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View Full Version : The Streetcar Is Dead. Now What?



Starduster
11-18-2014, 06:09 PM
The streetcar project for Columbia Pike is dead. Fisette is chastened, Vihistat and Garvey are elated, Tejada is mad, and over in Faixfax County, Sharon Bulova and Penny Gross are absolutely furious with us.

So what happens now in this new landscape? Specifically for us in the cycling community? The Pike remains a high-traffic bus corridor to 2 Metro stations; it remains a risky place to ride, even for the fittest, fastest, and most daring; and the 9th & 12th St Bike Boulevards can only address some of that, partially because of the Arlington tradition of streets that exist in a dozen disconnected segments.

Of concern is the bike trail segment needed to connect North Bridge Park (correction- Long Bridge Park) with the Mt. Vernon Trail under the humpback bridge. My understanding is that it is tied to the proposed Aquatic Center project at North Bridge. John Vihistat has opposed the Aquatic Center for similar reasons, and I expect it will be on the chopping block next. How can the trail segment be separated from the Aquatic Center project?

OK, I vented. But what will happen to our hopes and dreams in this new reality?

WGF

mstone
11-18-2014, 07:00 PM
Put your hopes and dreams on the shelf until the next election cycle

Starduster
11-18-2014, 07:19 PM
Put your hopes and dreams on the shelf until the next election cycle

Nope. Not giving up or giving in that easily.

dasgeh
11-18-2014, 07:51 PM
Of concern is the bike trail segment needed to connect North Bridge Park with the Mt. Vernon Trail under the humpback bridge. My understanding is that it is tied to the proposed Aquatic Center project at North Bridge. John Vihistat has opposed the Aquatic Center for similar reasons, and I expect it will be on the chopping block next. How can the trail segment be separated from the Aquatic Center project?
[/QUOTE]

I believe you mean Long Bridge Park and my understanding is that the bike/ped connection to the mvt is tied to the renovation/rebuilding of the train bridge, which is still moving forward. Also, my understanding is that the Aquatic Center is currently on hold but practically dead, but that there's no direct link between that and cycling.

BRT proponents consistently touted statistics on BRT systems that relied on dedicated lanes. These can be dedicated bus/bike lanes. One way forward is to hold them to the dedicated lane model.

Sidenote: whether you like the streetcar or not, this seems like a very poor way to go about making/announcing the decision to kill it. Our partners - who we'll still need to work with - are mad at us and we have no leverage with VDOT to get concessions from them on whatever solution we come up we (eg dedicated lanes). *sigh*

Drewdane
11-18-2014, 08:20 PM
As I don't live in Arlington and was only tangentially aware of a streetcar proposal at all, can someone explain what this has to do with bicycles?

mstone
11-18-2014, 08:22 PM
VDOT already said that there was no chance of dedicated lanes. If there was, the streetcar would have been designed for them. Talk about BRT was always just a way to cloud the issues on the part of those who wanted to kill transit.

And yes, Arlington is going to have a hard time finding any allies for the immediate future.

DismalScientist
11-18-2014, 08:29 PM
Rail transit without a dedicated right-of-way makes no sense. To characterize opponents of the streetcar as anti-transit seems to be SOP in the current tenor of political discourse.

Starduster
11-18-2014, 08:30 PM
As I don't live in Arlington and was only tangentially aware of a streetcar proposal at all, can someone explain what this has to do with bicycles?

We who are cycling advocates will have to deal with the same elected officials, who from this point forward, as a whole, might require more convincing that *our* desires aren't frivolous.

And for the objectives we want, we have to have good relations with our neighbors in the region. The way this decision went down did *nothing* for that.

sjclaeys
11-18-2014, 08:30 PM
and over in Faixfax County, Sharon Bulova and Penny Gross are absolutely furious with us.

How much was Fairfax County going to contribute to the cost for building and running the street car?

DismalScientist
11-18-2014, 08:38 PM
20%

Starduster
11-18-2014, 08:45 PM
How much was Fairfax County going to contribute to the cost for building and running the street car?

Fairfax County was going to contribute I think 20% for their part of the route. This *was* a joint effort over many years, and their transit plans for Baileys Crossroads and Skyline got flushed down the drain with Arlington's decision. Bridges burned.

sjclaeys
11-18-2014, 08:54 PM
20%

Both construction and annual operation costs?

mstone
11-18-2014, 09:02 PM
Fairfax County was going to contribute I think 20% for their part of the route. This *was* a joint effort over many years, and their transit plans for Baileys Crossroads and Skyline got flushed down the drain with Arlington's decision. Bridges burned.
Plus their help in prying money out of Richmond (something upward of $150M IIRC).

mstone
11-18-2014, 09:08 PM
Rail transit without a dedicated right-of-way makes no sense. To characterize opponents of the streetcar as anti-transit seems to be SOP in the current tenor of political discourse.
There are no other viable higher capacity options for the route. The choices are streetcar or the current bus system. Streetcars manage to work in other places, it's never been clear why opponents were convinced it couldn't work here. It's fair to say it's anti transit because the other options being floated are disingenuous fantasies floated by transit opponents to muddy the waters and give moderates something to latch on to. Metrorail was never going to happen, BRT was never going to happen, and even bus improvements are unlikely and definitely not a game changer. So if this isn't anti transit, what transit options are left on the table?

chris_s
11-18-2014, 09:10 PM
Rail transit without a dedicated right-of-way makes no sense. To characterize opponents of the streetcar as anti-transit seems to be SOP in the current tenor of political discourse.

Except some WERE anti-transit. Many weren't, true. But I totally get why some other streetcar supporters paint with a broad brush. When many of the antis are spreading misinformation in snappy soundbites, it's easy to get frustrated and start getting sloppy yourself to try and make your own argument soundbitey.

chris_s
11-18-2014, 09:14 PM
There are no other viable higher capacity options for the route. The choices are streetcar or the current bus system. Streetcars manage to work in other places, it's never been clear why opponents were convinced it couldn't work here. It's fair to say it's anti transit because the other options being floated are disingenuous fantasies floated by transit opponents to muddy the waters and give moderates something to latch on to. Metrorail was never going to happen, BRT was never going to happen, and even bus improvements are unlikely and definitely not a game changer. So if this isn't anti transit, what transit options are left on the table?

My take on this is "Hey, 'Arlingtonians for Sensible Transit' got the County Board to change their mind on a 'done deal'; if they're really pro-transit then let's get Streetcar Now together with them, present a united front and get VDOT to change THEIR mind on dedicated lanes." The agreement with the state says Columbia Pike can't get below 4 General Purpose lanes without VDOT approval. Let's get VDOT approval. It's a new administration. If I'm gonna be stuck with a bus system, it better be the best damn bus system we can build.

chris_s
11-18-2014, 09:16 PM
Both construction and annual operation costs?

