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Breakfast links: McDonnell's bad ideas


Photo by Gage Skidmore on Flickr.
VA transportation bill marches on: Governor McDonnell's bad transportation funding plan is proceeding apace. It cleared its committee with few changes and the full House should vote on on the plan next week. (Examiner)

DIY transportation funding: Think you can design a better transportation funding plan than Governor McDonnell? Then check out these interactive spreadsheets that let users design their own 20-year Virginia transportation plan. (The Dixie Pig, Froggie)

No one wants a new toll road: Bob McCartney dubs Governor McDonnell's proposed US 460 toll road bypass near Hampton Roads a "Road for Nobody," while it diverts funds from more-needed projects around the state. (Post)

Costly U-turns: Drivers making U-turns across the Pennsylvania Ave. bike lanes can now be fined $100 since DDOT's 30-day education program has finished. (WAMU)

Green Line fire causes delays: A track fire near the Anacostia Metro stranded 2000 Green Line riders yesterday. Some riders even ventured on to the tracks themselves, even though they were still electrified. (Post)

Group opposes opponents: An anonymous resident has created a new civic group, called "In My Backyard DC," to fight against the constant opposition to new housing and businesses, and to oppose a liquor license moratorium for U Street. (Borderstan)

Another day, another taxi credit card delay: Credit card readers in DC taxis will once again be delayed, this time until May,because the taxi commission chose the standard regulatory process instead of the faster emergency process. (Post)

Country roads: Some rural Virginia lawmakers say the 3-foot passing law would make it impossible for drivers to pass bikes on narrow country roads. (WAMU)

Car-free pays: Being car-free in the DC area can save almost $10,000 a year including gas, insurance, and maintenance. It's not an option for everyone, though, since many areas lack good public transportation. (WTOP)

And...: The BBC will air a documentary on urban planning. (Next City) ... Prince Charles and Camilla take the Tube in celebration of its 150 years. (Independent, Steve S.) ... What people in 1967 thought the future would be like. (US News)

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Steven Yates grew up in Indiana before moving to DC in 2002 to attend college at American University. He currently lives in Southwest DC.  

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Not having to deal with DC cabs is why I have Arlington Red Top in my phone directory. I call them as I get off the train at Union Station and by the time I get out to the front of the station, there is usually one waiting. I now have a driver who doesn't give me any BS, takes credit cards without issue and knows how to get me back to Arlington. And the car is usually not a rattletrap.

by ksu499 on Jan 31, 2013 8:40 am • linkreport

Today's links should show some insight as to what's going on in Gov. McDonnell's brain.

Literally billions to build roads that will shave off minutes for trucking companies is a prudent investment that will certainly pay off no matter what the initial investment.

Meanwhile those liberals in Northern Va. have the gall to ask for more money to fix their transportation problems? How absurd, they have a metro while Roanoke doesn't What more could they need? They should be happen with a plan that doesn't actually raise any money and is dependent on the federal government to work.

by drumz on Jan 31, 2013 8:49 am • linkreport

And re: country roads.

That's using the specifics of the code to make an argument that no one is making. If you're so worried about crossing the precious double yellow line then write in something to the effect that provides exemptions to crossing it. Include bikes, and farm vehicles and whatever else you can think of. It's not that hard.

by drumz on Jan 31, 2013 8:50 am • linkreport

The 1967 future article made my day. Thanks!

by Alan B. on Jan 31, 2013 8:51 am • linkreport

I grew up in Norfolk, within sight of NIT. I assure you from experience that both the road and rail system is extremely burdened with many, many billions of dollars' worth of cargo traffic and will only be moreso when the Panama Canal is widened. Hampton Roads is the only east-coast harbor that would be capable of handling vessels that heavy and deep. Not even New York can do that.

Additionally, the region does not have very many quality road linkages to inland areas. There is no direct route to Raleigh, and 460 and 58 need serious improvement, especially in the face of increasingly severe hurricanes and growing subsidence problems in the most low-lying (and incidentally also most densely-populated) parts of the region. Better roads greatly assist evacuation in the likely threat of a major hurricane.

But yet again, it appears that the millions of people who live in and sometimes have to very quickly get out of the Hampton Roads area are "nobody" to a northern Virginian who has probably never even seen any of the port facilities or evacuated a storm of that magnitude.

by J.D. Hammond on Jan 31, 2013 9:08 am • linkreport

@J.D.

I am quite familiar with the area, having gone to school down there. Sure, lets improve the current 460, but other than that, none of your arguments hold weight. You want to build a 1.4 billion road for truckers, (when that volume of containers is considerably more efficient to ship via train) and to use once every five years when there is actually an urgent need to evacuate.

