First off - MPD Chief Cathy Lainer is bringing back All Hands on Deck at least eight times in 2009, according to the Examiner, here. I think this is a great initiative, especially with crime on the rise. Keep up the good work Chief Lainer.
WaPo reports that the DHS Project at Saint Elizabeth's has passed another hurdle - getting approval from the NCPC. I'm all about this. Read the article here.
Now onto WMATA, I have a few things to discuss ... the first being their budget.
Metro's budget is a mess ... just like transit agencies and governments around the country. They need to find $176 million in order to operate a balanced budget. Yesterday, Catoe and his team of fools proposed two cuts - $103 million in operating expenses (operational/admin), and $73 million in service cuts. They are going to cut about 8% of their workforce - totally 891 positions, which kind of sucks. But the service cuts are what have me more angry ... I understand the economy is hurting, but that is exactly not the time to propose service cuts - we need more/better service. The last time the Board voted to increase the Fare (in 2007), they vowed not to do it again until 2010 - who cares.
While I think the service you get for your $1.35 is lackluster - I propose increasing fares, to a base fare of about $1.50. I also propose the introduction of Unlimited Monthly passes - available to SmarTrip users only. Now of course, I haven't done any calculations in regarding these numbers - I think raising the fares is the only option, as I personally don't consider service cuts to be a smart idea. Cutting service, in any economy is stupid - in a bad economy, it's really stupid. People need public transportation now more than ever.
Onto the next topic ... which Imagine, DC got me thinking about this morning - another failure (budget cut) during Metro's planning phase ... only two tracks per line. While putting a second set of tracks (or even just one extra track) on each line would have been extremely costly - I think it would have been better for everyone in the long run. Imagine DC asks why we can't keep Metro open 24/7 and just single-track around scheduled maintenance - and a commenter responds very smartly, that running the trains just slows everything down to the point where it is basically not worth it. I really do wish Metro had express tracks ... wouldn't that be lovely.
And finally ... TSARchitect came up with a new Metro map (you can view the map here), that is truly amazing. I don't want to steal his hard work without sending you over to his site for the ad revenue, and for his much more in dept analysis. My favorite part is that he has added in a 'brown' line - which runs on a circuitous route around the city. Also the Blue line is not routed along its long proposed M Street run, with TSAR putting it:
this plan does not run the new Blue Line down M street and back into its current configuration. Instead, it runs the Blue Line north, through Adams Morgan, Shaw, Gallaudet, and Trinidad to create a new corridor mostly on Florida Avenue.I'm not going to steal his thunder ... go read his whole thing. It really is another great improvement on our ever-lackluster Metro system.