Greater Greater Washington

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As bad as Fort Totten may be (and as dictatorial as China may be), Fort Totten can't be as bad as the two transfer stations between lines 1 and 2 in Beijing. Both lines use predominantly center-island platforms (despite the fact that they were probably built using cut-and-cover construction); the two transfers between lines 1 and 2--one at Jianguomen, one at Fuxingmen--were originally via a single staircase in the tiny area of overlap between the center island of the upper line and the center island of the lower line.

That arrangement was obviously flawed... so they eventually added a long (and, as I recall, fairly steep) cloverleaf between the far ends of each set of platforms. The staircases are still used to transfer from the upper to the lower platforms, but the clover leafs are used for the opposite direction.

When I first visited DC after living in Beijing for a few years I thought Metro's transfers at Metro Center and L'Enfant Plaza were a stroke of genius... obviously one set of platforms should be center-island, and the other should be side platforms! Of course, then I visited Hong Kong and learned how transfer stations should really be done....

by Steven H in Ask GGW: Why do some stations have side platforms? on Aug 22, 2014 9:47 pm • linkreport

At roundabouts (which DC doesn't have), bike lanes never ever are to go on the outside of the circle, because that design creates a "right-hook" situation at every exit. 

In fact, regular traffic rules fix that. (In Holland,) Bikes are considered traffic on the circle, and traffic on circles has the right of way (over turning traffic, whether it's on or off a circle).

Another way of looking at it is to consider bikes going straight, while cars are turning. Straight traffic has the right of way over turning traffic.

by Jasper in Protected bike lanes could fit in DC's traffic circles; here's how on Aug 22, 2014 9:31 pm • linkreport

Maybe start with New York. See

https://www.e-zpassny.com/en/faq/account.shtml

by JimT in Breakfast links: School boundaries change on Aug 22, 2014 8:38 pm • linkreport

Metro was planned during a brief overlap of master builders and transit-friendliness. I'm not sure the ARS would have happened had they waited another 5 years to start.

by Neil Flanagan in Ask GGW: Why do some stations have side platforms? on Aug 22, 2014 6:28 pm • linkreport

Besides Dupont Circle, are there really any traffic circles here that have busy parks within them? Almost all of the ones I can think of are pretty much empty.

by Payton Chung in Protected bike lanes could fit in DC's traffic circles; here's how on Aug 22, 2014 6:02 pm • linkreport

Sometimes it almost makes one wish for a China-like dictatorship to build Shanghai Metro-sized networks under every urban center in the next ten years.

Then, you know, you remember that people generally value human rights over transit systems. But still.

by FBJ in Ask GGW: Why do some stations have side platforms? on Aug 22, 2014 5:10 pm • linkreport

@Et. Al and @Richard

Yes, Metro is large, especially considering when it was built (when cars were truly king). That said, the concept of a two-track system always seemed to me to be a narrow vision compared to what we do for the 8 or more highways lanes that we see around the beltway. I read the Great Society Subway and I know the dynamics of the time which saw the hollowing out of the core. Still, two crossings into VA never seemed to be enough, even then.

Today, we fret over putting Metro underground in Tysons or Dulles, street cars, dedicated transit lanes - it's amazing that we get anything built. Looking at the highway plans then, the scale and costs would be massive, we almost never do anything like this.

I just wish we built like this for transit.

by Randall M. in Ask GGW: Why do some stations have side platforms? on Aug 22, 2014 5:07 pm • linkreport

Agreed with some others that Randall was referring to today's state of affairs: piddling streetcars and small-minded ad hoc improvements.

Matt, I'd agree that LA is probably the biggest thinker in the US now, but even that - for a city of that density and scale - doesn't go nearly far enough.

