Monday, June 27, 2011

Transportation in Logan

A few things caused me to ponder transportation issues lately. The first is my own increasing frustration when trying to park my car. The second was a post at Greater Greater Washington advocating more infill stations on Metro rather than suburban train sprawl.

I could feel the cold, judgemental stares of some readers even as I typed that I find parking frustrating. Yes, I drive almost daily. Let me explain: I can drive to work in about 35 minutes, but commuting by bus and train would be a 90 minute ordeal, requiring that I leave home shortly after 6 a.m. As I am not a morning person and my chosen profession is teaching sixth graders, this commute scenario conjures up visions of a Lord-of-the-Flies-like scene in my classroom as my students and I become progressively more and more exhausted throughout the week. Even in my wildest fantasies of fitness, biking would be a similar time drain. Granted, though my morning commute by car is relatively fast, my evening commute is hairier. On truly ugly nights, it can take 75 minutes, if I include the time it takes for me to get parked at home in Logan.

Mr. 14th & You also has a commute conundrum. He works about a mile from home, which is great. The conundrum part is that there is no Metro or MetroBus that will get him to work. So Mr. 14th & You takes a Capital Bikeshare bike (when one is available) and gets to work in about 10 minutes. Absent an available bike to let, Mr. 14th & You walks to work. When attired in a suit on a hot or wet day, the commute that otherwise seems like a lovely opportunity for some light exercise becomes a 20 minute slog. Though cabs are certainly an option, the price of a round-trip fare and tips is comparable to the cost of using a parking garage for the day.

Despite these (minor) commuting challenges, both Mr. 14th & You and I love our jobs and love our apartment. Depending on the day, I mostly accept the trade-offs of life in a vital urban area. I offer these scenarios not as complaints. These are the daily journeys that our household makes for better or worse.

Now, let me get to the other reason why I have been thinking about transportation options. While reading the above-mentioned post on Greater Greater Washington, I noticed the following comment from Tom Coumaris: "I live at 14th and S and Metrorail is worthless to me except for DCA." Other GGW readers jumped on Tom for this statement. One retort was, "14th and S NW? 3 blocks from the U Street Station? How is that worthless?" This back-and-forth got me thinking. How often do Mr. 14th & You and I use Metro? How often could we use it.

As it would be for many Logan/U St. residents, the U Street stop on the Green Line is our closest Metro station. My opinion, informed by eight years of experience riding the Green Line from U Street is that it rarely offers a time benefit over other alternatives. The Circulator gets me to DC USA faster than walking to U Street, awaiting a train, and riding one stop. Even driving will get me to CoHi and parked within 15 minutes for very little money. Metro is a great way to get to Penn Quarter, but cycling is still faster. Where time really starts to drag, though, is when one attempts to transfer to the Red or Blue/Orange Lines from the Green Line. In such cases, I will typically begin my trip by walking to Dupont Circle or McPherson Square, respectively. Why do I walk to McPherson? Because, if I jaywalk judiciously, I can keep pace with a bus from 14th and R to 14th and L during rush hour. When one factors in waiting for the bus to arrive, walking almost always saves time.

Speaking of the bus, it's mostly off my radar. Though I can understand the utility of using Metrobus to commute north-south along 14th or 16 streets, it doesn't get me many places where I need to be. Two summers ago as a grad student at GW, I thought I'd finally make friends with the bus. Alas, the WMATA trip planner said it would take me either a bus to Metro tranfer or two bus lines to make that 1.8 mile trip. Total trip time was optimistically estimated at 31-33 minutes by WMATA and 25 to 27 minutes by Google Maps (assuming the bus was one time, heh). Mr. 14th & You, in a push to be an enlightened non-car-dependent urban dweller, once recommended that we take the bus to Georgetown. We spent 15 minutes sitting on G2 bus at 14th and P awaiting a driver shift change that day. Once the bus finally achieved forward momentum, we stopped on the 1500 block, the 1600 block, AND the 1700 block. All members of our party agreed that taking a cab home would be wise.

