Greater Greater Washington

Breakfast links: A better ride


Photo by EmilyHaHa on Flickr.
A sick route: The 80 bus serves 3 hospitals and many patients on its long route. It should run every 15 minutes but often leaves riders waiting 30 minutes. WMATA is looking for ways to speed up the route, but has no funding to do so. (Post)

Reliable railcars: Metro's railcars are not as reliable as WMATA would like, with the 4000-series breaking down most often. Fortunately, the agency has made great strides and in the last three months, meeting its reliability goals. (Examiner)

Kubicek leaves WMATA: WMATA's number two, David Kubicek, is resigning next month. Kubicek headed operations during the Red Line crash and more recently pushed for the greater weekend shutdowns to speed repairs. (Post)

War on non-cars continues: The Examiner editors continue their quest to enrage drivers (and drive up their advertising revenue) with another inflammatory cover and "war on cars" article that's riddled with errors. (WashCycle)

US drives less: Americans drove fewer miles on average in 2012 than 2011, continuing an 8-year trend. Experts think baby boomers retiring, gas prices, millennials' apathy about driving, and the rise of walkable neighborhoods all play a role. (Streetsblog)

Hampton Roads only gets roads: A rider in the Virginia transportation bill prohibits Hampton Roads from funding anything other than roads from its regional transportation fund and specifically bans that fund going to "public or mass transit." (Pilot)

Brown in the clear: Michael Brown says he's no longer the subject of a federal investigation on $100,000 missing from a previous campaign. (Post)

Check out the new library: DC's libraries are more than just places for books; they are community hubs, computer centers, and even refuge for the homeless. (City Paper)

A hero to save us: One man in Mexico dresses up like a wrestler and defendes pedestrians from vehicles encroaching on the crosswalk. (Atlantic Cities)

And...: A Boston architect wants to build apartments without parking, but will the city let him? (Atlantic Cities, Gil) ... Developers revise plans for McMillan. (bloomingdale) ... The list of possible developers for Shaw's Parcel 42 is down to 3. (UrbanTurf)

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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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What do they mean "even" refuge for the homeless. They've always been refuge for the homeless.

by spookiness on Feb 28, 2013 9:03 am • linkreport

Yes, and that is the major negative.

For whatever reason I don't see that many homeless riding rail, but I see a lot of the bus, usually asleep.

How does WMATA not have money? What happened to the TIGER bus priority studies? They can figure a way to add buses on the S routes but not the 80?

by charlie on Feb 28, 2013 9:11 am • linkreport

The 80 route just seems poorly designed - one of those routes that has existed forever (this was an old streetcar route) and was never rethought. Take a bus route that could have frequent service moving quite quickly from Union Station to Ft Totten, and then tack on an East-West route that slogs through the slowest, most congested parts of the city. And then wonder why the frequency on the North-South part gets all screwed up!

by MLD on Feb 28, 2013 9:23 am • linkreport

Nice of the Examiner story to tout all this money that DC is supposedly fleecing off of drivers without look at what costs those same drivers inflict on the city in maintenance, safety and what not.

But that article is almost too easy to rebut in other ways. Gotta love the fact when people complain about driving in the city and then still complain when the city tries to make it easier for you to get around without having to drive.

by drumz on Feb 28, 2013 9:37 am • linkreport

Re: Hampton Roads,

That's plain stupid. Hampton Roads, which is defined by the fact that you have major water to cross at some point during any journey needs to maximize its people moving across these same bodies of water. You're not going to get that through an extra lane on 64.

by drumz on Feb 28, 2013 9:41 am • linkreport

Re: Hampton Roads

That rider is particularly infuriating because in the past the argument was that mass transit was "robbing" cars which paid the gas tax. Now that it's been partially decoupled from gas the expectation is still that every dime should go to roads even though a good portion of the funds will now come from sales tax completely unrelated to cars.

by jj on Feb 28, 2013 9:43 am • linkreport

Suggestion for next article: "WAR ON HOUSES!! How DC has waged a war on people who want to buy detached single family homes."

Did you know I wanted to buy a 4 bedroom, 4.5 bath house on a half acre. This is something that's very easy to do in the suburbs. But I started looking on Zillow and all such houses were incredibly expensive in the city! And there are things that DC *could* be doing to bring that cost down. Like eliminating all retail. And knocking down all multi-unit buildings. But they won't. And you know why?

