1.27.2009

A vision of what will never happen


This album by some shitty L.A. band has probably made more money than WMATA in the last year.


One week ago, the city had something like 1.5 million people downtown to watch the swearing in and parade. Metro handled 1.1 million trips, with only ONE old lady falling on the tracks! I don't know about you, but I find that amazing. I was expecting far more death and dismemberment than that.



Hey kids, follow me to the Purple Gate! I'll need to see your tickets!


Sure, there was the PURPLE TUNNEL OF DOOM, and while that did look like it was truly uncomfortable and disappointing for those people, I didn't even have tickets at all so I don't feel much pity.

I know, I know, what's the point here. Well, the point is that the city got more people in and out more efficiently than on any other day in the history of the city. And with all the bridges closed. And with most downtown streets shut down. People from all across the country, not just the region, figured out how to get here without driving. It's possible to get people in and out without them all driving their own cars.

Metro gets points in my book for handling this when they don't have very much money, and more than half of rush hour Red Line trains are actually held together with twine and Popsicle sticks.

If we can handle 1.1 million trips, why shouldn't we aim for 800-900K weekday averages. Instead, we don't, and we gripe about Metro sucking so we all drive our cars to work. Believe me, I know the argument, Metro sucks so I will drive my car the 5 miles to work, which will get me there 30 minutes faster than taking Metro. It's the love affair with the cars, and I know the Commentariat here will be up in arms saying "WHINE WHINE WHEN IT IS TOO COLD OR TOO HOT I LIKE TO SIT IN MY CAR INSTEAD OF ON A BUS."

or "WHINE WHINE WHINE THIS IS AMERICA AND WE DRIVE CARS IN AMERICA. BUT ONLY FOREIGN CARS. AMERICAN CARS ARE FOR POOR PEOPLE AND REDNECKS."

or "WHINE WHINE WHINE LOOK AT ME I TYPE IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS."

Seriously, can we stop with the lunacy already. We're going to get a wider beltway (HAHA HOW FITTING, THIS IS NO TIME TO BE "TIGHTENING" OUR BELTS), some kind of Inter-County Connector in Maryland (IM SORRY, I DON'T SPEAK SUBURB). But how's the Silver Line to Dulles going? Meh, it'll maybe happen, possibly, sometime before we die. Or how about expanding the Metro a bit? Yeah, yeah, we talk about how it costs $1 billion per new 1/4 mile of Metro or whatever the figure is... but hey, what's $1 billion in the grand scheme of things. I'd rather have 2 new metro lines than see Bank of America get bailed out 5 more times.

Or what about putting in some dedicated bus lanes on K Street, helping ease the flow of traffic for both cars and buses? Nah, we're gonna have to wait until 2017 for that, because there isn't any money.

If you're bored, you can watch a snazzy computer rendering of what K Street could be. AWESOMENESS.

41 comments:

  1. BIKE LANES PLEASE! Like, ones that aren't hazardous to my bike with 6-inch potholes every ten feet.

    ReplyDelete
  2. They say that if you build more roads, you'll get more cars. The only way to reduce rat populations is to cut the food supply.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Also, that band "Metro Station" made me puke a little.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm with you on putting money into trains instead of roads.... but for actual commuting routes, not 25 miles of rail to make it easier to get to the airport from HELL. The train to Dulles is a colossal waste of money. There's a perfectly functional and efficient express bus to Dulles from three metro stations that is barely used now.

    Besides, a train would not significantly shorten the trip via public transit to Dulles for DC people. It will still be way faster to drive.

    And streetcars on K street? That is madness. Apart from the fact that there is absolutely nothing interesting on that stretch of K street, have you ever been to New Orleans? Those dudes have had streetcars since time began, and there are STILL near collisions on a daily basis. Okay, sure, they are drunk most of the time down there, but we have actual commerce here. That is, much worse traffic.

    I can only imagine the mayhem that would result from DC metro area drivers --- among the worst on god's green earth-- sharing K street with streetcars.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Well, the IDEAL solution would be to turn the K Street "access roads" into dedicated Bus/Trolley lanes, that are separated from car traffic by curbs.

    Not like CLANG CLANG CLANG GOES THE TROLLEY OF DEATH like in San Francisco.

    ReplyDelete
  6. The best way to reduce rat populations is move to Georgetown. I never saw a rat when I was living at 35th and Q.

    ReplyDelete
  7. @Dave, what difference does it make? Think right turn from main part of K street across access lane. Which, incidentally, is not legal at many intersections on K street right now for the very reason of being T-boned by someone traveling in the access lane. But of course if the access lanes were dedicated to street cars, you'd have to be able to do that. New Orleans people are trained to watch for streetcars in these situations. Good luck with that here.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Anonymous--The rats are still there; they just keep a low profile.

