Greater Greater Washington

Breakfast links: Pedal power


Photo by Mr. T in DC on Flickr.
Tourmobile versus pedicabs: Tourmobile is now arguing that the exclusive concession contract they have from by the Park Service prohibits both pedicabs and taxis from serving the Mall. NPS spokesperson Bill Line says since drivers drive poorly, there shouldn't be pedicabs. (Post)

Bike bits: Jack Evans has come out in support of L and M Street cycle tracks (WABA) ... Bicyclists as crime fighters? (Kate Ryan) ... Don't let Virginia (or Maryland or DC) hit bike & ped funds with federal recissions. (FABB) ... A tree fell and killed a cyclist on the C&O Canal during Sunday's fierce storm. (Examiner)

Will McDonnell make Metro appointment?: Bob McDonnell hasn't yet appointed someone to the WMATA board after the Virginia legislature gave him the power. The Board of Trade doesn't want him to wait for someone's term to expire. Arlington might lose its voting seat, but they won't go quietly. (Post)

Columbia Pike residents want everything: Arlington held a week-long design workshop to plan the future of Columbia Pike. Residents have a long wish list that includes streetcars, lower density development and affordable housing. (Examiner)

Light rail maker unveils hybrid streetcar: Streetcar manufacturer Kinkisharo introduced a hybrid streetcar capable of running 5 miles without overhead wires. Designed for the North American market, it might meet DC's wire-free needs. (Mass Transit Magazine)

Maryland gets higher tolls: Maryland is raising tolls on the Bay Bridge and other roads because gas taxes aren't producing enough revenue to cover the Intercounty Connector and other highway needs. (Examiner)

Will transit builder locate near transit?: Bechtel, the engineering and building firm helping to build the Silver Line, is looking to move to Northern Virginia from Frederick. Will they pick an office near the Silver Line? (WBJ)

Happy 4th!: Mayor Gray repeated his call for DC voting rights during 4th of July celebrations. (WUSA9) ... MPD seized about $10,000 in illegal fireworks yesterday. (NBC4)

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Jamie Scott is a resident of Ward 3 in DC and a regular Metrobus commuter. He believes in good government, livable communities and quality public transit. Jamie holds a B.A. in Government from Georgetown University and is currently pursuing a Masters in Public Policy at Georgetown. 

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'Streetcar manufacturer Kinkisharo introduced a hybrid streetcar capable of running 5 miles without overhead wires.'

... AND it reduces capital expenses by reducing the need for catenaries and all that sky-obstructing infrastructure. I first heard about this manufacturer and this product about a year ago. Why hasn't DDOT looked into yet? Why does their RFP only call 'for up to one mile wireless' when the technology for less reliance on wires is out there?

by Lance on Jul 5, 2011 9:19 am • linkreport

@Lance: Presumably because one can't make plans around a product that's not finalized yet. That's a classic way to get into trouble. Also cost - even presuming that the five-mile wireless technology worked perfectly, it may raise the operating cost, which means you don't want to use it if you don't have to, and if you only *need* a mile, then that's what should be in the RFP.

by Distantantennas on Jul 5, 2011 9:48 am • linkreport

Right. The key line from the article:

"Depending on conditions, ameriTRAM (TM) can run on battery power for up to five miles."

Those conditions, I'd assume, mean reducing all extraneous energy usage. That likely means few stops, slow acceleration, level grade, few turns, light passenger loads, maybe even turning off the A/C.

The point being that the conditions necessary to get that five mile mark is unrealistic for regular operations, and you shouldn't design a system that requires that.

Also, you don't want to lock yourself into a proprietary technology (though it doesn't appear that any of these basic systems are all that new, it's regenerative braking and battery storage, basically), hence DDOT is soliciting as many potential manufacturers as they can.

by Alex B. on Jul 5, 2011 9:57 am • linkreport

That tourmobile story is absolutely galling. It's one thing to introduce regulation to the pedicabs but to claim that no sort of taxi service is allowed on the mall is incredibly stupid. Next they'll say that private vehicles shouldn't be allowed because passengers inside may talk about the stuff on the mall.

by Canaan on Jul 5, 2011 10:15 am • linkreport

@Dis.and if you only *need* a mile, then that's what should be in the RFP.

Except we need far more than a mile. The minimum requirement is anywhere in the L'Enfant City. The one mile requirement was a purposeful misreading of the federal requirements by Klein's DDOT. Even current exemption for H St acknowledges that wireless will be required when available ... and that non-availability must be certified something like every three years ...

by Lance on Jul 5, 2011 10:22 am • linkreport

"says since drivers drive poorly, there shouldn't be pedicabs"

Since when did give over the asylum to the insane?

by SJE on Jul 5, 2011 10:23 am • linkreport

I also don't see anything about the Kinkisharo cars using air conditioning. From my understanding, the lack of A/C has been a major hangup in the design of these types of wireless cars. Hopefully they have figured out to run A/C on battery, they'll need it if their test market is Dallas...

by Adam L on Jul 5, 2011 10:27 am • linkreport

@re pedicabs, I was in Va. Beach this weekend were rent-a-pedicabs have made the board walk bike path nearly unusable to bicyclists. I wonder if the pedicabs in DC could pose the same threat to our bike lanes if they become more numerous ... which is a certainty if pedicabbies can pick up tourist fares.

by Lance on Jul 5, 2011 10:31 am • linkreport

Can we please run the Tourmobile out of town, and banish them for good?

Oh, and couldn't you keep an AC compressor running using a flywheel? IMO, heat would be more difficult. (Alternatively, you could aggressively chill/heat a whole bunch of water, and use the residual heat/coolness to provide air conditioning while "off the grid." Only downside is that it adds a lot of weight)

by andrew on Jul 5, 2011 11:14 am • linkreport

Re: no pedicabs, because of poor driving habits of Washingtonians. If only the National Park Service had a police force charged with issuing traffic citations on its property...

by Paul on Jul 5, 2011 11:27 am • linkreport

I think @Lance's comment illustrates why we have a professional class of experts working at DDOT who can make these types of decisions. It's very easy--as a naive layman--to be easily bewitched by the "next big thing".

While it's always fun to play "armchair quarterback", thank goodness the professionals are in charge.

by oboe on Jul 5, 2011 11:36 am • linkreport

The pedi-cabs story defines how stupid the Park Police really are.

Because cars are dangerous, we must harass the bikes.

i have heard this before... oh yeah!

Because Afghanistan has terrorists, we must invade Iraq.

What a world. I love the pedi-cabs, and I think once we destroy the Taxi Commission, then they can be regulated. If the Taxi commission stays, keep pedi-cabs as far away from that corrupt cabal of criminals as is possible.

by greent on Jul 5, 2011 5:44 pm • linkreport

When does the NPS contract with Tourmobile end? That is truly a devil's pact.

by Ward 1 Guy on Jul 6, 2011 12:56 pm • linkreport

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