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Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com October 20, 2011 at 8:46 am 3,164 166 Comments

Examiner: It’s All Zimmerman’s Fault— In an editorial, the Washington Examiner encourages drivers stuck on I-66 to “call or tweet Arlington Board Chairman Chris Zimmerman” to complain, since “he’s one of the most vocal opponents of widening I-66 inside the Beltway.” Regarding local opposition to adding a third lane to I-66, the paper concludes: “This whole scenario is beyond short-sighted and incompetent. This is insane.” [Washington Examiner]

Flat Fare Could Cost Arlington Metro Riders — Arlington transit riders take, on average, the shortest trips of any local residents on the Metrorail system. As a result, county officials warn that Arlington riders will pay more if Metro ever switches to a flat fare system — as has been proposed as a way to simplify the agency’s fare system. [Sun Gazette]

Arlington’s First Female K-9 — The Arlington County Police Department recently received its first female police dog. Roxy, a Belgian Malinois, graduated from an intense, 15-week K-9 patrol school in June. Roxy and handler Cpl. Thorpe Lichtenberg are one of Arlington’s nine K-9 teams. [Examiner]

Exchange Students Arrive — Arlington fifth graders will be waiting at the airport today to greet 44 sixth graders from Aachen, Germany, as they arrive with their parents for “a whirlwind week in the D.C. area.” The German students will stay with the families of fifth graders who attend Nottingham, Tuckahoe and Arlington Traditional elementary schools. In addition to attending classes, they will visit memorials and museums, go on hikes and attend sporting events. Aachen is Arlington’s sister city, and the exchange is being organized by the Arlington Sister Cities Association.

Flickr pool photo by BrianMKA

  • OX4

    I think it’s insane that people actually read the Examiner.

    • soarlslacker

      No one reads the Examiner. They throw extra copies into everyone yard until there are neighborhood list serv postings about how to get them to stop littering on private property.

    • smoke_jaguar4

      I usually grab the cover page of the Examiner because the inside-back cover has the ken-ken and kakuro puzzles. The rest goes immediately into the recycling bin.
      If the WaPo Express would add these two puzzles, then imagine all the trees they’d save. Please, think about the trees.

  • KalashniKEV

    “This whole scenario is beyond short-sighted and incompetent. This is insane.”

    I-66 needs to be minimum 4 lanes in each direction.

    • drax

      Why stop at 4 lanes, Kev? Why not 8? Or 12?

      Someday we could be a driver’s paradise, like Los Angeles!

      • Carl

        Good! That would be an improvement, seeing as how our traffic is worse than LA! Bring it.

        http://bit.ly/rlIsYR

        • KalashniKEV

          Two lanes was perfectly fine 30 years ago. Arlington was a lot different then.

          We have neglected our transportation infrastructure and are badly in need of some very necessary improvements… and that doesn’t mean everyone should be a peasant on a bicycle.

          • Carl

            Just think about this. Our little want-to-be metropolis centered about the federal government has managed to produce traffic worse than the mega-sprawl of LA, the legendary King of all Traffic Hell. DC manages to screw everything up! No wonder we are the laughing stock of the major cities in America.

          • drax

            And we have a choice to be more like LA, or more like cities that don’t depend on roads so much and have much smaller congestion than LA.

          • Joe

            We are fifty years past having that “choice”. The area has grown the way it has and we need to ensure we have the infrastructure to avoid total gridlock. That means a mix of mass transportation and more lanes on major arteries like I-66>

          • drax

            You’re right all the way up to the “like I-66” part. Too specific.

            The problem is that everyone here who advocates for widening I-66 thinks that it’s obvious that when you have traffic, you just widen roads and that fixes everything, and no other solutions could be better.

          • KalashniKEV

            I’m going to need you to cite an example of a “city that doesn’t depend on roads so much…”

          • drax

            Really Kev?

            New York City is one. Heard of it? Much large population but less congestion.

            We don’t have to be like NYC, but the idea that road capacity = less congestion is clearly false when you compare cities and their strategies. As a city gets big, it can’t depend just on roads.

          • Have you commuted by car or bus or train to a job in NYC drax? How long was the commute?

          • KalashniKEV

            Heard of it? Gosh, I’m from it… but are you sure you want to go there?

            Have you seen, like… the L.I.E.???

            Lots of lanes to support the required volume. Lots of large secondary roads PLUS N and S State Parkway? I thought healthy road infrastructure was your enemy. I really thought you were going to cite some city in China where everyone rides a bike…

          • Josh S

            Yeah, Kev, I don’t think drax is suggesting NO highways. It is a bit amusing that you mention the LIE since the damn thing normally is moving at about 10 miles an hour.

            But other cities that survive well without multi-lane freeways crisscrossing them include San Francisco (they actually TORE DOWN freeways into the city and people still get around just fine), London, Tokyo.

