The Washington, DC region is great >> and it can be greater.

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I mean, the post itself admits that its biased.

But I don't know what there is to joke about the H street streetcar. It's running pretty well so far and has been improving.

The planning for H street was horrendous. No question. But the planning for the purple line is nearly 100% different. A lot of problems that arose during construction on H street have already been taken care of for the purple line route. And with the P3 compact cost overruns are borne by a private company rather than the government.

So beyond the fact that both projects involve a train I don't see how one can really compare either effort.

by drumz in What's so great about the Purple Line, anyway? on Aug 31, 2016 9:20 pm • linkreport

The beltways problems is mostly commuters. So you wouldn't be shifting too many trips up to Baltimore. Plus 301/97 itself could be upgraded which many would be grateful for. Toll it (and by that I mean bundle it with existing tolls on the bridge, on the 695 bridge and north of Baltimore) and you could manage the demand pretty well.

by drumz in Breakfast links: Walkability close to work is worth a lot on Aug 31, 2016 9:03 pm • linkreport

This post is so blatantly biased, as pointed out by previous commenters. The Purple Line is almost as big of a joke as the H Street trolley.

by Voice of Reason in What's so great about the Purple Line, anyway? on Aug 31, 2016 8:43 pm • linkreport

Third time's a charm, I hope: "....increasingly disadvantaged."

by Trollopian in DC has almost no white residents without college degrees. (It's a different story for black residents.) on Aug 31, 2016 8:26 pm • linkreport

The population shrinkage is even more pronounced in DC's more industrial northern peers. These so-called "Rust Belt" cities were once great hubs of economic activity powered mostly by blue-collar industries, especially manufacturing:
1950 population - 2010 population
Baltimore 949,708 - 620,961
Cleveland 914,808 - 396,815
Detroit 1,849,568 - 713,777
Philadelphia 2,071,605 - 1,526,006
Pittsburgh 646,806 - 305,704
St. Louis 856,796 - 319,294

Today, these once great cities have largely been supplanted in importance by the booming cities in the Sunbelt, which were once sleepy backwaters towns:

1950 population - 2010 population
Atlanta 331,314 - 420,003
Charlotte 134,042 - 731,424
Dallas 434,462 - 1,300,092
Houston 596,163 - 2,100,263
Nashville 174,307 - 626,681
Phoenix 106,818 - 1,445,632
San Antonio 408,442 - 1,469,845

It's hard to believe that when our parents were children, St. Louis had 6 times more residents than Charlotte and Baltimore had a population nearly twice as large as Houston's. Now most of those cities are small dots on the map and don't even show up on Google Maps when you zoom out enough to see the entire East Coast.

Although flight-to-the-burbs was very much present in DC, it's unique status as the nation's capital, lack of any major manufacturing industries, and it's outsized service economy. New York also, by virtue of just being so large and economically important, has maintained a relatively stable population.

Those numbers don't tell the whole picture. Baltimore looks a lot bigger when you include it's immediate suburbs, and in fact it is bigger today than it was in 1950 if you include Baltimore county(which you should)

Houston on the other hand isnt much bigger than the city of Houston. That is to say that the city has been able to annex its way across the texan plain and gobble up tax dodgers who moved across the city line.

by Richard B in An alien notion: 800,000 DC residents on Aug 31, 2016 8:24 pm • linkreport

Excuse typo: "...become increasingly disadvantage."

by Trollopian in DC has almost no white residents without college degrees. (It's a different story for black residents.) on Aug 31, 2016 8:24 pm • linkreport

Yep. Upgrade it and make it an extension of I-97 all the way to Bowling Green and I-95. That way in Baltimore you get to choose between DC and Richmond as destinations and in Richmond you get to choose between DC and Baltimore.

In fact, considering how congested I-95 gets north of Richmond, they might even consider upgrading US-301 in Virginia all the way to I-295.

So just move DC's problems north and create a traffic nightmare in Baltimore. Doesnt sound like that would be in Baltimore or Maryland's interest, but if DC and NoVA want to fund it maybe.

