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Breakfast links: Bridge and tunnel crowd


Image from Wikipedia.
Darkness at end of the tunnel: Amtrak might have to shut down one of the two rail tunnels from New Jersey to Manhattan within 20 years, and maybe much sooner. That would cut train capacity across the Hudson River by 75%. (Capital New York)

Build your own bridge: Developers want to build a multimodal bridge to connect to the nearby Van Dorn Street Metro and shorten what would be a 1.2 mile walk. (WBJ)

Rework track work: Metro track work will look different starting in July with weekend shutdowns starting midnight on Friday night with fewer major disruptions. Track work during the day may also make a comeback. (Post)

Metro for cars?: Many of the outer Metro stations have large parking lots that attract cars but encourage people to ride Metro. Is this a good strategy or can we do more to encourage alternative transportation to Metro? (Post)

Turn it on: 5 pedestrians were hit by drivers on Route 1 in College Park recently. There are speed cameras, but they don't operate at night. Should they? (Diamondback)

Lots of benefits: If it builds an 8-story building at 13th and U, JBG will rehab the fields at Garrison Elementary, Harrison Rec, and Westminster park; add a CaBi station at Garrison and bike racks on 13th Street; and more. (WBJ)

Don't tread on my transit: Should there be an urbanist version of the Tea Party, to push for local tax dollars to stay local and less federal meddling in planning and transportation? Some say yes, but would it help or hurt inequality? (Human Transit)

Not a bike mecca any more?: Portland was a leader in bicycling and got the moniker "America's bicycle capital," but has the city been "resting on its laurels" too much? It has no cycletracks and no bikeshare. (Spacing)

And...: DDOT will try for federal streetcar funding for the 3rd time. (WBJ) ... Maryland rose from #11 to #7 on the list of most bike-friendly states, but Virginia dropped from #16 to #18. (WashCycle) ... You can sign up for TSA PreCheck at DCA. (Post)

Do you enjoy the links?: Chad Maddox, our regular Tuesday link curator, has to step down, and we need someone to put together a set of links once a week. If you can help keep the links going and contribute to one of Greater Greater Washington's most popular elements, please let us know at info@ggwash.org. Thanks!

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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.  

Comments

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Came down route 1 through college park around 1am on Saturday(carefully). There were 4 police sitting watching the intersection from the bank drive through, or at least I think they were supposed to be watching.

A girl in a group started to cross the crosswalk as I approached a green light. Her friend then decided to join her in the crosswalk without looking. The first girl made it across easily, but her friends were in the middle of the intersection as I approached. As I was going 20, I was able to stop easily.

I live around there, Rte 1 is annoying for pedestrians. I know I am one twice every weekday at least. But no amount of traffic calming can deal with drunk children running out into the street. If we are going to pay 4 police officers to be there all night, why not have them serve as crossing guards.

by Richard on May 6, 2014 9:48 am • linkreport

@Richard: Or what about lights that change to allow pedestrians to cross as soon as they push a button when it's late at night? Surely part of the reason they wander into the street without the ROW is that they'd have to wait a while to get the ROW, for no good reason.

by Gray on May 6, 2014 9:54 am • linkreport

To be fair, there are 2 other sets of rail tunnels between NJ and NYC both running PATH trains.

Not that the Amtrak tunnels dont need to be expanded and refurbished, they do. There needs to be at least 4 tracks from Penn Station across the river, but to say there are only 2 tracks from NJ to NYC is kind of misleading.

by Richard on May 6, 2014 9:54 am • linkreport

Not that the Amtrak tunnels dont need to be expanded and refurbished, they do. There needs to be at least 4 tracks from Penn Station across the river, but to say there are only 2 tracks from NJ to NYC is kind of misleading.

Given that you can't run mainline railroad trains on the PATH tracks, it isn't misleading at all.

by Alex B. on May 6, 2014 9:57 am • linkreport

While Portland does have several cycle tracks (NE Cully, SW Moody, SW Broadway, & NE Multnomah), it is true that they have been extremely cautious about implementing more. Many other cities (NYC, Seattle, DC, Boston, Chicago, Atlanta) have plans for many miles of cycle tracks, but Portland has almost no plans for more, and bikeshare can't seem to get off the ground. Hopefully, this serves as a wake up call to the city which used to be a standard bearer for US cycling.

by TransitSnob on May 6, 2014 9:58 am • linkreport

While that is a nice package by JBG, I am curious where they are going to buy a bikeshare station from.

by charlie on May 6, 2014 10:02 am • linkreport

Richard -
Those PATH lines are also running pretty close to capacity as well and run 24 hours a day. They also aren't rail tunnels - they are cast iron tubes that are not in the rock - they sit on the riverbed and are covered with silt. I'm fairly certain they can't accommodate the NJ Transit or Amtrak trains - either in capacity or from an engineering perspective.
Christie's ARC decision was tremendously foolish and shortsighted and a loss of an Amtrak tunnel would probably be one of the single most crippling events that could happen to our nation's infrastructure.

by Evan on May 6, 2014 10:03 am • linkreport

@Richard: Or what about lights that change to allow pedestrians to cross as soon as they push a button when it's late at night? Surely part of the reason they wander into the street without the ROW is that they'd have to wait a while to get the ROW, for no good reason.

