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Weekend links: Change in Maryland

Photo by ehpien on Flickr.
New Bethesda entrance: Yesterday WMATA released more information about a planned second entrance to the Bethesda Metro at Wisconsin Avenue and Elm Street. (TBD calls Bethesda WMATA's "third-most used station," but Bethesda is actually the third-busiest station in Montgomery County.)

WABA offers bike valet for dueling rallies: Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are planning big rallies on the Mall on October 30. WABA posted a message encouraging them to include bike valet at the rally. (Facebook, Huffington Post)

Maryland cycling laws changing October 1: Numerous changes to laws that affect cyclists passed by the 2010 Maryland General Assembly go into effect next week. (WABA)

Energy for kayaking: A power plant along the Potomac in northern Montgomery County diverts river water for cooling and outputs it back into the river. The 900-foot outflow sluice has become a whitewater kayaking hotspot, a rare synergy between energy production and outdoor recreation. (Post, Eric Fidler)

Please forgive my distraction: The American Highway Users Alliance prefers roads that "forgive" distracted drivers over tougher enforcement measures. Unfortunately, "forgiving roads" has often meant wider lanes, wider roads, and fewer street trees, all of which make speeding easier. (Streetsblog, Eric Fidler)

Freight rail concerns stall High Speed Rail: States are struggling to forge agreements with freight rail companies who say mixing high-speed passenger service with slow freight trains will increase safety risks and create barriers to future expansion of both freight and passenger service. They may have a point. (WSJ, charlie)

Parking ticket and a little yoga: Cambridge, Massachusetts has revamped their parking tickets to be a little less serious, including yoga poses and relaxation tips. Some residents are amused, others not so much. (GOOD)

Sleeping in a bubble: Though sleeping pods appeared at Japanese airports decades ago, one Spanish company is marketing larger sleeping "bubbles" to American airports. (Fast Company via Planetizen, Eric Fidler)

Scaffolding beautification: New York City has entered the final phase of a competition to design artful shrouds for scaffolds at the city's ever-present construction sites. (WSJ Metropolis, William W.)

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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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I thought I blogged in July about scaffold beautification in Montreal. But maybe I didn't.

They can be very attractive.

by Richard Layman on Sep 25, 2010 1:33 pm • linkreport

If there's going to be a second entrance at Bethesda and at Rosslyn, why not at Columbia Heights? The current set of faregates at Irving Street were clearly not designed for the density and volume of traffic that eventually came.

by J.D. Hammond on Sep 25, 2010 2:44 pm • linkreport

While we're at it, what ever happened to the second entrance at Ballston? Actually, I know what happened; the developer who was going to do a large amount of the work as part of an adjacent development decided not to do said development. Still though, I work near the planned western entrance, and I'm lazy sometimes.

by Tim on Sep 25, 2010 5:15 pm • linkreport

Someone please explain this to me; why won't freight take advantage of HSR?

by Zac on Sep 25, 2010 7:06 pm • linkreport

Zac: possibly because they don't want the strings that are attached to that rail upgrade money...

Regarding "forgiving roads", they work best in rural areas. In suburban areas, it depends on the purpose of the road (arterials, definitely...collectors, maybe...local roads, probably not). Built-up/urban areas are where you can make an argument against "forgiving roads".

by Froggie on Sep 25, 2010 7:15 pm • linkreport

True HSR requires certain design parameters on the part of the vehicle, and freight trains are both bulkier and heavier than passenger HSR. They have far more momentum and can't travel as quickly.

by J.D. Hammond on Sep 25, 2010 7:16 pm • linkreport

Forgiving roads? To hell with that noise.

A "highway user" who's not enough of a dumbass to text and drive

by Martin on Sep 25, 2010 8:20 pm • linkreport

What Bethesda needs more than anything is a second set of escalators or stairs down to the platform. The existing single set has been under renovation for many, many months now. It's dangerous and it's making people late.

by William on Sep 25, 2010 9:52 pm • linkreport

Zac: Freight trains run at about 40 mph,on their own schedule, or at least determined by whoever owns the track and the needs of the client. HSR runs at 100mph+, on tracks that are smoothed to handle the speed, and on a schedule determined by the work day. The US freight trains are the most efficient in the world, partly because passenger rail is so weak in the USA, thus allowing freight to own the tracks and dictate the terms. A dedicated HSR line is needed in the DC-Boston corridor.

by SJE on Sep 26, 2010 12:41 am • linkreport

A dedicated HSR line is needed in the DC-Boston corridor.

The problem with this argument is that Amtrak already owns the tracks between here and Boston.

by Froggie on Sep 26, 2010 7:35 am • linkreport

The problem with this argument is that Amtrak already owns the tracks between here and Boston.

The problem is Amtrak *doesn't* own the tracks between DC and Boston - at least between DC & NY, CSX owns most of it. Amtrak only owns the rolling stock and leases the right of ways from the freight haulers. (Ditto with most of the commuter trains VRE, MARC, SEPTA, etc)

by Kolohe on Sep 26, 2010 11:08 am • linkreport

The problem with getting a seperate line in the D.C. - Bos coordidor is you're trying to get a 450 mile long, 300 yard wide swath of land through literally the most expensive and densely populated portion of the continent.

by Kolohe on Sep 26, 2010 11:23 am • linkreport

The problem is Amtrak *doesn't* own the tracks between DC and Boston - at least between DC & NY, CSX owns most of it.

Washington - New Rochelle: Amtrak
New Rochelle - New Haven: New York/Connecticut
New Haven - Providence: Amtrak
Providence - Boston: Massachusetts

by Mike on Sep 26, 2010 11:40 am • linkreport

looked it up; I stand corrected.

by Kolohe on Sep 26, 2010 1:37 pm • linkreport

SJE, freight can go much, much faster than 40mph.

Just the other day, I was going down the highway in california and a freight train was keeping pace with us at 75mph. The car speed limit was 70mph, the rail limit is 79mph.

I dont see any reason why freight couldnt go at 110mph (which the white house is counting as HSR), assuming the track is straight enough and the grade crossings are rare enough.

by JJJ on Sep 26, 2010 9:50 pm • linkreport

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