Greater Greater Washington

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I-87 runs parallel to two other freeways. The only freeway close to the LIE is the GCP, and that's less convenient than the LIE.

by Eric446 in Northern Virginia has $350 million to spend on transportation. Here's what officials want to build on Mar 29, 2015 10:05 am • linkreport

I can't figure out the last photo.

by Mike Carlson in Backward and forward in the Flickr pool on Mar 29, 2015 8:22 am • linkreport

56/63 Metro populations

by Sam D in Get your March Madness on with two games that test your city smarts on Mar 29, 2015 1:47 am • linkreport

Even if pictures aren't being taken, the children are still being seen by public eyes. I've seen so many of the same kids on my morning commute everyday, that I have begun to recognize them around town. This type of facial recognition by strangers in public should be banned. Maybe all children should be veiled in public, as a precaution? ;)

by The Truth™ in Backward and forward in the Flickr pool on Mar 28, 2015 10:59 pm • linkreport

i'm calling my sims...sims on Youtube and wherever else because this is the true city building game i've been waiting for and was so disappointed in the direction ea took. so defiantly and smugly im calling them Sims.

by jisgr8 in Cities Skylines takes over SimCity's mantle as top city-builder on Mar 28, 2015 9:56 pm • linkreport

Curious where that last photo is...guessing it's the end of a Metro train just after it entered a tunnel.

by Froggie in Backward and forward in the Flickr pool on Mar 28, 2015 4:08 pm • linkreport

Tolling would be a logical means of funding.

Having it with only 2 lanes per direction would neither be required nor desirable.

There are the merges at each end from the Whitehurst and to the Center Leg.

And the right of way between the building lines is sufficient to accommodate an upwards of 3 lanes in one direction and 4 in the other (to better handle the incoming merges) with full shoulders. (The 1971 plan was for 3 lanes per direction with full shoulders).

Building it to accommodate an additional WMATA line would be a worthy concept, though I would imagine that could require lowering the grade of the highway tunnel if there are to be WMATA stations along the downtown portion of the route.

Because of the new development just east of Mt Vernon Square, the tunnel would have to go directly beneath the Carnegie Library that would be supported by a new underground girdle.

In any even, such a project would be a boon towards a proper dense yet comprehensive transportation New York Avenue corridor with box tunnel I-66 and WMATA subway.

As for trucks, I believe the under construction drilled Seattle 99 tunnel is scheduled to permit trucks, though perhas not HAZMATS.

by Douglas Andrew Willinger in Here are some original answers to whichWMATA week 44 on Mar 28, 2015 3:36 pm • linkreport

@aces +1

by Tina in Backward and forward in the Flickr pool on Mar 28, 2015 3:21 pm • linkreport

Picking up on the 66 tunnel for K Street: In exchange for a tolled, 2 lane (each way, but w/ slips for accidents) tunnel underneath DC (would this even be allowed in a post 9/11 world? Likely no trucks that's for sure), would there also be support for a new Metro tunnel?

by JDC in Here are some original answers to whichWMATA week 44 on Mar 28, 2015 12:30 pm • linkreport

GGW should do an article on the money train. I've seen many references to them, but can't find a good single consolidated source.

by Rob in Here's where Metro railcars go after they die on Mar 28, 2015 3:27 am • linkreport

Everybody on that bus is SOMEONE's child!

by aces in Backward and forward in the Flickr pool on Mar 28, 2015 12:50 am • linkreport

I counted 6 kids if you include the teenager.

by Tina in Backward and forward in the Flickr pool on Mar 28, 2015 12:12 am • linkreport

Its strange how we keep seeing this same old dogma against expanding highways, never-mind the dynamics of different factors as development and numbers of interchanges.

