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Metro Parking Filling Up Early

The recent shutdown of the District's Douglass Bridge is having an impact on transit as well as traffic.

Metro says that drivers wanting to use the Green Line filled up the Anacostia garage by 7 a.m. today. That's very unusual. When I was there on Friday morning, the day the shutdown began, the roof of the parking structure was practically empty. Anacostia was one of the park and ride spots recommended by the District officials who planned the shutdown because it normally has that kind of extra capacity.

Parking at Largo, on the eastern end of the Blue Line, also was full by 7 a.m. today.

"We're 99 percent sure it's the impact of the Douglass Bridge," said Metro spokesman Steven Taubenkibel.

Many people who pay extra for reserved parking arrived at the stations on the eastern side of the system to find that all the reserved spots were gone, many of them taken by people parking illegally. The spaces are reserved -- and clearly marked as reserved -- until 10 a.m.

A Metro transit officer was out at the Southern Avenue Station parking area writing tickets for cars that didn't have parking stickers, and officers will be monitoring all the stations for illegal parking.

Maybe these were people who don't normally take Metro and don't know the rules, or maybe they were just willing to pay a $20 ticket and take the train rather than keep on driving in the congestion generated by the bridge shutdown.

All the parking along the Green Line was gone by 8 a.m. It's unlikely this will get any better for the rest of the month as drivers seek alternatives to the traffic. Metro ridership normally declines in August, Taubenkibel said, so there should be some relief then.

In the meantime, either show up extra early for parking -- and watch where you park -- or consider taking a bus to the Metrorail station. For Metrobuses, Metro's Web site has a Trip Planner that allows you to plug in your address and get a route. The Maryland Transit Administration has modified some commuter bus routes from Southern Maryland to add stops at Metro stations during the Douglass Bridge reconstruction.

By Robert Thomson  |  July 10, 2007; 4:24 PM ET
Categories:  Construction  
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Comments

At first I didn't think anyone would use Anacostia Station since you pretty much have to sit through all of the morning congestion in order to get there. If you've sat in all that congestion, why not just go the rest of the way by car rather than switch modes? The reason I came up with was it makes for a quick getaway in the afternoon. Not only do you not have to sit in the afternoon backups, but when you exit the station, some roads (I-295, Suitland Parkway) probably have less congestion than normal since the cars are stuck on the downtown side trying to get back across!

Luckily, Metro's lots are open to all on a first-come, first-served basis, so all one has to do to get a spot is show up a little earlier (I doubt anyone will get in trouble for getting to work early)...up in New York, the tiny suburban station lots are generally open to town residents only (and therefore the towns have no incentive to expand them to meet demand) which means short-term transit users are out of luck.

But regardless of the parking situation I'm surprised that people don't understand the concept of a reserved spot. I hope Metro comes down hard on repeat offenders who think they can just pay the price of the ticket everyday and poach someone else's spot who is rightfully paying for the right to use it.

Posted by: Woodley Park | July 10, 2007 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Bastards. Shutting down that bridge.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 5:23 PM | Report abuse

"Bastards. Shutting down that bridge."

Bastards. Canceling all those freeways that would have been a useful alternate route.

Posted by: CEEAF | July 10, 2007 6:00 PM | Report abuse

"Bastards. Shutting down that bridge."

Bastards. Cancelling all those freeways that would have been a useful alternate route.

Posted by: CEEAF | July 10, 2007 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Bastards. Suburbanites trying to tell me how to plan my city for their benefit and my detriment.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 10, 2007 6:19 PM | Report abuse

The bridge needed repairs but much of the work are the misguided, fru-fru planners trying to turn a commuter road into a picturesque frame for that silly sports stadium.


The road should stay elevated. It's dumb to mix commuters with pedestrians.

Posted by: tchtic | July 10, 2007 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Hey Suburbanites! Can it! You chose the 3500 sq ft surburban place - and the commute. Infrastructure has to be rebuilt. A car isn't freedom - having transportation alternatives is the real freedom!

The bennies of Urban Living-- it isn't for everyone, but removing the commute from my life has greatly improved quality of life.

So shut up, keep pumping the CO2 into the atmosphere, and enjoy your stress.

