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Author Topic: District of Columbia  (Read 218645 times)

ixnay

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #550 on: January 23, 2016, 08:39:23 AM »

Slightly related, DDOT's Circulator bus now has a route effectively circling the Mall, with an origin/ending at Union Station. And at $1 (and free SmartTrip transfers) much cheaper than the old Tourmobile, which had for a long time had a right of first refusal against mass transit on the mall. The old Tourmobile buses can still be seen in the area, operating under the Martz brand.

The Tourmobile provided bad service at high prices to areas along the National Mall.


^This.  So, so this.  I never understood why anyone rode the thing.

Tourists did not know how expensive it was until they boarded.

Beyond that, there was an added "bonus" - it operated on hours that were established in a contract between NPS and Tourmobile - in the 1960's, so it shut-down every afternoon (even in the peak spring and summer tourist) between 4 P.M. and 6 P.M., after that, tourists were mostly out of luck.

Was the Tourmobile a comfortable ride?  I was never on it.

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1995hoo

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #551 on: January 23, 2016, 08:48:33 AM »

I rode it once because it was an easy way to meet the requirements for some Boy Scout merit badge and I remember it being OK. Much more recently I seem to recall old Tourmobiles being re-purposed as cherry blossom shuttles. I think I found it less comfortable than a charter bus and far more comfortable than a school bus.
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AlexandriaVA

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #552 on: January 23, 2016, 10:50:13 AM »

Definitely a symbol of the lazy cozy days of federal control of DC and vendors who took advantage of that fact. NPS concessions are still pathetic (lame over priced food with non-compete clauses)
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cpzilliacus

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #553 on: January 23, 2016, 04:52:52 PM »

I rode it once because it was an easy way to meet the requirements for some Boy Scout merit badge and I remember it being OK. Much more recently I seem to recall old Tourmobiles being re-purposed as cherry blossom shuttles. I think I found it less comfortable than a charter bus and far more comfortable than a school bus.

Also, those Tourmobile buses were all built in the 1960's, which means the engines have little in the way of emission controls and could legally operate on leaded fuel (if it was available).

Martz purchased them all and is stil providing some sort of Tourmobile service, though it is not called that.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #554 on: January 23, 2016, 04:55:09 PM »

Definitely a symbol of the lazy cozy days of federal control of DC and vendors who took advantage of that fact. NPS concessions are still pathetic (lame over priced food with non-compete clauses)

The deal would not be all that different now, IMO.

Though the agreement that D.C. reached with NPS to run the Circulator service on the National Mall was in and of itself revolutionary.

But most of the concession deals involving NPS on the National mall are indeed terrible in terms of service (not) provided to visitors, and high prices.  The concession deals that state toll road agencies have reached with service plaza operators are vastly better.
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AlexandriaVA

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #555 on: January 23, 2016, 05:11:30 PM »

Definitely a symbol of the lazy cozy days of federal control of DC and vendors who took advantage of that fact. NPS concessions are still pathetic (lame over priced food with non-compete clauses)

The deal would not be all that different now, IMO.

Though the agreement that D.C. reached with NPS to run the Circulator service on the National Mall was in and of itself revolutionary.

But most of the concession deals involving NPS on the National mall are indeed terrible in terms of service (not) provided to visitors, and high prices.  The concession deals that state toll road agencies have reached with service plaza operators are vastly better.

At least the state toll road agencies are accountable to some degree to the state-level governments. The NPS is in theory accountable to Congress but that arrangements generally doesn't yield good results to the District.
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abefroman329

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #556 on: January 25, 2016, 03:36:04 PM »

Slightly related, DDOT's Circulator bus now has a route effectively circling the Mall, with an origin/ending at Union Station. And at $1 (and free SmartTrip transfers) much cheaper than the old Tourmobile, which had for a long time had a right of first refusal against mass transit on the mall. The old Tourmobile buses can still be seen in the area, operating under the Martz brand.