Just look to the greater New York metro area and compare Westchester County's I-87 and Long Island's LIE. Both are 6 lanes, 3 in each direction, yet while the LIE is often jammed, I-87 is free flowing.

by Douglas Andrew Willinger in Northern Virginia has $350 million to spend on transportation. Here's what officials want to build on Mar 27, 2015 9:59 pm • linkreport

I like what I've seen so far, but I'm hoping it improves with time. Already modders are adding a huge array of of improvements. One of my favorites lets you zone along pedestrian paths that only service vehicles can drive on.

I'm looking forward to expanded transit options, the subways are fun, and bus routing is interesting, but I'd really like to see streetcars, and transitions from surface to underground transit. Trains can only be above ground and metros only underground right now. Also, better train stations, the current setup only allows 2 track stations.

What I'd love to see is prebuilt versions of major cities, with a few landmark buildings, so I could model my fantasy maps for new subways.

by RailPhilly in Cities Skylines takes over SimCity's mantle as top city-builder on Mar 27, 2015 7:24 pm • linkreport

There are a lot of kids (more than two) in the picture, and I think that's okay, but it shows how important our bus system is to families. Maybe we need more frequent buses on this route.

It's a lovely picture, IMO.

by Nancy in Backward and forward in the Flickr pool on Mar 27, 2015 7:17 pm • linkreport

Always amazing to read people saying we can't do X because car drivers can't be trusted to follow the law. At least this time it's something nice for car drivers that we're not doing. Okay, car drivers can't follow the law? Let them enjoy searching for parking then. Whatever.

by JR in Breakfast links: Happy birthday Metro on Mar 27, 2015 7:03 pm • linkreport

@analyst:
I read about changes coming to the Tysons circulator buses. Right now I do not ride as they take too long to use. The new route coming to Jones Branch is going to be great (the new 424 FairfaxConnector). Do you happen to know when those changes are happening?

by JJ2 in Tax benefit changes and better options are hurting transit ridership on Mar 27, 2015 5:36 pm • linkreport

Nice read, enjoyed it. It is a remarkably interesting structure. One that every can get behind.

The former police warehouse in the back of the photo looks amazing.

by h st ll in Anacostia’s larger-than-life Big Chair is full of neighborhood history on Mar 27, 2015 5:20 pm • linkreport

I can ride Greenbelt to Farragut North on my bike for about the cost of an extra breakfast burrito, $4.50, which is exactly what Metro charges for the trip in rush hour I think. Roughly cost neutral. Since can't imagine sitting in traffic for any price, even free parking wouldn't change the bike vs. Metro equation.

by Greenbelt in Tax benefit changes and better options are hurting transit ridership on Mar 27, 2015 5:17 pm • linkreport

In response to mch, there are *two* kids in the picture. Not an 'awful lot' unless you count the baby facing the other way or the girl who is mostly obstructed. None of them are close enough to the camera to be easily identifiable. But even if they were, you're right - they are in public and it's completely legal to take their picture.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photography_and_the_law

by Brian in Backward and forward in the Flickr pool on Mar 27, 2015 5:00 pm • linkreport

The first photo has an awful lot of children in it. As a parent, I'd really hate to have my kid's image put on the internet without permission. (Even if it's totally legal).

by mch in Backward and forward in the Flickr pool on Mar 27, 2015 4:46 pm • linkreport

Metro is too expensive for people who don't have the transit benefit.

And it's miserable on weekends. It once took me 90 minutes to travel from Capitol South to Bethesda.

by Capt. Hilts in Tax benefit changes and better options are hurting transit ridership on Mar 27, 2015 4:01 pm • linkreport

One thing I like about this treatment is that the curb cuts and crosswalk striping apparently line up, and seem to be wide enough for two-way traffic. This is in contrast to most of the curb cuts and crosswalk striping in Montgomery County, which is haphazard and arbitrary. For example, see part of the Bethesda Trolley Trail route along 355: https://goo.gl/maps/bwfS0 .

by Nancy in A bikeable suburban highway? One Ohio town pulled it off on Mar 27, 2015 4:00 pm • linkreport

Brent's example (CH to Greensboro) speaks to the dearth of proper two-way regional rail. A commuter like him would ideally take a bus (streetcar?!?) to Union Station, take an outbound train which called at Rosslyn, Ballston, Falls Church and then Tysons, where he would take one of their spiffy, never-fail circulators to his job.

by analyst in Tax benefit changes and better options are hurting transit ridership on Mar 27, 2015 3:49 pm • linkreport

There are a lot of these in Oregon, for example the suburbs of Portland. There are a few in Colorado as well.