The split on construction was 20%, the split on operating was still under discussion but expected to be tied overtime to ridership (so if 30% of ridership was Fairfax they would pay 30% of the operating costs).

mstone
11-18-2014, 09:23 PM
My take on this is "Hey, 'Arlingtonians for Sensible Transit' got the County Board to change their mind on a 'done deal'; if they're really pro-transit then let's get Streetcar Now together with them, present a united front and get VDOT to change THEIR mind on dedicated lanes." The agreement with the state says Columbia Pike can't get below 4 General Purpose lanes without VDOT approval. Let's get VDOT approval.

Good luck with that.

The really sad part is that the state money that was going to into this will now be moved over to building a bigger road somewhere. Maybe a wider 66?

PotomacCyclist
11-18-2014, 09:38 PM
The trail from Long Bridge Drive (near Long Bridge Park but not actually connected to the park) to the Humpback Bridge and the MVT is part of the Boundary Channel Drive interchange project. The plan is to redesign and renovate the interchange among I-395, Boundary Channel Drive and Rte. 1. I'm not sure if Arlington has been able to clear the plans with DOD, who has objected to other trail routes along the Pentagon Lagoon. The new trail route would move the path a bit farther away from the small DOD building on the lagoon. (There is minimal security for the building, and anyone can access that area today, by car, bike or foot, so I'm not sure what the security concerns are.)

The project is in the Planning Phase, Phase 2 of 5. It is not connected to the streetcar projects.

http://www.crystalcity.org/area/transformation/boundary-channel-drive-interchange

http://projects.arlingtonva.us/capital-projects/entry/2/45/

***
As for the Columbia Pike streetcar, VDOT has said that they wouldn't allow a dedicated transit lane. Unfortunately, Arlington does not have control over that road, unlike most other roads in the County. So I'm still not clear what alternatives the streetcar opponents are going to put forth. (The status quo option won't address the ongoing bus crowding and road capacity issues, as well as increased travel in the coming years.) The pie-in-the-sky hopes of some commenters about another MetroRail line in Arlington are unrealistic. (If the anti-streetcar folks were opposed to spending X amount on the streetcar, they aren't going to go for spending multiple times that amount for a new MetroRail line. By the way, opposition to the streetcar was based in the northern-most areas of Arlington, by a wide margin. Voters in areas along the Pike actually voted in favor of Howze by a close margin.)

Without a dedicated lane, the only change I can see is the proposal for articulated buses, but I'm not sure how much that will help. Perhaps if those are tried out and people discover that they cannot handle the transit demands, then there could be a renewed push for a streetcar in the future. But that would likely be years later, and the costs of the project would be much greater than today. Or the articulated buses could prove to be adequate, though the studies for the streetcar project indicated that they would not have the same transportation capacity of a streetcar system.

On a different note, some people had stated in the past that Fairfax would receive much of the benefit of the CP streetcar, because it would let Fairfax develop a transit-oriented center at Skyline, more dense than the existing development. Even though most of the line would have been in Arlington, Fairfax would have received perhaps the majority of the benefit. Certainly a greater share than 20%.

Many of the people traveling along the Pike are headed to the Pentagon or to other federal offices in Arlington and DC, so the federal government should have an interest in the project.

Was the federal gov't planning to contribute any funds to the streetcar project, before it was halted? If not, could they be persuaded to revive it by helping with the construction costs? Could Fairfax County be persuaded to increase their contribution? If the streetcar would have brought so many benefits to Skyline and Bailey's Crossroads, would it be worthwhile for Fairfax to pay more? If both Fairfax and the federal gov't paid more of the costs of the project, could this be enough to lower Arlington's contribution and revive the project?

I don't give any of this a great chance of becoming reality, but I thought I'd toss out these ideas and questions. At the very least, it can get some people thinking about it. If nothing happens along these lines, well, it didn't cost any money to mention them. If development and transportation demands increase along the Pike, something will still need to be done. If the funding and the political will aren't there for another MetroRail line, then what is the new plan for dealing with these transportation issues? People can campaign on an anti-project platform, but once you get into office, you actually have to govern. Columbia Pike transportation is a major issue for the County, whether or not the streetcar project goes ahead. Merely shutting down the streetcar project is not good enough. That doesn't actually solve anything in and of itself.

***
A related issue is the ongoing renovation of the Pike to make it more pedestrian-friendly. Bike lanes are not considered feasible on the Pike, but the County still needs to improve the pedestrian infrastructure along the Pike. The sidewalks along the eastern end, at the site of the former Navy Annex building, are horrendous. Pedestrians have to walk just inches away from the speeding traffic (and yes, much of the traffic moves faster than the posted speed limit, surprise surprise). Some work is going on with the western end, but at this pace, it will take years before the County is able to renovate all of the sidewalks and crosswalks (and various signals).

Another issue is the land swap between Arlington and the DOD in regard to Arlington National Cemetery. DOD wants to take over Southgate Rd. so that the Cemetery can add the former Navy Annex site to the Cemetery and create a contiguous area. In return, Arlington would receive unspecified land, perhaps from the former parking lots on the south side of the Pike. The plans were also complicated by the streetcar project, because Arlington wanted to straighten out the route of the Pike, to the east of the former Navy Annex site.

Is the County still interested in realigning Columbia Pike now? Would they want to do this to future-proof the eastern end of the Pike, in case there is a revival of the streetcar project years later? The Dulles Toll Road and the Wilson Bridge were built with provisions for a future transit system passing through them. Why not Columbia Pike as well?

The decision to realign or not realign will affect the proposed land swap, which still hasn't taken place. DOD wants to move forward at some point, because they need the extra space for the expansion of the Cemetery. Arlington could still have interest as well, because they would receive land that can be used for a proposed museum or memorial to the old Freedmen's Village.

***
The aquatics center is also separate from the streetcar. That is on hold, pending a deal to find additional funding, perhaps through a naming rights deal or as part of a DC/Arlington Olympics bid. They have promised an update on the status of the project by next summer or fall.

PotomacCyclist
11-18-2014, 09:40 PM
Except some WERE anti-transit. Many weren't, true. But I totally get why some other streetcar supporters paint with a broad brush. When many of the antis are spreading misinformation in snappy soundbites, it's easy to get frustrated and start getting sloppy yourself to try and make your own argument soundbitey.

