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Breakfast links: Taking control

Photo by harry_nl on Flickr.
Arlington gets Columbia Pike: Virginia's governing transportation body approved the transfer of Columbia Pike from VDOT to Arlington County, clearing the way for redevelopment of the corridor and the planned Columbia Pike streetcar. (ARLnow)

Alexandria to get multi-space meters: The Alexandria City Council approved $1.25 million to aquire multi-space meters in Old Town. (Examiner)

Trader Joe's eyes Clarendon, wants parking: Trader Joe's is planning to open a new location less than a block away from the Clarendon Metro station. Still, final approval likely hinges on TJ's demand to have dedicated free parking spaces. (ARLNow, Nick)

Sharing the road: WAMU has a video segment on bicycling in DC, featuring good comments from both AAA and WABA. (Rob Pitingolo)

Zoning stifling jobs?: Matt Yglesias argues that neighborhood overlay restrictions may be stifling low-wage job creation, particularly harmful during the recession.

Elevated Dulles much cheaper: MWAA says replacing the underground Dulles station with an elevated station in front of the parking garage could save $640 million. (WTOP)

New 99 bus?: WMATA is considering a new 99 express bus along the 90/92/93 route. There are three public meetings next week to discuss that and other potential improvements to the line family. (TBD)

Visualizing commutes: Using Census Transportation Planning Package data, Harry Kao has created a tool to map commutes from or to a given zip code. The tool does not work with transit directions and because of its use of zipcodes doesn't provide an accurate picture for short, intracity commutes, but it's still very cool. (Hairy Cow)

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Erik Weber has been living car-free in the District since 2009. Hailing from the home of the nation's first Urban Growth Boundary, Erik has been interested in transit since spending summers in Germany as a kid where he rode as many buses, trains and streetcars as he could find. Views expressed here are Erik's alone. 


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Do you have info we don't or am I missing something? Nowhere in the Clarendon Trader Joe's story do I see it say they want the spaces to be free.

by Chris S on Sep 16, 2010 8:36 am • linkreport

Henry Mesias (WABA) says in the video, "sometimes adults don't realize then when you're riding a bike on the streets, you don't have to follow the same rules as cars."

Does anyone think this is true, or that most adults simply choose not to follow those rules?

I don't want to start another debate about who breaks more laws, I just think it's interesting that a WABA spokesperson would implicitly admit that cyclists frequently don't follow the rules - but then blame it on ignorance rather than choice.

by Jamie on Sep 16, 2010 8:40 am • linkreport

*sorry, the quote is "you HAVE to follow the same rules" not you don't.

by Jamie on Sep 16, 2010 8:41 am • linkreport

PLEASE bring a 99 express bus to the 90s route. I live on U St, I would use it all the time. One vote yes!

by DAJ on Sep 16, 2010 9:03 am • linkreport

Thank goodness for Trader Joe's! The only options I have now for groceries on my Arlington "car free diet" is a dilapidated Safeway and an over-priced Whole Foods that's crowded out with SUVs and enormous strollers. And the trip to Foggy Bottom just isn't worth the walk. Hurry Joe!

by OX4 on Sep 16, 2010 9:24 am • linkreport

Why I am not surprised that MWAA is unable to keep the costs down. This is the same agency that couldn't build a 1/2 subway for less than 5 billion.

by charlie on Sep 16, 2010 9:30 am • linkreport

Why does this not surprise me. It pretty much a given that an elevated alignment would be cheaper then an alignment in subway. The possible options are almost endless. My original idea and the variations that could be based on it would not be as cheep as the parking garage option.

by Sand Box John on Sep 16, 2010 9:33 am • linkreport

@Dulles Metro

I am somewhat suprised that an undeground option is even being considered, there is no reason to hid the metro there. The station will not cause excess noise, or be an eye sore etc. Its just a waste of money.