For our purposes here in DC, I'd ask: where's the next 100-mile system plan? Where's our "second system?" (In the sense of big plans, not of plans that get shelved for a century.)

by Low Headways in Ask GGW: Why do some stations have side platforms? on Aug 22, 2014 4:50 pm • linkreport

I don't mind the good light rail systems in the Western US- Salt Lake, Denver, not to mention Portland have good ones- but yeah, I sometimes wonder if any city here could get the funds and government will to build a heavy-rail subway ever again.

by FBJ in Ask GGW: Why do some stations have side platforms? on Aug 22, 2014 4:45 pm • linkreport

Your horror story explains why you don't want to register a car you do not own, but it doesn't explain why a state would need any license plate to be associated with it. It's interesting that what was originally meant to be a backup way to charge your EZ-pass account has been inverted to bill you for actions taken by the owner of the car you register.

So clearly, if you had a car and let the registration lapse or reported the tags stolen, you could use that tag and no one would care. I'll guess you could push the right agency to give you one, after which they would change their policy.

by JimT in Breakfast links: School boundaries change on Aug 22, 2014 4:31 pm • linkreport

@Richard:
where is the next 100 mile system in the US?
Los Angeles.

by Matt' Johnson in Ask GGW: Why do some stations have side platforms? on Aug 22, 2014 4:30 pm • linkreport

wrt Fort Totten, not sure when MARC service would have stopped serving Takoma Station. Service was provided into the 1970s. That was likely an element too.

Years ago I wrote a piece in response to some Brooklanders agitating for "decking" over the Metro saying that undergrounding the railroad would have had to have been planned in association with the building of the Metro system, for something like that to make sense.

http://urbanplacesandspaces.blogspot.com/2007/07/rethinking-metropolitan-branch-railroad.html

In any case, the amount of land produced by undergrounding the Metropolitan Branch wouldn't have justified the cost, because the width of the tracks is relatively minimal.

by Richard Layman in Ask GGW: Why do some stations have side platforms? on Aug 22, 2014 4:30 pm • linkreport

@Randall M: Totally agree on freeways through DC. You can make an argument that Metro being built in place of those freeways is a big part of the reason the city is so livable and prosperous today. I'd disagree on the not thinking big. Schrag's "Great Society Subway" details the numerous times that we came very close to building much less than the original 98 mile system. In every case, the full 98-mile (now 117-mile) system prevailed. We're actually pretty lucky to have what was built.

I think he was lamenting that today especially we are not planning anything big. We are building dinky street cars and light rails, but where is the next 100 mile system in the US?

by Richard in Ask GGW: Why do some stations have side platforms? on Aug 22, 2014 4:27 pm • linkreport

Have you tried buying an EZ-pass from Maryland? I frankly can't understand why MDTA would turn down your money, as long as you are willing to take the same risk that anyone who borrows my EZ-pass would take. All the registering of cars does is create a list of license plates whose owners will be billed the ordinary toll (with no penalty) if the transponder does not work.

by JimT in Breakfast links: School boundaries change on Aug 22, 2014 4:22 pm • linkreport

@JimT - Also, I believe that the car I am using has to be registered on the EZPass website. That makes it impractical for rental vehicles. I've heard a few horror stories where people have registered a rented vehicle, and then they don't immediately remove it and suddenly find themselves on the hook for violations where others took the vehicle through a toll lane without paying.

by Ross in Breakfast links: School boundaries change on Aug 22, 2014 4:20 pm • linkreport

@Richard - I agree, I opt-out also, as I'm sure most others do.

@JimT - That is exactly my point, though. Why should I need to jump through a number of hoops in order to use an EZ Pass? Such requirements are inhibiting adoption rates - perhaps not by much, but probably by >1%. Lowering the barriers to use is a cost-free way to increase the number of users.

by Ross in Breakfast links: School boundaries change on Aug 22, 2014 4:15 pm • linkreport

The reason that the UK example looks "dangerous" to the poster above is because (s)he is assuming that the drivers will be going fast. No, in London traffic circles receiving major cycling enhancements -- as well as the entirety of the Square Mile/"City" of London -- the speed limit has been reduced to 20 miles per hour. That is really slow!

So, yes, if we want to continue to allow DC motorists to behave badly without consequences, this would be unachievable. But if we were willing to force drivers to slow down -- or pay big -- then we could do many things.

