Friday, March 13, 2009

The Silver Line-ing?

The announcement that the brand new 23 mile long ‘silver line’ that metro will construct for the bargain price of $1.63 billion has made DC all a twitter. Personally, it leaves me less than thrilled. 

While the inception of the Silver Line carries with it the ability to schlep my pedestrian ass out to Tyson's Corner – a luxury once reserved for the vehicle owning and/or ride-mooching residents of DC – thus multiplying potential opportunities to ‘stimulate’ the economy exponentially, this is hardly the most efficient use of funds designed to ‘enhance’ the lives of DC residents.

Does anyone else feel deprived on a daily basis that by the fact that they are currently unable to get to Dulles by means other than the super shuttle, taxi, or bus??? Trust me, there are many things that keep me up at night. Greater accessibility to Dulles is NOT one of them. 

Even if Dulles were located in Silver Spring, I would prefer DCA. It’s closer to DC, lines are shorter, security is more efficient for the frequent flyers among us, terminals within walkable distance of each other and accessed without the use of a little space-like pod from the first terminal to the next. If these weren’t enough reasons to make the average DC Metro rider shake their heads at this mammoth and in my estimation COMPLETELY UNESSARY project, the following are:

#10. Homeless Shelters. Invest the money in more homeless shelters to house/care for/rehabilitate the residents of McPherson Square/Dupont Circle/Franklin Park/ 15th St so they’ll stop bugging me every time I walk out of my local Starbucks or the Dupont CVS.

#9. Projects in Progress. Finish what you start. Now I’m no I-95 road warrior, but I do venture out on a Zip Car from time to time. Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t there several highway construction projects around Alexandria, The Woodrow Wilson Bridge, and various traffic jam issues that should be finished/fixed before creating a brand new mess???

#8. Clean up the Potomac. ‘Nuff Said.

#7. Reduce Tolls/Metro Fare. As I understand it, the poor car drivers that caravan up and down the Dulles toll-road will help in footing this bill through increased tolls. That HARDLY seems fair seeing as how it’s the people with CARS who will NOT be utilizing the Silver Line as they, well….DRIVE places instead of metro. Most car owners love their vehicles – good luck in convincing them that lugging their to-be checked and carried on luggage through the beautiful efficiency that is the DC metro rail system the better way to go to the airport.

#6. Invest in more busses. Every morning, without fail, I wait for the bus. 10, 15, twenty minutes in either the freezing cold or dreadfully humid air (take your pic as DC weather is in one way or another abysmal 85% of the year). Take the money, buy some more busses (of which the majority are now eco friendly), pay some more bus drivers and put some more busses on the road because unless you’re riding the 42 line, chances are you’re waiting a while for a bus).

#5. Fix/keep the tracks already in place in working order. Every single weekend, without fail I, and hundreds of DC residents and tourists flocking to the nation’s capital, are inconvenienced by ‘routine track maintenance’ causing 20, 30 or in some cases 40 minute intervals between trains leading to inevitable overcrowding, pushing, shoving, and all around unhappy people. Especially when these people are waiting on outdoor platforms in the freezing winter air.

#4. Replace Outdated Metro Cars. Continue the process of replacing the metro cars that are still sporting orange carpet circa 1973 with the newer, carpetless and more efficient (in terms of passenger capacity) metro cars.

#3. The National Mall. Take the $1.6 Billion and grow some grass, clean monuments, plant flowers – beautify one of the most historic and recognizable symbols of American democracy, legacy and history. Put in a irrigation system in the summer to keep the grass from being singed like a piece of hair on a curling iron in the summer, keep the reflecting pool..well….reflecting instead of a murky mess.

#2. Metro Stops. There has yet to be a convenient metro stop in Georgetown, Adams Morgan, or a more efficient way to go from Cleveland Park to Columbia Heights without traveling via China Town! Ever thought of making actual DC neighborhoods more metro accessible before making Bumble-Fuck Virginia easier to get to!? Hell, my friends can’t even get me to go out in ARLINGTON, let alone travel to Reston!

And the #1 way to better spend $1.63 Billion than a metro line to Dulles Airport....(drum roll please.....)

#1. Law Enforcement. While the DC crime rate has dropped like a stone since its peak in the mid 90s, violent crime was reported to be more than three time the national average of 466.9 reported offenses per 100,000 people in 2007. Spend the $1.63 billion on more police officers, their salaries and benefits. Not being killed/raped/assaulted is of FAR greater value to me than riding the metro out to Dulles.
Could someone please point out the silver line-ing to this monstrous project? If you disagree, I’d LOVE to hear why.


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