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Old 10-22-2009, 10:25 PM
 
Location: Arlington, VA
182 posts, read 475,943 times
Reputation: 113

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Suggesting more frequent bus service during peak hours from Tysons to highly populated, outside the beltway areas such as Reston is not only a practical idea, but one that is relatively less-costly (compared to building heavy rail). If there were rapid bus service from largely residential suburbs such as Ashburn and Fairfax (besides at 5am and 630am) to job centers along Rte 28, 267, 7, I'd be one of the first to hop onboard. To state that transportation is woefully inadequate in this region is a huge understatement.

Many young folks in my office live in Arlington, Fairfax, and west of work and have no choice but to drive to work, but would take transit if it was a viable option. Let me emphasize, this isn't a "pushing the envelope" idea either, most large cities have a comprehensive network of efficient mass transit (NYC, SF, Chicago immediately come to mind). Makes sense too, the more transit you have, the more the region can grow and accomodate its residents effectively without unnecessary congestions, sprawl, etc. This isn't rocket science!

Last edited by FindingZen; 10-23-2009 at 05:51 AM.. Reason: edited out reference to deleted post
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Old 10-22-2009, 10:54 PM
 
Location: Arlington, VA
593 posts, read 2,246,138 times
Reputation: 301
Quote:
Originally Posted by cityboi757 View Post
^^ It'd never fly...just flat taking a lane wouldn't work. You can't inconvenience the majority, just so maybe 1000 people can ride a bus
I wouldn't say that it'd never fly...
There are major networks of bus-only lanes in Australia, Chile, London, Madrid, Hong Kong, NYC...heck, even Los Angeles is working on implementing a bus-only lane.

Bus-only lanes are a way to utilize the existing roads -- and using them more efficiently. By taking 1 existing lane of mixed-flow traffic (cars, buses, etc.) and using it exclusively for buses, you can triple or quadruple the lane's utility.
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Old 10-23-2009, 05:58 AM
 
130 posts, read 323,699 times
Reputation: 81
That's assuming you could get the nitwit metro DC area drivers to stay out of the "bus only" lanes. Show them an open lane, while they;re stuck in traffic, and they'll jump in it, and risk getting pulled over...or not.
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Old 10-23-2009, 06:06 AM
 
1,328 posts, read 2,697,129 times
Reputation: 1000
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScranBarre View Post
We all definitely seem to be in agreement that one of the largest drawbacks to living in Northern Virginia is the heinous traffic congestion during peak hours that seem to be starting just a tad earlier and ending just a tad later everyday. Just this morning I wasn't feeling well when my alarm went off at 5 AM so I decided to "sleep in" until 6:15 AM to shake off what ailed me. I left my home in Reston at 6:55 AM and got to work in the Tyson's Corner section of McLean---a trip of perhaps seven miles---nearly a full hour later due to the bumper-to-bumper congestion along Route 7. Traffic was gridlocked from Tyson's all the way out to Baron Cameron Avenue and points beyond. Since I normally commute to work at around 6 AM I had never experienced traffic quite this bad in the mornings, and now what worries me is that I'm certain thousands of more commuters may also soon be clogging the narrow four-lane Route 7 in the coming months to avoid the higher tolls along Route 267.

We need a solution, and with rapid population growth on the horizon we need one quickly. I have numerous ideas on how we could improve the infrastructural MESS that is NoVA, and I'd love to hear some of yours as well. Here are some of my ideas:

1.) Stop pandering to the Loudoun County "anti-mass transit" whiners and actually BUILD the Silver Line between Falls Church and Ashburn with stops at Dulles Airport, Herndon, Reston, and Tyson's Corner. Also expand the Yellow Line south to the Ft. Belvoir/Woodbridge areas. Consider running an express shuttle bus between a new park & ride in Leesburg and the Ashburn metrorail station.

2.) Provide incentives for employers to stagger work schedules and promote telecommuting. Encourage employers to offer four-day work-weeks with rotating days off amongst the staff (i.e. new hires get Wednesdays off to start and then work their way towards being able to get Mondays or Fridays off as they gain seniority). Make it easier for employees to carpool by offering "slugging" bulletin boards in highly-visible areas where co-workers can easily find ways to connect with people who live nearby and work similar schedules.