I'm in Rome right now, which is hardly a cycling-friendly city thanks to the cobblestones and lack of cycling infrastructure, but I can cross an entire massive, ginormous road by myself -- without a signal -- because the drivers are only going about 25 mph on the cobblestone-paved roads.

To be honest, I wish GGW would stop posting pictures of achievements in Europe. This -- DC -- is a city where we're still "debating" bus lanes on roads clogged with BMW/Lexus single-occupancy cars, but hosting thousands of bus riders caught in terrible traffic. As a city, we've decided it's more important for "Mr. Jones Lawyer/Lobbyist" to be able to drive quickly -- and comfortably -- from Bethesda to downtown DC in his/her luxury car than it is to provide basic public transit goods in the form of truly outstanding cycling infrastructure (yes, some of the cycling infrastructure is good on L ST/15th ST, but it does not continue to the parts of downtown where most people actually end up needing to go!), a Metro system that works, and bus lanes.

Sorry for the reality check, folks, but we shouldn't be aspiring to anything happening in Western Europe. It will not happen here anytime soon.

by James in Protected bike lanes could fit in DC's traffic circles; here's how on Aug 22, 2014 4:12 pm • linkreport

Yes and that reason is that most people are terrible.

Your idea is utterly terrible. Drivers do exist, and they will need to turn off of one major road and onto another on occasion. It is much safer and efficient to concentrate that turning traffic in one place rather than forcing them to clog up every other intersection for several blocks in every direction- and oh, by the way, all those turning cars at smaller intersections will substantially increase danger to pedestrians overall. The drivers won't stop needing to make that turn, they'll just be forced to go through a series of several different smaller intersections instead. You make traffic dramatically worse in the surrounding area for, what gain, exactly? So you don't have to wait 20 seconds for the crossing light?

It would be nice if you could separate the pedestrian traffic from the vehicle traffic and serve both groups, though, and Dupont has a way you could do that, pretty easily. They could just turn the Dupont Underground into a pedestrian underpass for the circle if they wanted to- get off the metro, go underground, maybe some vendors, maybe not, but instead of having to wait for lights and cross traffic, you just walk around, with no cars to worry about, and then walk right out of one of the dozen or so exits onto your preferred street.

by Zeus in Breakfast links: School boundaries change on Aug 22, 2014 4:12 pm • linkreport

And while it may not seem like it, I kind of feel DC did think big with its subway system. From the design of the stations to the total size of the system, it was a pretty grand plan for what was a very carcentric city. And they actually did it - Metro was fully built more or less to plan, unlikely many other cities in the US that planned systems but then never committed to them.

I don't know how anyone could possibly say that DC didn't think big with the Metro. Look at how most places are building transit today- little streetcars or light rail, one little line at a time, expanded piecemeal with no planning for a big, comprehensive map. In DC, they planned out a giant, largely underground heavy rail system from day one, and over a few decades, they built it, with only minor modifications. They planned it well enough that it became second only to New York's subway, and a key component of DC infrastructure. Even for people who don't use the metro much, at this point, the city would be unimaginable without it. The planners intended nothing less than to radically transform how people traveled in DC. They knew it would take decades to build, but they thought big and created a system that, despite its flaws, is one of the better subway systems in the world.

Sometimes you have to step back and take a moment to appreciate what you have. The Metro was not inevitable. The people designing it dreamed big and made it happen.

by Zeus in Ask GGW: Why do some stations have side platforms? on Aug 22, 2014 3:59 pm • linkreport

JimT,
That design is actually a US invention. The Dutch have two versions, both separate the cyclist from the road by about 10 feet, often aligned next to the pedestrian crossing. In one version, cyclists have the right of way, in the other they don't.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEXD0guLQY0

by ScottRAB in Protected bike lanes could fit in DC's traffic circles; here's how on Aug 22, 2014 3:33 pm • linkreport

PG County's new circles on Oxon Hill Road and in Glen Arden by Wegman's give the cyclist a choice of merging with other vehicles or going off onto a sidewalk around the circle.