So the answers to my own questions are that Mr. 14th & You and I might go weeks between using Metro and Metrobus even if we tried to use them more often. Fortunately, walking and driving are typically convenient for us. I might be better able to leave my car parked if I embraced Capital Bikeshare. I'm still overcoming my fears of urban cycling that stem from the close calls I witness between cars and cyclists every day. Also, though I can ride a bike competently on the tow path, I am easily overstimulated and have a significant lack of large motor coordination. If you ever see what appears to be a tangle of knees and elbows zig-zagging down the road, it likely means that Mrs. 14th & You is now using CaBi.

I do understand, though, that we are just one case study of travel habits among Logan Circle households. I'm curious how other residents feel about transportation options along 14th and U Streets. We have more choices in transportation than many of our DC neighbors, not to mention residents of other cities. Trends in parking space utilization at new condo developments certainly seem to show that many folks are giving up cars in the city. Do you feel like you have been able to get away from using a car? Have you tried to avoid using a car and been frustrated by the experience? If you were being 100 percent selfish, how would you re-align existing transportation options to better serve Logan residents?

P.S.: Yes, this post was penned by the Mrs. 14th & You, the very same woman who walked off of blog duty about two years ago to go back to school and change careers. You may see some more of my ramblings between now and the start of the school year.

38 comments:

Alex B. said...

"My opinion, informed by eight years of experience riding the Green Line from U Street is that it rarely offers a time benefit over other alternatives."

This anecdote suffers the same problem as Tom Coumaris' comment, however.

Not all trips are created equal. What destination are you traveling to? If you're talking about Columbia Heights, it shouldn't be all that shocking that riding the Metro one stop isn't all that time-efficient.

Paul said...

I live near Chinatown and have a car and a Vespa. But I also use Metro, CaBi, and Circulator fairly regularly.

Hard to see myself ever giving up the car. My closest friends live far outside the beltway in Gainsville, Leesburg, Centreville, Fair Oaks, etc.. While the Zipcar alternative might be able to replace a quick trip to Ikea they aren't practical for driving to Gainsville and spending 8 hours out there...

Good news is the car has been paid off for awhile, only 44,000 miles, and I only put on 4K/yr so it should be many years before I need to purchase another.

Vespa is both practical and fun for getting around DC and Arlington and skirts some of the parking issues. But you're asking for it to be stolen if you park it outside long term. Thankfully I have an underground parking spot that easily fits both the Vespa and the car.

When the weather is nice, my destination is between 0.75 and 1.5 miles away and is near a Capital Bikeshare station I take advantage of that mode. But for me bikeshare really only replaces walking trips. I wouldn't Vespa or drive 3/4 of a mile unless it was for groceries. But I do value that the bikeshare lets me cover those 3/4 of a miles in 1/5 the time...

I use Metro for commuting (when it isn't ideal Vespa conditions), going to Pentagon City, Nats stadium, National Airport or U Street if I'm going to be drinking.

Traffic isn't bad on the weekends and metro headways are awful. So when you have other options it takes a compelling reason to choose metro on the weekend. Such as absolutely no parking where you're going or perhaps you plan to drink. Also, since metro takes longer i find my decision is often based on how long I plan to be at the destination. If I'm going to Barracks Row for 20 or 30 minutes then I don't want to invest 35 minutes getting there by transit when my car could get you there in 10 minutes. But if I was going to be staying in Barracks Row for several hours then the ratio may make more sense for transit.

Anyway, that's my braindump. Look forward to hearing the experiences of others.

Anonymous said...

I am with you on the problems with living at the U street metro. Its useless to me as a commuting option and I live at 14th and Chapin. Riding Metro to my office at 20th and L takes about 45 min - walking to the U street stop, waiting for the train, transferring, then waiting for another train, getting off at Farragut and walking to my office. I would use Capitol Bikeshare but that has also proven useless since there are never any bikes available. So I drive the mile to work on days when its raining, its too cold or too hot....and that's most of the year in DC. Parking costs me nothing since I get a free spot courtesy of my employer. I have a spot at home which I can use if I can't find street parking right near my building. I rarely ride Metro anymore since I spend more time waiting for trains than the actual ride takes to get somewhere.