    **

    Everyone's seen this inauguration video, right?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMN86uG3zHs

    ReplyDelete
  9. dulles is just a logical end point for the metro extension. The real benefit will be getting metro to run through tysons and alleviate some of the congestion there.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Good point, I suppose. But whatever, if you're dumb enough to turn in front of a bus or a trolly, then your ass deserves to get t-boned.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Who the hell even owns a car? I don't know anyone who lives in the city and owns one, and there's absolutely no justification for owning one unless maybe one lives in far upper Northwest, which is basically the suburbs anyway, and people who live in the suburbs can go fuck themselves. There should be a tax on anyone driving into DC before 11am on a weekday.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I own two cars, and everyone I know in town has at least one. I don't see how the hell else you could do anything in this shit-stain of a town. This isn't manhattan, and I'm sure as hell not going to rely on the slobbering ingrates at METRO to get me to and from work, school and everywhere else I want to go in a timely way.

    ReplyDelete
  13. While it's certainly possible to survive in this city without a car, this is NOT Manhattan. There's not a store selling every conceivable thing on earth within 500 feet of where most people live. Hell, until a year ago when Target opened, you pretty much had to go to Virginia or Maryland to buy a goddamn spatula.

    While you may enjoy taking the Metro home from Giant or Target or Home Depot with your kids and seventeen bags of crap, for most people that is not practical.

    DC doesn't have the population density to be a city where most people can live without a car. Like I said. It's possible if you live in certain built-up areas and don't work, live, or need to go anywhere off-metro on a regular basis, but you're smoking crack if you think that nobody (or even most people) can get by without a car.

    ReplyDelete
  14. We need cars so drivers can mark themselves as freakin' fools. Just pay the tax, that's all.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I agree w/ James and Jamie.

    When I lived in D.C. proper, I only went without a car when I couldn't afford one. For a couple of years, my vision of the world looked very much like a Metro subway map.

    At least you can take a Zip car to the frickin' Trader Joe's or whatever floats you....

    This is NOT Manhattan so that was a good solution.

    ReplyDelete
  16. ahh, manhattan. a place so sophisticated it actually transcends the contempt of urban hipster transplant assholes.

    ReplyDelete
  17. i'll buy a car when i can fold it up into a suitcase.

    a segway would be pretty sweet if it folded into a suitcase. i mean, what the hell are you supposed to do with it when you get here you are going? chain it to a parking meter?

    ReplyDelete
  18. Not have a car?

    Fuck that. I flee this hellhole every weekend. What the fuck, am I supposed to take some bus to Annapolis?

    ReplyDelete
  19. WHINE WHINE WHINE I don't think anyone should own a car in DC because I moved from my podunk town to a big city and that makes me hip and urban and better than you.

    Hey can I get a ride?

    ReplyDelete
  20. nah, see, my issue isn't so much with people in DC who have cars so they can flee the city when they aren't working...

    my problem is with the assholes in northern va. and so. maryland who drive less than 10 miles to work, when we could easily have some sort of better transit solutions.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Er, Dave, what do you mean by "easily?" Haven't we established that every quarter mile of metro costs a billion bucks or something?

    I am almost certain that any "asshole" who drives 10 miles or less to work does so, because it's a hell of a lot better of a solution for them than taking public transit from wherever they live. Don't you think that most people commute in the way that is the best balance of cost and time for their own situation?

    You know there are a shitload of people who DON'T actually live and work within walking distance to a metro station. Most people I am sure would love to be in that situation, but there are many factors like cost, changing jobs, multiple working people in one household, that make that not possible for a lot of people.

    Like I said I'm all in favor of improving metro infrastructure, but it ain't manhattan. Planning metro expansion is a big deal beyond just the billions of dollars. It depends on many factors like population density, where people live & work (and where they will do those things in 15 years when any new metro station would open) and so on. There's nothing "easy" about this.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Jamie,

    to be clear, if I were writing on Greater Greater Washington, I would go way more indepth here.

    I definitely know there's way more that goes into building new transit than just saying "lets build more transit!"

    However, I do know people who live plenty close to an established bus line, or within a walkable distance to a Metro, who also drive their car. Because it's easier. Because it's more comfortable. Because they get free parking, whatever, they aren't using transit.

    I'd absolutely love to write actual pieces that aren't snark about transit, but this is not the venue to do that. Instead, I will create humorous pictures and whine and moan.

    Drill, Baby, Drill (subway tunnels, that is).

    ReplyDelete
  23. As someone who lives in DC, off Ontario road, and does not have a car, I have found walking the 2 miles to and from work is quicker and more reliable than taking public transportation. A car would not really help me with rush hour and parking and all, but at least I could get the hell out on weekends.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I never thought I'd see this blog actually praise Metro. I take Metro/Metro bus everywhere and it by and large blows chunks. At the same time I could care less who drives or how may parking spaces are in the city. It doesn't affect me. I suppose if you're strugling to find things to blog about car owners make for low hanging fruit. But I do love the pictures you posted.

    ReplyDelete
  25. "However, I do know people who live plenty close to an established bus line, or within a walkable distance to a Metro, who also drive their car. Because it's easier. Because it's more comfortable. Because they get free parking, whatever, they aren't using transit."

    And? This is a free country isn't it? I know it's fashionable to pretend you're a fucking Luddite or something and deny yourself certain comforts of modern technology, but not everyone buys in.