3.) Improve the bus service between major residential centers (i.e. Reston) and major job centers (i.e. Tyson's Corner). The reason why I currently don't take the bus is because it is NOT feasible for me to wait around a full half-hour after work waiting for a bus to come only to sit and ride it a half-hour home when I could just drive myself in 20 minutes (when not traveling during peak hours), saving 40 minutes per day. That's over three hours per week I'd be wasting just waiting around in the cold for a bus to arrive. If the buses ran every 15 minutes during peak hours I might feel differently.

What are some other ideas on how to fix this horrible mess?
Well alot of what you are suggesting is not new...The government offers a quite nice incentive for federal workers to take mass transit, as well as many large companies. Alternate work schedules are the norm where I work, 9 hour days and a day off every other week. We have some people that telecommute at least 2-3 days a week. There are telecommute facilities in Reston that many of our people use (I'm near Belvoir) and my office here has a telecommute facilties for employees that work downtown.

We offer vanpools for employees, vans are provided by the government, and there are tons of carpools in this area. All posted on various Bulletin boards. Your company might not offer any of the above, but many already do.

As for the bus, that is a mindset that you aren't going to change, at least not any time soon. You even stated the bus doesn't work for you. Even if it came every 15 minutes or 5 minutes, if there is no huge line waiting for the bus, why should they. I see 1 or 2 people at every other stop, that just doesn't compute in the bottom line of the bus service.
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Old 10-23-2009, 06:09 AM
 
7,968 posts, read 18,076,790 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScranBarre View Post
1.) Stop pandering to the Loudoun County "anti-mass transit" whiners and actually BUILD the Silver Line between Falls Church and Ashburn with stops at Dulles Airport, Herndon, Reston, and Tyson's Corner. Also expand the Yellow Line south to the Ft. Belvoir/Woodbridge areas. Consider running an express shuttle bus between a new park & ride in Leesburg and the Ashburn metrorail station.
The process of "Phase I" to Wiehle Avenue in Reston has already started, albeit slowly. If/when it goes forward to Dulles and beyond would also depend on the state of the economy after Phase I opens for business.

RE: The Yellow Line expansion, express buses with even more limited stops than the current REX line would help alleviate the crush when the new Fort Belvoir commuters start arriving in full force. OmniRide might also benefit from running a bus that goes through Woodbridge and onto Ft. Belvoir. But again, those Metrorail funds aren't coming anytime soon.

Quote:
2.) Provide incentives for employers to stagger work schedules and promote telecommuting. Encourage employers to offer four-day work-weeks with rotating days off amongst the staff (i.e. new hires get Wednesdays off to start and then work their way towards being able to get Mondays or Fridays off as they gain seniority). Make it easier for employees to carpool by offering "slugging" bulletin boards in highly-visible areas where co-workers can easily find ways to connect with people who live nearby and work similar schedules.
The Federal Goverment already offers four-day workweeks - or nine-hour/nine-day schedules - to its employees, which I imagine inspired your idea. Some private employers likely do this as well; it wouldn't hurt to expand that more for those whose daily presence isn't vital.

Quote:
3.) Improve the bus service between major residential centers (i.e. Reston) and major job centers (i.e. Tyson's Corner).
I don't doubt there's room for improvement. In my experience, it's not quite so bad inside the Beltway: in Annandale, for example, there are a whole fleet of buses running "all the time" up and down Rt. 236 (Little River Turnpike).

Last edited by FindingZen; 10-23-2009 at 06:47 AM.. Reason: typo
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Old 10-23-2009, 06:11 AM
 
7,968 posts, read 18,076,790 times
Reputation: 2593
Quote:
Originally Posted by slduvall View Post
Well alot of what you are suggesting is not new...The government offers a quite nice incentive for federal workers to take mass transit, as well as many large companies. Alternate work schedules are the norm where I work, 9 hour days and a day off every other week. We have some people that telecommute at least 2-3 days a week. There are telecommute facilities in Reston that many of our people use (I'm near Belvoir) and my office here has a telecommute facilties for employees that work downtown.