Because it's war!

by oboe on Feb 28, 2013 9:44 am • linkreport

There's a typo in the "A hero to save us" summary. It should be "defends" instead of "defendes."

by selxic on Feb 28, 2013 9:53 am • linkreport

It's unfortunate (though not surprising) that the Examiner decided to take a page out of the biking advocates book and encourage this "war on x" silliness. No, the city isn't encouraging a war or cars just as there is no war on bikes. They are only hyperbolic phrases designed to elicit a knee-jerk response. Sometimes we bite..sometimes not.

But I didn't find an issue w/the Examiner reporting on the "expenses" drivers shall soon see on the horizon as well as the amount of money the city has gleaned from them. I also expected someone to eventually come out and criticize Gray's sustainability plan..since he did throw out what some consider very unreasonable expectations.

Is it true that only 3.15 percent of DC resident bike to work? Does seem like paltry number.

by HogWash on Feb 28, 2013 10:15 am • linkreport

A route that faces very similar conditions to the 80 is the D6. A long cross-town route and at the Western end it serves 2 hospitals that are basically inaccessible via other forms of public transit. It's tempting to dismiss the upper Northwest hospitals and their clientele because of the neighborhoods they are in, but if you ride the D6 frequently, you quickly discover that many of the riders are not travelling to those hospitals by choice. DC FEMS has a policy of rotating what hospitals they transport emergency patients too. That means, rather than going to a hospital in their neighborhood, a lot of patients end up across town at a hospital far from home and almost inaccessible by transit. I'm sure it's a well-intended policy meant to relieve the burden on hospitals in some neighborhoods, but you see the tragic consequences on the D6 the next morning - as folks struggle to get home on the first bus of the morning or families try to slowly journey cross-town to visit a loved one.

by Evan on Feb 28, 2013 10:18 am • linkreport

But I didn't find an issue w/the Examiner reporting on the "expenses" drivers shall soon see on the horizon as well as the amount of money the city has gleaned from them.

Except those numbers were thrown out without any context and conflates fines from tickets with some sort of tax or cost of doing business.

Meanwhile, there is a war on cars. It's just that the cars have and are still winning.

by drumz on Feb 28, 2013 10:21 am • linkreport

@HogWash

I always find the commuter modeshare data coming from the Census to be an inexact survey. The Census only gives one option to select, and asks which mode of transportation you use "most of the time". I said transit, because that's what I take most of the time. However, every other trip I take is made primarily by foot or bicycle. There needs to be a better survey to ask DC resident how many use a bicycle for non-recreational trips at least once a week. That would give a better projection of how many people are actually using bicycles as an alternate mode of transportation.

by Adam L on Feb 28, 2013 10:23 am • linkreport

just as there is no war on bikes
Has anybody suggested that there is? I don't think I've seen this phrase used anywhere. But nice false equivalence there.

But I didn't find an issue w/the Examiner reporting on the "expenses" drivers shall soon see on the horizon as well as the amount of money the city has gleaned from them.
The issues people are having with this article are not the statements of fact but the inflammatory one-sided way in which they are presented. And the misinformation reported.

Is it true that only 3.15 percent of DC resident bike to work? Does seem like paltry number.
The census likely under-counts given that you can only choose one answer. For instance, I bike when it is nice out and when it's convenient for me, but I take the bus to work other times. If forced to pick one I would probably pick "transit" but I certainly am one of the many bike commuters you see on a nice day.

by MLD on Feb 28, 2013 10:25 am • linkreport

Re: Hampton Roads

I don't agree with the rider on the transportation bill that prevents them from using funds for mass transit but I also don't think mass transit is going to solve their congestion problems either, which as drumz mentioned comes from the fact that too many people commute through the HRBT and the MM. That can't be solved with mass transit, or at least with a price tag that would be acceptable.

I lived there for six years and the biggest symptom that I observed with traffic is that too many people lived on the opposite side of the water from where they worked. I think the only way to address that would be to implement tolls through the tunnel.

Now whether this politically possible is another story...

by Fitz on Feb 28, 2013 10:27 am • linkreport

Is it true that only 3.15 percent of DC resident bike to work? Does seem like paltry number.

Even if that number is correct, considering that bike infrastructure accounts for 1.28% of total lane miles in the district, and that most of the bike infrastructure isn't even that great, that's a pretty decent number.

by thump on Feb 28, 2013 10:32 am • linkreport

I lived there for six years and the biggest symptom that I observed with traffic is that too many people lived on the opposite side of the water from where they worked. I think the only way to address that would be to implement tolls through the tunnel.

