WE THE PEOPLE BEING ZONED OUT OF FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONE DOWNTOWN. WHAT, YOU DID NOT KNOW WASHINGTON DC HAS BEEN THESE FEW DECADES ONLY THAT FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONE?
If one comes to Washington DC these few decades you will see the size of tour buses----the number of foreign tour bus corporations soar and with that went areas designated for personal charter commuter buses. When we march on Washington DC many arrive by personal chartered commuter buses and these guys are no longer being given berths-----this is why more and more people are not coming to these large citizen protest events. Below is an article too long to post ---please take time to Google to see where our public spaces are being privatized to. As the voice of commuter bus OPERATORS tell us----Washington DC takes absolutely no care or attention in whether tourists are accommodated in these touring businesses. It will be those professional tour buses and not our personal chartered buses that find any parking ----and even those professional touring corporations are being sidelined.
SCHOOL BUSES AND FIELD TRIPS----WHERE ARE THEY BEING ZONED?
WE THE PEOPLE have these few centuries looked upon our US cities and nations' capitol as OUR OWN. MOVING FORWARD has these same cities as FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONES geared to keep all but the global 1% and their 2% away so they don't want tourists----protestors-----that are not able to afford what will become soaring prices for food, transit, museum entries--------so this is to what zoning is doing to personal commuter busing access.
NATIONAL MALL AND MEMORIAL PARKS TOUR BUS STUDY
Board members from the ABA were interviewed on March 27, 2014 in order to ensure that the questions
to be posed to operators and clients covered the range of concerns noted anecdotally to
NAMA personnel over the years. During this in
-person interview with two GMU researchers, the following questions were raised and accompanying, summarized responses provided.
Question1: With respect to tour bus visitation in Washington, D.C. what is your ideal scenario?
: Looking at the changing market over past 15 years or so, group travel and the size of
the motorcoach market are continuing to grow. For instance, 700 million passengers are moved
through motorcoaches annually. This suggests D.C.
would be a top destination among
Increases in motorcoach volume plus reduced parking spaces as the result of policies implemented after 9/11 are contributing to an ill feeling towards D.C. among motorcoach operators.
What was happening in New York City is now happening in D.C.
is unique because of the structure of the city, where people are moved from monument to
monument as opposed to dropping visitors off for all
-day trips. The dynamic structure of the
D.C. tourism industry makes it a unique scenario in motorcoach parking because timed admissions are changing the itinerary and people’s attitudes post 9/11 have changed to a heavier reliance on buses. People want to be mobile and be able to move around or get out in a hurry.
Question 2: Why do people want to be bused from location to location all day?
: Moving with a bus and the safety associated with having the bus in close proximity are
incentives to bus travel.
Question 3: How do you feel about the idea of shaping itineraries to decrease the reliance on
buses and increase pedestrian experience?
: Generally speaking a third party is planning the trip, with a constrained budget, and
adding other variables to increase cost to the trip may not be welcome.
Question 4: How do we improve the situation?
: Don’t remove any more parking spaces. An example of the parking problem is that
Union Station has lost many spaces in the hopes and promises of expanding parking. But, they
have not expanded the outdoor parking lot which is located at New York Avenue.
Question 5: How does D.C. compare in terms of paid parking?
: Owners would much rather pay for parking than not have a place to park. So the drivers are OK with the paid parking. An overall frustration for D.C. is that
D.C. is not dealing with the tour bus industry as a whole. Other cities seem to have better signs, better maps, more
spaces, and better collaboration between city and the industry. Consider that New York has
added meters for buses, why can’t D.C.
add meters? The goal should be to work on how to add
more motorcoaches for bringing in tourism instead of working to limit them.
Question 6: How do you feel about DDOT and Destination D.C.?
: There is no action coming out of DDOT. For example, consider the Ivy City Parking
Lot which is located next to Love Nightclub. Coordination among partners has never led to
action. A possible solution would that private lots could be converted to bus lots. Buzzard Point is
an example of one Destination D.C.
and DDOT have done, but nothing else has happened. Also,
realize that not one single lot has overnight parking. There is also frustration with service types.
We spoke about the privatization of all our state commuter routes and those commuter buses coming into our US cities. They will not be MTA----public transit they will be global transportation X AND Y. Slowly we are watching our public bus stops being partnered with private transit stops. The CIRCULATOR BY TRANS DEV GLOBAL VEOLA was installed just to DEREGULATE where these bus stops can go and open what was only public bus stops to private bus corporations. There is no intentions of keeping a FREE BUS----it was all done to DEREGULATE. Right now the service by private CIRCULATOR is worse than existing MTA in Baltimore yet it is getting lots of public subsidy and we are paying for their buses.
So, where they had public bus stops here and there taking public street parking there is now more spaces being assigned to a Circulator-----and now these RAPID BUSES-----all along our streets. The intent of course is to end all public MTA buses and to have all public bus stops be privatized spaces on our streets. Again, yet another privatized space on streets outside of private spaces for ZIP CAR----UBER-----BIKES----
IT IS DESIGNED TO CONTROL ALL ON-STREET PARKING TO PRIVATE CORPORATIONS. THE HOUSING ALONG CITY CENTERS LIKE BALTIMORE WILL BECOME HOMES NOT APARTMENTS AND HAVE OFF-STREET PARKING IN BACK.
