Transportation

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.

  • Streetcars are coming back to DC

    DC’s attempts to bring back streetcars popped back into the news last week as DDOT broke ground on a streetscape reconstruction on H Street Northeast. While the street is already torn up, they will include build streetcar tracks for future service, though it will be years before a streetcar could run, and there are no cars or operational funding yet. But it’s a big step forward,…  Keep reading…

  • Congestion is other people

    The New York City commission formed to study congestion pricing has made its recommendation, to positive reviews. It’s mostly like Mayor Bloomberg’s original proposal, with a few changes: it moves the boundary from 86th Street to 60th Street, adds the FDR drive and West Side Highway/West Street to the toll zone, removes a parking tax exemption (parking is definitely…  Keep reading…

  • Traffic flows in waves

    Sometimes, traffic jams pop up for seemingly no reason. There’s no accident blocking a lane of traffic—but everyone comes to a halt at the same spot. Why does this happen?   Keep reading…

  • DC may decentralize auto inspections

    I’ve never lived in a state where the government conducted emission inspections; it was always private service stations. But according to this article in the Examiner, 13 states still centralize their operations. DC, though, may end the practice of forcing all drivers to go to the one facility at Half and M, Southwest.  Keep reading…

  • DC Council hearing on “Performance Parking” plan

    JDLand has a summary of the hearing around Tommy Wells’ plan to use market-pricing techniques to discourage parking around the new baseball stadium. From JD’s summary, the hearing didn’t turn out to be that interesting, with most speakers in favor of the plan and little new ground covered.  Keep reading…

  • Presidential candidates on transit, cycling and walking

    Streetsblog’s LA correspondent Damien Newton researched the Presidential candidates’ positions on transportation. For the Democrats, both Obama’s and Clinton’s platforms hold a great deal of promise. Obama is the most pro-cycling candidate, extols the virtues of walking, and supported Chicago’s transit system while in the Illinois legislature,…  Keep reading…

  • Optimal bus waiting strategy

    Mathematically, it’s best to simply wait for a bus once you arrive at a bus stop, rather than giving up and walking if it’s taking too long, according to Harvard mathematician Scott Kominers. Freakonomics’ Stephen Dubner is disappointed the analysis didn’t consider walking backward to a previous stop. (Lots of interesting comments about more nuances…  Keep reading…

  • Dulles rail decision from a backroom deal?

    Is the DOT and FTA trying to force Virginia to sell the Dulles Toll Road? Did the FTA work out a deal with private investors ahead of time to reject public financing? BeyondDC picks up on an interesting angle from the Post’s report that private investors are floating an idea to finance the Dulles rail extension by privatizing the Dulles Toll Road (which will require raising tolls).  Keep reading…

  • Monday morning links

    San Francisco is considering a bill to reform parking requirements, removing the requirements forcing developers to build parking in certain types of housing developments, “unbundling” parking so condo purchasers can choose whether to pay for a parking space or not, and allowing mechanical or valet parking to save space if the building wants it.  Keep reading…

  • Get off the road! No, get on the road!

    At dinner the other day, some friends expressed surprise that DC law allows riding a bicycle on the sidewalk (except in the central business district, basically between Massachusetts Avenue and the Mall). One person commented that when she is walking, bikes seem to be in the way on the sidewalk, but when she is biking, it’s the people who seem to be in the way. It’s the natural…  Keep reading…

  • Sen. Wyden’s favored economic stimulus: road resurfacing

    Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), a progressive Senator from America’s most Smart Growth-oriented city of Portland, apparently feels that the best economic stimulus would be more money for road resurfacing. No wonder America has such a hard time weaning itself from road-building. According to Bloomberg, Oregon’s senior Senator thinks “infrastructure spending—specifically…  Keep reading…

  • Chicken, meet egg on Dulles rail line

    Yesterday, many wrote about the FTA and DOT Secretary Mary Peters’ decision to deny funding for the Metro extension to Dulles, at least unless the project meets a new set of criteria over and above the many hurdles it’s already surmounted. Some are livid. Others doubt the project’s wisdom. But Peters and FTA chief James Simpson advance unreasonable chicken-and-egg…  Keep reading…

  • “I’m all for bike lanes but” not enough room to double park

    Today’s Gridlock Sam column in the NY Daily News contains this letter that reveals the amazing absurdity of New York’s parking mess. This truck driver depends on double parking to make deliveries, but new bike lanes interfere with space for the double parking. Does he criticize the lack of loading zones? No, it’s clearly the bike lanes at fault. And rather…  Keep reading…

  • Ed Glaeser: transit attracts poor people?

    Richard Florida has a post about a new article by Harvard economist Ed Glaeser that “the income elasticity of demand for land is too low for urban poverty to come from wealthy individuals’ wanting to live where land is cheap (the traditional explanation of urban poverty)… The urbanization of poverty comes mainly from better access to public transportation in central…  Keep reading…

  • Building over Union Station rail yards

    One of the best ways for cities to improve the often-forlorn areas around major infrastructure is by building on air rights. When a street crosses over a major highway, why not put buildings over the highway on either side, turning an empty bridge into a city street with activity along the sidewalks, like they are doing in Boston and Columbus.  Covering a big rail yard near a major…  Keep reading…

  • Taxi fare mashup

    There’s a new taxi fare estimator/Google maps mashup at the Washington Post site. You can enter an address or click a point on a map for origin and destination, and see how the fare would compare between the old zone system and the new meter plan. It also estimates the extra cost from traffic, giving a range so you can get a sense for how much more a trip might cost in heavy traffic. Most…  Keep reading…

  • Lower DC taxi fares

    Responding to public outcry about the original DC taxi rate proposal, Mayor Fenty lowered rates and eliminated several surcharges. The original proposal had a high “flag drop” fee, keeping the cost for short trips around the same range as it had been under the zone system, and retained extra charges for additional passengers (not present in NYC) and rush hour charges…  Keep reading…

  • UFT still narrow-minded on parking

    Sam Schwartz, former NYC Traffic Commissioner who reduced placard parking in the 1980s, released his ten-part recommendation for reducing placard abuse. But the UFT has other ideas, passing a resolution asking for expanded rights to park on their schools’ scarce property.   Keep reading…

  • Are protected bike lanes actually more dangerous?

    New York has its first physically separated bike lane on 9th Avenue, where the parked cars sit between the bike land and traffic, protecting riders. I emailed DDOT’s Chris Ziemann about the 15th Street reconfiguration, suggesting a similar lane there. Ziemann responded that “separating the bikes from traffic is safer for bikes along the block, but much more dangerous…  Keep reading…

  • Cars vs. bikes

    In a five-part series in the LA Times, Los Angeles blogger and bike user Will Campbell and Cato anti-Smart Growth commentator Randal O’Toole debate the sources of car/bike rage, whether funding bike paths is worthwhile, Critical Mass, and more.  Keep reading…

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