Posted by: DJ Monet | July 10, 2007 8:31 PM | Report abuse

DJ Monet, what a crappy thing to say. I'm sorry some of us are not wealthy enough to live in DC....that we have to drive out to the "Burbs" to catch an 800 sq ft apartment for less than $1500.

Posted by: Nate | July 10, 2007 8:38 PM | Report abuse

I don't blame people for parking in the reserved spots. Many of them sit empty all day and it is definitely worth paying a 20.00 ticket to avoid sitting in traffic an extra hour and losing time from work(especially if you make more than 20 bucks per hour!). Metro was short sighted in making too few parking spaces and then reserving hundreds of spaces for people who never use them. As for us suburbanintes "choosing" to live here: Excuse me, but some of us were actually born here before your smug "urban" butt even thought about moving into DC. As I recall, most you are the same people who would never set foot in D.C 10 years ago and complained about the crime and parking hassles. How soon we forget. Enjoy your "stress" of having your car vandalized and then booted and towed by your loving D.C. government.

Posted by: C-dog | July 10, 2007 10:20 PM | Report abuse

The guy railing against suburbanites isn't even a real DC resident, otherwise they'd know that one of the largest group of people affected by the closure actually live in DC.

But he's probably one of the 'smug-set' living in Adams Morgan who think anyone in Anacostia 'isn't worthy' of being considered a DC-ite. The fact that everyone in Ward 7 & 8 is having a hell of a time doesn't matter to him, as he never really travels outside of NW.

Posted by: Bob | July 10, 2007 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Reserved spaces are reserved until 10 a.m. Then fill them up after 10 a.m. Those people who are complaining about the excessive number of reserved spaces are the ones who feel they are more priviledged than others. You know the ones who use every possible method...legal or not...to cut people off. The ones who intentionally don't yield to traffic because someone else may be in front of them. If you want to park in the reserved spots, then pay for it. I don't complain if my building gives me a ticket for parking in the reserved spaces, cause I didn't pay the $300/month to park there.

Posted by: Jarrod | July 11, 2007 9:00 AM | Report abuse

"Bastards. Suburbanites trying to tell me how to plan my city for their benefit and my detriment."

Bastards. City folk who are too stupid to realize they are part of an interdependent metropolitan region and think all new development belongs in the city and all highway traffic belongs in the suburbs.

Posted by: CEEAF | July 11, 2007 9:11 AM | Report abuse

"A car isn't freedom - having transportation alternatives is the real freedom!"

DC has no "transportation alternatives, pal. They canceled their highway network, remember? THAT'S why the traffic that belongs on a highway is all over your streets, "pumping the CO2" into YOUR atmosphere. Vehicles stuck in traffic on an inadequate road network pollute (Duh!).

STILL smug?

And before you give us the "well, there's Metro" canard, remember Metro doesn't cover DC - it is and always has been, more for the benefit of suburban commuters and tourists than for DC residents. That's why the Green Line was built LAST. Anyone in DC who thinks canceling the freeways was a great idea is thinking like a fool.

You want the "bennies of Urban Living--"? Try moving to REAL city that had the sense to plan and build a comprehensive transportation network.

It takes more than high-priced apartments and a Starbucks on every other corner to make a REAL city, pal. DC ain't it.

Posted by: CEEAF | July 11, 2007 9:23 AM | Report abuse

"You want the "bennies of Urban Living--"? Try moving to REAL city that had the sense to plan and build a comprehensive transportation network."

Like Los Angeles? Nope, no traffic there...

Posted by: GhettoBurbs | July 11, 2007 9:42 AM | Report abuse

"But he's probably one of the 'smug-set' living in Adams Morgan who think anyone in Anacostia 'isn't worthy' of being considered a DC-ite. The fact that everyone in Ward 7 & 8 is having a hell of a time doesn't matter to him, as he never really travels outside of NW" - Bob

Don't him and the other suburb-bashers. Ninety percent of them are neo-urbanist gentrification types who live in someplace like Capital Hill, Du Pont Circle, U Street, or Adams Morgan and grew up in THE SUBURBS.

