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Moran Pushes for Shuttle to Ease BRAC Traffic Burden

by Katie Pyzyk July 25, 2011 at 10:29 am 3,387 38 Comments

Residents concerned about the influx of 1,200 government workers into the Barcroft neighborhood could see the addition of a shuttle to ease traffic congestion, if Rep. Jim Moran gets his way.

The Army National Guard had put in a request for shuttle service to the Pentagon Transit Center from Arlington Hall Station, but so far the additional service has not been granted.  Moran has now asked the Director of the Washington Headquarter Service to expedite the request.

The Arlington Hall Station shuttle already provides service from nearby Metro train stops to the National Guard facility. However, it currently doesn’t have access to the Pentagon Transit Center, despite a request for service in June 2009. Moran says that adding service between the Arlington Hall Station and the Pentagon will “undoubtedly reduce the use of single occupancy vehicles commuting to and parking near the bureau facility.”

There’s been an effort to come up with additional public transportation around Arlington Hall as 1,200 workers pour in due to the Base Realignment and Closure Act.  A parking structure was built to accommodate the added workers, but there is only one parking space for every four employees.

Residents have been petitioning for help to prevent commuters from Arlington Hall from spilling over into residential neighborhoods.  Also of concern is the potentially dangerous congestion on George Mason Drive near the complex.

BRAC coordinators are encouraging the new workers to use public transportation instead of driving, and are working with WMATA to increase the frequency of 22A buses in the area.  The addition of a shuttle from Arlington Hall Station to the Pentagon Transit Center would provide another transportation option for commuters, particularly those who use Metro trains.

Commuters who use WMATA’s 22A buses to Arlington Hall will pay the regular public bus fare. However, if the request for a shuttle to the Pentagon Transit Center goes through, Moran’s office says that service would be free to riders because it is provided by the Department of Defense.

 

  • Mark

    Great! While I don’t like Rep. Moran’s campaign finance history, he does work hard to solve problems in his district. This issue is one where a congressman can really be helpful in dealing w/ impacts caused by federal decisions.

  • Jackflops

    Why didn’t they build more parking? That’s just nuts. One thing I know firsthand about DoD people: Generally speaking, they’re not big on using mass transit. (Not that much of it exists here anyway.)

    Solutions: Expand the parking garage. USG could also buy the right of way behind Goodwill to put a new road from S. Glebe into the Readiness Center, so that there would be two potential entry points.

    Or (more likely), just allow the NG folks to use the FSI gates on 50.

    • doodly

      More parking only solves the parking problem, not the traffic problem. In fact, it could just make the traffic problem worse.

      • Jackflops

        More parking on the site would mean fewer people driving around trying to park on the nearby streets–meaning less traffic.

        • Mark

          parking on the local streets is already restricted

          • Lou

            False

          • Mark

            No, true. Just drive along many of the side streets near the facility and you’ll see the permit parking signs.

          • Lou

            Most of the neighboring streets are not under a permit. That is the whole reason this is an issue for the neighbors.

          • Mark

            OK, several blocks away the permit parking ends. But increased traffic is an issue for the neighborhood in addition to the parking.

          • Lou

            The only permit parking zone is an area west of George Mason. Nothing on the east side is restricted.

          • Jackflops

            Not on G. Mason itself.

            It wouldn’t solve the problem completely, but I think it’s a start.

          • G

            Parking on George Mason is restricted in front of the homes.

        • doodly

          Okay, so it will solve the problem of traffic congestion on streets where people are trying to park. Meanwhile, just as many thousands of cars are on the main roads and side roads (to avoid the congestion). And with more parking, they have a little less incentive to take transit or a shuttle.

          • The existing parking lot is already a huge eyesore. Last thing anyone needs or wants is a bigger monster. The idea of putting all these employees in a residential neighborhood is really the main problem here.

            Additional parking near Glebe (or anywhere else) will make a larger area unpleasant for residents. One big parking lot is NOT a good solution for anyone in Arlington.