The Tourmobile provided bad service at high prices to areas along the National Mall.


^This.  So, so this.  I never understood why anyone rode the thing.

Tourists did not know how expensive it was until they boarded.

Beyond that, there was an added "bonus" - it operated on hours that were established in a contract between NPS and Tourmobile - in the 1960's, so it shut-down every afternoon (even in the peak spring and summer tourist) between 4 P.M. and 6 P.M., after that, tourists were mostly out of luck.

Also, tourists are always advised not to drive into the city for sightseeing, and the Tourmobile and the Metro were the only ways to get from the National Mall and the Smithsonian to Arlington Cemetery.  As a former local, I would've preferred tourists on the Tourmobile to tourists on the Metro.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #557 on: January 27, 2016, 08:12:38 PM »

Also, tourists are always advised not to drive into the city for sightseeing, and the Tourmobile and the Metro were the only ways to get from the National Mall and the Smithsonian to Arlington Cemetery.  As a former local, I would've preferred tourists on the Tourmobile to tourists on the Metro.

But the Tourmobile could never carry anywhere close to the number of patrons that Metrorail could, and besides, they were mostly intended to serve rather different travel markets (it is possible to reach some of the D.C. Monumental Core attractions (and Arlington Cemetery)  easily by Metrorail, but many of them are a long walk from the nearest station).
« Last Edit: January 27, 2016, 08:52:04 PM by cpzilliacus »
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cpzilliacus

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #558 on: January 27, 2016, 08:16:30 PM »

WTOP Radio: D.C. has issued more than $1.3M worth of snow emergency tickets

Quote
D.C. issued more than $1.3 million worth of tickets to more than 5,200 drivers who the D.C. Department of Public Works says parked in the District’s snow emergency routes.

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To accommodate for the snowstorm that dumped feet of snow in the region, D.C. issued a snow emergency that took effect at 9:30 a.m. Friday. In a snow emergency, cars parked along snow emergency routes will be ticketed and towed.

Quote
As of 1:15 p.m. Wednesday, 5,284 vehicles were issued tickets for parking in the snow emergency routes, says DPW spokeswoman Linda Grant. Also, 673 vehicles were towed during the same time period, Grant says.
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The Nature Boy

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #559 on: January 27, 2016, 10:41:27 PM »

Also, tourists are always advised not to drive into the city for sightseeing, and the Tourmobile and the Metro were the only ways to get from the National Mall and the Smithsonian to Arlington Cemetery.  As a former local, I would've preferred tourists on the Tourmobile to tourists on the Metro.

But the Tourmobile could never carry anywhere close to the number of patrons that Metrorail could, and besides, they were mostly intended to serve rather different travel markets (it is possible to reach some of the D.C. Monumental Core attractions (and Arlington Cemetery)  easily by Metrorail, but many of them are a long walk from the nearest station).

Best example of this is the National Mall, which is a decent hike from the nearest Metro stop. Another example MIGHT be Georgetown but do DC tourists really want to see Georgetown?
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cpzilliacus

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #560 on: January 27, 2016, 11:42:39 PM »

Best example of this is the National Mall, which is a decent hike from the nearest Metro stop. Another example MIGHT be Georgetown but do DC tourists really want to see Georgetown?

Depends on where a tourist wants to go on the National Mall.  Air and Space is not too far from Federal Center Southwest, and the Smithsonian Castle is not too much of a haul from the Smithsonian stop.

The Washington Monument, the Holocaust Museum, Bureau of Engraving are not a terrible hike from Smithsonian, but the Lincoln, Jefferson and FDR Memorials are a pretty healthy walk from any Metrorail stop.

Even the U.S. Capitol is not all that close to a rail station.

Regarding Georgetown, because there is no Metrorail station close, the stores are overpriced and parking availability is generally miserable, I discourage people from going there, but if they really want to, and the weather is decent, I encourage them to hike across the Key Bridge from Rosslyn, or take the 38B Metrobus, or the Circulator bus.