If you want a real bypass you would need to get the traffic onto the eastern shore.

by Richard B in Breakfast links: Walkability close to work is worth a lot on Aug 31, 2016 8:18 pm • linkreport

@PG2SE: "My mother, who did not have an 8th grade education, spent most of her life working as a certified nurse's aid in hospitals around drugs, pathogens, blood and other hazardous waste." But that's partly generational. In my grandparents' cohort, relatively few completed high school; in my parents' generation, relatively few completed college. (Check out https://www.census.gov/hhes/socdemo/education/data/cps/historical/fig2.jpg. In 1940, three-quarters of adults hadn't finished high-school, and even by the mid-1980s the figure was still a quarter.) As educational standards creep up, those with less schooling become increasingly disadvantage.

by Trollopian in DC has almost no white residents without college degrees. (It's a different story for black residents.) on Aug 31, 2016 8:13 pm • linkreport

@ drumz:For all the talks of an outer beltway to bypass traffic we already have a route with 301. Some changes to the road and widening that bridge would actually be a great highway project that I could support.

Yep. Upgrade it and make it an extension of I-97 all the way to Bowling Green and I-95. That way in Baltimore you get to choose between DC and Richmond as destinations and in Richmond you get to choose between DC and Baltimore.

In fact, considering how congested I-95 gets north of Richmond, they might even consider upgrading US-301 in Virginia all the way to I-295.

by Jasper in Breakfast links: Walkability close to work is worth a lot on Aug 31, 2016 7:05 pm • linkreport

Watch the screwball comedy called "The More the Merrier" (1943) with Jean Arthur and Joel McCrea for its hilarious take on the DC housing shortage during World War II.

by MS in An alien notion: 800,000 DC residents on Aug 31, 2016 6:37 pm • linkreport

I will absolutely use this. When I step out of a station, I usually know an address or an intersection where I'm going, and when I'm popping out of a familiar exit that I've used dozens of times, I'm already well-oriented. But every now and then, I come out of a station (or even a station exit) that I seldom use, and although I know an address, I don't know which direction I'm directly facing. I'll be able to figure that out easily now and know exactly what direction I need to turn. So this works for me.

by JES in And the MetroGreater winner is... on Aug 31, 2016 6:27 pm • linkreport

"Originally called the Georgetown Branch Trolley and connecting just Silver Spring and Bethesda this line made sense."

YES. Why didn't it stick to that?
Other than making New Carrollton a hot development, what purpose does this extension have?

by asffa in What's so great about the Purple Line, anyway? on Aug 31, 2016 5:41 pm • linkreport

Straight population growth numbers are a bit misleading. It's not an apples to apples comparison. Those sunbelt towns have certainly grown a lot, but they've also annexed and expanded their municipal boundaries, while the boundaries of places like Baltimore have remained fixed.

If you want a more accurate comparison for the broad regional shifts, look at the trends for the Metro areas over time (not city limits).

If you're interested in how the trends physically shape the cities, then you'd want to look at something like this:

http://www.thetransportpolitic.com/2016/07/06/reorienting-our-discussion-of-city-growth/

by Alex B. in An alien notion: 800,000 DC residents on Aug 31, 2016 5:26 pm • linkreport

King Terrapin's numbers - especially Houston, Phoenix and San Antonio, were eye popping. I was also surprised Pittsburgh was not as large of a city as I thought.

by JDC in An alien notion: 800,000 DC residents on Aug 31, 2016 5:08 pm • linkreport

@Mike S: At least it's not melting cars like that building in London. Sometimes unique buildings are unique for a reason.

by Zeus in Does DC want boring architecture? Sort of. on Aug 31, 2016 5:06 pm • linkreport

I commented earlier...I have some facility with Census data, so I decided to look up the comparative rates for blacks and whites on a national level. Very interesting.

You have to look at this statistic at a "Bachelor's degree or higher" level, since Census doesn't break out blacks for bachelors degree and graduate degree -- they are combined, so you have to add these up for whites.

As it happens, a little over 31% of both white men and women over 25 currently both have earned bachelors or higher (roughly a little more than 1/3 of bachelors holders end up getting a grad or prof degree).