We offer vanpools for employees, vans are provided by the government, and there are tons of carpools in this area. All posted on various Bulletin boards. Your company might not offer any of the above, but many already do.
Yeah... what s/he said. (I'm a little slow on the typing trigger this morning, apparently. LOL)
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Old 10-23-2009, 06:36 AM
 
Location: Arlington, VA
1,430 posts, read 3,490,158 times
Reputation: 778
Quote:
Originally Posted by DCguy03 View Post
Actually this talk about buses makes a lot of sense. Now I'd also like to see the silver line built, and I think that it will happen but we all know that for many reasons, it'll take much longer than planned (hopefully not as bad as Boston's Big Dig). So although Silver Line is a long-term solution, I see buses as a great short-term fix. Here's the plan, Scran:
  • Restrict one of the highway lanes to be buses-only during rush hour. Don't waste money on another lane--just take away a general use lane from the cars. Yes, this will make it more of a hassle to drive a single-occupant car to work, but that's the idea - you want speed? Take the bus!
  • The buses will go so fast (compared to cars) that more people will want to take them.
  • This increased demand will allow them to add more buses, so they will be able to pick up ScranBarre and others every 15 minutes (which I completely understand...life is too short to waste 3 hours a week wondering if the bus will show).
  • And also, these wouldn't be the clunky old buses from the '80s. They would be efficient and comfortable:


I know that some people would protest "you can't take away our lane!" but when you think about it, the system is already broken. Traffic congestion and commute times are terrible, and there will be no end to it if everyone is driving in their own cars. There is currently NO quick option to get from, well, Reston to Tyson's at rush hour. It's impossible.

But with bus-only lanes, you'd actually have a way to get there quickly. Like this...

http://www.ottawa.ca/residents/onthemove/driving/traffic/transit_priority/freeway_en-1.jpg (broken link)

Thoughts?
Already done on 267 heading towards the 66 junction during the rush hours and I personally think it is a waste of a lane. It annoys me so much to be clogged in traffic heading back into Arlington and to see only a few buses pass by in an otherwise empty lane.

And the government along with many private sector employers here already offer flex scheduling...it's part of the reason you see traffic bogging down on most major roads by 3 p.m.

The problem with mass transit (as others have echoed on here) is that it is always everybody elses responsibility to take it. There is always some "justifiable" reason why many mass transit advocates can never personally use it themselves...then there are those of us who use it fairly regularly and aren't huge fans of it. Also..it isn't just people in the outer suburbs who fail to use mass transit. I know plenty of people in my Arlington complex that drive into DC, not to mention other employees at various client sites downtown that drive to work from various NW neighborhoods that are also transit accessible. It really comes down to personal preferences, and a lot more people prefer cars.

Last edited by NOVAmtneer82; 10-23-2009 at 06:55 AM..
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Old 10-23-2009, 06:37 AM
 
2,462 posts, read 8,053,821 times
Reputation: 995
"Make mass transit more CONVENIENT, and yes, people WILL take it."

Mass transit will NEVER be as convenient as driving your own car, on your own schedule, especially in spread-out suburban areas.
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Old 10-23-2009, 06:43 AM
 
Location: Virginia
18,717 posts, read 26,898,941 times
Reputation: 42861
Quote:
Originally Posted by claremarie View Post
"Make mass transit more CONVENIENT, and yes, people WILL take it."

Mass transit will NEVER be as convenient as driving your own car, on your own schedule, especially in spread-out suburban areas.
Sad, but very, very true. I used to live in L.A. and about 15 years ago we had the Northridge Earthquake which did some serious damage to the freeways. The mass transit fans were convinced that people would be finally start carpooling, taking the bus, telecommuting, whatever it took to avoid the traffic nightmare that occurred right after that earthquake.

And people did, for about a week. Then reality hit. Everyone found out that mass transit just isn't as convenient as driving a car, even if you're stuck in horrendous traffic because an earthquake destroyed your freeways.
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Old 10-23-2009, 06:46 AM
 
Location: Virginia
18,717 posts, read 26,898,941 times
Reputation: 42861
We need to think outside the box. Somebody needs to perfect that transporter beam idea from Star Trek.
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