Local cyclists assumed that this was just the County's way of encouraging cyclists to get out of the way of motorists and ride like children. Not I know that actually, PG is adopting the Dutch design.

by JimT in Protected bike lanes could fit in DC's traffic circles; here's how on Aug 22, 2014 3:27 pm • linkreport

The government should regulate the safety and insurance of vehicles for hire, but regulating the fares and the market is accomplishing nothing.

I agree that at first glance, regulation of fares for street-hailed taxis seems like classic government over-reach. However, there is some logic to it. Imagine if fares weren't regulated. Fares would likely be advertised on the side of the taxi and you'd have to read those fares from far away as the taxi is approaching you down the street and make a split second determination whether you want to hail that taxi. With a uniform price, all you need to do is spot an available taxi and even if all you can see if their lighted top, you know exactly how much you're going to pay.

Uniformity also makes it easier to regulate taxi meters. It wouldn't be hard to have your meter match what's written on the side of your taxi when you take it in for inspection and then to change what's written on your taxi later, so the meter charges more than the advertised price.

Of course, unregulated fares with the fares written on the side of the taxi is a system that works in other countries but there's some kind of logic to a system of uniform fares for taxis you hail on the street.

It's kind of the same logic as to why indoor shopping mall owners more-or-less require every store at the mall to open and close at the exact same time. The uniformity makes it easier for customers.

Of course, you can shop at places other than an indoor shopping mall and the open/close times won't be regulated. And, you can use a car service that is not hailed from the street and they can charge any fare they want.

by Falls Church in Breakfast links: School boundaries change on Aug 22, 2014 3:20 pm • linkreport

Great post Matt.

That said, although the idea of highways bisecting the District is a hideous idea, I like that they thought big back then. If only they thought big about subways...

@Randall M: Totally agree on freeways through DC. You can make an argument that Metro being built in place of those freeways is a big part of the reason the city is so livable and prosperous today. I'd disagree on the not thinking big. Schrag's "Great Society Subway" details the numerous times that we came very close to building much less than the original 98 mile system. In every case, the full 98-mile (now 117-mile) system prevailed. We're actually pretty lucky to have what was built.

by Sherman in Ask GGW: Why do some stations have side platforms? on Aug 22, 2014 3:14 pm • linkreport

@Randall M.

Thanks for that link to the interstate plans. Fascinating to look at what could have been.

And while it may not seem like it, I kind of feel DC did think big with its subway system. From the design of the stations to the total size of the system, it was a pretty grand plan for what was a very carcentric city. And they actually did it - Metro was fully built more or less to plan, unlikely many other cities in the US that planned systems but then never committed to them.

by Mr. Johnson in Ask GGW: Why do some stations have side platforms? on Aug 22, 2014 3:11 pm • linkreport

...and if you don't own a motor vehicle, buy one for a friend and borrow it.

by JimT in Breakfast links: School boundaries change on Aug 22, 2014 2:50 pm • linkreport

You can use your EZ-pass transponder on any car. But make sure you are in a state where they work.

by JimT in Breakfast links: School boundaries change on Aug 22, 2014 2:49 pm • linkreport

@Atlas: completely agreed. If I need to walk from downtown to anything north of Mass Ave, I take 13th, 15th, or 17th just to avoid the awfulness of the traffic circles.

Seriously, pedestrians are a complete afterthought when it comes to the traffic circles. And Thomas Circle does an excellent job cutting off 14th Street from anything south of it.

by Low Headways in Protected bike lanes could fit in DC's traffic circles; here's how on Aug 22, 2014 2:47 pm • linkreport

every time I rent a car I get the option to rent one with easypass(or equivalent) but often it's for a fee and often it is exorbitant. $5-10 a day plus any use of the toll.

by Richard in Breakfast links: School boundaries change on Aug 22, 2014 2:07 pm • linkreport

I wonder what percentage of non-EZ pass users are driving rented vehicles without a transponder. One of the main limitations of EZ Pass, in my view, is that it is registered to a specific vehicle. While it is great that Zipcar has transponders (do Enterprise and Car2Go?), I occasionally find myself in a rented vehicle of some sort without one. I would love to just get a transponder and keep it around for situations like this. Alas, as a non-vehicle owner, I cannot.

by Ross in Breakfast links: School boundaries change on Aug 22, 2014 1:58 pm • linkreport

@ Matt Johnson

You're right. I was attempting to support the idea that having side platforms on the red wouldn't be any better and more expensive. That said, the green line could have had side platforms as it narrows to a single tube under Fort Circle Park.