I love their smug phoniness. They like to crow about "the bennies of urban life". But their scope is limited to the thrill they get from to being able to commute without a car, walking to the corner to buy a cantalope, and scoring a bag of weed without having to leave the block.

And they STILL break into a sweat when they encounter the people their parents moved to the suburbs to get away from.

Posted by: CEEAF | July 11, 2007 9:52 AM | Report abuse

"But he's probably one of the 'smug-set' living in Adams Morgan who think anyone in Anacostia 'isn't worthy' of being considered a DC-ite. The fact that everyone in Ward 7 & 8 is having a hell of a time doesn't matter to him, as he never really travels outside of NW" - Bob

Don't mind him and the other suburb-bashers. Ninety percent of them are neo-urbanist gentrification types who live someplace like Capital Hill, Du Pont Circle, U Street, or Adams Morgan and grew up in THE SUBURBS.

I love their smug phoniness. They like to crow about "the bennies of urban life". But their scope of urban life is limited to the thrill they get from to being able to commute without a car, walking to the corner to buy a cantalope, and scoring a bag of weed without having to leave the block.

And they STILL break into a sweat when they encounter the people their parents moved to the suburbs to get away from.

Posted by: CEEAF | July 11, 2007 9:54 AM | Report abuse

@CEEAF

I don't care about the weed, but yeah ... if I could commute with no car, get decent groceries within walking distance and not live in a slum full of criminals, I'd be pretty happy. I don't see what's wrong with that. I'll never afford it around here, but it's nice to dream.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 11, 2007 10:02 AM | Report abuse

CEEAF: LOL! Too true! What's even funnier are the people who moved to Adams-Morgan and are now complaining about all the bars. Hello!! The bars and restaurants and nightlife were the reason you moved there in the first place! I'll stick to my car and nice quiet suburban life.

Posted by: C-dog | July 11, 2007 10:42 AM | Report abuse

CEEAF,

The Green Line was built last because community leaders in the neighborhoods it was to serve couldn't agree where to build it. The alignments through Hyattsville, Petworth, and the entire section south of the Anacostia River were changed several times due to community pressures and NIMBYs. The section under 7th Street was built in the 1970s along with the rest of the system, but nothing ran there until the rest of the line was ready.

Also, the money that was going to go to the cancelled highways was diverted to transit, primarily to building the Metro system.

Do you seriously think that we would be better off today with 270 bisecting Cleveland Park, 95 running through NE DC, the Three Sisters Island bridge, and all those other roads that don't exist today?

At least get your DC Transportation history facts down before posting more nonsense.

Posted by: OTP | July 11, 2007 11:32 AM | Report abuse

GhettoBurb: "Like Los Angeles? Nope, no traffic there..."

Here's a little information to educate:

According to studies by the Texas Transportation Institute, of the 10 worst-congested US metropolitan areas, 8 - Los Angeles, DC, San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia, Atlanta, New York, Boston - have invested heavily in RAIL. Only 1 - Houston - has invested solely in highways (Houston never made a significant investment in rail until 2001).

I don't know what that tells you, but it tells me that a heavy investment in rail will not significantly reduce traffic congestion, In fact, it can be argued that heavily investing in rail without a significant investment in roads makes the traffic situation worse.

The simple fact is, most US cities have not built rail nor do they have the density that the DC region has. But they have less congestion.

To put it simply, heavy rail (subways) is NO substitute for roads and most cities are better off without it. Same goes for density.

So much for the "roads are bad and so is sprawl" arguement.

We can do this for the rest of the week, GhettoBurb. I just LOVE showing how very ignorant and ridiculous the neo-urbanist, anti-road, suburb-hating, rail transit advocates happen to be. This is FUN for me.

Anything else?

Posted by: CEEAF | July 11, 2007 4:15 PM | Report abuse

OTP:

"The Green Line was built last because community leaders in the neighborhoods it was to serve couldn't agree where to build it. The alignments through Hyattsville, Petworth, and the entire section south of the Anacostia River were changed several times due to community pressures and NIMBYs."