The solution to that is to stop trying to upgrade travel across the water and improve transit options on the land sides. People don't just choose where to live in a vacuum - if it's a pain to commute across the water people will choose not to live across the water from their job or vice versa.

by MLD on Feb 28, 2013 10:37 am • linkreport

MLD,

The solution to that is to stop trying to upgrade travel across the water and improve transit options on the land sides.

Travel across the water itself hasn't been upgraded though. All the road construction that occurred there within the past decade was for interchanges and roads leading up to the tunnel.

I like TOD and I prefer to see it further implemented but I'm skeptical of any significant impact in Hampton Roads. As it currently exists the population density is pretty low. Attempts at mixed-use retail, especially on the Peninsula (e.g. City Center Oyster Point, Peninsula Town Center, Port Warwick)weren't all that popular of an option for residents down there, especially at the prices they were asking. Lots of empty shops, even before the 2007/2008 crash.

People don't just choose where to live in a vacuum - if it's a pain to commute across the water people will choose not to live across the water from their job or vice versa.

That's why I suggested a toll through the tunnels because when I lived there at least half of my co-workers had an hour-plus commute each way. For myself that would be painful enough (it's why I lived on the Peninsula instead of my preferred choice of Norfolk/Va Beach) but for the vast majority of residents it's not.

by Fitz on Feb 28, 2013 10:56 am • linkreport

Also I'm not suggesting that a third crossing is going to solve or help alleviate traffic problems in HR all that much, especially considering how much it would probably cost.

by Fitz on Feb 28, 2013 10:57 am • linkreport

"Gotta love the fact when people complain about driving in the city and then still complain when the city tries to make it easier for you to get around without having to drive."

What is the city doing? I'd be happy to ride Metro much more often if it were reliably fast, punctual, and had trains every 5 minutes. But that isn't the case, and this situation has gone on for years without the city doing much. And there still isn't a station in Georgetown. I would love to not have to drive in Georgetown.

by Chris on Feb 28, 2013 11:06 am • linkreport

"What is the city doing? I'd be happy to ride Metro much more often if it were reliably fast, punctual, and had trains every 5 minutes. But that isn't the case, and this situation has gone on for years without the city doing much."

the district cannot control WMATA operational issues, thats up to WMATA. Thought WMATA has been taking steps.

" And there still isn't a station in Georgetown. I would love to not have to drive in Georgetown."

search GGW for "seperated blue line" please.

Note, that biking is another option the district has been trying to ease, as well as forms of transit other than metro rail.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Feb 28, 2013 11:14 am • linkreport

hard to blame metro issues soley on the city. The city doesn't control metro in any meaningful way. Even if DC decided to spend a ton of money on upgraded metro service and/or expanding the existing system, they'd still ahve to get buy-in and commitments from MD and VA.

by Birdie on Feb 28, 2013 11:14 am • linkreport

Good news, you don't have to drive in Georgetown! The circulator bus is very frequent, and Georgetown is an invigorating 10-minute max. walk from Rosslyn metro.

by Buses ain't that scary on Feb 28, 2013 11:18 am • linkreport

I would love to not have to drive in Georgetown.

There are a few buses that go to georgetown. Georgetown is also at the nexus of the regional bike trail system (although there's a lack of bike parking and cabi stations). You can also drive to Rosslyn which has free weekend/evening parking and then transfer to a bus or bikeshare. You don't have to drive there.

by Falls Church on Feb 28, 2013 11:20 am • linkreport

I would love to not have to drive in Georgetown.

There are these things called buses, taxis, and bikes that many of the rest of us use to get to Georgetown! And if more people used them, then there would be less traffic there!

by MLD on Feb 28, 2013 11:20 am • linkreport

What is the city doing?
CABI, the Circulator, road diets, among others I'm sure others will point out. And I too would love greater frequency from metro but A. they still have a maintenance issue that was blown wide open from the Red Line crash and exacerbated by the recession and B. Needs greater funding from Md. and Va. as well and its not hard to imagine that if for whatever reason NOVA didn't have metro that they too would have been prevented from spending any of the new transportation money for transit.

by drumz on Feb 28, 2013 11:22 am • linkreport

There are buses that go through Georgetown all the time. Problem is they are obnoxiously slow because there are so many SOVs clogging up the roads... :/

by Alan B. on Feb 28, 2013 11:26 am • linkreport

Except those numbers were thrown out without any context and conflates fines from tickets with some sort of tax or cost of doing business.

