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Author Topic: District of Columbia  (Read 218713 times)

cpzilliacus

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #100 on: February 28, 2013, 04:13:32 PM »

D.C. Examiner: D.C. waging war against drivers

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Driving in the District is a high-price hassle: burning gasoline while stuck in traffic, feeding hungry parking meters and now tracking the ever-watchful traffic cameras waiting to make you pay up if you slip up.

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If it seems like city leaders want to get cars off the road in the nation's capital, that's because they do -- and it starts at the top. Mayor Vincent Gray's environmental initiative, Sustainable DC, has a stated goal of cutting in half by 2032 the number of D.C. commuters who drive.
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froggie

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #101 on: February 28, 2013, 08:30:44 PM »

Doesn't surprise me that the Examiner would ram out something like that.  Some of the comments are quite entertaining as well.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #102 on: February 28, 2013, 08:46:00 PM »

Doesn't surprise me that the Examiner would ram out something like that.  Some of the comments are quite entertaining as well.

Adam, the Examiner is not exactly a friend of D.C. elected officials and the municipal government of the District of Columbia, though I regard it as a legitimate source of news, unlike its right-wing competitor, the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Washington Times.

The Examiner is a direct descendent of the now-defunct suburban Journal newspapers, all of which were purchased by the (very wealthy) Philip Anschutz and then morphed into the D.C. Examiner.

I just read your comment - the bigger issue (unfortunately not discussed by the reporter for the  Examiner) is how to fund all of that District of Columbia transit service.

Under the current system, a huge part of that D.C. subsidy comes from parking space taxes, parking meter revenue, fines and motor fuel taxes paid by non-D.C. residents.  So if D.C. Mayor Vince Gray's goal of forcing about half of those that drive to D.C. to take transit (or, perhaps more likely, work somewhere else), then the D.C. Government is going to have to come up with millions of additional dollars to fund WMATA operating and capital subsidies.

In other words, file this under "be careful what you ask for, because you just might get it."
« Last Edit: February 28, 2013, 09:05:24 PM by cpzilliacus »
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froggie

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #103 on: March 01, 2013, 04:37:55 AM »

Given how critical Metro is for DC's economy, I don't think they'll have an issue with funding it.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #104 on: March 01, 2013, 09:02:40 AM »

Given how critical Metro is for DC's economy, I don't think they'll have an issue with funding it.

I also think that plans like these, set far in the future (and probably after the elected officials that approve them are gone from office) are not likely to happen (reminds me of Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening's promise in 2000 to "double statewide transit ridership by 2020," followed by the head of planning at MTA admitting before a group of elected officials that even if transit patronage did double, it would do nothing to ease Maryland's severe highway traffic congestion).

Though I do give Councilmember Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) credit for not allowing residents of those new apartment and condominium buildings near the Nationals ballpark to get on-street residential parking permits.  I personally don't agree with Mr. Wells (and I don't live in D.C.), but I do respect his integrity on this issue.

But a lot of D.C. is made up of single-family detached housing or single-family duplex or rowhouses, not very different from nearby Montgomery, Prince George's, Arlington and Fairfax Counties (especiallly the parts inside the Capital Beltway), and even though D.C. is the core jurisdiction of the region, those areas (at least in my opinion) qualify as "suburban sprawl"). 
« Last Edit: March 01, 2013, 09:07:04 AM by cpzilliacus »
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vdeane

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #105 on: March 01, 2013, 11:32:34 AM »

If DC wants to decrease car usage, perhaps they should make other methods of transport more attractive.  Trying to decrease car usage by making driving harder does NOT work.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #106 on: March 01, 2013, 04:54:56 PM »

If DC wants to decrease car usage, perhaps they should make other methods of transport more attractive.  Trying to decrease car usage by making driving harder does NOT work.

And the District of Columbia is going to be hard-pressed to build more Metrorail (even though WMATA has proposed what would be billions of dollars in additional Metrorail tunnels between D.C. and Virginia).
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froggie

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #107 on: March 01, 2013, 10:00:11 PM »

...which is why DC is also focusing on bike infrastructure, their DC Circulator buses, and the proposed streetcar system.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #108 on: March 02, 2013, 10:44:50 AM »

...which is why DC is also focusing on bike infrastructure, their DC Circulator buses, and the proposed streetcar system.

I will be able to tell what the modal share of bike traffic to downtown D.C. during the A.M. peak commute is later this year. No streetcar traffic, at least not yet.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2013, 10:48:55 AM by cpzilliacus »
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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #109 on: March 03, 2013, 10:06:12 AM »

Is that something that'll be announced in general?  I'm sure WABADC and the DC BAC would be interested.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #110 on: March 03, 2013, 03:24:01 PM »

Is that something that'll be announced in general?  I'm sure WABADC and the DC BAC would be interested.