They are not visualizing our current rowhouses full of apartments so street parking will not be needed.
I attended the PUBLIC MEETINGS for MTA restructuring----as with all public meetings they do not do anything people ask----I stood in the back and said to MTA employees working that meeting WHY ARE WE NOT TALKING ABOUT THE PRIVATIZATION OF MTA WITH THESE COMMUTER LINKS? As all Maryland public employees say----SHE KNOWS. You cannot get a job as a public employee unless you work to make sure the public doesn't know what is happening----
IT IS THE STRANGEST OF LOSS OF PUBLIC VOICE AND POWER-----AND MOVING FORWARD WILL MAKE ALL THAT LOSS OF POWER COMPLETE.
They are routing these commuter buses out of Charles Village which is a Johns Hopkins campus becoming simply college housing. A Charles Village homeowner---my age said WE BOUGHT A HOME IN CHARLES VILLAGE BECAUSE IT WAS A TRANSIT HUB-----now they are slowly rerouting buses outside of city center. One lady living near our city border was shouting I WILL HAVE TO TAKE 4 BUSES TO GET TO DOWNTOWN ----of course that will go for children forced to commute across town to find a decent school as well. It is VERY, VERY, VERY BAD PUBLIC TRANSIT POLICY simply allowed to MOVE FORWARD because citizens do not take power.
Bus rapid transit: a potential key to density
OCT. 1, 2005
Mixed-use projects are rising near bus stations in Boston, Seattle, and elsewhere.
Can public transit’s ugly duckling — the lowly city bus — be transformed into a swan that large numbers of Americans will love?
Yes, say Bush administration officials and other backers of bus rapid transit (BRT). In Boston, Cleveland, and other cities, the federal government is helping to build BRT lines, which run faster, more frequently, and more comfortably than ordinary buses. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta contends that high-quality bus service is an effective alternative to rail transit projects, which are sometimes extremely costly to construct.
If the advocates of BRT are right, not only can buses attract a broader ridership than they currently do; they can also encourage concentrations of pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use development at certain points along their routes. One place where a spurt of development has materialized is Boston, at some locations along the Silver Line operated by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Agency (MBTA).
The first segment of the Silver Line bus route — described by MBTA spokeswoman Lydia Rivera as “essentially a light rail system without the tracks” — opened in July 2002, carrying riders from Washington Street, in the South End, to South Station, a long-established train and trolley hub downtown. In December 2004 the second segment opened, taking passengers from South Station to two stations on the South Boston waterfront and from there to Logan Airport. The line’s 60-foot articulated buses run every two to four minutes during the morning and evening commuter rush, many of them powered by low-emission, compressed natural gas above ground and electricity when they go into a tunnel.
David Dixon of Goody Clancy Associates in Boston said the Silver Line has prompted “an extraordinary degree of development along Washington Street, the first really significant loft development in Boston.” (Substantial development has also occurred along the South Boston waterfront within walking distance of Silver Line stations, but Dixon thinks construction in that formerly industrial section has come more from the waterfront location than from swift bus service.)
A tougher test of BRT’s effect on development will occur in Cleveland, where the economy and the demand for new offices, retail, and housing are weaker. The federal government is spending about $83 million to help the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority establish a fast bus line that will run on the city’s premier street, Euclid Avenue, all the way from Public Square at the western end of downtown to University Circle, seven miles to the east. A platform and a two-lane busway, from which trucks and cars are excluded, will occupy the middle of the broad street. “The buses look sleek, like trains,” said Alan Ward, a principal at Sasaki Associates, which designed bus stops and streetscape improvements along the route. Shelters and boarding areas will be on the center island, where people will walk onto buses without having to climb steps. They will purchase tickets beforehand, eliminating the slow process of paying upon entering the bus.
Electronic signs will tell people how soon the next bus will pull in, and automated equipment on each bus will announce the next stop. Buses will get favorable treatment at traffic signals, which will stay green longer to help them maintain a quick schedule. It’s estimated that bus trips on Euclid Avenue will consume 26 percent less time than they do now. Beyond University Circle, the Euclid buses — called the Silver Line, the same as in Boston — will mix with other vehicular traffic, resulting in slower speeds toward the eastern terminus, the Windermere Rapid Transit Center in East Cleveland.
Compared to light rail, the cost of building a BRT line is “substantially lower,” and the operating cost is comparable or lower, said Bill Vincent of the BRT Policy Center, a bus rapid transit advocacy organization sponsored by the Breakthrough Technologies Institute in Washington, DC. The federal New Starts program, which gives grants for transit projects, was funded in 2004 at $1.3 billion, and by 2009 its annual expenditures will rise to $1.8 billion — not a lot of money by Washington standards. Limited spending “cries out for more cost-effective solutions” than thinking only in terms of rail, Vincent said.
Cost advantages have been cited by the Bush administration, which is now overseeing BRT construction in four urban areas: Hartford-New Britain, Connecticut; Eugene, Oregon; Cleveland; and Los Angeles (where the Orange Line is being built). Jeffrey Tumlin, a partner in Nelson/Nygaard transportation consultants in San Francisco, noted that BRT eliminates the expense of laying track and offers more flexibility than a fixed-rail system. But he emphasized that the bus stations themselves cost just as much as rail stations — in part because BRT is trying to provide atmosphere and comfort equivalent to that of rail transit.