            Since the thread seems to be about the need to expand 66 to an 8 lane highway, I think the burden on showing why this is necessary and how it could possibly work would fall on those who propose the change.

          • drax

            Have you commuted in LA?

          • Joe

            We need lanes and mass transit improvements. Neither will solve the problem on there own, both are needed.

          • drax

            If you’re from NYC, Kev, you should understand that this is not just about driving. That’s your linear thinking again. This is about mobility – people getting around. And NYC would be alot harder to get around if it relied only on roads. Nor would it be possible for it to do so.

          • V Dizzle

            Are we? Why is everyone I know moving here then?

          • Carl

            Because everyone needs to have a starter city when they are growing up.

          • V Dizzle

            Glad I don’t live somewhere I hate or lack pride in (and I’ve lived up and down the east coast). That would be sad and pathetic. 🙂

          • Carl

            I love it here. Probably why you live there too.

            That has nothing to do with what I was talking about. But thanks for playing.

          • Sam

            EVERYBODY I knew in college moved to DC after school. By the time I was 30, I’d say that 90% of my college friends had left. It’s a great starter city to get some good experience on your resume but for a lot of people it’s not a great place to live once you get a little older and your lifestyle changes.

          • drax

            When are you leaving, Sam?

          • V Dizzle

            I think “laughing stock” is more than a bit off. Not my game.

          • Sam

            I’m not leaving, I like the area. Actually, I like it until I run into people like you.

          • Charlie

            Vancouver BC is a major city and it has NO freeways. It has excellent bus service. Cars stop for all pedestrians. It is nice for that.

          • The Washington DC metro area has a population of 5.6 million.

            The greater Vancouver area has a population of 2.3 million.

            Plop another 3.3 million people into Vancouver and they would be in gridlock too.

          • drax

            NYC has 18 million, yet we’re higher up on the congestion list.

            Congestion is not simply a function of population vs. lanes of traffic. That’s incredibly simplistic.

          • How many miles of subway lines does NYC have, and for how long have they existed. Our planning, from Day 1, has been flawed. Metro planners thought everyone would commute into town. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

          • drax

            One reason more people don’t commute into town is because we build all these highways instead.

          • Whitney Wilson

            In response to Drax,

            I’m never sure exactly how the congestion indices are created (perhaps the millions of daily train/subway/bus riders in NY bring down their average driving times), but from having spent a lot time driving around New York, their congestion problems seem to be at least as bad as ours.

          • drax

            So someday we’ll need 16 lanes, Kev?

            Stop thinking linearly. As we grow, we need a change to the type of transportation, not just the quantity.

            We need improvements, but this ain’t one of them.

          • Evan

            Agreed. Widening I-66 heading into DC would be a waste of money if DC doesn’t simultaneously add cross-town capacity on Constitution Ave, E St, etc. An extra lane would provide a marginal benefit to commuters heading from Fairfax into Arlington, but the reality is that most commuters on I-66 E are heading all the way into DC. In any event, to add capacity in DC such that widening I-66 E would be sensible, DC would either need to demolish office buildings and construct surface highways or construct a multi-billion dollar vehicular tunnel system (like the Big Dig in Boston). Either one of those projects would probably cost $10-20 billion. For that amount of money, it would make more sense (and would be less disruptive) to build a new cross-town Metro line with a dedicated blue line tunnel from Rosslyn. This would provide the added benefit of alleviating Orange/Silver Line crowding.

            Regarding I-66 W: For people from Arlington who work in Tysons, the majority of Tysons Corner will be within easy walking distance of a Metro station in 2 (or maybe 3) years. There will only be one station between Ballston and Tysons, and the trains will not be overcrowded like those heading into DC. Barring unusual circumstances (e.g. people who work until midnight, people who live more than a mile from a Metro station), it will be very convenient for people who live in Arlington and much of DC to take Metro to Tysons. As for more people who work in more distant office centers down the Dulles toll road, which will admittedly be less convenient to Metro, it’s unreasonable to live 20 miles from your job and then complain when your commute is unpleasant. Barring unusual circumstances, why would you choose to live in Arlington?

          • Josh

            Hat Tip

          • D’oh

            + infiniti

          • CW

            Evan – I agree with what you said. I think that metro trumps driving any day, and I’m for increased metro and rail infrastructure. However, I don’t see why, in general, people have to be so all-or-nothing on this issue. It’s not one or the other. We can have our cake and then have some of another kind of cake too.

            Here’s my perspective. I ride metro to work (or bike, or sometimes jog to work) every day. I only use 66 when I’m going on weekend trips or to the mall or to Wolf Trap, etc. So I’m never driving during commuting hours. And, I’m never going anywhere east of the Lee Highway exit. Yet, I still see big backups, and it has nothing to do with the bottleneck into DC or people going all the way to Dulles. It’s due to the merges – Glebe road and sycamore westbound, washington/lee eastbound. On a weekend on eastbound 66, traffic is getting lighter, not heavier, as it heads towards DC (due to people living in arlington getting off). Yet there are still huge backups. This kind of puts holes in the theory that the backup eastbound is due solely to getting into DC.

