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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Light Posting Lately; The Metro Vision Update

Apologies for the light posting lately. I have been working a recession-induced second job, and much of my transit-nerd time has been devoted to poking around in Google Earth tweaking my Mass Transit Vision. I don't have much graphic design experience (read: I have none) and I'm slowly and painfully trying to learn how to use Inkscape, so it will be a while before I can post. it.

Shown right: a very early concept sketch.

Since I have gotten quite a few inquiries on this project, I thought I'd share some information. First of all, it won't be something we're likely to see in my grand-children's lifetime. It would probably cost a trillion or more to construct, and it would have far more capacity than this area could support with its current infrastructure and population. I haven't measured its current length, but I know it would be over 500 miles of track. I'll even go so far as to say it would be irresponsible to even study may of the proposed changes.

The concept I'm working has a core system with thirteen (!) lines, none of which share any track (i.e., separated the Green, Yellow, Blue, Orange and Silver lines from each other) so as to maximize capacity. There are six heavy rail and seven light rail/street car lines, a couple of the latter are spurred at the ends. I extended every single end of every existing and planned heavy rail line, though mostly only a station or two here and there. There are also several infill stations, particularly on the new separated routes. The light rails incorporate plans like the Anacostia Light Rail, the Columbia Pike transitways (both in VA and in MD), The Purple Line, and other DC streetcar proposals. There are two Purple Lines, in fact, both of which loop around the city (the Silver Spring-New Carrolton is the outer line). Much of it is completely unfeasible because it would require a fantastic amount of expensive tunnelling, right-of-way acquisition, engineering, and construction.

I expanded on MARC and VRE (but removed the Camden Line) and removed some of the smaller stations, treating them more like an integrated express service. Most of the smaller stops (like Riverdale and Clifton) were replaces with light rail stops. I put four Metro Lines at Union Station and likewise concentrated rail traffic to other MARC/VRE nodes like Silver Spring, L'Enfant Plaza, Rockville, New Carrollton, and King Street to emphasize their role as express lines.

Shown right: a later concept.

Also included in this plan are five supplemental services. In Maryland, the Corridor Cities Transitway, a series of light rail or BRT lines through Montgomery County (which I called Ride-On) and a light rail loop through Southern Maryland. In Virginia, I threw in a series of light rail/BRT lines for Fairfax and Prince William Counties, as well as an Aerotram along the "Techway" corridor from Shady Grove in Rockville to Dulles International Airport.

I have always felt like others' transit visions lack service in Prince Georges County and River East, so there is a concentration in those areas. I placed transit stops in close-in traditionally planned communities like Hyattsville's Arts District, Takoma Park, Old Town, and other places.

Denser areas that are poorly planned (Seven Corners, Tysons, Eastern MoCo, etc.) received lots of transit assuming they would be redeveloped into more transit oriented areas. Parts of the system are very far flung (Columbia, Fort Washington, South Riding, Woodbridge, Gaithersburg, Odenton, etc.)

I don't know if I'll include them initially, but I also have an integrated plan for Frederick, Annapolis, Baltimore, and the Atlantic Beaches.

Shown right: the current iteration of the project.

Basically, my goal was to visualize a Washington Metropolitan area that could support a population at least twice its current size, while allowing most of the city and closer-in region to comfortably live without a car. Hence its infeasibility. It has been a fun and interesting project so far, even if it has been overkill.

If anyone has the free time to teach me Inkscape, I would be much obliged, and would gladly provide a meal in exchange. Sadly I lack the graphic skills of the many other transit visions that have inspired me to embark on this project.

So please bear with me as I work my two jobs and attempt to get this into a nice readable map for everyone.


Zac said...

I'd love to see the details on those three maps whenever you get the time to work on them more.

Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

What is it that we love so much about these maps? Whether feasible or not, if it represents a dream of increased walkability and car-free travel, I'm thrilled. I'm eager to see yours come along. Thanks for sharing, Dave.

Froggie said...

Dave, one idea...which is the same thing I'm doing (and what Dan did for the BDC "Geographic" maps) put your ideas into Arc. Polyline shapefile for the routes, point shapefile for the stations.

DBox said...

This is fantastic!