Metro Goes Off the Rails, and DC Streets Grind to a Halt

Traffic map following Thursday’s DC Metro derailment. Image: Google Maps via Greater Greater Washington
Gridlock after Thursday’s DC Metro derailment. Image: Google Maps via Greater Greater Washington

No one was hurt when a Metro train derailed in downtown DC yesterday, but the incident wreaked havoc on the morning commute — for transit users and motorists.

David Alpert of Greater Greater Washington said the derailment and ensuing Metro service interruption “surely contributed” to gridlock throughout the downtown area, as people who would normally take the train tried to drive to work.

Alpert says what happened Thursday shows why car commuters have a vested interest in a well-maintained transit system.

Transit often faces a political problem where many voters who won’t personally use transit just don’t care about it and don’t support funding maintenance or expansion. Most people drive sometimes, so broadly they support fixing roads and often adding new ones even if they personally won’t use that road every day. But it’s not the same for transit.

It should be. Metro makes it possible for everyone to get to and from their jobs. So do bridges, and buses, and bicycle facilities, and sidewalks. Completely shut down any one mode of transportation and everyone will suffer.

Elsewhere on the Network: The League of American Bicyclists rethinks three-foot passing laws, and Strong Towns makes the case for keeping parks open after dark.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Will Federal Oversight Help or Hinder DC Transit?

|
The feds have taken over safety oversight of D.C.’s embattled Metro, and that could actually be cause for concern, says David Alpert at Greater Greater Washington. U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx laid out his vision for safety-related reforms under the aegis of the Federal Transit Administration in a recent piece in the Washington Post. One person was killed when smoke filled […]

Great Cities Don’t Take Late-Night Transit Service Away From Workers

|
What a sad state of affairs for transit in the nation’s capital. As WMATA, the agency that runs the DC Metro, temporarily disrupts service to take care of necessary system repairs, it’s also considering a permanent end to late-night service. That is entirely unacceptable, especially in a city where so many people work outside the typical 9-to-5 shift, says Kristen […]

Calling on Fans of Transit: Get in the Game

|
Rob Perks is the transportation advocacy director at the Natural Resources Defense Council. As someone who commutes to work on the Metro, I’m a big fan of public transportation. Earlier this week, as I was persusing the sports section of the Washington Post, I read a great story about a super fan. His name is Joel […]