            Two lanes is simply not enough to handle traffic flow. It’s not a volume issue (road area / square footage of a car). It’s a logistics issue – with two lanes you can’t get around a turtle in the left lane, and you can’t get over to let mergers in. So either of these things will back up traffic for miles. Do I think we need 4, 8, 12 lanes? OF COURSE NOT! But the difference between 2 and 3 lanes is night and day because with 3 lanes a single driver CANNOT back up the entire road.

            Moreover, people talk about going to 3 lanes as being catastrophic. I don’t understand why it would be so. Should the state invoke eminent domain on the Custis trail and homeowners? OF COURSE NOT. Ridiculous! I use the Custis trail several times a week and would never advocate that. But look at what they did with the spot widening? Look how that space magically appeared! Going all along 66 inside the beltway, there is TONS of free space as it is. Now, I don’t know how the easements work, in terms of metro’s right of way, etc. But do we need two breakdown lanes? Do we need so much space next to the rail lines? I’m not sure. It seems that there’s an awful lot of space. What about a breakdown lane that becomes a traffic lane at times, like on 66W in Fairfax? Can’t we get creative.

            It just seems that there needs to be some room for reason here. We can have a multi-faceted solution to this problem.

          • Josh S

            It “magically” appeared because the shoulders were essentially eliminated. There is now no room for error on that stretch of road.

          • John Fontain

            CW, once again I applaud your balanced and rational viewpoint.

          • Why would I choose to live in Arlington? Maybe I grew up here and like it here. Maybe I like being near the night life in DC. Maybe, just maybe, those reasons overshadow the 20 mile drive. Everyone has a reason for where they live and how they live. We all don’t need to live one mile from work and walk or bike it. The job centers don’t get built that way.

          • KalashniKEV

            Let’s hear the alternatives…

            Peasant on a bike?
            La guagua?
            Hoverboards?

            I really want to know.

            I-66 is a tourniquet on our carotid artery.

          • RosRes

            Things can’t be all that bad if everyone has so much time to complain… constantly… about everything… all day long.

          • drax

            No, you don’t really want to know, Kev. That’s clear.

          • KalashniKEV

            No, I do! Tell me about the place in China where everyone rides a bike and how nice it is…

          • Andrew

            Is there no middle ground for you? Someone mentions adding a couple of lanes and you jump to 16?

          • drax

            No you don’t Kev. You’re busy throwing out stupid straw men that even you know is ridiculous crap. But that’s what you do every time you post.

          • Josh S

            Kev, at various times you have attempted to present yourself as some sort of enlightened guy with a clearer vision of the world than the average thumb up their rear Clarendouche. But instead we consistently get sclerotic, narrow-minded, reactionary statements like “that doesn’t mean everyone should be a peasant on a bicycle.” I would submit to you that the inability or unwillingness to see the world from a different viewpoint than one’s own is the mark of a true thumb up their rear ‘douche.

          • drax

            Damn, that was well put.

    • Chris Slatt

      Because bottle necking at the bridge is a big improvement over bottle necking at the beltway?

      • Arlwhenver

        Actually, commuting into DC for going on 15 years I haven’t waited to cross. All it takes is a little bit of thinking instead of being one of the sheeple. Repeat after me — Memorial Bridge.

        • cyclist

          Yep, I ride across Memorial Bridge. I wave at the sheeple in cars sometimes.

          • Charlie

            Shhhhhhhhhhh

        • dk

          Pipe down over there, Arlwhen. No need to advertise.

        • Joe

          How do you get to Memorial Bridge without a backup at the ramp from GW Parkway up to the cemetary? It is better than the alternatives, but it is still not a piece of cake.

    • NPGMBR

      There is no room for four lines in each direction.

  • Scott

    Widening I-66 won’t prevent accidents. It will just increase traffic.

    • KalashniKEV

      Logic fail.

      • AllenB

        Really? Because widening the road really helped traffic on 270?

        • KalashniKEV

          Higher throughput = Less congestion.

          • AllenB

            Been on 270? That proves you completely wrong.

          • Joe

            You obviously have not been traveling I-270 for very long. No one can deny that the additional lanes have greatly improved that roadway over the last 20-30 years. Even as outer Montgomery County and Fredrick have grown exponentially.

          • drax

            But that’s just it. Montgomery and Frederick are growing exponentially–in a way that is completely dependent on driving–and it won’t take long before that overtakes I-270. What then, 4 more lanes? It will be awful hard to offer alternatives either, with all the sprawling development that’s in place.

          • drax

            “Higher throughput = Less congestion.”

            LOL.

            Reality proves you wrong.

            This is that linear thinking I was talking about. More doesn’t always equal better.