Spend half as much, and put 100 million into 460, and 500 million into vastly improving the train connections into Norfolk. All the while, vastly improving Amtrak's ability to operate, and as such, likely taking a small amount of strain off of 64 and 95, which are the actual congested corridors.

by Kyle-W on Jan 31, 2013 9:15 am • linkreport

J.D. that is misleading. The Port of New York and New Jersey is actively expanding and will be able to accomodate the increased tanker size in the near future. Cargo will go where the demand is not just where the port is convenient.

by Alan B. on Jan 31, 2013 9:20 am • linkreport

Basically what Kyle-W said but the point isn't the need for a new freight link per se but the governor's attitude wrt to how the state views transportation. He's "pro-business" but apparently can't consider the needs of people in congested areas who work and shop at those businesses.

But hey, this road will be tolled, surely that justifies the $1.4Bn. People are already used to sitting in traffic they'll learn how to deal.

Plus it's not only this road, it's also the charlottesville bypass that pretty much no one wants and the supposedly brilliant idea that tolling 95 at the NC border will solve a litany of problems.

Or you could

by drumz on Jan 31, 2013 9:26 am • linkreport

RE: Country Roads; Passing Bikes

We have horse & buggies back home... they're a touch bigger than bikes; we have narrow roads all over the place; we're in the rolling foothills of the Appalachians; and yet... somehow we manage to pass them. It just takes goodwill and patience.

by Bossi on Jan 31, 2013 9:34 am • linkreport

I can imagine PANYNJ is expanding, but will they be able to accommodate post-Panamax traffic as soon as the expansion opens?

I agree: the new 29 bypass in Charlottesville is an unnecessary road. Similarly, there are several road projects or proposals in Hampton Roads that are also unnecessary and, I would argue, purely benefit the growth machine: the 17 bypass and the Southeastern Parkway, certainly. And I think Kyle is right that the 460 project could have been much better planned.

But I don't understand why Kyle would say that there's no reason to plan for a Category 5 storm after Katrina, unless one strategic port community of 1.6 million residents mainly below sea level is worth writing off in the increasingly likely event and one isn't.

by J.D. Hammond on Jan 31, 2013 9:39 am • linkreport

To Mr. JD Hammond: Regarding Norfolk and Raleigh; NCDOT is currently pushing a proposal to designate the US64-US17 corridor via Rocky Mount, Williamston, and Elizabeth City as Future I-44.

by orulz on Jan 31, 2013 9:42 am • linkreport

Yes, that was the point of me posting that. Do you really think the third largest port in the country was going to miss that? Also according to what I've read Baltimore is expected to be ready. Both are much closer to major NE markets that Norfolk.

by Alan B. on Jan 31, 2013 9:49 am • linkreport

Look at the bright side of McDonnell's sales tax and expanded transportation tax plan. It has $102 million to extend Amtrak service to Roanoke, $79 million to for capacity and trip time improvements to Norfolk for what should be 3 daily trains, in the FY2016-18 period $35 million for improvements for the Newport News route & $47 million for DC to Richmond track improvements. It also has $300 million for Phase 2 of the Silver Line, although I can see that getting dropped by the rural representatives.

If the plan was to apply the sales tax or a wholesale tax to gas, I would not have as much of a problem with the whole plan. But this bit in the Examiner article: "Natural gas cars would now be exempt from the $100 annual fee charged to owners of alternative-energy vehicles." is ridiculous. Is the tax bill being directly written by the oil & gas companies?

by AlanF on Jan 31, 2013 9:50 am • linkreport

I can imagine PANYNJ is expanding, but will they be able to accommodate post-Panamax traffic as soon as the expansion opens?

I don't know about PANYNJ but the port of Baltimore is well on its way to preparing for a post-panamax future. See below:

The Port of Baltimore is gearing up for super post-panamax with the arrival of four supersized container cranes this week – a move that will see the port being able to handle ships from the Panama Canal once it is widened. Baltimore is one of only two US East Coast ports to have a 50 foot berth and 50 foot channel, two key factors in attracting some of the largest container ships in the world.

http://www.portstrategy.com/news101/world/americas/baltimore-goes-super-post-panamax

But I don't understand why Kyle would say that there's no reason to plan for a Category 5 storm after Katrina

I believe he was saying to expand passenger train capacity as an alternative to evacuating by road. A train track can move 30,000 people per hour while a highway lane only moves 2,000 people per hour. So, trains would be a great way for a rapid evacuation.

