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Posts Tagged ‘Rockville Pike’

Relieve Traffic Congestion Through Increased Use of Sustainable Affordable Public Transportation

This chart helps us evaluate which options will work best.

I can admit, I am very attached to the convenience of being able to hop in my car and go wherever I want, whenever I feel like it.  It’s a necessary evil when you live in the Washington, D.C-Baltimore metro area, and I am thankful that my 13-year old Honda can still take a licking and keep on ticking.  

But, by the same token, it would also be great if I could walk out my door and have several convenient affordable and viable transportation options at my disposal.  This could include being able to walk, take a short and cheap bus/light rail/subway ride, or bike to my destination.  If everything were so conveniently located — or at least so easy to get to—maybe I wouldn’t feel the need to always defer to my car.  There are several benefits to this on all sides: improved health from more exercise, lessening my carbon footprint, saving money, etc. 

One other thing that I would really like to see is more sustainable ways to get around — the apex of which would be “green” transportation options.  These options would satisfy the goal of devising and implementing transport that would be bearable, equitable, and viable on the social, environmental, and economic levels. 

Although the upfront costs and initial sacrifices may be significant (i.e. financial resources, worsened traffic congestion), the long-term benefits would definitely be worth it — especially when you consider that the problem will not simply “fix itself.”  Since demand for public transportation solutions has quickly risen in the D.C. metro area, we need to hastily make up our minds about which solutions to use — and then implement them without further delay.

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Commuting Suburb-to-Suburb Via Metro – It Wasn’t in the Master Plan

traffic congestion

Aren't you glad you're not stuck in this right now?

Are you sick of sitting in your vehicle staring at all the cars, buses, trucks, SUVs, and minivans around you while watching the Metro trains go whizzing by?  Me too.  Traffic congestion has gotten completely out of hand, and others outside the area have noticed.  Washington, D.C. has been ranked as the third-worst traffic in the country.  It is at these times that I wonder if other commuting alternatives would be better than sticking it out in traffic everyday.  

One noted way to relieve traffic congestion is through increasing use of public transportation.  But the problem in the Washington D.C. Baltimore metro area is that, depending on where you work, using public transportation is not always expedient.

I would seriously consider taking Metro to my current place of business but, to be honest, it’s just not that convenient for me — even with the subsidy my job offers.  Fact is, buses are totally out of the question because it would probably take three times longer than a car ride — in traffic.  No express buses to my destination exist.  And my job is over a mile away from the nearest Metro station — not appealing for a woman who wears heels everyday. 

But even if I decided to wear walking shoes instead, public transportation is still not a convenient solution for me.  This is because Metro was originally designed for suburban MD/VA commuting into D.C., not for suburban MD/VA commuting to other parts of suburban MD/VA.  In other words, in order for me to get to my job in Rockville, I would need to drive through traffic to get to the nearest Metro station, pay to park, ride into downtown D.C., and then ride back out into the suburbs.  To get to my jobsite, I would then need to either take a bus or walk more than a mile…not appealing, right? 

 The solution to this problem would be Metro’s purple line.  But because of major obstacles to getting the project off the ground, we do not yet know of a completion date for this light rail alternative that would connect the Orange, Green, and Red lines.

I’m all for the Purple line being part of the solution if it provides a viable alternative to sitting in traffic!  Local lawmakers really need to step up the pressure to get this project done.  If you’d like to make it your personal mantra, you can get involved by sending an email by July 23 with “yes, I support the Purple Line” in the subject line to cscott@purplelinenow.com.

Construction Delays – The Unintended Drama from Obama’s Recovery Act

July 14, 2010 5 comments

Today, I experienced a very common frustration for those of us who commute to work everyday — construction delays.  While it’s great that, due to the Economic Recovery Act, money for construction projects has been flowing into Maryland, Virginia, and D.C., the unintended result is more construction delays — and misery — for commuters.

The route that I take to work is usually heavy with traffic.  I choose this route because, even with lights and traffic, it is actually more tolerable than crawling along I-495 to work everyday.  And, for the past several months, I have been enduring construction delays, resulting in even more increased traffic congestion and longer commute times. 

We Need a Solution

One solution that I came across was Emily Cyr’s blog on How Fix Traffic Congestion, which asserts that we could use computer software that syncopates lights with each other on major routes to minimize wait times and move traffic along more efficiently.  In other words, during rush hours, these lights could be constantly adjusted to accommodate and ease the inevitable traffic ebbs/flows that occur when crews repair roads during these hours. 

Montgomery County is already using a traffic control system, which apparently has had some major kinks in the past several months.  Judging from how bad my commute through the county still is every day, it probably isn’t geared towards construction delay workarounds such as the ones that Brian Park at the University of VA’s Center for Transportation Studies talks about.      

I think that many different solutions applied at once would be the only way that we all would experience sustained collective commuter relief.  As a worker who has to commute about 25 miles to work one way every day, I would certainly appreciate the relief that this solution would provide.  The sooner we implement smarter traffic control systems, the better our collective commutes will be.

Washington DC Traffic Congestion: Several Problems

July 7, 2010 6 comments

Yes, traffic has gotten much worse in the metro D.C. area.  There are several problems that we have that aren’t being sufficiently addressed:

We don’t have enough roads/lanes/infrastructure to meet the demand.  But there’s absolutely NO shortage of vehicles, though!

Our addiction to our vehicles has been neccessitated and fueled (pun intended) by urban sprawl due to out-of-control housing construction/expansion on every piece of land that is available. 

Many of us in the Washington, D.C. area are college-educated or better.  That means that the demand for white collar jobs is very high and ultracompetitive.  However, most of the decent-paying (white collar) jobs are located in only a few major hubs (i.e Herdon/Tysons Corner, D.C., and Bethesda/Rockville/Silver Spring).  This causes those of us who don’t also LIVE in these areas (because we can’t AFFORD it) to have to DRIVE to these areas in order to pay our bills because there are, oftentimes, no decent alternatives.

If more people had viable alternatives, like the option to telecommute, more schedule flexibility, convenient commuting/travel options, conveniently located workplaces, more affordable housing located closer to workplaces, expanded infrastructure, etc., we might really be able to lick this thing!

Hello world! This is my first post.

June 21, 2010 1 comment

Welcome to the Baltimore-DC Traffic Frustration Blog.  This is a place where I will vent about my frustrations driving in the Baltimore/DC area.

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