Neighborhood Watch: National Zoo Metro Stop, ‘Pity the Unknowing Tourists’
The Issue: It’s elephant feeding time! As tourist season nears, local businesses around the Woodley Park-Zoo/Adams Morgan Metro station gear up for zoo-goers, leaving eateries and shops near the Cleveland Park Metro out in the cold. In the early '80s, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) designated Woodley Park as the official National Zoo station because of its proximity to the zoo, says Steven Taubenkibel, public affairs specialist at WMATA. But the National Zoo sits almost equidistant from both Metro stops—Woodley Park is only .1 mile closer—so why does it get all the glory?
Share The Metro Biz!: “Why should Woodley merchants be provided that advantage alone?” writes Ron Lehker on the Cleveland Park listserv. “More people walking through our neighborhood would be better for our neighborhood merchants who rely on the business of not just Cleveland Parkers, but of visitors too,” Bill Adler writes. Getting off at the Cleveland Park stop would benefit neighboring businesses and visitors. “Pity the unknowing tourists…who arrive in our DC heat and humidity and have to trudge uphill from Woodley Park,” writes Joe Bosco. The walk from the Cleveland Park Metro is level.
Not All It’s Cracked Up To Be: An abundance of humans and garbage is not always to be envied. “People walking to the zoo will sometimes come down our street and have picnics on the grass of our condos,” writes Tesa Leon. “This wouldn’t be much of a problem except sometimes they leave garbage and let the kids climb our trees, pick the flowers.” Some days, zoo traffic backs up more than halfway down the block, Leon adds. More business would be great, but since Cleveland Park was never designed for Zoo traffic, “the platform of our Metro stop is inadequate to serve safely the masses of people who flock to the zoo,” writes Susie Taylor, chair of the Connecticut Avenue Coalition Committee (CCC), a coalition formed in December to invigorate local businesses in Cleveland Park.
What’s Next: The CCC has considered the merits of bringing the zoo's official Metro stop to Cleveland Park. In recent years, WMATA has made announcements to Metro riders suggesting Cleveland Park as an alternative when Woodley Park is overcrowded, Taubenkibel says. Lobbying to revise both stations to Cleveland Park/Zoo-North and Woodley Park/Zoo-South/Adams Morgan is an idea, writes Andrew Heimert, one resident. The District would incur the cost of name-changing, though, including station signs, reprinting and installing station maps, and “reprinting literally millions of brochures”—costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, WMATA says.
Looks like makeshift handwritten signs may have to do for now.