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Nice. It's great that cities and communities across the country are becoming centers of cycling, not just places like Portland and college towns. The more that cities like Minneapolis, D.C., Boston, Portland, NYC and others show how cycling can be a successful part of a transportation network and a part of everyday life, the more broad-based political and social support there will be.

Now when can we get a Midtown Greenway in D.C.? I'm actually surprised that the Dept. of Homeland Security never listened to Eleanor Holmes Norton's arguments that some of the train tracks run too close to government offices downtown to be truly secure. If one of those train lines were ever shifted, then those rights-of-way could be ideal for a similar greenway in the heart of Washington. Only problem is that the tunnel under Maryland Ave. and 12th St. SW is filthy. They would need to take care of the rat problem before turning that into a greenway.

Maybe this will happen by... 2070?

Michael: there's a big difference. The Twin Cities had (has?) a fairly robust railroad network, and so a few of those rail lines (including the Midtown Greenway corridor) were able to be dropped because there were nearby alternatives for rail traffic. DC doesn't have that.

It's happened enough in the Twin Cities to where, offhand, I can think of six rail-trails in the area BESIDES the Midtown Greenway.


DC Had a very robust rail network, but it was modified in prior generations of city-beautiful type redevelopments, the main one that comes to mind was Daniel Burnham getting the Pennsylvania Railroad to be relocated from its sprawling depots along Louisiana and the Mall to instead terminate at Union Station, and for Freight activities to be relocated to the areas of NE near NY Ave and the Met Branch. There's also the WWII rail lines on the mall, the CCT, Met Branch, and I guess you could say the old trolley beds like the one that used to run down the center of PA Ave, or along the sides of East Capitol Street. So we do in fact have a lot of railbed that's now bike facilities, but a lot was used in creating aspects of the monumental core. I guess you could just look at it as a timing thing.

Is it just me, or is the swelling, positive music of Streetfilms just cloying at this point? I'm going to have to re-cut them with some death metal just as an antidote.

Will, the Twin Cities simply has more rail ROWs than DC does, even with all of the ex-rail ROW you list. DC's was and is fairly robust, but DC never had the kind of industrial uses that Minneapolis had/has.

DC basically has 2 corridors coming in from VA (W&OD, and the current CSX tracks) and three from MD (the CSX tracks towards Rockville, CSX to Baltimore, and the NEC to Baltimore), and a few spurs from those lines. Minneapolis sits on a couple of transcontinential lines and had far more extensive use of rail for local industry. Tons of old RRs in the Twin Cities, too - Great Northern, Northern Pacific, Soo Line, Milwaukee Road, etc - mergers and consolidations amongst them made many old ROWs redundant. It's not uncommon in many Midwest cities.

To Michael H's point, the only rail ROW that would be potentially abandoned in DC is the Virginia Ave tunnel, all of the other tracks are currently in use for passenger service. Even if freight were magically bypassed, all of the other ROW sees substantial commuter and Amtrak traffic.

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