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Old 10-22-2009, 05:40 PM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
30,184 posts, read 67,327,076 times
Reputation: 15830

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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?
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Old 10-22-2009, 07:45 PM
 
4,711 posts, read 10,890,602 times
Reputation: 3774
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScranBarre View Post
...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.

It's not "feasable" for you to wait a whole 30 MINUTES for a bus?

No pal, it's feasable, it's just not CONVENIENT. Buses could come every 30 seconds and driving alone would still be more convenient....because heck, you'd still have to walk a block or two in the cold or heat to get to the bus stop!

Yes, life would be grand if everybody ELSE rode the bus! Trouble is, everybody else is thinking the same thing...
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Old 10-22-2009, 08:14 PM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
30,184 posts, read 67,327,076 times
Reputation: 15830
Quote:
Originally Posted by car54 View Post
It's not "feasable" for you to wait a whole 30 MINUTES for a bus?

No pal, it's feasable, it's just not CONVENIENT. Buses could come every 30 seconds and driving alone would still be more convenient....because heck, you'd still have to walk a block or two in the cold or heat to get to the bus stop!

Yes, life would be grand if everybody ELSE rode the bus! Trouble is, everybody else is thinking the same thing...
Buses run every 15 minutes in many other areas. Why after a long hard 9-hour day at the salt mine would I want to stand out in the cold for another 30 minutes just to sit on a bus for another 30 minutes when I could just drive home from the office in 20 minutes? Make mass transit more CONVENIENT, and yes, people WILL take it. Right now what incentive do I have to waste an extra 40 minutes of my life everyday staring at the "natural beauty" of Tyson's Corner?
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Old 10-22-2009, 08:17 PM
 
Location: Arlington, VA and Washington, DC
23,631 posts, read 33,419,067 times
Reputation: 32344
How about making it more cost-efficient to take metro vs. driving when you work AND live inside the beltway?

Good example my commute from Landmark to Ballston.

Option 1: Drive to Van Dorn Metro and park (if I can even find a space) $4.50, ride the blue and orange line to Ballston $3.30, come back which is another $3.30. Cost per day: $11.10. Cost for 20 days of commuting per month: $222, take out $50 for employer offered metro benefits to $170 a month.

Option 2: Drive to Ballston and pay for monthly parking at Ballston Commons about $4 a day. Use not even a gallon of gas for $2. Cost per day: $6 Cost per month: $120.

Do not even get me started on how much time I save by driving.
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Old 10-22-2009, 08:19 PM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
30,184 posts, read 67,327,076 times
Reputation: 15830
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alanboy395 View Post
How about making it more cost-efficient to take metro vs. driving when you work AND live inside the beltway?

Good example my commute from Landmark to Ballston.

Option 1: Drive to Van Dorn Metro and park (if I can even find a space) $4.50, ride the blue and orange line to Ballston $3.30, come back which is another $3.30. Cost per day: $11.10. Cost for 20 days of commuting per month: $222, take out $50 for employer offered metro benefits to $170 a month.

Option 2: Drive to Ballston and pay for monthly parking at Ballston Commons about $4 a day. Use not even a gallon of gas for $2. Cost per day: $6 Cost per month: $120.

Do not even get me started on how much time I save by driving.
Exactly. As long as it is both cheaper AND quicker to drive, people will continue to do so. I could walk 1/2-mile and then wait a half-hour everyday after work to catch a bus that charges me $1.25, or I can just hop in the car and drive home in 20 minutes and spend perhaps $1 in gas. What "incentive" is there for me to pay more to wait longer?
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Old 10-22-2009, 08:24 PM
 
Location: Virginia Beach/Norfolk.
1,556 posts, read 3,842,963 times
Reputation: 414
Well, it would cost a heckuva lot more $$ to run busses every 5-10 minutes to make it convienent to everyone. Even then you'd be wasting 20 minutes of your life every day. Bus transportation is never fast as driving yourself. Since you don't normally encounter traffic, why would you even consider the bus? People ride mass transit becuase if they didn't they would sit in hours of traffic.
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Old 10-22-2009, 08:59 PM
 
4,711 posts, read 10,890,602 times
Reputation: 3774
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScranBarre View Post
Buses run every 15 minutes in many other areas. Why after a long hard 9-hour day at the salt mine would I want to stand out in the cold for another 30 minutes just to sit on a bus for another 30 minutes when I could just drive home from the office in 20 minutes? Make mass transit more CONVENIENT, and yes, people WILL take it. Right now what incentive do I have to waste an extra 40 minutes of my life everyday staring at the "natural beauty" of Tyson's Corner?

Then you are part of the problem. A bus will never be convenient enough for you...just for other people.

I rode a MetroBus from Annandale to the Pentagon for over 20 years, so I walked the walk...literally!
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Old 10-22-2009, 09:20 PM
 
Location: Arlington, VA
593 posts, read 2,246,255 times
Reputation: 301
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?
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Old 10-22-2009, 09:24 PM
 
Location: Virginia Beach/Norfolk.
1,556 posts, read 3,842,963 times
Reputation: 414
^^ It'd never fly. Maybe extend the shoulder a little and use it for emergency vehicles AND busses ONLY. But just flat taking a lane wouldn't work. You can't inconvenience the majority, just so maybe 1000 people can ride a bus
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Old 10-22-2009, 10:10 PM
 
132 posts, read 286,852 times
Reputation: 88
We should better use the airport lanes of the toll road. During rush hours we should open one of the lanes. We could devise a system using license plate number to manage who can get on that lane.
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