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DC-Area commuters - how goes it today?

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DC-Area commuters - how goes it today?

Old 03-16-16, 08:42 AM
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PatrickGSR94
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DC-Area commuters - how goes it today?

I saw in the news yesterday that the entire Washington, DC subway system would be shut down today for emergency inspections, and that it's the nation's second busiest system (after NYC I guess) with over 700,000 daily passengers.

So what's it looking like on the streets? Tons more cars? More bikes? More pedestrians? I'm interested to know what the impact is like. Pics or video would be cool.
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Old 03-16-16, 08:59 AM
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Seemed like more cars on the roads, but most of my route is on trails, so not sure. More bikes were out, but probably due to the 70 degree forecast than traffic concerns. Many government workers telecommute when stuff like this happens, which reduces the amount of traffic substantially.
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Old 03-16-16, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
Seemed like more cars on the roads, but most of my route is on trails, so not sure. More bikes were out, but probably due to the 70 degree forecast than traffic concerns. Many government workers telecommute when stuff like this happens, which reduces the amount of traffic substantially.
Ah yes I remember them saying on the news that people were encouraged to work from home if at all possible.

What I'm wondering is, will there be a number of people who realize they don't need the subway (telecommute, bike, etc), and thus will the daily passenger count be lower after service is resumed?
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Old 03-16-16, 01:56 PM
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Cycling has been blamed for a couple of years now for the dropping ridership of the DC Metro system (WMATA). The reality is that WMATA service is widely perceived here as being of poor quality. I personally think it's ok, but there have been some high-profile incidents that have been turning people off - the Red Line crash as a result of a driver texting, the electrical fire at L'Enfant Plaza station, service disruptions every weekend except during cherry blossom season and high-profile events like Marine Corps Marathon, surly behavior by WMATA employees, etc.

On the WABA forums, some commuters are reporting slightly higher than usual numbers of cyclists, as opposed to massive hordes.

I miss bike commuting but hope to resume it soon, depending on what the doc says when I see him later this week. Thus I can't report anything current about our cycle commuting scene. I took the telecommute option today.

I don't anticipate a huge drop in WMATA ridership after today. While WMATA service ain't exactly red carpet quality, driving into DC to work is a worse experience. Much worse. Apparently people who are willing to ride for an hour each way to commute are rare here, despite the local populace's reputation for being into fitness. There might be more cycle commuters among those who can ride in 30 min. or less but that's about it.

This dashboard will probably give a decent indication of how much the cycling traffic went up today. It doesn't have today's data yet though, and it only covers Arlington County, which is only one county in N. Virginia next to DC.
Bicycle & Pedestrian Counters
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Old 03-16-16, 02:55 PM
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i use to go to baltimore a lot taking bicycle along not a safe place to ride
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Old 03-16-16, 03:29 PM
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I almost never ride Metro any more. Once in the last year, and less frequently than that in the last 10-15 years. Expensive, crowded, inconvenient, unreliable and unsafe. And all those germ-carrying people coughing on you. I didn't get sick a single time this year. Also, if there's ever a terrorist attack in DC, it will probably be in the Metro system. Metro's woes give me yet another reason to bike commute.
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Old 03-16-16, 04:02 PM
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I'd definitely bike commute every day if it took 20 min. or less each way.
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Old 03-17-16, 12:05 PM
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I didn't notice much difference on the morning commute, but definitely more vehicular traffic on the way home. Also, much more bike "traffic." I saw tons of people, seemingly bike commuting for the first time.
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Old 03-18-16, 08:14 AM
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I bike commute farther south on the VA side. Didn't notice anything on Wednesday.

"DC Metro stinks! Anyone who disagrees is an idiot."

And now we resume our normal programming...
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Old 03-18-16, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
I almost never ride Metro any more. Once in the last year, and less frequently than that in the last 10-15 years. Expensive, crowded, inconvenient, unreliable and unsafe.
That's sad to hear, the only time I rode the DC Metro it was fairly new, and I remember it being clean, spacious, and pleasant (compared to my experience in NY and London)
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Old 03-18-16, 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
That's sad to hear, the only time I rode the DC Metro it was fairly new, and I remember it being clean, spacious, and pleasant (compared to my experience in NY and London)
Well, every city has pessimists, optimists, and people who swing between the two extremes depending on mood, how the day want, etc. Every city also has people persons and people who hate other people, and people who can tolerate other humans to a degree, depending on mood and whatnot.