For blacks, it's a very different story. For black females, about 21% have a bachelors or higher -- not wildly different from whites. But for black males, only about 7.6% have a bachelors or higher. They very much lag not only whites, but black females. There is a separate category of "Some college or associate's degree", and the disparity among blacks is similar: 35% for females vs. 14% for miles (for whites, its 30.5% for females and 28% for males)

I'm not going to offer any suggestions as to why this is, but it's a very interesting that black males lag black women by such a large margin. The fact that black females are relatively close to their white counterparts (as compared to black men) suggests that there's something more going on than can just be blamed on "racism."

by airish in DC has almost no white residents without college degrees. (It's a different story for black residents.) on Aug 31, 2016 4:51 pm • linkreport

The population shrinkage is even more pronounced in DC's more industrial northern peers. These so-called "Rust Belt" cities were once great hubs of economic activity powered mostly by blue-collar industries, especially manufacturing:

1950 population - 2010 population
Baltimore 949,708 - 620,961
Cleveland 914,808 - 396,815
Detroit 1,849,568 - 713,777
Philadelphia 2,071,605 - 1,526,006
Pittsburgh 646,806 - 305,704
St. Louis 856,796 - 319,294

Today, these once great cities have largely been supplanted in importance by the booming cities in the Sunbelt, which were once sleepy backwaters towns:

1950 population - 2010 population
Atlanta 331,314 - 420,003
Charlotte 134,042 - 731,424
Dallas 434,462 - 1,300,092
Houston 596,163 - 2,100,263
Nashville 174,307 - 626,681
Phoenix 106,818 - 1,445,632
San Antonio 408,442 - 1,469,845

It's hard to believe that when our parents were children, St. Louis had 6 times more residents than Charlotte and Baltimore had a population nearly twice as large as Houston's. Now most of those cities are small dots on the map and don't even show up on Google Maps when you zoom out enough to see the entire East Coast.

Although flight-to-the-burbs was very much present in DC, it's unique status as the nation's capital, lack of any major manufacturing industries, and it's outsized service economy. New York also, by virtue of just being so large and economically important, has maintained a relatively stable population.

by King Terrapin in An alien notion: 800,000 DC residents on Aug 31, 2016 4:50 pm • linkreport

@Jonathan Neeley -- Still not there yet! It should be "where THREE people died."

by dclady in Breakfast links: Walkability close to work is worth a lot on Aug 31, 2016 4:41 pm • linkreport

If anything a variable toll would help create more alternative travel options. Plenty of bus companies use the bay bridge (one time my bus to NYC used it and we still got to NYC in 5 hours).

I do wish this would include the Nice Bridge over the potomac. For all the talks of an outer beltway to bypass traffic we already have a route with 301. Some changes to the road and widening that bridge would actually be a great highway project that I could support.

by drumz in Breakfast links: Walkability close to work is worth a lot on Aug 31, 2016 4:41 pm • linkreport

Ross,

There are buses that use the bridge. And people can car pool or time shift to when there is less demand.

by David C in Breakfast links: Walkability close to work is worth a lot on Aug 31, 2016 4:37 pm • linkreport

Regarding the Bay Bridge expansion, by all means, build it and just set a toll rate (perhaps dynamic) that will pay for the cost of construction and upkeep. I don't travel much out that way, but I don't believe there are much in the way of alternative transportation options that would allow one to not drive over the bridge. In that case, it is difficult to attempt to constrain demand with pricing - having drivers pay for the bridge makes sense, but anything above that would really require viable alternative transit options or it just becomes a cash grab.

by Ross in Breakfast links: Walkability close to work is worth a lot on Aug 31, 2016 4:12 pm • linkreport

@Ed
My mother, who did not have an 8th grade education, spent most of her life working as a certified nurse's aid in hospitals around drugs, pathogens, blood and other hazardous waste. It would be news to the many supervisors she had over her lifetime, none of whom had to spend time hovering over her, that a 6th or 8th grade reading level was essential to her doing her job. It absolutely is not essential. What it is is an unnecessary job requirement that blocks many low-skilled workers from access to low-skilled jobs. The low yield Johns Hopkins had as a result of the requirement is evidence of that. The economy is already hard enough on low-skilled workers without us adding more pointless impediments.

