National Harbor needs better transit access!
The Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center wants Metro to expand its bus service to National Harbor to accommodate employees who say they are having trouble getting home from work because of limited transportation.
There is one bus route that runs to National Harbor. It began March 23, days before Gaylord’s opening.
“There is a need for additional support for transportation,” Monroe Harrison, director of public affairs for the resort, told members of the Prince George’s County Council during a briefing yesterday on the hotel’s first two months of operation.
Susan Hubbard, a spokeswoman for the county Department of Public Works and Transportation, said a decision to expand hours would be made jointly by the county, Metro and the state Department of Transportation. Ultimately, she said, the state would be responsible for funding.
This is a surprise to no one, of course. This should remind us all of two important transit lessons. First, land-use and locational decisions should take transit access into account. It’s easier to build close to transit than to extend transit to a distant location post hoc. Second, to make transit successful, systems need to do a better job identifying the business interests that benefit from access and incorporating them into the financing of the system.
Many transit systems have done a remarkable job of developing land around their stations and using the proceeds of that development to help operate the system. Elsewhere, in places like Tysons Corner, businesses may be willing to pay special taxes or fees for expansion in expectation of the value transit will bring. But the important thing to remember is that the benefits of transit systems extend beyond the riders themselves, and so it’s unreasonable to expect that the riders should have to shoulder the entire financial burden of building and operating systems.