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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Core Capacity & Freemark's Pink Line

The Transport Politic often showcases unique and clever transit solutions visualized by the site's author, Yonah Freemark. Recently he looked into the WMATA system and made an interesting proposal: a separated Blue Line, and running along it, another investment, a so-called Pink Line. Though Freemark's plan would add invaluable capacity and connectivity to our system, I believe a similar vision could be achieved without building another costly Potomac Crossing. That's not to say we shouldn't, but perhaps a closer term solution might look more like this:

View Pink Line in a larger map

The existing Potomac crossing where the Yellow Line connects Downtown and Pentagon City is underutilized and ought to have it's capacity increased before another crossing is built. This alternative combines the cross-Arlington connectivity that Freemark envisions without the circuitous route back through Rosslyn. This investment could be increased even more if the Green and Yellow Lines could be separated downtown, which might prove cheaper than the Blue Line separation. Another advantage would be that this line could just be an extension of the Silver Line, which would eliminate the need for a new line color.

New track miles are most valuable in the core. Unfortunately, they're also generally the most expensive new track miles. But the benefits to the entire region are huge across the entire system, making it a worthwhile investment. And it's about time we started considering "the rest of Arlington" more a part of the core.

1 comment:

Glenn said...

I think this proposal has a lot of merit. I like how it weaves together underutilized portions of the existing (and planned Tysons) lines, as well as bringing metro down Leesburg Pike. This increases the number of trains available at any time on the stretch from WFC to points west, including Tyson's and the airport. The only new track required is along Leesburg Pike (could probably cut and fill) and Columbia Pike (would have to be tunneled), connection to the Silver line at WFC, connection to the Yellow line at the Pentagon, and a connection to the Green Line south of L'Enfant Plaza. Well done!

My gut tells me, though, that the planned streetcars for Columbia Pike will quash any metro extension there. Perhaps this Pink Line could be run up Walter Reed Drive instead? That would lengthen it a couple miles, but would cover more of Leesburg Pike and would expose the densely-populated Walter Reed Drive corridor to TOD.