          • No. Reality is the population keeps growing. That is what causes the congestion. Reality is we keep don’t build mass transit to compliment the business centers being outside of DC and supporting the burb to burb commuters. Reality is the Federal Government has grown and grown, adding to the people driving into town. More cars. More throughput needed. Better mass transit planning and execution needed. All is needed.

          • drax

            Yet if you look at the numbers (the Texas Transportation Institute collects all this), we have more or less kept up with population growth when it comes to adding new lanes. Yep.

            The problem is that people now drive alot more miles per person.

            And one reason they do that is because most have to live further out, away from everything – because of sprawl. And they have no transportation alternatives out there.

            So it’s not so simple. It’s not a linear thing.

          • Well, what else do you do when the planners allow for building without a transportation infrastructure? You have to build the rails to have train service everywhere. That does not happen here. You have to build road improvements where it is the only means of transportation. That does not happen here with new development. We ALWAYS are behind the curve because of political greed and builders. Blame the drivers, but it really is the fault of the politicians.

            When you live further out, because the burbs have grown, you have to drive. Wait, that’s not entirely true. Private entities are making use of the few existing rails in Virginia. VRE. You can take it south on I95 all the way to Fredericksburg and west past Manassas. They are profitable. Build more rails then and you won’t have to build the roads. Until then, stop complaining. Us folks in Arlington use them too, especially those who, like me, drive into Fairfax to work!

          • CW

            OB, you speak a lot of truth. I don’t think this is a roads versus rails issue. That’s what it comes to a head as because people see what’s directly important to them. What this is is an American infrastructure issue. Roads, bridges, gas transmission, water supply, all of it’s falling into disarray across the country due to underfunding and wastefulness in contracting. Long-distance passenger and freight rail are not utilized to the degree that they could be because we don’t put in the money to upgrade them to first-world specs. We’re the only major power with no true high-speed rail. DC to NY in 1.5 hours with no body scanning or taxiing to the runway? Yes please, I’ll take that. We became great because our infrastructure, whether it was the Erie Canal, the railroads, or the Eisenhower Interstate System, made it possible for us to move our goods and make use of our resources. But now we’ve let it erode, and all we’re going to do is sit around and complain about how our taxes are too high, while whining about how “thay took are jerbs”.

          • drax

            Okay, OB, you’re saying that we should build roads because we don’t build rails, and then we won’t need to build rails. Is that it?

          • No, drax. I’m saying do both and more. In fact, do it BEFORE or IN CONJUNCTION with the development.

            Metro would have been so proactive if they had put in a rail beltway in addition to the wheel spokes they have now.

          • drax

            Okay, I agree, OB – except Metro didn’t have that power. Right problem, wrong people to blame.

          • Carl

            People have to drive more because the mickey mouse transit system in DC can not support all of their commuting needs. How is that not painfully clear? I was driving by the GW metro the other day on my way home and passed what looked like several hundred people standing on the sidewalk waiting to go down into the station. I laughed. I think there is like one escalator there. THIS is why people consider Metro a nice try but pretty much a joke when it come to serving a city. A JOKE.

          • CW

            @Carl – was it last tuesday? Because if so, that was the orange line suicide meltdown crisis. An anomaly.

            Yes, metro could be better, but for people who live within its intended sphere of influence, it gets you from A to B pretty well. Could it be less crowded? Yes. More trains on weekends? Yes. More lines? Sure. But like I’ve said, it’s a systemic problem – not just metro, or highways, but infrastructure in general. We as a country need to get serious about addressing it in a tangible, effective, and non-wasteful manner.

          • HOV

            HOV-4 = less congestion

          • LOL. If you can find three other people to commute with you that you can tolerate. I’ve heard horror stories from slug users.

        • Joe

          I-270 is vastly better than it was 15 years ago or even 30 years ago. Anyone that says otherwise, was not there.

          • AllenB

            I was there and drove it for many years. I think you’re wrong.

          • And you blame the road, not the regional population growth? I guess you are saying the people would not have moved to this area if the road were not improved, so housing would not have been built? Wow.

          • drax

            Not as many of them would have moved way out in the country into sprawl-style developments where driving (long distances) is their only option for getting just about anywhere. That’s the point.

          • Joe

            They move out there because the homes closer are priced out of their comfort zone> Not because the road was finally built.

          • KalashniKEV

            Drax thinks it would be less congested if it were smaller and more… congested?

          • drax

            Only in your wrapped-around-itself brain does that sound like what I’m saying.

          • John Fontain

            That’s what it sounds like to me.

          • drax

            LOL!

          • KalashniKEV

            “You’re just thinking linear, maaaaaaaaaaan…”

            [i]*Drax takes long toke and rides off on his bicycle*[/i]

          • drax

            Your arrogance is inversely proportional to your intelligence. I find people like that particularly interesting.

