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Image from Mobile Garden.
February track work: February's Metro track maintenance includes closures of Rossyln and Arlington Cemetery, and the lines through them, Presidents' Day weekend, as well as other closures around Grosvenor and Cheverly. (DCist)

The garden car: Chicago will add a garden on a flatcar to the end of some L trains, to add some green to peoples' commutes. (Treehugger, Matt')

Your connecting flight is a train: Autopia argues that airlines should embrace high-speed rail to handle those short commuter hops to large hubs that create a lot of congestion at airports. (Wired)

Crown Farm back on: The proposed walkable Crown Farm development around the proposed Corridor Cities Transitway is moving forward after being stalled from the recession. (BeyondDC)

LA to privatize garages?: As we briefly discussed before, LA may privatize some parking garages to raise $100 million in a one-time payment. It could lead to more market-rate garage pricing, but the city won't get much of the benefit in the future. It also just gets them out of their budget hole for having built $60 million worth of garages recently. (LA Times, Stanton Park)

Are we getting used to doomsday?: As transit agencies keep suggesting the same "doomsday" service cuts they suggested in years past, are people less upset upon hearing them or unaware that the level of service they're experiencing doesn't encompass the cuts? (The Transport Politic, Michael P)

Bicycle hero: It's a video of a bicycle version of Guitar Hero. (Geekologie, Michael P)

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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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The problem with the garden car is that, no matter who pays for it, the average Joe rider will look at it and say, “I can’t believe the transit agency is spending money on crap like this while they’re cutting service elsewhere in the system!"

by Rob on Feb 1, 2010 4:39 pm • linkreport

Exactly. It is a cute idea but also a very dumb idea.

by NikolasM on Feb 1, 2010 4:41 pm • linkreport

They key to getting plane-to-rail off the ground is getting Amtrak (or future high-speed rail carriers) recognized as "airlines" in the ubiquitous ticket databases that you access from Kayak or Yahoo Travel or the like. It would be great if EWR, BWI, and OAK were recognized in the system as being both rail and plane hubs; in addition, you should just be able to enter a city code (as you can with "NYC" for all New York area aiports) and get trips to Penn Station as well as to the airports.

by Josh Fruhlinger on Feb 1, 2010 4:45 pm • linkreport

garden car = frivolous idea during such lean economic times

by Paul on Feb 1, 2010 4:45 pm • linkreport

Agreed. That garden car is ridiculous.

About teaming up trains with airlines: This sort of thing works in Europe. I mean, look at the cited example; the TGV terminal in Paris. However, very few airports have rail stations for easy transfers. How is somebody landing at JFK supposed to get to Penn Station?

by Adam L on Feb 1, 2010 5:23 pm • linkreport

If they want to add green to people's commutes, why not just add some potted plants in the stations? Aside from trailing dirt all over the place and adding extra weight and electricity costs to the trains, this is about as useful as that plastic flower that came with every New Beetle that Volkswagen put out.

by Teo on Feb 1, 2010 5:23 pm • linkreport

I love the garden car! CATA can sell tomatos and flowers to commuters. Or not. Love the idea. Love the recognition that aesthetics are vital and greenery is a healing aesthetic. I can see a problem with raccoons getting rides all over Chicago-land if veggies are grown on the flats. Problems for the displaced raccoons that is.

by Bianchi on Feb 1, 2010 5:29 pm • linkreport

@ all you with no appreciation for whimsy-CTA won't be paying for the garden car. Check the link.

by Bianchi on Feb 1, 2010 5:31 pm • linkreport

It doesn't matter if it is paid for or not by CTA. It is the perception that people not paying close attention will have of them wasting money on a system in dire need of repair.

by NikolasM on Feb 1, 2010 5:40 pm • linkreport

NikM is right, although you could probably solve the perception problem if you painted "PAID FOR BY MOBILE GARDEN. NO CTA FUNDS EXPENDED" in giant letters on the side.

