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Posted at 3:35 PM ET, 06/ 3/2010

Everybody has transit fever

By Dan Malouff

With all the talk about the Silver and Purple lines, streetcars, and all the other exciting transit projects in the works around D.C., it's easy to see that a shift in thinking is underway.

Finally, we seem to be getting serious about building an infrastructure that does not require everyone to sit in congested traffic for every trip of every day. It's cause to be optimistic about our future as a great metropolis.

Now here's the even better news: We're not alone.

All the large cities in Maryland and Virginia are doing the same. Baltimore is working on a new cross town rail line that will be in a subway through downtown. Norfolk is constructing its first light rail line, which will open next year. Richmond is planning a bus rapid transit line. Even Charlottesville and Roanoke have considered streetcars in recent years.

And it doesn't end there. Large cities all over America are building new transit systems. It's happening not only in the older cities, but in places that as recently as a couple of decades ago wouldn't have dreamed of building rail.

New train lines -- whole systems in some cases -- are going up in Charlotte and Denver and Phoenix and Salt Lake and Dallas and Houston and Honolulu and, well, the list goes on.

It's enough that one national transportation blog has deemed what is going on The Transit Space Race. If so, it's a race with all winners and no losers, as every one of these cities will be better with transit than without it.

It's awesome to see the D.C. region investing in its future, but it's even better to see the pattern extend across our great country. Good work, America. Let's keep it up.

Dan Malouff blogs at . The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.

By Dan Malouff  | June 3, 2010; 3:35 PM ET
Categories:  HotTopic, Local blog network, transportation  
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What an amazing waste of taxpayer monies. These lines are very expensive and nothing but drains on local governments. The only thing the Baltimore Trolley has done is import crime to BWI Airport. This is just a bunch of boys who did not get the lionel train when they were kids wanting others to pay for them now.

Posted by: Pilot1 | June 3, 2010 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Some are wastes, some are not.
I don't think anyone thinks the Purple Line will be a waste (their objections lie elsewhere). It will connect two major employment and recreation hubs that are separated by only a few miles and that each have extremely successful rail lines that most assuredly not toys.

The notion that automobiles alone can be the answer to our transportation needs is dying a little every day in the ever-more congested road systems we have. And where you can build them, new roads ain't cheap either. Some might even call them a "waste".

Posted by: krickey7 | June 4, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

The Dulles-Tysons addition will be the death of the already-on-life-support Metrorail system. Metrorail simply cannot absorb the ridership that the new line will bring, even if the projections are higher than expected. People trying to board from inner stations won't be able to and they'll be forced back into their cars. I've asked Dr. Gridlock if either Virginia or Metro did any feasibility studies on the integration of the new line and the existing systems, and he said there weren't any.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | June 4, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

The purple line will serve one function. To ease the commute of criminals to Bethesda and maids to clean the homes. A complete waste of money when a bus line could provide the same service for 1/10th the cost and do it now without destroying the bike trail.

Posted by: Pilot1 | June 5, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Studies of bus line vs rail show what everyone instinctively knows. The rail line will get much more use. The bus line has to run on East West Highway, which is already clogged during rush hours. So for 1/10 the cost you get no improvement. That's my definition of a waste.
As for the trail being destroyed, I hardly think so. The right of way is 100 feet. plenty of room for both. A little over a decade ago, this wasn't even a trail.
I'm not even going to touch the other thing you wrote. It speaks for itself.

Posted by: krickey7 | June 7, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

I'd like to see a line that runs along the huge portion of NoVa that is forced to take inadequate bus lines to the Pentagon for a commute. How about a black or white line that runs from Arlington Cemetery and runs along Route 50? With really good parking for everybody (like the lot at Franconia-Springfield metro). Then WMATA could stop complaining about the cost of running bus lines and everybody would be happy.

Posted by: dcombs001 | June 7, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

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