    If driving to and from work is cheaper, faster, and more comfortable, why should I sacrifice all of that just to "support public transit?"

    ReplyDelete
  26. "I'd absolutely love to write actual pieces that aren't snark about transit, but this is not the venue to do that."

    -I say write what you want.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Native New Yorkers hate all of the wannabe hip wannabe urban asshole transplant scum.

    Native Washingtonians hate all of the wannabe hip wannabe urban asshole transplant scum too.

    ReplyDelete
  28. No justification for owning a car unless maybe one lives in far upper Northwest?

    What about all of the people living around the SE and PG county border?

    There is not exactly an abundance of metro stations around those parts.

    People defintely need a car to survive in those areas as well.

    But of course "ERIN" does not travel to those areas very often so how in the hell would she know that. She also would not tell the suburbanites living in PG COUNTY to go fuck themselves.

    ReplyDelete
  29. that's why we need streetcars in SE.

    ReplyDelete
  30. That band deserves to die.

    Also, I love the metro, and the buses here. "Whine, whine, it's cold and I don't wanna walk to the metro station, I think I'll drive and sit in traffic for an hour so I don't have to walk for five minutes." Seriously, y'all. Save the environment, lose five pounds, ease congestion on the roads, save the wear and tear on your car...take the damn metro.

    ReplyDelete
  31. My God DC people are a bunch of preachy self-righteous fucking assholes.

    You all like the Metro so much? Then what the fuck do you care if I'm sitting in traffic? And why do you give a shit about the wear and tear on my car?

    A bunch of droids in this place. You probably all have Marge Simpson voices too.

    "Take your sweater! I don't think that's a good idea. Hmmmmmm."

    ReplyDelete
  32. Seriously MissMe, it's not the drivers who are whining, it's the constant METRO bitchers, you aren't doing anything for the environment that you don't erase every time you fly back to whatever shit town you're from, I have plenty of time to go to the gym to workout since I can drive to my office in 15 minutes, and my car only gets wear and tear from swerving around lanyard-wearing cyclists. Get a life y'all.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Everyone should get out on the roads and drive. That outta fix those onanistic car owners. They'll be the first to beg for increased Metro funding.

    ReplyDelete
  34. @ Anonymous-- Dude, flying home? Why would I want to go back there?

    ReplyDelete
  35. Go the fuck back!

    ReplyDelete
  36. Unbelievable that all of you 'tards only managed to mention biking twice (marissa = awesome, anonymous gym rat motorist with the fifteen minute commute = selfish dipshit).

    Ride a goddamn bike. You think you hate cars now? Try biking up 7th between Penn and Mass during PM rush hour. I swear to god, by the third day you will be blowing your smog-laden snot into young jeezy blaring Hummers with MD tags and Ravens bumper stickers as they idle in the bus/bike lane in front of Verizon.

    If you own a car, are not handicapped or elderly, and don't, oh I don't know, drive a cab for a living, you are a national security threat. I don't care where the hell you live. There is a relationship between your selfish behavior and dead americans. You should pay more taxes because you are responsible for our fucked up foreign policy, and your smog is giving inner city kids asthma (leaded water aside). Fuck nuance and gray areas; I am right and you are an asshole!

    ReplyDelete
  37. @Anon, you are obviously a communist. Why on earth do you think cabs should be allowed to exist?

    Those bastards are the worst of all. They drive around all day long whereas my car sits idle most of the time. They make it possible for sweaty corporate money-grubbers to get to meetings without ever setting foot on a bicycle in their three-piece suits. They permit people to go out drinking and not have to walk home or bike drunk through 2 miles of shitty neighborhood and get mugged AS THEY SO RICHLY DESERVE.

    CABS ARE EVIL.

    And so are you. I bet you eat food that was transported by a motorized vehicle. If you aren't growing your own potatoes in your back yard and generating power with solar panels or a hand-crank generator then YOU ARE A COMMUNIST.

    ReplyDelete
  38. @Jamie -

    You missed my point! I am right and you are an asshole!

    ReplyDelete
  39. I may be an asshole, but at least I've got plenty of company around here. But you... your evil communist soul will never be "right" until the Chinese take over Amer'kah. But until then you will be ALL ALONE with your cab-loving, America-hating fear.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Jamie is a dick. he considers blog commenters to be company and probably owns a fleshlight. However, cabs really do suck and alcohol fueled youth should get robbed at gunpoint regularly (spread the wealth around). Plus, we need to buy food from somewhere (local is best)

    Anon is a dick too, and I bet his bike was made in China and was super expensive. but at least his militant stance is dickishly not the status quo. The way we are living is simply not sustainable. It sickens me to see people driving around in vehicles that are bigger than the lane they occupy, and so many of them at that.

    Plus, the Chinese aren't communist. They imported something like a million VWs last year.

    See, everyone is a friend. And we can all agree that DC is the shit stain on your bike seat.

    ReplyDelete
  41. BETTER DEAD THAN RED.

    ReplyDelete