Turning the page back to '09 for more transportation reviews

By Robert Thomson
Sunday, January 17, 2010

On Jan. 3, I devoted the column to several reviews of 2009's transportation developments. Stewart Schwartz of the Coalition for Smarter Growth and David Alpert of Greater Greater Washington, an online forum for discussion of transportation issues, sent in their own best and worst list, offering a different take.

The best:

Metro at the inauguration: Metro successfully carried more than 1.5 million people to and from the Mall. Thousands more walked or bicycled through the city and across the Potomac River.

Dulles rail: The federal government approved Phase I to Wiehle Avenue. Fairfax County is replanning Tysons Corner into a mixed-use, walkable urban community around four new stations.

Purple Line: Maryland backed a light rail Purple Line to connect New Carrollton and Bethesda, promising to link people to jobs, offer an alternative to the Capital Beltway and revitalize communities.

Metro funding: Congress approved $150 million in 2010 for Metro maintenance and rehabilitation needs after commitments to local matches by the District, Maryland and Virginia.

Streetcars/bus corridors: The District proposed eight streetcar lines, Arlington County plans a line on Columbia Pike, and residents hope to connect to more lines in Alexandria and Fairfax. Other regional corridors are proposed for express bus service.

NextBus: NextBus has made riding many buses more pleasant by telling riders when one is coming. The District created a similar service for the Circulator.

Virginia's sustainable policies: Virginia adopted land-use policies to reduce traffic and the cost of transportation, protect rural highways and connect new neighborhoods. Rail plans would improve service in the Washington-Richmond-Hampton Roads corridor, VRE and Amtrak.

Greater Washington 2050: This Council of Governments plan recognizes the importance of transit-oriented development, affordable housing and mixed-use communities to address traffic, jobs access, high energy costs and climate change.

Car sharing: Zipcar membership continues to expand as more people find that it saves the cost and hassle of car ownership.

Gilberts Corner roundabouts: This Loudoun County project, initiated by its residents, shows how roundabouts in place of rural highway traffic lights can reduce delays and improve safety.

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