Mari said...

I haven't owned a car since 1993. I moved to the DC metro area in '95. Not having a car is like having a large dog, it impacts your decision making in where and how you live (my sympathies to large dog owners trying to rent). When I rented I chose places in relation to a) what I could afford, and b) what gave me a decent commute.
My husband drives to work. It takes him 30 minutes. We did the math and even with gas and paid parking, driving was cheaper than riding metro with the peak of the peak.
I don't consider your husband's situation a problem. I walk a quarter of a mile just to get the bus. A neighbor of mine who wears a suit will walk about 1.5 miles to work. To be fair on really bad days he drives. 20 minutes is actually a good commute time. If it took me 20 minutes to walk to work, I would.

Conflicted Commuter said...

Used to live at 16th & T, and have lived last 6 years at 12th & U. My office is at 14th & L. Have been walking it for the past 11+ years except when I injured my leg for a period of time (I drove my car and paid $12/day for parking). On really cold, snowy days, or really scorching hot days, I will sometimes snag a cab or hop on the Circulator. I have a bike and can park it for free at the bike rack in the garage of my office building, but I prefer walking because it burns more calories. I only ride Metro when I go to Penn Quarter for dinner/movie but always take it to DCA. I also have a paid-for 2002 Toyota that has about 21K miles, which I drive to get groceries, etc.

Variety is the spice of life ;)

Anonymous said...

I live in Logan and I love all of my public transit options. I haven't had a car for the 10 years I've lived here, and absolutely love not having the expense or worry about parking. I'm not right next to a metro, but I can walk to Dupont, Shaw, U Street, or McPherson in about 10 minutes. I hate changing trains, so I just walk to whatever line I need. I'll take the 14th street bus up to Columbia Heights if I need to, and I'll circulate to Adams Morgan, or even over to Woodley Park to get on the red line if it's too hot to walk to Dupont and I can spare the time. I can also take the G2 to Dupont or Georgetown if I want. The best thing about our neighborhood is that I can pretty much walk anywhere I ever need to go.

Jess said...

Moving here from Brooklyn, I'm used to relying on the subway (and multiple transfers) to get me where I need to go. But living in Logan Circle, I find myself relying on the bus and walking to get me where I need to go. Maybe it's because I'm a marathoner, but I don't see a mile walk to be a huge inconvenience. For me, it's a short walk. I haven't owned a car in 7 years, and have been getting by just fine without one here. If I want to go to H Street, I take the X2 and, depending on the time of day, grab the bus or cab on the way back. Barracks Row? Walk down to McPherson and grab the blue/orange. I guess I just don't know any better, so that's why I can handle the wait time for the train. At least the platforms are slightly air conditioned and you have a good idea how to long to wait for the bus/train. Plan ahead, and you can easily be car free, especially in a neighborhood with access to all subway lines, multiple buses and the Circulator.

Anonymous said...

Even if the bus or subway take a little longer than walking or driving the trips can be productive. You can read, sleep and organize thoughts while someone else does the driving.

Anonymous said...

14th and Chapin to 20th and L: Discover the bus. That's an easy trip with frequent service both north-south and east-west. At $15 a week with a bus pass you can't beat the price.

Tom H. said...

Nice to see a post from Mrs 14th U!

Could not agree with you more on the rundown of transportation options in Logan/U Street. I always try to walk / metro / bike / bus when I am able. But there are many times when considering time and weather constraints the best option is to drive.

Travel to G'town is a great example. The bus takes an eternity and will cost me more than the gas I would consume. In my car I can be there in minutes and with a zone 2 parking permit I can park there all day.

I think the zipcar lot at 14th and Corcoran would make a perfect location for an infill Metro stop.

Raul Chavez said...

