Latest Comments

  • I haven't released PDFs, but if you shoot me an email at thegreatermarin (at) and I can send you one.

    If you are *really* interested, there are posters available, too.

  • Another problem is we keep asking for people’s opinions, so of course they’re going to come up with one. I don’t really care what my neighbors do with their property, but if government officials and politicians keep asking and there are dueling petitions and an open forum, not only am I going to have an opinion, but I’ll feel very aggrieved if my opinion doesn’t carry the day. 
  • Fear is too strong.  I'd say we're a society of egocentricity that makes people believe they should all be able to get their own way.  Also, let's face it.  While taxes can be increased or decreased within a certain margin, government spending at the micro level is a zero sum game.  Money spent on buses and trains is money not spent on roads and bridges.  The appropriate allocation of resources is going to vary by location and priorities, and a vigorous debate on where those priorities should sit does not mean that either side of the argument is being unfair or unreasonable.  They are simply reflecting their own preferences, which in a democracy is a good thing.  But in a culture where people are used to getting what they want, that is going to create some friction when those preferences clash, mainly because of the identity politics games and tribalism being stoked by the major political parties.
  • Silver Spring is listed as a stop on several timetables for the Capitol Limited

  • Fingers crossed that the road diet passes. Question on the county’s list of roads and proposed modifications:  What does the term “buffered bike lane” mean, as opposed to just “bike lane?”
  • Personally, I wish there was train service to Annapolis from the DC area. Traffic on Route 50 has reached its maximum. Second choice....a train down to Mount Vernon. I would like to think that General and Mrs Washington would approve.
  • Out herr on h st rn ppl mind blown the streetcar free everybody happy. And they still running at 1:40 am we need this for all transit in the district if that happens watch ridership go thru the roof!
  • In a slightly different universe, Alexandria would have sported a large station functioning as a sort of Washington South Station.  The area where the Carlyle is now (which used to be a large Southern facility) was ideal for a stub terminal for service south and west of Washington, but not cut off available trackage for through service to points north.

  • When did the Capitol Limited serve Silver Spring?  I don't believe I've ever seen a timetable with that station listed for it.
  • I wish there were a way to download PDF copies of these maps. The renderings on line are not readable and there are blocks against seeing them at some of the links  I would be happy to pay for access to them.Most of Metro's lines are expandable.  For example, at New Carrollton there is a bumping post after the yard lead.  That track could extend to Bowie some day, possibly out US 50.  The Glenmont could be extended to Olney.  

    At the Pentagon, at the outbound end of each level is a tunnel stub for the Columbia Pike line.  It was never built but it was planned.

    The WB&A right of way is largely intact in some areas.  Some parts have become rail trails and other parts are just idle.  

    The Purple Line could be extended from Bethesda to Georgetown via the same Georgetown Branch line.  From there it would be possible to use the Cabin John trolley right of way through Glover Park to reach P and Q Streets and head to Dupont Circle, as trolleys once did years ago.  

    The Rockville trolley right of way is largely intact, although I suspect the private school and the country club located along that line would not appreciate having it revert to rail transit again.  History does repeat itself.  The DC Streetcar runs on the same route as the #10 trolley (Kenilworth to Rosslyn) and the #12 trolley (Seat Pleasant to 15 & New York Avenue).  The proposed line from Calvert Bridge to Anacostia largely duplicates the #92 line to the Navy Yard.  It continues over the 11th Street bridge to Anacostia.  I remember seeing the abandoned conduit tracks on the old 11th Street bridge before it was replaced.  Some pictures of the Knickerbocker Theater disaster of 1922 show cars with two poles at each end.  These used to run to Anacostia.  Hopefully they will not use double overhead wire this time.  

  • Unfortunately, I have to agree with this.  Eric's responses were mostly an epic fail and not impressive.  

    OK, it was the wee hours.

  • Rent controlled housing in fact is a significant matter in Ward 3, which has the second highest number of rent-controlled dwellings.  Many of these are along Connecticut and Wisconsin Avenue, in older buildings that some called "underutilized."  In fact, they're quite well utilized as affordable housing, and proposed downtown height and density along these corridors likely would lead to the loss of many such units.  This needs to be acknowledged in the debate
  • I’ve wished for a commuter train from DC to Annapolis (and beyond) ever since I moved here 12 years ago. In fact, I don’t understand why Metro keeps expanding outward when it seems like a more robust commuter/regional rail system would make more sense for destinations like Dulles. Also, while I’m dreaming, it would be nice to have another major train station on the West side of downtown.

