A mere week ago (as I type this), my fellow U.S. citizens elected a new president. President Trump will have a great deal of power and many of my friends are still in shock. Nevertheless, life goes on and I have a promise to keep in the form of this Transportation Talk column.
Many people are frustrated by traffic. However, every vibrant city I've ever visited had congested roads. Many cities, such as DC, use high-capacity transit to move a plurality, if not a majority, of their citizens.
Our taxes pay for the free King Street Trolley that connects the Old Town Waterfront to the King Street Metro Station, over a mile away. The Trolley is an economic success, showing big spikes in ridership on major shopping days, such as Black Friday. The Trolley is an investment that brings customers to Alexandria businesses. But is it enough?
With Metro's “SafeTrack” rebuilding program shutting down segments of Metrorail, many are considering alternatives, such as bicycling. When bicycles are used for transportation, helmets and other special clothing become inconvenient. People worry about sweat and want to arrive ready to do a job or have some fun. But safety doesn't need to be inconvenient or unfashionable.
Metro GM/CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld today proposed closing the Metrorail system at 10 p.m. on Sunday nights and continue midnight closures on all other nights beyond the conclusion of the one-year SafeTrack program, following rail expert and peer transit agency recommendations.
I often read that self-driving cars will solve our traffic problems. They will move fast and in unison, without collisions. They will drop you off and then drive around, giving free rides to puppies and unicorns, until summoned to whisk you to your next destination (on roads mysteriously not crowded with other cars).
Under the WMATA SafeTrack program, segments of the Metrorail system are being systematically shut down. Workers will repair or rebuild these segments on an accelerated work schedule, making the entire system safer and more reliable.
According to the 2015 Old Town Area Parking Study, the price of parking in Old Town has been rising at triple the rate of inflation for the past five years. The typical weekday stay has increased from $10 in 2009 to $13 in 2014. Are these price increases really necessary?