If a city expects BRT to stimulate urban regeneration, including mixed-use development, local and state sources may, however, have to pay tens of millions of dollars on top of whatever the federal government provides. For the Cleveland project, the city is contributing $8 million, a metropolitan planning agency is paying $10 million, the local transit agency is spending $16.6 million, and the state is providing $50 million. The overall cost is expected to exceed $200 million, partly because Cleveland is reconstructing seven miles of Euclid Avenue from building face to building face, a project that includes replacement of utilities and installation of bicycle lanes, wider sidewalks, granite curbs, planter strips, trees, and public art, said Ryan McKenzie, transportation project manager for the advocacy group EcoCity Cleveland.
To help shape development toward new urbanist objectives, Cleveland this summer established a mixed-use zoning district in the Midtown area along Euclid. “We have always encouraged buildings to be at the street edge and multistory,” said Robert Brown, director of the Cleveland Planning Commission. “This mandates buildings at least three stories, at the street edge.” Cleveland area planning consultant Bruce Donnelly characterized the new code as a step forward, noting, “Even though it is not, strictly speaking, a form-based code, it is more specific about form than are most codes.” McKenzie believes the enhanced streetscape will please pedestrians and reinforce the trend toward converting Class C office buildings to residential use, making the area more vibrant. According to the Regional Transit Authority, the Euclid corridor could eventually see 7.9 million square feet of new commercial development and more than 5,400 new residential units.
Among the other North American metropolitan areas that have done or are doing interesting work with bus systems are Denver, San Francisco, Honolulu, Portland (Oregon), Orlando (Florida), and Ottawa (Ontario), various sources told New Urban News. “A growing number of places are beginning to invest in quality of bus service,” providing a quieter and smoother ride, trying to optimize the spacing of stops, and, most importantly, emphasizing “speed, reliability, and frequency,” said Tumlin. “In the 1980s, Denver took the commuter bus system and created two major bus terminals at either end of the downtown,” putting the terminals mostly underground, with office development on top and with an electric shuttle bus running between them, he noted. “The whole office core developed along the commuter bus and transit mall.” He observed that in California, “Oakland, Berkeley, San Francisco, LA, and other cities are all planning for increased density and development around their existing and future BRT lines.”
At the CNU annual conference in June, much talk about potential bus-oriented development focused on the Seattle area, where the King County Department of Transportation and its Metro bus operation have been developing a series of bus stations (generically called “transit centers”), some with mixed-use development around them. Seattle lacks true BRT, but does have an extensive system of bus routes, with stations where routes converge.
“We’re melding transit goals with smart growth,” said Ron Posthuma, the department’s assistant director. In Renton, east of the Seattle-Tacoma airport, Metro built a bus hub in a languishing old suburban downtown while Renton’s economic development administrator, Sue Carlson, worked to attract private development. Renton encouraged auto dealers to move from downtown to an area that better served their purposes, and then acquired five acres in the core. There the municipality constructed a seven-story parking garage, built a plaza — home to a farmers’ market — and sold properties on which developers have since erected housing and shops, according to Alex Pietsch, Carlson’s successor in the Department of Economic Development, Neighborhoods, and Strategic Planning.
On land once occupied by a Chevrolet dealership, Dally Homes of Seattle has built three urban mixed-use complexes in downtown Renton, including the four-story Metropolitan Place, which has shops on the ground floor and 90 apartments above. Underneath are 240 parking spaces — 150 of them designated as “park and ride” for the transit center. Downtown Renton now seems “a totally different place” than six or seven years ago, said Mark Hinshaw, an urban designer at LMN Architects, which was responsible for the parking garage. Roughly 500 to 600 housing units are in various stages of feasibility analysis and permitting, according to Pietsch. Collaboration between the county and the city, which integrated transit planning into urban development, was an important factor, said Matthew Aho, project manager for DOT.
Urbanistically, Renton is one of the most successful of the Seattle area’s transit center developments. Jim Charlier of Charlier Associates transportation consultants in Boulder, Colorado, said, “Most of what Metro has done is develop housing above transit centers. That’s really not transit-oriented development. TOD is districts around transit centers.” Charlier recently worked on a transportation master plan for the City of Redmond, east of Seattle, and believes Redmond can achieve genuine TOD, with considerable density around a bus center. Surface parking will give way to buildings.
Nearly everyone New Urban News spoke with agreed that developers are less excited by bus systems than by rail transit. The permanence of a rail line encourages developers to make long-term investments along it. Also, despite the introduction of quieter, clean-burning engines on the latest generation of BRT buses, the public’s preferred mode of mass transit is trains. This August, community groups in Boston forced the MBTA to postpone plans for constructing an $800 million, one-mile bus tunnel for the final leg of the Silver Line; they wanted it to be light rail.
