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					Transit Times
The Newsletter of the Action Committee for Transit, Montgomery County, Maryland
Volume 13, Number 4, October 1999

                                                      press conference nixing the InterCounty
    ACT's next monthly meetings will take             Connector (ICC) [see next news article below]
    place at 7:30 PM, October 12,1999 and             came the Governor's announcement of $ 1
    November 9, 1999 at the Silver Spring             billion worth of road and transit initiatives. He
    Center, 8818 Georgia Avenue.                      called it the largest construction program in
                                                      state history. As part of this program is the
    October Topic: Bus Priority System on             encouraging news that $ 6 million will be
          Viers Mill Road by Rob Klein,               made available for the Georgetown Branch
           DPWT                                       Trail and Transitway. The $ 6 million would
                                                      be used by the state Mass Transit
    November Topic: To Be Determined
                                                      Administration for the next two major steps.

Featu re Articles                                             One step is to prepare the final
                                                      environmental impact statement (FE IS). The
                                                      FEIS will address comments raised during
•	       $ 6 Million for Georgetown
                                                      the public process for the draft environmental
                Branch Trolley (p. 1)
                                                      impact statement that was completed in May
•        Glendening Nixes ICC (p. 2)                  1996. The FEIS leads to a Record of
•        U of MD Supports Purple Line (p. 3)          Decision, stating the offiCially preferred
•	       Craig Simpson Receives Hero                  alternative for the project. [There were four
                Award (p. 3)                          alternatives: no-build, busway with diesel
•	       ACT Testimony on Transportation              buses, busway with hybrid dual-powered
                Policy Report (p. 5)                  trolley buses, and light rail.] The Federal
•	       No Congestion Relief Without                 Transit Administration (FTA) must approve
                Changing Growth Pattern               the FEIS in order for the project to qualify for
                                                      Federal funds (including fund transfers from
•        News You Can Use -- Smart Growth             highway projects). The FEIS is required by
                                                      the National Environmental Policy Act.
•        1-270 Corridor (p. 7)
•	       New Mid-City Metrorail Green Line                    The second step is preliminary
                 Opens (p. 8)
                                                      engineering design for the project.
•        WMATA Operates Ride-On Routes                Preliminary engineering design goes hand-in­
                 (p. 10)
                                                      hand with the FEIS because certain
•        MARC Service Threatened (p. 10)              questions (or public comments) cannot be
•	       Fixing the 50% Farebox Recovery              answered without developing the deSign for
                 Mandate (p. 12)
                                                      the project in more detail.       Preliminary
•	       More $$ in Northern Virginia for             engineering design is also what distinguishes
                 Transit than Roads (p. 13)
                                                      FEISs for transportation projects from those
•        Late Night Metrorail Service (p. 15)         for other projects.
•        ACT Testimony on Smart Growth.
                  (p. 15)
                                                             These two steps will take 3 years to
                                                      accomplish (~ yr. for procurement, 2 yrs. for
Governor Announces $ 6 Million                        actual work, and ~ yr. for FTA approval).
for Georgetown Branch Trolley
                                    Quon Kwan                 As a side note, included in the $ 1
                                                      billion program is $26.6 million for the
         The day after Governor Glendening's          Metrorail Blue Line extension in Prince
                                                      George's County (from Addison Road to
2                                                             Transit Times, v. 13, n. 4, October 1999

Largo near the National Capital Beltway).                 growth patterns so that sprawl no longer eats
The eastern leg of the Blue Line is the only              away forest, farmlands, and open space.
leg in the entire Metrorail system that does              U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and
not reach the Beltway. The money is for the               U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service oppose a
purchase of right-of-way and advanced                     roadway along the Master Plan Alignment
engineering design (to take place over 6                  between Northwest Branch and Paint Branch
years) for the 2-station, 3.1-mile extension.             because of severe, adverse impacts to a
                                                          sensitive stream valley.       The ICC draft
         Funding of these phases for the two              environmental impact statement shows that
transit projects is consistent with the                   most of the trips that would use an ICC do not
Governor's support for mass transit [see next             go from one end to the other but are trips to
article below].                                           major job centers in the 1-270 and 1-95
        ACT President Ben Ross wrote a
letter dated September 25, 1999 expressing                        As an alternative to the ICC, the
wholehearted appreciation for proceeding                  Governor supports two roadways:         one
with the Georgetown Branch project and                    between 1-370 and Georgia Avenue and
supporting the decision to cancel the ICC.                another between US 29 and US 1. Both
                                                          would lie along the Master Plan Alignment of
                                                          the ICC and are also recommended by the
                                                          Transportation Policy Report [see ACT
 Que Pasa?                                                Testimony on these roads and this report
 Just a lot of news - so many newsworthy
                                                                 The middle        portion   (between
 events have transpired over the last two                 Northwest Branch and Paint Branch) of the
 months since the last newsletter.                        ICC Master Plan Alignment would be
                                                          preserved as a right-of-way for mass transit
                                                          (and mass transit only) to connect Rockville,
Glendening Nixes ICC                                      MARC lines, and Prince George's County 10
                                     Quon Kwan            or 20 years from now.

                                                                  Also as an alternative to the $ 1.5
        On September 23, 1999, Maryland
                                                          billion ICC is a $250 million strategy to
Governor Glendening announced, "I will not
                                                          improve 14 key intersections. These include
build the InterCounty Connector (ICC) ... I
                                                          MD 28 at Gude Drive, MD 355 at
have instructed the State Highway
                                                          Montgomery Village Avenue, MD 212 at
Administration to immediately sell the right-of­
                                                          Cherry Hill Road, and US 1 at Cherry Lane.
way along the proposed northern
                                                          Interchanges include US 29 at MD 198 and
                                                          Briggs Chaney Road.
          The reasons he gave for his "tough
                                                                  He said, "Finally, I firmly believe that
decision" were as follows: The ICC "is doing
                                                          now is the time to get serious about mass
EXACTLY what it was intended not to do. It
                                                          transit . . . That is why we have outlined a
is literally dividing citizens instead of bringing
                                                          plan to double the number of mass transit
the region together." For almost 50 years
                                                          trips per day by 2020 [referring to the
(ICC was first proposed in 1950), families
                                                          Maryland Transit Advisory Panel's report]."
have lived in fear, not knowing if a highway
would be built through their neighborhoods.
                                                                 At press time, Maryland Senate
He repeated his commitment to Smart
                                                          President Thomas Miller, House Speaker
Growth [see "News You Can Use - Smart
                                                          Caspar Taylor, Comptroller Donald Schaefer,
Growth" below]. The state has to change its
                                                          and Treasurer Richard Dixon and County


