Transportation Issues in SW

By Adom Cooper, Senior Editor and Board Member

With WMATA cuts and COVID-19 entrenched in our society for a year now, the income gap is more present than ever between those who have cars/parking space and those who do not. Look no further than the developments planned for 100 V Street and 45 Q Street SW have tremendous transportation implications and there are no radical changes proposed to address the increase in traffic, noise, and pollution.

If you have the luxury of a vehicle in SW, the lack of reliable public transportation and potential exposure to COVID-19 has further entrenched your reliance on private transportation. Sure, WMATA is cutting bus and rail service. But with the privilege of a viable alternative, how do these issues affect you? Consider the flip side. If you are a SW resident who does not have the luxury of a vehicle, your transportation options have been drastically cut. When you do use what is available, there is a constant risk of COVID-19. Not everyone cares enough about their fellow humans to wear a mask and some who do continually wear them incorrectly by not covering their noses.

We have one grocery store in SW with Safeway at 4th and M. If you live close enough to walk and are able-bodied, you can manage carrying your groceries by hand or with a cart if you do not have a car. But if you do not live close enough to walk and/or are not able-bodied, your options to avoid potential COVID-19 exposure during transit are slim without a car. Sure, there is a Harris Teeter and a Whole Foods in Navy Yard and a Trader Joe’s at Eastern Market. But none of these places are within walking distance for SW residents, especially to carry groceries. Without a car, you must choose between WMATA rail, the Circulator, rideshare like Uber or Lyft, pay for a delivery service if you can afford it, or have a friend help you if they have options you do not and are willing to share. Every time you leave the house, you are at risk of COVID-19 exposure.

In the colder months, no one wants to think about walking while carrying groceries.

The project proposed for 100 V St will more than double traffic on 4th St and Delaware. The developer's Comprehensive Transportation Review document (click here for the complete package) states 100 V will result in about 1,100 additional cars down 4th and Delaware in just 2 peak traffic hours each day. That is an additional driver every 7 seconds, folks coming in and out of the neighborhood at the expense to those of us who call SW home.

I live on 4th Street and traffic on game days for the Nationals and/or DC United is horrendous. I often wonder about elder residents and the need for urgent medical support. If someone had a heart attack or an accident, the paramedics might not reach them in time simply due to traffic congestion.

The establishment and expansion of a on-demand neighborhood shuttle service should have been part of any new development that comes to SW. If you can offer up to two months in free rent perpetually on a lease asking at least $1800/month, you have capital on deck to directly contribute to a neighborhood resource. I’m talking about the areas where folks need it the most, away from any bus stop or Capital Bikeshare station. Destinations could be the Safeway/Waterfront Station, L’Enfant Plaza, and the Post Office: access to food, connection to other public transit lines, and opportunities to mail/collect packages.