it's called the X2. It's bigger, you can usually get a seat, and it runs much more frequently than the shuttle. Yes, the drivers are still usually dicks, sometimes it's hard to get a seat (but not as hard as on the shuttle), and sometimes the passengers are drunk Eastbound (whereas on the shuttle they are usually drunk in the other direction). But for $1.25 (or is it $1.35 now?) it can't be beat, unless by "beat" you are referring to an unpredictable, crowded, tiny little shuttle with a driver talking on his cellphone.

You get what you pay for!

Anonymous said...

who manages the H Street Shuttle?

charles said...

This is a boondoggle. It has nothing to do with one part of town vs. another. The city is spending a lot on the H Street upgrade etc, and we have plenty of other needs in our area. But a publicly funded shuttle with sporadic service that duplicates a bus route is not one of them.

If people don't want to take the bus, and can afford to pay six dollars for a mediocre beer, they can share a taxi to Union Station.

charles said...

ON a brighter note, the Bolt bus and some others are now using the back of the Union Station parking lot as a pickup/dropoff point. This could mean a bit of foot traffic as people from Philly and NYC arrive there.

Anonymous said...

personally, i would like to see a shuttle connecting u street, all the way down florida to the starburst.

the h street shuttle still seems to elusive for me so i take the x2 from chinatown.

Tom A. said...

I think most of us employ the "take whichever one comes first" philosophy. The X2 is never crowded at night- eastbound anyway. But the shuttle is a lot more fun, since everyone is excited to be on it. This is a stark contrast to the wall of dispair that is the X2.

jen said...

U Street Parking and Transportation runs the shuttle.
The H Street Business Cooperative is the non-profit entity that DDOT funds to run it.

If there are problems with the shuttle like rude drivers or those that won't stop at the designated stops please let us know. That is unacceptable and we don't want it to continue. My email is jdemayo@atlasarts.org.

There are only two shuttles, if we had more money we would run more. The shuttle is required to go over the river to connect Ward 7 to H Street. It should take les than half an hour to make a complete trip.

They are only supposed to stop at the designated stops and not pick people up along the route. The manager of the shuttle program for U Street is Ben Tesfaye and he is super responsive to any complaint.

Some of our resident performing companies have been encouraging their audiences to use public transportation, the shuttle or if they must drive, to park at Union Station and cab over. They have even begun suggesting that people park at the Hechinger Mall lot and walk over. Not sure how many have done that...

Meanwhile the businesses are hoping to survey their patrons in the next month or so. We hope to get a better idea of how people are getting here and if they drive- where they are parking.

Remember the shuttle is a temporary measure to help the H Street businesses continue to attract clientele during the Streetscape and will cease to run once the Streetcar is here...Fall of 2012...or so.

dru heisenburg said...

funny post Inked

Annoyed.... said...

Speaking of parking....

Has anyone else been informed that police are now giving people $250 tickets if they park in the Autozone parking lot? I knew they had always ticketed people, but they recently raised the fine from ~$20 to *!ck*!g $250! That seems outrageous on so many different levels. First of all, the property just sits there and isn't used for anything. It would be great if the city (I'm assuming they have some ownership interest in it since they are ticketing people) turned it into a pay lot, or better yet, put it to some other productive use. It is just a giant waste of space right now. I live a few blocks away, and I can tell you that if it were a pay lot, many of the parking issues in the area would immediately be solved.

The worst part about it is that there is a cop who just sits in the parking lot and tickets people when they walk away. The no parking signs are not all that obvious. You'd think that an organization meant to "protect and serve" would tell someone that if they park somewhere that they will be getting a ticket. Instead, the police officer in the lot tries to keep as low of a profile as possible in order to screw over unsuspecting patrons of the businesses on H St. This seems particularly foolish in an area that is trying to grow its reputation among citizens of other neighborhoods.


Sorry to get somewhat off topic, but there had been a couple posts about parking, so I thought I'd raise this issue.

Anonymous said...

Have you tried to walk from the Argonaut to Hechenger Mall lately climbing over barriers, evading busses, trucks, irate drivers.

Build a fricking H st. parking garage already like those sprinkled around Silver Spring and other Md. locations.

ro said...