That said, although the idea of highways bisecting the District is a hideous idea, I like that they thought big back then. If only they thought big about subways...

by Randall M. in Ask GGW: Why do some stations have side platforms? on Aug 22, 2014 1:58 pm • linkreport

I really have no major complaints about Fort Totten. It isn't as crowded as Gallery Place, being suburban so it isn't so bad to transfer at.

The green line platform should be further East, so the stairs are not at one end of it but rather in the middle.

Obviously there should be a pocket track directly east of Ft. Totten on the green line.

Long term it would be great if there was more walkable space around the station, but that isn't really the metro station designers fault.

by Richard in Ask GGW: Why do some stations have side platforms? on Aug 22, 2014 1:52 pm • linkreport

The freight tracks are on the outside so they could continue to serve rail spurs on both sides of the right of way. I don't think any such spurs are active now, but there were on both sides of the tracks at the time Metro was planned.

I think there's only one spur still in use. There's a lumber business between New Hampshire and Kansas Ave that I've occasionally seen a rail car or two parked. It seems to be pretty rare though.

by Rob K in Ask GGW: Why do some stations have side platforms? on Aug 22, 2014 1:51 pm • linkreport

@Randall M.
That's an excellent point. However, I'll note that even if the freeway had been constructed, the B&O Railroad tracks would have been retained too. So in addition to the freeway, there still would have been 4 tracks.

You can see the B&O tracks in the graphic you shared.

by Matt' Johnson in Ask GGW: Why do some stations have side platforms? on Aug 22, 2014 1:48 pm • linkreport

Regarding Fort Totten:

There may have also been some lingering thought in Metro planning that the freight tracks would be removed and replaced with a freeway as of 1971. The website Roads to the Future offer a great resource to what could have been regarding the District's highway system. Image of the Fort Totten section at the second link.

http://www.roadstothefuture.com/DC_Interstate_Fwy.html

Image: http://www.roadstothefuture.com/DC_I95_FT_XL.jpg

Building the Red line any other way really wouldn't have worked.

by Randall M. in Ask GGW: Why do some stations have side platforms? on Aug 22, 2014 1:40 pm • linkreport

This isn't the first time that someone has wondered about this:

http://unsuckdcmetro.blogspot.com/2012/01/dumb-and-dumber.html

by jms in Ask GGW: Why do some stations have side platforms? on Aug 22, 2014 1:32 pm • linkreport

There's at least one example of a side platform station with lots of non-subway tracks in the middle: Harrison on the PATH in New Jersey. No chance of a crossover there: http://nycsubway.org.s3.amazonaws.com/images/maps/pirmann-2003-path-track.gif

For the "Spanish solution", WMATA could do that if they wanted at National Airport or West Falls Church. It doesn't make much sense at WFC but at the airport I could see how it might be useful. (Of course the center track was used for many years as a terminal track for the Blue Line, before the Franconia-Springfield extension opened.)

by Andrew in Ask GGW: Why do some stations have side platforms? on Aug 22, 2014 1:28 pm • linkreport

Really fascinating explanation for one of those "I wonder why . . . " questions that I've pondered but never thought deeply about. Great work!

by ah in Ask GGW: Why do some stations have side platforms? on Aug 22, 2014 1:24 pm • linkreport

Of course, they're also going to be much younger, on average. So, it might be a question as much of age and or health as mechanism of travel.

It's a study in a peer-reviewed medical journal. They controlled for things like that.