          • KalashniKEV

            I hope you’re not annoyed with me just because I’m not as smart as you… we’re trying to understand what solution you offer…

            All your comments sound like you want to constrict the transportation network and road infrastructure of Northern Virginia. How do you propose we address the problem?

            I wasn’t kidding when I asked you, “Should we all become peasants on bicycles?”

            What about la guagua? Should we all pile on and it will take us en-masse on our happy way to work?

            We want to know your ideas…

          • drax

            How long will it be before it needs another 4 or 6 lanes though?

    • It will increase traffic flow for Arlington residents, your neighbors, who travel westbound to work in Fairfax County.

      • NorthArlingTim

        How true. Often I have trouble either getting out of Arlington or getting back into Arlington. In / from any direction. Be prepared to shelter in place if anything happens. Like a snowstorm.

        • Virginia^2

          It is pretty frustrating to cruise from Fairfax on I-66 E then slam on the brakes at Route 7 and wait a half hour to get past the Toll Road merge

          • Global Cooling

            And then speed up again as soon as you pass the Sycamore street merge and cruise all the way into the city. Yep – that damn bridge into DC is the problem all right. Seriously – the geniuses who designed the 5 lanes down into 2 lanes in 1.25 miles (I measured the other day because I was bored – the 2 inbound lanes of I-66, the 2 inbound lanes of the 267 spur and route 7) are hopefully permanently unemployed – at least in the traffic design business.

          • Bluemontsince1961

            “Seriously – the geniuses who designed the 5 lanes down into 2 lanes in 1.25 miles (I measured the other day because I was bored – the 2 inbound lanes of I-66, the 2 inbound lanes of the 267 spur and route 7) are hopefully permanently unemployed – at least in the traffic design business.”

            +10, Global Cooling!

          • Global Cooling

            I actually come down Great Falls or Anderson to Magarity to Great Falls most days (when I work in McLean) instead and then via side streets. It always moves at 35mph (until it drops to 25 at West St.) and there are only 4 lights. Takes me 25 minutes – roughly double the time it does with no traffic on the spur – and roughly half the time when there IS traffic.

            So, point taken, Arlington County – you’d rather have me drive on side streets than the highway. Gotcha.

          • Lou

            I totally agree with this. Side streets are you friends. I probably drive 75% of my time on side streets now to avoid where everyone else is sitting in traffic. Thank God for a rational road grid system in Arlington to let us develop shortcuts.

          • Bluemontsince1961

            Global Cooling and Lou:

            I do the same thing a lot of the time (I work on Greensboro just off International Drive) – it is often less frustrating for me to take the side streets like Anderson/Great Falls St. once I get past the mess on 123 from Tyson’s to McLean. I find it is about 25 minutes from my office to my home in Arlington. If traffic is minimally messy on 267/66 (Westmoreland exit), I can go 267/66 to my home in 15-20 minutes. If there is a mess on 267/66….depends on how bad the mess is.

            On weekends I avoid 66 and take back roads period. May take longer and more lights but better than sitting in near rush hour stop and go or gridlock.

          • Global Cooling

            And that Safeway on Anderson is soooo much better than anything we have in North Arlington, and is never crowded when you stop there on the way home.

          • Bluemontsince1961

            Global Cooling,

            You nailed it. The Safeway on Anderson is better than any Safeway in Arlington. I usually shop at Giant in McLean on my lunch hour or at one of the two Harris Teeter’s in North Arlington on my way home from work. To me, those are equal to the Safeway on Anderson with one exception – as you said, the Safeway on Anderson isn’t super crowded, at least when I go there on my lunch hour, and that is a plus.

  • Steamboat Willie

    Cool story about the German kids, but why do they need their parents tagging along?

  • parent

    The Examiner is a right wing rag. However, since it can be found thrown on the street, the plastic can be used to pick after your dog. The plastic is flimsy, so 2 Examiner bags are recommended. The “newspaper” can then be recycled.

    • Steve

      No doubt you liberals would love to ban the examiner given it portrays improper thoughts, ie views that differ from your own.

      • Steamboat Willie

        I think when it comes to literature banning, the right wing has that particular market cornered, but nice try. While the hated librul Washington Post still limps along in the marketplace, the Examiner depends on financial support from a right wing billionaire and then gets foisted unsolicited on driveways and front yards of the good citizens of the DC Metro area.

        • Mr. Brown

          Right… because leftist groups never banned a book. Have you ever heard of the Soviet Union, China, or Cuba? I’m sure they are still trying to catch up to the right wing, who manage to fail to get Huck Finn banned once a decade.

          • Steamboat Willie

            So when we need to evaluate the behavior of the right wing censor zealots in THIS COUNTRY, we should hold them to the same standard as repressive Communist dictatorships. WE AIN’T AS BAD AS THEM CHINA LIBRULS.

            Thanks for clearing that up Mr. Brown.

          • parent

            I was SERIOUS. The Examiner is great for picking up after the dog.

