Monday, October 22, 2007

Takoma, D.C. Transportation Corridor Chock

WMATA to violate evacuation route sensibilities.
From: Megan Scribner

We've just learned that the WMATA Board has moved the Takoma Station development to their "consent agenda" which means they plan to approve it without discussion. They are scheduled to meet this Thursday, October 25.

Tonight at the City Council Meeting, the Council will brief the community on this very negative action by WMATA, which has come up so quickly. We need to be there to urge ALL of our political leaders to be strong and continue the fight to defeat the flawed EYA plan.

FYI -- On Friday, the City submitted to WMATA an alternative site plan apparently for the purpose of demonstrating that there are a number of alternatives and that therefore WMATA should reject the EYA plan. While we have some concerns about this "City" proposal and the process that led to its being sent to WMATA - we feel that right now we need to focus on the WMATA's vote on Thursday.

On Wednesday night Governor O'Malley is giving a speech from 8-9:00 at Takoma Park Middle School on Piney Branch. O'Malley is someone who can ask the MD WMATA Board members to vote against the plan. It would be good to have a good community turnout - not so much as a protest but as a way to visibly show how strongly the community feels about this particular development. Please come in red shirts, we'll supply the buttons or stickers -- hopefully there will be an opportunity during an open mike session to ask for his support.

If you haven't had a chance yet, please ask O'Malley to contact the two WMATA Board members who represent Maryland and urge them to vote for Smart Growth and against the EYA plan - or at least to make sure the EYA plan is SUBSTANTIALLY changed so that it is truly transit-oriented - has adequate bus facilities, parking, safe traffic patterns, safe pedestrian access and adequate handicapped access etc. (Since we're trying to garner his positive attention - you might also wish him luck also on a successful special session.) For the governor's office: or fax 410-974-3275 (both will get a response). Also, can email through his constituent website Or call 1-800-811-8336 (will not get a response).

On Thursday, the WMATA Board's Meeting is at 10:00am at 600 Fifth Street, NW. There will only be 20 minutes (2 minutes per person) of public discussion on all issues, including fare increases. So while you probably won't have an opportunity to talk. It would be good to have a good community turnout. Please come in red shirts, we'll supply the buttons or stickers.

Thanks for all your good efforts on this.

TakomaParkList mailing list
This regards the Metropolitan Branch B&O railroad corridor where today's WMATA Red Line runs above ground.

The proposal for new housing in the Takoma WMATA station site constricts and complicates Washington, D.C.'s sole continuous grade separated northern radial roadway for the sake of adding a fraction of the transit oriented development feasible along Maryland's Route 355 and Route 1.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Something For Nothing

The authorities want to charge a toll on an utterly insufficient (and truncated) highway system, while out of hand dismissing any and all capacity increases.

If there is to be a toll, place it upon a new facility- namely the I-95 Grand Arc Mall Tunnel proposed by citizen writer Douglas A. Willinger since 1997.

DOT Pushing Commuter Tax for DC

Washington, DC visitors will soon pass through toll booths as federal officials continue the push to toll existing interstate freeways.

I-395Commuters in the nation's capital are drawing closer than ever to paying a congestion tax, thanks to lobbying from the Federal Highway Administration. The agency has created a "toolbox of potential measures" to improve congestion in the area that essentially boils down to a single proposal: toll booths on the 14th Street Bridge.

The agenda from an agency meeting held Wednesday made it clear that improving capacity by widening the existing six-lane general purpose route is not an option. Aside from listed gimmicks such as "variable message signs" and "ramp metering" -- both of which are already present on the route -- the only significant options on the table involved tolling. To advance the concept of charging commuters, survey crews in unmarked vans have been photographing motorists at various locations after they had crossed into DC on the bridge over the past several weeks. The photographs allow officials to identify individual motorists using license plate recognition software and to calculate how much revenue can be raised from non-residents.

The 14th Street Bridge serves as the main access point between Northern Virginia and Washington, DC. Motorists would have no realistic free alternatives to enter the city under such a proposal. This would, in effect, revive the District's commuter tax, a two percent income tax levy on workers who lived in neighboring states. Congress blocked the fee in 1973, but for the past thirty years, city officials have looked for new ways around the law. In November 2005, a federal appeals court panel considered a District government lawsuit designed to reinstate the tax. Judge John Roberts, now chief justice of the Supreme Court, joined in the unanimous ruling upholding the 1973 law.

The US Department of Transportation likewise pushed commuter taxation by handing New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg $354.5 million so that he could set up an $8 tax on motorists entering Manhattan. This tax, following the lead of the London congestion charge, is expected to jump to $50 for the owners of politically unfavored vehicles like sports cars, luxury cars and SUVs.

View a copy of the toolbox document in a 149k PDF file at the source link below.

Source: PDF File Toolbox of Potential Measures (Federal Highway Administration, 10/9/2007)