  • And remember, just sitting in the car without driving is zero points!  You can have as much of that as you want - just like kale! 
  • The suburban strips catering to a particular ethnic group are known as "Ethnoburbia" (aka the best places to eat, especially at affordable prices, in many regions). But the term suburb really needs modifiers nowadays, one could be talking about an "elite suburb," a "middle class suburb," a "poor suburb," an "employment center suburb," "inner ring suburbs," "outer suburbs," etc.
  • Central areas of central cities have often been rebuilt, usually at increasing densities.  So if the city of 1880 were taken as untouchable, the often-admired city of 1925 couldn't have been built. People say neighborhoods are "built out," but build out is a political condition. The maximum density is 1) the maximum that some entity--public and/or private--is willing to pay for; and 2) the maximum that the relevant planning jurisdiction is willing to allow (a calculus that will consider infrastructure, among other things).
  • @another Nick - I don't understand your argument. If you run more trains the passengers per train car will be less, improving circulation. @infinitebuffalo - come on, man! They don't want facts. Everybody knows the GM and WMATA are infallible.
  • Silver Spring must have been added between 1921 and the 1940s, because it was a stop for the Capitol Limited (one of B&O's highest profile passenger trains), Columbian, and Cincinnatian, among other trains. In fact, one of the Columbian's two consists had a car named Silver Spring (crew dorm, baggage, and coffee shop car). The Cincinnatian is also the train where President Truman supposedly would board at Silver Spring instead of Union Station to avoid press; Historic Montgomery even has a big cardboard cutout of Truman to be all proud of the importance of the station.

    That's all said to say that (1) there was at least one stop between DC and Martinsburg (IIRC, Harper's Ferry was a stop for the Cincinnatian by the 40s) and (2) that, as Another Nick implied, schedules changed over time (alas, Amtrak's Capitol Limited stops now at Rockville rather than Silver Spring). OTOH, I'd be interested in taking it to Cleveland (wife's family), but it stops there in the middle of the night now.

  • Supervisor Hudgins' hate of autos - She's closed roads?

    more auto accidents near the high school (and maybe more bike accidents as autos swerve to avoid each other). - Is this typically (ever) a problem on two-lane roads?  C'mon now.

    STILL NEED those sidewalks even if it's so much cheaper just to paint lanes in the road. - I live off South Lakes too and this is a great point!  Let's build sidewalks (as well)!

  • Yet I remember back in the day when 7th St NW was abandoned burnt-out and scary and gentrifIcation was helped created by the arts scene. I'm sure there is a connection but who knows
  • It will be interesting to see how Metro expands after the Silver Line is completed.

    Well, what will happen is that we remain stuck in crowded trains and on crowded roads while politicians fight slowly over the solution to the problems in Rosslyn.

    Meanwhile, what should be happening is that we start separating the OR/SV/BL and the YL/GR lines in DC, while expanding all lines to SV: Leesburg, OR: Warrenton, BL: OR/SV via Fairfax City, YL: Woodbridge/Manassas, GR: Waldorf, BL: not sure, Upper Marlboro?, OR: Annapolis, GR: BWI/Baltimore, RD: Columbia and RD: Frederick with a new line roughly along US-50 from the Mall to South Riding/Aldie.

    But I can keep dreaming.
  • It will be interesting to see how Metro expands after the Silver Line is completed.

    I doubt the Silver Line will be the end. Based on how the DC area is growing, we should have more lines coming in the future along with more robust light rail and commuter rail. 

    Good stuff. 

  • I am working on a similar piece for Saint Louis. I tried to figure out service levels but, honestly, trains were so damn slow it didn't make much difference. The slowest coal trains in Saint Louis were about 18mph, almost all trains were in the mid-20smph, and a few expresses hit 35mph. I think one got above 40.

    As for trips per day, that was also kind of a toss-up. Half-hourly service was exceptionally rare for intercity trains, but hourly hardly seems worth indicating. At the scale of this map - the scale of the Official Guide - intramunicipal rail service was not advertised anyway unless you were PRR and could afford the luxury.

    So, we get this, which is much more about service pattern than accessibility.
  • Fumes from car tailpipes are interfering with our lives; they kill tens of thousands of Americans every year. I find regulation preferable to death.
  • Along Route 1/Richmond Highway there are more and more mixed use places and smart growth while on each side of the route, some pockets of suburbia are slummy.

    Maybe a new name will emerge for places like this - neoburbs?