You might be right. But they're considered expenses either way.

That would give a better projection of how many people are actually using bicycles as an alternate mode of transportation.

Oh ok. Would be nice to have better numbers.

. If forced to pick one I would probably pick "transit" but I certainly am one of the many bike commuters you see on a nice day.

Although in very small numbers, I see people biking every day.

What is the city doing? I'd be happy to ride Metro much more often if it were reliably fast, punctual, and had trains every 5 minutes.

Amen!

by HogWash on Feb 28, 2013 11:27 am • linkreport

Or, do what I've done for 15 years and just not go to Georgetown.

by spookiness on Feb 28, 2013 11:28 am • linkreport

There are these things called buses, taxis, and bikes that many of the rest of us use to get to Georgetown!

And for lots of people, they are all inconveniencing. So they end up driving.

by HogWash on Feb 28, 2013 11:30 am • linkreport

Except those numbers were thrown out without any context and conflates fines from tickets with some sort of tax or cost of doing business.
You might be right. But they're considered expenses either way.

Yeah but its disingenous. I could complain about how I spend 5k each month on my living expenses and you might feel bad about it but probably not if you learned that I was pulling in 10k a month in income.

Plus generally the people complaining about how it's expensive to drive will in the same breath and without a trace of irony complain about transit riders being subsidized.

by drumz on Feb 28, 2013 11:32 am • linkreport

And for lots of people, they are all inconveniencing. So they end up driving.

Which is fine, but don't complain if the city starts figuring out more cost effective ways to handle the congestion you bring via parking prices or automated enforcement. Or do complain, but stop saying its a war on cars.

by drumz on Feb 28, 2013 11:36 am • linkreport

Is it true that only 3.15 percent of DC resident bike to work?

Just to pile on a bit. The ACS number has flaws.

As pointed out, it asks you how you primarily got to work last week. So if you bike 3 days and drive 2, you're 100% bike. And if you drive 3 and bike 2, you're 100% drive. It may be that these things balance themselves out and that for every 90% cyclist counted as 100%, there's a 100% driver counted as 90%, but I really have seen no research on the question to give me much confidence. So you have to add some large error bars to that.

More concerning is that it doesn't count multi-modal trips. So if you take Metro for 4 miles and then catch a CaBi for the last 1 miles you're counted as 100% transit and 0% biking. Unlike with the above question, that almost surely doesn't balance out. No one bikes 4 miles and then gets on Metro for two stops.

In addition, we're talking about all of DC residents. In some neighborhoods that number is above 10%.

by David C on Feb 28, 2013 11:37 am • linkreport

I get the idea of that statistic (so I'm not trying to argue with anyone), thump, but that has irked me for a while since bike infrastructure is not limited to dedicated bicycle infrastructure. Likewise, roads with mixed traffic are often not fully appreciated like roadways where mass transit vehicles are the only vehicles on the road.

by selxic on Feb 28, 2013 11:41 am • linkreport

should read "..there's a 90% driver counted as 100%..."

by David C on Feb 28, 2013 11:41 am • linkreport

@selxic, are you saying that we should consider general purpose traffic lanes "bike infrastructure"? Though I suppose that argument would open up a new front on the war on bikes, I'm not entirely sure I would consider Massachussets Avenue "bike infrastructure" merely because I can ride my bike on it; by that definition, my living room is "bike infrastructure."

I'm sure someone somewhere has a definition of bike infrastructure that takes into account the degree to which a particular piece of infrastructure is accessible to--and meets the needs of--the average citizen-cyclist.

by Steven Harrell on Feb 28, 2013 12:27 pm • linkreport

I wasn't arguing with the statistic or the usefulness of the statistic, I was simply mentioning that real world bicycle infrastructure is not limited to dedicated bicycle infrastructure so the statistic is not entirely fair without some context. I'm not sure how acknowledging reality is a war on anything. Those memes need to end.

by selxic on Feb 28, 2013 12:43 pm • linkreport

Those memes need to end.