The DC "community Leaders" were fighting FREEWAYS, pal; they weren't fighting about where to put Metro. In fact, their entire reason for existing was to make an argument that Metro would make roads unnecessary. Some actually thought killing the roads was a good idea because we were about to run out of oil very soon. It was a "the sky is falling", racially-motivated ("no white man's freeways in the Blackman's neighborhood"), "either-or" game for them.

"...section under 7th Street was built in the 1970s along with the rest of the system, but nothing ran there until the rest of the line was ready."

If the section under 7th Street was "built" in 1970's, please explain why the disruption that occured in the early '90's - lost power, broken water mains, raw sewage pouring into the streets and people's homes, permanently shutterd small businesses, rats running wild - was necessary.

And while you're at it, please name ONE road, built or proposed, that caused as much disruption as Metro construction did.

"Also, the money that was going to go to the cancelled highways was diverted to transit, primarily to building the Metro system."

Right you are. The ONLY correct statement you've made, so far.

Frankly, it's probably the stupidest thing DC ever did, considering the consequences. Especially since it was unnecessary - there was sufficient funding to build both, as Congress wanted to.

"Do you seriously think that we would be better off today with 270 bisecting Cleveland Park, "

Wrong. Most of the redesigned
I-70S would have gone underground, like I- 395 downtown.

"95 running through NE DC,..."

Well, look at it NOW.

Let's compare the quality of life - crime stats, life expectancy, school acheivement, property values - in the areas of NE DC that were "saved" by canceling I-95 and "graced" by building Metro's Red Line with the areas of North Arlington that were "destroyed" by I-66. Where would YOU rather live or have your wife's car break down?

"... the Three Sisters Island bridge,"

The Three Sisters "islands" are nothing but a bunch of rocks in the middle of the Potomac; nothing grows there and nothing can be built there. They can even be used as a park. I for, one, don't see the value added in canceling a bridge to save a bunch of rocks.

At least, the proposed 266 Loop would have relieved traffic congestion - and the attendant pollution - in Downtown and in Georgetown.

" and all those other roads that don't exist today?"

So you think we're better off with the traffic?

The most comprehensive and sensitively-conceived highway system ever planned in the US was destroyed by a bunch of selfish, egotistic, myopic, small-minded, parochial, idiotic, political opportunist buffoons. If you think that's a good thing, then I hope you're happy with the highway traffic that's been relegated to your STREETS. It had to go SOMEWHERE. And anyone, even you, can see that Metro hasn't made it go away.

"At least get your DC Transportation history facts down before posting more nonsense."

Suggestion: YOU get YOUR DC Transportation history facts down before posting YOUR nonsense and accusing ME or anyone else of "posting nonsense".

You know very little. You've got a lot to learn. A good place to start:

www.highwaysand communities.com.

And if you think rail is our saving grace:

http://www.rppi.org/thegreatraildisaster.shtml and http://www.uwgb.edu/dutchs/PSEUDOSC/MassTransit.HTM.

Like I said, I'm enjoying this.


Posted by: CEEAF | July 11, 2007 4:56 PM | Report abuse

I suggest you get a copy of "The Story of Metro" by Ron Deiter and Zachary Schragg's "The Great Society Subway."

A highway running through Georgetown or bisecting the CBD in downtown would not be good. Parts were to be in tunnels, but plenty of others were to be above ground, and would be very disruptive to the communities they passed through. Highways cause blight, pollution, and are generally unpleasant to live near. Usually, the areas that are doing "well" that are built near highways were developed AFTER the highway was built.

Look at what happened in San Francisco after they demolished the highway along the Embarcadero. There are plenty of proposals to demolish the highway on the Seattle waterfront and the one on the Toronto waterfront. These highways simply bisect communities, leaving the communities around them with little connectivity to other parts of the transportation network and force more people to use cars. The highway proposals do not result in livable, walkable communities. Alternative transportation methods increase potential capacity and usually result in more people being moved more efficiently, even if you still have traffic.

The links you provided that actually work are pretty biased and there are plenty of facts to refute those authors' statements. Using the LA Metro as an example of why not to build rail is pretty poor since they built it so that it doesn't serve the centers people live at and want to get to. There are also issues there with the BRU and its various lawsuits against the MTA and other transit agencies out there.

