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Breakfast links: Stalled and crashing, but not burning

Photo by muckster.
Pie in the Skyland: The Skyland Town Center mixed-use proposal for Alabama Ave and Good Hope Road SE recently went before the DC Zoning Commission, and delays on the long-planned project are likely to continue. (DCmud)

ACT calls out MoCo DOT: Action Committee for Transit issued a press release (PDF) yesterday outlining how the Montgomery County Department of Transportation has become systematically hostile to transit riders and pedestrians by delaying projects, diverting money and opposing constructive proposals. (Cavan)

More top ten, this time in Maryland: Michael Dresser lists the top ten transportation stories for Maryland in the last decade, and some honorable mentions. (Baltimore Sun)

Steps toward TOD: Steven Vance provides an example of transit-oriented development near a Metra commuter rail station outside Chicago, proving that TOD doesn't have to be complex. In this case, a residential development provides a simple and inexpensive connection to transit when other developments nearby do not. (Steven can plan)

A nickel and two dimes to save commuters time: Dulles Toll Road tolls rise Friday, the first of three to fund the Silver Line to the airport. Governor-Elect McDonnell has suggested tolls to fund future transportation, but NVTA's Bob Chase prefers a gas tax increase, though specifically to build roads rather than transit. (WTOP)

Crash course: Doug Landau, the personal injury attorney who represented eight cyclists ticketed in Loudoun County for failing to obey a stop sign during a charity ride, has published a book about bicycle crashes, how to avoid them, and what to do when they happen. It's available as a free download or a $12 paperback. (FABB)

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Stephen Miller lived in the District from 2008 to 2011 and is now a student at Pratt Institute's city and regional planning masters program. 


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Isn't the increase in the tolls meant to pay for building the silver line? I'm not sure how increasing the gas tax is any more equitable than increasing the tolls. Either way, people not likely to use the silver line are being singled out to pay for its construction. A fairer increase would be a fare increase for Metro riders ... or alternatively a fare increase combined with funding from general revenues. Alternatively, those poised to benefit most from giving Metro riders another destination (i.e., the stores and businesses at Tysons Corner and Dulles Airport) could be taxed to pay for the construction.

by Lance on Dec 29, 2009 8:57 am • linkreport

Lance, you raise the tolls to finance the Silver line because the drivers will benefit from that line, even if they do not use it directly.

As for stores/businesses/landowners paying their share, they already are - voluntarily:

by Alex B. on Dec 29, 2009 9:08 am • linkreport


The Silver Line will give Dulles Corridor commuters a much faster alternative. That's why they have to pay money, in addition to the businesses in the corridor which benefit from the increase density and land values the line brings.

by Joshua Davis on Dec 29, 2009 9:27 am • linkreport


Virginia has a faction in the house that has signed Grover Norquist's taxpayer pledge. They essentially have veto power over any legislation, including new tax legislation, which typically dies in subcommittee on a non-recorded vote. You're not going to get a tax increase out of the general assembly anytime soon, regardless of the benefit or fairness. In this case, increasing the toll wasn't a "tax" and it could be done without asking the general assembly for permission.

Politics is the art of the possible -- Otto von Bismarck, 1867

by Michael Perkins on Dec 29, 2009 9:31 am • linkreport

On the day of the MS charity ride, eight cyclists were ticketed for failing to stop, and two were ticketed for assault and destruction of property after getting into an altercation with a driver who ran them off the road. What happened in these cases?

by SJE on Dec 29, 2009 9:43 am • linkreport

Also, Lance if you're happy with the current rates and don't want to pay more take one of the numerous buses that use the toll road. The cost is only $1.25, the same current rate of the toll road. Plus you'll save gas money, maintenance money, and even on car insurance.

by Joshua Davis on Dec 29, 2009 9:54 am • linkreport

ACT is criticizing the same MCDOT that built the extravagant Forest Glen Pedestrian Bridge and South Silver Spring Pedestrian Linkages projects, and even provides independant lighting for the bikeway adjacent to the lightened Montrose Parkway. Almost every County-built project has some major pedestrian component to it? Just becuase the ACT doesnt get its way with the desperately needed multi-modal parking facility at Lot 31 and the multi-modal tunnel at NIH that, once completed will serve as an interchange to these major federal facilities and reduce congestion on gridlocked Wisconsin Avenue. MCDOT has a responsibility to balance the various transportation demands of our diverse County. ACT has no such responsibility, and has demonstrated such with fantasy map proposals of the I-270 corridor that would forever gridlock the corridor and accomplish their unstated goal of stopping all growth (ACT is the reorganization of previous groups such as anti-growth "Neighbors PAC" and "Neighborhs for a Better Montgomery" that have since dissolved becuase the anti-growth argument is not as convincing as putting in new "sexy" buses and trains) Anti-growth propaganda under the subtext of transit advocacy is the cutting edge trend in the local political scene. Not many people, including the local media have picked up on this yet.

by Cyrus on Dec 29, 2009 10:48 am • linkreport

When ACT criticizes Montgomery County for diverting $40 million from improvements at the Medical Center, is that in any way related to the $100 million that was just recently announced coming from the Feds for improving that area? Maybe they can spend that $40 million better elsewhere now.

by Lou on Dec 29, 2009 10:58 am • linkreport

Cyrus, ACT is not anti-growth and it is wholly separate from any civic federation. All of ACT's proposals are put forward with planning for growth in mind. It is far more cost efficient in the long term to grow with traditional human-scale walkalbe communities connected by transit than through more cars and traffic. We've already been doing that for 60 years and its time is over. We have a huge climate change problem and a strain on our budgets from maintaining roads in places with too few taxpayers supporting the system due to low density land uses.

