Mass Transit in Far-Flung Areas

Which is to say, the outer suburbs. I recently discussed an article about attitudes towards D.C.’s Metro. Leaving aside the psychotic break portion of the article, it did describe a pretty fundamental problem:

He also said it’s often faster for him to drive to see relatives in Silver Spring, Md., than to take Metro — a trip that would require driving to Wiehle-Reston East Station on the Silver Line, taking the Silver Line downtown to Metro Center and transferring to the Red Line for the trip to Montgomery County.

You can’t go from Leesburg to Silver Spring in under two hours by Metro,” DiPasquale said. “At eight o’clock at night, I can do it [by car] in 40 minutes.”

D.C.’s Metro was largely built as a commuter rail, but in a very different era, when D.C.’s population accounted for 32% of the population currently served by Metro (1980), while today, D.C. only accounts for 19% of the same region. It was never designed really to serve as mass transit, but as commuter rail. Because of this, it has a ‘hub-and-spoke’ configuration, meaning that, as you move away from the center (the hub), it becomes less and less effective. Leaving aside fears of criminals stealing your precious bodily fluids, it really isn’t convenient at all over long distances. As a rule, mass transit isn’t, though there are exceptions, such as a Baltimore to D.C. train, or making sure people can get to the airport.

This is yet another reason why I’m not terribly optimistic about the Green New Deal. If more of the country where people lived looked like Manhattan–or even just Logan Circle, D.C.–that U.S. of A would be much greener. Until then, I don’t know what we do about mass transit for and to these areas.

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1 Response to Mass Transit in Far-Flung Areas

  1. OMG!!!! It takes me an HOUR to take a bus to my old neighborhood in Buffalo … it’s FIVE MINUTES BY CAR. Fucking insanity.

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