Shelley Poticha, president of Reconnecting America, said some streetcar projects have been “only modestly more expensive” to build than BRT and have done better at generating mixed-use development. Charlier summed up the buses’ potential by observing that higher-density, mixed-use districts can be brought into being around bus stations, but doing so requires purposeful local planning, because it may not happen on its own. “You can write it into zoning and land-use management systems,” he said. “It needs to be a coordinated strategy.”
State commuter rail like Maryland's MARC will be ended if HIGH-SPEED RAIL is built as is MOVING FORWARD in Maryland. All of that will take a decade or so but in the meantime what was a need to bring professionals from the suburbs to the US cities is now becoming UNNECESSARY. A Washington DC is almost totally gentrified with high affluence so they will not need to bring employees from Baltimore and suburbs much longer. The Baltimore to Washington trip will decline------the need to bring citizens from suburbs into Baltimore will decline as MOVING FORWARD TO FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONE has Baltimore looking more and more like Washington DC. Of course Washington DC over these few decades will become exclusively global 1% and their 2%----NYC and London is full of oligarchs right?
Here we see the slow dismantling of just that suburban or Baltimore City citizen commuter. MARC worked well for moving people to and from work---not so interested in moving people for personal goals. The funding has been short----the maintenance of railways left undone-----and we see here where the subsidy to workers is declining. Again it is tiered----if you are a lower wage employee you will not be able to meet these new prices and that tiering will go higher and higher as this decade MOVES FORWARD. Then MARC will end as a public rail option.
Tax benefits for mass-transit commuters set to drop
A commuter rides from Silver Spring to Washington on a red line Metro train. Starting on Jan. 1, the monthly amount that commuters can set aside before taxes to spend on mass transit is set to drop from $245 to $130. (Matt McClain/For The Washington Post)
By Jia Lynn Yang and T. Rees Shapiro December 27, 2013
To the many items that Congress neglected to address before wrapping up its year, add another: tax benefits for millions of Americans who rely on mass transit for their commutes.
Starting Jan. 1, the monthly amount that commuters can set aside before taxes to spend on mass transit is to drop from $245 to $130, which for some heavy users could mean several hundred in higher costs next year.
The change pits mass transit users against drivers, who by contrast will see an increase in their monthly parking benefit in the new year, from $245 to $250.
“This is the biggest disparity between the two components of the commuter benefit that we have ever seen,” said Natasha Rankin, executive director of the Employers Council on Flexible Compensation. “For those who rely on mass transit, where you also have increasing costs, this is a double hit.”
The lower benefit has ramifications for commuters across the country, but particularly in the Washington metro area, where between 400,000 and 500,000 people take advantage of the tax benefit, according to WageWorks, which helps companies administer benefits.
Tom Curtis, who rides Metro every day from his home in Arlington to his job at the American Water Works Association in the District, is among those who will lose because of the inaction on Capitol Hill.
He said he couldn’t understand why Congress allowed drivers to keep their benefits. “They ought to be encouraging people to use more efficient and environmentally friendly mass transit like Metro,” said Curtis, 66. “The highways are too congested and overused.”
Curtis said that for many commuters, the change in benefits will amount to a significant amount of money.
“It could be a real hit,” he said.
Advocates say the benefit enjoys broad, bipartisan support. But it’s attached to a larger bill filled with seemingly random tax benefits that have already expired or are set to be phased out at the end of the year. These “extenders” include everything from research and development tax credits to breaks for domestic TV and movie production.
With lawmakers saying they’ll pick up the extenders bill sometime in the first quarter of next year, advocates and industry observers say it could take months for transit users to see their benefits restored to their current level.
“Unfortunately, many people will lose not only the January, February and March tax break but probably into April, too,” said Dan Neuburger, president of commuter services at WageWorks. He added that even if Congress addresses this by March, as hoped, it will take weeks to administer the benefits. That means most commuters may not see the higher tax break until later in the spring.
Local commuters, many of whom spend substantial amounts traveling long distances to their jobs, are often sensitive to any decrease in the cap on pretax spending. Metro officials say that in 2012, when the system instituted higher fares and the transit tax benefit dropped to $125 a month, ridership fell 2.7 percent, or 9.5 million.
This isn’t the first time the size of the transit tax benefit has hung in the balance at the 11th hour. A year ago, it squeaked by in a bill that resolved the standoff over the “fiscal cliff.”
This year, Congress again delayed passing the extenders bill — including the benefits for transit users. That happened largely because lawmakers were trying to gin up support for broader tax reform, with some on Capitol Hill insisting the extenders should be handled along with the rest of the tax system, not separately.
But with one of the leaders of that effort, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), on his way out to potentially become the next U.S. ambassador to China, the timetable for the extenders has accelerated to sometime in the first three months of 2014.
Employers, who must elect to participate in the commuter program for their workers to benefit, also stand to lose money. That’s because if employees are unable to deduct as much from their paychecks as before, their employers have to pay more in payroll taxes.
The tax benefit for commuters has been in place since 1998. From the beginning, those who used mass transit saw lower benefits than those who drove and parked. Regular cost-of-living adjustments only widened the gap until 2009, when the economic stimulus package brought the transit benefit temporarily in line with the one for drivers.
In 2012, however, that parity lapsed, and the transit cap fell to $125 a month. On Jan. 1, 2013, in its resolution to stave off the fiscal cliff, Congress brought the amount back up to $245 and retroactively tried to patch up the savings that were lost the previous year.