3                                                            Transit Times, v. 13, n. 4, October 1999

Executive Douglas Duncan vowed                  to        programs and (2) Federal agencies, such as
challenge Glendening's decision.                          the National Institutes of Health and Food &
                                                          Drug Administration, headquartered in
                                                          Montgomery County.
                                                                  Inner Purple Line stops in the campus
                                                          vicinity would be at the science and
 "A doctrine or practice that emphasizes                  technology area of the campus and the town
 direct vigorous action in support of or                  center of College Park. The on-campus stop
 opposition to one side of a controversial                provides easy access to the new Clarice
 issue"                                                   Smith Center for the Performing Arts,
                                                          basketball arena, and football stadium.
 -- Webster's Ninth New Collegiate

 Transit is often times controversial in a
 society that is autocentric (i.e .. centered
 around the automobile).                                  Craig Simpson Receives Hero
                                                          Award from Civic Federation
                                                                                             Ben Ross

University of Maryland Supports                                   ACT activist and union leader Craig
Purple Line                                               Simpson was recently honored by
                                        Quon Kwan         Montgomery County Civic Federation. Craig
                                                          Simpson was born in Montgomery County
        The official support of the university is         and graduated from Springbrook High
expressed in a letter dated September 23,                 School. Since March 1973, he worked as a
1999 from Charles F. Sturtz, Vice President               Metrobus driver, starting at Metrobus's
for Administrative Affairs to William H.                  Western Division, then moving to Northern
Hussman, Chairman of the Montgomery                       Division and Montgomery Division. He has
County Planning Board. The letter comments                driven routes throughout the County.
on the Planning Board's Transportation Policy
Report [see article on p. 5 below].                              He is on a leave of absence from
                                                          Metrobus while serving Local 689 of the
       ACT activist Webb Smedley worked                   Amalgamated Transit Union.       Local 689
hard to garner the official support of the                represents Metrorail and Metrobus
university for the inner Purple Line. [The                employees. He started with Local 689 by
inner Purple Line is a proposed                           being elected Shop Steward in 1983 and
circumferential rail line inside the Beltway              appointed Business Agent in 1989. He was
between Tyson's Corner and New Carrollton.]               elected Secretary-Treasurer of Local 689 in
                                                          1993 and reelected in 1997.
       Although the university is not in
Montgomery County, it urged the Planning                          When the Glenmont Metro station
Board to "not ignore the realities of our                 opened last year, a new route, the C8
regional economic and transportation system tt            Metrobus, between Glenmont and College
and the "close ties" with Montgomery County.              Park was added. This is only the second bus
The university recognizes that the inner                  route to connect Montgomery County to the
Purple Line would relieve Beltway traffic while           University of Maryland although some 24% of
at the same time strengthen research ties                 Maryland students come from the County. A
between (1) the university's internationally              separate Ride-On bus, route 40, connects
recognized programs in engineering,                       Glenmont and White Flint.
computer sciences, physics, and life sciences


4                                                          Transit Times, v. 13, n. 4, October 1999

        Both routes initially ran only in rush         payers) are getting for their money.
hour, but as many civic groups pointed out, a
rush-hour bus did not serve student                            Next summer, it now appears the C8
schedules. Since the conversion of both the            bus will be extended to White Flint. It will
C8 and the 40 to all-day service, the two              vastly improve the daily commute for
routes have been rapidly gaining riders.               hundreds of Maryland students and White
Nonetheless, the service fell far short of             Oak residents. It will do its small part to
potential because users of these buses to              relieve congestion that burdens the County at
cross the County were forced to transfer at            a savings of $70,000/year.
Glenmont, waiting as long as 20-25 minutes
between the two routes.                                        Equally important will be the message
                                                       that the C8 bus carries -- how union and civic
       Groups including ACT, the Greater               leaders can work together for efficiency and
Colesville Civic Association, Manor Lake Civic         openness in government. It's a lesson worth
Association, and the Western Montgomery                applying to other County services.
Regional Advisory Board called for combining
the two routes to provide for continuous trips         Kudos to Craig!
between White Flint Metro and the University
of Maryland as well as between White Oak
residences and jobs in North Bethesda.                 ACT        Testimony     on
Craig Simpson called upon his union to back
the proposal.
                                                       Transportation Policy Report
                                                                                         Harry Sanders
          Because the C8 route is a regional
                                                                ACT Co-founder and Vice President
route and longer than the 40 route, it was
                                                       Harry Sanders (also member of Citizens
only logical that the proposal converted the
                                                       Planning Association and Advisory Team to
White Flint - Glenmont segment from Ride­
                                                       Planning Board) testified on September 9,
On service to Metrobus service. The County
                                                       1999 on the Montgomery County Planning
Department of Public Works and
                                                       Board's draft Transportation Policy Report
Transportation told the Council that Metrobus
                                                       (TPR). First and short was praise for placing
service on this segment would cost
                                                       priority on the Georgetown Branch trolley.
$480,000/year more than Ride-On. Because
of the importance of creating more east-west
                                                       Second and long was the weakness of the
transit links, the Council's Transportation and
                                                       draft TPR -- lack of a visionary focus. "I [i.e.,
Environment Committee voted to budget
                                                       Harry Sanders] Signed on for hundreds of
$360,000 for a 9-month trial of the proposal.
                                                       hours of work to develop a citizens land use­
                                                       transportation scenario thinking this
        Just before final Council action on the
                                                       document would be visionary. However, it
budget, Craig Simpson learned that Metrobus
                                                       fails the Daniel Burnham test - this is NOT
could operate the route 40 segment for
                                                       a 'plan that will move people.' This is ... a
$70,000 less than Ride-On. He immediately
                                                       long list of road projects for construction by
fired a letter to the Council, which removed
                                                       2020, including widening the Beltway with
the budgeted $360,000.
                                                       HOV [High Occupancy Vehicle] lanes,
                                                       creating a western ICC link, and making US
        In the short run, the result is that
                                                       29 an expressway north of Four Corners.
$360,000 will be saved on bus service in the
                                                       This highway vision is guaranteed to ensure
coming fiscal year. Craig Simpson knows
                                                       continued gridlock ..."
that public services can only thrive by
delivering fair value to who support them.
                                                               [Editor's note: every single road
Essential to the tacit understanding between
                                                       project of any kind that was proposed during
the public and its public servants is accurate
                                                       the course of the TPR study was
disclosure of what taxpayers (and fare