I think we all can agree that after 12 years of schooling, HS grads should be able to read at a 6th or 8th grade level. It is sad that for graduates of many schools that is not the case. Still, I would be just as confused if the housekeeping jobs would have required a HS diploma as I am about the reading test.

by PG2SE in DC has almost no white residents without college degrees. (It's a different story for black residents.) on Aug 31, 2016 4:03 pm • linkreport

@ FHE - Ha! Carmel has really jumped on the roundabout bandwagon. I'm surprised each SFH driveway isn't a roundabout!

by Sarah in Breakfast links: Walkability close to work is worth a lot on Aug 31, 2016 3:59 pm • linkreport

@PG2SE: The "appropriate cleanliness levels" are very different for an office compared to a bone marrow transplant unit, an ISO-7 cell processing facility, or even general wards in a hospital where infection control is always an issue. In addition to being able to deal with hazardous waste as Ed mentioned, cleaning staff at hospitals need to be able to read, comprehend, and follow checklists on cleaning procedures. They also go into patient care areas, so they must be able to read isolation signs, learn and follow appropriate isolation procedures.

There are also a host of regulatory training requirements for everyone who works at a hospital, including procedures for fire and other emergencies that require training and passing written tests, enforced by Joint Commission and DC Board of Health regulations. One can debate whether some of those requirements are overkill, but they are requirements, and trying to keep a non-literate worker in compliance with those regulations (and documenting that compliance) would be a major headache.

by DCDoc in DC has almost no white residents without college degrees. (It's a different story for black residents.) on Aug 31, 2016 3:56 pm • linkreport

It turns out that the existing policy results in segregation by race for middle schools than if every student simply attended the in-boundary neighborhood school.
I assume, based on the below chart, this is supposed to say "results in less segregation by race"?

by cyco in What do parents want? A good school, not too far, and some other kids that look like them on Aug 31, 2016 3:39 pm • linkreport

The bridge(s) are undersized and dangerous. Two way traffic on the north span has very little separation. Reversible lanes are nice, but causes backups in the non preferred direction. Dynamic pricing is fine to encourage time shifted trips to ease congestion, but these spans need to be modernized and/or replaced for safety and capacity regardless. This is not a place to worry about induced demand. It is literally the only bay crossing within anywhere near the DC region, and needs to be up to the task.

by Chris T in Breakfast links: Walkability close to work is worth a lot on Aug 31, 2016 3:32 pm • linkreport

@Jasper: Did you recently vacation in Carmel, Indiana?

by FHE in Breakfast links: Walkability close to work is worth a lot on Aug 31, 2016 3:32 pm • linkreport

Not only were there no suburban stations, there were barely any stations at all. By today's standards, that system would cover less than a third of what we would consider downtown. Were the offices that concentrated at the time, or was it just a modest design thrown out as a trial balloon?

by Chris T in Half a century before Metro, the Washington Post proposed building a downtown subway on Aug 31, 2016 3:24 pm • linkreport

We just need to be honest about who will benefit in our project justifications

Proponents have always been honest about this. Current and future residents will benefit. So will the region as a whole.

It's opponents who twist this into screeds about "developers!" and other stakeholders who cloud up the discussion. And then they'll say that its about development and not transportation when no one ever argued that the two aren't linked.

Complaining about developers is odd anyway because its pretty much the only we ever build housing. You can object to that system of course but when it only gets brought up in the context of blocking a transportation project it makes me wonder what the real goal for an opponent is.

by drumz in What's so great about the Purple Line, anyway? on Aug 31, 2016 2:58 pm • linkreport

There was (and still remains the remnants of) an underground streetcar loop in the Bureau of Engraving!

http://newdavesrailpix.com/dca/htm/usr_h_dca_pcc_1482_bureauengravingloop_jt_dct157.htm

by Lord Baltimore in Half a century before Metro, the Washington Post proposed building a downtown subway on Aug 31, 2016 2:56 pm • linkreport

"This is true of every transit project, be it a bridge, a new road, highway, or train route. Developers and builders will hopefully benefit as they develop and build, but unless we're going communist or some other authoritarian system, this is how we build things in this country."

Of course. We just need to be honest about who will benefit in our project justifications and then have a rational nexus back to the funding source. In the case of the Purple Line more logical funding sources would be incremental corridor based sales taxes and property taxes dedicated over the life of the project. To the extent we can be more upfront and honest about these projects perhaps the more of these investments we can move forward.

by Tom in What's so great about the Purple Line, anyway? on Aug 31, 2016 2:39 pm • linkreport

Danke, Jonathan.

