The Silver Line WMATA story that WJLA-TV missed
Yesterday WJLA-TV did a story ("Metro wait times in Northern Va. could worsen after Silver Line debut") about the Silver Line and how extension of the system will "increase congestion" because no additional crossings between Virginia and DC were constructed as part of the "expansion" of the system.
This was in response to a meeting of the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission, which discussed the issue, a roundtable convened by US Senator Tim Kaine ("KAINE DISCUSSES REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION NEEDS AT NORTHERN VIRGINIA ROUNDTABLE," press release).
The story quotes Fairfax County Supervisor Jeff McKay making the point that without adding crossings and adding to the capacity in the core, more trains will result in congestion:
"I think this is exposing a systematic problem.... You can add as much extension as you want to the Metro system, but if you don't fix the capacity issues there's only so many trains you can get across the river at one time."For what it's worth, in 2006 I wrote a blog entry ("Blinking on urban design means you limit your chance for success")pointing out that this problem was baked into the creation of the Silver Line, and that the way that WMATA devolved expansion planning to the separate jurisdictions in 2003 was problematic, because Virginia and Maryland were given a pass on responsibility for how extensions would impact the core system.
The Silver Line should have been used to bootstrap the creation of a separated "blue" or "silver" line with an additional crossing between Arlington County and DC being built as part of the construction of the extension ("Silver Line Metro expansion a classic example of the need to have true regional transportation planning," 2011 blog entry).
But that was never part of the "remit" of the Dulles Corridor Transit Partners, and for whatever reason, the WMATA Board and the other jurisdictions, especially DC, didn't step in to raise the issue.
That the NVTC is talking about this in 2014 is somewhat pathetic...