I know people that want to see the stairs featured in the Exorcist movie at 36th and Prospect, N.W..
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AlexandriaVA

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #561 on: January 27, 2016, 11:43:17 PM »

Also, tourists are always advised not to drive into the city for sightseeing, and the Tourmobile and the Metro were the only ways to get from the National Mall and the Smithsonian to Arlington Cemetery.  As a former local, I would've preferred tourists on the Tourmobile to tourists on the Metro.

But the Tourmobile could never carry anywhere close to the number of patrons that Metrorail could, and besides, they were mostly intended to serve rather different travel markets (it is possible to reach some of the D.C. Monumental Core attractions (and Arlington Cemetery)  easily by Metrorail, but many of them are a long walk from the nearest station).

Best example of this is the National Mall, which is a decent hike from the nearest Metro stop. Another example MIGHT be Georgetown but do DC tourists really want to see Georgetown?

The damn cupcake store has been bringing people now in for a while.

My understanding is that in the 1960s, many members of the Kennedy Administration were seen hanging around there, so it grew a reputation for being a hip neighborhood. Now it often pops up in the political lexicon as a metonym for DC insiders ("blah blah Georgetown cocktail parties"). The shopping there is alrite...biggest H&M in the DC area. Plus, of course, the university which bears the neighborhood.
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AlexandriaVA

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #562 on: January 27, 2016, 11:44:25 PM »

Best example of this is the National Mall, which is a decent hike from the nearest Metro stop. Another example MIGHT be Georgetown but do DC tourists really want to see Georgetown?

Depends on where a tourist wants to go on the National Mall.  Air and Space is not too far from Federal Center Southwest, and the Smithsonian Castle is not too much of a haul from the Smithsonian stop.

The Washington Monument, the Holocaust Museum, Bureau of Engraving are not a terrible hike from Smithsonian, but the Lincoln, Jefferson and FDR Memorials are a pretty healthy walk from any Metrorail stop.

Even the U.S. Capitol is not all that close to a rail station.

Regarding Georgetown, because there is no Metrorail station close, the stores are overpriced and parking availability is generally miserable, I discourage people from going there, but if they really want to, and the weather is decent, I encourage them to hike across the Key Bridge from Rosslyn, or take the 38B Metrobus, or the Circulator bus.

I know people that want to see the stairs featured in the Exorcist movie at 36th and Prospect, N.W..

Union Station and Capitol South...

It's easy to park in the neigborhood north of M Street and east of the university. Most people are just too lazy to walk their fat asses up the hill.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #563 on: January 28, 2016, 07:33:09 AM »

Union Station and Capitol South...

Familiar with both.  Still a pretty good walk to the Visitor Center.  Especially from Union Station.

It's easy to park in the neigborhood north of M Street and east of the university. Most people are just too lazy to walk their fat asses up the hill.

A lot of that area (at least the "free" spaces) are residential parking only.  But, yes, it is better there than on M Street itself, or along Water Street/K Street.
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The Nature Boy

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #564 on: January 28, 2016, 12:26:45 PM »

Also, tourists are always advised not to drive into the city for sightseeing, and the Tourmobile and the Metro were the only ways to get from the National Mall and the Smithsonian to Arlington Cemetery.  As a former local, I would've preferred tourists on the Tourmobile to tourists on the Metro.

But the Tourmobile could never carry anywhere close to the number of patrons that Metrorail could, and besides, they were mostly intended to serve rather different travel markets (it is possible to reach some of the D.C. Monumental Core attractions (and Arlington Cemetery)  easily by Metrorail, but many of them are a long walk from the nearest station).

Best example of this is the National Mall, which is a decent hike from the nearest Metro stop. Another example MIGHT be Georgetown but do DC tourists really want to see Georgetown?

The damn cupcake store has been bringing people now in for a while.

