Thursday, June 29, 2006

MTA meeting, Part 2. The actual presentation was very impressive. Every possible option was represented on maps, artists' renderings, and even in computer graphics. I'm set on the rail option that will follow the Capital Crescent Trail, but there are many great ideas for the bus transitway that should be applied to existing bus transit.

One is a queue jump lane, which is reserved for buses at intersections. These allow the bus to be at the light when it turns green. Anyone who regularly drives through intersections like Colesville Rd and University Blvd. knows that it takes several light cycles to get past there. It was also interesting to see photos from Seattle, where they apparently have underground bus stations and tunnel systems. The fumes would be overwhelming, so I'm going to assume they run on something besides diesel fuel. But these would be great lower-cost options to use in addition to rail projects.

Some of the most impressive drawings were of the trestle that will carry the train over Rock Creek Park. It's not as tall as the former CSX trestle was, but a nice design for one of the very scenic spots along the route. Then there was the Transit Center for Langley Park. Just the idea of such a great facility there is refreshing. The residents there deserve this type of facility; it's long overdue. Some other proposals that stood out were the various bridge that will elevate the track over the Country Club and into downtown Silver Spring. It's important to note that the trail gets equal attention in these drawings, showing how they will coexist.

As a Maryland graduate, I have to say that maybe the UMCP station plans were the most exciting. I did not know previously that the train is going to arrive directly in the center of the campus! If only they had this when I was going there. It's a great example of designing a project that meets demand, and that people will actually want to use.

There's really too much to write about here. There were very informative reading materials given out, a realistic computer generated movie of buses driving from the University of Maryland down University Blvd through Langley Park and Silver Spring. I know the route well! I would have liked to see the animated movie of the train route, but the expert at that display said they didn't have it that night.

So, in conclusion, I am very impressed and I hope the Federal and State governments don't cop out and select the Bus Transitway option. If I'm elected, I will be working to make sure we get this world-class rail system built.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

MTA meeting, Bethesda, June 19, 2006. After work, I set out for an MTA meeting RE: the Inner Purple Line. Or Bi-County Transitway, as they call it. First of all, let me say that I strongly support building the Purple Line; it is the crown jewel in my transportation plan. But to get back to my story, it took me almost 40 minutes to get from River Road to BCC High School in downtown Bethesda! Absolutely ridiculous. Wisconsin Avenue was the worst. People literally walked from near Bradley up to the Air Rights building faster than I drove. And I was trying to beat a storm rapidly approaching. Too late. Lightning was striking all around downtown Bethesda as I entered the BCC parking lot. Then the parking lot started flooding. There was no way I was getting out in this! I moved up to a higher area to wait it out. I saw a WAMU car and thought maybe I could get on the radio to talk about my campaign. But the reporter came out and left during the storm.

Finally the lightning and rain stopped, and I went in. At the door to the cafeteria were dueling organizations, Action Committee For Transit (who favor the Purple Line), and Save The Trail, who oppose it. I entered the room and signed in. There were many impressive displays and experts to answer questions. There were also people from the country club faction in Chevy Chase who oppose the Purple Line. One older woman gestured wildly at the map, questioning who ever came up with such a crazy plan. "And it's going to cross Connecticut Avenue?! During rush hour?!"

Next: MTA meeting, part 2

Friday, June 23, 2006

Mr. Dyer goes to Annapolis. Well, it was a week ago but I've been so busy getting this campaign started that I haven't had time to post here yet. So here's what's happened so far.

Friday, June 16, I drove to Annapolis to file my candidacy with the State Board of Elections. One recurring theme this first week has been gridlock, which is what I found on Military Road. Brilliant idea by the D.C. government to do roadwork during rush hour. On Friday. In summer. As I waited in slow-moving traffic to merge onto Rt. 50, the Amtrak Acela raced past. How appropriate as one of my top priorities, if elected, is to promote new rail projects all over the state. Starting with the Purple Line here.

Anyway, after another jam at the West St. exit, I arrive in Annapolis. There are still lots of car dealerships on West St. Toys r Us is gone. There's a space open near the building. I go up to the second floor and enter the suite. I turn left to go to the front desk and encounter... Tom Perez, Montgomery County Councilman and Attorney General candidate. On the clipboard, I notice that Mr. Perez and I are the only two candidates filing this day. The staff are very nice and it did not take long to file.

Outside again, I thought about the many times I rode down this street as a child. I never imagined I would one day be filing as a candidate here for the House of Delegates.

Next: MTA meeting in downtown Bethesda.