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Breakfast links: Death and near-death

Photo by JamesCalder on Flickr.
Orange Line train hits man: A man was struck by an Orange Line train at Clarendon, snarling the evening commute for Michael Perkins and many others. The man apparently jumped in front of the train, but survived. (Post)

Residents want action after ped crash: After a police detective hit a woman in a crosswalk, residents call for a safety review of 35th and Wisconsin. The recent Glover Park study addresses this, but changes haven't yet been funded. (Patch)

Frank Kameny dies: Gay rights activist Frank Kameny died at 86. He fought for equality since being fired from the federal government in 1957 for being gay. (Metro Weekly)

Commission suggests Md. gas tax hike: A Maryland "blue ribbon" commission recommends increasing the gas tax by 5¢ each year for 3 years, bringing it back in line with inflation, and resurrecting the "lockbox" proposal that some have criticized. Would the money go to MARC and the Purple Line as well as roads? (Examiner)

Don't give MWAA to McDonnell too: Many leaders oppose a proposal by Frank Wolf to give the state majority control of the airports authority. The push started when the MWAA board supported a pricier underground Dulles Metro station. (Examiner)

Bill pushes CBAs for Walmart & others: A Montgomery County bill would require large big-box stores to negotiate a Community Benefits Agreement with community groups (or try). A similar bill has gone nowhere in the DC Council. (WBJ, City Paper)

Is the Artisphere good?: The Artisphere turned one. It can help enliven Rosslyn, but not alone. Or is it just a waste of taxpayer money? (City Paper, ARLnow)

Views of the occupation: NPS was right not to arresst Occupy DC protestors, says the Post, especially since they've been peaceful and clean. 8 DC Councilmembers agree. Eric Cantor stopped calling them a "mob," but thinks they're worse than the Tea Party.

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David Alpert is the founder of Greater Greater Washington and its board president. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He now lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle. 


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While I understand the gravity of the situation at Clarendon - I think WMATA's response was poor. Trapping riders on a train for 75 minutes (it has been reported) is a recipe for further emergencies. I get the impression that that train was at least partially in the station - and therefore those people could have been offloaded. WMATA trains during rush hour are sardine cans.

WMATA's response in Rosslyn was inexcusable. By now WMATA should have most scenarios planned out. This was a foreseeable situation. It was an avoidable situation. WMATA should have stopped bring people into Rosslyn - it should have had staff working the escalators so that they were operated safely and not overloaded - and continued to operate.

Its not bad enough that WMATA keeps having problems; but WMATA's response to the problems that arise seems to be regularly problematic.

by Wilbur on Oct 12, 2011 8:55 am • linkreport

Yes, the Rosslyn situation might have deserved a link.

Here in one:

It isn't McDonnell taking over the MWAA. It is Virginia getting more seats -- reflecting that all the assets of the airport authority are in one state. That it should be an interstate compact is silly.

by charlie on Oct 12, 2011 9:20 am • linkreport

I do a reverse commute that involves taking the metro from WFC to Courthouse in the evening rush hour. I can say that at least the announcements on the train from WFC were pretty clear--that there would be no service between Ballston and Rosslyn. I just got off in Ballston and walked home. At least it was a nice night!

Clarendon station was completely blocked off with police tape, and the entire Arlington County FD along with half of the police department seemed to be standing around, mostly directing traffic around all of the fire trucks and police cars.

But it didn't seem that WMATA had anyone stationed at the top of the escalators in Ballston. I also didn't notice any employees standing around the Virginia Square or Courthouse station entrances, and what I've read online suggests that it was the same sort of thing at Rosslyn.