It takes a long time before it is available for public consumption, but when it is, I will alert you.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #111 on: March 03, 2013, 03:47:54 PM »

Washington Post: D.C. region’s leaders pursuing many different paths to make travel easier

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The authors of the national study telling us we have the nation’s worst traffic problems say there’s no “rigid prescription for the ‘best way’ ” to cure them. They recommend we find our own paths out of the mess.

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The governments in the D.C. region are following various routes, sometimes emphasizing investment in infrastructure and sometimes better management of the assets we already have. These five recent developments illustrate the divergent paths.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #112 on: March 10, 2013, 04:19:22 PM »

Dr. Gridlock in the Washington Post: More changes ahead for 11th Street Bridge

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When the District began rebuilding one of the main routes across the Anacostia River, project managers set about making a lot of changes within a relatively small section of riverfront. During the past year, some of those changes had a great impact on long-distance commuters and the nearby neighborhoods. More are coming in 2013.

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New ramps

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The 11th Street bridge now consists of three spans, two that primarily serve long-distance travelers and a third designed mainly to handle local traffic. Around the end of the month, two new ramps are scheduled to open, creating new connections with the local bridge.

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One ramp will lead drivers from southbound D.C. 295 along a curvy ramp up to a traffic signal on the local span, the southernmost of the three. From the traffic signal, drivers will be able to turn right and cross the river toward Capitol Hill, or turn left toward the Anacostia neighborhood.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #113 on: March 18, 2013, 11:01:36 AM »

WTOP Sprawl and Crawl: The ultimate D.C. question: To drive or to Metro?

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Some people drive into work. Others take Metro, walk or bike. The decision on how to commute often depends on where you live and work.

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"I work in Fairfax and live in Falls Church," says Ann Gutkin. "There is no Metro station near my office, so a car is my only option."

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However, her husband, Robert, takes Metro from West Falls Church to Washington, D.C.

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"He likes not having to drive. But he doesn't like the fact that Metro breaks down a lot and is often very crowded and uncomfortable. He's often quite agitated when I pick him up in the evening," Gutkin says.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #114 on: March 29, 2013, 03:11:10 PM »

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1995hoo

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #115 on: March 29, 2013, 03:26:00 PM »

WTOP Radio: At 11th Street Bridge, crashes are common

I think it's mostly due to driver error and that there are probably three main causes:

(1) People simply go too fast on the ramps.
(2) People are either on autopilot or putting blind faith in a sat-nav, then suddenly realize they're in the wrong lane and swerve wildly to change course without bothering to look first.
(3) People refuse to cooperate on the bridge when the southbound traffic needs to move left.

#2 is a big one on northbound I-295 because the exit for the bridge is now on the left side instead of the right like it was for over 50 years. Every time I go through there I see people swerving to the right at the last minute to stay on DC-295 instead of going over the bridge. In addition, aside from the revised traffic patterns, you have the new ramps leading to the local bridge that do not appear on any sat-nav yet. I'm sure there are an awful lot of people who used to use the Sousa Bridge who are still confused by the loss of their old route, too. (Betcha the traffic is quite bad at the 11th Street Bridge this coming Monday. It's Opening Day and a lot of people who drive to the ballpark haven't encountered the new road patterns.)

#3 is hopefully temporary. The local bridge's usefulness for inbound traffic is currently a bit hamstrung by ongoing construction at the northern end. I tried using the local bridge when I went down to Buzzards Point on Tuesday (didn't take the Douglass Bridge because you can't turn left onto Potomac Avenue). I might as well have just taken the freeway bridge—when you reach the northern end of the local bridge, you have to make a right turn and then a left turn such that you wind up at the same place you'd be if you took the freeway bridge. But the freeway bridge is currently in a temporary configuration due to ongoing ramp work on the northern end. Hopefully when it's all done the local bridge will provide more direct access and people won't feel the same desire to use the freeway bridge to get to the Navy Yard. As it is right now, people coming up I-295 heading for the Navy Yard have to shove right on the bridge just as people coming down DC-295 heading for downtown have to shove left. It's a miniature version of what the southbound Springfield Interchange used to be.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #116 on: April 04, 2013, 12:29:50 PM »

WTOP Radio: New D.C. traffic signals give pedestrians control

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You don't have to be good-looking to stop traffic.

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New pedestrian signals are going up at some busy crossings in the District. With the push of a button, people trying to cross can bring traffic to a stop.

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"It allows pedestrians to cross the street safely, and actually it is to the advantage of drivers," says George Branyan, pedestrian program coordinator with the D.C. Department of Transportation.

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"The [signals are] actually designed to let vehicles move again if it's safe to move on that flashing red, so the delay imposed on drivers is a lot less than a standard signal," he says.
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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #117 on: April 04, 2013, 03:23:49 PM »

In other words, HAWK signals.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #118 on: April 05, 2013, 08:51:29 AM »

WTOP Radio: At 11th Street Bridge, crashes are common

I think it's mostly due to driver error and that there are probably three main causes:

(1) People simply go too fast on the ramps.
(2) People are either on autopilot or putting blind faith in a sat-nav, then suddenly realize they're in the wrong lane and swerve wildly to change course without bothering to look first.
(3) People refuse to cooperate on the bridge when the southbound traffic needs to move left.

