Tag Archives: transit

planning

Metro between stations

metro lengths-system

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.

length sequence

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:

metro walkshed overlaps

And below, I’ve broken it down line-by-line.

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planning Russia

In Moscow, a revolution for transportation

Велодорожки МГУ from Alexander Tugunov on Vimeo.

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:

SOBYANINThe 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.

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Local

The Winds Shift over Tenleytown

Gate way

DCMud reports that Safeway has put their PUD approval on hold. On Monday, the Zoning Commission approved an indefinite delay for the project. This is good news. As best as anyone can tell, it indicates that Safeway are reconsidering their entire plan. If they choose the option of urbanism, I know that Torti Gallas will deliver a plan that is beautiful and energizing.

Adding a few residences above, townhouses behind, or even just a streetwall with a few independent stores would turn the project from a pig to a prize  for Tenleytown. A commitment to LEED Gold certification and the reconfiguration of 42nd street will ensure that Safeway delivers on the real amenities they owe the neighborhood in exchange for a zoning exemption. Finally, Safeway must be flexible enough to design a building that does not require a forest to hide its bulk.

If the new store is beautiful and adds vibrancy to the city, I will be more than glad to support it. I know many others will, as well. But some will never support appropriate and sustainable growth.

It is easy to see this process as another company battered into submission by Tenleytown NIMBYs. But it’s far from that – I, groups like Ward 3 Vision, and the current board of ANC 3E understand that developers are not the enemy. A Wisconsin Avenue that serves all ages and facilitates community and sustainability is not only good, but necessary.  This recent prodding was necessary to restart the motion towards TOD lost over the years of fighting.

The old regime of Tenleytown and Friendship Heights has fallen with this action. The divisive, victimizing attacks, a relic of the freeway wars, are tired and out of tune with modern planning. They have scared off too many developers with endless appeals. But their time is fading. Their secrecy and and tactics disengaged neighborhood residents. But their currency is spent. Their Rovian arguments once swayed commissions. But they fool no one anymore.

Reno Park Studies

Reno Park Update 091206: Bad Names

So neighborhoods. The issue of neighborhoods is not a small issue here at цarьchitect, so I want to explore how the nominal neighborhoods in DC, are relatively arbitrary. Whereas Cleveland Park is a coherent collection of period houses clustered around the summer home of our favorite philandering and mustachioed head of state. The same is relatively true of Chevy Chase. But other areas, such as AU Park or Tobago lack legible borders, character, nodes, or strong community sentiment. With these flaws in mind, I asked the internet where neighborhoods began and ended. For example, Wikipedia:

wiki neighborhoods

As you can see, there are some flaws to this map – some areas aren’t exactly stuck into boxes and others are claimed by two neighborhoods. Moreover, Tenleytown has, maybe, 100 residents and its borders rest, like the ANCs, along corridors where there is precisely the most activity, along Wisconsin. It also perpetuates the myth that there is a neighborhood called “Wakefield.” The name is a myth created by realtors, and you will not find anyone who actually calls it that, except perhaps some serpent or monster who wishes only to deceive you. . Clearly, it’s totally unsatisfactory. So, based on an informal poll and my own views, I’ve revised it:

formal neighborhoods

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