5                                                              Transit Times, v. 13, n. 4, October 1999
recommended regardless of cost,                        (5) 	      Factor in induced demand -- [the
environmental impact, community impact, or                        phenomenon that expansion of road
effectiveness. On the other hand. only a few                      capacity draws more vehicles to use
select transit projects were recommended,                         the new roads or new lanes resulting
such as the Georgetown Branch trolley,                            in more traffic leading to a vicious,
Corridor Cities Transitway light rail, and                        self-perpetuating cycle of the need for
Grosvenor to Montgomery Mall light rail.]                         more roads resulting in more traffic,
         " ... We urge the Board to support
our vision - an efficient transit network that                 Using these five factors in the
gives most residents of Montgomery County              evaluation would cause projects like HOV
a true long- term alternative to our congested         lanes on the Beltway and the western ICC
roads particularly during peak hours. I am             link to be dropped from the draft TPR.
not recommending a lot of new studies or               Transit projects, such as light rail along US
analysis. What you need to do is weigh the             29 and the Inner Purple Line to College
evaluation factors differently:"                       Park/New Carrollton would be added.
                                                       Ridership to/from University of Maryland was
(1) 	   Give more weight to transit                    omitted from the TPR modeling runs.)
        accessibility in the evaluation
        methodology        enhance the                         In conclusion, "we transit activists
        movement of people, not just cars.             urge the board to reject the vision in this draft
                                                       that would promote unmanageable urban
(2) 	   Take a closer look at the future               sprawl.     Future life in should not be
        (2050) integration of land use and             dominated by congestion neither should our
        transportation [see next article on "No        wallets be drained with the insatiable demand
        Congestion Relief without Changing             for roads to deal with that congestion. Please
        Growth Pattern"]'                              make the TPR a visionary document that
                                                       passes the Daniel Burnham test (see text box
(3) 	   Use the reduction of vehicle miles             below). "
        traveled (VMT) per capita as a
        measure of effectiveness consistent
        with the National Capital Region                 " Make no little plans, they have no
        Transportation Planning Board's                  magic to stir men's blood and they
        vision statement goal of reducing                probably will not be realized."
        VMT per capita.
                                                                   Daniel Burnham (a turn-of-the
[Editor's note: the failure of the TPR to take           century architect)
into account REGIONAL considerations is
manifest in the TPR's omission of the Purple
Line.     The Purple Line would connect
Montgomery County with College Park/New                No Congestion Relief Without
Carrollton and Northern Virginia. In the
article below, "Northern Virginia Proposes
                                                       Changing Growth Pattern
                                                                                          Pam Lindstrom
More Transit Than Roads by 2020," there is
a recommendation to build the Purple Line,
                                                               A close look at early data from the
unlike the TPR.]
                                                       modeling studies for the draft Transportation
                                                       Policy Report (TPR) was made of the impact
(4) 	   Put more weight on consideration of
                                                       of transit~oriented development. Locating
        environmental impacts. For example,
                                                       transit lines and stations and then orienting
        effects on sprawl development were
                                                       jobs and households around the transit lines
                                                       and stations are the gist of transit-oriented
                                                       development. Transit-orient development is


6                                                             Transit Times, v. 13, n. 4, October 1999

one form of the Land Use, Transportation,                 News You Can Use -­ Smart
and Regional Air Quality (LUTRAQ) approach
that. ~as adopted by Portland, Oregon in
                                                                                               Neil Greene
obviating the need to build highways.
                                                          [excerpted from September 1999 issue of the
        The result of the modeling studies
                                                          Potomac Valley Architect]
shows that transit-oriented development is a
far better strategy for reducing traffic
                                                                   Recent articles about Smart Growth in
co~g~stion than adding road capacity (Le.,
                                                          U.S. News and World Report, Time
bUilding more roads or more lanes on existing
                                                          Magazine, Business Week, The Washington
                                                          Post, The Architectural Record, and your
                                                          local Gazette, have made it familiar and
         The single best tactic of all would be
                                                          urgent issue. To architects, planners, and
to balance jobs and households within
                                                          developers, "growth: means business and
Montgomery County's eastern and western
                                                          opportunity, but what does Smart Growth
"traffic sheds."
                                                          mean to architects? Smart Growth is the
                                                          term we hear more and more because urban
        Unfortunately, the strong synergism
                                                          planners faced with unparalleled growth and
?etween transit and land use was only tested
                                                          d~.vel?pment of urban areas is a necessity for
In the 2020 - 2050 time period. Since the
                                                          cities In the future to function as vital areas of
draft TPR's Recommended Plan, consisting
                                                          social and economic interchange.
of mostly roads [see "ACT Testimony on TPR
at Planning Board"]. focuses on the 2000 ­
                                                                   The best definition of Smart Growth
2020 time period, land use changes were not
                                                          that applies to our region, is within the
taken into account in the TPR.         As a
                                                          framework of the well conceived "Concept of
consequence of this omitted consideration
                                                          Wedges and Corridors." Smart Growth is the
the performance of transit did not appear a~
                                                          new development in existing urban areas and
good as it would or should have.
                                                          a~ong.. existi~g . transit and       highways.
                                                          Livability, social Interchange, convenience,
         The Citizens Planning Association
                                                          ~n~ variety are high among the "quality of
(CPA), led by Walter Scott, Harry Sanders,
                                                          life goals that form the basis of Smart
and Pam Lindstrom, asks the Planning Board
                                                          Growth. In the Washington area, population
and the County Council to analyze fully the
                                                          growth is inevitable with no end in sight to the
potential of transit-oriented development and
                                                          region's importance as a dynamic, economic,
the CPA's balanced land use growth scenario
                                                          and organizational "generator." While the
to solve Montgomery County's transportation
                                                          "high cost of sprawl" has become a reality to
problems. [Also see article below for use of
                                                          the no-growth outer counties, people still
balanced land use growth scenario and
                                                          come to Washington and have to live
transit specifically in the 1-270 Corridor, "1-270
                                                          somewhere. That "somewhere" is in and
M.odeling Result from State Highway
                                                          around the Beltway, where creative planning
Disputed by CPA."]
                                                          and go~d tra~sportation are encouraging
                                                          substantially higher density and a much
        The draft TPR states that there is "no
                                                          improved "quality of Life." Clearly, Smart
silver bullet" in that no facility will meet
                                                          Growth advocated by Governor Glendening
Montgomery County's needs.            To the
                                                          and supported by most of our elected
contrary, the modeling result suggests
                                                          officials, will take the development pressure
strongly that there is a single approach that
                                                          off the remaining "open space" and provide
can do it all. That approach is the balanced
                                                          more open farmland and green space.
land use growth scenario combined with
transit-oriented development!
                                                                 In schools of architecture we learned
                                                          about organic design. Think of Smart Growth
                                                          as organic design using the wild strawberry


