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We didn't have our minds made up, we swear: Maryland State Highway and Mass Transit officials insist that their I-270 study is open to many options, not just road widening. The study itself does combine an evaluation of the Corridor Cities Transitway with an evaluation of road widening options. However, all road options except No Build involve some widening, and Montgomery officials said that the state presented the project to them with an expectation that they would select a build alternative for the road as well as a build alternative for the CCT. (Baltimore Sun)

Our mind was made up, but now it's not: Meanwhile, Virginia DRPT is working on that study of transit and TDM alternatives to widening I-66 that VDOT kept refusing to do. The compromise TPB vote earlier this year let VDOT move forward with phase 1 as long as they actually did the study. DRPT is holding community meetings in September in Arlington (9/23), Vienna (9/24), and Haymarket (9/30) for people to review and comment on the study. (Gavin Baker)

PG HHS?: The Department of Health and Human Services may move from its Rockville location, which it has outgrown. The owner of the current facility would like to keep them there, while Prince George's developers and leaders are interested in luring the department to new development at New Carrollton or Largo Metro stations. The current site is also a half block from Metro. (Post, Cavan, Bianchi)

Transit-oriented Wal-Mart?: Calling projects "Transit-Oriented Development" and "Smart Growth" is all the rage, even when it's really not. But this one takes the cake. An old auto-oriented shopping center in Charlotte will become a larger, auto-oriented Wal-Mart Supercenter. They're also widening a turn lane and building a new interchange to handle increased car traffic. And yet, bizarrely, Nancy Carter of the Charlotte City Council says this will "anchor" some "transit-oriented development." If you say so. (News 14 Carolina)

Don't be afraid of the Purple Line, UMD: The UMD administration and some alumni continue to oppose the Purple Line. Rethink College Park features a letter by an alum who says the University will lose his support if the line goes through campus. RTCP notes that Campus Drive is not exactly UMD's most idyllic, pristine section as it is.

News flash: Not a lot of room to park: It's not cheap to park at area colleges, especially the urban ones. The Post quotes a AAA study showing the various rates for student parking. Some of them still seem below market rate for their locations, actually. But AAA Mid-Atlantic is outraged that colleges don't subsidize automobility even more. DCist thinks it's totally reasonable for students at urban campuses to take public transportation if they don't want to pay.

And...: The taxing district created to pay for the Silver Line is legal (Examiner) ... Canada's passenger railroad is launching a Toronto-Montreal bike train (Canada News Wire, Matt') ... Water taxi service to the Nationals ballpark starts Tuesday, 9/8. You can now buy tickets. (WTOP)

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David Alpert is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Greater Greater Washington and Greater Greater Education. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He loves the area which is, in many ways, greater than those others, and wants to see it become even greater. 

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"But AAA Mid-Atlantic is outraged that colleges don't subsidize automobility even more."

No, I think the AAA is being perfectly reasonable in its tone in the story. It says nothing about a need for subsidies, and this is a good article to give to arriving freshmen.

by Omri on Aug 31, 2009 5:26 pm • linkreport

This will be the first water taxi currently in service to DC, right? So this should be an interesting test of the viability of a water option for commuters. It strikes me as pricey, but if you want to avoid game rush on Metro or driving, it's an (upscale) option. (BTW: direct link to service info)

It's run by a private company -- are there any subsidies, either public or by the ballpark?

Anybody know the expected price point on the commuter ferry they were testing earlier this year? An article from 2005 said it would be $4-6 roundtrip, but I can't find a more recent number.

P.S. Can't we just call it a ferry? It's a predesignated route -- it's not like you can phone it up for a lift to the airport.

by Gavin Baker on Aug 31, 2009 6:11 pm • linkreport

I agree with Omari . . . I don't think negative judgment was really passed by AAA against the parking prices.

The statement that "[s]tudents can pay a pretty penny just to own and operate a car and to park it on campus and to cover all the other incidentals -- the cost of insurance, car care, repairs and other expenses -- that invariably come with having a car," is hardly a scathing review.

If anything, it's honest.

by Joey on Aug 31, 2009 6:18 pm • linkreport

My problem with the article was that it parroted the AAA in terms of saying it was expensive. All the rates mentioned by the article are below market. So for the Post to accept without criticism the statement that student parking is expensive is a failure of duty.

by Reid on Aug 31, 2009 6:35 pm • linkreport

@walmart- if they actually did build an honest to goodness transit-oriented or urban format walmart supercenter that would be rad. Does New York have one by now?

by SteveW on Aug 31, 2009 8:30 pm • linkreport

Wal-Mart doesn't have much of a track record for urban stores. Amongst big boxes, Target and Best Buy are much better (no surprise that they're the ones in DC USA).

by Alex B. on Aug 31, 2009 9:36 pm • linkreport

I see this I270 wideing becoming a huge controversy over the next few years just as the ICC was for the last 5 or so. I am not aginst adding a 3rd lane to the section between Germantown and Ferderick, perhaps even HOV only, but thats about it. Since the state has already replaced several bridges and widdening them to eventualy accept a 3rd lane this could be done relativly cheaply and with out additional land.

Any other plans need to focus on expanding mass transit in the area.

by Matt on Sep 1, 2009 6:55 am • linkreport

Re: Post article about parking at area colleges.

I guess my question is: why did the Post even run this article? Is it really news or even new information that owning a car might be expensive and difficult for DC college students? Or that, nationally, the regular costs of car ownership are often a tougher financial burden for college students than they are for the general population? For a newspaper that is cutting a lot of good content in the name of cost savings, that article seems like a real waste of space. It's kind of like those article the Post runs in August about how hot it is and in January about how cold it is......

by rg on Sep 1, 2009 9:14 am • linkreport

I went to Georgetown, and I highly doubt that even one student is learning this information for the first time from the Post. At least back when I went there, the acceptance packet and the housing packet both warned you that owning a car could subject you to disciplinary action. A bit over the top, maybe, but the University isn't just doing this to deal with its whining millionaire neighbors -- they're a private school, and they have a genuine, 200-year tradition of keeping the students on campus as a way to foster collective identity.

by tom veil on Sep 1, 2009 9:37 am • linkreport

@ tom veil: Georgetown also has a serious parking problem. The waiting list for parking spots for faculty is two years.

by Jasper on Sep 1, 2009 10:05 am • linkreport

they're a private school, and they have a genuine, 200-year tradition of keeping the students on campus as a way to foster collective identity.

Not in my experience at all. I went to Georgetown in the early 1970s. At that point, Harbin (1964) was the last dorm built on campus, and the university policy was NOT to build further on-campus housing - that the idea was that students would rather live in the community. Freshmen were *required* to live on campus, but everyone else had to enter a housing lottery for on-campus housing. The flood of students then forced to live in the surrounding community helped to drive rents up to crazy values and the university finally relented and built Village A (1976) and then Village B (1980). But to say that the University has always had a tradition of keeping students on campus certainly doesn't jive with my experience when I was there.

by andy on Sep 1, 2009 11:48 am • linkreport

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