Sunday, August 17, 2008

Metro crimes are on the rise, so hold onto your shit. (DCist reports that arrests are declining and The Examiner reports that half of the arrests are kiddos under 17.)

Dr. Gridlock, "the Dear Abby of Traffic," is griping about documenting the Orange Line commute for a rare non-highway non-car column. I wanted to say ONE-TIME ONLY like this was a circus show, but he has more to share in the Commuter Column on Sunday and more notes later this week. His morning ride is as boring as my commuter bus (where I've taken to—surprise!—sleeping):

In fact, our car was very quiet. I heard no conversations. No one even muttering to himself. This crowd was into music, reading and snoozing. Highlight: Man offered his seat to a pregnant woman as soon as she boarded.

I used to take the Red Line toward Shady Grove to Union Station when I was in college. I'd spend the night at my sister's after concerts, and since I don't have a car, and MARC has limited service (for my needs, that is) I'd crash in her spare bedroom, get up early, and ride back to Baltimore on the MARC before class. (I might have skipped my astronomy lecture after a Minus the Bear concert to take a second shower and a nap before my important classes. Maybe.)

I should shut up about speeding, now that I am reminded of Metrobus' record.

Riders are legitimately annoyed that mayor Richard Daley is riding Bejing's subway to make the L (I like "el" better) more efficient. They politely point out maybe he could ride his own subway and learn what it is like to make improvements.

48 high schools will receive CTA Smart Cards at a reduced fare. They reduced fair is still only applicable during "school hours" (5:30 a.m.-8 p.m. during school months.)

My male doppelganger has been outed.

Oh my goodness, a green line train hit a man this morning. The line was down for an hour. It's unclear to me exactly what happened--one article says the man "jumped" in front of the train, but no one confirms that this was an Anna Karenin style execution. One article misled by saying the train hit a "pedestrian."

Wilco is trying to organize fan carpools. From The Boston Globe:

A few weeks ago, the band launched a special tab on its website that lets fans register as drivers or passengers. A feature then connects would-be carpoolers to each other based on where they live and which show they are attending.

"The thing we were trying to look at is: What is the thing in any given show that probably has the biggest environmental impact?" Tony Margherita, the band manager, said by phone from his home in New Marlborough. "That's the thousands of people driving in their cars from their homes to the venue."

So far, about 100 people have registered, according to the band's publicist. Wilco's website managers are working on adding features such as automated mapping and passenger feedback. Margherita said he would eventually like to share the software with other bands.

Maryland Transit (MTA MD) has eliminated its express bus to M&T Bank stadium…just in time for Ravens season. The buses allowed for fans to avoid the hassle of parking (or not parking, rather). The worst part isn't just the convenience, but the prices. From The Baltimore Sun (emphasis my own):

Some companies have stepped in to fill the void left by the MTA. But where the MTA charged $10 for a round trip, the going rate on the charters appears to be $20 for service from the former MTA starting points.

Fans can still get to the stadium using other bus lines, the Light Rail, and the subway. It's $1.60 each way on these services, why are you paying $10 for the bus? You can park at the Light Rail or a park and ride for free!

The Sun has an account of its reporter who decided to give up her car for a week. Give that woman a gold star! Seriously, this is part of her opening:

After six years in this city, I'd never taken a bus, never ridden the light rail, didn't own a bike. I live 1.79 miles from work, but had never tried it by foot.

This week, I'd try all of it.

ccording to - a site that rates neighborhoods across the country for their proximity to things like stores, restaurants and parks - with my Patterson Park address, I all but live in a pedestrian's paradise.

Who knew?

Not I. Certainly not the neighbors I compete with every evening for a half-decent parking spot.

Uh, really? You're a moron.

Staff reporter Jill Rosen finds out that sometimes transit workers are kind of mean, that sometimes the Trip Planner doesn't work that well, that the MTA MD websits sort of sucks, the buses don't actually come every ten minutes, that sometimes you'll be late for work using transit, and using public transportation in inclement weather is far less encouraging than waiting for that late bus. Yeah. I coulda helped you out, Rosen.

MARC is providing 70 more parking spots because its commuters had to park in Halethorpe's residential neighborhoods.

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