Why on Earth is there no plan to put employees at the entrance, and have some big signs alerting everyone to the situation before they try to get into the station? Announcements over the intercom don't cut it, since the majority of people will never be able to understand those. Employees standing around waiting for people to ask them what's going on are also insufficient. How hard is this to figure out?

by Gray on Oct 12, 2011 9:42 am • linkreport

Agree with Charlie. Maryland has complete control over BWI. Why shouldn't Virginia have slightly more than 50% control over MWAA and why should Maryland have fewer seats than DC when far more Marylanders use the two MWAA airports than DC residents by virtue of its size. Federal money gets pumped into all airport construction across the country, not just the DC area airports. Virginians and Marylanders make up the vast majority of Toll Road payers, which is under the jurisdiction of MWAA, which in turn was turned over to them by VDOT in hopes it would expedite the Metro extension.

by xtr657 on Oct 12, 2011 9:48 am • linkreport

Although I've generally been an advocate of local control, I agree with Charlie on MWAA. MD/DC shouldn't have so much control over MWAA. If MD has complete control over BWI, it's reasonable that VA would have more control over its airports.

by Falls Church on Oct 12, 2011 9:53 am • linkreport

Maybe I got to rosslyn a little later but it seemed to me like I/and others knew that we were to go up and get on shuttle buses. I can't speak for those in the Clarendon station but it looked like wmata was moving quickly to move people down to ballston.

Also props to the Art bus 41 driver who helped a bunch of confused commuters with directions to the ballston metro from the stop. I was hoping to get on because its a local bus for me anyway but the bus was filled with people who had never seen arlington above ground.

by Canaan on Oct 12, 2011 10:07 am • linkreport

Mm. I'm not sure what the offloading policy is, but a few weeks ago, I got stuck on a train that was pulled about a quarter of the way into Clarendon when it broke down.

Numerous WMATA engineers were walking through the doors, and in a few cases, down onto the tracks. However, we weren't allowed to exit onto the platforms, and were instead confined to the crowded platform.

Seems like this would be a fairly simple policy to change.

by andrew on Oct 12, 2011 10:09 am • linkreport

Last night was an absolute nightmare getting back to DC from Arlington. Not only was the Metro not working for a while, but congestion made getting through Rosslyn near impossible. Shuttles to replace trains ran infrequently and were packed when they arrived at Clarendon and Court House stations. In fact, a friendly ART Driver told us to get on as he was going to Rosslyn, but couldn't take us any further. Of course, no Metro employees on the surface to answer questions.

From there, squeezed onto a 38B to Farragut North. My normally 30 minute trip lasted nearly 90.

This illustrates the need for an additional Potomac Metro crossing. Come on Blue Line!

by John M on Oct 12, 2011 10:55 am • linkreport

@JohnM; it is a pleasant 30-45 minute walk from Rosslyn to Farragut. Once you cross the river, you've got all sort of buses taking you in.

by charlie on Oct 12, 2011 11:00 am • linkreport


Yes, I'm sure I could've walked, but I also had a large item with me and try telling 50+ year olds to walk three miles at night in heels/dress shoes to Farragut. If I was expecting to walk, I would've brought sneakers...

by John M on Oct 12, 2011 12:19 pm • linkreport

Cantor is full of Santorum.

by crin on Oct 12, 2011 12:29 pm • linkreport

@ John M:In fact, a friendly ART Driver told us to get on as he was going to Rosslyn, but couldn't take us any further.

While WMATA's behavior during standard crises like this is abysmal, it seems rather unprepared that you were not aware of the fact metro also runs a bus system. There are many buses from Arlington to DC. You could have taken any of them.

You could also have hopped on a Blue line in Rosslyn, gone to the Pentagon, hopped on a Yellow Line into DC, and then hopped on the Red line to Farragut North at the Gallery Place.

Furthermore, once in Rosslyn, you could have taken a CaBi and biked to Farragut. Or a cab.

Again, WMATA will not help you. But that's no surprise. And there many are other modes of transportation than metrotrains. There are buses, there are cabs, there are bikes and you can walk (assuming you are not injured or handicapped).

@ crin:Cantor is full of Santorum.

Let me add a link to that inappropriate comment for those who don't know what Santorum is...

by Jasper on Oct 13, 2011 3:37 pm • linkreport

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