          • drax

            This is not the Soviet Union, China, or Cuba dude.

    • Steamboat Willie

      The Washington Examiner is well worth its subscription price.

    • Why not use it shield your eyes from every viewpoint in the world around you? Oh, that’s right…. already done!

      • drax

        If that were true, he wouldn’t be here talking about that viewpoint, would he?

  • DarkHeart

    How about an elevated limited access expressway over Route 50? That worked well in Austin.

    • FrenchyB

      That would be an almost 9 mile long bridge from the Beltway to Rosslyn. That ain’t happening.

  • Chris Slatt

    How about we do exactly what do exactly what the NVTC has been advocating for all along and actually study a bunch of alternatives to see what will work the best for I-66?

    Compare and contrast via cost, effectiveness, etc a bunch of options:

    Adding general travel lanes.
    Adding express bus-only lanes.
    Adding HOT lanes.
    Adding lanes that are HOV-only all the time.
    Leaving the road as-is, but convert from HOV-2 to HOV-3 inside the beltway during rush hours.
    Leaving the road as-is, but convert to HOV-2 for longer hours.
    Leaving the road as-is, but make the whole thing HOT lanes + buses, use the HOT tolls to pay for additional buses & park & ride facilities.
    Add additional parking at the Metros along I-66
    Add additional bike facilities and pedestrian facilities at the Metros along I-66

    All of these are potential ways (and I’m sure there are 20+ more) to allow people to move along the I-66 corridor, let’s look at them scientifically and figure out which ones will realistically move the most people for the least money.

    • Quoth the Raven

      Good points, and it’s ironic that at the same time traffic on 66 is getting worse, the good folks in Arlington are trying to get rid of all the parking at EFC metro…

      • Virginia^2

        I have no idea and am genuinely curious, but does the development plan not include parking decks? I would think that even the existing surface parking situation deters a lot of people from using Metro so I can’t imagine the effect of having no parking at all.

    • Arlwhenver

      Outside of Arlington County some version of all the above has been happening for decades. Arlington has stood in the way of bringing most of the above into and through Arlington, such as through its HOT lanes suit suing state officials personnally and severally for fabricated racial discrimination complaints.. Arlington has been so uncooperative and recalcitrant that control is gradually being ceded back to RIchmond and Arlington is deservedly losing its voice. So keep it up sheeple, keep it up.

      • Carl

        I especially like the part where Richmond is going to make Arlington pay more out of pocket to maintain their own roads. As it should be!

    • Joe

      We do need to look at all the options, and we need to take some chances on the less obvious, but we still need to move forward with the no brainers too.

      One thing in there though; HOV2 vs HOV3 won’t make much of a difference. If you have driven HOV hours lately you would see the real volume comes from singles in Hybrids these days. Need to decide what our goal is with HOV. Is it mearly to cut down on emissions? The manufactures have already done a great job with that over the last 20 years. Is it to cut down on congestion to improve the individuals’ quality of life? Is it to ensure fast transportation needed to sustain our economy?

      • Chris Slatt

        That Hybrid HOV exemption definitely needs to go away.

  • Arlwhenver

    As for I66 Arlington’s motto is we are the 10 percent who want to stick it to the other 90 percent of Northern Virginia’s population — a good neighbor think locally and act globally philosophy.

    • drax

      So you don’t see how building, and then widening, a huge highway through the middle of Arlington wasn’t them sticking it to us?

      • Yet your neighbor is happy the road exists, and supports it being improved, so he can get to Fairfax to work.

        • drax

          Wait until my neighbor finds out his house is being torn down next! Boy will he be surprised.

          • Carl

            That is just a silly red herring. NEXT.

          • drax

            No it’s not. Arlington is affected by I-66.

          • Carl

            Nobody’s house is getting town down to widen 66. But thanks for the non sequitur. NEXT!

          • Global Cooling

            Hey – good job – you spelled non sequitur correctly. And you’re right on the money about I-66. And people claim that fear is the republicans’ best weapon.

          • You are ridiculous.

          • drax

            And my neighbor will soon be able to get to his job in Fairfax by Metro, so you can stop worrying about him.

          • I’m not worried. I am worried about you being upset that he doesn’t take metro and chooses to drive because Metro isn’t keeping up with service and maintenance.

      • Carl

        And there is going to be a lot more sticking it to you guys coming up from Richmond in the future. It is one of the things I love about the Commonwealth.

  • Charlie

    The examiner got thrown at my yard once.
    I went balistic in a scathing email to the editor.
    I told them it was un solicited, that it didn’t even make it onto my property, that they clearly didn’t care if I read the paper or they would do a better job and that I was collecting all of them off my street and calling the police for littering.
    My street never got them again.

    • drax

      We have lots of wet, rotting Examiners in our street. Litter sucks.

    • Examiner Reader

      Perhaps some of the people on your street enjoyed getting the Examiner?

