TransportationRSS

Photo by marlordo59 licensed under Creative Commons

Greater Greater Washington writes about how people get around the Washington region, whether on Metro, buses, streetcars, driving, walking, biking, or any other method.

One of the region’s strengths is the wide range of options for travel. There are many walkable places in DC, Maryland, and Virginia where people could choose transit, walk or bike, or if they don’t have their own car, grab a shared vehicle or hail a ride. This reduces the need to own cars, saving people money and reducing traffic congestion.

As our region grows, it is imperative to continue to make these options safe, economical, and available to even more people. It is imperative to ensure safe sidewalks and bicycle infrastructure, expand transit options, and add housing near existing transit stations.

  • Picking on planners

    I’m reading two books about urban planning, Donald Shoup’s groundbreaking work on parking policy The High Cost of Free Parking, and Cato Institute planning critic Randal O’Toole’s The Best-Laid Plans: How Government Planning Harms Your Quality of Life, Your Pocketbook, and Your Future whose agenda is apparent from its title.  Keep reading…

  • “All I want for New Year’s is free parking”

    When asked what they wished for in the New Year, many neighborhood leaders replied world peace, better public schools, and free parking. Free parking? Yes, Cleveland Park ANC Commissioner Richard Rothblum listed those very items (fortunately, in that order). In the latest Dupont Current (which unfortunately has no online archives except June 2007), a variety of neighborhood…  Keep reading…

  • NYC will crack down on placard abuse

    A year-long campaign by TA and other livable streets activists has paid off in a very short time: the Bloomberg Administration (which, lately, has been very good on transportation issues not involving the Yankees), is restricting the number of parking placards and stepping up enforcement.  Keep reading…

  • Can NYC build me a personal garage too?

    As even more lurid details emerge of New York’s $340 million giveaway for Yankees parking—that’s right, entirely for parking—we learn that 70 million will go entirely to build a free garage reserved for Yankees and their guests, with no revenue ever being collected to pay back the city; that the total amount the team is paying the city for rent will decrease;…  Keep reading…

  • North Capitol: Competing visions for handling traffic

    Capitol Quarter isn’t the only bland urban renewal project being replaced with townhouses. Last week, Express reported  that developers have been chosen for Northwest One, which will replace the Sursum Corda and Temple Court projects near New York Avenue and North Capitol with mixed-use redevelopment that has the potential to become a walkable neighborhood. But…  Keep reading…

  • DC may experiment with market pricing for parking

    DC Councilmember Tommy Wells apparently has been reading his Donald Shoup. New York livable-streets activists have been calling for parking pricing reform for some time, following the teachings of groundbreaking parking scholar Shoup. Slowly, NYC leaders are starting to come around to this idea. But when they arrive, they may find DC already there waiting for them.  Keep reading…

  • Replacing people with cars

    Via DC Metrocentric, this is the intersection of Virginia Avenue and 8th Street SE, in 1928 and in 2007. When mid-century planners tore apart cities to enable large volumes of cars from the suburbs, neighborhoods like this one disappeared forever. DC’s original plan for freeways would have destroyed more of what are now considered beautiful and historic; this one, though,…  Keep reading…

  • Radiohead understands “induced demand”

    Discussing the success of their recent online album, Thom Yorke analogized, “It’s like building roads and expecting there to be less traffic.” (NYT via Streetsblog) Maryland DOT, are you listening?  Keep reading…

  • SmarTrip will link to credit cards

    Among other improvements coming next year to Washington DC’s fare card is the one I most wished for when I first arrived here: the ability to link it to a credit card and automatically replenish it as it gets low, like E-ZPass does.  Keep reading…

  • Landmark or mistake?

    If a building is ugly, doesn’t serve its intended purpose, and the people who own it want to tear it down… but it was built by the firm of a famous architect and is a prime example of its architectural style, should it be a landmark? That’s the debate before the DC Historic Preservation Review Board about the Third Church of Christ, Scientist (aka Christian Science)…  Keep reading…

  • Racial politics kept College Park Metro far from campus

    It may be an urban myth that racism kept Metro out of Georgetown (while many residents did oppose a station, Metro planners hadn’t included the neighborhood in initial plans in the first place), but according to a graduate paper from 1994 that Rethink College Park found and put online, it played a significant role in the decision to locate College Park’s Green Line stop…  Keep reading…

  • Metro actually works (sometimes)

    Reading the Washington Post and local blogs, it’s easy to think that Metro hardly works, with numerous reports of delays when trains must single-track due to equipment failures or sick passengers. And I’m sure these things do happen, and are very disruptive (this weekend, a train we were riding waited for ten minutes at Dupont Circle for some unknown reason, without…  Keep reading…

  • Visualizing different modes of transportation

    Driving down a busy street, a bus seems to be about twice the size of another car, and a little bit harder to pass. But that bus is also carrying about the same number of people as all the other cars for several blocks combined. In other words, you could replace all the traffic with just two buses. If the whole lane were replaced with light rail, it could carry 18 times as many people per hour.  Keep reading…

  • The Upper West Side of the future

    What if Upper West Side streets devoted more space to pedestrians and less to cars? StreetFilms created a series of photo simulations re-imagining Amsterdam Avenue, 81st Street, and Broadway.   Keep reading…

  • Ramp spaghetti on the Potomac

    The National Mall in Washington DC is an American icon, visited by millions of tourists, but also somewhat threadbare-looking; since 2001, increasingly choked with security barriers; and gradually becoming overbuilt with memorials for every group with clout in Congress. The National Coalition to Save Our Mall is fighting these disappointing trends.  Keep reading…

  • Hope for DC’s waterfront

    DC’s Southwest Waterfront neighborhood is a classic example of failed urban renewal - old row houses and tenements (some nice, some less so) were razed, replaced with a freeway and 1960s/70s-era buildings where cars enjoy more square footage than people. The dinner cruise on the Potomac Stefanie and I took for our six-month anniversary departed from a pier in Southwest, and…  Keep reading…

  • Drive-through apartments

    In Robert Heinlein’s (fairly bad) book I Will Fear No Evil, cities have become so dangerous that residents drive their cars directly into their buildings, up car-sized elevators, and right to the doors of their apartments. Early in the book a significant figure is murdered because she tries to use the pedestrian entrance. Now, via Streetsblog, such a building is under construction…  Keep reading…

  • The federally tilted playing field on transportation

    The Washington Post recently ran an article exploring the impact of the Federal Transit Administration on transit projects. Fierce competition for the FTA’s limited transit funding and strict criteria mean that states are forced to make many changes, wise or unwise, to their projects to qualify. Virginia had to drop plans to put the Tyson’s Corner segment of the planned…  Keep reading…

  • Calculating walkability

    The walkability of a neighborhood is an intangible quality that doesn’t appear on real estate listings like the number of bathrooms or the square footage. But living in a place where you can walk to grocery stores, restaurants, movie theaters, hair salons, and other amenities makes life in certain places enormously different (and, I believe, better) than those where driving…  Keep reading…

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