Greater Greater Washington

Here are the answers to whichWMATA week 33

On Tuesday, we featured the thirty-third issue of our "whichWMATA" series. This week, all five photos were guest submissions from reader thisisjamesj.

This week we got 44 guesses. Three people got all five correct. Great work, Mr. Johnson, Skierbum, and Peter K!


Image 1: Dupont Circle

The first image shows the escalators at the Q Street entrance to Dupont Circle. This entrance is very distinctive because of the large bowl surrounding the escalator shaft. Several of you recognized the PNC Bank building in the background as well. All but one person knew this one. Great work.


Image 2: Gallery Place

The second picture shows the interlaced escalators at Gallery Place. This is the only place in the entire system where you can get a view like this, though Tysons Corner station also has interlaced escalators. The reason that Gallery Place has this arrangement is because the mezzanine is directly above the point where the lines cross. At Metro Center and L'Enfant Plaza, the mezzanines above the upper level are at either end, and the lower level isn't beneath them. Forty of you got this one right.


Image 3: L'Enfant Plaza

This one was a little trickier. There were two primary clues to help you identify L'Enfant Plaza. The first is the construction. The hanging lights are in place because WMATA is renovating the underside of the mezzanine above, and it's been this way for quite a while. The other clue is the shape of the vault wall. It's almost vertical here, which is only the case at L'Enfant. At the other vaulted stations, the wall is sloped (being farther away from the top of the train than the bottom of the train). A little less than half20of you guessed correctly.


Image 4: Van Ness

This week, image 4 was the hardest. This picture depicts the pedestrian connection under Connecticut Avenue at Van Ness. While tunnels with similar design elements are common throughout Metro, this one is unique in its arrangement. The escalators from the mezzanine arrive at this level directly under Connecticut Avenue, ending at a T-junction. The corridor seen here allows people to exit to either the east or west side of Connecticut. It can't be Cleveland Park because at Cleveland Park, the escalator shaft to the mezzanine and the escalator shaft to the east side of Connecticut face the same direction. Only 9 people got this one.


Image 5: Metro Center

The final image shows the lower level platform at Metro Center. The clues here are the shape of the vault (which is different from other vaults in the system) and the slight change in height of the ceiling (the dark line running parallel to the tracks). The other clue that should've helped you narrow it down is the mezzanine being flush with the wall at the end of the trainroom and also being almost full-width there.

At most stations, the mezzanine floats above the platform, but where it meets the wall at the end of the station, it narrows, like the top of an inflated balloon. At many of the stations that people guessed on this one, the mezzanine is also in the center of the station, not one end. Several people also guessed Farragut North, which surprised me since the Blue Line doesn't call there. Still, 21 of you figured this one out.

As always, great work! Thanks for playing.

I'd again like to give a special thanks to thisisjamesj for submitting his great photos this week!

We're always looking for reader submissions, so while you're riding Metro keep your eyes (and cameraphones) peeled for unique stations and architectural features. You can submit your photos to whichwmata@ggwash.org.

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New info about who rides a bike in DC will let us make the city even greater for cyclists

There's new data on who rides a bike or walks to work in DC, and it will likely guide future decisions on how to accommodate and encourage bicycle use.


Photo by BeyondDC on Flickr.

The data comes from the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG)'s just-released draft report of all the planned bike and pedestrian improvements coming to the region.

The most striking piece of information from the study is that people who either make a whole lot of money or not much at all are more both more likely to bike or to work than those whose income falls somewhere in the middle.

Rich and poor people are both biking more than average, but it's probably for different reasons


Average incomes of bike commuters. Image from MWCOG.

MWCOG says its income-related findings are consistent with national data.

As the report also has data on what has (and hasn't) changed about cyclist and pedestrian demographics in the DC region, it also tells us that the numbers of people biking or walking to work at the highest and lowest income levels has at least doubled since 2004 in most cases. Meanwhile, numbers have fallen in some of the middle brackets.

The report doesn't speculate that much on why people specifically choose to ride or walk, but it does look at existing barriers, which allows us to do some back of the envelope analysis.

One big factor for most people is the distance they'd have to bike or walk to work. The large number of high-income riders could suggest that people are choosing to live closer to work, while those at the bottom of the spectrum may be biking because of the rising costs of transportation modes.

There's a difference in how often people of different races ride bikes, too


Demographics of bike commuters in the DC region. Image from MWCOG.