While the road design may be sub-optimal, roads like these are where lanes are most sorely needed, as in suburban neighborhoods like these, there is frequently there is no other way to get where you're going.

by anony in A bikeable suburban highway? One Ohio town pulled it off on Mar 27, 2015 3:28 pm • linkreport

I don't quite understand how asking a commenter to provide a reason for a claim constitutes "pedantry." Did I break some unwritten policy to never question any statements made by David Alpert?

I do, however, agree with renegade09. I was once told by Matt Johnson, "The moderation is not directed at the content of your comments, but rather at the way you frame your comments and the way they cause disruption."

How is such a statement "impartial"? If there was no problem with the "content" of my on-topic comments, why does the "way they are framed" matter and what are the metrics? And how can on-topic comments be blamed for causing "disruption"?

I appreciate the apparent willingness of the editorial board to moderate comments more fairly, because it is more than evident that that was not being done in the past.

by Brett M in We're revising our comment policy. Here's what's changing on Mar 27, 2015 3:24 pm • linkreport

Would love to hear more from unsafety culture on a regular basis. However, I would disagree with you on a point. To my reading, the mainstream media (post and some blogs) are fairly sympathetic to metro. I don't see enough hard-hitting stories about the lack of safety at all. They may be neutral or slightly negative toward the union, but that's just my reading. Now the readers of those publications and blogs are another matter, and I agree with you. Many of those who bother to commentate yes, they are more often than not negative on the unions. Having worked for one or two DC agencies, I recognize the evaluation system as pretty pathetic and well, just kinda corrupt.

by Jazzy in Breakfast links: Happy birthday Metro on Mar 27, 2015 2:37 pm • linkreport

There has also been a secular decline in the transit subsidy for federal employees induced by the smart card. When feds were getting metro checks, one could carry over the subsidy during months when one came into the office fewer days (the excess was taxable income but that's another story) Now, you forfeit that part of the subsidy.

Fares seem to be riding faster than the inflationary increases in the subsidy as well.

by JimT in Tax benefit changes and better options are hurting transit ridership on Mar 27, 2015 2:36 pm • linkreport

While surge pricing for parking has been successful in LA and San Francisco, I can't see it working here. Our local drivers are just so much worse than anything they have to put up with California; I expect that once parking rates are allowed to fluctuate we'll have an epidemic of motorists driving into pedestrians, each other, and the Potomac when they try to check the current parking rates on their phones using one hand and both eyes at 45 MPH.

(Yes, they *should* come to a complete stop before checking, but any proposal that relies upon local motorists doing what they *should* do is doomed to failure. Whether it's due to ignorance, incompetence, or malice, our local motorists are just embarrassingly bad.)

by cminus in Breakfast links: Happy birthday Metro on Mar 27, 2015 2:30 pm • linkreport

It's also explained by WMATA's price structure. If every trip was $2.75, like NYC, you wouldn't have benefits maxed out by day 11

People are ditching WMATA not only because of bad service and safety, but because driving, Uber, and other options are also price competitive

by Jack Jackson in Tax benefit changes and better options are hurting transit ridership on Mar 27, 2015 2:23 pm • linkreport

The claim that the transit subsidy was reduced is a bit overstated. Since its inception almost 20 years ago, it has been about half the parking subsidy for all but the first three years of the Obama Administration, plus parts of the last two years. Several federal agencies only provided the full subsidy for the three years during which there was also a Social Security payroll tax reduction if 2%.

by JimT in Tax benefit changes and better options are hurting transit ridership on Mar 27, 2015 2:22 pm • linkreport

How can Requa claim over 80% of employees feel comfortable reporting safety concerns when the response rate to the survey was only 68%? Does he mean 80% of those respondents, or did he extrapolate that figure?

