The Washington area has (repeatedly) been ranked number one in traffic congestion. A report from Texas A&M’s Transportation Institute shares some pretty depressing numbers to illustrate just how bad our traffic is. According to the study, those of us in the DC region waste 67 hours a year in traffic delays. We also waste 32 gallons of gas per car (that is, gas we use sitting in traffic not actually going anywhere). And it’s only going to get worse, unless we make some major changes to our current transportation network.
However, I’m guessing that most of us don’t need to be told how bad traffic is around here. We live it every day. And we all know that it only takes one accident to make a bad situation even worse (were any of you on the road, any road nearby, last Tuesday when part of the outer loop of the Beltway closed?).
These are just some of the reasons why we need more options to get around in our daily lives. Yes, I said options. Think about it – did people on the Metro experience the same frustration those of us in our cars did last Tuesday? Would you have considered taking transit like BRT on Tuesday if you had the choice (even if you normally drive your car)? It’s no secret that we like transit here at Friends of White Flint, but that’s in part because cars have taken priority for decades. What we lack is a well-connected, multi-modal transportation network in this area.
Last Monday, the Planning Board rejected the Staff Draft Countywide Transit Corridors Functional Master Plan, taking particular issue with the language that prioritizes transit over cars. However, the White Flint Sector Plan was built, so to speak, on the idea that people will be driving less and using transit (as well as other modes of transportation, like biking and walking) more. In order to increase transit use in an area where so many already drive, there needs to be a solid transit system that gives people a good reason to leave their car at home. That system may be at risk for us, which is why we’re going to be writing about a variety of transit-related topics this week. Enjoy!