Regarding the Bay Bridge, this is a Hogan gimmick, just like lowering the tolls was a gimmick. While I personally believe a third span at the Bay Bridge would be useful, I do not in the slightest think we'll be seeing it anytime in the coming decades. Between the ICC, the 95 ETL's, redecking the Canton Viaduct, and the need for a new Nice Bridge, the MTA is tapped....and Hogan's lowering of tolls actually made that worse instead of better.

by Froggie in Breakfast links: Walkability close to work is worth a lot on Aug 31, 2016 2:37 pm • linkreport

Just to note, development near transit does improve transportation, quite apart from the usage of the new transit line itself. Denser, mixed use development, with design to encourage walkability encourages the shift of trips from car to foot. Denser and mixed use encourage shift of trips from car to bike (that there will be an improved MUT here will add to that effect) Even people who drive, will often have shorter trips, because more activity is close by.

This has been the experience of Arlington with the Orange Line. That part of the county has high usage of walking and biking, and many people who drive make short trips. It had an impact above and beyond the actual Orange line ridership.

The distinction between transportation and TOD is therefore artificial.

by CrossingBrooklynFerry in What's so great about the Purple Line, anyway? on Aug 31, 2016 2:36 pm • linkreport

@DClady and Froggie,

That was an editing error, not Nicole's. I just fixed!

-Jonathan

by Jonathan Neeley in Breakfast links: Walkability close to work is worth a lot on Aug 31, 2016 2:27 pm • linkreport

"The primary driving force is redevelopment along the corridor. The primary beneficiaries will be developers, consultants/contractors and landowners."

This is true of every transit project, be it a bridge, a new road, highway, or train route. Developers and builders will hopefully benefit as they develop and build, but unless we're going communist or some other authoritarian system, this is how we build things in this country.

by Thayer-D in What's so great about the Purple Line, anyway? on Aug 31, 2016 2:26 pm • linkreport

Richard B has a great point. The bridge needs dynamic pricing yesterday. Use any added revenue to pay for the study.

by David C in Breakfast links: Walkability close to work is worth a lot on Aug 31, 2016 2:09 pm • linkreport

@PG2SE: Sigh, this is at a hospital you know where there are drugs, pathogens, blood and other hazardous waste. Being able to read and comprehend warning labels on hazardous materials is essential as your supervisor will not always be hovering over you.

I'd like to think after 12 years of schooling HS graduates would be able to read at a 6th or 8th grade level.

by Ed in DC has almost no white residents without college degrees. (It's a different story for black residents.) on Aug 31, 2016 2:07 pm • linkreport

It's sad that Metro has fooled some into believing they have to choose between quality and accessibility, as if they aren't simultaneously possible. If the system was managed well, with high-quality workers, it could certainly provide both, as evidenced by public transportations systems across the globe. Talk about low expectations......

by The Prophet in Breakfast links: Walkability close to work is worth a lot on Aug 31, 2016 2:05 pm • linkreport

why are we using the gas tax to pay the state share?

Why does it matter? $ are fungible. It all goes to the government where it is mixed in with other money and then money is spent on things. It is only for politics that we decide certain income goes specifically to certain spending. From an accounting standpoint it doesn't really matter.

The primary driving force is redevelopment along the corridor.

While that's one purpose the primary purpose is enhanced transportation choices and improved accessibility. From the DEIS:

"This transit project is intended to provide enhanced transportation choices and improved accessibility for people in the corridor; to support local plans for economic development, transit oriented development and community revitalization; to improve system efficiency and intermodal connectivity; and to help address the region’s air quality issues."

The primary beneficiaries will be developers, consultants/contractors and landowners.

And all the construction workers. And, ostensibly, anyone who lives in those new buildings (or else why would they move there) and everyone who rides the purple line (or why would they do so) and everyone who rides one of the new bike trails and everyone who uses one of the new businesses and everyone who breathes air in the area and everyone who benefits from reduced congestion.

The losers will be ...anyone who needs to drive through the corridor.

Not according to the traffic analysis.

With the new stations will come revised zoning to allow denser development

Meaning less sprawl and the associated negative consequences of it.

A greater proportion of new residents will likely drive.