And some are anti-any-gov't-spending. I heard and read a lot of this, so I'm not making this up. Does this characterize a majority of the streetcar opponents? I have no idea, but I know it applies to at least some of them. I also know, from the detailed poll results, that opposition to the streetcar was far greater in the far northern neighborhoods of Arlington, while people who actually live along the Pike voted in favor of Howze this month (by an admittedly narrow margin).

DismalScientist
11-18-2014, 09:44 PM
There are no other viable higher capacity options for the route. The choices are streetcar or the current bus system. Streetcars manage to work in other places, it's never been clear why opponents were convinced it couldn't work here. It's fair to say it's anti transit because the other options being floated are disingenuous fantasies floated by transit opponents to muddy the waters and give moderates something to latch on to. Metrorail was never going to happen, BRT was never going to happen, and even bus improvements are unlikely and definitely not a game changer. So if this isn't anti transit, what transit options are left on the table?
Where do street cars manage to work (and be high capacity)? I don't see how rail in a nondedicated right of way can ever be significantly better than buses when there is significant traffic. (I agree that the BRT comparison is BS.) The current bus system has less average wait times than the streetcar would. Do you think people would wait for a streetcar if the bus arrives first?

The only high capacity system that might work is Metro, either above or below ground.

chris_s
11-18-2014, 10:03 PM
The trail from Long Bridge Drive (near Long Bridge Park but not actually connected to the park) to the Humpback Bridge and the MVT is part of the Boundary Channel Drive interchange project. The plan is to redesign and renovate the interchange among I-395, Boundary Channel Drive and Rte. 1. I'm not sure if Arlington has been able to clear the plans with DOD, who has objected to other trail routes along the Pentagon Lagoon. The new trail route would move the path a bit farther away from the small DOD building on the lagoon. (There is minimal security for the building, and anyone can access that area today, by car, bike or foot, so I'm not sure what the security concerns are.)

In addition to the humpback connection that may come about from the Boundary Channel interchange, there is ALSO a planned trail connection directly DIRECTLY into the park from the MVT. It was originally part of the Gravelly Point EA, then it got dumped into the 14th Street Bridge project EA. It is still ostensibly tied to completion of the park which is ostensibly tied to completion of the Aquatics Center. Back when the Aquatics Center supporters were beating the drum hard, the mantra was "complete and connect" referring to building out the rest of the park and connecting it to the MVT. When it got lumped into the 14th Street Bridge study, they said basically 'why go just across the GW parkway? why not build the connection onto the side of the Long Bridge and connect all the way to DC?' so who knows where this thing is going to shake out. You can see some renderings at the Long Bridge Study website (http://longbridgeproject.com/).

Drewdane
11-18-2014, 11:12 PM
We who are cycling advocates will have to deal with the same elected officials, who from this point forward, as a whole, might require more convincing that *our* desires aren't frivolous.

And for the objectives we want, we have to have good relations with our neighbors in the region. The way this decision went down did *nothing* for that.

That doesn't really answer my question, but thanks.

Steve O
11-18-2014, 11:20 PM
Where do street cars manage to work (and be high capacity)? I don't see how rail in a nondedicated right of way can ever be significantly better than buses when there is significant traffic. (I agree that the BRT comparison is BS.)

Philadelphia has a 100-year old trolley system. Part of it is underground and separate, but in West Philly they run on the street in mixed traffic. And they have been doing so for 100 years without much trouble.

I once watched a trolley get blocked by a parked car that was just a little too far out. All the streetcar opponents here in Arlington were screaming that this would be a regular occurrence and totally unsolvable. Well, in Philadelphia what happens is all the men come out of the trolley, lift the automobile that is in the way, move it over, and get back on. Takes less than a minute, and off they go. If there aren't enough on the trolley then passersby chip in to help.
Of course, Philly is more of a blue-collar town. Here in white-collar DC everyone has to "think" of a solution, and they probably wouldn't be able to think of that one.

chris_s
11-18-2014, 11:58 PM
Philadelphia has a 100-year old trolley system. Part of it is underground and separate, but in West Philly they run on the street in mixed traffic. And they have been doing so for 100 years without much trouble.

I once watched a trolley get blocked by a parked car that was just a little too far out. All the streetcar opponents here in Arlington were screaming that this would be a regular occurrence and totally unsolvable. Well, in Philadelphia what happens is all the men come out of the trolley, lift the automobile that is in the way, move it over, and get back on. Takes less than a minute, and off they go. If there aren't enough on the trolley then passersby chip in to help.
Of course, Philly is more of a blue-collar town. Here in white-collar DC everyone has to "think" of a solution, and they probably wouldn't be able to think of that one.

Nobody who has seen Advance Towing in action has seriously thought that this would be a problem in Arlington.

mstone
11-19-2014, 04:24 AM
The only high capacity system that might work is Metro, either above or below ground.

Metro is too high capacity, there isn't enough density to support it. It requires separate right of way, which doesn't exist above ground. So you're seriously proposing a multi (4?) billion dollar subway for Columbia Pike? And think Vihstadt would support that option?

PotomacCyclist
11-19-2014, 07:38 AM
Philadelphia has a 100-year old trolley system. Part of it is underground and separate, but in West Philly they run on the street in mixed traffic. And they have been doing so for 100 years without much trouble.

I once watched a trolley get blocked by a parked car that was just a little too far out. All the streetcar opponents here in Arlington were screaming that this would be a regular occurrence and totally unsolvable. Well, in Philadelphia what happens is all the men come out of the trolley, lift the automobile that is in the way, move it over, and get back on. Takes less than a minute, and off they go. If there aren't enough on the trolley then passersby chip in to help.
Of course, Philly is more of a blue-collar town. Here in white-collar DC everyone has to "think" of a solution, and they probably wouldn't be able to think of that one.

We did something like this at a local concert way back when. When our group returned to the parking lot, we found the van completely blocked in by cars. It could have been a very long wait for those other drivers to move those cars. So all of us helped to pick up a car or two and move them out of the way. None of us were extraordinarily strong. If you get enough people, it's possible.

Raymo853
11-19-2014, 08:15 AM
As someone that bikes, drives or buses Columbia Pike from Walter Reed into town every weekday morning, I was not looking forward to the street car construction regardless of which mode I was using. It is a mess right now and IMO there is only one way to really fix it and it will cost a lot more than $333 million.

All the businesses, apartments and older houses too close to the road have to taken via eminent domain and razed. (Yes that includes the Arlington Draft House) Then a well thought out corridor with dedicated bus & light rail lanes, bike lanes, proper sidewalks and car lanes be made.

mstone
11-19-2014, 09:38 AM
All the businesses, apartments and older houses too close to the road have to taken via eminent domain and razed. (Yes that includes the Arlington Draft House) Then a well thought out corridor with dedicated bus & light rail lanes, bike lanes, proper sidewalks and car lanes be made.