7                                                                Transit Times, v. 13, n. 4, October 1999
as "unplanned growth" and the cultivated one             seat, stadium-style theater complex, the new
as "planned growth." Like "suburban sprawl,"             400-seat American Film Institute Theater in
the wild strawberry sends shoots in all                  the historic Silver Theater and a new 150­
directions especially where it can easily and            seat "Round House Theater" for "live"
selfish;y grab the water and nutrients of the            performances. Adjacent will be a new 200­
soil in any open space it can find, just like the        room hotel and a 250,000 square foot office
sprawl of low density housing with distant               building on Georgia Avenue at Ellsworth
community facilities and stretched utilities.            Drive. On and on!
Cultivated strawberries flourish in their own
individual sites concentrating growth but                        Clearly, Smart Growth areas, such as
minimizing their demand on resources and                 Silver Spring, Bethesda, Greenbelt, Takoma
space. They bear the bigger, denser, and                 Park, Rockville, Gaithersburg, and College
better tasting fruit.     A central watering             Park are where much of the action is and of
system, cultivation, and fertilizer maximize the         the future action will be. As an architect,
quality of the plant just as in the urban                Smart Growth is your opportunity to design
community, existing infrastructure, centralized          the fabric of our new community.
facilities and amenities enrich and synergize
the village, town, and city.
                                                         1-270 Modeling Result from State
         There are many signs that Smart
Growth is being understood by our elected
                                                         Highway Disputed by CPA
                                                                                           Pam Lindstrom
officials, urban planners, community, and
taxpayers. Beltway widening is finally being
                                                                  The Citizens Planning Association
questioned while light rail systems are
                                                         (CPA) conducts studies on balanced land use
proposed throughout Maryland and DC,
                                                         (Le., land use that is coordinated with
transit villages and transit centers are being
                                                         transportation).       The CPA asked the
approved with mixed use, housing, and
                                                         Montgomery County Planning Board to model
nearby business, retail, and cultural uses. On
                                                         transit ridership for the year 2050 on several
example is the Grosvenor Transit Village and
                                                         combinations of facilities in the 1-270 Corridor.
the new 2,000 seat Strathmore Hall Arts
                                                         [Another article about applying balanced land
Center adjacent to the Grosvenor Metrorail
                                                         use and transit-oriented development is "No
Station.      Another project in downtown
                                                         Congestion Relief Without Changing Growth
Bethesda by Federal Realty will break ground
                                                         Pattern," which appears before this article.]
on an eight-screen subterranean cinema
complex specializing in foreign films. Above,
50,000 square feet of shops and 75,000
                                                         [Editor's note: The Montgomery County
square feet of office space will add new
                                                         Planning Board in their Transportation Policy
vitality to this popular neighborhood a few
                                                         Report (see separate article on p. 4) is
blocks from Metro as well as dozens of new
                                                         recommending that the transit mode be light
restaurants, shops, and apartment buildings.
                                                         rail on the Corridor Cities Transitway.]
       The newly proposed $ 550 million
                                                                 The most striking result of a recent
Rock Spring Center off Old Georgetown
                                                         modeling study shows high ridership for the
Road and 1-270 includes a million square feet
                                                         CSX alignment of a light rail line between
of housing, office buildings, shops, cafes,
                                                         Metropolitan Grove and Shady Grove. For
farmers' market, and green space. A future
                                                         example, the total PM peak ridership (both
"people mover" connecting Grosvenor Metro
                                                         directions) in mid-Gaithersburg is as follows:
to Rock Creek Center and Wildwood is being
considered. In Silver Spring, the $ 320
                                                         (1) 	      10,870 total passengers for light rail
million new Silver Spring downtown is
                                                                    along the Corridor Cities Transitway
proceeding with a million square feet of
                                                                    alignment and express buses versus
development, including an 18-screen, 5000­