I am a Metro employee. I was at a division location and observed a supervisor of about 30 people introduce and distribute the survey materials at a meeting. The supervisor then proceeded to tell all employees they were to complete the survey immediately and return it to him before leaving the meeting. Each employee was then awarded a bonus equivalent to one hour of their base straight time pay.

The survey was supposed to be anonymous and voluntary. Each location was provided a locked dropbox for employees to deposit the survey at their convenience. This procedure was not followed at the location I was visiting.

Does anyone really think that group of employees responded honestly? Some of them knew unfavorable work assignments will result if the supervisor didn't like something he saw in their response. Others probably just mindlessly checked whatever box so they could get the bonus.

How many other divisions and departments did this go on at?

@tysonsengineer

I'm pretty sure if a manager did something the media and the riders and everyone else in the area would come to protection of employee if its actually about bad practices/safety.
Really? The same unsympathetic media and public than villainizes union members for being incompetent and unfirable? Doubtful. Metro's managers would simply characterize the employee as a problem and the public would eat it up. Get real.

by unsafetyculture in Breakfast links: Happy birthday Metro on Mar 27, 2015 2:15 pm • linkreport

I use the pre-tax transit benefit. What causes me to wind up driving isn't the quality of the Metro experience, it's the extraordinarily high cost of using the system. The price of a round trip from Columbia Heights to Greensboro is $10.70 a day, which is simply insane. That $130 can only get you half-way through the month is the issue.

To be fair, that is 15 miles. $5.35 is about what that would cost for most cars to do that trip. It's a little more, but mass transit doesnt work for all trips.

by Richard in Tax benefit changes and better options are hurting transit ridership on Mar 27, 2015 2:15 pm • linkreport

As a child we went shopping in the city many Saturdays on the near side of the Anacostia River. I can not remember where we went or why. All I remember is the really big chair.

by JimT in Anacostia’s larger-than-life Big Chair is full of neighborhood history on Mar 27, 2015 2:15 pm • linkreport

It's easy:

200% market value should be the standard offer when pushing out real owner/residents.

150% market value for all others.

by The Truth™ in Breakfast links: This land is my land on Mar 27, 2015 2:10 pm • linkreport

Is that not an offroad protected bike lane? It's separated from the cars and pedestrians.

by BikeLaneExpress in A bikeable suburban highway? One Ohio town pulled it off on Mar 27, 2015 2:08 pm • linkreport

ETA: I meant to also include a link to the city's bikeways plan.

http://atfiles.org/files/pdf/ColumbusBikePlanMap.pdf

by WestEgg in A bikeable suburban highway? One Ohio town pulled it off on Mar 27, 2015 1:52 pm • linkreport

Having grown up in Columbus, I'm impressed by efforts like this. Yes, it pales in comparison to the strides we've made here, but attitudes are very different there. It's very much a "car town." I remember when sharrows first appeared in my parents' neighborhood I had to explain what they were and what they meant at least two or three times. Mom still gets frustrated when cyclists won't get out of her way. (They don't have to, mom!) It'll take time to change habits and attitudes -- let's face it, drivers need to be nudged into sharing the road. Greenbelt and kob (above) are correct -- this is a solid start.

by WestEgg in A bikeable suburban highway? One Ohio town pulled it off on Mar 27, 2015 1:51 pm • linkreport

Judging by the similar numbers for weekdays 17/19/20, it seems like there are 2500-3000 riders who abandon the system after weekday 16.

