Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Keeping Tabs: On the Tracks Edition

***Will Crystal City get light rail or street car before DC? Not likely, but the transit idea is being floated by Arlington County developers and residents. While we stew over street alignment and watch our already purchased street cars idle in Europe, Arlington is quietly planning a comprehensive transit plan for the entire county which will take shape over the next few years. Eyes on the prize DC; focus, focus. I still want street cars for east-west travel up here in mid town. What about a street car on Irving St/Columbia Rd/Calvert Bridge linking Washington Hospital Center to Woodley Park? Or Petworth to Friendship Heights? Or street cars on 16th Street from Silver Spring to the White House? We can do it!

***Metro rescinds some inauguration day polices, including the nice sounding, but ill advised ideas of free parking at stations and reduced subway fares all day. As a local, I originally championed those ideas, but they really don't make sense when the agency can cash in on the massive influx of out of towners using the system. Since the system will be running at rush hour capacity for 15 hours that day, it seems fair to charge peak fees. And why not charge for parking on potentially the busiest Metro day in history. Seems like a potential bonanza.

***Do you Amtrak? I love rail and rarely leave the East Coast to visit family and friends. So, Amtrak has become my preferred mode of transport for interstate travel. But I can't afford Acela, and it terminates in DC for those of us wanting to travel fast down south. Well, the Feds are beginning to rethink high speed rail for corridors all over the country, and that's a good thing.

***Speaking of Amtrak and inaugurations.... The President Elect and the rail loving Vice-President Elect will arrive in DC by train for the inauguration. Yes, Obama will travel from Philadelphia, scoop up Biden in Delaware, make another stop in Charm City then finally arrive in the District. The trip is a nod to President Lincoln (and others who road rail before the era of planes and limos). It will also give a chance to a few citizens in Phila, Wilmington and B'more to the see the pair without having to travel to DC.