Wednesday, July 18, 2007

DC Clubs now have to ponder late night Metro service

Today, Wednesday July 18, 2007, The DC Examiner has a scare cover headline “Metro’s last call on weekends may sound at midnight.” And that’s not the “midnight” of one of Dean Koonz’s novels. This is about the extended service hours on the Metro subway until 3 AM Friday and Saturday nights. Business is brisk then, and no doubt the extended Metro service reduces DUI’s. There are not many 24 hour parking garages near the Dupont Circle area (I think there is one at 19th and L and that is it), and parking on the street in the City is impossible. So businesses, already hit (they claim) by the smoking ban and the forced eminent domain closures near the new Nats stadium and other disruptions, such as water service, now ponder a City that, normally politically “liberal” seems hostile to their kind of business and “entertainment.”

The formal story is by Joe Rogalsky on p 3. “Metro head mulling changes to late-night train service: Buses would replace rail service on weekends between midnight and 3 AM.” The proposal comes from Metro general manager John Catoe. Sure, people will be up for using buses on cold winter nights, he thinks. One reason for the proposal is to make it easier for Metro to do track maintenance.

Compared to ten years ago, the number of delays and slowdowns for single tracking seems much greater these days. Weekend service was extended from 2 AM to 3 AM in 2003.

The article does reassure us that Catoe probably will not make a decision for several months, and the MTA Board could veto it.

The other main story relating to the controversies over clubbing is a proposal to move the strip clubs underground, underneath Dupont Circle Park (where they play chess – like in Washington Square in New York) Even long standing Dupont Circle residents resist it. Yet, in densely populated areas of other cities, it doesn’t seem that these sorts of businesses cause any real problems. Likewise, there has been a proposal to restrict the number of tavern licenses in Adams Morgan (north of the Dupont Circle area) to ten (with a grandfather clause).

For a review of "Five Lines" a 2001 movie set in the Washington DC Metro system (and has a subplot about homophobia in the US Army), visit this link.

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