Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Idea #2: My Transit Wishlist

I'm constantly hearing great ideas about how to make DC a more livable, fair, and vibrant city. And of course I have a few of my own. Some are complex, other simple, most are common sense. Occasionally I'll feature one on the blog.
More rail to Richmond, please.
I have A TON of transit wishes. The list never really shortens; it only grows. Some seem to be within the realm of inevitability, such as the extension of the DC Streetcar network. Others are feasible, but aren't planned at the moment or perhaps have been ruled out of existence for various reasons. Here are a few of mine:

Rail to Annapolis from DC: Actually, I'd accept rail to Annapolis from anywhere. Maryland has a great commuter rail system, MARC, which primarily serves the Maryland suburbs of DC, DC itself, Baltimore, and its suburbs as well. There's even a line that terminates in West Virginia. They've added weekend trains between DC and Baltimore to much success. But, the rail line doesn't connect the Maryland state capital city to either DC or Baltimore. A commuter bus travels from the New Carrollton Metro station to Annapolis during weekdays, but I would love a MARC or Amtrak option with multiple weekday and even some weekend schedules.

Virginia Railway Express Extension to Richmond, Charlottesville: Driving on Intestate 95 from Washington, DC to Fredericksburg, VA is one of the most nervy, patience-testing experiences for East Coast travelers. Along with I-395, it's both consistently congested and unpredictably navigable at the same time. Luckily for Virginians, VRE will whisk you from Fredericksburg, Manassas, and other Nova communities to DC each weekday for a decent fare. While Charlottesville and Richmond are served by Amtrak (Richmond several times per day), I think they should be on the state-controlled VRE with commuter trips each day. The two cities are cultural, political, educational, and economic centers for the state. I'm not suggesting that Charlottesville be connected to DC via VRE, but I am suggesting a rail link to Richmond. And commuters from Richmond would appreciate a non-car alternative to Henrico's west end, Charlottesville, Ashland, Doswell, Fredericksburg, the Pentagon, and beyond. 

Metro Rail Infill Station at Grant Circle: Infill stations are expensive, potentially costing $100-$200 million. However, I believe that one of the ways to build transit capacity within the city is to make it easier for people in dense neighborhoods to move around while not overcrowding current stations. That could mean adding a few infill stations on Metro. It has worked very well for the Red Line's NoMa-Gallaudet station. Another candidate is a new station under Grant Circle in Petworth via New Hampshire Ave. The stop would be on the Green and Yellow Lines. This would shorten the gap between Fort Totten and Georgia Ave-Petworth stations, serving a very dense residential area of Northwest.