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.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Quick response to Post article on potential new transit options in the DC area

In response to the Washington Post story "Are ferry, gondola, high-speed rail ideas for D.C. region realistic or fantasy" I was originally going to write, "no, yes, not in my lifetime, which would have been the shortest entry ever.

Ferry -- Not efficacious but I love the idea.

But the Potomac River isn't well situated in relation to activity centers.  It might change a bit with the re-creation of the Southwest Waterfront through the new Wharf development (which is a few minute walk to the Waterfront Station on the Green Line, which is between one-half to three-quarters of a mile away.

But you still have to get there from Downtown and other employment centers.  Georgetown isn't much of an office center, and don't people have better ways to get to Rosslyn than by the River?  Note that the ferries in New York City also have dedicated buses to take people to other points in Manhattan.

(Even I've seen many ferry ideas proffered over the past 25 years.)

Water taxi has more opportunity, but it's more of an attraction than a transit service.  There is service between Alexandria and National Harbor, and between those areas and the Washington Nationals Baseball Stadium, but the cost to ride is 4 times higher than a typical transit fare.

Gondola -- I think it makes sense, but I don't understand why it isn't being positioned as "capturing the Virginia-located Rosslyn Station for DC through inclusion of gondola transit service to Georgetown.

Otherwise people are criticizing the concept as kind of a toy.  To me, it seems like a cheap way to get DC another Metro station faster than the couple decades it would take to build a separated Silver Line.

Maglev -- cool as hell.  Technical challenges are considerable.  Cost of a ride probably too high for significant ridership numbers.  The Japanese system under construction will take a couple decades to implement.

For the Northeast Corridor, the issue of getting the right of way even more considerable than the technical and engineering issues.  The only way I can see it happening is by tunnelling under the current Amtrak Northeast Corridor right of way. Expensive.

And will Amtrak be willing to lease access to its competitor?



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