by Falls Church on Jan 31, 2013 9:58 am • linkreport

* correction: a highway lane moves 2,000 cars per hour. At three people per car, it would be 6,000 people per hour.

by Falls Church on Jan 31, 2013 10:00 am • linkreport

Turning 17 into 44? That seems silly. The original plan was always 58-18-US64, but Jesse Helms kept scuttling it.

by J.D. Hammond on Jan 31, 2013 10:03 am • linkreport

58-13-US64, rather. My bad.

by J.D. Hammond on Jan 31, 2013 10:04 am • linkreport

RE: Country Roads; Passing Bikes

You kind of wonder if people think these things through. Is this lawmaker actually suggesting that passing cars should be allowed to pass within any distance at all of a cyclist, no matter how little? Really?

My own personal experience is that kind of thing leads to a cyclist getting knocked down.

by Crickey7 on Jan 31, 2013 10:13 am • linkreport

@J.D. Hammond, if you read the McCartney article, not even the Hampton Roads Partnership thinks this should be a priority. And, to the extent that 460 is congested, it's got nothing on any one of several Northern Virginia roads that are going begging for improvements -- the state's own projections for the total volume on both 460 and the new toll road by 2035 is less than one-third of what Braddock Road is carrying today, yet Fairfax's request to expand Braddock is being ignored.

Heck, earlier discussions of this topic on GGW pointed out that the port operator itself says they don't need the new highway. Their projections show that the increased traffic from the expanded port -- both cargo and employees -- would overwhelmingly be in the form of shipping containers. In response, CSX performed a major upgrade of its rail connnections to Hampton Roads, which both the port and CSX agree should be more than sufficient to accommodate not only the new cargo, but quite a lot of the containers that currently travel by truck as well.

by cminus on Jan 31, 2013 10:16 am • linkreport

Sorry for the uncompleted thought up above. It'll remain forever a mystery.

Re: alternative fuel vehicles and such. Those are also awful parts of the governor's plan as well. I don't expect him to embrace a VMT tax and a carbon tax but surely the "pro-business" governor would realize that heavier fees for cleaner cars would be a disincentive for those things.

by drumz on Jan 31, 2013 10:17 am • linkreport

users design their own 20-year Virginia transportation plan

Well, that was easy.
1$/gal gas tax.
And up the gas sales and car sales tax to the normal 5%.
Also, a $20/year fee for the priviledge of having a driver's license.
Everything else at zero (i.e. no annual license fee, no hybrid fee.
And we have a $17,200,000,000 surplus for the next 20 years.
http://thetysonscorner.com/virginias-growing-transportation-deficit-interactive-table/

At the other one, I get to a G$11 surplus
http://taberbain.com/vatransport/?formula=120,100,5,0,20,0,0,0,0,0,1,5

Some rural Virginia lawmakers say the 3-foot passing law would make it impossible for drivers to pass bikes on narrow country roads.

That's is the point. Thank you for getting it.

by Jasper on Jan 31, 2013 10:17 am • linkreport

Re: Country Roads- The quote that jumps out at me is "A normal vehicle is about 8 feet (wide)". I don't know what "normal" is to that guy, but a Ford Excursion (one of the larger trucks out there) is 6' 7" wide. Add 3 feet and you get 9' 7". There is no reason to not give 3 feet.

by thump on Jan 31, 2013 10:19 am • linkreport

OH...and who doesn't cross double yellows when there is something in the road, or to pass a police officer who's pulled someone over or for any reason really. If it's safe to do so, no police officer is going to pull you over for giving someone a little extra space, provided you did it at a safe time (no oncoming traffic, no blind curves, etc.).

by thump on Jan 31, 2013 10:24 am • linkreport

Storm planning is critical for Tidewater but Norfolk's real problem is that much of it is slowly sinking. After New Orleans, the largest US urban area at long-term risk for chronic flooding is Norfolk. Maybe the GOP and climate change are like oil and water, but someone has to step up and plan for Norfolk's flooding problems.

I don't see that the Patriot's Crossing is going to help a lot for practical purposes, either. The design of it has it joining I-664 on the man-made island at the south end of the current Monitor-Merrimac - which means a merge over the middle of the harbor. In a controlled-panic evacuation emergency, that's going to get ugly.

Planning map of Patriot's Crossing.

I am not as against the 460 plan as some on this board. US 460 does present a water-crossing free exit from Hampton Roads in the event of emergency. I don't see a tolled highway as the answer, though; a divided four-lane road might be a better, less expensive answer. Think US 50 through the Eastern Shore.