This is a declaration of war against "declaring war".

by goldfish on Feb 28, 2013 12:47 pm • linkreport

While its true that non dedicated lanes can be used by bikes - whether signed as sharrows, not so signed but still bike friendly, or not bike friendly - its also true that bike lanes are narrower than mixed traffic lanes, and that lanes from which bikes are excluded (limited access highways) are much costlier per mile than conventional lanes, or bike only lanes - so that the percentage of all lanes that are bike only is imperfect, but probably gives a good rough guide to infrastructure support for bikes, adequate for the comparison to usage above.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Feb 28, 2013 12:48 pm • linkreport

@selxic-I get what you're saying, and I'm one of those who think there are many streets that are comfortable for me to mix with traffic..but I'm also a relatively healthy, fairly fit, middle-aged male. My wife doesn't find some of my routes comfortable or safe at all.
I think the real breakthrough for numbers of bicyclists will be when a parent feels comfortable letting their child ride with them, or their elderly parents can do it safely, or when we're able to ride next to a friend and carry on a conversation.
Even the "best" D.C. cycling infrastructure (L St., 15th, PA Ave.) doesn't appeal to those who might be interested in biking, but don't feel they would be safe, and it's certainly not well enough connected to make a difference for those people.

by thump on Feb 28, 2013 12:53 pm • linkreport

@Fitz

I went to school in Newport News, and am quite saddened to see the epic failure that City Center turned into. Port Warwick is a completely different story though. Those city houses/townhouses are some of the most popular areas in Newport News, and the apartments there command the highest rents in the city as well.

by Kyle-W on Feb 28, 2013 1:26 pm • linkreport

The actual (not target) distance between breakdowns of NYC Subway cars (averaging across all the different kinds of cars in use in the system) is 185,000 miles. Isn't the fact that WMATA set a goal of breaking down more than 3 times as often a system that maintains a higher farebox recovery ratio despite having lower fares and still can't consistently meet it just further evidence of the ongoing death spiral?

It is well past time for transit advocates to stop burying their heads in the sand and blaming everything on a lack of funding. The reality is that WMATA is an incredibly mismanaged, corrupt and incompetent agency and Metro riders are only going to continue getting told to pay more for less as the cycle of decreased service and increased breakdowns leading to reduced ridership leading to higher fares continues until people like the readers (and authors) of this site start demanding serious reform and accountability at WMATA and ATU instead of pretending that everything would be perfect if only Richard Sarles and Jackie Jeter had a big enough budget to play with.

by Jacob on Feb 28, 2013 1:35 pm • linkreport

I appreciate the thoughtful responses on transit alternatives to Georgetown. I'm afraid that they all appear quite time-consuming and inconvenient for my case. I am often travelling from the Rockville area to upper Georgetown. Outside of rush hour (when I usually go there) this normally takes about 35 minutes by car door to door.

Looking at the suggested alternatives:

Taxi - might be relatively fast, but I shudder to think at the cost

Metrorail + Metrobus - WMATA estimates 1 hour, so it would probably be more like 70-80 minutes.

Metro to Rosslyn and walk: looks like about 80 minutes total

Bicycle: about 90 minutes according to Google

So unfortunately DC has yet to provide a reasonable alternative to driving for this trip. Now, if they would link Woodley Park or Dupont Circle with a Georgetown station maybe I could make it in about 45 minutes. That would be great.

by Chris on Feb 28, 2013 1:46 pm • linkreport

Chris: How about Metro to Dupont and then Capital Bikeshare?

by David Alpert on Feb 28, 2013 1:55 pm • linkreport

@Chris-Couldn't you combine modes? Being outside rush hour allows you to bring a bike on to Metro. It seems like a short bike ride on both ends would work for you no?

by thump on Feb 28, 2013 1:55 pm • linkreport

If driving is so much faster than other modes that what exactly is the problem? Sounds like things are working out pretty well for drivers.

by MLD on Feb 28, 2013 1:57 pm • linkreport

"that" should be "then"

by MLD on Feb 28, 2013 1:59 pm • linkreport

"And there still isn't a station in Georgetown. I would love to not have to drive in Georgetown"

so that really meant "I would love to not have to drive to Gtown and still be able to get there almost as fast as I could by car non-rush hour"

I see. I'd love to be have a subway stop in Annandale. Id love to have a bike trail by my house. Id love to have horse trail - and a horse - and a pony.