You understand that politics is the art of the possible?

dasgeh
11-19-2014, 09:43 AM
The trail from Long Bridge Drive (near Long Bridge Park but not actually connected to the park) to the Humpback Bridge and the MVT is part of the Boundary Channel Drive interchange project.

Correct, but this is a separate project from connection Long Bridge Park to the MVT (and possibly DC) in connection with the CSX bridge renovation/rebuild. This could be really awesome, especially if we get ped/bike facilities all the way to the Mandarin Oriental.

baiskeli
11-19-2014, 09:46 AM
Of course, Philly is more of a blue-collar town. Here in white-collar DC everyone has to "think" of a solution, and they probably wouldn't be able to think of that one.

In DC they'd worry about getting sued by the car owner (and that might even happen).

baiskeli
11-19-2014, 09:50 AM
Where do street cars manage to work (and be high capacity)? I don't see how rail in a nondedicated right of way can ever be significantly better than buses when there is significant traffic.

That's the conundrum. Streetcars can work really well without dedicated lanes at a certain level of car traffic - and they do work fine in those conditions, all over the world. And by keeping more cars off the road, they perpetuate that low-traffic situation. The problem is that the Pike is already congested.

I wish they had considered running the line down parallel streets, with a few turns to intersect with the Pike and switch sides. I think that could have worked.

dasgeh
11-19-2014, 10:08 AM
As I don't live in Arlington and was only tangentially aware of a streetcar proposal at all, can someone explain what this has to do with bicycles?

Indirectly, as others have said, this affects cycling advocacy a lot: it informs how we may want to make our case (SAVINGS! It costs the County X times less to move people on bikes than on cars, but we need the upfront investment); and we should be aware of the environment it has created with our neighbors.

Directly, the Pike is horrible for bikes. There is most likely a new process for planning that will happen on the Pike. The cycling community MUST be on the table, and must insist that bike connections exist to serve the entire area (unlike the current bike blvds, which stop).

bobco85
11-19-2014, 11:12 AM
In the next few years, I fully expect to see little improvement save for nicer sidewalks with undergrounded utilities (which is really nice, as Steve O pointed out in the Wilson Blvd restriping thread) and possibly articulated buses. I suppose that they could adjust the lanes running in each direction according to time of day to improve traffic flow as follows:

Normal (mid-day and nighttime): 2 lanes west/2 lanes east
Morning rush hour: 1 lane west/3 lanes east
Evening rush hour: 3 lanes west/1 lane east


Funny story: yesterday happened to be my dad's birthday, and he was more than happy to hear the news that the streetcar was cancelled as he opposed it (what a birthday present!). He's not anti-transit, as he had pushed for an underground Metro line years ago along Columbia Pike and still supports the idea, but the low density was the main issue for its rejection.


I wish they had considered running the line down parallel streets, with a few turns to intersect with the Pike and switch sides. I think that could have worked.

It's interesting that they did this exact thing, except with bicycle boulevards instead of a streetcar. That said, the streetcar would still have to share the bridge over Four Mile Run which would make things a bit hectic.

Raymo853
11-19-2014, 11:37 AM
You understand that politics is the art of the possible?

Correct and I know this is not possible. I know what will happen and what is politically possible: Some sort of solution done in parts, just as expensive, will not solve all the problems & cause some new ones and none of it will be sustainable, green nor make even a majority happy.

Geoff
11-19-2014, 12:59 PM
I'm another one who, not living in Arlington, has not paid attention to this issue. Why is it that "Sharon Bulova and Penny Gross are absolutely furious with us"? Did the bike community oppose the street cars, promise support and not come through, doom the effort by asking for too much...?

DismalScientist
11-19-2014, 01:10 PM
The "us" she is furious with is the Arlington County Board.

PotomacCyclist
11-19-2014, 01:56 PM
CP Metro isn't happening, at least not in the foreseeable future. WMATA's fantasy wish list (released last year, I think) included all of the big ticket items that they would like to have in a fantasy world where funding would not be an issue. They understood that many or most of the items would never be built. Even on such a fantasy list, they didn't include a Columbia Pike MetroRail line. I've never heard of any serious campaigns or proposals to build support for such a line. Some people mention the line on article comments, but that's it. I can't even begin to imagine how supporters would be able to convince North Arlington (sorry about the geographic division, but that really is where the streetcar opposition was greatest), VDOT and the federal government to spend billions of dollars on such a line.

Others have also pointed out that it wouldn't just be a CP line. Both of the MetroRail connections to DC are already shared among two or more lines. (Blue, Orange and Silver in the Rosslyn tunnel; while the 14th St. Metro bridge only carries the Yellow, that route has to share the tracks with the Green line at the first stop in DC -- L'Enfant Plaza). Either the CP line would have to share the route with the Yellow and Green lines in DC, or a new MetroRail route would need to be built in DC as part of the CP line. That would add billions more to the overall cost of such a line. This simply isn't going to get passed and approved by anyone at this point. If it does, it would be astonishing.

lordofthemark
11-19-2014, 02:17 PM
I'm another one who, not living in Arlington, has not paid attention to this issue. Why is it that "Sharon Bulova and Penny Gross are absolutely furious with us"? Did the bike community oppose the street cars, promise support and not come through, doom the effort by asking for too much...?

Its naive to think that the ALL POWERFUL BIKE LOBBY (TM) which is capable of both depriving King Street homeowners of their sacred property rights to public parking spaces, and of begriming Manhattan, couldn't get a minor project like Pike Rail passed. Unless and until Penny Gross's exact location is known, I would be very wary of riding on the Holmes Run trail in Fairfax.

lordofthemark
11-19-2014, 02:19 PM
But seriously, Fairfax - THIS is the place for a rail line to revive Baileys. http://route7corridorstudy.com/

Arlington may have dumped you, but lovely Alexandria would never do such a thing - right? ;)

Geoff
11-19-2014, 02:45 PM
Its naive to think that the ALL POWERFUL BIKE LOBBY (TM) which is capable of both depriving King Street homeowners of their sacred property rights to public parking spaces, and of begriming Manhattan, couldn't get a minor project like Pike Rail passed.
On the other hand, Courtland Milloy single-handedly blocked us from getting an elevator on 15th street, or whatever that was.

baiskeli
11-19-2014, 02:55 PM
I'm another one who, not living in Arlington, has not paid attention to this issue. Why is it that "Sharon Bulova and Penny Gross are absolutely furious with us"? Did the bike community oppose the street cars, promise support and not come through, doom the effort by asking for too much...?