If anything having it above ground will give passengers an idea of what direction they need to travel in to reach the station.

by Matt R on Sep 16, 2010 10:03 am • linkreport

Why would they have a 99 mirror the 90; the 92 route is always more crowded than the 90.

So the express buses are whatever the route is followed by a 9 what happens when there is already a bus ending in 9 on the route.

by kk on Sep 16, 2010 10:15 am • linkreport

, there is no reason to hid the metro there.

Eero Saarinen is rolling over in his grave.

by ah on Sep 16, 2010 10:23 am • linkreport

I hope TJ's comes to Clarendon, but is it so unreasonable to make people PAY for the parking? As it is, all the metro/cycling/walking customers will be subsidizing the parking of the -insert your stereotype - who drive there.

by Ren on Sep 16, 2010 10:35 am • linkreport

@Ren: exactly what subsidy is taking place? TJ will be paying rent for those parking spaces, and would hope that the increased volume of sales (buying a case of wine) makes up for the cost.

That's doubly true with a TJ since so much of the product stream is frozen goods. Not fun to carry home on a summer day.

by charlie on Sep 16, 2010 10:42 am • linkreport

@Trader Joe's and parking
Apparently AU is having a hard time filling the space left by Balducci's (on New Mexico). They've talked with TJ, Yes! Organic, and a number of other grocers. One (of three or four) reasons given for no one moving in is lack of parking. Even though there are literally thousands of residents and students within a 5 minute walk of the location.

by rdhd on Sep 16, 2010 10:43 am • linkreport

I feel like TJ must need a lot of volume for their business model to work or something. I've never been in one that didn't have obscene lines at nearly all times of day or night. Maybe that's why they're so demanding on the parking front.

by Nate on Sep 16, 2010 10:58 am • linkreport

The problem with Clarendon isn't a lack of parking -- it's a lack of PUBLIC parking. All of the big stores have their own lots and spaces, while there's no place to park if you're visiting one of the local businesses.

(However, despite this, Clarendon does seem to have cultivated a much greater proportion of local businesses than other portions of Rosslyn-Ballston, or even Northern Virginia in general. They're doing *something* right over there.)

by andrew on Sep 16, 2010 11:04 am • linkreport

@ Trader Joe's: The R-B corrdor does have a surprisingly low number of supermarkets, especially between R & B. However, I am not sure putting a Trader Joe's next to Wholefoods is gonna make a big difference. Although Wholefoods will not be happy.

@ Dulles Station: You know what would save even more money? Not building the entire Silver Line! But seriously, come on folks. This station should be the new grand daddy of them all. This is the first thing most visitors get to see when they fly into DC. This should be good. Very good.

by Jasper on Sep 16, 2010 11:13 am • linkreport

Re: Dulles Metro Station

I am very, VERY suspicious of the phrase "in front of the parking garage." A Metro passenger should not have to brave automobile traffic in order to get inside the airport. If we're going to abandon the underground station, fine, but we should never abandon having the station be inside the airport building.

by tom veil on Sep 16, 2010 11:13 am • linkreport


There is already an underground, climate controlled tunnel with moving walkways that connects the parking garage and the terminal. Passengers will be routed there, not through the parking lot.

by Alex B. on Sep 16, 2010 11:17 am • linkreport

I am torn on the dulles metro thing. On the one hand, from the moment you arrive at dulles (regardless of your transportation) until you get to your gate takes a minimum of 45 minutes. Even when everything goes just right, you need to be there an hour early because of the distances involved and the inefficiency of the security process. I've missed or come damn close to missing my plane when I stepped into the terminal with no baggage an hour before my flight.

So from that perspective, does another five minutes of walking make much difference? Not really.

On the other hand, the walk from the parking garage to the terminal with the moving walkways is really, really long, and anything that can be done to shorten the trip which will already be insanely long for metro riders should be done if at all possible.