There probably WILl be a metro stop in Georgetown within the next 30 years. But that there isn't yet, is hardly a sign the city (or anyone else) is not providing alternatives.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Feb 28, 2013 2:02 pm • linkreport

@Chris, DC has failed you? What about Montgomery County? Afetr all, you (appear) to live there. What about their failures to provide quick, quality public transit between Rockville and the DC line? This is not a exclusively DC problem. Furthermore, the decision to travel from Rockville to Upper Gerogetown is yours and yours alone, and it is not the responsibility of WMATA, DDOT, or anyone else to provide you with the absolute quickest door-to-door for your convenience.

In addition to the options people already provided, you could metro to Dupont and take the every-ten-minute Circulator bus to Georgetown. You could metro to Tenleytown and Bikeshare the rest of the way. But it is clear you're not looking for options. You're looking to complain about transit and justify the use and prioritization of single occupancy vehicles, specifically yours.

by Birdie on Feb 28, 2013 2:06 pm • linkreport

Chris, consider advocating for better express bus/dedicated lanes on Wisconsin. Something like 15,000 people take the 30s along Wisconsin every day but busses are still given the lower priority than cars when they could be a very competitive option.

by Alan B. on Feb 28, 2013 2:07 pm • linkreport

Oboe-This isn't germane to the discussion (so sorry everyone), but did I see you leaving for work on your bike the other day? I was walking two dogs, one orange, one black. Would have been between 6:30-7:15AM.

by thump on Feb 28, 2013 2:35 pm • linkreport

Which is fine, but don't complain if the city starts figuring out more cost effective ways to handle the congestion you bring via parking prices or automated enforcement.

There is no limit on how/when/what people complain about.

You could metro to Tenleytown and Bikeshare the rest of the way. But it is clear you're not looking for options.

I live in Douglas. In order to get to G'town I would have to: 1)Walk to Southern Avenue metro and hop on a 30bus 2)Hop on metro..transfer at L'Enfant, get off at Foggy and walk. 3)Taxi 4)Drive.

90% of the time, I'm preferring option number 4 and hope that a friend is headed there to so I can hitch a ride. I don't want to be inconvenienced by an hour-long bus ride, taxi fare, nor "extended track" work. Yes, people complain because that's what we do. Yes, those are the reasons I travel to G'town only about 3 x's year. Why? Because it's super inconveniencing for what would otherwise be 15-minute of travel (driving) time.

by HogWash on Feb 28, 2013 2:55 pm • linkreport

@HogWash--hence you're probably making a good decision by only going to Georgetown a few times a year. Georgetown doesn't exactly offer all that much unique that, say, F Street in Penn Quarter or Connecticut Avenue north of Farragut doesn't.

Also, to both you and Chris--if driving is the quickest way to get there, then you probably should just drive. You might have to pay for parking in a garage, but it doesn't sound like you really need to even engage with the methods you deem inconvenient. Solution in search of a problem, you know?

by worthing on Feb 28, 2013 4:09 pm • linkreport

To add to drumz point, what has DC done: they helped pay for the Wilson Bridge, created a new better 11th Street Bridge, are rebuilding the NY Ave bridge, built an infill station on the red line, are building miles of new bike trails, CaBi, working on plans for the K Street busways, a new Long Bridge, a new 14th Street Bridge etc... here's more.

Some of these things surely make it easier for you to get to Georgetown, even if all it does it get fewer other people to drive and take up parking.

by David C on Feb 28, 2013 4:33 pm • linkreport

Georgetown doesn't exactly offer all that much unique that, say, F Street in Penn Quarter or Connecticut Avenue north of Farragut doesn't.

You mean other than the retail stores you can't find anywhere else in DC outside of G'town?

You might have to pay for parking in a garage, but it doesn't sound like you really need to even engage with the methods you deem inconvenient.

Outside of using garages for Blue Alley performances, its rare that I have to pay. However, I am one of those who will pay for valet or a garage instead of circling the block.

by HogWash on Feb 28, 2013 4:41 pm • linkreport

Kyle,

Those On The Square apartments might still being doing well but I'm looking at recent solds on Zillow for Port Warwick and the prices seem much, much lower today than when it first opened and in subsequent years, especially the condos. I remember those condos going upper $100k's, low $200k's even back in 2009, 2010 and recent solds are showing around low $100k's.

Retail there always had a hard time staying open too.

I was very disappointed in City Center too, I thought it had potential.

by Fitz on Feb 28, 2013 4:42 pm • linkreport

@thump,

No, damn my luck I've been driving all week.

by oboe on Feb 28, 2013 4:45 pm • linkreport

@HogWash,

You mean other than the retail stores you can't find anywhere else in DC outside of G'town?