            With respect to Mr. Moran – I do not usually agree with his positions, but one thing he does very well is care for his constituents.

            For this, I thank him.

    • Mark

      George Mason can’t handle much more car traffic. But there 3 are Metro stops nearby (Orange at Ballson 1.6 mile; Blue/Yellow at Pentagon & Pentagon City, 3.5 miles) so only minor improvements in connecting transit makes public transit very viable. Plus the 16 bus on the Pike is great.

      Improve the 22A for everyone, provide shuttles, whatever. Increasing the number of cars — traffic, pollution, congestion — is not a good solution.

      Don’t know whether you can generalize about whether DoD people like public transit or not, but you sure see a lot of them at the Pentagon Metro stop :)! I’ve met a a number of military folks who are hard-core cyclists, and bicycle access is also pretty good there.

      • BCR

        +1

    • Jack

      Because spaces cost $30,000- $55,000 a spot to build.

      • CarsSuck

        with that formula you can pay a years salary to the shuttle driver for each space saved!

  • YTK

    Shuttle is a GREAt idea– let’s make sure the shuttle is a Hybrid or a CNG-fueled vehicle.

  • Arlwhenever

    Let’s see, the 22A already runs about every 20 minutes during rush hour, connecting each way from Ballston and the Pentagon, averaging about 20 passengers per trip (fewer on any given segment) with a capacity of probably 60.

    The norm for agency shuttle cycles is 60 minutes low volume (which this would be) or 30 minutes high volume.

    Most people drive to work because they (apparently excluding many who post on Arlington listservs and blogs) prefer to spend time on personal pursuits and with family as opposed to crawling along on buses and shuttling among multiple transit links.

    Conclusion, this is not a capacity or frequency or inadequate public transit problem. A commuter shuttle would waste taxpayer funds and have a negligible impact.

    And oh, cars clear out of nearby neighborhood on weekdays when residents go to work. The residents don’t need the side street parking spaces nor are they logically entitled to those spaces during the work day.

    • Josh S

      Where do you get your information that allows you to make such blanket statements about what “most” people do? Perhaps you can simply say this is what “you” do.

      I think people make use of public transportation when it makes sense to do so. For example, living in Penrose and working in downtown DC, I can be to work in fifteen minutes by driving. But I don’t mostly because parking downtown is prohibitively expensive. Sometimes I take the 16Y, which I like because it is direct and cheap. Other times, I drive to Metro and get on the train, especially when I have someplace to be after work and want to drive directly there.

      It is completely unclear to me that driving versus taking public transportation automatically means more time for “personal pursuits” and “family.” I would think everyone would have to come to their own conclusion about that and also weigh in other factors like cost, concern for the waste inherent in occupying a car solo versus taking the bus/train, etc.

      If the shuttle was provided for free, it would likely get usage. Absent data from an actual survey, for example, I don’t think it’s possible to predict ahead of time whether the shuttle would be a failure or waste, etc.

      • Arlwhenever

        “Where do you get your information that allows you to make such blanket statements about what “most” people do?”

        I get information from decades of experience, by observation and from authoritative reports, from sources like the census bureau and Arlington County. Census reports that 86.1 percent of commuters nationwide travel by car, truck or van. Arlington County reports that 58 percent of Arlington residents drive to work (compared to 76 percent regionwide) while only 27 percent of Arlingtonians commute using transit (compared to 12 percent regionwide) . These data overwhelming reveal a preference for driving versus transit (transit is available at some level almost everywhere in the area whether it be by WMATA, ART, DASH, Fairfax Connector, VRE, or Commuter Bus etc.). And driving (including car pools and slug lines) is quicker that transit virtually everywhere in the area that’s not walking distance from Metrorail — that’s reality to anyone who lives in this area, and has traveled around it, using all modes of transportation, as I have.

    • Lou

      You may not think residents are logically entitled to those spaces, but the County has established many residential parking permit zones that say otherwise.

      • Arlwhenever

        I knew that Arlington County actions are smart by nomenclature and decree. Now I learn County NIMBYism’s are logical. I stand corrected.