However, let's be clear what Gov. Bob's 460 is - a gift to developers. If we really want to facilitate the movement of cargo from the port, then let's improve CSX and NS corridors on both sides of the James.

by Jack Love on Jan 31, 2013 10:28 am • linkreport

Re: Car-free pays

This is a subject I have looked into quite a bit. I always try to avoid driving whenever possible. However, the calculations I have made seem to point out the unbalanced distribution of subsidies on cars over public transit. For instance, using the publictransportation.org's fuel calculator referenced in the article, I come out with a tiny savings of $157.44 over a year. When figuring the fact that with PT my commute would go up by 20 minutes each way, it simply doesn't seem worthwhile. This is of course likely because my employer gives us free parking but no public transit benefit.

The same publictransportation.org says I would save $5,716 by not having a car at all.
*** If you can live with one less vehicle in your household, you would save an additional $5,716 in car ownership cost (full-coverage insurance, license, registration, taxes, depreciation and finance charge).

I think at best that only applies if you have a new car. My car depreciates at $1000/year, I pay around $750/year in insurance and about $250 at most in registration coming out to $2000/year.

To add insult to injury, unless I'm biking (which I often do), due to free parking, it's usually cheaper for me to drive most places under a certain distance than take PT. Without a car, my short trip costs would go up.

by alex on Jan 31, 2013 10:33 am • linkreport

I find it funny that every time the "you could save $X switching to transit" articles pop up, we have to hear the constant refrain of everyone saying "but this, but that, but my situation!"

No the number does not apply to everyone. That's why it says you COULD save that much.

To add insult to injury, unless I'm biking (which I often do), due to free parking, it's usually cheaper for me to drive most places under a certain distance than take PT. Without a car, my short trip costs would go up.

The difference is that if you live in a dense environment where transit is most productive/useful, those short trips you need to take aren't withing driving/transit distance, they're now within walking distance.

by MLD on Jan 31, 2013 10:54 am • linkreport

I think part of the savings is fuel cost and maintenance no? If the average mileage is something like 10,000 a year, not driving has to save on average like $1000 right? And especially in older cars routine maintenace can become quite expensive. I don't see how you would not take that into consideration.

by Alan B. on Jan 31, 2013 10:57 am • linkreport

I assume no one else here takes the green line.

Well I can tell you, it was the worst commute home I've had since 9/11. Not only did the information from the train operator change from station to station, there was no sort of metro presence outside of the Navy Yard platform which caused hundreds upon hundreds upon HUNDREDS of people to just spill out all along M street. Thankfully I metro-smart enough to know that I could walk down to 8th street and catch the 92 but even that wasn't the greatest experience.

by HogWash on Jan 31, 2013 10:57 am • linkreport

When figuring the fact that with PT my commute would go up by 20 minutes each way, it simply doesn't seem worthwhile.

The key is if you can use your time on transit in a more productive way than your time sitting in a car. Also, you shouldn't count time spent walking (to the station/platform, climbing stairs, etc.) as wasted time if you place a value on the exercise it provides.

by Falls Church on Jan 31, 2013 10:58 am • linkreport

I assume no one else here takes the green line.

Why would you assume that?

by Alex B. on Jan 31, 2013 10:59 am • linkreport

" assume no one else here takes the green line. "

I do. I take it to L'Enfant to transfer. I waited a bit, but was able to board a northbound train, reversing on the southbound track.

by MStreetDenizen on Jan 31, 2013 11:04 am • linkreport

Sounds like the Green Line yesterday was a disaster.

Metro does a very poor job of communicating what impact a disruption will actually have at the person level and what people should do. "Delays of 40 minutes" is a useless statement and doesn't reflect the actual situation on the ground. Whatever math they have done to figure out how long the delay is must only include the time for a train to get around the actual incident; it doesn't account for crowding that increases wait times or anything like that. They also never say "seek alternate transportation" which is really what people should do.

Personally I think Metro would do themselves a lot of favors if their alerts said something like "operating at 1/4 capacity through disruption zone, crowded conditions, delays of 1 hour or more, seek alternate transportation if at all possible."

Instead they announce delays that way underestimate the impact on individuals, then send some shuttle buses that can move 1/10th as many people as the trains if they were functioning.

by MLD on Jan 31, 2013 11:11 am • linkreport

I've stopped taking Metro when it's avoidable. It's just become so bad compared to what I remember 5-10 years ago. Walking + buses while often frustrating in their own ways, I find to be much more reliable.

by Alan B. on Jan 31, 2013 11:12 am • linkreport

Why would you assume that?