No. Probably not. People, in general, will not pay a premium to live next to transit and then not use it. They'll be outbid by the people who really want transit.

I would not have a problem with any of this if the people selling the Purple Line were honest and if this was funded 100% by the local community as we see other cities doing around the country with dedicated sales or property taxes.

I think people have been pretty honest. All of your concerns have been addressed. I'm not aware of any city funding LRT at this magnitude entirely with local revenue.

by David C in What's so great about the Purple Line, anyway? on Aug 31, 2016 2:04 pm • linkreport

Check the opening 5 minutes of the 1943 film THE MORE THE MERRIER for more film history about DC housing crisis, WWII variety.

by Welcome All in An alien notion: 800,000 DC residents on Aug 31, 2016 2:00 pm • linkreport

Traffic on the Bay Bridge is getting worse, right after lowering the toll. Correlation? No let's spend billions on another bridge.

by Richard B in Breakfast links: Walkability close to work is worth a lot on Aug 31, 2016 1:53 pm • linkreport

My home and studio are 2 blocks from the New Carrollton end of the line; construction will make my commute miserable for years. I can't wait. We bought there because it's one of the very last affordable places in the DC area but also because this line will grow the value of the area we're investing in. Our neighbors under 50 want it, those looking to grow the community want it.

by Bobcat Arts in What's so great about the Purple Line, anyway? on Aug 31, 2016 1:50 pm • linkreport

DClady is right. The two links under "Will this road be safer?" reference two different intersections along River Rd, not the same intersection as the Breakfast Link blurb suggests.

by Froggie in Breakfast links: Walkability close to work is worth a lot on Aug 31, 2016 1:43 pm • linkreport

The losers will be existing non landowning residents (some of these are lower income individuals) and anyone who needs to drive through the corridor.

Yes. Some renters may have to move. That's a risk when renting no matter what. But they've been developing responses to this (like the purple line compact) in tandem with the technical planning of the line.

Anyone who "needs" to drive through the corridor can rest easy knowing that even if they won't avail themselves of the new transit available that at least many others are. Though I don't know how badly I should feel for someone who moves to an already congested area with a new rail line and yet refuses to take it for whatever reason.

the benefits of enhanced F4/F6 Metrobus service would have better served existing transit dependent residents coupled with a new traffic separated transit connection between Bethesda and Silver Spring.

Except that the service is exceptionally slow while the purple line will be much faster.

I would not have a problem with any of this if the people selling the Purple Line were honest and if this was funded 100% by the local community as we see other cities doing around the country with dedicated sales or property taxes. Let's just be honest.

The local community is funding it. MoCo and PG are putting in a lot of money and so is Maryland and considering we are talking about a huge proportion of the state's population is in these two counties things are staying pretty local.

by drumz in What's so great about the Purple Line, anyway? on Aug 31, 2016 1:35 pm • linkreport

Housing is a topic that I find somewhat boring (I'm mainly here for the transportation side)...but I have to admit the interesting theme to this post definitely drew me in. Kudos to the author for the sci-fi and historical twist to an article with lots of good facts about a modern-day issue!

by Mike T in An alien notion: 800,000 DC residents on Aug 31, 2016 1:33 pm • linkreport

"Cutting Edge Architecture" in Washington: be careful of what you wish for. Pei's Third Church of Christ Scientist was considered cutting edge architecture when it was built; now it sleeps with the fishes. Ditto Breuer's HUD building: still standing, but everyone I know who has ever worked there hates it. On the other hand, at least they made an effort 60 years ago: the residential architecture of "New South West" included Pei's Town Center, Lethbridge, Keyes and Condon's Tiber Island/Carrollsburg Square, and Charles Goodman's River Park. These were serious efforts by the developers of South West to build "cutting edge" residential architecture. by comparison, the apartment blocks rising around Nationals Park are bland and banal in the extreme -- designed by computer. I call it "Rosslyn without the charm."

by Publius Washingtoniensis in Does DC want boring architecture? Sort of. on Aug 31, 2016 1:29 pm • linkreport

Yesterday I thought this being the winner was a bit negative. After all, in DC “numbers go north”. With the sun and shadows, it is pretty easy to work out where one is.

