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Don't Be a Victim of Bad Planning

I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts on transportation issues during a Live Online discussion at 1 p.m. today.

We might spend some time talking about transportation politics. In Maryland and the District, tomorrow is primary day, the decisive voting in many local contests because of the overwhelmingly Democratic registration in some areas. During the past month, I've gotten many questions and comments regarding the Purple Line in Montgomery and Prince George's counties and about pedestrian and traffic safety everywhere.

Virginians won't vote until the general election in November, but we did have a big political decision last week on transportation: Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) decided he could not back a proposed rail tunnel through Tysons Corner because the federal government probably woudn't agree to pay part of the project's cost if the tunnel was chosen.

So instead, the new Tysons Metrorail line will be elevated. That was hardly anyone's first choice. These big transportation projects are hardly ever just about getting people where they're going. The Tysons rail line is very much about making that sprawling and poorly planned development into a functioning city -- a place people can walk around. Elevated tracks, like six-lane roads, tend to divide communities.

Some of those same concerns apply to the Purple Line: Most people want the transitway, but many are concerned about the exact route it will take through the middle of Silver Spring neighborhoods.

I question the federal rules that make it relatively easy to build a highway compared to a transitway. Cost-effectiveness is good. Letting the federal government veto design plans for our neighborhoods, that's not good at all.

We don't have to be victims of other people's bad planning. Remember that at the polls tomorrow and in November.

And speaking of planning, those of you who will be traveling on the eastern side of our region this evening should watch out for the FedEx Field traffic going to the 7 p.m. game. See my posting below and read Lena Sun's story from today's Post.

By Robert Thomson  |  September 11, 2006; 8:51 AM ET
Categories:  Commuting , Congestion , transit  
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Next: Tunnel Talk

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