  • I don't know if there is a maximum density for a particular plot of land, but it is amazing how many people who live in a place are certain they are already at that level.  
  • Heck, the only way the passenger lines were actually making money was with milk, mail, and express service, which was just freight rates going into a different column in the accounting ledger.

    There's some debate if they were ever profitable, or even could have been in the first place.  The regulatory world was a nightmare. For example, a trip of 100 miles counted as a full day's work for a crew, regardless of how many hours that actually took, with overtime on top of that.  If you had a crew working a train going 100 mph for eight hours, you'd end up paying out a day's wages for the first hour, then seven hours of time and a half.  Are you interested in high speed service and long distance routes with those sorts of labor costs?

  • The Washington-Alexandria-Mount Vernon Electric Railway was amazing with its regular service.   If you were in Alexandria, you could get down to Mount Vernon with ease and it was the first mass transit in the region with a regular am and pm schedule.    

  • Traffic Watchers: The New Healthy Transportation plan, which allows you to walk AS MUCH AS YOU WANT, and also gives you a generous number of auto miles each week.    

    "I found it easy to save my auto miles for the Sunday drive into the country, while feasting on free walk miles during the week.  My collisions are down 20%, and I look and feel better! The weekly meetings were fun too!"  

  • +1. This is getting bicylces and people turning left out of a thru lane. Drivers should like it. I was trying to think of a better name, but gave up. "Thru lane clearance" was the best I could do.
  • Marketing tip: find an alternative to the term "road diet." It sounds like an imposed, unpleasant and almost punitive measure. If, as this post argues, travel tomes don't typically increase, why antagonize drivers with a finger-wagging name?
  • Many rail connections are now considerably slower than half a century ago.

    The example one, the Ma & Pa, took four hours to cover 77 rail miles, between two points that were about 45 miles apart in straight line miles.  It made 55 stops along the way.

    That's practically a dictionary definition of slow and meandering.  So:

    But some of the rail links here, such as on the H&F, actually saw improved travel times when the day the service was converted to buses traversing public roadways.

    Greyhound'll get you there in an hour ten.  

  • Its mostly about fear I lean right bowling for clumbne by Michael moore was ahead of its Time for how the media and Politicians caoitalize on fear What most people wont admit is both sides do it. Obama used it hope and change was about fear of status quo just as much as make america great Again was under Trump. Fear is why America is tribalistic from our media consumption to where we live to who we interact with And to bring it back locally fear is why ward 3 wants nothing to do with ward 8 and vice versa. Or You could say its human nature to want to be around people who have the same values and culture as you
  • Another Nick on March 23, 2018 at 2:11pm (National links: The suburbs are now often places of poverty)
    Or they just don't like it.  I don't fear any of the stuff I don't like, unless I somehow have a fear of basketball, country music, and oysters.
  • Very true - the "named" trains (still running under steam!) , as well as some electric lines like the WB&A eclipse what's common today - I recall a particularly pokey trip back from Charlottesville on the Cardinal a few years back.

    But some of the rail links here, such as on the H&F, actually saw improved travel times when the day the service was converted to buses traversing public roadways.

  • How long would you expect it to take to get to the rally site -- let's say 4th & Pennsylvania, since the stage is at 3rd but you're unlikely to be able to get that close?

    Even right now, at 130pm on a weekday, Citymapper suggests you'd be at least as well off walking as taking Metro.  It's a 15-minute walk, or it'd take 18 minutes to ride the Red line to Gallery Place, the Green to Archives, and walking from 7th St---and that's without dealing with crowding and traffic jams at the escalators and faregates.

    The advice that if you're not already in the system you can save time as well as money by just walking along the road that goes directly there is not unreasonable even at normal volumes. 

  • I've lived off South Lakes for over 10 years. I drive, take the bus, bike, run and walk all the time here so I'm intimately familiar with the geography. I have also seen the difference that the Soapstone bike lane conversion has made and would expect similar results for a South Lakes conversion.

    Turning Soapstone from a 4 lane road to a 2 lane with bike lanes, has reduced speeding, improved visibility and generally made it safer for all. I can honestly say accidents are down because of the changes. You notice these things when you're stuck in your car waiting for the paramedics to finish up. It's true there isn't a ton of bikes at any given time. Part of that is because roads connected to Soapstone can be treacherous for bikers. The bike lanes have also added the option for pedestrians to span sidewalks gaps avoid wooded paths which are dark at night or detour from the destination. 

