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.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Don't over focus on "fixing" the WMATA Compact. Instead create a new Regional Transit Compact, of which WMATA is one component

A reiteration

In responding to a series of posts at GGW by Dan Tangherlini, former director of both DC's Department of Transportation and WMATA, I wrote ("The answer is: Create a single multi-state/regional multi-modal transit planning, management, and operations authority association") that the region's stakeholders seem to be overly focused on fixing WMATA--which yes, needs to be fixed--thinking that means that they are dealing with the region's full set of transit needs, not recognizing that the two issues:
  • Fixing WMATA
  • Ensuring that the Washington Metropolitan Area and the Baltimore-Washington Region have a robust, effective, efficient "21st century" transit system
are different.

My recommendation is the creation of the equivalent of a German-style "transport association" functioning at the regional scale, which would separate out planning from operations, and integrate transit services and fares in a way that focuses all the agencies on customer satisfaction.

After my piece, GGW published yet another entry, "We need a new WMATA Compact," this one by ex-WMATA and DDOT official Emeka Moneme, now of the Federal City Council  making the same kinds of points as Dan Tangherlini, focused on WMATA, rather than rethinking the vision, mission, and organization of transit planning, management, operations, and delivery in terms of both the metropolitan and regional scales within the context of the 21st century.

Sure, fix the WMATA Compact, as part of the creation of a new and bigger Transport Association "Compact" operating at the regional scale.

Sure, a regularized funding system is necessary for transit.  But this funding system shouldn't be limited to WMATA.  Furthermore, setting up a new "transit funding" mechanism but limiting the funding stream to WMATA could significantly encumber transit and transportation planning and development for the various jurisdictions.

The writings by the traditional members of the area's Growth Machine are proof that the old saw "Don't let a crisis go to waste" is mostly a chimera, because crisis tends to not bring out innovative responses and a willingness for people to wrestle with disagreements while focusing on achieving outstanding outcomes.

Instead, they are focused on maintaining what exists, more like plugging or patching a hole rather than rebuilding the wall.

DC-Maryland-Virginia can "fix WMATA" by amalgamating it within a new bigger, regionally-scaled transport compact (what they call a "transport association" in Germany).

In the previous entry, I called this the DMVTA--DC, Maryland, Virginia Transport Association.
Integrated rail transit map for the Washington DC Metropolitan area
Integrated rail transit map for the Washington DC Metropolitan area. Designed and Produced by Paul J. Meissner.

In the back and forth comments on the previous piece, charlie found some additional articles:

-- "A Mobility Wunderkind: Transportation lessons from Germany," Planning Magazine, December 2013
-- "Current Practice in Funding of Urban Transport: The Case of Germany," Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds

And there is this paper, which I think is just okay, "Regional Coordination in Public Transportation: Lessons from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland," from the Mid-Atlantic Urban Transportation Center.

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