Thursday, December 4, 2008

Filing the Paperwork

Perhaps its release season for the FTA. Getting close to Christmas so lets approve some stuff. Yesterday it was the Central Subway environmental work and today its the Dulles extension. Looks like Ma Peters just couldn't shoot it down fast enough. I do agree with Richard though. I don't know if they are going to be able to sustain the ridership through the tube with the Orange line. It seems like it creates some serious capacity problems. Greater Greater Washington has some better ideas.


Cavan said...

um, that's a conceptual fantasy map. It's got the two lines that have been in planning for decades (Silver and Purple) another trunk line that is nowhere near engineering yet, and a fantasy (though it would be excellent)brown line.

I wouldn't call it "another idea" to the Silver Line. It won't necessarily gum up the Rosslyn tunnel, provided that some Blue Line trains coming from Franconia-Springfield become Yellow Line trains at the Pentagon.

Here's an excellent analysis of the topic from Track Twenty-Nine:

Cavan said...

I think it's safe to say that most everyone in the transit/urbanist community in our region thinks the Silver Line, while imperfect, will be quite an improvement over what we've currently got. It's better to build something that's ready to go rather than go back to the drawing board for another four decades.

Pantograph Trolleypole said...

Well I think its good that its getting built. I really think Tyson's needs the change agent which will be the rail line. Just wondering what will happen as a side, and think the fantasy map is a way to do that.

beyonddc said...

1. A very solid proportion of silver line riders, perhaps even a majority of them, will be reverse from the peak direction and will therefore be "free".

2. Even so, the orange line bottleneck isn't a deal-breaker problem. It's easy to fix:

All these options would *each* increase capacity in the bottleneck by about a third:

- 8 car trains rather than 6 car.
- Divert half of blue line trains up yellow line track.
- Terminate remaining blue line trains at Rosslyn, run all trains to/from Foggy Bottom through to Courthouse.

WMATA says doing just the *first* of those three will keep the orange line at or below current crowding levels until sometime between 2025 and 2030. The second bullet is also fairly likely to happen, and should pretty much solve any residual problem into the foreseeable future.

The third option is not officially on the table, and shouldn't even be necessary.

Alon Levy said...

But Cavan, the only thing the Silver Line will achieve is more sprawl in Loudoun County. Why not focus instead on densifying DC proper, which is still far below the density of Chicago, San Francisco, and New York?

Anonymous said...

I'd rather have Amtrak & VRE going to Dulles instead, along with revived Washington & Old Dominion Railroad line passenger service, but double tracked with CTC and electrification.

jon said...

any speculation on what transit projects would be covered with the shovel-ready infrastructure spending proposal? are we essentially talking about speeding up and funding the projects that are just finishing up EIS reports and have been under study for the last 5 years?

dulles metro project is probably one of the closest to being shovel ready but now already has the funding. as with sf central subway.

are these the projects that would benefit or would they be the next crop of projects like say a detroit woodward lrt? and what about committed projects in LA and seattle that have been funded by local measures and that were most likely going to get a federal commitment anyway?

Pantograph Trolleypole said...

They might benefit from getting money faster. I don't think planned projects like woodward will get funding, at least not in the ready to go stim package. APTA and the transit agencies aren't pushing hard enough for it so it probably won't happen.

jon said...

what kind of ready to go transit projects do you think would get funding from the stimulus? bus/rail car purchases? i'm really wondering about what stage of study/design projects would need to be in presently to qualify for this stimulus? if any? what exactly is "ready-to-go" when it comes to transportation projects?

there has been mention of transit funding in the stimulus though mostly you hear about road, bridge and school spending. but it appears transit will get money and likely split between transportation infrastructure spending and also the green economy stimulus spending

Pantograph Trolleypole said...

It means small fixes and big ones that transit agencies have been meaning to do but haven't because of budget. It's usually something where the contract could be let to built it in 90 days. That's what i've heard anyway.

jon said...

That makes sense

Maybe it will be all roads but...
I wonder if this stimulus bill might not benefit transit as much as it could benefit Amtrak. Afterall its a lot easier to start new Amtrak routes and upgrade existing lines, whats really been holding up new Amtrak lines is money for equipment and track capacity improvements (and political will).

beyonddc said...

Alon Levy: Nothing could be further from the truth. Forget about Dulles, this is all about Tysons Corner.

Tysons Corner has more office space than downtowns Baltimore, Richmond and Norfolk COMBINED. It's bigger than downtowns Denver, Miami, or Portland. It is, near as I can tell, the largest job center in the entire United States without rail transit access. And on top of that, it's the largest retail hub on the east coast after Manhattan.

Providing Tysons Corner with good transit is non-negotiable.

The fact that with Metro we can transform Tysons from a traffic-choked mess to something resembling walkable urbanism is icing on the cake.