For local transportation geeks, the idea of creating rush-hour bus-only lanes on 16th Street NW between downtown and Mount Pleasant is a no-brainer, but there’s a potentially more game-changing bus improvement downtown: Bus-only lanes on H and I streets NW in the vicinity of the White House, Farragut Square, and McPherson Square. With Pennsylvania Avenue and E Street NW closed to traffic between 15th and 17th streets, H, I and K streets can easily become gridlocked during peak periods, slowing down many of the packed buses that travel in the vicinity. With the addition of bus lanes on H and I—plus a transitway on K Street for buses and the future east-west streetcar line between Union Station and Georgetown—surface transit could improve considerably, especially crosstown service. But the District Department of Transportation, which was actively studying the possibilities for east-west bus lanes, has left that idea in limbo
. In order to build a streetcar to Georgetown through downtown, D.C. officials will inevitably have to figure out how to squeeze the most people—and not necessarily the most individual drivers—through H and I streets first.