Advocates of the tax break say that calculating those retroactive savings — a situation Congress will once again face if restores the bigger commuter tax break next year — can be very difficult.
“It’s a huge administrative burden to then go figure out retroactively what someone’s commute would’ve cost,” said Neuburger of WageWorks. “So companies just didn’t want to do it. They lost the tax savings, and the employees lost the tax savings.”
Economy & Business Alerts
Breaking news about economic and business issues.
Now, without a rule ensuring that transit users see the same level of benefits as drivers, the gap between the two is set to grow again. Advocates say the best solution is to make the level of savings given to transit users the same as drivers — permanently.
Last week, Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) made an attempt to pass a bill that would avert the drop in transit benefits. The effort failed.
Chris Monk said he relies heavily on the tax credit for the commute from his home in Leesburg to his government job in Southeast Washington. He said the reduction in the tax break probably means he’ll give up on mass transit most days.
“I’m grateful to get any mass transit benefit at all, but the truth is I’m still disappointed,” said Monk, who started taking advantage of the tax benefit about a year ago. “This change is going to make it easier for me to shrug and drive some days.”
It is incredible that even our middle-class citizens in only in Maryland but around the nation do not have the information on Foreign Economic Zone and Master Plans for what ONE WORLD ONE GOVERNANCE FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONES looks like.
Montgomery County has been ground zero for global corporations and foreign corporations surrounding our Washington DC beltway. Virginia has the same----for these few decades Montgomery County has become a BEDROOM suburb for these global corporations and with that brought high-paying executive jobs. This high-density global corporate headquarters surrounding our nation's capitol was also ground zero for the massive tens of trillions of dollars in corporate frauds against our Federal agencies----this is why Montgomery County and Virginia's Arlington/Alexandria are on the richest list. This is how our ROBBER BARON POLS enriched themselves.
What these corporate executive citizens need to WAKE UP to is this: there is no intent of paying white collar professional an American standard of wage. These current upper-middle will be those $20-30 a day white collar sweat shop workers and these Foreign Economic Zones inside DC will become only global 1% and their 2%-----Montgomery County will become that global corporate campus global factory footprint so none of these plans for public transit WILL OCCUR. THAT IS NOT WHAT MOVING FORWARD has in mind.
Johns Hopkins was allowed to open a campus in this area and they will seek to dominate all public policy and development there as they have in BAltimore meaning they will be bringing their own global corporations and partnerships to make Montgomery County look just like a Chinese Foreign Economic Zone-----NO WINNERS BUT THE GLOBAL 1% AND THEIR 2%!
While the low-income citizens will be the first big losers of public transit and ability to move around-----be well aware so too will today's middle-upper middle class------
Marc Rail Communities Plan
The new MARC Rail Communities Plan will build on the recommendations of the previous 1985 Boyds Master Plan, the 1989 Germantown Master Plan and the 2009 Germantown Employment Area Sector Plan, and will examine in greater detail the land uses, zoning, design and multimodal access to the two MARC stations. Specifically, this limited Master Plan will:
- Determine the appropriate land uses and densities at sites near each station.
- Provide recommendations to improve multimodal access to each station (using information gathered during the Master Plan of Highways and Transitways and the Bicycle Master Plan to help inform the access portion of this plan).
- Consider other concerns raised during the planning process (i.e. parking).
This application enables you to help guide the MARC Rail Communities Plan by making comments and suggestions about your area that we will use in developing recommendations for the Plan.
- July-September 2016 - Develop preliminary recommendations
- September 2016 - Present recommendations to the community
- October 2016 - Present Working Draft to the Planning Board
- November-December 2016 - Planning Board Public Hearing and Work Sessions
- January 2017 - Planning Board Draft Transmitted to Council
The MARC Brunswick line is a well-traveled commuter rail line connecting West Virginia to Washington, DC. The first four stations in Montgomery County are Dickerson, Barnesville, Boyds and Germantown. The Boyds and Germantown MARC Rail Stations are the focus of this Master Plan. Due in part to increases in population in the surrounding area, specifically in Clarksburg, Boyds has experienced greater transportation pressures in and around the intersection of Barnesville, Clarksburg and Clopper Roads. Additionally, the Montgomery County Parks Department is considering development of a local park immediately to the southeast of this intersection along Hoyles Mill Road.
The Boyds MARC station contains 15 parking spaces that are quickly filled. It is assumed that many commuters will typically drive to the next nearest MARC station to find a parking space. Finally, the comprehensive revision of the County’s Zoning Ordinance, enacted on October 30, 2014, allows the reevaluation of non-residential zones around the MARC stations and densities more compatible with rural and historic character.
In Germantown, a significant amount of new residential development has been proposed or approved, and constructed within one-half mile of the MARC station since the approval of the 2009 Sector Plan. Additionally, there are significant numbers of developments proposed in the Germantown area along the route of the future Corridor Cities Transitway (CCT) that will have an impact on the MARC station area. The Germantown MARC station has approximately 694 parking spaces, but typically these spaces fill up very early in the morning. It is anticipated that more commuters may use the MARC station if access conditions are improved.