Because I've seen countless metro horror stories posted here and y'day was one for the record books. Thought it was clear but maybe requires clarification, "takes the green line south of waterfront/navy."

by HogWash on Jan 31, 2013 11:17 am • linkreport

@orulz: When did NCDOT decide to do that? Seeing improvements in that corridor was a big dream of mine in high school-- Elizabeth City is my home town-- and a lot of my class projects involved interviewing local and state politicians, NCDOT engineers, and some town/city planners about their vision for the corridor. I got the feeling that the state had some notion of a unified, cohesive plan for that corridor, but that local officials usually wanted 5-lane, sidewalk-less, dragstrips... and they usually got what they wanted. But that was a decade ago, so maybe things have changed.

@J.D.: By US-17 bypass, do you mean the Deep Creek bypass, or the Dominion Blvd widening? The first isn't really in the cards right now, but the Dominion Blvd widening is much more important- and necessary. The bulk of the project involves replacing the movable span that crosses the Intercoastal Waterway with a higher, fixed-span bridge. The current bridge (the Steal Bridge) has some structural issues, and is very expensive to maintain. Besides, the current structure is not only dangerous and unreliable for cars (and boats), it's also dangerous for bikes and peds. The new bridge will include a wide bike/ped trail, with connections to the Dismal Swamp bike facilities.

@Falls Church: I agree that trains can move more people more efficiently than can highways, but most people won't want to evacuate from a hurricane on a train. I love trains to death-- and don't even own a car-- but there are a lot of reasons why trains can't replace cars, trucks and highways when it comes to hurricane evacuations and response.

[@everyone: sorry if this comment is already outdated (and too long). I started it about an hour ago!]

by Steven Harrell on Jan 31, 2013 11:19 am • linkreport

Because I've seen countless metro horror stories posted here

I think you're confusing GGW with Unsuck. Please, share links of these 'countless' metro horror stories.

Likewise, your assumption seems to be that even though the green line breakdown was mentioned in the links - no one in the comments mentioned it until your post at 10:57 am.

But hey! Nobody mentioned DC United selling Andy Najar - I guess there aren't any DC United fans who read GGW, despite all those posts about sports stadiums.

by Alex B. on Jan 31, 2013 11:29 am • linkreport

I don't support a new tolled 460, but it often bothers me when arguments include other regions (in this case New York, Baltimore) to get the port traffic. Whether more politicians in Virginia pushing Tysons Corner transportation and development over Arlington or ports in different states wanting large ship business, it's often overlooked that while the areas may share something they are still in competition with each other for business.

thump, you may want to check on your dimensions. That's smaller than a current Ford Focus. I don't know Charles Carrico's history, but it doesn't sound like he is against safety. He's concerned about the unintended consequences of the legislation. Likewise, his example is for narrow highway spec roads. I might be alone on this, but I think of "lanes" that may be much narrower than 11' when I read "narrow country roads."

by selxic on Jan 31, 2013 11:35 am • linkreport

I agree that trains can move more people more efficiently than can highways, but most people won't want to evacuate from a hurricane on a train.

Sure, but in an emergency situation, sometimes you can't do things in the most comfortable and convenient way. Part of the reason folks want to take their own car is they want to take way too many things with them instead of having a bug-out bag ready to go.

In a true emergency where you need to move lots of people quickly (like a dirty bomb or nuclear plant meltdown) they should only allow buses and cars with as many passengers as seat belts on the roads. A place like Norfolk should have a plan in place to call upon a large number of buses in short order. The biggest constraint in that situation is not highway capacity but likely a lack of disaster planning on the part of officials. Most governments are woefully under-prepared for when the s**t hits the fan.

by Falls Church on Jan 31, 2013 11:40 am • linkreport

I don't understand why WMATA hasn't realized that their current procedures for dealing with stranded trains are completely inadequate. It shouldn't matter if it means cutting power to all tracks for several miles: if the alternative is to leave a train stranded for more than (say) half an hour, they need to be taking care of that and evacuating the train. Failing to do so just compounds the problem, as we saw last night.

Sounds like an absolutely horrible commute for lots of people. And I also find it baffling that Stessel says they sent "dozens of buses" to get those riders once they got aboveground, but somehow dozens of buses couldn't transport a few hundred riders? Seems hard to believe...

by Gray's in the Fields on Jan 31, 2013 11:40 am • linkreport

Is his family moving with him or are they staying in the Springfield area, Alex B.?

by selxic on Jan 31, 2013 11:40 am • linkreport

it often bothers me when arguments include other regions (in this case New York, Baltimore) to get the port traffic.

