The time has come for D.C. Council to settle the debate that has taken over local transit politics for weeks — fix K Street, or make buses free. City Cast DC's newest member Susannah Brown is here to break it down.
Mayor Bowser has been a staunch advocate for the K Street Transitway project for years. Back in 2019, the city allocated $122 million to make the downtown area more efficient and safer. The plan includes a car-free bus lane and new tree-lined traffic islands to aid pedestrians. It originally included a two-way protected bike lane that has been killed in the final design.
However, Council Chair Phil Mendelson and Councilmember Charles Allen want to pause the K Street project and put those funds towards fare-free buses.
So the question is, do we make our transit more efficient or do we make it free?
Some argue that the benefits of the K Street Transitway are more immediately evident, citing safety, traffic solutions, and a revitalization of downtown D.C.
Others point out that many people riding the bus tend to have significantly lower incomes than the general population, which makes the free bus proposal a question of equity.
We’ll know more on Tuesday when D.C. Council holds its first vote on the proposed $19.7 billion fiscal 2024 budget.
Have a strong opinion on this transit feud? Let your councilmember know! Find out who your representatives are here.
And, hear more about the opposing sides of this heated debate on the City Cast DC podcast.