Never had you pegged as a boutique cupcake kind of guy.

by oboe on Feb 28, 2013 4:48 pm • linkreport

Never had you pegged as a boutique cupcake kind of guy.

It wouldn't be the first or last time you've assumed things about me based on something designed in your head.

FWIW, there is not one cupcakery in G'town I like. I'm a "Sweet lobby" man myself. I used to like the occasional Dean & Deluca but the recent rat infestation is enough to keep me away for the forseeable future.

by HogWash on Feb 28, 2013 5:29 pm • linkreport

RE bus #80

Two issues are totally omitted in this article.

#1 The 80 is the ONLY bus which serves the Kennedy Center. OK, a free shuttle to Foggy Bottom Metrotrain stop, but plenty of folks would use more reliable service if it existed. The 80 bus takes passengers to the Red line train at Farragut North, too, which avoids a transfer at Metro Center.

#2 The 80 bus is often packed at night (~10pm) with workers leaving their cleaning jobs in the Foggy Bottom area. Mobs of people get out at 14th & 16th street to connect the 50's and S's buses. Virginia Avenue is a pretty dark and lonely place to wait at 10pm since most stops along there don't even have a bus shelter.

by tour guide on Feb 28, 2013 6:21 pm • linkreport

My point was that cars should not be faster than transit for traveling downtown. Metro trains do not need to stop for lights or congestion and allegedly can go as fast as 75 mph. If cars are somehow more convenient to a prominent downtown area then the rail network needs to be improved in that location.

by Chris on Feb 28, 2013 10:27 pm • linkreport

I'll quibble and say that Georgetown isn't exactly downtown (as in the CBD) but downtown adjacent.

Anyway it's not that it can be difficult to get from A to B. it is and we all want to see it improve, it's the charge that DC isn't doing anything to improve mobility.

And for what it's worth. A Georgetown station is on the long term plan. So planners aren't totally unaware. It's just that we need to figure out how to pay for it.

by Drumz on Feb 28, 2013 11:04 pm • linkreport

At the risk of over explaining the joke: "boutique cupcake bakery" != "unique retail you can't find in DC outside of Georgetown."

Joking aside, you very much strike me as a boutique cupcake kind of guy.

by oboe on Mar 1, 2013 8:35 am • linkreport

@Chris: um, yes, rail should be slower than a car for the travel portion of the trip (outside of rush hour). Metro has a fairly long time between trains, the train has to stop and wait at each station, and will never get up much speed on short inter-station tracks. Now, factor in the time needed to find a spot, and the train starts looking more attractive. And during rush the calculus is completely different.

by Mike on Mar 1, 2013 1:25 pm • linkreport

@Mike -

I was saying that a well designed and operated rail system should be faster than a car in dense urban areas. Metro of course does not meet these criteria yet.

You pointed out problem 2 Metro problems there with the statement that "Metro has a fairly long time between trains."

1) The interval between trains should be much shorter. 5 minutes would be ideal, definitely not more than 10 (unless it's late night/early morning)
2) For the purpose of commuting, the interval would not matter so much if Metro would simply run on schedule. One would only need to show up on the platform 2-3 minutes before the next scheduled departure.

It's true that Metro makes a lot of stops, but that is nothing compared to the sea of red lights that traffic has to wade through. In some parts of the city it's impossible to go more than 2 or 3 blocks before hitting the next red light. According to WMATA, the average Metro speed (including station stops) is 33 mph. Unless it is the dead of night, even when a car is in motion it would be lucky to hit 30 consistently.

In fact the average speed of Metro trains should be significantly higher (it is 40+ mph in some other major cities). I find that on about half of my Metro trips the train will randomly slow to a crawl or even come to a dead stop at some point between stations. This is ridiculous and points to some serious operational problems.

by Chris on Mar 1, 2013 1:52 pm • linkreport

Chris,

That's all true but there are reasons for it. The schedule comes from a massive decrease in the budget from the general recession couple with the red line crash.

That in turn led to slower trains now that trains are being manually operated again until the system can be overhauled so that the switching problem that led to the red line crash is resolved. Should this have been prevented in the first place? Yes, but we can't go back and change that.

I totally agree that its not the way it should be but there are definite reasons for why it is and why its (somewhat) necessary.

by drumz on Mar 1, 2013 1:57 pm • linkreport

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