For cities lucky enough to have government investing early in strong public transit with subways and light rails-----what we are hearing all over the nation is the complete lack of investment in maintenance and this is because they have outsourced much of subway operations to private corporations which are waiting for more public subsidy to repair and upgrade our US city subways.
When a TRUMP and Republican Congress sends those trillion dollars in infrastructure funds to do just that THEN WE WILL SEE NEEDS MET. By then US cities deemed Foreign Economic Zones will be gentrifying to global 1% and their 2%.
Cities like Baltimore who SHOW COMPLETE DISDAIN FOR PUBLIC TRANSIT---- and who have for decades lost in this race to build density because of this----will be trapped with simply having that global corporate campus private busing ----UBER SELF - DRIVING TRANSIT-----maybe they will have large DRONES dropping workers by parachute.
Where did all that state funding in Maryland for MTA go these few decades----because it surely did not make it to MTA services? It went to global corporations allowed to partner with these state transits----simply moving all of what would have been services and maintenance to global corporate PROFIT.
The WMATA Twitter Feed: A Source of Commuter Frustration, or a Solution?
The agency’s account is closely monitored—and selective.
By Carol Ross Joynt on June 11, 2013
What’s a frustrated user of public transportation to do when public transportation
isn’t performing up to expectations? In the case of busted subway escalators and elevators,
for instance. An unresolved SmarTrip card complaint. No cell service in tunnels where
there should be cell service. Unexplained power outages. Trains that don’t arrive.
Rude bus drivers. No station managers. Unexpected track work. Or what’s a rider to
do in the (rare but possible) case he or she wants to praise good service?
In the modern age, we take to Twitter.
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s
Twitter feed has more than 45,000 followers. WMATA employs
a vast communications staff, including social media managers. Still, frustration prevails,
because the Twitter feed is not only closely monitored—it posts frequently—but
also selective. It recently blocked one of its most ardent watchdogs,
Chris Barnes of FixWMATA.
WMATA, no doubt, feels up against it. The
Washington Post editorial board went after the agency
this past weekend,
calling Metro a “slow-rolling embarrassment,” and describing
its service as “bewildering,
maddening, [and] soul-sapping” for passengers. Last week the
Washington Examiner took it to task, too, outlining
how the agency has fallen behind in maintaining the aging transit system, in particular
broken escalators, elevators, and other system failures that cause hassles for riders.
Chris Barnes is a commuting buff and advocate. He works in broadcasting in the Washington
area and has a background in traffic reporting. He says he is “fascinated” by how
people commute and wants to “help riders who aren’t getting help” from WMATA. He started
FixWMATA and its related Twitter feed in 2010, and routinely
attends meetings of the WMATA Riders’ Advisory Council, a 21-member panel of passengers
from DC, Maryland, and Virginia, as well as three at-large members. Elected officials
cannot join. He tries to provide up-to-the-minute service information—much like the
WMATA Twitter feed—and uses riders as his sources. He consulted the WMATA Twitter
feed, too, though last week he was officially “blocked.”
It happened after a Metro fire in Silver Spring. As information was exchanged on Twitter,
the level of frustration escalated, including in a tweet Barnes sent to WMATA that
included the acronym “STFU.” The next day he found himself blocked. “I don’t know
who blocked me,” he says. “Myself and many other people have said much worse without
getting blocked.” Did he feel he perhaps handed WMATA an opportunity to block him?
“Sure,” he says. “But I am a taxpayer. I ride Metro. I don’t see how a government
agency can block someone.”
Dan Stessel, who is the chief spokesperson for WMATA, responded rather quickly to our call on
Tuesday but did not want to talk about Barnes. “I’m not going to comment on any individual
Twitter user,” he said. But he was open to talking about other subjects, including
Post editorial. “I do understand the sentiment captured in the editorial,” he says. “But
I think it is reflective of a week’s worth of difficult rush hours rather than a long-term
trend. I think it is important to take a broad look at data and trends to keep things
in proper perspective.” He adds, “In the transit industry there is a saying: ‘You’re
only as good as your last rush hour.’”
Does Stessel think the
Post editorial was unfair? “No,” he says. But in defense of Metro, he says, “We have made
considerable progress. The reliability of the fleet is up 70 percent from last year.
That doesn’t mean we’re where we want to be. We’re digging out of a hole. The system
did not have maintenance done when it should have been for a long period of time.
We’re playing catch-up. We understand the frustrations of the customers. We ride the
Stessel would not say who writes the individual responses to passengers who tweet
with questions or complaints. “Several people are involved in the feed, which comes
from a number of different sources and also directly out of rail and bus control,”
he says. Many of WMATA’s tweets are updates on service for specific transit lines,
interspersed with back-and-forth with riders. The service information is available
during the hours the transit system operates. The interaction with customers is only
during business hours. The Twitter feed is not for emergencies. “It’s important that
folks pick up the phone and dial 911 for anything that is an emergency situation,”
The Twitter feed is young and has evolved over the past three years, but Stessel says
he would put it up against the social media of any other transit system. “I doubt
you would find them as active as we are,” he says.