8                                                           Transit Times, v. 13, n. 4, October 1999

(2) 	   20,900 total passengers for light rail          Line between Fort Totten and Greenbelt and
        along both the CSX and Corridor                 between U St. - Cardozo and Anacostia. This
        Cities Transitway alignments and no             also means the end of the Green Line
        express buses.                                  shortcut running rush hours only between
                                                        Farragut North and Greenbelt.
In fact, the presence of light rail along the
CSX alignment as well as light rail along the                  Of all the subway construction
Corridor Cities Transitway alignment                    segments, this particular link has been the
increases transit ridership all the way down            most challenging and controversial. It was so
the western arm of the Metrorail Red Line in            challenging that it won an award from the
Montgomery County.                                      American Underground Construction
                                                        Association (the American chapter of the
        This result is so high that it cannot be        International Tunneling) Association. It was
dismissed. Moreover, it disputes the result             so controversial that while survivors of
presented by the State Highway                          subway construction sjghed relief, a new
Administration (SHA) for the CSX alignment.             battle erupted against the D.C.
SHA found that ridership was so low that it             Redevelopment Land Agency's selection of
eliminated the CSX alignment from any                   DC-USA/Horning Brothers as a developer.
further consideration last year.
                                                                 According to Washington Metropolitan
       Consequently, Pam Lindstrom wrote                Area Transit Authority (WMATA) General
to Henry Kay, Director of Planning for the              Manager Richard White's grand opening
Mass Transit Administration in a September              speech, what made this project the most
17, 1999 letter urging that the CSX alignment           difficult in the entire Metrorail system was the
be reinstated in the 1-270 Corridor study.              fact that in 1992, WMATA committed itself
This would be consistent with Ed Tennyson's             NOT to displace any of the 100 residential or
(ACT's pro bono technical consultant and                commercial buildings along the alignment at
professional         engineer)      original            public request. WMATA is now recognized
recommendation to SHA.                                  as the leader in this area.            WMATA's
                                                        commitment forced subway construction
        The next 1-270 Focus Group meeting              under extremely tight conditions and
will take place 7:00 PM, Thursday, October              provoked many trying moments. Just north
14, 1999, at the SHA District 7 Office, 5111            of the Columbia Heights station, the two
Buckeystown Pike, Frederick, MD. Take 1­                tracks, normally side-by-side, were stacked
270 north then south on MD 85 for about 1/4             on top of each other in order to spare 15
mile to SHA on the left. Join Dick Arkin, Jim           homes and a church.
Clarke, Quon Kwan, Pam Lindstrom, and Ed
Tennyson on the 1-270 Focus Group.                               WMATA also had to work around
                                                        three historic sites in order to preserve them
                                                        for posterity. One is the Tivoli Theater at
New Mid-City Metrorail Green                            Columbia Heights; ironically, it is threatened
                                                        by the DC-USA/Horning Brothers
Line Opens                                              development after surviving subway
                                    Quon Kwan
                                                        construction. Second is the historic fire
                                                        station (past quarters for D.C. Engine
       ACT members John Carroll, Tom
                                                        Company 24), moved across the street to
Fuchs, and Quon Kwan [apologies to those
                                                        3670 New Hampshire Ave., NWto house the
not named] attended the grand opening on
                                                        chilling plant for the Georgia Ave. - Petworth
September 18, 1999 of the new mid-city
                                                        station's air conditioning. Third is historic
Metrorail Green Line and two new stations at
                                                        Rock Creek Cemetery; the subway was taken
Columbia Heights and Georgia Avenue­
                                                        down 95 feet deep (beyond reason) to allay
Petworth. The mid-city 2.9 mile link joins the
                                                        fears about train vibration disturbing graves.
two discontinuous segments of the Green


9                                                          Transit Times, v. 13, n. 4, October 1999

                                                       for healing. Two of the five lawsuits against
    New Green Line Ridership                           WMATA on this project have been settled.
    Exceeds Expectations                               Secretary Slater said he was happy to see
                                                       everyone coming together to usher in this
                                                       better day. Jamie Boyd said in the end she
    On the first and second weekday of                 recognized the proje~'s value. Jim Exeler,
    seNice (September 20 and 21),                      owner of Capital Locksmith, a small business
    WMATA reported about 7700                          hurt by subway construction spoke, "I hope
    passengers /day using the two new                  the businesses that left consider coming
    stations at Columbia Heights and                   back... I offer a challenge to merchants - try
    Georgia Ave. - Petworth. This ridership            to use Metro to grow -- not to leave."
    is nearly double the 4,000/day that
                                                               The final controversy concerns
    was expected.
                                                       development around the Columbia Heights
                                                       station. The community is opposed to the
                                                       selection of DC-USA/Horning Brothers as
Another feat was overcoming excessive                  developer, who proposes an entertainment
groundwater below Park Road. More than 12              and retail complex plus a supermarket and
million gallons of grout were pumped in place          townhouses. They would gut the Tivoli
to hold back the watery soil. In spite of these        Theater and replace it with retail stores while
technical challenges, WMATA completed the              keeping only the facade. On the other hand,
$ 643 million project under budget and 3               the community favors the Forest City
months ahead of schedule.                              proposal because it would be a mix of retail,
                                                       housing, and office space. It deemphasizes
        Now the controversies. These started           entertainment and would restore the Tivoli
with battles over the alignment of the mid-city        Theater as a civic and cultural center.
Green Line route. After groundbreaking,
controversies centered over disruption. At                     Other unique features about the two
the dedication, Janie Boyd of the Columbia             new Green Line stations merit mention. Both
Heights Community remarked that she will               stations are the very first stations in the
never forget the experience of the subway              Metrorail system to have canopies over the
construction -- sleepless nights due to anxiety        escalators from the street to the mezzanine to
about dust, debris, and noise (construction            protect against the weather. Also, both
workers with radios at "full blast. ")                 stations are the first to be brightly illuminated
                                                       by lights suspended over the mezzanine in
        Residents complained of phone,                 contrast to the typical cavern-dim station.
power, and water lines being cut off as well
as street access being closed off. Small                        Lastly, two features make the
businesses were devastated; many closed                Columbia Heights station unique. It is the
up, went out of business, or moved away.               first station in DC to have art work installed
More vocal activists accused WMATA of                  BEFORE the station opened; the art work is
mismanagement, mistreatment, and                       a back-lit mural, "Woven Identities." It is
discrimination         circumstances that              made of enlarged digital images of faces
Northwest DC residents did not face during             painted in green camouflage colors by teens
Red Line construction. U.S. Secretary of               (many graffiti artists). Outside this station is
Transportation Rodney Slater was asked by              installed the first new bus shelter in the U.S.
the community to make personal inspections.            designed by Richard Meier. who is the famed
(By the way, Slater asked to appear as a self­         architect of the J. Paul Getty Museum (a
invited speaker at the dedication.)                    "MUST-see") in Los Angeles. The airy and
                                                       modernistic shelters are denoted by a sleek
       Many speakers noted the grand                   roof, a flip-up bench, and large map of the
opening was not just time for celebration but          bus route [Hal seNing the stop.


