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Posted at 11:41 AM ET, 10/12/2010

How should the region's transit grow?

By David Alpert

How should the Washington region grow its transit system to benefit users across the region? Will the streetcar and rapid bus projects create into a disjointed patchwork or will they mesh well across jurisdictional borders? How can Metrorail avoid running out of capacity by 2040?

These are some questions regional officials ought to be discussing, but mainly aren't. The Transportation Planning Board, which is supposed to plan regionally for transportation, instead acts as a "stapler" to simply assemble the different states' transportation projects into a formal, constrained plan as required by law.

Individual jurisdictions have some great surface bus and rail projects, from D.C.'s and Arlington's streetcars to the Purple Line and a number of BRT proposals, but so far these don't cross jurisdictional borders. It's important to analyze how they could all fit together to meet regionwide transportation needs.

[Continue reading David Alpert's post here at Greater Greater Washington.]

David Alpert is founder and editor of Greater Greater Washington. 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 David Alpert  | October 12, 2010; 11:41 AM ET
Categories:  D.C., HotTopic, Local blog network, traffic, transportation  
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A simple and cost-effective way to reduce traffic would be to allow all taxis to pick up fares anywhere in the metro area. It makes no sense to require DC, MD, and Arlington cabs to drive back empty from Dulles, where "Washington Flyer" has the monopoly. Similarly in each area--Red Top and Yellow (Arlington) cabs can't pick you up in Fairfax or DC, so must drive back empty. This is a waste of time, gas, and valuable traffic capacity.

Posted by: dricks | October 12, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

I admit this is a bit "pie in the sky" and not to mention something that wouldn't happen for several years due to financial and political/logistical issues, but what about a streetcar or light rail line extending from Metro Center/Chinatown to Bethesda/Potomac, MD?? It would cut through Georgetown via M street, move through the Palisades neighborhood along MacArthur Blvd and end either in Bethesda or Potomac. In DC, the line could end where there is currently an open lot from the old convention center. Admittedly, it would be pretty ambitious, but I think it would ultimately be worth it by providing a viable transit option for getting to Georgetown without have to drive (from either direction). It would also provide suburbanites from MD a way to get downtown without having to hop in a car.

Posted by: dcdrew19 | October 12, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

I think we're entering an era where big ticket projects are a hard sell. You'll see maybe some streetcar, Bus rapid transit and other inexpensive and not terribly effective initiatives, but that's it.

Posted by: krickey7 | October 12, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Chris Zimmerman now running for the Arlington County Board and chair of the Metro Board, is trying to con the City Council in Alexandria into "cooperating" with the Arlington County Board in regional transportation projects. When the Supreme Court said that a regional transportation authority with powers to tax was unconstituional as a matter of law, or as enacted by the VA General Assembly into law, de jure, it was unconstitutional. A subversion of Constitutional law by means of a de facto cooperation between two taxing authorities, the Arlington County Board and the Alexandria City Councl in Virginia becomes a de facto regional transportatio authority in contravention of a Supreme Court ruling and is also unconstitutional. When the Supreme Court declared that de jure segregation was unconstitutional in 1953 in Brown v. the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, actions to subvert the ruling by ignoring it and doing whatever the localities wanted to do in the South to continue segregation in public schools was de facto segregation, also ruled unconstitutional. Apparently, Constitutional law expert Zimmerman who wasted $1 milllion on having high occupancy vehicle lanes declared unconstitutional doesn't know the history of the civil rights movement. Why doesn't Obama, who says he was a Constitutional law professor, explain it to him before Zimmerman who has already wasted a million dolars in legal fees to outside counsel, wastes another million dollars in legal fees to an outside law firm to have a judge explain it to him.

Posted by: eyemakeupneeded1 | October 13, 2010 1:21 AM | Report abuse

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