    The lack of sufficient sidewalks has always confused me considering how much use the corridor gets. Will the proposed plan for South Lakes improve the corridor over all? From personal experience, yes. Will it be considered an amenity even if some residences never use it? Absolutely! I do see the concern over the ability to pass school and connector buses. This is probably the biggest hurdle to overcome for rational stakeholders. Then again, people shouldn't be speeding past a bus as passengers disembark. As Hellen Lovejoy frequently asks the citizenry, "WON'T SOMEBODY PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?!"

  • The Federal Housing Agency would offer a mortgage insurance guarantee — a critical piece of financing — for segregated projects.

    It was worse than that. As Rothstein explained in both the book and his talk, the FHA would  guarantee only segregated projects. Integrated projects were ineligible for FHA mortgages. He offers examples of integrated projects that failed because they could get FHA guarantees. 

    Read the book, people, It's one of the most important books of the past few years. 

  • slow and meandering

    Many rail connections are now considerably slower than half a century ago.

  • Certainly, there was more passenger service. Not sure it was "robust" though. Remember, these rail lines went out of service.  A key thing to know about this era, and not mentioned in this article, is that railroads were regulated heavily by the Interstate Commerce Commission and could not just shut down a passenger line if they wished.  Indeed, one of the main thrusts of regulation was to preserve passenger service, as railroads made more money on their freight lines.  (Broad statement, I know, and certainly some passenger lines were profitable.)  

  • Re: the Yglesias quote. It's amazing how in much of America, freedom is seen as exclusionary--freedom from big buildings, the freedom from other people, the freedom from bicycles obstructing your commute. We are a society rooted in fear, which is a sign of a deep sickness.

  •  The obvious solution to overcrowding is to run more trains

    Only if the actual solution to overcrowding is capacity on the trains.

    Not, say, throughput at the escalators into the station, at faregates, and in general platform loading space.  The problem isn't fitting everyone into a given train.  The problem is getting everyone into the station.

  • If the car had driven itself into a fallen rock below a cliff, would we blame the boulder?

    That's fairly absurd because the rock has no agency.

  • Some of DC's most "gentrified" neighborhoods are also some of the most diverse... Columbia Heights, U Street, Shaw, H Street, etc. White gentrifiers are perfectly happy to live near people of other races – it's our artificial scarcity of housing options that forces lower-income (usually minority) residents of those neighborhoods to the suburbs or exurbs.

  • Serious Question - As we're talking about density, do folks feel there is a maximum density that an area can support? I'm not asking if a particular area is AT that density, but sometimes I get a feeling that folks here are willing to support anything that raises density -- damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead! But in order to support density, an area needs things - roads, schools, appropriate transit, water, electricity, etc. These things aren't a given -- roads can only be widened so much, so many district schools are already overcrowded, if a road isn't big enough a bus can't fit down it, etc. 

    If what we're arguing about is a matter of degree, sure that's something to disagree about but realize that if we're down to a matter of degree we're not really THAT far apart.

  • What is admittedly VERY difficult to convey is the direct connectivity from any stop.


    Some of these services were quite frequent and of course others were far more anemic, seeing under a half-dozen departures a day.

    Yeah, I think this kind of thing is severely overlooked.  Its one thing to look at the map and trace a line, but you definitely weren't getting on a train to Chicago at Rockville (oddly, you can do that today though), Gaithersburg, or even Brusnwick.  None of those four trains made any stops out of DC until Martinsburg.

    Or, like the Ma&Pa you mentioned, you'd have one or two chances a day, if it isn't Sunday.

  • The average weekday traffic on South Lakes where the author pulled the image is actually 13,000 vehicles - not 8,000 - according to VDOT data.  Despite this discrepancy, it pretty much seems like a road diet on South Lakes is a no-brainer at the current time.  If traffic increases as RTC develops once the Silver Line is complete, the improvements could always be removed as part of a future paving cycle.  
  • "Whitehead's testimony was that GGW would support a 1,000 unit building with 600 affordable units on any site in the city"

    Yes. He clarified that GGW is in favor of development because it can provide affordable housing and others may oppose development under the guise of wanting more affordable housing but their actual opposition is to new buildings. 

    That's why the council members are confused and needed clarity. Opposing new buildings ought to stand on its own but yeah people keep bringing up affordable housing. 

    Trying to tie that into a gotcha keeps muddying the waters. It's not nuance, it's just intentional confusion. 

  • They are moving to Tusla and Phoenix and Atlanta?

You can help keep independent, thoughtful, policy-oriented reporting and analysis healthy by supporting us with a monthly, yearly, or one-time contribution.

Support Us