Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Monday, March 02, 2015

Tonight: Somewhat of an anti-transit forum in Silver Spring

Action Committee for Transit, the Montgomery County, Maryland-based sustainable transportation advocacy group, calls our attention to the Maryland Public Policy Institute's (MPPI) "policy forum" tonight, featuring the anti-transit propagandist Randal O'Toole. They do call the program a non-partisan debate and it will be moderated by the Washington Post's Dr. Gridlock columnist, Robert Thomson. The pro-position will be offered by Rich Parson, Vice Chair, Suburban Maryland Transportation Alliance.

ACT will hold a press conference at 6:00 PM, in front of Silver Spring's American Film Institute, where the event will be taking place.

Afterwards, ACT will be holding a free talk on the value of the Purple Line light rail project, featuring purple pancakes, at nearby Tastee Diner of Silver Spring.'

Metropolitan DC has a high rate of transit use, higher than most other US cities.  While an average of fewer than 5% of daily trips are made by transit across the United States, Metropolitan Washington, DC is an outlier, as it has one of the highest rates of transit use in the United States--not as high as New York City, but very high. 

For example, in DC, about 40% of trips to work are made by transit.  The rates are lower in the suburbs, but still very high compared to most other metropolitan areas.  About 700,000 people ride the subway during the week, and more than 500,000 people ride buses. 

Independent of the Metrobus system, Montgomery County Maryland's RideOn bus system is one of the highest use suburban bus systems in North America. 

O'Toole's piece slamming the Purple Line.  It happens that Randal O'Toole wrote an op-ed for the Washington Business Journal, stating that the Purple Line will be a failure.

Interestingly, none of O'Toole's examples of lower use systems are from DC, but from New Jersey and Baltimore--Baltimore lacks a transit network and has a dispersed set of employment centers, making transit use there comparatively low vis-a-vis DC.  They aren't relevant.

High transit use in the Purple Line corridor already.  Already about 60,000 bus riders use transit in the corridor to be served by the Purple Line.  The line would link four legs of the Metrorail system--the east and west legs of the Red Line, serving Montgomery County, the north leg of the Green Line and the east leg of the Orange Line, both of which serve Prince George's County--and would be integrated with it, further increasing the likelihood of use.

It is likely that from Day One, the Purple Line will have the largest ridership of any US light rail line, and at 16 miles long, will be significantly shorter than the 90-mile Dallas light rail system of four lines, which gets about 100,000 daily riders. 
Purple Line light rail map, property takings
Washington Post graphic of the proposed Purple Line route.

Do transit opponents fear successful transit?  Perhaps anti-transit advocates are afraid of the Purple Line?, because it's likely very high rate of success will spur more such projects, not fewer.

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At 5:16 PM, Anonymous rg said...

"Do transit opponents fear successful transit?"

Yes. A lot. The Purple Line is O'Toole's worst nightmare. If anything, official ridership estimates are low.

At 11:58 AM, Blogger Douglas Andrew Willinger said...

Has O'Toole ever wrote anything regarding reviving any of the canceled freeways?

He apparently is more anti transportation than anti transit.


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