Archives February 2009

Robinson: We can’t be complacent about transit

Commissioner John Robinson, during a long discussion of the psychology of transit, points out that we can’t just say that transit is available, so congestion will disappear. It’s still a function of planning to work with all the factors, as they have been, to make sure that the urban design reflects not just the transit theoretical case, but the practical, real-world experience, in which commuters have many reasons to use or not use transt.

Barnaby Zall

These guys are smart

A personal observation from someone who hasn’t attended a lot of these Planning Board meetings: these guys aren’t overwhelmed by data or by presentations. They dig into the data: e.g., “Dan, do these time estimates include my time walking to the subway station and then to my office?”

I suppose you should expect that in a highly-educated place like Montgomery County, but it’s still refreshing to see public servants taking their responsibilities seriously. As Ronald Reagan said: “trust, but verify.”

Barnaby Zall

Tragedy of the Commons

Dan Hardy, explaining relative traffic speeds in PAMR, uses the example of “the tragedy of the commons,” a concept originated by the late Garrett Hardin, a Univ of California professor, who pointed out that if you have a free public good, like sheep grazing on the village commons, people will use more than their fair share, because it is in their interest to do so. Same with road use and congestion.

Barnaby Zall

White Flint going to be a more efficient place to travel in the future

Dan Hardy’s prediction. WF residents currently take transit in greater numbers than projected in the 92 master plan, so it’s already a success with residents. The need is to get employers to encourage transit use by employees.

So will get better transit use in WF, and transportation appendix plans take that increased transit use into account. That’s why we want to concentrate growth in WF area.

Currently no intersections failing in WF. Critical area is north, getting into Rockville. Unusual traffic pattern on the Pike because of weekend and mid-day traffic. But experience is different at different times of the day (northbound vs southbound).

Barnaby Zall

Future of White Flint

Live blogging from Montgomery County Planning Board worksession on White Flint transportation needs. You can access live coverage from the Planning Board’s own site; link from regular White Flint planning page:

Dan Hardy, transportation planner, and Piera Weiss, are discussing the Transportation Appendix with the Board. Hardy notes that White Flint development is likely to be slightly younger and less expensive than nearby Bethesda. Current work force is drawn most heavily from Georgia Ave corridor to the east of White Flint. Plan is to have more of the work force come from nearby the Metro Station, in large part to help relieve transportation burdens.

Barnaby Zall

Upcoming Planning Board Work Session

The Montgomery County Planning Board is scheduled to hold its next work session on the White Flint Sector Plan on Thursday, Feb. 12, at 9:30 AM in the Silver Spring auditorium. The work session will focus on transportation. The White Flint Steering Committee will participate; it’s unclear what the format of that participation will be.

The Planning Board has also scheduled another work session for Thursday, Feb. 19, focussing on “economics,” meaning “how do we pay for this stuff?”, and a work session on “land use and zoning,” for March 5.

 For more information, check the official White Flint planning page:

Barnaby Zall