If Newport was the only port on the East Coast prepared for post-panamax I'd be more likely to agree that the potential for additional business is so huge that the highway may be a worthwhile investment. If that was the case, Norfolk could easily double or triple the number of port-related jobs. However, with the added competition, the opportunity is a lot smaller.

by Falls Church on Jan 31, 2013 11:45 am • linkreport

@MLD & Falls Church

All valid points. I didn't mention it, but I often bike to where the bus picks up that goes to my office (10 miles roundtrip), as that takes just as long as taking the metro for that leg, but I get exercise and save most of the PT cost as well. I hear you on the increased commute productivity as well.

As far as the denser neighborhood, that'd certainly be ideal, I lived in much denser place in Boston. Unfortunately, it would make my commute even longer out to Reston, plus my rent would nearly triple. That being said, unless there is a big salary disparity, my next job will be closer to the city.

My reason for bringing this up was to point out the absurdity that driving is often cheaper or barely more expensive than taking PT, which I think is the result of unbalanced subsidization, particularly with parking. I don't think my situation is all that unusual either. Factors that would greatly increase my car costs would be if I had to pay for parking at home or the office, and if I had a newer car.

by alex on Jan 31, 2013 11:47 am • linkreport

Selxic,
But do those narrow country roads have double yellow lines?

At least where I grew up you knew you were on a backwoods road once the yellow line disappeared and the trees closed in.

In any case, the double yellow isn't some impenetrable wall. A prudent driver should take care to see the road ahead and if they can't pass safely then they shouldn't pass at all.

by drumz on Jan 31, 2013 11:51 am • linkreport

@Alan B

I think part of the savings is fuel cost and maintenance no? If the average mileage is something like 10,000 a year, not driving has to save on average like $1000 right? And especially in older cars routine maintenace can become quite expensive. I don't see how you would not take that into consideration.

Those are included as part of the publictransit.org's calculators. Maybe I'm in the sweet spot, having a car that both depreciates slowly and has low maintenance costs, but in my case at least the annual commute cost difference between driving and PT was only $157.

by alex on Jan 31, 2013 11:55 am • linkreport

Sorry, publictransportation.org not publictransit.org

by alex on Jan 31, 2013 11:56 am • linkreport

I also take the green line. Lucked out yesterday by having to work quite late, but the ripple effects were still pretty obvious when I got to Navy Yard at 8 pm. it was clear a Greenbelt-bound train hadn't been through the station in quite some time.

by Birdie on Jan 31, 2013 11:56 am • linkreport

I think you're confusing GGW with Unsuck. Please, share links of these 'countless' metro horror stories.

I don't read Unsuck...which I assume is a blog of some sort. I don't have specific "links" to show but understand why someone would ask me to prove that we've had countless stories here about the horrors of metro.

Likewise, your assumption seems to be that even though the green line breakdown was mentioned in the links - no one in the comments mentioned it until your post at 10:57 am.

I looked specifically because I was interested in reading about the experience of others during y'days fiasco. I didn't see one BEFORE 10:57 (could've missed it) which led me to assume that the lack of people complaining about their evening commute meant that no one experienced it.

This doesn't have to be a combative issue...Your irrelevant inclusion of DC United aside.

by HogWash on Jan 31, 2013 12:17 pm • linkreport

I didn't see one BEFORE 10:57 (could've missed it) which led me to assume that the lack of people complaining about their evening commute meant that no one experienced it.

And my question remains: why would you assume this?

I was on the green line last night, and I was delayed. Yet I didn't share my experience in the comments, just like how I rarely share my daily commute experiences in the comments.

You seemed to have assumed too much.

by Alex B. on Jan 31, 2013 12:39 pm • linkreport

@selxic-No, I'm correct. It's slightly wider when mirrors are included (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Excursion). The Expedition is 7' 6 1/2" w/ mirrors (http://www.ford.com/suvs/expedition/specifications/exterior/) A ford Focus is 80.5" with mirrors extended (72" otherwise)(http://www.ford.com/cars/focus/specifications/exterior/). The most popular truck in the world, the F-150 is just over 8'. 18 wheelers are 96 or 102" wide (not including mirrors). 18 wheelers aren't the "normal" vehicles he's talking about though I'm sure.

by thump on Jan 31, 2013 12:45 pm • linkreport

@drumz: To answer your question, yes, but that was also part of the reason I put "lanes" in quotes. I'm not sure at what width lanes are no longer marked, but I travel on some roads that are painted that are much narrower than the highway standard. My comment was directed at the description more than other comments here though. I don't want to call it a mischaracterization, but wanted to state what some may think if basing solely on the description.