10                                                            Transit Times, v. 13, n. 4, October 1999

WMATA           Operates           Ride-On                more than 3 million passengers with on-time
                                                          performance at 95%.
                                    Quon Kwan
                                                                  CSX operates the MARC Camden
                                                          Line between Baltimore and Washington, DC
        On September 7,           1999, the
                                                          (Union Station) and the MARC Brunswick
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit
                                                          Line between Martinsburg, WV and
Authority (WMATA) began operating five new
                                                          Washington, DC (Union Station).          FY
Ride-On routes under a $ 1.1 million contract.
                                                          ridership on these two lines grew less than
                                                          1% to 2 million passengers with on-time
                                                          performance declining to 81 % in June and
        Two routes are shuttles that circulate
                                                          July 1999.
in the central business districts (Silver Spring
and Bethesda) free to passengers. Three
                                                                  Even if the operating contract with
routes operate during rush hours between
                                                          AMTRAK is extended, AMTRAK faces near­
Shady Grove Metrorail Station and the
                                                          term problems. Congress has established a
following:      Poolesville, Crystal Rock
                                                          goal for AMTRAK to be self-sufficient by
(Germantown), and Dorsey Mill (also in
                                                          2002. To do this, AMTRAK must close an
                                                          operating deficit of more than $ 300
                                                          million/year.  Federal funding for capital
        Both the equipment and operators will
                                                          improvements would still be required.
masquerade as Ride-On: twelve 1989
rehabilitated 30-foot Flxible Metrobuses will
                                                                   If AMTRAK does not become self­
be re-painted in the blue and white Ride-On
                                                          sufficient, states along the Northeast Corridor
color scheme. Metrobus operators will wear
                                                          may have to subsidize intercity rail passenger
Ride-On uniforms.
                                                          service. The State of Maryland, along with
                                                          other Northeast states, intends to lobby
  The next two articles are derived from                  Congress to continue subsidies to AMTRAK.
  Issues and Plans Driving the Operating                  The State is also evaluating capital projects
  and Capital Needs of Transit in Maryland,               mutually beneficial to AMTRAK and MARC
                                                          for joint funding.
  a presentation made by Maryland
  Secretary of Transportation John Porcari
                                                                  CSX has stated its preference that
  to the Commission on Transportation                     another operator for MARC be found. Even
  Investment on August 30, 1999.                          if CSX were to continue operating MARC, rail
                                                          passenger operations would be fraught with
                                                          much difficulty because of conflicts with
                                                          freight operations.
MARC Service Th reate ned
                                    Quon Kwan                    The conflicts seem to stem from the
                                                          recent acquisition of CONRAIL by CSX,
       The Maryland Area Rail Commuter                    causing significant short-term freight
(MARC) service is threatened on two fronts:               operation problems. The figure on the next
operating agreements with both Amtrak and                 page shows the impact of the acquisition on
CSX expire on December 31,1999.                           MARC routes by comparing planned versus
                                                          actual freight train movements in August
        Amtrak operates the MARC Penn Line                1999 averaged over 7-days.
between Perryville (Cecil County) and
Washington, DC (Union Station) via                                Another issue with CSX is long term,
Baltimore's Pennsylvania Station under                    outdated and inadequate infrastructure, which
contract to the Mass Transit Administration.              will continue to have severe impacts on" the
Fiscal Year (FY) 1999 ridership grew 10% to               on-time performance offreight operations, let


                               CSX l~ost: Merger-MAll(~: Ilnpe:lct 

                             Daily Sclleduled Freigllt l-'raill Density 

                                          ( STB - Plan versus August 1999 Actual)
TO/FROM                                                                                                       PHILA


                                                                                        >I",,",,,,,·a,Unjl,   37."Y..

                               PLAN         +24.9% 

                               ACTUAL       +28.8% 


                                                          ACTUAL. -142.1°;', 

                                                                     W ASIIINGTON

                                   CSX I)OlJBLE TnACK
                                   CSX SINGLE TUACK

Note: Frederick extension will add 6 trains to the
        Old Main Line and 4 10 Brunswick Line in 200 I.
12                                                          Transit Times, v. 13, n. 4, October 1999

alone MARC. Clearly, double-tracking at                 Panel in January 1999 recommended that the
critical bottlenecks is called for.     Also,           50% farebox recovery mandate be lifted. The
passenger and freight trains should be                  mandate caps operating subsidies from the
separated, warranting a possible third track            State of Maryland to the Mass Transit
between Baltimore and Washington, DC.                   Administration (Baltimore), MARC, and
These potential improvements cost between               Washington Metropolitan Area Transit
$0.5 and $1.0 billion over the next 20 years.           Authority (WMATA) (serving suburban
                                                        Maryland) at 50% of the total operating costs.
       Norfolk Southern has also identified             Thus, the remaining 50% must come from
more than $100 million of capital investments           farebox revenues (or local government
to improve freight capacity and movement in             subsidies).
Maryland. Both CSX and Norfolk Southern
are Class I railroads but "cash poor" due to                     The Maryland State Transit Advisory
the debt resulting from acquisition of                  Panel found that the mandate reduces ability
CONRAIL.                                                to add service in new markets underserved
                                                        by transit that cannot recover 50% of their
                                                        operating costs from the farebox. The goal of
  Class I Railroad is a railroad with an                doubling transit ridership by 2020 is
  annual gross operating revenue in                     unattainable, especially in areas with
  excess of $ 250 million based on 1991                 inherently low farebox recoveries (such as
  dollars.                                              suburb to suburb markets and rural areas).
                                                        Furthermore, welfare-to-work initiatives often
                                                        depend on shift work opportunities, requiring
  -- Accident/Incident Bulletin
                                                        late night and weekend transit service that
  of the Federal Railroad Administration
                                                        traditionally produce low farebox recoveries.