Not that this will end passenger frustration. But will that frustration cut into the
number of passengers? The
Washington Examiner reported ridership is down on Metrorail by 5 percent from a year ago. That figure
includes Barnes, at least as a commuter; he says he used Metro for two years, at a
cost of about $300 a month, and then “got fed up. I moved closer to my job so I don’t
have to give Metro my money.” While he can’t DM WMATA about it anymore, other riders
can. If a customer question is about when the next train will arrive, the WMATA Twitter
feed “can be helpful,” Stessel says. “If they are just expressing frustration, the
best we can do is apologize and be sincere about it.”
There’s this recent example:
Rider Tweet: “What is your train car rationale? 8-car train at 12:30pm…6-car trains
at 4:30pm. Do u guys do any real ride analysis?”
WMATA: “We unfortunately do not have enough cars to run all 8-car trains. But 8 car
trains do run during the rush hr (4:30p) on 4 lines.”
Rider: “Thanks for the response.”
WMATA: “Thank you for engagement. Have a great day!”
But there’s also this:
Rider Tweet: “There is no AT&T service at Farragut N, Metro Center, Gallery Place
or Archives. Who at AT&T am I supposed to call?”
WMATA: “We believe ATT Customer Support handles inquires about poor or non-functioning
Rider: “Lol at ‘we believe.’ Some ppl believe in Santa Clause.”
Here is all the rezoning that this INNOVATIVE business created and I am absolutely in favor of all kinds of transit solutions-----we simply need structures that are going to remain AFFORDABLE----and we need to build space OVER AND ABOVE ALREADY EXISTING STREET PARKING NEEDS----not simply take all public street parking. This is a growing problem in all US cities deemed Foreign Economic Zones and you know what? They don't intend for people to move around freely ----that is why this development is so BAD.
'Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space'
"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Zipcar and DC residential zoning changes
Zipcar on 6th Street SE
Originally uploaded by rllayman
Zipcar has sent out an email to its members, requesting that they come out to a Zoning Commission hearing on Monday night, to either show support or testify in favor of a zoning change that would allow "for profit" "membership" car sharing services to use parking spaces on residential lots.
Zoning Commission Notice of Public Hearing: Case No. 09-16
Clicking through to the link will allow you to open a document listing the proposed changes which are being addressed by the Zoning Commission.
This change is required because a commercial use like this wouldn't normally be allowed on residential property. (Of course, I think there needs to be a comprehensive review of the entire zoning code to reorient all aspects of the code towards encouraging the reduction of the use of automobiles, in order to better leverage and extend urbanity, and support for walking, bicycling, and transit.)
Of course, this change should be made to accommodate carsharing within neighborhoods, to reduce the demand for automobile ownership and "storage" in neighborhoods, by adding to the inventory of possible parking locations as not all neighborhoods have available spaces on streets, and there can be issues of security, i.e., a carsharing program in Liverpool is about to shut down in part because of vandalism attacks against the cars parked on the street, as well as the difficulty of parking the cars in their assigned spaces because noncarsharing vehicles were parked in their place. (See "Car club to pull out of Liverpool over vandalism" from the Liverpool Echo.
The hearing is in Room 220 South, starting at 6:30 pm, at the DC Government Office Building at 441 4th Street NW, at the Judiciary Square Metro Station.
For those citizens thinking I DON'T NEED PUBLIC TRANSIT---I HAVE ALWAYS OWNED CARS-------well, if you are not understanding how predatory global corporate rule will become-----look to Singapore----you will need to be that 1% and their 2% to afford to own and operate a vehicle........remember they are building a DESIGNER MANUFACTURING STRUCTURE meaning made to order cars costing very much. No more PINTOS AND FORDS----
Be warned: it is very expensive to own and drive a car in Singapore.
Wary of the fact that uncontrolled growth in the number of vehicles will result in traffic jams in land and road scarce Singapore, the government has implemented a range of measures to manage car ownership and usage. These include the Certificate of Entitlement (COE), Vehicle Quota System (VQS), road taxes and Electronic Road Pricing (ERP). All motor vehicles must be registered with the Land Transport Authority (LTA).
Vehicle Quota Scheme (VQS) and Certificate of Entitlement (COE)
The COE scheme has been one of the most controversial and hotly debated public policies ever implemented. In short, anyone wishing to buy a car or motorcycle has to bid for a Certificate of Entitlement (COE). Each month, a certain number of COE's are released for bidding and if successful, the vehicle entitlement is valid for 10 years from the date of registration of the vehicle. The scheme aims to peg long-term vehicle population growth at 3 per cent a year. Certain classes of vehicles like public buses, school buses and emergency vehicles are exempted from the scheme. The catch? COE's have become so expensive that it is cost prohibitive to own a car. The government wants the people to take public transport.
To register a new vehicle, bid for a COE under the appropriate category (there are 7 in all, but the ones that will probably apply to you are the small, medium and luxury categories for cars and for motorcycles)
COE tender exercises are on from the 1st to the 7th of each month.
Bidding for COEs can be done electronically or through the car agent. You can submit your bid through most ATM's
Fifty per cent of the bid amount will be deducted from your bank account as a tender deposit.
Except for companies and organisations, each applicant is allowed only one bid in each tender exercise. Anyone found making more than one application will have all applications rejected. COEs for most categories are non-transferable.
