Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What will closing Metro early do to the Penn Quarter night scene?

Closing 3 hours early on weekends = an extra day of track work each week.
By now you have probably heard that there is a proposal floating around to end weekend metro rail service at midnight instead of 3:00 a.m.

This would help address WMATA's $72.5 million budget shortfall by saving $5 million each year, and provide another day for track-work each week, making the metro more reliable during day-time hours and reducing maintenance on holidays and weekends.

But what will that mean for Penn Quarter?  We have every metro line within walking distance, making our neighborhood a convenient meeting place.

For one, it will be harder to get a cab -- the ease of which is a luxury we have become accustomed to.  There will be greater demands for taxis not only in Penn Quarter, but throughout the city.

Second, as the Washington Post reports, we may see more drunk driving.  People who work in Penn Quarter and stay to go out will be more likely to drive their car home, which can only add to our all-to-frequent pedestrian injuries and fatalities.

But it may also mean the vibrancy of our neighborhood will dwindle.

The Restaurant Association told the Washington Examiner that ending metro service early
"will seriously harm, if not kill, established and emerging entertainment districts" like ours.

Exaggeration?  Maybe.  But will metro closing at midnight hurt Penn Quarter?  Certainly most restaurants are already dwindling in crowds by that time; however, Penn Quarter has an ever-increasing night scene with a new bar every couple months.  Will metro's three hours change that?

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