Of the 325 Metrobus routes that criss-cross the D.C. area, only one line offers travelers the opportunity to visit historic Anacostia, Barracks Row, H Street NE, U Street NW, and Adams Morgan—five of the greatest sections of the District—during one $2 trip. Metro’s U Street-Garfield Line travels from the Congress Heights neighborhood east of the Anacostia River to the Duke Ellington Bridge that connects Adams Morgan and Woodley Park. My love of the 90 and 92 bus routes, which have slightly different beginning and end points, is both practical and something a bit more emotional. Not only does the 90 connect my Near Northeast home, which is a mile away from the nearest Metrorail station, to neighborhoods in Southeast and Northwest, but it connects the two sides of a divided city. I use it to visit friends on U Street, to have breakfast at The Diner, to tour Cedar Hill, to have brunch at Belga Cafe, to see a show at the Anacostia Arts Center, and to go to a concert at the Black Cat. It’s an easy way for people disconnected from the city’s rail system get around and for denizens of Northwest to leave their beloved quadrant for other locales. The 90 buses also connect to some of the city’s other great routes, like the X2 and 14th Street Line, giving riders access to Minnesota Avenue, downtown D.C., the National Mall, and Columbia Heights and its northern neighbors.
It’s true that all five of the areas I highlighted above are accessible by Metrorail to varying degrees. But riding a bus, as opposed to an underground train, is an opportunity to learn about your city by seeing parts of it you wouldn’t have otherwise visited. The 90 buses will take you from Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue over the Anacostia River on one of the 11th Street Bridges, up 8th Street past the Marine Barracks to Gallaudet University, down Florida Avenue and U Street by the Reeves Center to 18th Street and Rock Creek Park. Riding the 90 bus gave me a better understanding of how these major neighborhoods are connected to one another and the city at-large. When faced with the question, usually preceded by a sigh, “How are we going to get all the way over there?” the answer is simple: Take the 90, of course.