Friday, January 18, 2013

When plans called for the Metro to go from Adams Morgan to Columbia Heights

This came out a few months ago, but it's pretty darn interesting. The City Paper reports on an early plan for the Metro system (around 1965) when there were plans for a Columbia Heights Metro spur rather than the current alignment. That spur would run from Dupont Circle to four different stations: Columbia Rd. and Belmont, Columbia Rd. and 16th, Park Rd. and 14th, and Georgia Ave. and New Hampshire Ave. (Click the map at right for a bigger version.)

Kind of a fun thing to think about. For one, Metro would actually serve Adams Morgan (multiple times) rather than Woodley Park and a long walk. But of course the plan also doesn't include the Green line up to Takoma. And it's a little strange that two stations are basically 3 blocks apart, from Columbia and 16th to Park and 14th.

Interestingly, though, the plans seemed to come out before the 1968 riots which decimated the area. I wonder if that's part of the reason why that portion wasn't built (and indeed, why the Green line was the last part in the District to be finished?) After all, the Columbia Heights and Georgia Ave-Petworth Metros only opened in 1999, finally filling in the gap in the Green line until that point. Trains stopped at U Street and turned around, and at Takoma to and from Greenbelt.

The other interesting part about the piece is that the writer wants to bring the spur back. His idea is to build a link between Columbia Heights to a new station at 18th and Columbia and then to Dupont. It's not a bad idea, but then again those routes are pretty well served by the regular Metrobus and Circulator now. To me, it's tougher to get across town, towards Foggy Bottom and Georgetown, or over to Tenleytown.

Of course, most of these ideas are not likely to happen with so much focus going on the expansion to Dulles Airport. Fun to think about, in any case. What do you think about this spur idea?

UPDATE: Kent at the Park View DC blog has a very thorough history of the Georgia Ave-Petworth Metro, including the original plan for a separate Petworth station farther to the northeast. That was done away with to make it financially possible to build the Green line under 14th Street. There's a lot more good stuff in there.


  1. You'll probably be interested in the history I wrote about the location of the Georgia Avenue-Petworth Metro at the link below as it touches upon some of this.

  2. also make sure you read Zachary Schrag's "The Great Society Subway." lots of solid information in that well-done book.

  3. Also, have you seen the history behind why GA Ave is named GA Ave? Ghosts of DC had a post about it today.


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