Of course, that might dilute the effect and therefore defeat the purpose.

by BeyondDC on Feb 1, 2010 5:50 pm • linkreport

Doesnt Continental already partner with amtrak in the northeast corridor?

by J on Feb 1, 2010 6:03 pm • linkreport

Meanwhile Metro will be deploying 50 officers to give a show of force against terrorism.

Why not use those officers to deter crime. You've had a 50% uptick in robberies in the last year and 0 terrorism attempts.

by Redline SOS on Feb 1, 2010 6:23 pm • linkreport

Just because there hasn't been a terrorism attempt doesn't mean there ever won't be. And training is always important. Remember, the price of freedom is eternal vigilence...

by Froggie on Feb 1, 2010 6:27 pm • linkreport

@Redline SOS:

Exactly. Metro is putting on another show to "prove" that they are "fighting" terrorism. If I were a terrorist, I would simply wait for the show to end. When Metro announced its random inspection policy, it took me maybe 2 minutes to figure out how to defeat it. I won't elaborate other than to say it is ridiculously easy. (I've also figured out how to defeat TSA's airport defenses. It's not hard but requires a lot of precision.)

As the Detroit airplane bomber and Flight 93's passengers and crew showed, it is ordinary people who are the main defense against terrorism. Fortunately, the Detroit job was botched from the beginning. Sadly, Flight 93's passengers and crew went down with the plane after thwarting the terrorists' plan.

BTW, I have lived in Israel. Any Israeli can tell you how every Israeli is responsible for defending against terrorism. Moreover, you don't let the terrorists win by making you cower in fear. You go on with life, with necessary precautions like bomb shelters, and show the terrorists that they can't win no matter what they do.

by Chuck Coleman on Feb 1, 2010 6:35 pm • linkreport

@Redline SOS

Because Metro got grant money to fund anti-terrorism forces. Stupid, I know. But welcome to the wonderfully wacky world of federal grants where the Feds will pay for a new Metro extension to Dulles as the rest of the system collapses under its own weight.

by Adam L on Feb 1, 2010 6:36 pm • linkreport

if Mobile Garden displays its info no doubt the non-profit will generate donations because a lot of people like this idea including the local transit workers union president. This is public art. Thank goodness for artists and people who can appreciate art, like the union prez. This is public art.

by Bianchi on Feb 1, 2010 6:47 pm • linkreport

How much coal do we have to burn to haul around that garden car? Nice carbon footprint garden car!

by rj on Feb 1, 2010 7:39 pm • linkreport

I don't know if they still do it, but at one time (10 yrs ago??) Icelandair allowed you to have a connecting Amtrak trip all on one ticket, connecting at BWI from WDC, Balt, or Philly.

by spookiness on Feb 1, 2010 7:43 pm • linkreport

I've seen some trips searched for in Kayak from Philly start with an Amtrak ride to EWR. I wish I had known EWR was an Amtrak station a few years back because it was cheaper (and easier for me) to take the train from DC to EWR and then fly to Europe. The amount of time was about the same as heading out to Dulles and then connecting in NYC for the flight to Europe.

This is why the Amtrak station 'at' BWI really needs to be inside the airport like trains in many other countries. It would be great to step off a plane, grab my bag, walk a 100 yards to the train, head to Union Station, and then walk 100 yards to the bus/Metro/taxi that would take me home. This was great when I lived in Japan....

by Rob on Feb 2, 2010 5:39 am • linkreport

This is indeed an art installation - as far as carbon footprints go, assuming that the 5 L cars run at 70% capacity at a time (the garden car is currently not scheduled for rush hours) but yet the same number of cars get pulled around, then this is could be an offset or a zero sum. either way it gets people talking about efficient ways to start rethinking transportation and is successful before people are even 'all aboard'

by Joe Baldwin on May 30, 2010 12:32 am • linkreport

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