And no, widening I-270 would increase gridlock. Simple induced demand takes care of that.

The all-transit alternative was put forth to show what $4.6 billion would purchase in transit infrastructure in that corridor. The number being tossed around for the I-270 widening was $4.6 billion. That's over twice as much as the cost of the ICC. The all-transit alternative was put forth as a way to show a way to reduce car traffic by moving people in a way other than autombiles. It would require human-scale town planning surrounding transit stops similar to what is going on in White Flint.

by Cavan on Dec 29, 2009 11:13 am • linkreport

Lou, the $40 million in question was before this recent announcement of an additional $100 million.

by Cavan on Dec 29, 2009 11:14 am • linkreport

"And no, widening I-270 would increase gridlock. Simple induced demand takes care of that."

Growth is what would "take care of that", not induced demand. Induced demand is generally accounted for these days. Unless your definition of induced demand includes growth...

by Froggie on Dec 29, 2009 3:22 pm • linkreport

The population of metropolitan Detroit hasn't grown for decades. However, it has gotten more dispersed with more lane-miles. The traffic congestion also increased. That is the kind of induced demand I'm talking about. Induced demand is in addition to growth.

Induced demand is about individual people making decisions to drive more because 1) the road exists 2) driving appears more convenient with more roads and 3) more roads pushes things farther apart making it necessary to drive farther to do daily routines. Induced demand is about misallocating resources and poor planning.

The same amount of people can create more car traffic. Traffic doesn't behave like water. It's more like air in that it expands to take up all available space.

by Cavan on Dec 29, 2009 3:59 pm • linkreport

Cavan- Induced demand is about individual people making decisions to drive more because 1) the road exists 2) driving appears more convenient with more roads and 3) more roads pushes things farther apart making it necessary to drive farther to do daily routines. Induced demand is about misallocating resources and poor planning.


Well if thats the case then why Northern Virginia is not Practicing "Induced Demand"???????

Whats the point of Preaching anti-Highway Growth in Suburban Maryland but turn your back on preaching anti-Highway Growth in Northern Virginia which has more "Suburban Sprawl" than Suburban Maryland????????

Lets say that Maryland doesn't Build/Widen one single highway ever and Virginia continues to Build and Widening their Highways, how does that improve traveling on Maryland Highways any better especially when there is a Very High Percentage of Maryland Tax Payers making long Stressful Commutes to Northern Virginia because Suburban Maryland Refuses to Expand Job Growth and Upscale Retail Growth at the rate of Equaling Northern Virginia.....

And don't say that building More Mass Transit will be the Alternative because if that were true then METRO would not be as Expensive, More Cities would be Saturated with Transit Centers Running 24/7, There would be almost no Evidence of Heavy Traffic in NYC, Philly, Chicago, Boston, San Fransisco-Oakland, and Toronto.

by Rick on Dec 30, 2009 12:53 am • linkreport

Cavan, have you ever heard of ACT 4-8 years ago? It was a small organization of CCT supporters in upper Montgomery County. Back then Neighbors for a Better Montgomery was the premier anti-growth organization. NBM no longer exists and all of a sudden ACT becomes an influential group with press releases and gaining media attention. Its simple. Merge the faltering NIMBY/anti-growth/Virginia special interests into a pro-transit organization that previously had no attention or clout. Then oppose every proposed multimodal transportation project to kill economic growth in Montgomery County by gridlock and stagnation. This is about local politics nothing else.

The $40 million multi-modal tunnel was a project already submittted for a TIGER grant from the stimulus. I think it is seperate from the $150 million coming for intersection improvement, sidewalks, etc. Building that interchange, of which the tunnel is a essential component, is a much needed project for this area. Leaving out the second Metro entrance is a mistake though.

by Cyrus on Dec 30, 2009 2:39 am • linkreport

@Cyrus, as an upcounty resident (and member of ACT since 2006), I am truly astounded that anybody could believe that ACT started as a group of upcounty CCT supporters. A group of downcounty Purple Line supporters seems more plausible, but I don't know that for sure, because in 1986, when ACT was founded, I was in college in Connecticut.

If ACT were an upcounty group, maybe I would be able to go to their monthly meetings, which are held in Silver Spring -- a ten-minute walk north of the Silver Spring Metro station but, alas, a 29-mile drive (one-way) from my house.

by Miriam on Dec 30, 2009 4:34 pm • linkreport

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