In terms of race, the number of white bicycle riders or walkers has held steady while the number of Asian riders and walkers has grown and the number of black and hispanic riders and walkers has declined. This confirms that there's a racial disparity in DC among bicycle riders.

The report doesn't try to explain the cycling and walking rates among different races, or even say if race is a factor. Targeted studies in predominantly black and hispanic neighborhoods could give insight on how to get more people back on to bikes or choosing to walk to work. We know that adding bike infrastructure tends to increase overall usage for bike riding, so it's possible that those neighborhoods simply need more bike lanes or protected bikeways.

Data like this can show us who needs help getting on bikes in the first place, as well as who would benefit from more infrastructure. The more we know, the more focused our future bicycle infrastructure projects will be.

Correction: The original version of this post described the MWCOG data as applying just to bicycling. In fact, the report combines bicycle and walking trips. We have corrected the article.

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Amsterdam plays Spot the Christmas Streetcar

Remember #bikeinbloom, when Capital Bikeshare dressed one of its bikes up in cherry blossom regalia? Every Christmas, Amsterdam does the same thing with one of its famous streetcars.

Amsterdamers call it the "kersttram", or "Christmas tram."


Photo from Alexander Meijer on Flickr.

Amsterdam isn't alone. Other cities around the world partake in the same fun with their own trams. Among them: Budapest, Zurich, and San Francisco.

How about it, DDOT? Maybe next year, when H Street is fully up and running?

Cross-posted at BeyondDC.

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Breakfast links: Done deal


Photo by Connor Turner on Flickr.
Soccer deal done: After months of debate, the DC council unanimously passed a law that will provide land for a new DC United soccer stadium at Buzzard Point. The deal will cost the city $193 million and the facility will open in 2017. (Post)

CaBi workers unite!: Yesterday, employees of Capital Bikeshare, operated by Alta, voted to join the Transport Workers Union. The workers want union protection to address concerns about employment instability. Their counterparts in New York, Boston, and Chicago also voted to unionize. (NextCity, TWU)

Florida Ave to change: DDOT plans to completely rebuild two blocks of Florida Avenue near U Street next year. The plans include bike lanes, sharrows, and bike boxes on the intersecting streets. (TheWashCycle)

Metro goes green: WMATA opened a new stormwater management facility in Largo. The facility pumps stormwater from tunnels with energy-efficient technologies, which helps WMATA meet Maryland's strict requirements while saving money. (PlanItMetro)

Woodmont Ave safety efforts: Montgomery County is auditing pedestrian safety on Woodmont Avenue in Bethesda. Drivers are not yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks. The county would like to improve pedestrian safety in the area. (BethesdaNow)

New road for Tysons: Fairfax County plans to extend a bridge over I-495 in Tysons corner. The "Jones Branch Connector" will provide a better road connection to the McLean metro stop. (Fairfax Times)

And...: Mayor Gray gave his farewell speech last night. (City Paper) ... Don't dump your grease down the drain, unless you want to create a "fatberg" in the sewers. (WAMU) ... Can a construction project be used to predict the effects of a road diet? (Streetsblog) ... Why does a widely used planning manual recommend building more roads than necessary? (Citylab)

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Farragut Square's virtual tunnel saves Metro riders time and eases crowding. Should downtown get another one?

Metro lets riders transfer between Farragut West and Farragut North without paying because while the stations are on separate lines, they're only a block apart. New data on who uses the "virtual tunnel" gives us perspective on how useful additional free transfers could be.


Usage of the Virtual Tunnel.

Between 15,000 and 18,000 people use the "tunnel" each month, which alleviates crowding at the Metro Center station. According to PlanItMetro, the crossing's higher use comes in the warmer months of the year.

WMATA advertises the "tunnel," but after PlanItMetro asked about ways to make even more people aware of the unusual but time-saving transfer, commenters suggested adding an actual note to Metro maps. New York City does this with its Subway maps.

Commenters also suggested another potential site for a similar crossing: between Metro Center and Gallery Place. Like Farragut West and Farragut North, these two stations are only a few blocks apart and could save Orange, Blue, and Silver who want to reach the Yellow and Green lines (and vice versa) from having to either transfer twice or ride all the way to L'Enfant Plaza.

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Your gift can help us recruit new bloggers

Imagine a Greater Greater Washington with even more diverse voices writing even more diverse stories. We want to make that happen in 2015, with blogger workshops to help new contributors publish with us.