      • Steamboat Willie

        If folks enjoy the paper, they have the prerogative to call the Examiner subscription desk and ask for resumption of delivery to their addresses. But be patient as the Examiner folks attempt to figure it out – it took several calls and threats of collecting and dumping the papers at the office of the editor for the littering to stop in my driveway.

        • Examiner Reader

          Perhaps they had already done that before Charlie summarily got their delivery cancelled.

          Look, if Charlie doesn’t want the paper, that fine and that’s his business. But I don’t think its right for him to be making that choice for others.

          • Steamboat Willie

            But the paper has the right to deliver repeatedly without permission? Neat.

            And perhaps the paper had not done so “before Charlie summarily got their delivery cancelled.” Or perhaps there were lots of people similarly complaining about unsolicited delivery of a propagandist newspaper. Or perhaps everyone on the street all complained the same day. Lots of unknowns, but it would be easier if the Examiner waited for permission, like other major reputable papers, right and left, do before littering driveways.

          • Charlie

            They do not have permission to litter my street every Sunday.

      • OX4

        Ha! That’s funny.

    • Charlie

      I have to protect my neighborhood.

  • Captain Obvious

    As I understand it, VDOT can’t afford what it would cost for them to condemn the land they’d need to widen 66 in Arlington County, so this is all a moot point.

  • Kind of irresponsible to quote the Examiner editorial without noting its owner is “a major player in the oil market,” no? I mean, it’s in the Washington Examiner’s owner’s financial interest for us to build more & wider roads to encourage more & longer drives.
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Philip_F._Anschutz

  • JamesE

    I think we should narrow every street/highway/interstate to 1 lane and all use segways.

  • Steamboat Willie

    Fond of that line, huh? You should try it in response to a third article.

  • JimPB

    Metro train is operating at capacity during rush hours. Increasing capacity requires a substantial capital investment and, since fares don’t pay 100% of operating costs, a further increase in financial support from area governments is also required. Who (and how) will provide those substantial additional $s.

    Make more use of Metro bus? Metro bus’s capital and operating costs might even less than for Metro train, BUT the busses would require dedicated road lanes if they are not to be stick in the vehicular gridlock — that would require a substantial capital investment. Who (and how) will provide the substantial additional $s for busses, operation subsidy and dedicated road lanes?

    For vehicular transportation: Increasing the capacity (adding lanes) on roads and bridges requires a very substantial capital expenditure. Who (and how) will provide the substantial $s required?

    Short-term, the Federal government could have an important role in enabling funds for capital investments for transportation. Right now T-bonds are in demand with a net of inflation negative interest rate. So it’s a great time to borrow, and much less expensive now vs. later when interest rates will be back up. But, long-term the Federal government needs to get deficits and the debt under control, so that probably means designating sources of revenue for transportation (and other Federally financially infrastructure projects). For roadways, that likely means tolls for extent of use and the amount of wear and tear inflicted. Technology enables such tolls to be collected without slowing vehicular movement.
    Is the area ready and willing to accept an extensive array of likely high tolls for use of major roads?

    For Metro, the designated sources of revenue are more challenging. Ideas?

    (Note: There is a relevant recent poll. I heard that a majority of No. Virginians were opposed to tolls. Belief in Santa Claus must be strong.)

    • CW

      It’s also laughable what they consider “northern virginia”. Bet youy dollars to donuts Prince William and Fauquier were included. Of course they don’t want tolls. They just want to magically teleport from their low-priced houses dozens of miles away right to where the high-paying jobs are in the major metro area. Have your cake and eat it too. Yes, I did advocate taking 66 to three lanes above, but that was from a pragmatic, common-sense logistical perspective, not to increase traffic throughput such as to accomodate everyone from the burbs. Widening roads to bring them up to a realistic minimum when they’re not yet there should be on the table, but tolls and rail should be as well.

      • So, where does “Northern VA” end? Others above tout the success of NY’s transportation system. Yet, I suspect that is done without considering folks commuting to NYC by car from halfway out Long Island or up in CT. Have you ever tried to actually get to NYC from one of the established suburbs of NYC? Long Island? CT? Jersey? Try sitting on a commuter train for an hour and a half! That is what urban life is about, even is the above-touted NYC! No matter how dense you pack it, it is going to grow and people are going to commute to where there job is. You can’t move all the time if you job changes. The economy isn’t always that kind.

        • drax

          Gee, cities have congestion? Sure. But some have more than others, for a reason. NYC is hardly perfect, but it’s much better than the LA model.

        • CW

          OB – you’re absolutely right. People make those sacrifices and sit on the LIRR, etc., for ungodly periods of time. And they know that that’s what they’re getting into and it’s part of the deal they accepted in order to have their little piece of grass to mow. But you’ll see a multimillionaire banker sitting on that train because he knows its the best way to get in, and he accepts that. Contrast with the people out in the sticks here who just think “me want drive!” and demand the LA model…build more lanes so I can get from my crackerbox snouthouse in woodbridge right downtown instantly!!!