My understanding is that in the 1960s, many members of the Kennedy Administration were seen hanging around there, so it grew a reputation for being a hip neighborhood. Now it often pops up in the political lexicon as a metonym for DC insiders ("blah blah Georgetown cocktail parties"). The shopping there is alrite...biggest H&M in the DC area. Plus, of course, the university which bears the neighborhood.

When I lived in DC, I never found Georgetown to be all that special and certainly not worth that three-quarter mile walk from Rosslyn or Foggy Bottom. I also find that most people who have never lived in the DC area or visited there extensively have this really warped view of what DC is actually like. You say "DC" to some people in this country and they think it's the modern day incarnation of Sodom and Gomorrah.
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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #565 on: January 28, 2016, 01:29:32 PM »

Quote from: The Nature Boy
Best example of this is the National Mall, which is a decent hike from the nearest Metro stop.

To elaborate on what CP said, the Smithsonian Metro entrance is literally ON the mall (at 12th St).  The Federal Triangle, Archives, and L'Enfant stations all have entrances within 2 blocks of the mall.

Though different agencies have differing definitions of the Mall, NPS officially defines the mall as extending from 1st St to 14th.  By that definition, there is no part of the mall that is more than 5 walking blocks (~2400ft) from a Metro station.

Now locations west of the Mall, specifically the Washington Monument, WW2 Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, and the Lincoln Memorial, are all a bit further away, but even the Lincoln Memorial is within 3/4 mile of Foggy Bottom Metro.

Union Station and Capitol South...

Familiar with both.  Still a pretty good walk to the Visitor Center.  Especially from Union Station.

Capitol South entrance is basically at 1st and C SE.  It's a 2 block walk to the Visitor Center.  About 1600ft if you include the offset crosswalk at Independence.  That's not much of a walk.  I know because I've done it with my asthmatic wife.

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AlexandriaVA

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #566 on: January 28, 2016, 01:43:01 PM »

Generally I find that out-of-towners complain more about distances than locals. I figure most people aren't used to walking all that much.
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abefroman329

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #567 on: January 28, 2016, 02:12:37 PM »

My understanding is that in the 1960s, many members of the Kennedy Administration were seen hanging around there, so it grew a reputation for being a hip neighborhood

Yes, this is true.  Georgetown was not a desirable neighborhood until then.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #568 on: January 28, 2016, 02:25:59 PM »

Was the Tourmobile a comfortable ride?  I was never on it.

No.  Hard-riding and cramped.  Added bonus - cold and drafty in winter, hot in summer.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #569 on: January 28, 2016, 02:30:43 PM »

My understanding is that in the 1960s, many members of the Kennedy Administration were seen hanging around there, so it grew a reputation for being a hip neighborhood

Yes, this is true.  Georgetown was not a desirable neighborhood until then.

Georgetown was an industrial and port area (thanks in large part to being the downstream terminus of the C&O Canal) as well as a seaport at the head of navigation on the Potomac River.

THe C&O Canal ceased commercial operation for the last time in the 1920's after a Potomac River flood damaged it beyond economical repair.  To some extent, industry remained for several decades after the canal ceased to carry goods.
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davewiecking

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #570 on: January 28, 2016, 06:03:34 PM »

Georgetown did thrive as a port when the C&O Canal was in operation (I'm not saying "after it was finished", because it never came near Ohio), but its original existence as a port was because it's at the point where the Piedmont started and the Potomac isn't navigable upstream of that by larger vessels. When GW decided where to put DC in the late 1700's, he included the existing bustling ports of Alexandria and Georgetown. (Fun fact: construction of the C&O Canal from DC and the B&O RR from Baltimore started on the same day: July 4, 1828.)
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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #571 on: January 28, 2016, 06:35:03 PM »