Not sure what the light timing is that late at night, but it shouldnt be too long. Better signaling would probably be a good thing but I dont think it would solve the problem. Perhaps just closing Rte 1 to auto traffic from 10pm to 3am on Thursday, Friday and Saturday during the school year to protect the bar crawl patrons.

by Richard on May 6, 2014 10:06 am • linkreport

Given that you can't run mainline railroad trains on the PATH tracks, it isn't misleading at all.

It doesnt say mainline railroad, Amtrak, NEC, or commuter rail. It just says rail. Some clarification would have been nice. Really NYC is big enough it's amazing there arent 20 total tracks across the river.

by Richard on May 6, 2014 10:10 am • linkreport

Those PATH lines are also running pretty close to capacity as well and run 24 hours a day. They also aren't rail tunnels - they are cast iron tubes that are not in the rock - they sit on the riverbed and are covered with silt. I'm fairly certain they can't accommodate the NJ Transit or Amtrak trains - either in capacity or from an engineering perspective.
Christie's ARC decision was tremendously foolish and shortsighted and a loss of an Amtrak tunnel would probably be one of the single most crippling events that could happen to our nation's infrastructure.

I know they couldn't move anything else of substance through them.
Christie continues to prove that he is tremendously foolish and shortsighted.
No argument.

by Richard on May 6, 2014 10:12 am • linkreport

I know they couldn't move anything else of substance through them.
Christie continues to prove that he is tremendously foolish and shortsighted.
No argument.

I'd hope we can all agree on that.

by Evan on May 6, 2014 10:14 am • linkreport

@Richard, oh we are comparing anecdotes?

I came across an intersection in Tysons this morning with a crosswalk/sign noting pedestrians, and without a traffic light.

There was a person clearly crossing the street, already with feet in the intersection trying to cross at the crosswalk, and not one, not two, not three vehicles illegally turned left in front of her, but 14 vehicles.

All of whom were breaking traffic laws clearly stated


§ 46.2-924 from Code of Virginia

The governing body of Arlington County, Fairfax County, Loudoun County and any town therein, the City of Alexandria, the City of Fairfax, and the City of Falls Church may by ordinance provide for the installation and maintenance of highway signs at marked crosswalks specifically requiring operators of motor vehicles, at the locations where such signs are installed, to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians crossing or attempting to cross the highway. Any operator of a motor vehicle who fails at such locations to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians as required by such signs shall be guilty of a traffic infraction punishable by a fine of no less than $100 or more than $500. The Department of Transportation shall develop criteria for the design, location, and installation of such signs. The provisions of this section shall not apply to any limited access highway.

Those drivers will continue to drive as such, likely not even aware they are breaking the law, and absolutely not caring that their actions (unlike a pedestrian who crosses illegally) puts OTHERS lives in danger as well.

As soon as all the drivers in this area are either stripped of their license from a zero tolerance ruling, I'll start taking pedestrian/cyclist anecdotes a little more seriously. Until then, can we please put some damn common sense safety devices and enforcement in?

by Navid Roshan on May 6, 2014 10:19 am • linkreport

I'd hope we can all agree on that.

Definitely agree with that statement. Christie's foolish decision not to build the tunnel pairs nicely with the reluctance to raise taxes on gas/driving in NJ under his administration, and borrowing into debt in order to avoid raising them:

http://www.wnyc.org/story/ever-wonder-why-new-jersey-has-such-cheap-gas/

(If there's already been a link to this article on GGW; I apologize for the redundancy.)

by dc denizen on May 6, 2014 10:20 am • linkreport

*Edit, misread your post Richard, so used to people demonizing pedestrian/cyclist behavior at intersections I suppose Ive gotten a bit reactionary to it.

by Navid Roshan on May 6, 2014 10:20 am • linkreport

As soon as all the drivers in this area are either stripped of their license from a zero tolerance ruling, I'll start taking pedestrian/cyclist anecdotes a little more seriously. Until then, can we please put some damn common sense safety devices and enforcement in?

My story was specifically about the 4 police who were at the intersection and appeared to be doing nothing. 4 officers on Saturday night at 1am doing what exactly? They certainly weren't improving anyone's safety.

If they had been spread out, or if they had been more visible, they might have been a cause for drivers to use caution, but as they were tucked behind the bank under a roof, southbound traffic would not see them until after they had gone through the intersection.

by Richard on May 6, 2014 10:34 am • linkreport

Route 1 should be one through lane and one parallel parking lane in downtown College Park, 7pm to 7am and 10am to 3pm. Would help shoppers, calm traffic, and make the road easier to cross. Through traffic can just go elsewhere or take the Metro. It's a College town that deserves a decent pedestrian environment.