I'm not a supporter of the road, Falls Church, but I wanted to make the larger point not to lose sight that regions are competing against each other just as much they are helping each other. To take this to somewhat of an extreme, may be to say a Greater Greater Washington may want a Weaker Greater Baltimore.

Also, the more I think about things, I'm assuming
Andy's brother is still with United's Academy program so some family will stay in the region.

by selxic on Jan 31, 2013 12:45 pm • linkreport

I think it's fair to include mirrors in real-world driving discussions.

by selxic on Jan 31, 2013 12:56 pm • linkreport

I was on the green line last night, and I was delayed. Yet I didn't share my experience in the comments, just like how I rarely share my daily commute experiences in the comments.

So instead of simply saying, "Wrong Hog, I was on the train too but just didn't feel like talking about it." You go on a fact-finding mission asking me to prove that no one said something before a specific time? But obviously you weren't being combative, just tried to gain some insight into why i made the assumption. Stating that I "assume" wasn't enough..since you had a larger point to make.

by HogWash on Jan 31, 2013 12:59 pm • linkreport

I'm going to impose a moratorium on any further "meta" discussion here of whether what one person said was or wasn't appropriate, who was being combative, and so forth. Please do not engage any further in this discussion, but feel free to talk about the substance of the issues in any of the breakfast links as you wish.

by David Alpert on Jan 31, 2013 1:02 pm • linkreport

Thanks David.

by selxic on Jan 31, 2013 1:38 pm • linkreport

In other news:

From: Dulles Corridoe Metrorail Project; News and Updates; Traffic Advisories.

January 30, 2013 4:26 PM EST
Marcia McAllister

Safety Notice:

Initial Energization of the Metrorail Silver Line Third Rail January 30, 2013.

Construction of the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project will reach another major milestone with the initial energization of a section of the Third Rail of the Silver Line on Wednesday, Jan. 30. The Third Rail provides the electricity to run Metrorail trains.

Initial energization will allow the project to begin testing the Third Rail of the Silver Line. This testing will be done in several phases. The initial testing of electrical systems will be followed later by testing with rail cars.

The first section of Third Rail to be energized and tested stretches from the Silver Line connection of the Orange Line to a point just north of Magarity Road in McLean. Following this testing, the project will test the section at the far end of the Silver Line near the Wiehle-Reston East Station.

Additional sections of the line will be energized and tested in February and March. The public will be notified in advance of each of those activities.

Access to Silver Line Metrorail construction (including track, stations, and wayside facilities) is restricted to authorized project personnel at all times.

If you are aware of activities at or near the Silver Line that may pose a risk to public safety, please call the toll free Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project Construction Hotline at 1-877-6789.

by Sand Box John on Jan 31, 2013 1:53 pm • linkreport

As much as there is to criticize in DC politics, McDonnell is a reminder that Virginia often elects stunningly bad pols to statewide office.

10K/yr is excessive as savings; I estimated 5K based on pretty average mileage, giving up a middling, reliable car (Honda Accord), and not horribly expensive insurance.

by Rich on Jan 31, 2013 2:08 pm • linkreport

I look forward to the 2016 McDonnell-Jindal GOP ticket. They can run on the same tax gimmicks that Herman Cain did and get trounced by common sense.

by aaa on Jan 31, 2013 2:21 pm • linkreport

These "savings" stories about driving vs PT annoy me sometimes. I know the group that did it is a PT advocacy group, but come on. Sure you wouldn't have the expenses associated with a car, but what about the added cost in rent to live in a place convenient enough to walk to PT, plus you still have to pay for the PT, unless you work for the fed. govt. And the place you could have further out with a car is most likely bigger than what you have now closer in for the same price. And it talks about people from far out in MD taking the MARC. Well, how are people getting to the MARC, probably driving, then having to pay to park in the MARC lot if applicable, then still having to pay to get on the train. So the car expense is still there, and if you live that far out, you're going to need a car anyway just to do basic weekend errands. If you actually own the car, than this argument probably breams down further depending on the condition of the car and how much it is driven. So there's a lot of things that go into this, and they should all be looked at. I don't have a car, and can attest to the jacked up prices for being able to walk to PT. Which is why I've been thinking of moving and getting one.

by Nickyp on Jan 31, 2013 2:38 pm • linkreport

I'm amazed how little resistance there is to Gov. McDonnell's plan. GGW is fighting the good fight, but mainstream press is AWOL. No one is taking this clown to task. He's not that smart, so this is a slam-dunk opportunity for ambitious young reporters, transportation wonks, and political up-and-comers. Where are they?

by Ed Lincoln on Jan 31, 2013 2:56 pm • linkreport

Yeah, I can't believe his plan wasn't laughed out of the building. Very scary. Very terrible for the future of VA if somehow passed.

by NikolasM on Jan 31, 2013 3:10 pm • linkreport

To provide a counterpoint to nickyp, I would venture that to save money on comparable housing or find a bigger place at what I pay now, I would need to move to an area that requires a car (ie, outside the beltway). My commute is pretty short, I know I'd pay more in parkign for the garages around my office than I do each day on metro from my current location.