Dulles has three different tiers of traffic that serve the terminal entrance. Couldn't one of them be repurposed for the train, eliminating that walk without necessitating an underground terminal?

by Jamie on Sep 16, 2010 11:29 am • linkreport

$3.83B for Phase 2 of the Silver line as currently designed. $3.2B if the Dulles portion is above ground. There is a real question as to whether this is worth it. Tysons was one thing. Wiehle Ave. was necessary if MWAA tolls were to help fund Phase 1. Phase 2 is very questionable.

by jim on Sep 16, 2010 11:54 am • linkreport

Something fishy is going on, that or the costs of construction and inflation have ballooned to unconscionable levels to allow an at-grade extension along existing ROW (even for 11 miles), save for a mile or so detour around Dulles to cost 3.8 BILLION dollars. Let's say we build a substandard Dulles station, it is still estimated to cost 3.2 billion.


by Reza on Sep 16, 2010 12:40 pm • linkreport

"Something fishy is going on, that or the costs of construction and inflation have ballooned "

What's fishy? Pretty much business as usual...

by Jamie on Sep 16, 2010 12:48 pm • linkreport

Given these metrics, shall we set the over/under of any potential New Blue Line at 12 billion? Even that estimate seems too low, for 2030.

by Reza on Sep 16, 2010 1:04 pm • linkreport

The ICC cost $100 million a mile.

11 miles = 1.1 billion

600 million for a dulles metro

that is 1.7 billion, which is half what MWAA is saying.

Throw in another billion for cars and other goodies, and you're still not there.

by charlie on Sep 16, 2010 1:05 pm • linkreport

David, Erik - Do you think it would be interesting to have a discussion on mental illness and cities? (I do)

I've been trying to find out if people, a broad term, were more or less likely to enjoy good mental health living in a city. What a general question!

Here's an interesting article
City Living Can Drive You Crazy
By John Gever, Senior Editor, MedPage Today
Published: September 07, 2010
Reviewed by Robert Jasmer, MD; Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco and
Dorothy Caputo, MA, RN, BC-ADM, CDE, Nurse Planner

An excerpt
For example, Zammit and colleagues wrote, "individuals who were foreign-born were at a high risk of developing psychosis if they were part of a school group with very few others who were foreign-born, and this risk decreased if their school group consisted of a large proportion of foreign-born individuals."

by Jazzy on Sep 16, 2010 2:27 pm • linkreport

The challenge in doing the Metro Station at Dulles right is that the people using it want it in the terminal building and snazzy!, since it's the "welcome to DC" Metro station for many travelers.

Unfortunately, the people paying for it are VA commuters, who will see their Dulles Toll Road fees increase. They'd prefer a lean-to built near the men's room at the Dulles Exxon station, so long as that saves them $650 M on the overall cost of the Silver Line extension to Dulles.

How can MWAA get air travelers to pay a buck or two per transit of Dulles toward the $650 M needed to bring the Metro Station into the terminal?

by Trulee Pist on Sep 16, 2010 2:32 pm • linkreport

I think the setup at National Airport, where the Metro station is essentially the front of the close-in parking garage, is pretty reasonable both in looks and funtionality, and it would be nice if they could do something similar at Dulles. (Being from Chicago originally, I have no problem with elevated stations.)

by davidj on Sep 17, 2010 12:08 am • linkreport

@Matt R:
The station in subway at Dulles Airport was proposed because the Eero Saarinen designed main terminal has historical landmark status. Putting the station in subway would eliminate any argument that may have been brought that believed a surface station in front terminal would compromise the original design.

The station in subway was in all of the proposed plans up to and including DEIS and FEIS.

The Washington Post has also wrtten a story on this matter.
Second phase of Silver Line project sees costs soar
By Derek Kravitz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, September 16, 2010

WMAA Press release:
Preliminary Cost Estimate (50.9 KB PDF file)

I was thinking similarly. Move the traffic from the arrival level to the commercial level. Convert the commercial level into the metrorail station.

by Sand Box John on Sep 17, 2010 9:31 am • linkreport

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