What's your point annoyed? It's a private lot for Autozone customers. Why is that so difficult to figure out? You park there you run the risk of being ticketed and towed. While I agree that H st. could benefit from a public lot, I wouldn't hold your breath on that one. right now street parking isn't terribly difficult to find if you're willing to walk a couple blocks. And you could always park at the Hechinger lot if you want and walk over. the enforcement there is so lax that a lot of Marylanders use it as a commuter lot on weekdays and take the x2 in the rest of the way. If you're going somewhere on the west end of H then pay to park in the Union Station lot and walk down the bridge.

not on parker said...

Build a fricking H st. parking garage already like those sprinkled around Silver Spring and other Md. locations.

Uh...no. Ride a frickin' bus, bicycle, or train...or walk. The last thing we need to become is Silver Spring.

el jefe said...

I'm with Not on Parker.

There will be more than enough underground parking coming in with the two large apartment/condo buildings at H street connection and the 300 block. No need to increase incentives for people to drive here when there are already transit options.

Shuttle is unpredictable but nice when you can get it. Otherwise, X2 works just fine.

If theatergoers are too genteel for x2 they can get a cab from union station or chinatown.

Everything about autozone is awful. The surface parking lot just adds insult to injury. Just look across the street from there and count the number of businesses which bring jobs and amenities that are located in the same amount of space that is wasted on autozone customers and dead space on the margins of the lot.

Anonymous said...

As someone who lives close to the strip of bars, a parking garage of some type would be a welcome addition to the neighborhood. People who actually live in the neighborhood may then be able to find a parking space. There was talk about turning the AutoZone parking lot in to a pay lot in the evenings... anyone know what happened to that idea?

Anonymous said...

It seems that the H Street Shuttle stops are poorly planned. Rather than dropping you at the businesses between 12th and 13th, it only lets off at Atlas. Not that far of a walk-- but why can't they make several stops?

Tom A. said...

"Annoyed," Are you sure this is happening, (ticketing cars at auto zone) or is this just rumor? The police can't sit on private property and ticket people!

Of course this is DC, so I guess anything can happen!

Anonymous said...

If anyone from Rock n Roll or Red and Black are reading this, you all need to get these guys over to H st. The Article says that they are looking for someplace to play in DC.
http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/politics/blogs/yeas-and-nays/Celebs-and-their-causes_-_Heroes_-star-takes-on-epilepsy-88860132.html

dru heisenburg said...

or you could park in Trinidad and walk 4 blocks. It's like South Park up here- "ample parking day or night people spouting,'Howdy neighbor"

Tom A. said...

el jefe,

Did you know that on the site of the auto zone parking lot was one of the biggest fires during the 1968 riots? The buildings were torn down and eventually turned into the autozone and its parking lot. (Better than nothing at the time I suppose) There was a great pic of what was on that lot taken from the roof across the street. It was in the Post last year.

Tom A. said...

for el jefe:

http://tinyurl.com/yfgpq62

Annoyed.... said...

"Annoyed," Are you sure this is happening, (ticketing cars at auto zone) or is this just rumor? The police can't sit on private property and ticket people!

Of course this is DC, so I guess anything can happen!



I know for a fact this is happening. I watched a police officer issue 3 tickets personally yesterday. This was after he had sat in his squad car, watched someone park in the space and let them walk away without giving them the courtesy of a warning that they were parking in a restricted lot.

When these tickets were only $20, it was one thing. But as I mentioned, these tickets are now $250 for a first offense, and $1000 for a second offense. Where is the proportionality?

Kiki said...

Wow, sorry everyone seems to be having such bad experiences with the shuttle. I take the "whichever comes first approach", but have always had great experiences with the shuttle. The drivers have even pulled over to pick me up when I was stupidly waiting at the wrong place for it. They also seem FAR more willing than the X-2 to wait for you if you are running for the stop.

My one and only complaint is not knowing where the stops are once I am on the thing, but generally a word to the driver gets me let off at the next stop.

I also have to recognize it is a service no one is required to provide and as a resident of H st., very much appreciate. Mama always taught me that if somebody gives me a gift, I shouldn't complain if it's the wrong color.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the U St, fl ave shuttle, there is one, two actually. They say metrobus and are labeled either 90 or 92. They travel from the top of Adams Morgan, down U St, follow Florida to 8th, then down through Barracks Row and over the bridge. It's much better than the chinatown shortbus. It crosses the Green (U St), Red (Ny-Ave), and Orange/Blue (Eastern Mkt) lines. I'm sure the route will be a 'new' discovery for people once it becomes a streetcar line

Anonymous said...