And for me, a lot of the value comes from being 10 minutes away from Caps games, or a two minute walk from Nats Park. Being able to go out to a show and make it home at a reasonable hour. I'd much rather pay for transit and be able to ride than have the "freedom" to sit in traffic, which I find frustating beyond belief. I like being able to get home in time to make dinner, not just re-heat leftovers because otherwise I'd be eating at 10 pm.

nickyp, not saying your wrong, and certainly I agree that sometimes these "ditch the car!" studies are embracing some seriously fuzzy math. You gotta do what works for you. but I know, for me, I'd much rather pay a bit more in rent and ditch the car. The benefits, not just monetarily, outweight the costs.

by Birdie on Jan 31, 2013 3:18 pm • linkreport

I think the whole focus on commuting, while important, is overly reductive. I live where I do not because it's especially close to my job, but because I am within walking distance of dozens of bars, restaurants, and other interesting things.

by Alan B. on Jan 31, 2013 3:48 pm • linkreport

I've always been a believer in the live where you play rather than where you work philosophy myself. At some point commuting does become a limiting factor though. I would hesitate to take on a commute that was over an hour for instance, regardless of mode (hence why I don't live in DC).

by alex on Jan 31, 2013 4:08 pm • linkreport

I don't commute on the Green Line. However, I was involved in an incident on the Orange Line about ten or twelve years ago that was very similar. Fire on the tracks, passengers stuck for several hours, announcements of shuttle buses that didn't exist, etc. It was quite clear to me at the time that Metro had absolutely no standard operating procedures for dealing with the situation, and it sounds like they still do not. I truly hope that if, heaven-forbid, a terrorist attack or similar disaster ever happens involving Metro, I am nowhere near, because it is very plain that even post-9/11 Metro has no idea what they are doing in this kind of situation and one day many people will pay with their lives for their incompetence.

by Hattie McDaniel on Jan 31, 2013 4:17 pm • linkreport

"Initial Energization of the Metrorail Silver Line Third Rail January 30, 2013."
Cool. Time to turn part of it on and see, if years of construction and a couple of billion dollars, whether it works.

I can't find an announcement about this on the DullesMetro website though.

by AlanF on Jan 31, 2013 4:29 pm • linkreport

@JD Hammond, et al,

Someone mentioned earlier that the new 460 is a "gift to developers". That's part of it, but it's also a gift to the Port of Virginia. They've been the main pushers of the new road. They also took the unprecedented step of contributing $250M in port funds for the new road. Alas, that won't stop VDOT from having to contribute $730+ million for it, even with tolls.

I classify the road as a "nice to have", but not really necessary. Numerous other projects that the VDOT money could have easily been spent that would benefit far more people. JD, you say you're from down here, so you should know firsthand the tunnel situation. People are literally screaming EVERY DAY because of the tunnel jams down here, especially HRBT and the Downtown Tunnel. What good is a new 460 if drivers can't even get out of town to get to it??? Even with an expanded Midtown Tunnel (which will be tolled, I might add), the lack of capacity between Norfolk and Portsmouth/Suffolk makes a new 460 useless.

VDOT would have done much better to use that 460 money elsewhere. Interchanges on 58. Rail improvements. Reducing the upcoming tolls on the Midtown and Downtown Tunnels. Improving 64. A down-payment for Patriot's Crossing (which itself will be problematic if they don't widen the Monitor-Merrimac as part of it).

JD's comments from the beginning make a much stronger argument for improving 58 or widening 64 or the other improvements I cited than it does for a new 460.

BTW, JD, I live in Norfolk now...transferred back down here in June. So I see the local impacts of the tunnel issue every day.

by Froggie on Jan 31, 2013 5:06 pm • linkreport

The solution for funding Virginia's roads is obvious. Tolls on all highways...but only for electric vehicles and hybrids.

by Fischy (Ed F.) on Feb 1, 2013 8:46 am • linkreport

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