I think the Mexican food is way better in San Diego. OTOH, I'm actually more comfortable bike commuting here than I would have been if I were still living in Paradise Hills and having to ride to downtown SD.

Also, despite the high-profile incidents/accidents on the DC Metro system, I still feel safer commuting on it than I do driving in this area. DC has been top 5 on Allstate's list of worst drivers for years, for good reason.

Last edited by GovernorSilver; 03-18-16 at 02:52 PM.
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Old 03-18-16, 02:27 PM
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Finally, some hard numbers how how much the bike commuting population jumped during the Metro closure:

Bike use soars in the Washington area in light of Metrorail closure | Eco-Counter



I don't know about DC proper, but Arlington County uses counters in the decision-making process for maintaining or even extending the bike infrastructure in its jurisdiction.
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Old 03-18-16, 03:46 PM
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I quit riding Metro except for needed occasions like getting to a meeting where it's much more convenient. Several years ago my car was stolen from a Metro parking garage during the daytime. The Metro police stopped by after I waited for 45 minutes and too some information. They just walked away. I expected someone to apologize about it happening but I heard nothing. It was recovered years later by Florida police but still nothing from Zmetro.

I found out that thefts and vandalism are very frequent, especially at end of line stations. But Metro doesn't report crime!

The service is poor and while crime isn't bad, there are times and lines/routes where added police presence should occur. Metro claims when they do add more resources, it's viewed as profiling so they avoid the practice. For years the system has deteriorated and nothing is being done. The most obvious solution is raise fares but that won't happen either.
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Old 03-18-16, 08:04 PM
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Interesting chart above there. Wonder why it increases at the start of the week, peaks on Wednesday, and then decreases like that (for last week).
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Old 03-18-16, 08:22 PM
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Lots of government workerswith flexible and compressed work schedules - work extra time and take a day off every week or every other week. Friday's are the obvious favorite to take off. Also many people telework but agencies insist of propelled being there for certain core days and Wednesday is a prime day for everyone including the day for meetings.
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Old 03-18-16, 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by PatrickGSR94 View Post
Interesting chart above there. Wonder why it increases at the start of the week, peaks on Wednesday, and then decreases like that (for last week).
likely linked to weather. I ride year round in this area and the cyclists and runners come and go with the weather. some hard core ride and run through all conditions some through most and many only when nice.
Was helpful that the day metro closed was a nice day.
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Old 03-18-16, 09:00 PM
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Originally Posted by PatrickGSR94 View Post
Interesting chart above there. Wonder why it increases at the start of the week, peaks on Wednesday, and then decreases like that (for last week).
That's just March man. I wouldn't make too much of it, though StanSeven raises valid points.

This area is notorious for a fluctuating cyclo-commuting population. It drops considerably during the winter months because most of us aren't as tough as our cycling brothers and sisters in Minnesota, Boston, etc. and swells just as considerably when the weather is pleasant.

Last edited by GovernorSilver; 03-22-16 at 01:12 PM.
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Old 03-19-16, 01:59 PM
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Old 03-24-16, 06:20 AM
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DC Metro fare system is complex and cumbersome for both riders and administrators. Better would be a flat one fare per use, as in NYC. It would mean fewer fare cards, less signage and software, and less need for Metro personnel to intervene. Would likely raise revenue, too, if chosen right...
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Old 03-25-16, 08:08 AM
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Hope to start bike commuting again next week. Other local riders talking about the Cherry Blossom festival crowds and how to avoid them. The Case Bridge route that I took to avoid the Papal Visit crowds (that actually only materialized on his last day) is an option.
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Old 03-25-16, 08:29 AM
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I drove to work yesterday so I could do a local ride after work. Saw the cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin, and they weren't as spectacular as other years. Perhaps they were not quite at peak bloom. I have to work this weekend and will take another look, so hopefully they will be better.
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