        • Mark

          I don’t think asking that the federal government take steps to alleviate traffic and parking problems they create through the BRAC is NIMBYism.

  • AbeFroman

    Thats brilliant. Carve 40 min off people’s one way commutes and than take back 20 while they park and wait for a shuttle.

    • right now employees are wasting more than 20 minutes getting to their jobs. They park well into the neighborhood and then walk to the building – that takes more than 20 minutes (more when they are totally lost and I have to re-direct them towards S. Geo Mason).

      Arlwhenever, if you believe residents are not entitled to parking outside their homes during the day, I suggest we send all the DOD employees to the street outside your home. See how much you like it.

  • Vinh An Nguyen

    Why does it take intervention by a member of Congress to get the DoD to do something that should be common sense? BRAC has been a clusterf*ck from the get-go and the powers-that-be at the Pentagon just see to have a “what me worry” attitude about the whole thing.

  • RUKidding

    The entire BRAC project was pushed through by the same congress that we’re now demanding fix the problem. Nothing will be done that will have any measurable impact on the incredible traffic congestion that is coming our way. If you live along the I-395 corridor, I suggest you begin looking for another route to and from work. People who don’t already take public transportation aren’t going to start doing so just because our idiot legislators tell them to. But then, most of those boneheads don’t have to worry about the problems their creating. They don’t live here.

    • Everyone knew this was coming years ago, including Moran, and did nothing. Now he is painting himself as the “white knight” trying to save the day. Northbound HOV on 395 could have had a exit ramp in place to help relieve some of the conjestion, but they ignored it until now when it would take 3 years to complete if they even do it. We who take 395 are scr*wed. If members of congress had to drive to work and take this road you can bet we see a different highway today.

      • Bluemontsince1961

        “If members of congress had to drive to work and take this road you can bet we see a different highway today.”

        +100 – ain’t that the truth, Kevin!

        • doodly

          I would presume at least a few drive to work, some maybe even on I-395. They don’t get ferried around in limos.

      • doodly

        It’s alot more complicated than you make it look. Congress doesn’t have control over where exit ramps are built, the state does. Building a ramp at that location isn’t a slam dunk. The real problem is putting that stupid building there in the first place, but that’s not Moran’s fault either.

        I’m not saying Moran is blame free, but let’s not simplify the issue and drop all the blame on any one person or entity – except maybe the Pentagon or BRAC for starting this mess in the first place.

        As for the highway in general, you walk in here and declare that it’s all Congress’s fault. But when Congress, or the state, propose any kind of tax increase to help pay for all these transportation improvements, who balks? The taxpayers.

        • Kevin

          As for Moran, this is his district so he owns it. VDOT is in charge of this type of construction, you are correct, but monies come from the state and maching funds from the Feds.I also agree with you that it was a mistake to build it there but it is there now. Personally, I believe that they fixed something that was not broken and the cure will kill the patient.
          There is no real fix for this, only bandaids.
          BTW, I have been driving thies road for 11 years and have never seen a Congressional license plate in the regular lanes. I’m sure they are exempt from HOV restrictions.

  • Mike “Barcroft Resident”

    I always voted for this guy for being a committed Dem and for balls to wear that shock-white doo, but now I actually have a reason to keep voting for him.

  • Skeptical

    Too little too late. This same guy was in office when all this BRAC realignment was planned out. NOW he wants to fix problems. Yeah, more like buttering both sides of the bread. He’s a machine politician. Don’t worry — he’ll be just fine.

    • doodly

      As I recall, he worked hard to mitigate the problems with BRAC. But he’s just one congressman. He can only do so much.

  • 22rider

    I ride the 22a to Ballston every morning around 8 and see only 1-2 folks get off at the Arlington Hall stop. Granted they probably start at 7 but existing use of 22a is low. The bus is often 10-15 min late so I am not surprised. I am guessing a lot of folks didn’t live that close to the Pentagon to begin with so their commutes are just that much longer!

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