Posted by: OTP | July 12, 2007 12:06 AM | Report abuse

"According to studies by the Texas Transportation Institute, of the 10 worst-congested US metropolitan areas, 8 - Los Angeles, DC, San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia, Atlanta, New York, Boston - have invested heavily in RAIL. Only 1 - Houston - has invested solely in highways (Houston never made a significant investment in rail until 2001)."

Someone needs a little education in causality. Those cities aren't the most congested because they have rail investments. They made rail investments because they are congested.

You also failed to notice that these cities happen to reside in the largest metropolitan areas in the country. It's not a stretch to think that congestion is directly proportional to population size. Do you really think that Manhattan can function with highways as the sole transportation mode? You could pave over every square mile of the island and it would be congested.

Posted by: GhettoBurbs | July 12, 2007 9:42 AM | Report abuse

How in the world did we get from enforcement of parking regulations at Metro stations to a circular arguement about urban planning and roads vs. transit?!?!? LOL! Here's my two and 3/4 cents - growing up in Baton Rouge, LA, we didn't have functional transit - the buses were there, but they couldn't really take you anywhere. Ditto my 13 years in the Tampa Bay region. We drove EVERYWHERE. I hated it. I moved to Seattle 5 years ago, and got great bus oriented transit with a little heavy rail (Sounder - which leased a train to VRE) to back it up. I rode the bus to work nearly every day - even though it took less time to drive because I had to transfer downtown. Moved here in October 2005 and rode the bus and now a combo of Metro and bus to and from work. I do a lot of my shopping by Metro and bus, and the car only moves on weekends - if at all. IF you find this to be a pedestrian or transit unfriendly town then I don't think you are trying hard enough.

As to the parking, Metro has to enforce it's regulations. I view this as more of a coordination issue - DDOT didn't really work with Metro to ensure there were enough parking spaces, shuttles, etc. They just cut and pasted a response.

Posted by: kcsphil | July 12, 2007 1:00 PM | Report abuse

"According to studies by the Texas Transportation Institute, of the 10 worst-congested US metropolitan areas, 8 - Los Angeles, DC, San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia, Atlanta, New York, Boston - have invested heavily in RAIL. Only 1 - Houston - has invested solely in highways (Houston never made a significant investment in rail until 2001)."

Thanks, GhettoBurbs, for pointing out the fallacy in CEEAF's argument. According to this link (http://www.nationsonline.org/oneworld/most_pop_cities_usa.htm), all of those cities are in the top 11 in population (urban agglomeration, not city proper). I know nothing at all about Detroit and Dallas (the other two in the top 10), but Houston has infamous traffic in spite of it's heavy investment in an extensive road network, largely because it is the epitome of sprawl. So basically, the Texas Transportation Institute was able to tell us that the largest cities have the worst congestion. I think they must work for the Bush White House.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, the Embarcadero Freeway was an eyesore, but it did a great job of moving cars further into the City. After the earthquake necessitated its removal, all of those cars now FLOOD onto city streets to go every which way due to our lack of any functional freeway system. Just look at any map of San Francisco - there are no freeways or expressways that criss-cross the City - just the I-80/US-101 & I-280 freeways on the east side.

With 800,000+ people living in 49 sq miles, it gets kind of chaotic, like the City's Muni buses and Muni Metro rail system, which takes "dysfunctional" to a whole new level (Google our new "T-Third" line and you'll see what I mean).

Great cities have great road and rail systems. It's too late to do anything about our cancelled freeways, but we can still improve our Muni, which probably has the nation's highest absentee rate (employees who don't show up for work and don't call in either - they get 3 of these each year without penalty...)

Back to the original subject, Bay Area commuters have been fuming about BART's (our version of WMATA Metrorail) 2 year-old practice of charging for parking at their rail stations. Having ridden on DC's Metrorail, we shouldn't be complaining - we're only paying $1.00 per day for parking!

(I also noticed that DC tends to be escalator-happy. Most BART station entrances have either all stairs or stairs paried with a SINGLE escalator that switches directions depending on the time of day. Having more stairs could be helpful if your escalators go on the fritz...)

Posted by: Tourist From San Francisco | July 14, 2007 3:37 AM | Report abuse

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