          • J

            Absolutely. Developers have marketed these areas as convenient for D.C. commuters, and they’re so badly oversold that they’re now really not convenient at all. It’s a cold, hard truth that there are geographical features (the river) and a lot of development in between downtown and Loudon that can’t be smoothed over with pavement. It may take a while to commute to downtown NYC from NJ, CT, or LI, but it’s still impressive given the much larger number of commuters they’re jamming into far more restricted spaces. The train is the way to get downtown, and people know that’s the price to pay for space in the burbs. People down here never got that memo.

          • From what I’ve read, VRE trains coming up I95 are full. So is the other line from out west. VRE wants to add trains, but they do not own the rails to do what they want. Plus, these lines just run toward town and also don’t serve the burb to burb commuter (similar to Metrorail). There is bus service in Fairfax County and (I believe) in Prince William. I’m not sure about Loudoun. Buses use the roads too. So, what are these people supposed to support when there is no desire to expand the rail system by the politicians? Drive. That seems to be the option. Don’t blame the person. Blame the system and politicians.

          • ,

          • CW

            “So, what are these people supposed to support when there is no desire to expand the rail system by the politicians?”

            What I would support, then, would be different politicians. Like I’ve been harping on, though, there’s this general resistance to spending the big up-front capital needed for infrastructure. The public sector is eerily like the private sector in that leadership still seeks only the short-term gain. No elected official wants to go in on a project with a 30-year payback period. Of course, that’s what they should be doing, because that’s one of the roles of government – to do the dirty work the citizens need but which private industry might be hesitant to jump into.

          • J

            Overgrown, that’s all very well and good, but nobody was disputing your point there. What we’re (I’m?) saying is that people bought into the dream of owning large houses and grass fairly far out and hadn’t come to grips with the fact that these areas really just aren’t convenient ways to commute downtown under present circumstances. And there’s really no short-term fix–not widening 66 or building rail. Other cities’ residents, like NYC illustrated in the examples above, have come to grips with this. We have not.

            If people want to widen 66 in spots where there is space to address local congestion that’s been clearly identified and fixable (the area around Glebe road comes to mind), that’s fine. I don’t think any sensible Arlingtonian would/should argue against that. What they do rightly object to is turning the town into a parking lot feeding the bridges so that homeowners living in Loudon and Woodbridge can realize the developers’ slickly marketed dream of a fast commute to D.C.

          • Lou

            I have to agree here. Zimmerman is not a sensible Arlingtonian.

          • CW

            J gets it.

          • J: You are still assuming everyone is going downtown. That is hardly the truth. I travel west to work in Fairfax. Others travelling from the west don’t come all the way into town. I know folks who come in from Prince William only as far as Fairfax. These burb to burb commuters add to congestion considerably and these are the commuters the long-term planners have managed to miss. Metro has nothing but spokes to a wheel. There are few rail options to go burb to burb and much of the rush hour traffic in the area is just that.

  • Matt B

    I don’t see why we can’t support Metro funding AND widen I-66 … at least to Arlington exists? I would like to not be stuck in I-66 eastbound traffic on a Saturday and Sunday as I currently am. That being said Chairman Zimmerman is doing a great job and these attacks are warrantless.

    People should drop him a line with your opinions: [email protected]

  • Joe

    Zimmerman is a blowhard and a fool. Of COURSE I-66 should be widened.

  • Barbin

    On the Examiner–of course that right-wing rag doesn’t like Arlington. I have my disagreements with Chris Zimmerman’s policies, but I’m with him on I-66. The Republican Secretary of Transportation Coleman (sp?) made an agreement with Arlington County about the number of lanes on I-66 in return for putting a chasm through Arlington that split neighborhoods. The GOP got their way and now they want more. The GOP needs to do a better job of supporting and providing various and sufficient kinds of mass transit (for those of us geezers who aren’t able to bike or use other more personally physical modes of transportation) so that congestion is reduced. It would also help if the drivers on I-66 were better drivers and that the police could ticket all the texters and cell-phone talkers who speed up and slow down and move in an out as their conversations wax and wane.

  • MC

    HOV3 = less congestion.

  • Jesus Christ

    If I wanted I-66 to be wider, I would have created it that way!

  • John Andre

    As I have said in the past I’ll oppose any widening of I-66 which results in the destruction of Arlington County parkland or the rerouting or destruction of the W&OD Trail which runs along I-66 for a portion of its route. It makes NO sense to destroy our county parks for the sake of traffic originating outside Arlington County.

    Widening of I-66 inside the Beltway may be permissible provided no county parkland is sacrificed in the process. If any parkland be destroyed in this process, an additional area of parkland should be donated to the County to compensate for the parkland destroyed.

  • PJB

    Hooray! Another win for big corporate developers in Arlington.

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