How far apart are Metro’s stations? I think one of the reasons people assume Metro should have express tracks is because the distance between stops varies so much. If you’re a suburban commuter coming in from Franconia-Springfield to Federal Triangle, the long-short-long-short distance must be disorienting. So, even though Metro’s shortest distances barely come close to the New York Subway’s usual local distances.
Matt Johnson has pointed out that Washington’s Metro is a hybrid commuter rail-subway system, most similar to Paris’s RER. With the Silver line opening and the very long gap between Spring Hill Road and Weihle-Reston East, that hybrid nature is only going to get more apparent. The stations in Tysons are fairly close together, but bookended by two of the longest stretches of track.
I wanted to see how this broke down, so with an hour to spare, measured the distances (line-of-sight) between stations. Then I calculated the quartiles and represented them using my base map.
For those railfans out there who will take me to task for erring by inches that I’m less interested in track length than distance between stations. I wanted to look at this from a land-use perspective, not an operations. But, I don’t have ArcGIS, so I don’t have the level of precision Metro’s planning staff has.
Above is what I found visually. Obviously most of the distance is between the longer segments:
Longest Quartile: 66mi, 28 segments, 52% (Red)
Upper Quartile: 29mi, 22 segments, 23% (Yellow)
Lower Quartile: 20mi, 23 segments, 16% (Green)
Shortest Quartile: 11mi, 27 segments, 9% (Blue)
Nothing really groundbreaking, but fun to look at.
Since redundancy is so important to transportation design, here is another chart showing how much walkability overlap, in increments of ≤.5mi, ≤1.mi, and too damn far:
The City’s Department of Transportation has announced a contest to redesign the cartography of the Moscow Metro, one of the busiest and longest urban rail systems in the world. The impetus for the redesign seems to be the limitations of the current system diagram, which is light on information, and already quite dense with stations. More importantly, that map is about to get more confusing, because the Metro plans to grow 150% in size, with 70 stations to be added by 2025. So, there is a lot of material to work with.
I say cartography, because the brief asks for a tiered wayfinding system, where the diagram on the trains is expanded for each station to include relevant ground transportation and sites, at that particular station.
I am generally negative about designers doing work for free, but the restriction that this contest only be open to individuals ensures that the playing field is at least level, even if only one person is paid for the work that they do.
Submissions are due as PDFs by December 23rd, 2012.
The city of Moscow opened its first on-street bike path in September. It’s a small sign of a strategic change in the urban development of a city that has become legendary for bad traffic.
According to the article, behavior on the trail isn’t perfect: people are parking in the bike path! Unthinkable! But, also unthinkably, the police has promised to enforce the laws and educate drivers. Now, when I lived in Moscow, I saw the city rip up Leningradsky Prospekt to convert it into a highway. That remains unchanged, but now dedicated trolleybus lanes will run along the highway. The entire transportation and land use strategies are being upended because the mayor, Sergei Sobyanin, and the Kremlin have realized that you cannot build yourself out of congestion with still more roads.
If there’s any doubt as to whether this is a token effort, Sobyanin’s comments here and there are explicit commitment to a complete transportation strategy. Take this interview on Lenta.ru:
SOBYANIN: The easiest option we could offer is: “Let’s build more roads and interchanges, at two levels, three levels, and, sure, everything will be wonderful.”
Lenta.ru : Yes, like in Tokyo, Beijing and other Asian cities.
SOBYANIN: Yes, but it’s a dead end. It is impossible, even if we had a lot of money. And, there can never be enough money, because the building of highways and interchanges costing absurd sums.
That is just the beginning. There’s trams, trolleys, and a hundred miles of metro construction after the break.
The Tenleytown area has been a hub of hubbub for the past two weeks, and more is to come. Four long awaited projects made great strides, however, opportunities are still being lost.
First the good news: The Tenleytown Library will break ground today, September 23rd at 10:30 AM, with Mayor Fenty and perhaps some protesters in attendance. The Economic Development office decided to spend $650K-1M to build stronger girders in the rear of the building, to permit future growth above and to the rear of the library. Across Wisconsin, the renovated and restored fields at Fort Reno Park will open on October 3rd. Another contentious site, the three athletic pitches look great. I can’t wait to see people enjoying the park and all its earthly delights again.
Opus Dei revealed more details about their plan for the Yuma Study Center, a residential and educational facility behind St. Ann’s Catholic Church. Going before the HPRB, Moses of the AnacostiaNir Buras presented a handsome traditional home that would stand west of the Covenant of the Bon Secours building. Alvin Holm‘s design for the building is in a humbler strand of Classicism than the grandiose variety that Washington is known for, and that’s really good to see. As you can see, the new building would have nearly identical proportions and mass, but would use a more Chesapeake style and add a porch to indicate a residential character. However, I think the building would be better to stand on its own rather than be a redecorated twin. Still, positive.
Ok, so for the second set of transportation analysis, I’ve compared transit accessibility to lot areas. Even without buildings, it’s possible to get a sense of the transit-accessible public space here. Areas that are lighter have more transit options. Again, Tenleytown is a hub of activity, where the blocks around the circle and the Metro stop are major transfer points that get a lot of street traffic.
So, Chevy Chase isn’t really the most transit-accessible place in the world. Even if I had used a 1/4 mile radius for buses, there would have been a dark spot there. Also, note that the commercial strip between Fessenden and Ellicott streets is in the 1/2 mile radius overlap between Tenleytown and Friendship Heights, which may contribute to its success, in spite of being somewhat isolated by the hill to the south. Read on for a breakdown of plans.
I’m still working on the buildings and pedestrian maps, but I took a break to chart out the public transportation resources. I’ve included all public transportation resources, but not AU shuttles or the W45/47. Those aren’t accessible to 90% of potential park users, so I’m not interested. So, to start, here’s a route map. Clearly, it gets kind of insane around Tenleytown.
Note: These drawings are in an Adobe CMYK color space, so may look wacky on some computers.
So that’s a good beginning. These are obvious facts. Under the fold is an analysis of the walksheds for each stop, station, and line.
Did you know that the United States has signed bicycle routes? You didn’t? Yeah… don’t feel bad, nobody else seems to know about them, and I only stumbled upon them trying to do this month’s Wikiglean. Obscurity notwithstanding, two bike routes do exist and the legal framework is still around – and right now is just the time to breathe life back into the system and make them serious transit.
Back in the 1970s, after the shock of the Oil Crisis, planners – AASHTO even – had the forward idea of determining and assigninginterstate bike routes. Primarily meant for low-traffic roads or dedicated trails, the routes were to connect cities for touring purposes. However, by 1982, only two routes had ever come into being, and so the system went the way of the DMC-12. But conveniently for Washingtonians, the two existing trails currently run through Virginia and one is poised to benefit the Washington Metropolitan area.
A lot of people have gotten in the game of designing personal opinions on the expansion of Metrorail. Greater Greater Washington’sFantasy map is probably the best, so much so as to actually be used by WMATA, but I thought I’d try my hand at it too. The long-needed Blue Line split in particular merits attention, so here’s my suggestion for that bit.