Like I said, it would be easier to figure out if you had access to the individual smartcard data like they do to look at it on a person level.

by MLD in Tax benefit changes and better options are hurting transit ridership on Mar 27, 2015 1:36 pm • linkreport

Additionally, what if the 20% of employees afraid to report safety issues are concentrated in a particular department that has a lot of safety issues?

I would imagine that the white-collar workers that work in the JGB don't have any trouble reporting that they saw someone use a vacuum cleaner with frayed insulation.

by Michael Perkins in Breakfast links: Happy birthday Metro on Mar 27, 2015 1:27 pm • linkreport

Why the fence?

by hate to ask in Anacostia’s larger-than-life Big Chair is full of neighborhood history on Mar 27, 2015 1:22 pm • linkreport

@MLD -- those plots show only the differences. They do not the total numbers, nor the scatter.

For instance, for the "net change in total ridership" plot, the change for weekday 16 is about -8500, which is many times that of other days. It is an outlier.

Perhaps a close examination of what was occurring those days -- Tuesday Sept 24, 2013 vs Tuesday, Sept 23 2014 -- could provide an explanation. It may be a glitch related to weather, or something like that, and not at all related to the drop in transit benefits.

by muskellunge in Tax benefit changes and better options are hurting transit ridership on Mar 27, 2015 1:21 pm • linkreport

A VRE monthly ticket from DC to Woodbridge, VA is $232.40. So, the $130 subsidy to cover it. Also, some VRE riders transfer to Metro. So, we need the subsidy at $240 like parking in. Parking at VRE stations is free. It's frustrating that congress has not passed a bill to bring back up

by Davin Peterson in Tax benefit changes and better options are hurting transit ridership on Mar 27, 2015 1:12 pm • linkreport

@charlie

The other charts in the PlanItMetro post show that the uptick in trips paid for out of cash are not enough to make up the difference. So yes, some people are riding metro for part of the month and then driving (or taking another mode) for another part.

One thing they could do, since they have smartcard data, is see who those people are who are using up smartbenefits and then not riding, and what trips they take. My guess is it is likely reverse commuters with cheap parking at their workplaces.

by MLD in Tax benefit changes and better options are hurting transit ridership on Mar 27, 2015 12:56 pm • linkreport

Considering the article says that price adjustments will be made quarterly, this sounds a LOT like the SF program. It doesn't sound like prices will actually be adjusted in real time.

That's what I recall from the ANC meeting - so the "real time pricing" language in the article confused me.

by jeffb in Breakfast links: Happy birthday Metro on Mar 27, 2015 12:52 pm • linkreport

Now that's how a bike lane should be done. Bikes should not have to share the road with cars or pedestrians.

by Banana_Bread in A bikeable suburban highway? One Ohio town pulled it off on Mar 27, 2015 12:51 pm • linkreport

what the graph claims to show is a decline in trips paid for with smart benefits.

And your issue with this is... what?

Did you click through to the source of that chart? Here's the link:
http://planitmetro.com/2015/01/12/rail-ridership-down-as-smartbenefits-run-out/

The short summary: SmartBenefits down at the end of the month; some cash fare increases at that time; but a net overall loss.

So, I'll ask again: what is misleading about this?

by Alex B. in Tax benefit changes and better options are hurting transit ridership on Mar 27, 2015 12:51 pm • linkreport

I use the pre-tax transit benefit. What causes me to wind up driving isn't the quality of the Metro experience, it's the extraordinarily high cost of using the system. The price of a round trip from Columbia Heights to Greensboro is $10.70 a day, which is simply insane. That $130 can only get you half-way through the month is the issue.

by Brent in Tax benefit changes and better options are hurting transit ridership on Mar 27, 2015 12:49 pm • linkreport

@AlexB; what the graph claims to show is a decline in trips paid for with smart benefits.

by charlie in Tax benefit changes and better options are hurting transit ridership on Mar 27, 2015 12:45 pm • linkreport

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