I don't think cyclists were united on the issue (as discussion on this thread shows) or had involvement as a group. Even if they did, they weren't a factor.

baiskeli
11-19-2014, 02:56 PM
On the other hand, Courtland Milloy single-handedly blocked us from getting an elevator on 15th street, or whatever that was.

Curse him! I guess we'll have to use e-bikes instead.

ShawnoftheDread
11-19-2014, 05:06 PM
I'm happy to learn that my friends on the Forum, that hotbed of Arlington chauvinism, actually care what Fairfax County and its illustrious Board thinks of them. I didn't know you thought so highly of our suburban opinions.

chris_s
11-19-2014, 07:03 PM
But seriously, Fairfax - THIS is the place for a rail line to revive Baileys. http://route7corridorstudy.com/

Arlington may have dumped you, but lovely Alexandria would never do such a thing - right? ;)

LOL, Alexandria already dumped Arlington (not that it mattered much in the long run). Be wary of anyone claiming Alexandria is going to spend money on anything other than the Potomac Yard Metro station for the next 10 years. Until 3 years from now when they finally admit they also can't afford the Potomac Yard Metro station. Then they'll have money.

Starduster
11-19-2014, 08:35 PM
Next time you're in the Pentagon Metro Stration, aim a flashlight into the tunnel at the south end, either level. No turnout (switch) on the track, but there is a space in the tunnel for a switch and the beginnings of another tunnel. Metro planned for a possible new route at that point when the station was built. Several decades on, we wait...

A new Metro line will require much money and the political *will* to make it happen. Both are in short supply right now.

On Columbia Pike, we are commited and locked into the existing road width. *All* of the new mixed use highrises, end to end, are built right up to the sidewalk. The only thing being razed are old one story storefronts. Morris Van's place will be replaced evenually.

In the meantime, we have to protect our cycling interests in a new political climate.

Steve O
11-19-2014, 09:24 PM
But seriously, Fairfax - THIS is the place for a rail line to revive Baileys. http://route7corridorstudy.com/



I blogged on this way back in 2009 (http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/3750/what-about-a-gold-line-for-route-7/)

baiskeli
11-20-2014, 08:15 AM
Fairfax County

Never heard of it. Is it in Virginia?

baiskeli
11-20-2014, 08:21 AM
I blogged on this way back in 2009 (http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/3750/what-about-a-gold-line-for-route-7/)

The Gold Line makes sense. It's a bit like the Purple Line.

On the other hand, like the Purple Line, planners might see a perfectly good railbed that runs roughly that direction - the Four Mile Run/W&OD Trail - and decide to convert it back to a rail line. They'd lose quickly after intense opposition, I'm sure, but it would give us a scare. (Not only would that ruin the trail and parks, it wouldn't accomplish the goal of fixing Fairfax County). The big highway plans from the 1950s and '60s included highways running where the trail is now throughout Arlington before the idea was abandoned.

lordofthemark
11-20-2014, 08:28 AM
LOL, Alexandria already dumped Arlington (not that it mattered much in the long run). Be wary of anyone claiming Alexandria is going to spend money on anything other than the Potomac Yard Metro station for the next 10 years. Until 3 years from now when they finally admit they also can't afford the Potomac Yard Metro station. Then they'll have money.


The West End Transitway study is going forward now (with BPAC participation, BTW) with the draft EIS supposed to be ready this winter, and I expect the project will be in place BEFORE the metro station is finished (at least the Van Dorn to Mark Center piece - getting to Shirlington will require working with Arlco - though it would probably look bad for the self proclaimed BRT advocates there to stop actual BRT, and even if they do, the buses could run in mixed traffic from the City limit to Shirlington, I suppose)

I do not currrently have in depth knowledge of Alexandria finances, but my impression is that Alexandria has bonding capacity for the Metro station - it also might be a logical project for a TIFIA loan. Oh, and I hear there is a hundred and fifty million dollars of Commonwealth money that is suddenly available, though I expect Fairfax will be putting first dibs on that ;)

lordofthemark
11-20-2014, 08:32 AM
The Gold Line makes sense. It's a bit like the Purple Line.

On the other hand, like the Purple Line, planners might see a perfectly good railbed that runs roughly that direction - the Four Mile Run/W&OD Trail - and decide to convert it back to a rail line. They'd lose quickly after intense opposition, I'm sure, but it would give us a scare. (Not only would that ruin the trail and parks, it wouldn't accomplish the goal of fixing Fairfax County). The big highway plans from the 1950s and '60s included highways running where the trail is now throughout Arlington before the idea was abandoned.


A lot of the existing density on the Rte 7 Corridor, not to mention the parcels capable of high density mixed use "vibrant" development, are west of Rte 7. W&OD is too far away. You needn't worry.

mstone
11-20-2014, 08:38 AM
The Gold Line makes sense. It's a bit like the Purple Line.

On the other hand, like the Purple Line, planners might see a perfectly good railbed that runs roughly that direction - the Four Mile Run/W&OD Trail - and decide to convert it back to a rail line. They'd lose quickly after intense opposition, I'm sure, but it would give us a scare. (Not only would that ruin the trail and parks, it wouldn't accomplish the goal of fixing Fairfax County). The big highway plans from the 1950s and '60s included highways running where the trail is now throughout Arlington before the idea was abandoned.

The W&OD is in the wrong place, and at any rate the situations are completely different--the purple line is planned for a rail ROW which was purchased for the specific reason of adding a light rail line (and happened to get a trail as an added bonus) while the W&OD is owned by the NVRPA for the purpose of being a park.

Raymo853
11-20-2014, 09:45 AM
That Gold line idea is ok, however, the number of stops would have to be cut and I would really like to see it cross over to Maryland's Forest Heights, Hillcrest Heights & Suitland.

ShawnoftheDread
11-20-2014, 10:01 AM
Never heard of it. Is it in Virginia?

It used to be.

baiskeli
11-20-2014, 10:33 AM
A lot of the existing density on the Rte 7 Corridor, not to mention the parcels capable of high density mixed use "vibrant" development, are west of Rte 7. W&OD is too far away. You needn't worry.

I'm not really worried about it. I know transportation policymakers would never do something that doesn't make sense.

dasgeh
11-20-2014, 11:01 AM
I'm happy to learn that my friends on the Forum, that hotbed of Arlington chauvinism, actually care what Fairfax County and its illustrious Board thinks of them. I didn't know you thought so highly of our suburban opinions.