Today, I love that it is the winner. Because it isn't about compass roses. It is about the user experience. Metro is robbing the user of their spatial orientation. There is something wrong with that.

Metro does the equivalent of blindfolding their customers, spinning them around, and asking them to pin the tail on the donkey.

As much as I love the Weese architecture and all the small touches in the design of metro, they failed to provide subtle cues about directional orientation in the underground stations. MetroCenter and L’Enfant Plaza are two of the most confusing. Even as someone who uses L’Enfant Plaza on a regular basis, I’ve gone up an escalator only to find a blank wall where I thought my exit would be several times. I love Gallery Place. The offsetting provides me the cues necessary to know where the Shady Grove trains are without resorting to the signage on every trip.

I’m going to suggest that every station platform has a US Flag or two displayed on the western side, visible from as much of the entire station as possible. Overtime, regular riders will learn the implicit association of the flags and west.

For station exits, many are tunnels with turns and then a 20-30 second escalator ride. Use that escalator time to orientate the customer with the outside world. A big arrow could hang from the canopy pointing north. New users (tourists) are always looking around and up as they stand on the left.

Finally, I’d be curious if there are any consultant reports already done for metro on spatial orientation and customer navigation of stations. I suspect there are already solutions written down and on the shelf. Failing that, hire a retail consulting firm or just call 407-W-DISNEY.

by duncan in And the MetroGreater winner is... on Aug 31, 2016 1:26 pm • linkreport

Originally called the Georgetown Branch Trolley and connecting just Silver Spring and Bethesda this line made sense. Back in the late 80s the line was estimated to cost approximately $70 million. Unfortunately, it was cancelled as a result of the recession in the early 90s (plus pushback from the country club). The project was revived by Governor Glendenning and was originally extended to College Park but then pushed to New Carrollton. The primary driving force for the line is not traffic reduction or even transit ridership (so why are we using the gas tax to pay the state share?). The primary driving force is redevelopment along the corridor. The primary beneficiaries will be developers, consultants/contractors and landowners. Local communities and politicians that benefit from increased property taxes (assuming they are not given away as incentives) will also benefit. The losers will be existing non landowning residents (some of these are lower income individuals) and anyone who needs to drive through the corridor. Existing renters will no doubt be offered some token, but by and large they will be forced into longer commutes and pushed out of the corridor. With the new stations will come revised zoning to allow denser development (politicians who benefit from developer contributions will push this agenda) and only a portion of these new residents will ride the Purple Line. A greater proportion of new residents will likely drive. Having lived and commuted in this corridor for many years the benefits of enhanced F4/F6 Metrobus service would have better served existing transit dependent residents coupled with a new traffic separated transit connection between Bethesda and Silver Spring. Personally, I would not have a problem with any of this if the people selling the Purple Line were honest and if this was funded 100% by the local community as we see other cities doing around the country with dedicated sales or property taxes. Let's just be honest.

by Tom in What's so great about the Purple Line, anyway? on Aug 31, 2016 1:21 pm • linkreport

The Purple Line has potential. Unfortunately, we live in a world where "no good deed goes unpunished," and this thwarts such improvement efforts.

If the Purple Line is well-designed and well-executed, it will enhance the value of land near the stations. Private landowners will reap the lion's share of this increase as a windfall. This is the fuel for land speculation -- a parasitic activity that hurts residents and businesses while inducing sprawl and wasting public infrastructure investments.

Montgomery and Prince George's Counties could turn this around. Reducing the property tax rate on privately-created building values, would make buildings cheaper to construct, improve and maintain. This would be good for residents and businesses alike. Increasing the property tax rate on publicly-created land values would reduce the profits from land speculation. This would reduce the speculative demand for land and thereby help keep land prices more affordable as well.

Thus, without any additional expenditure or any loss of revenue, the counties can shift their property tax off of privately-created building values and onto publicly-created land values. The Purple Line would become financially self-sustaining (at least to a greater degree) and those landowners who receive the most benefit would pay the most for it.

For more info, see "Ethical Economics for Prosperity, Sustainability and Equity" at https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/ethical-economics-prosperity-sustainability-equity-rick-rybeck?trk=pulse_spock-articles

by Rick Rybeck in What's so great about the Purple Line, anyway? on Aug 31, 2016 1:21 pm • linkreport

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