                                                                 The 50% recovery mandate has
         The recently passed Transportation             severely affected MTA (Baltimore) transit
Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21)                services. In order to meet the mandate
[superseding the Intermodal Surface                     without any other subsidies, MTA (Baltimore)
Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA)] may              has had to reduce revenue service on buses
offer some relief. TEA-21 provides $2.5                 by 14% over the last decade. Most of these
billion of long-term loans to for Class I               reductions occurred in suburban areas based
railroads nationwide for infrastructure                 on low farebox recoveries. Also Sunday
improvements.         However, the total                Baltimore Metro service was dropped.
infrastructure improvements needed for Class            (Typically, single rail line systems have much
I railroads are estimated at $161 billion over          lowerfarebox recoveries than multiple rail line
the next two decades!                                   systems.) Another drastic consequence of
                                                        the 50% farebox recovery mandate is that
        The State of Maryland is conducting a           MTA (Baltimore) fares have risen faster than
review of subsidies to freight operations by            inflation.
other states to establish its own policy for
funding projects that (1) mutually benefit                      Lastly, the mandate is not realistic in
MARC and freight trains and (2) create/retain           light of the fact that the national average
jobs within the state.                                  fare box recovery for transit operating
                                                        expenses is 31.5%. The 50% recovery
                                                        mandate was based on historic bus system
Proposed Fix to the 50% Farebox                         performance in the 1980s before the
                                                        Baltimore Metro and Central Light Rail Line.
Recovery Mandate                                        The mandate is the second highest in the
                                   Quon Kwan
                                                        nation (first is Chicago Transit Authority).
                                                        See textbox below for Maryland farebox
       The Maryland State Transit Advisory


13                                                               Transit Times, v. 13, n. 4, October 1999
recoveries:                                               •         Retain farebox recovery as a key
                                                                    performance measure but not as a
  farebox Recoveries in MD 

  WMATA Metrorail                 74%
                                                          •         Supplement with other performance
                                                                    measures used in the transit industry:
  MARC                            55%
                                                                            service efficiency
  MTA (Baltimore) Bus             53%                                       (cost/vehicle mile)
  Ocean City Bus                  52%
  MTA (Baltimore) Metro           38%                                       cost effectiveness
  WMATA Metrobus                  38%                                       (cost/passenger-mile)
  MTA (Baltimore) Light Rail      31%
                                                                            service effectiveness
  Ride-On                         24%                                       (passenger/vehicle mile)
  Small urban/rural services      23%
                                                          •         Evaluate performance trends over
                                                                    time and against peer transit systems
                                                                    across the nation.
          A reduction of $23 million/year in
transit operating costs is required of MTA                •         Audit periodiC performance with
(Baltimore) to attain the 50% farebox                               annual reports to the General
recovery in 2000 without a change in the                            Assembly.
revenue base. To achieve this reduction,
Baltimore Metro or light rail service after 8 PM
and on weekends would have to be cut back.                    At the request of readers, we generally
Selected Baltimore Metro stations would have                  feature a news article from across the
to be closed early, and selected suburban                     nation. Last month, it was the opening of
Baltimore bus routes would have to be                         the Metro Red Line from Downtown (Los
curtailed. Affected on Saturday are 24,000                    Angeles) to Tinseltown (Hollywood).
Baltimore Metro riders and 16,000 Baltimore                   Instead of taking you across the nation this
light rail riders. Affected on Sunday are 6,000               month, we take you across to the other side
Baltimore light rail riders.        The above                 of the Potomac River for a look at Northern
numbers include Oriole and Ravens fans who                    Virginia's 2020 Transportation Plan.
ride transit, comprising 12% and 18% of paid
attendance, respectively.

        In addition. fare increases in the MTA
(Baltimore) transit system would be required
to meet the 50% farebox recovery mandate.
                                                          Northern Virginia Proposes More
This means a 35 cent increase in the base                 $$ for Transit Than Roads by
fare to $1.70, one of the highest fares in the            2020
nation. Although this would generate $12                                                          Quon Kwan
million additional revenue without change in
expenses, it would be offset by a 9% drop in                       On September 7, 1999, the Northern
ridership (i.e., 30,000 daily trips).                     Virginia Transportation Coordinating Council
                                                          (consisting of 40 elected state and local
       Maryland   State Transportation                    officials) released the draft Northern Virginia
Secretary Porcari supports the                            2020 Transportation Plan. The purpose is to:
recommendations of the Transit Advisory
Panel with respect to the 50% fare box                    •	        Specify     needed  subregio'nal
recovery mandate:                                                   transportation improvements to


14                                                              Transit Times. v. 13, n. 4. October 1999

        reduce congestion,                                         wonder how the Montgomery County
                                                                   Planning Board can recommend HOV
•       Identify funding sources for the
        improvements, and
                                                                   lanes with express buses while
                                                                   Northern Virginia recommends heavy
•	      Provide a plan for jurisdictions to use
        in updating their comprehensive plans              •	      Dulles Corridor line (also known as
        as well as input to the region's                           Phase IV) with 11 new stations
        Constrained Long Range Plan.                               (between West Falls Church and VA
                                                                   653/654) (23.4 miles, $1,947 million).
The Northern Virginia 2020 Transportation                          (An extension to Leesburg is
Plan supersedes the 2010 Plan, which was                           envisioned beyond the 2020 Plan)
the first comprehensive transportation plan
for Northern Virginia. The Council's 40·                   •	      Metrorail      Blue     Line   from
member Citizen Advisory Committee met 10                           Franconia/Springfield to Fort
times through 1998 to assist with public                           Belvoir/Lorton.    (5.6 miles, $640
involvement. The Council held four public                          million) (An extension to Woodbridge
meetings in July 1998 to receive comments                          is envisioned beyond the 2020 Plan)
on the draft Plan. After a concluding round of
public comments on the draft Plan, the Plan                The new Metrorail extensions will cost $
will be finalized.                                         3.984 billion.

