After pressure from residents and U.S. Rep. Christopher Van Hollen Jr. (D-Md.) of Kensington, the office of Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority reversed a decision to no longer allow shuttle buses to drop off and pick up passengers in the bus parking areas at the Shady Grove Metro station.
The initial decision, which lasted less than 24 hours, raised concerns among residents of a neighboring community who use the station.
On May 30, WMATA officials initially said access to bus lanes would become limited to authorized vehicles in the interest of safety, specifically to ensure that passengers are able to board at authorized bus bays. At Shady Grove, all existing bus bays are in use by Metrobus and RideOn services.
But some residents, and Van Hollen, balked at the decision, saying that it would make it harder for some riders to get to the Shady Grove Metro station.
The King Farm shuttle, a private bus that transports riders from the King Farm neighborhood to the Shady Grove Metro station, relies on dropping off and picking up passengers in the bus parking area.
Had WMATA’s initial proposal stuck, the shuttle would have had to drop off and pick up passengers at an intersection several blocks from the station.
“The major concern is the inconvenience of having to walk two or three blocks to get to the [Metro],” said Frank LaBosco, a King Farm resident with a disability. “What happens if it’s snowy and icy out?”
The King Farm Conservancy, an organization overseeing functions of the King Farm community, worked to encourage WMATA to reverse or amend its decision, said Jeremy Tucker, an attorney with Lerch, Early and Brewer, who represents the conservancy.
Van Hollen’s office also pushed for the reversal on behalf of King Farm residents.
“The initial action was taken by a staffer who was responding to safety concerns with non-Metro buses discharging passengers in the travel lane,” according to a statement WMATA officials issued June 5. “It immediately became apparent that a thoughtful solution was needed, and we are pleased that all parties have been able to come together to best meet the needs of our customers.”