I live on the west side of u st. (15th & V) so I have a little greater accessbility to Dupont than the east U st. people. However, the crux of this post is that both bus and metro really dont work as well compared to the other options for Logan and U st. residents. As most have pointed out we walk, and I think a large number of U st./Logan residents walk in greater numbers than other places. The important question though is: shouldn't being in the heart of a city, or at least pretty damn close to downtown, with an above average transportation system mean that we should be able to use said system more than people further out, and or more than the other options available?

The big issue I have with the green line is that it connects to only a select number of "downtown" destinations. This is not the case at all for either the Red/Orange/Blue. All of those lines connect to multiple points in the downtown area, and thus greatly reduce the frequency and need for transferring. Unless we are talking about transferring during rush hour, any transfer is a significant barrier in or nice but small system. On the Green line, unless you are going to Chinatown/Penn or the stadium you are going to have to transfer.

ZZinDC said...

Great post - I am a former planner still fascinated by transportation issues. I live at 17th & T and have been carless for 8 years (for practical reasons more than as a statment.) I am close enough to both the Dupont and U St Metro stations, but I find I use the bus more than ever, particulary since Smartrip cards make bus-hopping so much easier, and since the 14th St bus takes me to my office front door. I am a big rail supporter but find I use it less and less - I avoid the Red line as much as I can, and on weekends, I just don't go where ever Metro might be single tracking.

Anonymous said...

I walk to work every day... over a mile down 14th. If it's hot or muggy out, I walk in gym clothes and change when I arrive to work. Walking is the best option in a small city like DC

JustMe said...

There just aren't that many destinations you can go to from U Street on the metro quickly. I mean, Chinatown is one. DCA is the other. Outside of that, the circulator or bicycling is faster to get where you want to go. The 92/94 buses don't run often enough to give an advantage over biking.

If you're taking the Green Line, one of the reasons is because you want to go *to* U Street. So if you're already there, you already have one less reason to take the Green Line.

JS said...

Tom H: You can't have an infill stop at 14th and Corcoran because the rail lines run under 7th St until just south of U. There's no track on which to build a station.

cathy said...

my wife and i are carless around Q and 16th but have very different commutes. she works out on the green line and so either mt vernon or u street is a bit of a walk but not a bad trip in total. i work on foggy bottom and so my most efficient and enjoyable commute is on foot. i'll often go a week or two without taking metro or metrobus.

we also tend to walk around town in our free time - to e street and chinatown, to gtown, whatever. usually it takes about the same time as transit but it much more of a pleasure! we plan our walking routes for shady trees and beautiful architecture!

Anonymous said...

When I first moved here nine years ago from Montgomery County I used Metro because it was familiar. Then I advanced to MetroBus, buying a weekly pass and using paper transfers back in the good-old-days. I then migrated to my own bike for most trips. Sprinkle in SmartBikes and now CapitalBike Share for one way trips, bad weather days, different start/end work days, and heavy loads. I rent out my parking space for $200/month and never spend more than that on taxis. I'm loving being car free!

Tom Coumaris said...

Our neighborhoods were built because of the Columbia Streetcar line running up 14th Street. People depended on it being down their residential street. When it disappeared we became transit dysfunctional.

Then Metro was built not as an urban transit system like New York but as a suburban commuter rail line. The lines didn't follow the established urban commuter routes which were the main streets and expansion now is going to cow pastures in Loudoun County so they can become exurbs instead of opening additional center city stations.

The proposed streetcar line is a weird combination of Georgia Avenue and 14th Street which each originally had it's own line. And if it's like the 50's buses it will be full at rush hour by the time it gets down here.

As usual with our neighborhood, the solution has come from the residents themselves. City Bikeshare has been adopted in a huge way. So much that the 14th & R and 14th & V Stations are often full or empty. That's our immediate transit problem.

Last night I took City Bikeshare from 14th&V to Florida&19th. On return at 9pm 14&R was full so I went to 14th&V. Full. Then so was 17th&Corcoran. So I finally got one of two remaining empty slots at---Florida&19th. I could have walked faster.