Believe me, I certainly want Ffx to be bike friendly. I fully accept that raising kids in NoVa requires lots of trips to Ffx, and I want to be able to ride my bike!

lordofthemark
11-20-2014, 11:36 AM
I'm not really worried about it. I know transportation policymakers would never do something that doesn't make sense.

:p

Penny Gross wants Bailey's/Culmore redeveloped. Thats why she was so upset at this expression of the democratic will of the people of Arlington. It really does mess up Fairfax County's plans.


The study is pretty far along and this is what the map is http://route7corridorstudy.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Meeting-Boards-2.pdf

They still have not decided whether to stay on Rte 7 in Falls Church or detour on Rte 29 to get to the metro, and they are not decided on what to do in Alexandria - to connect to the West End Transitway and run to Van Dorn, or to run down 7 to King Street metro, or both (they seem quite sure they will NOT run rail down King Street, so it will go to KS Metro only if the BRT option is chosen) There seems no consideration at this point to running anyplace that is not actually on route 7 between Seven Corners and the Alexandria line - all that is up in the air for that is bus vs rail.

ShawnoftheDread
11-20-2014, 12:35 PM
Believe me, I certainly want Ffx to be bike friendly. I fully accept that raising kids in NoVa requires lots of trips to Ffx, and I want to be able to ride my bike!

That goes to what you think of Fairfax, not whether you care what Fairfax thinks of you.

mstone
11-20-2014, 12:45 PM
That goes to what you think of Fairfax, not whether you care what Fairfax thinks of you.

I would think that Arlington would care about what Fairfax thinks because Arlington doesn't have many other potential allies in Richmond for any kind of urbanist initiatives. That's on a tactical political level; I'm not sure that anyone particularly cares what people somewhere else think of them personally.

baiskeli
11-20-2014, 01:40 PM
:p.

Seriously though, I'm not worried about the W&OD, just musing.

AFHokie
11-23-2014, 11:33 AM
I live on the Pike and was surprised how split my building was regarding the streetcar. For the most part, those against wasn't due to cost, but the lack of a dedicated lane. Most feared the increased congestion potential. For the record, I wanted the street car, but the lack of a dedicated lane concerned me as well. I feel most congestion occurs from buses stopped to load/unload and vehicles waiting to make a left. As much as I dislike them stopping in the lane, the reason (I've been told) the buses do not have pull outs for stops is due to the inability to get back into traffic. Over the course of a route, thirty second/one minute delays add up. It makes sense, but it still sucks when you're stuck behind a bus.

Based on my balcony observations, I feel a large percentage of Pike traffic is transient headed to the Pentagon, downtown etc. The argument against a another Metro line citing a lack of population on the route ignores this traffic. If people in Fairfax Station, Burke, Annandale, etc had commuter lot/Metro options would it take a significant portion of vehicular traffic off the Pike? Out of curiosity, was the population density along the Orange greater than what the Pike density is today when it was first conceived?

Then again, I'm also the guy who thinks the Orange should be extended to Centerville, the Green extended to Ft. Meade, the Blue rerouted along 395 with stops at W Glebe or Shirlington, Seminary, Landmark, and extended from Springfield to Ft. Belvoir North. Plus build a line along Route 7 from Tysons to Kings Street Station. I'm sure most everyone has ideas where metro stops and lines should be built, but for the most part, they start and end as wishful thinking.

mstone
11-23-2014, 02:01 PM
Based on my balcony observations, I feel a large percentage of Pike traffic is transient headed to the Pentagon, downtown etc. The argument against a another Metro line citing a lack of population on the route ignores this traffic. If people in Fairfax Station, Burke, Annandale, etc had commuter lot/Metro options would it take a significant portion of vehicular traffic off the Pike? Out of curiosity, was the population density along the Orange greater than what the Pike density is today when it was first conceived?

Columbia Pike doesn't actually have all that many vehicles per day (less than 30k, IIRC, compared to something like 170k for 66). (Its transit share is actually phenomonally high, which is one of the reasons that increasing transit capacity was so attractive.) So it's doubtful that a change in transit options would significantly affect traffic volumes due to long distance commuters as those people are mostly using other routes anyway. The pike streetcar project was intended to be mostly local and spur increased density along the pike, not provide for people in Burke. As to your question about densities, current levels are irrelevant--the question is what the expected density is over the long-term. When the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor was being planned, the expectation was that there would be significant density in the future to justify the heavy rail investment (with the increased tax revenue paying for it). Columbia Pike was considered for a metro line but Arlington specifically did not want to zone that corridor for 10+ story buildings and so it didn't move forward. I am not aware of any movement in Arlington to change the zoning that much, to turn Columbia Pike into another Wilson Blvd. (Nor do I think Arlington has any ability to fill that much new development even if the community did a 180 and bought into the idea.) The projections were that increased mid-density development would generate something like $800M over 30 years--enough to justify a $300M investment, even without the benefits for existing transit riders, but not nearly enough to justify a $4000M heavy rail line.

Side note: this is what's so frustrating about the plan being canceled. There were detailed analyses of the available options, but there are so many people ignoring those analyses and talking about things that simply aren't practical. I understand that people in your building wanted a dedicated lane, but there is no way for that to happen. So excluding the non-existent option, is there a plan that provides more of a capacity & usability increase than the streetcar? I think the people who are pro-transit and anti-streetcar are going to be sorely disappointed in what that leaves on the table.

chris_s
11-24-2014, 07:30 AM
So excluding the non-existent option, is there a plan that provides more of a capacity & usability increase than the streetcar? I think the people who are pro-transit and anti-streetcar are going to be sorely disappointed in what that leaves on the table.

Expect stop consolidation (fewer stops, so the buses can move faster), off-board fare collection (so people can get on an off through ALL doors instead of having to line up single file going into a SINGLE door and waiting while each person tries to put their farecard through the machine), signal priority (if the light is about to turn red but senses a bus approaching it will hold the light green for a few seconds longer to let the bus through). Beyond that, you're looking at maybe route simplification (because the current service is confusing) and hopefully some additional express service.

mstone
11-24-2014, 07:48 AM
Expect stop consolidation (fewer stops, so the buses can move faster), off-board fare collection (so people can get on an off through ALL doors instead of having to line up single file going into a SINGLE door and waiting while each person tries to put their farecard through the machine), signal priority (if the light is about to turn red but senses a bus approaching it will hold the light green for a few seconds longer to let the bus through). Beyond that, you're looking at maybe route simplification (because the current service is confusing) and hopefully some additional express service.

Honestly, I don't even expect that. Who's going to champion any of it and who's going to pay for it?

lordofthemark
11-24-2014, 08:31 AM
Honestly, I don't even expect that. Who's going to champion any of it and who's going to pay for it?

