Alexandria, VA

When it comes to Alexandria’s transportation network, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

After intense backlash from everyone from local residents to city officials, the Alexandria Transit Company approved a vision plan that restores some DASH bus transit through Seminary Road — for now.

A new route, N12, will replace the current AT-2 route on Seminary Road and Janneys Lane. The route connects the Mark Center in the West End to the King Street Metro station. According to the new vision plan, the route will run every 30 minutes on weekdays and will be discontinued on weekends.

AT-2 was originally cut from DASH’s vision plan, which favored moving the system towards frequent service in densely populated parts of the city at the cost of routes through more spread-out neighborhoods in the heart of Alexandria. The change was met with outcry from residents along the route who said they rely on the bus to take them to the hospital and down to Old Town.

“The N12 service is a result of input received during the outreach process and is subject to a board-adopted ridership benchmark over the next five years,” the report said.

The city’s website elaborated that DASH will set benchmarks and monitor ridership on the route to evaluate, further down the road, if the route should be maintained.

The overall aim of the new plan is to shift towards high-frequency service with buses running every 15 minutes all day, every day in areas like the West End, Potomac Yard and Old Town. DASH said the new plan will offer useful, frequent transit for 120,000, compared to the 40,000 currently served. The high-frequency lines are also designed to go through neighborhoods with a high concentration of low-income residents and minority residents.

Though approved by the DASH board, the new plan will still need to be adopted by the City Council and WMATA. If adopted, the new route would be scheduled for launch in summer 2021, with phases of the plan being implemented through 2030.

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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