Greater Greater Washington

Posts about Maps

Transit


New Metro maps have started appearing on railcars

Monday, Dan Reed reported seeing a new Metro map aboard a train. I spotted one on Tuesday on the Red Line. The new maps show the first phase of the Silver Line, even though an opening date hasn't been set.


A new map on car 1165. Photo by the author.

So far, the maps that Dan and I have seen don't have a sticker explaining that the Silver Line isn't open. It's not clear whether this is an intentional rollout, or whether one of the yards is just out of the old maps and has started replacing maps with the new ones when needed.

WMATA spokesperson Dan Stessel is out of the office; I contacted Brian Anderson, but he hadn't been able to get us an answer to that question by posting time. We will update the post if we hear back.

Meanwhile, several people on Twitter have reported seeing one of the 7000 series railcars plying the tracks. Metro is running the cars to test them out. goDCgo tweeted this image at Union Station:


Photo by goDCgo on Twitter.

Keep an eye out, and you might spot a Silver Line map, or a 7000-series car, during your commute.

Transit


The DC region has over 250 miles of planned light rail, streetcar, & BRT

What do you get when you plot onto a single map every known light rail, streetcar, and BRT plan in the DC region? One heck of a huge transit network, is what.


Every planned light rail, streetcar, and BRT line in the DC region. Click the map to open a zoom-able interactive version. Map by the author, using Google basemap.

This map combines the DC streetcar and MoveDC bus lane plan with the Arlington streetcar plan, the Alexandria transitway plan, Montgomery's BRT plan, and Fairfax's transit network plan, plus the Purple Line, the Corridor Cities Transitway, the Long Bridge study, the Wilson Bridge transit corridor, and finally the Southern Maryland transit corridor.

Add the route mileage from all of them up and you get 267 miles of proposed awesomeness, not including the Silver Line or other possible Metrorail expansions.

To be sure, it will be decades before all of this is open to passengers, if ever.

The H Street Streetcar will be the first to open this year, god willing, with others like the Purple Line and Columbia Pike Streetcar hopefully coming before the end of the decade. But many of these are barely glimpses in planners' eyes, vague lines on maps, years or decades away from even serious engineering, much less actual operation.

For example, Maryland planners have been talking about light rail extending south into Charles County since at least the late 1990s, but it's no higher than 4th down on the state's priority list for new transit, after the Purple Line, Corridor Cities Transitway, and Baltimore Red Line. Never mind how Montgomery's expansive BRT network fits in.

Meanwhile in Virginia, the Gallows Road route seems to be a brand new idea. There's yet to be even a feasibility study for it.

Even if governments in the DC region spend the next few decades building this network, there are sure to be changes between now and the day it's all in place. Metro's original planners didn't know Tysons would become the behemoth it is, and contemporary planners can't predict the future with 100% accuracy either.

Last year the Coalition for Smarter Growth published a report documenting every known route at that time, and already a lot has changed. More is sure to change over time.

Holes in the network

With a handful of exceptions these plans mostly come from individual jurisdictions. DC plans its streetcars, Montgomery County plans its BRT, and so on.

That kind of bottom-up planning is a great way to make sure land use and transit work together, but the downside is insular plans that leave gaps in the overall network.

Ideally there ought to be at least one connection between Fairfax and Montgomery, and Prince George's ought to be as dense with lines as its neighbors.

But still, 267 miles is an awfully impressive network. Now let's build it.

Cross-posted at BeyondDC.

Public Spaces


Where are DC's streets the greenest?

Students at MIT recently created a map of greenery along DC streets by analyzing Google Street View images to approximate visible plant life for each street, using dots of varying sizes and opacities.


DC Street Greenery. Map from MIT.

The You Are Here project will create 100 different maps for 100 different cities. Students are hoping to inspire social change and help individuals better understand the surrounding urban environments.

Demographics


Another way to see the US: Map of where nobody lives

There are more than 300 million people living in the United States today, but America is such a huge country that we still have staggeringly vast areas that are completely devoid of humans. This map illustrates those places. Everything colored green is a census block with zero population.


Map by Nik Freeman of mapsbynik.com.

The eastern US is pretty well populated except for a few spots in mountains and swamps. But the west is a different story. It's covered with enormous stretches of land that are simply empty.