CaBi can solve at least this problem inexpensively and immediately by installing additional docks at the stations already here even before they can afford additional bikes. And we need more stations here a.s.a.p. The Dupont/Logan stations are by far the busiest CaBi stations. Our transit planners who seem to live on the moon don't get how vital CaBi is to us. It solves most of our problems immediately and makes us a unique neighborhood. For $70/yr. it is a bargain.

We need to be pestering the hell out of the city to get more CaBi here, now. I did at the Gay Pride Parade assemblage button-holing every Councilmember there on my CaBi.

(We also need to be pestering for Performance Parking so that people pay a fair rate to city revenues to party here and residents get a fair shot at a viable RPP spot so they don't have to concrete their rear yards to store what car they may have. But that's a separate crusade.)

Anonymous said...

The post confirms my overall impression that DCers (including suburbanites) are the most entitled whiners on the planet. I live in Logan and had given up my car before moving there from Adams-Morgan (the Lanier Heights area). I overlook the Circle, so I'm truly in Logan. I work in MoCo and take the Red Line everyday. I've come to like being almost equidistant from 3 Green/Yellow stops, but tend to forget that McPherson is almost the same distance. The idea of driving to G'town and trying to park strikes me as about as practical and pleasurable as hitting my head repeatedly with a ballpeen hammer. A slow Circulator ride is no where near as frustrating. If one lives on top of one transit node, the others tend to be far away. The marginal cost of car ownership is huge and my spending on ZipCars and regular rentals comes nowhere near what went out the window for a car. If Logan is such a hassle, the obvious answer is to move. I realize that requires effort, but it would be more satisfying to the rest of us than some long, entitled screed.

Mr. 14th & You said...

Anonymous, just a thought:

If reading a long, entitled screed is such a hassle, the obvious answer is to not read or comment on the post. I realize that requires ignoring it, but it would be more satisfying to the rest of us than some long, embittered comment.

And, by the way: if catching the Circulator down to K Street, then transfering to a second Circulator for a 20 minute (on a good day) trip to Georgetown is your idea of fun, have at it. I can typically drive there and park within 15 minutes, so I'll probably be onto my second drink by the time you arrive.

Bossi said...

I live toward the other end of Logan Circle, nearer to Shaw & Convention Center, but face the same issues. I moved there with the plan of commuting out to work (at Greenbelt) by Metro, but soon discovered that the 30 min drive was far preferable to the 60 minute transit/walk (a third of which was across the Greenbelt parking lot). Then the construction on NY Ave made my drive even better, cutting the trip down to 20 minutes.

...But soon my commuter is changing, in which case transit will suddenly be my mode of choice :)

For getting around the city: at most I take Circulator or the 64, 70, 71, or the G2... but really 90% of the time I just walk everywhere. I can usually walk faster than the buses, anyway. Haven't had a need for CaBi yet, either.

Regina said...

This is a technical comment. I just wanted to let you know that your very first link opens up in the same page, not in a new one, bringing readers away from your blog. Not sure if you knew that! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Mr. 14th and U, wouldn't going to Georgetown to enjoy a few drinks be the perfect time not to drive? I understand it will take you slightly less time, but then again getting into an accident or getting a DUI would take substantially longer than even walking home would take. I have no problem with people that live in the city driving, or metroing, or biking, whatever floats their boat, but please don't drink and drive, even if it is a couple and you swear you are okay after just a couple.

Mr. 14th & You said...

Mrs. 14thandyou drinks club sodas and drives us home...she's a lightweight.

In all seriousness, we typically take cabs into Georgetown if we're going there in the evening, most often for dinner, simply because the traffic and parking can be quite horrid, particularly on weekends. But we don't really do dinner/drinking in Georgetown that frequently (plenty of places in our own hood for that). More often, we head over on a Saturday afternoon to go kayaking at Jack's or do some strolling/shopping. In which case we almost always drive.