That petition for railings is idiotic. Just allow parking off rush to calm traffic, like they've done in the Hyattsville Arts District. It's a commercial street in that zone, not a bleeping freeway.

Disclosure, family business on Route 1, though a bit further up the road. Would welcome narrower lanes, parallel parking, and speed cameras in that area too. It's impossible to cross Route 1 safely north of 193.

by Greenbelt on May 6, 2014 11:15 am • linkreport

One issue I've seen in downtown College Park is the sidewalks get pretty narrow and the folks coming out of bars and other hangouts like Cornerstone and Ratsie's seem to get so crowded on the sidewalk that they spill over into the street because of lack of room. (You get a similar effect on M Street in Georgetown a lot of the time.) Just look at the SE corner of Knox Road and Route 1, where the outdoor patio of Cornerstone comes really close to the corner, with signs and lammpposts taking up room too.

There's also the problem that all the auto traffic through there is funneled onto Route 1 because there are no longer any streets crossing the CSX and Metro tracks between East-West Highway and Paint Branch Parkway -- and you can't get onto Paint Branch Parkway from old town College Park other than via Route 1 because the streets are blocked. So there's no relief valve to take any automotive thru traffic off of Route 1 and onto parallel streets, since the parallel streets are discontinuous (and full of speed humps, to boot).

by iaom on May 6, 2014 11:18 am • linkreport

A very nice lady called our house to ask questions on behalf of our very nice Prince George's county executive @RushernBaker last week. She ended her survey with an open-ended question -- what improvements would we like to see? My spouse answered thoughtfully, explaining how we need to retrofit our suburban car sewers into complete streets, with bike lanes, bus shelters, sidewalks, crosswalks, median havens etc.

The very nice lady was very confused. She asked again: "Do you mean like filling potholes?"

No, I mean like making the roads safer for people who are walking across them or riding their bikes on them to get to stores or to work.

Very nice lady literally had no inkling of this possibility.

by Greenbelt on May 6, 2014 11:20 am • linkreport

Through traffic can just go elsewhere or take the Metro.

While I agree that getting traffic off Rte 1 would be great, I am not sure where it would go. I take metro for all my trips into DC, but when I want to go to points north or get to the beltway, I have to use Route 1. It is too difficult to get over to 201 or 650. The bypass from 95 down to 193 would really be great for ped life on Route 1.

by Richard on May 6, 2014 11:35 am • linkreport

There's also the problem that all the auto traffic through there is funneled onto Route 1 because there are no longer any streets crossing the CSX and Metro tracks between East-West Highway and Paint Branch Parkway -- and you can't get onto Paint Branch Parkway from old town College Park other than via Route 1 because the streets are blocked.
It isnt just the CSX line
All of the disconnects in University Park also block traffic from going to Adelphi Rd.

by Richard on May 6, 2014 11:37 am • linkreport

What Tysons needs, and really the whole Rt 7 and 123 corridors, are those cameras that ticket cars when they cutoff peds in the crosswalk. A lot of traffic cameras are revenue generating money grabs that do little/nothing for safety but the crosswalk cameras really do improve safety.

by Falls Church on May 6, 2014 12:17 pm • linkreport

@Gray and Richard:

Gray hit the nail on the head: light timing is a huge part of the problem when crossing Route 1 in College Park. There are very long green lights for traffic on Route 1, and while there are pedestrian buttons, pressing a button doesn't affect the length of the green (it just means that when the Route 1 light finally does go red, you get a walk light to cross, whereas if you don't press the button, you never get a walk light).

So a pedestrian obeying the laws will often have to wait a minute or more in order to cross. Not surprisingly, lots of people jaywalk rather than waiting that long. But rather than blaming the ridiculously long wait, people blame the pedestrian who gets hit.

by Rob on May 6, 2014 12:24 pm • linkreport

Amtrak might have to shut down one of the two rail tunnels from New Jersey to Manhattan within 20 years, and maybe much sooner.

Note to self: Go long on Greyhound stock.

by aces on May 6, 2014 1:58 pm • linkreport

I actually think we need both a new Amtrak/NJT tunnel and a new PATH tunnel. It's mindboggling to me that there are no NJ/NY tunnels above Hoboken-Lower Manhattan. At the least there shoudl be a connection between midtown and upper Hudson County lower Bergen County which constitute basically all of the densest places in the entire country. Port Authority Bus terminal is at capacity so just running more buses is not really in the cards and a new bus terminal would be valuable NYC real estate in mid town.

by BTA on May 7, 2014 10:59 am • linkreport

@ Navid Roshan "Those drivers will continue to drive as such, likely not even aware they are breaking the law, and absolutely not caring that their actions (unlike a pedestrian who crosses illegally) puts OTHERS lives in danger as well."

Regardless of the mode of transport, anyone who breaks traffic laws is potentially putting others' lives in danger.

by Steve D. on May 7, 2014 1:30 pm • linkreport

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