the Lincoln, Jefferson and FDR Memorials are a pretty healthy walk from any Metrorail stop.
Yeah, the memorials are REALLY far from the metro.  When my family was there on vacation, we wound up DRIVING in on the way back from Mount Vernon to see the Jefferson and FDR memorials.  For the Lincoln, we walked, but Mom and I wound up just sitting by the reflecting pool rather than walk around the memorial (thankfully, we had already seen it during my 7th grade school trip).  On the way back, we had to stop frequently because Mom was suffering heat exhaustion.  Thankfully the metro is air conditioned and the Rosslyn stop was near a shop that had really cold drinks.  Doesn't help that it was over a humid 90 degrees out.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #572 on: January 28, 2016, 07:46:24 PM »

Georgetown did thrive as a port when the C&O Canal was in operation (I'm not saying "after it was finished", because it never came near Ohio), but its original existence as a port was because it's at the point where the Piedmont started and the Potomac isn't navigable upstream of that by larger vessels. When GW decided where to put DC in the late 1700's, he included the existing bustling ports of Alexandria and Georgetown. (Fun fact: construction of the C&O Canal from DC and the B&O RR from Baltimore started on the same day: July 4, 1828.)

I believe the Ohio part of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal's name was about the Ohio River watershed in Western Maryland or probably southwestern Pennsylvania, from there the intent being that canal traffic could reach Ohio by way of the river via Pittsburgh. I do not think the backers of the canal ever envisioned that it would reach Ohio.

More about the C&O Canal - it was intended to follow the Potomac River beyond Cumberland as far as present-day Bloomington, Maryland, then ascend toward the Eastern Continental Divide (ECD) via the gorge of the Savage River tributary of the Potomac River, cross the ECD and descend on the Mississippi River/Ohio River side by way of Deep Creek (tributary of the Youghiogheny River) or the Casselman River (formerly the Little Youghiogheny River).  The canal would have had to gain enormously more elevation (about 2,000 feet) between Cumberland and the crest of the ECD than it did between Washington, D.C. and Cumberland (about 600 feet).

And yes, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad did reach the Ohio River at Wheeling, Virginia (West Virginia now) in the 1850's and eventually on to the west into the State of Ohio, leaving the C&O Canal impossibly far behind.
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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #573 on: January 29, 2016, 10:15:43 AM »

Tourists to DC want to go to Georgetown for shopping, Embassy Row and feeling like they're amongst DC's elite.  Pretty much all there is to it.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #574 on: January 29, 2016, 11:01:48 AM »

The damn cupcake store has been bringing people now in for a while.

Indeed.  I was over in Georgetown for some field work early in the morning (starting before 0500), and just the many trucks that bring their supplies to the cupcake place (M Street, N.W. at 33rd Street) was impressive.  And a line forms before it opens!

Nasty comment (not about the cupcake place).  The restaurant across 33rd Street, N.W. facing M Street (has changed ownership and format since I was there) had a lot of very messy and nasty trash out, and the rats that it attracted were shameless and huge enough to probably scare away any feral cats that might have been looking for a rodent meal - I called the D.C. rodent control inspector, who dispatched a couple of people to look it over and cite the restaurant.

My understanding is that in the 1960s, many members of the Kennedy Administration were seen hanging around there, so it grew a reputation for being a hip neighborhood. Now it often pops up in the political lexicon as a metonym for DC insiders ("blah blah Georgetown cocktail parties"). The shopping there is alrite...biggest H&M in the DC area. Plus, of course, the university which bears the neighborhood.

It dates to the 1940's.  Then-Representative John F. Kennedy took up residence on 31st Street, N.W., and lived at several places there while a member of the U.S. House and later U.S. Senate, including on Dent Place, N.W. 

I read someplace that Jack Kennedy (and later, and perhaps especially, Jackie Kennedy with her obvious grace and beauty) "made" Georgetown.  You can read more about his influence on Georgetown on the WETA-TV Web site here.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2016, 11:25:32 AM by cpzilliacus »
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