Washington, D.C. residents will soon be able to access the recently renovated area of the Southwest Waterfront by way of expanded transportation options, including a southwest shuttle and a water taxi, Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) announced Thursday.
Increased transportation options will allow residents to access the area’s newest development: the recently opened District Wharf. A mile-long stretch of residential and commercial developments along the southwest side of the Potomac River, the District Wharf includes restaurants, bars, office spaces and housing, as well as a recent addition to the public transport network that traverses the city.
The city is also working to make this area more accessible with both public and private supplements to the current public transit network. A privately operated water taxi currently links the Wharf with Georgetown and Alexandria and will add the National Harbor in Maryland to its route in the coming months.
Nearby Metrorail Green and Yellow line stations at L’Enfant Plaza, Metrobus stops, bike share docks and free shuttle buses aim to make traveling to and from Southwest D.C. easier and cheaper, according to the District Wharf’s Transportation guidelines.
“We are proud and eager to celebrate The Wharf’s incredible transformation, so today we are highlighting the exciting new transportation options that will be available to residents and visitors,” Bowser wrote in a Thursday news release. “We know that – particularly during opening week – thousands of people will be visiting The Wharf each day, so we are urging people to learn about the many ways to get to and from The Wharf and to plan ahead.”
This expansion and renovation is consistent with Bowser’s 2015 initiative to use $155 million of foreign investments to create affordable housing and employment opportunities for D.C. residents. The Warf received $100 million of this sum for construction.
The project is responsible for 215 affordable housing units and 1,000 new permanent service jobs, according to an Oct. 10 news release from the mayor’s office.
The Wharf is expected to produce nearly 6,000 permanent jobs and provide $94 million in direct annual tax revenue to the District, with D.C. locals expected to take 51 percent of the jobs. The remaining vacancies will be filled with residents from the broader D.C.-Maryland-Virginia area.
Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Brian Kenner said the development advances the District’s economic growth.
“The development team shared the District’s common goals of making The Wharf a world-class destination as well as an engine of economic opportunity for District residents,” Kenner wrote in an Oct. 12 news release.
Caroline McDonald (SFS ’20), a Maryland native who regularly uses the Metro to go home and see her family, said any expansion of the District’s public transportation network is an asset to the city.
“Driving in D.C. is just impossible, so [the new options] open it up to people from the suburbs as well. People traveling around, people visiting, pretty easy to navigate, unless you get on the wrong line,” McDonald said. “The more you can expand it, the better, because now we don’t travel around as much as Georgetown students, probably not as much as we should.”
Twenty thousand people are expected to attend the kickoff events over four days celebrating the opening of the Wharf, which will include fireworks, free live music and restaurant openings.
“With the opening of The Wharf, we are breathing new life into the Southwest Waterfront and giving residents and visitors an exciting new place to enjoy local D.C.,” Bowser said in a news release on Oct. 12.