Just FYI, the Metroway stations on the CCPY dedicated transitway in Alexandria currently do not have offboard fare collection or all door boarding, but that (along with real time bus info) is supposed to be implemented in 2015 - maybe timed for the opening of the Arlington dedicated lanes.

chris_s
11-24-2014, 08:45 AM
Honestly, I don't even expect that. Who's going to champion any of it and who's going to pay for it?

Every single board member is saying that they are for transit improvements on the Pike and there is a long line of people ready to shout it to the rooftops if they start to waffle on it.

I expect the $65 million for "fixed guideway transit" that the State came up with is as good as gone, but the rest of the State money (formula funds) should still be applicable to bus improvements. The local TCF money is still available as well. I think the regional money is now a harder sell, but is still within the realm of possibility.

mstone
11-24-2014, 09:23 AM
Every single board member is saying that they are for transit improvements on the Pike and there is a long line of people ready to shout it to the rooftops if they start to waffle on it.

I guess we'll see.

AFHokie
11-24-2014, 10:27 AM
Columbia Pike doesn't actually have all that many vehicles per day (less than 30k, IIRC, compared to something like 170k for 66). (Its transit share is actually phenomonally high, which is one of the reasons that increasing transit capacity was so attractive.) So it's doubtful that a change in transit options would significantly affect traffic volumes due to long distance commuters as those people are mostly using other routes anyway. The pike streetcar project was intended to be mostly local and spur increased density along the pike, not provide for people in Burke. As to your question about densities, current levels are irrelevant--the question is what the expected density is over the long-term. When the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor was being planned, the expectation was that there would be significant density in the future to justify the heavy rail investment (with the increased tax revenue paying for it). Columbia Pike was considered for a metro line but Arlington specifically did not want to zone that corridor for 10+ story buildings and so it didn't move forward. I am not aware of any movement in Arlington to change the zoning that much, to turn Columbia Pike into another Wilson Blvd. (Nor do I think Arlington has any ability to fill that much new development even if the community did a 180 and bought into the idea.) The projections were that increased mid-density development would generate something like $800M over 30 years--enough to justify a $300M investment, even without the benefits for existing transit riders, but not nearly enough to justify a $4000M heavy rail line.

Side note: this is what's so frustrating about the plan being canceled. There were detailed analyses of the available options, but there are so many people ignoring those analyses and talking about things that simply aren't practical. I understand that people in your building wanted a dedicated lane, but there is no way for that to happen. So excluding the non-existent option, is there a plan that provides more of a capacity & usability increase than the streetcar? I think the people who are pro-transit and anti-streetcar are going to be sorely disappointed in what that leaves on the table.

Technically, expanding the Pike is possible, but it is not practical and I doubt it could get finished in a completely ethical manner. It would be akin to the original 1950's construction of Boston's Central Artery. However, I'm not looking at the Pike in a vacuum. A Metro line would also take a significant portion of the 60k vehicles off of Rt 50 as well as traffic off of Rt 1, 7, 236& 95/395/495. If it makes more sense, run a line along Rt 50 or elsewhere. Personally, I think under the Pike makes the most sense as stations would be walkable, but likely cheaper to build along Rt 50.

I think current density levels are quite relevant. The linked ArcGIS map from ESRI shows census Bureau population density data with Metro lines/stops overlaid. Density along the Pike is similar to the Wilson Blvd and Crystal City areas; what's missing? A Metro line. 395 and Glebe east of 395 are similar. That's why I suggest rerouting the Blue to follow 395. They have some of the highest densities without Metro access in VA. The Mark Center, the new NGA building and the new medical center on Ft. Belvoir north bring significant amounts of traffic to and through these locations as well. Why aren't we looking at options for these locations? Its not Arlington's problem to solve alone, but it is a problem that needs addressed.
WMATA lines and stations with population density (http://www.arcgis.com/home/webmap/viewer.html?webmap=5e4a8491210a4068ab2b3759881051c b)

dasgeh
11-24-2014, 10:34 AM
WMATA lines and stations with population density (http://www.arcgis.com/home/webmap/viewer.html?webmap=5e4a8491210a4068ab2b3759881051c b)

Cool map. Makes me think the Silver line should head up 16th St NW then on to Takoma Park/Aldelphi. After heading down Lee Hwy, across the Potomac at a new Three Sisters Bridge and through Georgetown, of course.

lordofthemark
11-24-2014, 11:24 AM
Technically, expanding the Pike is possible, but it is not practical and I doubt it could get finished in a completely ethical manner. It would be akin to the original 1950's construction of Boston's Central Artery. However, I'm not looking at the Pike in a vacuum. A Metro line would also take a significant portion of the 60k vehicles off of Rt 50 as well as traffic off of Rt 1, 7, 236& 95/395/495. If it makes more sense, run a line along Rt 50 or elsewhere. Personally, I think under the Pike makes the most sense as stations would be walkable, but likely cheaper to build along Rt 50.

I think current density levels are quite relevant. The linked ArcGIS map from ESRI shows census Bureau population density data with Metro lines/stops overlaid. Density along the Pike is similar to the Wilson Blvd and Crystal City areas; what's missing? A Metro line. 395 and Glebe east of 395 are similar. That's why I suggest rerouting the Blue to follow 395. They have some of the highest densities without Metro access in VA. The Mark Center, the new NGA building and the new medical center on Ft. Belvoir north bring significant amounts of traffic to and through these locations as well. Why aren't we looking at options for these locations? Its not Arlington's problem to solve alone, but it is a problem that needs addressed.
WMATA lines and stations with population density (http://www.arcgis.com/home/webmap/viewer.html?webmap=5e4a8491210a4068ab2b3759881051c b)


Looks to me like many block groups in the RB corridor quite a bit denser than any on Columbia Pike, and quite a few along Columbia Pike that are much less dense than any on the RB corridor.

As for Crystal City, that is (despite its office vacancy rate) mostly an employment center, and the metro was built there mostly to serve offices, not residential density. Plus of course to reach National Airport and beyond.