From the study description:
"A range of factors hypothesised to confound the relationship between active commuting and obesity were identified: age (continuous and mean-centred); the presence of a limiting illness or disability (binary variable); monthly household income (logged, mean-centred, and equivalised using the Organisation for Economic Co-operation (OECD) modified scale20); occupational social class (standard three-category version of the National Statistics Socioeconomic Classification (NS-SEC), used as a categorical variable); level of physical activity in the workplace (a four-category variable of very physically active, fairly physically active, not very physically active, not at all physically active in the workplace); participation in sporting activity (self assessed level of sports participation from 0 (no sport at all) to 10 (very active through sport)); diet quality (approximated using number of days per week that vegetables were consumed: never, 1-3 days, 4-6 days, every day); and whether the respondent resided in an urban or rural area (binary variable derived from the Office for National Statistics Rural and Urban Classification of Output21)."

by MLD in Breakfast links: School boundaries change on Aug 22, 2014 1:20 pm • linkreport

Yes, well there are still many places (in the country - parts of municipalities) you won't find charter schools. Those are often the same places you also won't find Walmarts. I'm not opining on these places, just pointing out their existence and what they do and don't have.

The "dangers of either/or thinking" must warm the cockles of every charter proponents' heart.

Sigh.

Well at any rate, as I said, the charter movement in DC does seem to be a tad more moderate than the predations going on in NOLA and to a lesser extent, NYC.

We once had something good in this country with public schools. Once upon a time...

by Jazzy in Does education reform have to be impersonal? on Aug 22, 2014 1:16 pm • linkreport

": To no one's surprise, a recent study found that commuters who walk, bike, or use transit have less body fat than commuters who drive."

Of course, they're also going to be much younger, on average. So, it might be a question as much of age and or health as mechanism of travel.

by Fischy (Ed F.) in Breakfast links: School boundaries change on Aug 22, 2014 1:08 pm • linkreport

Philosophically speaking, I could not agree more, on the danger of either / or thinking. Caring and accountability surely need not be an either / or choice. But policy making is often either / or, as in policy makers must choose between alternatives that benefit some people, and harm others. Politics is not a win-win game. In the case of education reform in our city, either a student attends a charter school, or a traditional school. It is simplistic, I would argue, for any policymaker to argue that the isolated decisions of individual parents do not impact the city as a whole. When motivated families move from traditional to charter schools, the concentration of emotionally and educationally challenged students at the traditional schools increases. This accelerates the flight of motivated families. No matter how good the teachers and administrators at a school with a high concentration of "at-risk" kids, they will lose motivated families to charters or out-of-boundary lotteries. Perhaps my argument is not clear- likely, I realize - but charter / traditional IS in many ways an either / or. Does anyone really believe that we will have both a rapidly expanding charter sector and a healthy traditional public school system (at least east of the park)?

by Aaron Hanna in Does education reform have to be impersonal? on Aug 22, 2014 12:56 pm • linkreport

The freight tracks could have been in the center....

They could be in the center now, since they don't connect to anything. But they once did.

The freight tracks are on the outside so they could continue to serve rail spurs on both sides of the right of way. I don't think any such spurs are active now, but there were on both sides of the tracks at the time Metro was planned. Metro could've run along one side or the other (as the other branch of the Red Line does, as well as the Green line), but you may have needed additional flyovers to allow the freight sidings to have access to the mainline (such as the Orange Line between Landover and New Carrolton).

Also, putting the freight tracks in the center would mean that the Metro tracks couldn't crossover, which would make single tracking a much bigger pain than it is today.

by Alex B. in Ask GGW: Why do some stations have side platforms? on Aug 22, 2014 12:40 pm • linkreport

Fascinating! Thanks for sharing this knowledge. As for the 34th Street station in NYC, I find it to be a terrible solution. If you're going to, say, 72nd street, you could take either the local or express. However, the station forces you to choose one or the other. As a result, many people simply wait in the undercrossing below. This has been improved by having real time train arrival info, but it's still annoying.

Another interesting thing happens at 145th St on the A/B/C/D. All trains operate on the same corridor, but the upper platform has the A/C trains and the lower platform has the B/D trains. As a result, people simply wait on the stairwell for the first train to arrive. Not ideal, but again real time information will improve this.

by TransitSnob in Ask GGW: Why do some stations have side platforms? on Aug 22, 2014 12:36 pm • linkreport

@Richard:
Yes, the freight tracks could have been in the center, but remember, terminals need to have island platforms (at at a minimum, the tracks need to be able to connect for crossovers at the terminal and periodically in between).