Tom Coumaris said...

Dupont/Logan to Georgetown is one of my prime CaBi trips. Beautiful easy ride on good bike lanes.

You can always get up-to-minute bike and dock availability 24/7 at: http://www.cabitracker.com/

But that doesn't prevent the Chinese fire drill that happens when you reach a CaBi station with no empty docks.

A brand-new fully-equipped CaBi station costs $50,000. Half what a Councilman's German car does. (And an average Councilperson could pay for several new stations out of their "constituent fund".) And dock expansion at existing stations costs almost nothing.

Put a CaBi station on every block in the center city and we'd become the Amsterdam of America overnight.

Anonymous said...

Hall monitor alert at ANON 1:02 and 2:21!! It is possible to have a disgnated driver now isn't it?

Anonymous said...

I live in Columbia Heights rather than U St., but I wanted to chime in and second the observation that living near the Green Line doesn't necessarily mean a quick Metro commute. My office is midway between DuPont Circle and Foggy Bottom, and I usually take the S bus. (Or occasionally the 52/54 if I see a not-too-crowded one coming as I'm on my way to 16th). I've never owned a car, and I have physical limitations that make either biking or walking the full 1.5 miles inadvisable.

One issue with the bus is that if I get to the stop later than about 7:45am, I'll start to see full buses driving right past my stop without stopping, which means extra waiting (as well as a squashed ride). Since I exercise downtown near my office in the mornings, I'm usually catching the bus pretty early and don't have much of a problem getting on (and sometimes I even get a seat). But if I'm leaving after 8am, I'll usually take Metro - a trip of 40+ minutes - because the trains are better able to accommodate rush hour crowds.

Some of the bus improvements in recent years have helped - boarding is faster thanks to SmarTrip cards, Metro has acquired some extra-long buses, and the S9 alleviates the bus bunching a little (as well as shortening commute times for those able to ride it). But more transit improvements on 14th and 16th St. - signal priority for buses, eliminating stops that are too close to other stops, and eventually streetcar lines - would ease a lot of commutes, and potentially attract some people who currently drive.

Anonymous said...

The sea of DC residents that drive their cars 1, 2, or 4 miles doesn't shock me in the least, I don't have enough fingers to count the people I know that do the same thing.

What does shock me is it's always the LOUD judgemental ones that preach environment, save the polar bears, don't eat meat, and recycle yet drive 2 miles to work everyday that kill me.

Anonymous said...

I live at 11th & U and do not own a car. My primary mode of transport is a bicycle, and whether it is through CaBi or your personal bike, I think it is the best way to get around the city. You have the flexibility to go your own routes at a pace faster than walking.

As an earlier commenter said, not all trips are created equal. I rarely use metro, as biking can get me anywhere on the green line & elsewhere faster than metro can (at no cost), and when the weather is unfitting, a metrobus route usually does the trick. You just have to watch your timing. I just hate switching metro lines.

It is a matter of personal opinion & habits, though I think that if you live/work in the District, having a car in a city as small as DC is a waste of money and further stress on the environment. I think being more climate concious should hold a bit more ground when considering what is convenient.

Anonymous said...

I haven't had a car in 7 years and live at 16th & U. When I was looking for a new place 7 years ago, one of my criteria was to not have to have a car. I don't miss it at all. In fact, I revel in being carfree. My workplace is about a 40 minute walk away and also on metro. I have a Zipcar membership, which I rarely use. I use bikeshare, my own bike, and my feet. This style of living builds exercise into my day and I've been living this way for years, even before this period of no car. I'll take a cab when I need to. I enjoy riding public transportation because I get a lot of reading done and I don't get worked up over the hassles of driving. Not having a car is cheaper and I don't have to worry about parking it or protecting it.

Kelly said...

I prefer to walk - everywhere. I can walk just as fast as the buses during rush hour (noting your strategic jaywalking).