So no, Columbia Pike's current density (and its planned density under current zoning) is not sufficient to justify a heavy rail metro line. A heavy rail line would require rezoning beyond what was already done under the form based code. Mstone is correct.

mstone
11-24-2014, 12:12 PM
I think current density levels are quite relevant. The linked ArcGIS map from ESRI shows census Bureau population density data with Metro lines/stops overlaid. Density along the Pike is similar to the Wilson Blvd and Crystal City areas; what's missing? A Metro line

You're missing the point: Arlington chose not to zone for increased density along that corridor. It's something that could theoretically change by simply updating the master plan and rezoning, but that would require a political will to build 10+ story towers along Columbia Pike and I don't see any sign that Arlington wants that. (You're also skipping the question of whether Arlington can actually fill another Rosslyn-Ballston corridor given the current vacancy rates there & in Crystal City.) The increased density in R-B also brought a lot more people driving into R-B than there'd be if it were still strip malls. You need to account for that in any plan to dramatically increase Columbia Pike density, and again I don't see a political will in south Arlington to beef up the road network (Glebe & Four Mile Run) to account for all the new car traffic. (R-B is conveniently close to 66, which means relatively less traffic on neighborhood streets than you'd see with a supersize Columbia Pike.)

If you want to take traffic off 50 for people going to DC without a massive increase in density in South Arlington the right answer is commuter rail, not metro. If you had a streetcar, you could take it to the nearest commuter rail station. ;-) I don't think the money exists for that, either, but I'd love to see a conversation about transit in DC that had options other than "metro".

FWIW, it's unlikely that any option will "take cars off of" 50 or 7 or 123. The benefit to increased transit capacity is to allow for future growth that wouldn't be possible if everyone had to take a car; at least for the foreseeable future, those roads are going to be at capacity, and if some people shift to transit that just makes room for others to drive.

scoot
11-24-2014, 12:55 PM
at least for the foreseeable future, those roads are going to be at capacity, and if some people shift to transit that just makes room for others to drive.

As always... induced demand FTW.

cyclingfool
11-24-2014, 01:50 PM
As always... induced demand FTW.

Perhaps, but I'd still take demand induced by the addition of transit options to a corridor over its widening or expansion any day.

baiskeli
11-24-2014, 01:54 PM
As always... induced demand FTW.

Well, not quite, because transit also induces demand--for transit-oriented development that doesn't put as many new cars on the road.

cyclingfool
11-24-2014, 02:06 PM
Well, not quite, because transit also induces demand--for transit-oriented development that doesn't put as many new cars on the road.

Wait. Why weren't you working on my masters capstone paper this weekend?! (It's related to TOD)

napes
11-24-2014, 08:37 PM
TLDR summary: Cheap bus fares increased bus ridership on Columbia Pike.

Riders make rational economic and time-based decisions and rider data should underscore that cheap buses are generally more popular for those who care about money (ie: do not receive wonderful government Metrochek subsidies). A big part of why the current Columbia Pike ridership is high and increasing is that the present bus costs of riding along that route are set differently than the parallel and faster 395 alternative. I don't remember the source, but I recall reading somewhere that the 16 A/B/D Local buses along Columbia Pike were typically among the fullest buses around. I certainly have been on it when it was standing-room only. Much of the Columbia Pike bus traffic does not head to Annandale, but my guess is that the ridership to Annandale is a reasonable proportion of the overall bus rider pool.

Annandale may have a minor, but as far as I know, unreported local story on how bus ticket prices affect ridership, and ultimately, maybe, even the political decision to build new infrastructure, like the Columbia Pike streetcar. This is a subset of the bigger story of how government Metrochek subsidies distort local market decisions, just as parking subsidies distort choices for car users. From what I remember, government employees receive Metrochek vouchers without tax implications and are, thereby, frequently more insensitive to paying Express bus costs at $3.65 a trip.

Bus riders between the Pentagon and Annandale can presently take:
1. Cheap slower very crowded Local buses that run on Columbia Pike. (16 A/B/D/L series). Costs are $1.60 using a SmarTrip card or $1.80 using cash.
2. Cheap slower Local buses that run on 395 and exit at Seminary Road (16L and 7X). Then one of the occasional 29K and 29N local buses which run along Duke Street and Little River Turnpike.
3. Expensive usually uncrowded and generally faster Express buses that run on 395 and exit at Little River Turnpike. (29 C/E/G/H series and some 17 series) Occasionally 29 series buses are delayed and end up full, but generally they have rarely been crowded, in my experience. The fare for express routes is $3.65 using a SmarTrip card or $4 using cash. (http://www.wmata.com/fares/)

My prediction is you will find an Express bus is full of English-speaking government employees with Metrochek plans. They are relatively immune to fare prices and just want to return home quickly. A local bus is more ethnically and linguistically diverse, more cost-conscious, with more cash-payers, and few recipients of Metrocheks.

The high ridership number along Columbia Pike has been one of the fundamental arguments for the Columbia Pike streetcar effort. Personally, I would have welcomed a good streetcar line along Columbia Pike to reduce single occupancy vehicles. Bus ticket prices, however, intentionally or accidentally, also appear to drive ridership numbers along Columbia Pike in favor of an argument for a streetcar line. If someone would change some Express 395 bus fares to Local fares, my guess is that the pressure on Columbia Pike bus service would diminish somewhat. I'm sure it is a challenging issue to calculate fares and appropriate subsidies on these bus lines, but as far as I can tell it is an opaque process, with limited opportunity for public input.

baiskeli
11-25-2014, 07:49 AM
Wait. Why weren't you working on my masters capstone paper this weekend?! (It's related to TOD)

I'm still available. Standard fee.

Seriously, what's your paper about and what's your degree in? Interesting.

cyclingfool
11-25-2014, 09:38 AM
I'm still available. Standard fee.

Seriously, what's your paper about and what's your degree in? Interesting.

Masters in urban planning. Paper on affordable housing in TOD.

baiskeli
11-25-2014, 09:48 AM
Masters in urban planning. Paper on affordable housing in TOD.

Cool - could you be any more topical? I'd be interested in your conclusions.

lordofthemark
11-25-2014, 10:30 AM
Napes

When I lived in Annandale, I used to ride the 29 express buses regularly. I rode the 16's several times on weekends (when the express buses do not run) mostly to move by bike to more bikeable places. I think I took the 16 on a weekday once or twice.

Certainly on weekends most of the ridership on the 16 from Annandale got on at Culmore or closer in - and note, most 16 buses did not originate in Annandale, so I was not seeing the folks getting on the buses that originated closer in) And some of the people who rode the 16 from Annandale got off well before the Pentagon. Assuming something similar held on weekdays (though of course there would be more people going all the way to the Pentagon then) I doubt that establishing local fares on the express buses would do a lot to reduce demand for the 16 buses.

Its certainly worth exploring (though I guess the subsidy would have to come from Fairfax, not Arlington, and there would be problems with inconsistency with other express buses) now that the streetcar is dead. But I do think the answer to the bus congestion on Col Pike is going to have to happen on Col Pike. The best approach now is to speed the implementation of the enhanced bus option.