Photo by J. Lim on Flickr.

Making it easier for more people (like you!) to blog with us will mean new ideas and perspectives, which we need to keep Greater Greater Washington relevant as our region changes and grows.

We're hoping to accomplish a lot with this reader drive. Our goal is to raise $18,000 to keep going strong in 2015 (paying our wonderful part-time editor and keeping our servers running) and add new projects like the blogging workshops.

Many people don't realize how many ways they can contribute to the Greater Greater Washington community. It can be overwhelming to even know where to begin. Blogging workshops will help us spread that information far and wide, expanding our community by broadening our contributor pool and deepening their skills.

Can you help with a contribution now? Otherwise, our ideas for 2015 will stay just ideas, not a reality. If you believe in what Greater Greater Washington is doing, please give $50 or whatever you can to make blogging workshops (and so much more!) happen. Thank you, and here's to a greater greater 2015!

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San Francisco street lights will animate subway trains below

A public art installation on San Francisco's Market Street will add animated lights following the movement of subway trains running directly below.


Image from Illuminate The Arts.

The project is called "LightRail," and according to its sponsors it will be the world's first "subway-responsive light sculpture."

Two LED strings will stretch above Market Street for two miles through downtown San Francisco. Using real-time arrival data, the strings will visualize movement of BART and Muni trains directly underneath the street.

Sponsors hope LightRail will open in 2015, and will remain in place until at least 2018. If it proves popular, officials may decide to keep it up longer.

Without a doubt, this is one of the coolest public art projects I've ever seen.

Cross-posted at BeyondDC.

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Breakfast links: Underground preparation


Photo by Jaime Fearer on Flickr.
Art underground: The Arts Coalition for the Dupont Underground finally signed a lease to use the former trolley tunnel under Dupont Circle. It has launched a crowdfunding effort to renovate part of the space and hold arts events there. (City Paper)

Year-late indignation: After discovering the year-old Georgia Avenue BRT study, the Greater Olney Civic Association is now worried that BRT will bring high-density development to the area. (Gazette)

Arlington Cemetery swamped: When 8,000 riders descended on Arlington Cemetery Metro on Saturday for the Wreaths Across America Project, the station, with limited faregate capacity, couldn't handle the volume. (Post)

Record bike lanes: DC added nine miles of bike lanes this year, setting a new one-year record. However, that still falls slightly short of the 10 mile per year goal in the 2005 Bicycle Master Plan. (City Paper, WABA)

Andy Harris banned: Capitol Hill Bikes has blacklisted Rep. Andy Harris from visiting the store because the Maryland Republican added a provision in the latest federal spending bill overriding the will of District voters on marijuana. (Post)

Get in line: There are 13 candidates vying to replace Marion Barry, including outgoing shadow representative Nate Bennett-Fleming. Will Muriel Bowser's campaign help her Ward 8 coordinator, LaRuby May? Will Barry's son Christopher run? (City Paper)

May your nights be merry and bright: Satellite imagery from NASA shows how Christmas lights make cities 20% to 50% brighter during the holidays.

And...: A drunk driver in Columbus, Ohio injured the leader of the local complete streets program and killed his intern. (Streetsblog) ... What's it like to be an Uber driver? (WNYC) ... What's the chance of a white Christmas in cities nationwide?. (CityLab)

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How well do you know Metro? It's whichWMATA week 33

It's time for the thirty-third issue of our "whichWMATA" series. This week, all five photos are guest submissions from reader thisisjamesj. Can you identify the station shown in each picture?


Image 1


Image 2


Image 3


Image 4


Image 5

I'd like to give a special thanks to thisisjamesj for submitting his photos!

We're always looking for reader submissions, so while you're riding Metro keep your eyes (and cameraphones) peeled for unique stations and architectural features. You can submit your photos to whichwmata@ggwash.org.

We'll hide the comments so that the early birds don't spoil the fun for the rest of you.

The answers will appear on Thursday. Good luck!

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Metro's flooded stations, in pictures

The water main break that temporarily flooded parts of Metrorail this morning was painful for commuters. These photos from Metro's Twitter account show just how serious the flood became.


All photos from WMATA.

Metro's third rail is eight inches high. It was fully covered by water.

The flood drained after DC Water shut off water flow. As the water receded, the tracks slowly became visible once more.

Hopefully that's not an experience we'll have to go through again any time soon.

Cross-posted at BeyondDC.

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