"Regarding the U St, fl ave shuttle, there is one, two actually. They say metrobus and are labeled either 90 or 92."
-----------

what? we have buses in dc?
crazy.

anyway, yeah, no shit magellan. its not like buses are a secret.
but if you had read my suggestion, i said to the starburst. and i know it wont happen, but i would like it to happen.

Anonymous said...

Hey, people will drive and people will park in the neighborhoods. I'm afraid to move my can weekend nights for fear of not finding a space within six blocks of my house to park and it will get worse like Adams Morgan with all the new bars. Tear down AutoZone and make a (albeit ugly) parking garage for the visitors to park. Even weekday evenings getting home at 8PM from work, I sometimes have to park three blocks away from my home.

not on parker said...

Tear down AutoZone and make a (albeit ugly) parking garage for the visitors to park...

It is really disappointing how few of you grasp exactly how incredibly difficult it is to demolish a building in the District...a more sensible approach would be to convert the H Street Storage building (another hideous structure) back into the car garage it once was...

Anonymous said...

I've had a spotty experience. I work in Chinatown and on two occasions after a happy hour had to wait for about 15-25 mins. before getting on the always pleasant X2. On two recent saturday evenings, I walked from my house around 14th and H and made it to 8th & H st before jumping on a metro bus (X2 and 90, respectively). however, i feel like it is really designed for people from outside the 'hood coming in to support the local businesses, so I wasn't that mad but rather concerned. I would think twice before recommending it to friends coming to visit from other DC 'hoods b/c of my experience.

Philly transplant

tiviashe said...

Anon 1:24: Consider it a good workout. Now if you are afraid of walking 3 blocks in this neighborhood then you should probably not be living in da hood.
Also, I am not sure if saying convert this building into that and so and so forth actually has any bearing as it's not you but someone else who owns the building. They run a business be it AutoZone or H-street storage so we can't just preemptively take away their land to do whatever everyone else desires.
Tip of the day: For people posting anonymously, if you are suffering from writing block while coming up with a name, just use the verification word that they force you to type as the name.

LibrariNerd said...

I saw one of these at BWI. I have no idea why.

Anonymous said...

I'd rather wait 30 min. to ride the free, clean shuttle with the courteous driver and all the nice, quiet people that have just taken a shower to go out. As opposed to paying $1.35 to ride the X2 with its drunk, smelly passengers who quite frankly frighten me and the driver that can't even say hello. It's a no brainer. Fortunately the typical X2 rider hasn't figured out they can ride the shuttle yet. Be forewarned though, I did hear a little white girl in a sun dress giggle one time on the shuttle, so it can get kind of rowdy.

inked said...

LibrariNerd,
I theorize that it was headed to Baltimore to forage for food at Dangerously Delicious Pies.

el jefe said...

Thanks for the background Tom A.

I'll concede that after the fires the highest and best use may have been a parking lot.

That's clearly not the case now.

Not Jefe said...

Hey El Jefe, I love your designs. I didn't know you lived in our hood. That makes me like your stuff even more. You should take part in the H street festival next year, and not just the craft bastard one.

Also to stay on point, the shuttle is so erratic that I can't in good conscience recommend it to people.

DCJaded said...

I'm with the people who say we need parking. If you dont already live close to a metro, H street is a pain to get to without paying 10 bucks for a cab. Yes, I could take 2 buses to get there, but taking 45 minutes (and $2.70)to get to H street when its a 5 minute car ride is stupid.

Anonymous said...

It is true, that it is now a $250, then$1000 ticket for parking in the az. Seems a bit steep, but it is posted no parking. My complaint is, the same sign that says no parking also says no working on vehicles. I'ld like to see both enforced. I suppose that might be confusing though. Later, i can tell you all about police overtime/ off duty jobs.
Tonyt
thepug

npm said...

I'm guessing that the DC government has not raised fine to $250/$1000, but rather than Autozone is doing that in its privately owned lot. And DC cops can work second jobs, as TonyT (4:02) mentioned, so I'd guess the cop's been hired by Autozone.

Must be more lucrative to slap a few $250 fines than to rent out a bunch of $10 spaces.

DCJaded said...