A successful bidder will need to pay the lowest successful bid price, also know as the quota premium (QP). Company cars pay double the quota premium. The vehicle must be registered within 6 months for non-transferable categories and within 3 months for transferable categories.
Current COE rates are available here.
Vehicle taxes and registration fees
All motor vehicles imported into Singapore are slapped with a customs duty of 41 per cent ad valorem. There is also a Registration Fee to be paid. The fee is $1,000 for private vehicles and $5,000 for company vehicles. In addition, when a car is first registered (whether new or used), an Additional Registration Fee (ARF) of 150 per cent of the car's Open Market Value is payable. All these make the price of cars here artificially inflated compared to those in the States or Europe.
Electronic Road Pricing (ERP)
Electronic Road Pricing is Singapore's latest attempt at tackling traffic jams during peak hours. ERP is based on a pay-per-use principle that is intended to reflect the true cost of driving. ERP has been extended to choke-points on other expressways and major roads in order to alleviate congestion, especially at the dreaded 8.30am-9.00am timeslot where charges and traffic alike are at their highest. 8.25am sees a free for all before the ERP gantry as drivers try and 'beat the increase' while 8.59am sees traffic slow to a snail's pace for the same reason!
All in-vehicle units have now been installed in vehicles and every new car purchased in Singapore must have one.
Road taxes are renewable on a six-monthly or yearly basis. You may only renew your road tax if your vehicle has a valid inspection certificate. Cars between 3 to 10 years old must be inspected once in 2 years; cars older than 10 years must be inspected every year. Motorcycles and scooters must be inspected once a year only if they are older than 3 years. Inspection notices are sent to vehicle owners three months before the road tax expires.
So what does all this mean for your dream car? Some estimates (including annual registration fee, import duty, road tax, registration fee and number plates) are: Audi A41.8 (A) $182,000 (including COE), BMW 328 (A) (2.8cc) $238,000 (including COE); Mercedes 200E $201,902; Volvo 940 Turbo Estate 2.0 (A) $160,753. Either start saving up or make sure your company gets you a car. If not, we're sure you won't find the public transport system here wanting!
Buying used cars here
In Singapore, buying any kind of car is a major undertaking due to the great expense compared with other countries, especially the UK and USA. An â€˜oldâ€™ car (which in local terms equates to â€˜more than ten yearsâ€™) is therefore in the same category. True, there is considerable depreciation in the actual value of the car but there are also the pitfalls of potential "wrecks" and write-offs being sold off as supposedly solid pieces of kit. However, just to confirm one point, yes, you can buy a car that is more than ten years old â€“ though finding one with a warranty is difficult. This is because anyone buying a car in Singapore has to pay for a 10 year Certificate of Entitlement (COE â€“ to add to the many Singapore acronyms) to obtain the car in the first place and then pay the same huge sum (almost always tens of thousands and now hovering around S$30-S$40K) once ten years is up. There is a limited quota of COEs allocated each month by the Singapore Land Transport Authority (LTA) and demand almost always outstrips supply, pushing the price up. It can also be a relatively â€˜hit and missâ€™ affair, with economic changes affecting the price by tens of thousands per month â€“ rather like stocks and shares. You can find a more detailed explanation of the COE as well as a current guide to COE prices here. For cars which are older than 10 years, you are advised to make sure the car has a 10 year COE because a car with a 5 year COE which has expired cannot be renewed.
Why is it difficult to find a car over 10 years old with a warranty?
After ten years of driving their initially new car, many people just opt to buy another car by trading in the old model rather than trying to get another ten yearâ€™s useful life out of it, as may well be the case elsewhere. Old cars are often sold off to other countries for parts for this reason and people have suggested that the inner parts are built with a 10 rather than 20 year life in mind, seeing as the owner is likely to get rid of the car in that time.
Road tax is another consideration. Although smaller, the sum will also always be in the thousands, and once again folks, once your car reaches the magic age of 10, it becomes more expensive. Tax increases exponentially from the 10th year onwards, 110% in the 11th year, 120% in the 12th and so on to a maximum of 150% from the 15th year onwards. The LTA provide the facts and figures for you to work the cost out for private vehicles (based on engine capacity) here: http://www.gov.sg/lta/3_Vehicles/8_1_Private.htm
Making sure used doesn't mean AB - used
To make sure you are not buying a â€˜dudâ€™ car that has been abused, in an accident, or facing any other mishap, it is best to get any potential used vehicle you wish to purchase checked out by the experts â€“ of which the Automobile Association of Singapore (AAS) would seem to be the best option. Their homepage is here: http://www.aas.com.sg and click here for details of the vehicle evaluation: http://www.aas.com.sg/benefits/evalue.htm.
As for car insurance, again, the AA(S) would seem to be a reliable option. Details of the two insurance plans they offer can be found here: http://www.aas.com.sg/benefits/evalue.htm. Otherwise one suggestion would be to ask a few car-owning friends or colleagues which insurer they use and get an idea of preference through word of mouth.
Overall cost of the car
Registration fee + Cost Price + Road Tax + COE + additional registration fee (140% of OMV) and customs duty (31% of OMV).
All of the above should hopefully provide some helpful pointers to those thinking of purchasing a used car in Singapore. Word of mouth is another powerful ally you should explore.