Additionally, the metro bus system has been a complete failure in my eyes. It doesnt matter if I'm taking the G2, D6 or D4 - it is absolutely never on time. It either comes early and I miss it, or I watch the countdown on my phone and the bus it claims is coming never comes. (3 minutes away, 1 minute away...15 minutes away?)

Don't apologize for the car - at least your commute is in your hands!

Anonymous said...

What is going on in our neighborhood? Art galleries are packing up and leaving. Replaced by restaurants with "bocci alleys."
Mega-sized Mexican restaurants... baby strollers... yoga clothing stores...
UGH. We used to have character. We are becoming a cookie cutter strip mall!

Anonymous said...

I recently moved to 12th and N from the edge of Chinatown. At our old place we had one car that we parked in an outdoor lot for $140/mo. When we moved to our new, bigger, more expensive apt. we agreed to get rid of the car as a way to offset our higher housing costs. It makes sense because neither of us drive to work. I walk to the Convention Ctr Metro and take green line to work using the Navy Yard stop, while my boyfriend is in VA off of the yellow line. Going carless has good and bad aspects. So far we've only been without the car in warm weather. Sure, I get hot and sweaty walking everywhere, especially in my business clothes to and from work, but I figure the walking is good for me. I think Mari gets it right though--being carless affects your decisions. We are Zipcar members but honestly, it's so expensive that we only use it when it's really necessary. For now we're pretty much walking, bussing, or Metroing it everywhere. I can't even remember the last time I took a cab, I've done it maybe twice since moving to DC years ago.

For us I think it does save money ultimately, which is the primary reason we did it. We were able to sell my car and put all of the money right into savings for a down payment on a house. If we had kept it, we would have had to pay all the fees associated with getting DC tags and street parking stickers, increased car insurance rates since they still didn't know I was living in DC, gas, and maintenance. So aside from the money, it's good to get the exercise and I don't have to worry about parking. The only thing I miss so far is the freedom of a car--the freedom to go to VA for some real Korean food, or go waste a half day at the outlet mall, or go eat blue crabs at some random place in MD. Zipcar is too expensive for these outings and I can't figure out any other replacement.

Payro said...

Since I'm just back from London this note really resonates. I think that part of the problem with Metro is "chicken and egg" - unless trains are more frequent, then fewer people will use them. It makes no sense to use Metro trains outside of rush hour when you need to wait 15 minutes for a train. I would love to be able to hop on a train during the day to get where I need to go, but I fear having to wait 15 minutes for the initial train and then 15 minutes for the transfer. In London, everyone uses the train, because they come every 2-3 minutes, all day long (and yes, there are far more lines and stops). The commuter trains (not the Tube, but the ones from the suburbs) are also far more frequently than our Metro trains! It's all a bit ridiculous how crappy our transit services are.

With that said - walking is my preferred method of getting around. Echoing many other comments, I think that biking also makes great sense in a city the size of DC. I do think it seems a little silly to take a car to Georgetown, given the traffic and parking costs, when you can more quickly and easily bike there. And from an environmental perspective, it's just silly.

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous "Mega-sized Mexican restaurants... baby strollers... yoga clothing stores...
UGH. We used to have character. We are becoming a cookie cutter strip mall!"

AMEN !!! Buckle up, the double wide strollers, yoga wear, and flip flops are sadly going to be here for a while. One can only hope that surburbia will become the new trend soon...REAL soon.

They can have their OWN parking space for that car in suburbia. (spread the news, it might work)

Orlando @ International Transportation said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Orlando @ International Transportation said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Simon said...

I live at 13th and S; we have and use a car, walk, and take the Green Line (though never the bus - it just feels way too slow, even if it isn't in real time). But most crucially, we bike - anywhere west, east, or south. It's always the quickest and neither of us (my wife or I) have ever had an accident (knock wood) (well, at least one that involved a car -- I've managed to just fall over a couple of times!).

My advice would be to figure out ways of getting over the bike fear -- most importantly, find paths with bike lanes, less-traveled one-ways, and wide sidewalks!

P.S. Thanks for your invaluable neighborhood blog!