Confused about your comment about a off duty cop writing tickets on provate property. So a DC cop can write official tickets on private property? I know a private landowner has no authority to write a ticket, only to get the car towed... then you have to pay to get it from the towing company.

Annoyed.... said...

I'm guessing that the DC government has not raised fine to $250/$1000, but rather than Autozone is doing that in its privately owned lot. And DC cops can work second jobs, as TonyT (4:02) mentioned, so I'd guess the cop's been hired by Autozone.

That very well may be the case. I don't know anything about the rules regarding police working off-duty jobs, but if they are allowed to do so while wearing their uniforms and utilizing their police cars, that is a whole 'nother can of worms.

Assuming it is true that the tickets being handed are private (i.e. not DC DMV sanctioned), are they enforceable? That is - does AZ have recourse if someone simply ignores the ticket?

Anonymous said...

They are city tix.
tonyt
the pug.

everol said...

I thought I remember seeing somewhere that the city actually owns the parking lot, which is why they are the ones that ticket.

tonysmallframe said...

Not quite related - at 1309-11 H st, it looks like they are either doing work, or taking down the building. The front facade is missing next to the bay window, but looking inside it appears to have new plywood floors and some new joists in.

ro said...

the H St CDC owns the lot

Hillman said...

Didn't Autozone get a ton of taxpayer money way back, as part of the H Street CDC plans in years past?

And is that $250 really the going rate for parking on private property? A neighbor on my block has had to tow people from his private parking space repeatedly, and I think the average ticket is something like $35.

This is something Tommy Wells office really needs to look into, especially if Autozone ever took taxpayer money, and particularly since they allow an llegal car repair service to operate on their property.

Hillman said...

If H St CDC owns the lot then this ticketing needs to stop. The CDC was funded by taxpayer money.

That means that we taxpayers are the owners of that lot.

Autozone has a legit need to have their daytime parking, but the majority of the parking I've seen there is after Autozone has closed.

inked said...

I think H Street CDC leased the lot to Auto Zone. So Auto Zone would control it at all hours. I don't know enough about ticketing practices to explain the $250 tickets. I do know that such tickets are being issued. So, don't park there. It sucks that Auto Zone won't play nice and rent out spots, or actually stop "patrons" from working on cars and illegally dumping oil.

You can actually call them to complain about bad behavior at this location. Here's the number:
1-800-288-6966

Anonymous said...

I was told that the new ticket rate came from city council. That's the impression that the po po are under. There are a lot of liability issues with parking so ican understand az's reluctance to let the lot be used. When the lease is up it might be good for the city to meter the lot with 24 hr meters. Again my main beef is the enforcement of only half the rules.
tonyt
the pug
p.s there's a good fundraiser this sat at the pug.

Anonymous said...

I'm thinking of taking the shuttle but want to make sure it has enough people like me. I don't usually like to take busses. I'm coming from Clarendon and like to have a drink or two and hit some bars on H. Would I feel more comfortable than I do on the buses?

connect four said...

I'm anti-parking garages on H Street. We can get by just fine if the city and our local representatives would get serious about leveraging existing assets like Hechinger. Barracks Row, Dupont, U Street and even Adams Morgan (albeit with one parking garage) are doing fine without massive parking garages. That is because people adjust to the infrastructure available. They take cabs, buses, metro, etc. I know, I know. Metro is available in those places (although it's quite a hike to use metro in Adams Morgan), but Metro goes to Union Station here and the streetcar tracks are being laid for service DDOT has promised to begin by 2012. So just be patient, folks. You're much more likely to see streetcar service on H Street before you see big ugly parking garages anyhow.

Hillman said...

Parking garages don't have to be ugly. Some cities, like Philly and SF, have made very attractive parking garages.

And I think we'd be well-served with a parking garage. The trolley hours are yet to be determined, and are always subject to being limited with little neighborhood input.

And like it or not the trolley simply isn't going to serve the entire area. It basically goes east-west, and leaves the north-south transit options lacking.

A lot of people from the Hill 'proper' are going to want to come to H Street, but the idea of walking ten to fifteen blocks in either direction isn't appealing, particularly given the crime in the area.

And whether we admit it or not many aren't going to hop a succession of buses to go to H Street.

They are instead going to drive to the surrounding streets around H and circle for parking.

An attractively designed parking garage, with retail on the first floor, would be a massive boon to the area.

Anonymous said...

I see the shuttle ALL the time.