         The Plan proposes 315 lane·miles of                       Additional Metrorail Station access
roadway consisting of 176 new lane·miles of                points are planned at Ballston, Court House,
freeway and 139 new lane·miles of arterials.               Crystal City, Pentagon City, Rosslyn, and
The costs of these roadway improvements                    Virginia Square (pedestrian tunnel). Parking
total $ 2.95 billion. [Editor's note: in contrast          will be expanded at the following Metrorail
to the Montgomery County Planning Board's                  Stations: Dunn Loring, East Falls Church and
Transportation Policy Report, the Plan does                West Falls Church, and Vienna.
admit it does not take into account induced
demand.]                                                   The new light rail lines include:

        The Plan proposes 44 interchange                   •	      Tysons Corner to Pentagon via
                                                                   Bailey's Crossroads/Skyline via VA 7
improvements, most of which are along
corridors, such as 1495, 1·66, US 1, US 29,                        and Columbia Pike (12.1 miles, $650
VA 7, VA 123, and VA 234. Included in these                        million)
improvements are upgrades of intersections
to interchanges.     The costs of these
interchange improvements total $ 850 million.
                                                           •	      Dulles Airport to Manassas via VA 28
                                                                   (20.9 miles, $790 million)

         The Plan proposes 46 miles of heavy               •	      Pentagon to Alexandria (US 1 &
                                                                   Capital Beltway) via Potomac Yards
rail (Metrorail extensions) and 38 miles of
light rail. The heavy rail improvements:                           (5.2 miles, $330 million)

•	      Metrorail Orange Line from Vienna to
        Centreville with 4 new stations (10
                                                           The total cost of the proposed new light rail
                                                           lines is $ 1.770 billion.
        miles, $657 million)
                                                                    The Plan proposes a number of bus
•	      Capital Beltway line with 2 new
        stations between Maryland border
                                                           transit strategies:

        and Dunn Loring Metrorail Station                  •	      Bus rapid transit for the Dulles
        (6.9 miles, $740 million) [You may                         Corridor in Phases I, II, and III (prior


15                                                            Transit Times, v. 13, n. 4, October 1999

       to Phase IV consisting of heavy rail);             Metrorail service. This means that the last
       the costs for bus rapid transit total $            trains to leave Metro Center and Gallery
       316 million.                                       Place in downtown Washington, D.C. will
                                                          depart around 1 AM on Saturday and Sunday
•      Reverse commuter buses are
       planned on 1-66 (inside the Capital
                                                          mornings instead of around 12 midnight on
                                                          Friday and Saturday. This late night service
       Beltway) (10 miles, $ 13.35 million.)              will be conducted on a trial basis for one year
                                                          beginning in November. If successful,
•	     Express commuter buses along 1-66
       between Centreville (new Orange
                                                          service may be extended to 2 AM on
                                                          Saturday and Sunday mornings.              The
       Metrorail Station) and west Prince                 operation of late night subway service also
       William County ($ 29.1 million)                    marks Washington, DC as joining the ranks
                                                          of world class transit systems and becoming
•      Reverse commuter buses to/from
       Metrorail Stations and points along
                                                          a wo rid city.

       the Capital Beltway between                                 The late night service extension was
       Woodrow Wilson Bridge and                          first proposed by D.C. Councilmember Jim
       American Legion Bridge (10 miles, $                Graham and endorsed by Virginia. Maryland
       13.67 million)                                     Board members were concerned about
                                                          disrupting critical maintenance work taking
•      Enhancement       of Potomac
       Rappahannock Transportation
                                       &                  place between midnight and starting time. $
                                                          1.1 million will be used for an one-time
       Commission bus routes from Prince                  purchase of capital equipment to squeeze
       William County to points within                    more maintenance work in a shorter period.
       Capital Beltway ($26.5 million)
                                                                  The late night service will immensely
•      Expand Omnilink feeder bus service
       to Virginia Railway Express stations in
                                                          benefit service workers in the hospitality
                                                          industry (Le., hotels, restaurants, and bars).
       Prince William County ($ 7 million)

•      Priority bus projects on Fairfax
       County Parkway, US 1, US 50, VA 7,                 ACT Testimony              on     County's
       VA 236, and VA 244 ($ 16.9 million)
                                                          Smart Growth
                                                                                               Ben Ross
The total cost for all bus transit improvements
is $ 422.5 million.                                              ACT President Ben Ross testified on
                                                          September 14, 1999 before the Montgomery
         The grand total cost for all road                County Council on ACT's plan for Smart
improvements is $ 3.8 billion while that for all          Growth around Metro Stations ("Metro Station
transit improvements is $ 6.17 billion. These             Policy Areas.") The six point plan would
totals do not include the Plan's proposal for             provide incentives for development in such a
28 hiker/biker trail improvements at a cost of            way that would intensify land use and
$16.5 million.                                            pedestrian-friendly environments around the
                                                          stations while obviating road widening. The
                                                          plan is described in more detail in the last
WMA TA OKs Late Night Rail                                ACT Transit Times newsletter of September
Service                                                   1999.
                                    Quon Kwan
                                                                  The initial response from several
       At press time, the Board of Directors              members of the County Council has been
of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit               positive. A vote is expected by the end of
Authority approved the beginning of late night            October.


16                                                Transit Times, v. 13, n. 4, October 1999

Membership                                     Editorial Remarks
To join Action Committee for Transit, choose   Your Transit Times editor is Quon Kwan (w)
one of the categories: $10 (regular), $25      410 290-0370 (h) 301 460-7454; please
(activist), or $50 (conductor). Send your      direct your comments, criticism, and
check for the chosen category of membership    submission of articles to him for the next
to:                                            issue.

Action Committee for Transit
P.O. Box 7074
Silver Spring, MD 20907                        ACT Officers

Alternatively, you may give your membership    President - Ben Ross
dues to Treasurer John Carroll at the next     Vice President (Land Use) - Richard Hoye
ACT meeting. The address on your check         Vice President (Networks) - Harry Sanders
will be used as the mailing address unless     Vice President (Service) - Tom Fuchs
otherwise indicated.                           Treasurer - John Carroll
                                               Program Coordinator - Richard McArdle
                                               Co-founders - Harry Sanders and Ross

Transit Times
Action Committee for Transit
P.O. Box 7074
Silver Spring, MD 20907


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