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The complaint about the lack of citizen input is sour grapes at its worst. MTA and Mont. Co. have been taking citizen input on the Purple Line/Trail for over 23 years. I outlined some of the planning efforts with public hearings at http://www.silverspringtrails.org/?p=1117
In addition, the Purple Line has been a major issue during the local elections, and pro-Purple Line/trail candidates have won election by large majorities. It is not by accident that the Mont. Co. Council and Executive are unanamous in support of the Purple Line.

Small vocal minorities will not be happy until it is their voice that is heard over all others.

Re: the PA Avenue bike lanes video - at about 7 seconds in, a red car is seen making a left turn from westbound Pennsylvania Avenue. It sits in the bike lanes while waiting to make the turn. Is this the legal/safe/kosher way for cars to turn here?

FWIW, about the Gazette letter, about 3-4 years ago, opponents--mostly from Chevy Chase--to the transit line in Montgomery County switched to the "narrative" that the transit line was basically a giveaway to developers, and that transit advocates are in the pocket of developers.

If you look at quotes in the various Gazette articles, as well as the various letters to the editor, you will see this theme repeated and repeated and repeated.

Wayne is correct. The need for the Purple Line is blindingly obvious to anyone who travels near those areas. The right of way of the Line itself is on land "banked" for future rail use, which is why it never reverted to the adjacent property owners. Finally, the cycling community earned its place at the table with constructive input and a desire to work with County planners.

All the opponents offered were criticisms of the cost versus Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), highly ironic objections to its impact on the natural environment, and the above-mentioned line about developers. The costs are the only semi-valid line of complaint. It is phenomenally expensive to build any kind of transportation infrastructure these days. The problem is that the alternatives are (a) do nothing or (b) BRT, which is "saving" money only if you disregard the fact that most of it would run along the same traffic-clogged streets we have now, not to mention public resistance to riding busses versus a premium form of transit like rail. Spending less is not saving money if the alternative doesn't work.

Krickey7, I agree about costs being a valid line of complaint. Does anyone know if they did a cost/benefit analysis on the project? I have to think it's been done. The other valid line is that "we should really be building a subway line instead." But there again, I'm pretty sure an analysis was done. And, frankly, that horse has already left the barn.

I've seen quite a few mid-block u-turns through the PA Ave median bike lanes, and it's not just taxies. There are some signaled left turns, but not at every block I don't think. Pedestrians use the lanes as a safe island midway across, sometimes blocking bikes. Some parked "official vehicles" occasionally. Overall though, I've been pleasantly surprised how few problems there seem to be in those lanes, given the apocalyptic rhetoric of some of my colleagues at work when they were being installed. For the most part lane users (including those dang Segways) seem to be getting along and traffic doesn't seem any worse. But maybe I don't know all the problems...

Any info on how many folks have signed up for Bike to Work Day to date?

I don't have access to the studies of various aletrnative. I do know they looked at burying it. Even though it would be the cheapest version of "subway", the "cut and fill" as opposed to tunnelling, it's still far more expensive.

I'm a bit torn about the costs, to be honest. I come down on the side that in the future, it will be even more expensive to build transportation infrastructure, if it's even possible at all. We will not, for example, see another project like the Purple Line or the ICC in our lifetimes.

If you believe otherwise, I have a Second Crossing to sell you.

@NeilB-

No, it's not kosher. Among other things, the lane markings indicate that the car was in a "go straight only" lane.

That said, I too have been surprised at how (relatively) few cars I see parking and/or turning in the PA Ave. bike lanes. I've come across a few parked cars outside of the Justice Department and generally see maybe one illegal turn every week or two.

I like the handlebar cam videos, but they remind me of the beginning of Police Squad.

Cost-benefit studies were done. They are required as part of the application process to the FTA. The ACT folks would be the people to ask about details.

The problem with subway is that it costs $400 million/mile to tunnel (cut and cover is less). To justify that kind of expense you have to plan for 100-150,000 riders/day per line. (More or less).

That's more than double the ridership that is expected on the Purple Line, which is still high, and higher than any of the ridership on "successful" light rail lines elsewhere in the US such as in Dallas or Minneapolis.

I think because the region knows what transit is that ridership could end up being higher than the high estimates.

Although to fully achieve this will require PG County to completely rethink and reposition how it does transit though, comparable to how MoCo set up the RideOn system initially to get people to and from the red line stations.

I will say the recent plan the Chevy Chase Land Company floated for massive development around the Chevy Chase stop fed into the residents' worst fears.

There will be higher density--and that's a good thing--but nothing like the developer wet dream they released. 1.1 million square feet of retail and office space, 3,000 residences and a 150-room hotel in buildings that range from five to 19 stories tall? Not happening.

@Anon,
I don't know, but I know that Crystal City is going all-out to become Bike Central and hosting a full Bike to Work Week, every workday next week. (They also have the Air Force Cycling Classic/Crystal Ride event coming up next month. Lots of bike events going on there along with the easy access to the MVT.)

***
It would be nice to have better bike access on and around Columbia Pike, especially now that some of the Court House/Rosslyn CaBi stations have been installed. There don't seem to be ideal bike routes between Pentagon City and Court House. Lots of subpar sidewalks next to high-speed roads and a mess of a crossing at Pershing Drive.

I'd love to see a better bike path in that section of Arlington. That would encourage CaBi users to ride directly between Pentagon City and Court House/Clarendon (when those stations open later this year).

Nothing like someone complaining about how he hasn't had a chance to complain.

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