Riding the Rails and Catching the Bus: Fun Facts and Tweets

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Paul is communications director for Mobility Lab. He specializes in storytelling and editing, as well as environmental and pop-culture issues related to transportation.
December 14, 2012

Left to right: Mary Jordan, Henry Kay, Ben Ross, Beverly Swaim-Staley, and Robert “Dr. Gridlock” Thomson.

Mobility Lab and some of our partners like goDCgo, Arlington Transportation Partners, and BikeArlington were very busy tweeting at an excellent event today called Conquering the Commute: Solutions for Washington Transit, held by the Washington Post.

Here is a sampling of the some of the best information we gathered (and tweeted about) from the panel on “Riding the Rails and Catching the Bus,” which featured Henry Kay of the Maryland Transportation Administration, Ben Ross of the Action Committee for Transit and the Transit First!Coalition, Beveryly Swaim-Staley of the Union Station redevelopment Corp., and Robert “Dr. Gridlock” Thomson of the Washington Post.

  • In a recent Wash-post survey 2/3 respondents chose transit investments over road.
  • Panelists say solutions include WMATA fixing bottlenecks, addressing capacity issues, and returning 24/7 service to Metro.
  • If not for the riders in the buses and on Metro, drivers would be sitting in a lot more traffic.
  • 1 of 3 peak-hour Metro riders is part of federal government, so having it is a national security issue. – Maryland Senator Ben Cardin
  • People are determined to get relief from congestion and are equally determined not to pay for it.
  • “In the public, there is much more of an appetite for transit investments than road investments.” – Ben Ross
  • Height limit of DC buildings helps expand candidate areas for walkable, livable activity centers – Ben Ross
  • “If you’re near Metro, your property values are 79% higher.” – Mary Jordan of the Washington Post.
  • “Transportation is a zero sum game. If someone else is winning, you must be losing.”
  • The drops in driving and increases in other modes – especially among younger age groups – are real.
  • Dr. Gridlock says that if you look at the history of metro, it’s amazing that it got built at all.
  • Since 1995, Metrorail ridership is up 55% during rush hour & 110% on Saturday nights. People want to live, work, and play without a car.
  • Bike. Bus. Subway. Cars. Who is in charge, asks Mary Jordan of the Washington Post.
  • Buses are an incredible part of the D.C. region’s transportation network. It’s easier to plan for the future of the bus system than it is for Metro’s.
  • H Street streetcar will make Union Station rock even harder as a key to getting around DC!
  • Purple Line is a planned 16-mile light rail line connecting places in Maryland.
  • Suburbs need to design streets that aren’t just for cars.
  • Union Station is the busiest Metro station in the DC system.
  • After the Purple Line, we’ll need another major Metro line through downtown.
  • MARC train needs a place to store and maintain cars.
  • We’ll get a lot further if we look at this problem as solving quality of life rather than solving commutes.

For the session on bikes and walking, click here.

Photo by Michael Schade

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Alan December 17, 2012 at 8:41 AM

DC doesn’t really need another metro line, what we do need is the full streetcar system that will connect the unserved neighborhoods into the system better. Between the bus, rail, and streetcar, along with bike and ped improvements, DC will have an amazing transportation system, when it works.

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avatar Alan December 17, 2012 at 8:49 AM

Not to mention there are still a substantial number of infill possibilities (a la New York Ave/NoMa) in existing lines including, Kalorama, between Dupont and Woodley Park; Brightwood Park between Petworth and Fort Totten; and Lamond Riggs area between Fort Totten and Takoma. And that is just within the District itself.

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avatar Paul Mackie December 17, 2012 at 9:40 AM

Thanks for the comments, Alan. Both are very good points.

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