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Author Topic: Dr. Gridlock (Wash Post): lack of travel time saving options for Beltway trips  (Read 1912 times)

cpzilliacus

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Many Beltway drivers arenít lucky enough to have choice about travel-time savings

Letter to Dr. Gridlock:

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I am not astonished that you ran into congestion on the inner loop at 6:20 p.m. on a Thursday. Traffic from Virginia to Maryland over the American Legion Memorial Bridge was congested in the evening peak before the express lanes were built, and the backup has continued.

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Itís caused by heavy traffic from Tysons, the merge of traffic from the Dulles Toll Road, the merge of traffic from the George Washington Memorial Parkway, the merge of traffic from the express lanes and the slowing of all traffic climbing the grade on the Maryland side of the bridge.

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You appear to have been disappointed that the express lanes did not save you time or that you would have made another choice had you known of the congestion.

Part of his response (emphasis added):

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But one fortune-blessed night is no excuse for Maryland and Virginia. The two states need to get together on solving the continuing problem on the west side of the Beltway north of Tysons that tens of thousands of commuters face each day.

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Lengthening a merge lane or opening a shoulder lane to travel here and there wonít do it. This is a big problem that deserves a big solution, and thanks to the new transportation taxes in both states, they should have the resources to ease this commute.
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froggie

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and thanks to the new transportation taxes in both states, they should have the resources to ease this commute.

Only if they forego numerous other projects.  I can't see who wrote the letter, but it sounds similar to something Bob Chase of the Northern Virginia Transportation ALLIANCE (emphasis mine, since it's in no way related to the official NVTA) would write.  And I disagree with them.  Best way to combat congestion is to spread that money around to smaller projects, instead of a couple big whiz-bang projects.  MnDOT has discovered this in recent years...putting money towards small projects CAN have a big impact, and they're much more easily funded with limited transportation dollars.  Even in Virginia, before the HO/T lane project, we saw a noticeable impact when VDOT widened the ramp from the Outer Loop to 66 West from 1 lane to two.
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cpzilliacus

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Only if they forego numerous other projects.  I can't see who wrote the letter, but it sounds similar to something Bob Chase of the Northern Virginia Transportation ALLIANCE (emphasis mine, since it's in no way related to the official NVTA) would write.

Bob Chase did not write it.  Frank Spielberg, a very well-respected and very experienced engineer (I have worked with him on a few projects) from Falls Church did - a guy that spent much of his career working on transit projects and does not need any help or support from Bob to write such a letter.

And I disagree with them.  Best way to combat congestion is to spread that money around to smaller projects, instead of a couple big whiz-bang projects.  MnDOT has discovered this in recent years...putting money towards small projects CAN have a big impact, and they're much more easily funded with limited transportation dollars.  Even in Virginia, before the HO/T lane project, we saw a noticeable impact when VDOT widened the ramp from the Outer Loop to 66 West from 1 lane to two.

Fairfax County is the largest county by population in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Montgomery County is the largest county by population in Maryland.  Access to and from region's major international airport for many Maryland residents is via the American Legion Bridge.  Many businesses that used to be in Montgomery County have moved to Northern  Virginia for an assortment of good reasons, but some of their workforces still live on the  Maryland side of the Potomac River.  If you have a small project or series of projects that will help ease some of the worst recurring freeway congestion in the region, please share them. 

The ramp that made the big difference was the one from the Outer Loop to 267 West (the one from the Outer Loop to 66 West has been two lanes for many, many years).
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Henry

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Fairfax County is the largest county by population in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Montgomery County is the largest county by population in Maryland.  Access to and from region's major international airport for many Maryland residents is via the American Legion Bridge.  Many businesses that used to be in Montgomery County have moved to Northern  Virginia for an assortment of good reasons, but some of their workforces still live on the  Maryland side of the Potomac River.  If you have a small project or series of projects that will help ease some of the worst recurring freeway congestion in the region, please share them.
I can see Fairfax being VA's largest county in terms of population, and Arlington would be a close second. As for MD, I always thought Baltimore County was the largest in population, until I realized that Baltimore City was not a part of it.

Back to the subject at hand: I wouldn't be at all susprised if they pushed for a project that was somewhat similar to the Wilson Bridge project. That, and the Springfield Interchange one, may have been a big factor in improving drive times on that part of the Beltway (where I-95 meanders around the east side of DC).
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cpzilliacus

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Fairfax County is the largest county by population in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Montgomery County is the largest county by population in Maryland.  Access to and from region's major international airport for many Maryland residents is via the American Legion Bridge.  Many businesses that used to be in Montgomery County have moved to Northern  Virginia for an assortment of good reasons, but some of their workforces still live on the  Maryland side of the Potomac River.  If you have a small project or series of projects that will help ease some of the worst recurring freeway congestion in the region, please share them.
I can see Fairfax being VA's largest county in terms of population, and Arlington would be a close second. As for MD, I always thought Baltimore County was the largest in population, until I realized that Baltimore City was not a part of it.

The Virginia 2012 population estimates by county (the Census Bureau treats Virginia independent cities as counties, a practice I agree with - these are from the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service  at the University of Virginia):


Fairfax County                   1,112,325
Virginia Beach (City)              447,489
Prince William County              421,164
Chesterfield County                322,388
Loudoun County                     333,253

2015 population projections for top five counties in Maryland from the Maryland Department of Planning:


Montgomery County            1,015,800
Prince George's County         882,200
Baltimore County               824,400
Baltimore City                 623,800
Anne Arundel County            552,450


Back to the subject at hand: I wouldn't be at all susprised if they pushed for a project that was somewhat similar to the Wilson Bridge project. That, and the Springfield Interchange one, may have been a big factor in improving drive times on that part of the Beltway (where I-95 meanders around the east side of DC).

Problem is the culture of NIMBYism and opposing any and all improvements to the highway network is very well developed in Montgomery  County
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