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Posted at 10:56 AM ET, 06/16/2010

U.S. senator to Fenty: Fix Mall traffic

By Washington Post editors
Tourists gather for an open-top bus tour of D.C. (Marvin Joseph/Post)

A U.S. senator from Virginia has had it with tour buses clogging roads around the Mall and he is calling on D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty to do something about it.

Sen. Jim Webb (D) said in a letter sent to Fenty and the National Park Service chief Jonathan Jarvis that traffic around the downtown park had become "unsustainable."

The crush of spring and summer tour buses, which often park illegally, Webb said, is "reducing both the quality of life for area commuters and our visitors' experience."

The senator offered four remedies: crack down on double-parking, expand bus parking and drop-off areas, encourage tourists to use trains, and coordinate tour times to avoid rush hours.

Washington had about 14.8 million U.S. visitors in 2009, generating more than $5.2 billion in spending, according to the tourism bureau Destination D.C.

Read Webb's letter.

-- Mike McPhate

By Washington Post editors  | June 16, 2010; 10:56 AM ET
Categories:  DC, Maryland, Traffic and Transportation, Virginia  | Tags:  congestion, mall, mall traffic, mayor adrian fenty, sen. jim webb, traffic, virginia  
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King Fenty isn't going to do ANYTHING>

Posted by: linroy62 | June 16, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Part of me thinks it's a Senator complaining to complain, but from somebody who works/lives in the area I'm inclined to agree.

That said, want to discourage it? Ticket the heck out of the buses and as often as you can. DC Transit is very good at ticketing DC metro citizens, why not tour buses...? One $35-$50 ticket per hour would certainly reinforce the need for better behavior.

Posted by: KyleWest | June 16, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

I would be happy if the Park Police and MPD would crack down on all those idling tour buses. The bus operators park along Ohio Drive and at Hains Point, and leave their vehicles idling ALL DAY LONG.
I'm happy to have their tourist dollars, but the District and NPS need to address this issue before our air becomes like Beijing's.
Regarding double parking: I work on K Street and the City is constantly ticketing Fed Ex, UPS, and the other delivery vehicles for illegally parking. The tickets get negotiated en masse, and everybody goes about their business. Why not do the same for these out of state operators?

Posted by: bikes-everywhere | June 16, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

The buses make commuting a pain - they double park, drive horribly, slow down traffic, and take up parking spaces for residents. They also clutter up the Mall and really take away from the normally beautiful scenery.

I think we could really change parking here:
Do not allow buses to park at the Mall. Set up a designated parking area somewhere away from the Mall area and charge for parking (RFK stadium would be great except for game days).
Do not allow buses to travel during rush hour - clogs up the streets and makes commuting horrible. If the bus has to leave, the tourists can metro out to the lot or leave earlier.
Ticket buses that do not follow the rules. Most buses I see are not parked properly, city could increase revenues a bit!

Posted by: amf1 | June 16, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Simple solution:

Build an undergroung garage/tourist center where the buses can park for a fee and those who uses the buses can enbark/disenbark and access information/rest rooms/souvineers (sp.).

But DC would never do that. Easier to allow the current chaotic situation to exist, complain about it and blame the whole problem on "outsiders bringing cars into our city instead of using mass transit".

That requires no imagination and no original thought.

Posted by: ceefer66 | June 16, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

"...encourage tourists to use trains,"


And force them to deal with the Metro Smart Card nonsense?

"Washington had about 14.8 million U.S. visitors in 2009, generating more than $5.2 billion in spending, according to the tourism bureau Destination D.C."

And for that we should tell them to "Take Metro!" instead of making things easier for them.

Posted by: ceefer66 | June 16, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Buses can park at Union Station. They should be ticketed and towed it need be.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | June 16, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Buses can park at Union Station. They should be ticketed and towed it need be.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | June 16, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Let's also not forget the rule about idling. Seems like most of these buses that are illegally parked are almost always running, too.

Posted by: nodeeightynine | June 16, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Senator Webb needs to tell Fenty to do something about these ridiculously low taxicab fares.

Posted by: starclimber9 | June 16, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Sen Webb isn't just complaining. He has 4 remedies that are feasible and deserve further looking at. The hardest would be expanded bus parking, but this is critical if the goal is to avoid the other problems.

Posted by: krickey7 | June 16, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Get in line Mr. Senator!!! Residents have a list 50 miles long of things we're still waiting on Fenty to fix. His attitude and that of his administration tops the list. What a joke!

Posted by: bodymagicbykim | June 17, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

We could use the revenue from ticketing them for illegal parking, impeding traffic, idling for hours and contributing to poor air quality....these are other ticket fees Fenty can quadruple.

Posted by: bodymagicbykim | June 17, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

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