And Alaska's emptiness makes even the western contiguous states look densely populated. Those green areas near the Arctic Circle look bigger than most other states.


Map by Nik Freeman of mapsbynik.com.

Cross-posted at BeyondDC.

History


Here's where they cleaned the streets in 1898

In 1898, streets in downtown DC got cleaned by hand every day, while many streets in Logan Circle, Capitol Hill, and what's now NoMA got cleaned 3 times a week.

Georgetown BID head Joe Sternlieb has this old map hanging in his office. It shows the street cleaning system for the "City of Washington," which at the time was distinct from though by 1898, there wasn't still a formal distinction between the city and the surrounding Washington County that had made up the rest of the District.

The city did "daily hand cleaning" of roads for a few blocks around the White House, while downtown roads got "daily hand cleaning under contract." Other streets got "machine cleaning" 3, 2, or 1 time per week.

Today, many of the BIDs do have people doing some form of daily cleaning, such as picking up trash, while city cleaning is at most once a week. But probably the street sweeping trucks are more sophisticated today.

Oh, and there were public dumps ringing the city, along Rock Creek, in Columbia Heights, Near Northeast and along the Anacostia. Some of those sites seem to be on the grounds of schools today (such as Francis-Stevens and Meyer), while it looks like the one to the northeast of the city is where the NoMA Harris Teeter is today.

What do you notice?

Meta


Support us and you might get a Metro map hat

Have you become a Greater Greater Washington supporter yet to help us afford our new Associate Editor? Michael Perkins has offered to make a Metro map hat for the first person to give $250 or more.


Left: Another such Metro map hat on Veronica Davis. Right: The hat on a table. Photos by Veronica Davis.

Can you become a "Greatest supporter" by contributing $250 for a year or $25 a month? If you're the first one to do that after this post goes up, Michael will make you a hat to keep your head nice and warm! If you're not the first, or if you can only afford to give us a smaller amount, you still will get the very warm feeling of supporting a website that provides you with a lot of thoughtful content and an engaged community to discuss it every day. Thank you for your support!

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Transit


Everywhere you can get on intercity transit in America, in one map

This map, from the American Intercity Bus Riders Association, attempts to show all the major intercity transit routes in America. It includes Amtrak, Greyhound, and several other bus carriers.


Map of Amtrak and intercity bus lines, from AIBRA.

It's probably impossible for this kind of map to be 100% accurate all the time. In all likelihood there are some missing links, and missing carriers. But it's still quite an impressive undertaking, and a useful tool to bookmark.

Cross-posted at BeyondDC.

Education


Map: How much snow does it take to cancel school?

This map shows approximately how much snow it takes to cancel school in various parts of the United States.


Map from Reddit user atrubetskoy.

On Reddit, the map's author explains the methodology:

[It's from a] combination of a /r/SampleSize survey, City-data.com threads, NOAA maps and some other local news sources.
So while it may not be the most precise or reliable data, it's still an interesting general look at snow closure patterns around the country.

Cross-posted at BeyondDC.

History


Anacostia has changed a lot since 1892

Ghosts of DC posted an 1892 Map of Rural Anacostia earlier this week. I've made it into a graphic illustrating some of the other physical changes to the neighborhood and its surroundings in the last 120 years.

What first struck me about the map when I saw it was how close the banks of the Anacostia River were to the neighborhood. My knowledge of DC history is minimal, so I did not know that between 1882 and 1927 the tidal marshes along the edge of the Anacostia were filled in, creating what would today appear on a map as Poplar Point.

Clusters of single family homes were developed and remain intact in places such as north of today's Good Hope Road (in the Fairlawn neighborhood) and around Morris Road. In the next ring of development, south and east of here, small apartment buildings become the predominant land use. And over time (as early as 1900 with the development of the Nichols School, which is now the Thurgood Marshall Academy), larger footprint buildings sprouted up on and around today's Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and Good Hope Road.

Future development plans suggest that the next phase of growth will follow a similar trajectory, with moderate densification of the main commercial corridors and substantial expansion into previously undeveloped land, in this case Poplar Point.

A version of this post originally ran at R. U. Seriousing Me?

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