And that would mean that the Red Line tracks would need flyover tracks on either side of Fort Totten (over the freight tracks), and that would have significantly increased the cost.

There are no hard-and-fast rules. Agencies designing stations look at a variety of factors, and one of them is keeping the cost of particular designs within a reasonable range.

Yes. There are probably better ways of designing transfer stations than Fort Totten. But given the context of that particular station, it would have been (1) more technically challenging, (2) operationally challenging, and (3) more expensive to do a different design.

And let's not forget that NPS was involved, since they own the park. We're lucky they let WMATA build a station there in the first place. I mean look at Farragut Square. I mean Farragut North and Farragut West, which they prevented from being one station, like Metro Center.

Would it have been worth it to do Fort Totten differently? I don't know. But it's water under the bridge now.

by Matt' Johnson in Ask GGW: Why do some stations have side platforms? on Aug 22, 2014 12:32 pm • linkreport

Given the constraints from the freight rail tracks, I don't know that side platforms would've been feasible for the Red Line; a direct connection to the Green Line tracks would not only be a long escalator ride, but it would also have to run perpendicular to the RD tracks, meaning that the freight tracks would have to deviate substantially from their current location.

The freight tracks could have been in the center....

by Richard in Ask GGW: Why do some stations have side platforms? on Aug 22, 2014 12:26 pm • linkreport

I had previously never heard of the "Spanish Solution". I always thought of that as " roller coaster configuration" with entry on one side and exit the other.

by spookiness in Ask GGW: Why do some stations have side platforms? on Aug 22, 2014 12:25 pm • linkreport

But if WMATA had designed it so the Red had side platforms and the Green had an island platform, with direct escalators between them, they would have needed to be very long escalators stretching, probably, to the very ends of the Green Line platform due to the vertical separation between the lines.

Given the constraints from the freight rail tracks, I don't know that side platforms would've been feasible for the Red Line; a direct connection to the Green Line tracks would not only be a long escalator ride, but it would also have to run perpendicular to the RD tracks, meaning that the freight tracks would have to deviate substantially from their current location.

Also, the middle 'transfer' level is where the street-level entrance faregates are. If you removed that level, you'd face a challenge in getting passengers coming in from the street to either platform.

Given those constraints, it's not hard to see why they ended up with the existing configuration. What I think the station could really use would be additional vertical circulation between the GR platform and the mezzanine.

by Alex B. in Ask GGW: Why do some stations have side platforms? on Aug 22, 2014 12:23 pm • linkreport

I hate waste and wasted time and the failure to understand how things work. The hagiography of Rhee in this entry and others is so "angrifying."

It's no wonder that "the more things change, the more they remain the same."

... and it sucks to not be one of the annointed ones, when you know what really ought to be done.

by Richard Layman in Michelle Rhee takes a break from education reform on Aug 22, 2014 12:18 pm • linkreport

I guess there was a 3rd option... have the Red operate on ground level and raise EVERYTHING ELSE around Fort Totten so that the entry would occur on an elevated mezzanine... that would've also preserved Green-to-Red at 1 level apart... but would've been very awkward for Fort Totten-area customers to use (go upstairs to go back downstairs again).

(Try walking into Tysons Corner where the faregate mezzanine is above the tracks which are above the street for an example of how awkward this is.)

by Dave in Ask GGW: Why do some stations have side platforms? on Aug 22, 2014 12:11 pm • linkreport

@TimK65:
When I said "works" with regard to Fort Totten, I mean that it was technically feasible. I transfer here twice daily, and I agree that the station would be better if there were just one level change between the Red and the Green.

But if WMATA had designed it so the Red had side platforms and the Green had an island platform, with direct escalators between them, they would have needed to be very long escalators stretching, probably, to the very ends of the Green Line platform due to the vertical separation between the lines.

by Matt' Johnson in Ask GGW: Why do some stations have side platforms? on Aug 22, 2014 12:08 pm • linkreport

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