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Get a cheesesteak in the future

Geoff and Jaime recently tried out a new Philly cheesesteak shop near 14th and U. They noticed something very odd about the Metro map on the back of the menu:

Yup, it's part of the Metro 2030 map showing a potential future separated Blue Line. Unfortunately, that line doesn't exist right now, nor do the streetcars that appear there, even if those are closer to reality. This restaurant is now showing all of its patrons how to get there using a public transportation system that doesn't exist (but ought to).

It's also the same map that MediaBistro also unintentionally used last year. Any ideas how people could be unintentionally ending up with this map? Different version of the 2030 map do show up as part of a Google image search for wmata map, for example, but so do many maps that accurately reflect current service.

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


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Free cheesesteaks for all GGW readers as restitution!

by Andrew on Oct 25, 2009 11:14 am • linkreport

Maybe they are just trying to raise awareness of potential future metro projects. A little spurred interested by the public on these issues couldn't hurt. They should have included a link to GGW at the bottom.

by Spaceman on Oct 25, 2009 11:34 am • linkreport

Maybe it's because everything on GGW is given out under Creative Commons license and to get a similar map from WMATA would take weeks of bureaucracy and board-level arguments about whether WMATA could make money from it.

by Michael Perkins on Oct 25, 2009 12:03 pm • linkreport

Michael beat me to it. I know on Wikipedia, someone had to heroically make a fake Metro map, because the actual Metro map is copyrighted.

by David C on Oct 25, 2009 1:47 pm • linkreport

Power of positive thinking?

by цarьchitect on Oct 25, 2009 1:50 pm • linkreport

I'm with Spaceman on this one ... As they say Perception is Reality --- perhaps if enough people assume that this is what will be, it will happen .... It will certainly gain some attention in a positive way --- I sort of like it --- after all, some of the future items ARE on the books (i.e. - Gallery Place - Metro Ctr connection), so why shouldn't the seperated Blue Line

by coneyraven on Oct 25, 2009 3:58 pm • linkreport

i wouldn't mind if they'd just use more cheese wiz on the veggie cheesesteak. i hardly got a tablespoon's worth... :(

by IMGoph on Oct 25, 2009 6:09 pm • linkreport

I'm guessing the designer just did a google image search for "WMATA map" and your fantasy blue line map was near the top of the result set. Speaks to the popularity of your site David!

I tried out this place today. Look for the review on ReadysetDC tomorrow...

by Chris Loos on Oct 25, 2009 6:59 pm • linkreport

The old background map is also flipped so west is east, east is west, text is mirrored, etc. Nice work JJ's. Attention to detail at its finest.

by mhoek on Oct 25, 2009 9:15 pm • linkreport

It is a concept map - what would WMATA do in the next decade or two if the funds were available? It was done years ago. It would solve the two most important crunch points we have today: the Rosslyn tunnel (by providing another river crossing) and the Red Line by building long-planed foot tunnels between Farragut North and West and between Metro Center and Gallery Place.

The new metro line (shown as blue in the map) has about as much chance as the 2nd Ave Line in New York.

by Dan Gamber on Oct 26, 2009 1:26 am • linkreport


1) The map's origin isn't WMATA, its this very site. David created and posted it last year.

2) The 2nd Ave subway is currently under construction, so I certainly hope that you're correct that this line "has about as much chance as the 2nd Ave Line in New York".

by Chris Loos on Oct 26, 2009 6:54 am • linkreport

Maybe the designers googled, saw several maps and figured this was the most up to date?

And it is under a CC license, which is probably why they actually used it. Although in this case, the map is technically being used for a commercial purpose.

by Tim on Oct 26, 2009 10:00 am • linkreport

Like coneyraven, I kind of wonder if this is an act of sympathetic magic.

by J.D. Hammond on Oct 26, 2009 10:51 am • linkreport

In addition to not being copyrighted, it's also higher-res than the other versions that come up on the first page of the google search. If you're looking to print, you grab the highest-res version available.

by BeyondDC on Oct 26, 2009 11:27 am • linkreport

David, On your next hi res Creative Commons fantasy metro map can you please include in the corner a coupon for a free sandwich, you know, just in case. Thanks.

by Ward 1 Guy on Oct 26, 2009 11:40 am • linkreport

If NYC found the formula (and financing) to build the 2nd Avenue subway line, then DC and WMATA can do likewise for a separated Blue line. WMATA has less than 5 years to twiddle its toes, pondering whether another tunnel under the Potomac is necessary. Because 5 years from now, when the Silver line becomes operational, the dire need for another tunnel will manifest itself day after day in dozens of delayed trains, which will be waiting for others to clear the passage.

When is the Orange/Blue line projected to reach full capacity? 2030 or thereabouts? I'm not sure. At any rate, it's only 20 years down the road. That may seem like it's a long way off, but it really isn't, at least in transportation planning circles. The construction alone of a separated Blue line may take as long as 10 years, perhaps longer. If WMATA has a dollop of moxie, they will begin planning a separated Blue line at this time--not 2011 or 2012 or later, but right now. At the very least, they should get things lined up before the Obama administration begins to pack up in 2016 (yeah, I know, but does anyone see him losing in 2012?).

by InArlington on Oct 26, 2009 12:37 pm • linkreport

Looks like it also shows a pedestrian connection between Metro Center and Gallery Place.

by Anonymous on Oct 26, 2009 12:45 pm • linkreport

Just ate lunch here. Good steaks. They're still working the kinks out for service, but that's to be expected of a new place. Very friendly service, they gave me some free fries because my food was taking longer than expected.

I welcome this addition to the city, even if they're using the wrong Metro map (and using CC incorrectly).

by Alex B. on Oct 26, 2009 3:19 pm • linkreport

It shows not only the separated blue line, but also the silver line, Metro Center/Gallery Place and Farragut North/West pedestrian connections, and some streetcar routes.

by Tim on Oct 26, 2009 3:22 pm • linkreport

If NYC found the formula (and financing) to build the 2nd Avenue subway line, then DC and WMATA can do likewise for a separated Blue line.

It took decades, and a major terrorist attack, to get that line built.

Not exactly the model DC should follow.

by metronic on Oct 26, 2009 5:53 pm • linkreport

A tunnel crunch at Rosslyn is not nearly as big a deal as many are making it out to be. Currently the Orange/Blue line carries 2 Orange line trains for ever 1 Blue line train during rush hour. When the Silver Line is built it will serve East Falls Church, Ballston... all the busiest parts of the Virginia Orange line. So you just replace one Orange Line train with a Silver Line train. After the Silver Line splits from the Orange Line there are only three stations left on the Orange Line. In addition West Falls Church will not be nearly as busy anymore since so many of those commuters will use the Silver Line. Certaintly a seperated Blue Line train will be important, but I bet anything we will still have the same amount of trains running through downtown, they'll just be different colors.

by Joshua Davis on Oct 26, 2009 7:42 pm • linkreport

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