All are valid points.  And things seem to get worse when the pavement is wet, even though the bridge deck is portland cement concrete.

#2 is a big one on northbound I-295 because the exit for the bridge is now on the left side instead of the right like it was for over 50 years. Every time I go through there I see people swerving to the right at the last minute to stay on DC-295 instead of going over the bridge. In addition, aside from the revised traffic patterns, you have the new ramps leading to the local bridge that do not appear on any sat-nav yet. I'm sure there are an awful lot of people who used to use the Sousa Bridge who are still confused by the loss of their old route, too. (Betcha the traffic is quite bad at the 11th Street Bridge this coming Monday. It's Opening Day and a lot of people who drive to the ballpark haven't encountered the new road patterns.)

Yes, I believe there are some that  are still confused by this change, though the signage is reasonably clear.

#3 is hopefully temporary. The local bridge's usefulness for inbound traffic is currently a bit hamstrung by ongoing construction at the northern end. I tried using the local bridge when I went down to Buzzards Point on Tuesday (didn't take the Douglass Bridge because you can't turn left onto Potomac Avenue). I might as well have just taken the freeway bridge—when you reach the northern end of the local bridge, you have to make a right turn and then a left turn such that you wind up at the same place you'd be if you took the freeway bridge. But the freeway bridge is currently in a temporary configuration due to ongoing ramp work on the northern end. Hopefully when it's all done the local bridge will provide more direct access and people won't feel the same desire to use the freeway bridge to get to the Navy Yard. As it is right now, people coming up I-295 heading for the Navy Yard have to shove right on the bridge just as people coming down DC-295 heading for downtown have to shove left. It's a miniature version of what the southbound Springfield Interchange used to be.

I have observed this.  The other problem is drivers wanting to head north on D.C. 295 making "last minute" decisions to move to the right (and its counter-intuitive here that the southbound movement is left and the northbound movement is to the right.  But drivers will get used to it.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #119 on: April 09, 2013, 11:17:00 AM »

WTOP Radio: D.C. parking ticket saga continues for federal employee

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WASHINGTON - Since WTOP first reported the story about a federal employee fighting a parking ticket from 2011, the D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles has rejected another plea to toss the ticket.

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John R. Stanton, who has worked for U.S. Customs and Border Protection for 22 years, received the ticket for an infraction that reportedly occurred in the 700 block of Maryland Avenue NE on July 11, 2011. But Stanton claims he was on official government business in Arizona and his Mercedes was parked at Dulles International Airport on that day.

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He provided WTOP with government orders, along with receipts from the hotel, airline and parking garage to demonstrate he left on July 7 and returned on July 14.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #120 on: April 14, 2013, 10:29:26 AM »

Washington Post: After 81 years, landmark Memorial Bridge is in dire need of renovation

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The main lever in the Memorial Bridge control room hasn’t opened the draw span in more than 50 years. The old bridge itself hasn’t had a serious repair job in almost 40 years. And it has never undergone a major overhaul.

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The bridge shudders now under the pounding delivered by the 55,000 vehicles that cross on a typical weekday. Last week, the National Park Service took the first steps in a proposed multiyear repair project that could cost as much as $250 million and, under some scenarios, close the 81-year-old span for three months.
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1995hoo

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #121 on: April 25, 2013, 09:35:51 AM »

Channel 4's Adam Tuss reports DC is installing more HAWK signals. The thing I noted on this one is the sign telling drivers what the flashing red means.

I'm not sure why pedestrians find it confusing. Push the button and wait for the "Walk" signal. I suppose they never do that anywhere else in DC, though.
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cpzilliacus

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cpzilliacus

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #123 on: April 29, 2013, 04:58:16 PM »

Channel 4's Adam Tuss reports DC is installing more HAWK signals. The thing I noted on this one is the sign telling drivers what the flashing red means.

I'm not sure why pedestrians find it confusing. Push the button and wait for the "Walk" signal. I suppose they never do that anywhere else in DC, though.

I am not a big fan of HAWK signals.  In my perfect world, motorized traffic would face "regular" signal heads, with green replaced by a familiar yellow flashing light.  When pedestrians and bike riders request to cross, the signal changes to a solid yellow and then red, and then the pedestrians and bike riders get a WALK signal and everyone crosses.

I also like the yellow flashing globes used in  London, England (but over there, drivers know to yield (or "give way") to peds in crosswalks).  Live example (with sound!) on the Abbey Road Studios crosswalk Webcam here.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2013, 05:06:25 PM by cpzilliacus »
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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #124 on: April 30, 2013, 11:50:26 AM »

But what if the walk signal is longer than the time needed for everyone to cross?  What if someone pushes the button and then jaywalks or changes their mind?  Why should cars be stopped longer than needed?
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