- My reflections on blogging at the 1-year anniversary of T29: Looking Back, Looking Forward
- I had a lot of fun researching and gathering pictures for this one: Touching the Past
- One of my better-written ones, in my opinion: Metro: Lack of Foresight or Realized Vision?
- Technical but popular: Understanding the Blue Line Reroute
- My newest soapbox, as a disenfranchised American: Legislation without Representation is Tyranny
- On missing my old home, Atlanta: Driving Miss O'Hara
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
- No service will be offered on federal holidays
- No service will be offered on the Friday after Thanksgiving
- No service will be offered on December 26
- The 10-Trip ticket will be discontinued
- Train #447 (9:30p departure; Balt.->Wash.) is cancelled
- Train #448 (11:00p departure; Wash.->Balt.) is cancelled
- Local stop Train #410, will depart Washington 15 minutes later at 8:30a
- Limited stop Train #412 (8:45a Wash. departure) is cancelled
- The midday bus from Odenton (Penn Line) to Laurel will be discontinued
- Train #871 (1:45p departure; Wash.->Bruns.) is cancelled Monday - Thursday. Service will continue to operate as scheduled on Fridays
- As a condition of retaining two trains to West Virginia stations, passengers boarding at Harpers Ferry, Duffields, and Martinsburg will pay an additional fare. For a one-way ticket, the fare will increase by $2 at each of these stations. Weekly and monthly tickets will increase by $20 and $80, respectively
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
"The future of our economy and national security is inextricably linked to one challenge: energy," President-elect Barack Obama said at a Chicago press conference today announcing the leaders who will guide his administration's policy on energy and environment. "The team that I have assembled here today is uniquely suited to meet the great challenges of this defining moment. They are leading experts and accomplished managers, and they are ready to reform government and help transform our economy so that our people are more prosperous, our nation is more secure, and our planet is protected."The nominees include Dr. Steven Chu, Secretary of Energy; Lisa Jackson, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator; Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality; Carol Browner, Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change; and Heather Zichal, Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change.President-elect Obama acknowledged that he is not the first leader to promise dramatic efforts on climate change and American energy independence--but "This time must be different," he said. "This is not a challenge for government alone - it is a challenge for all of us. The pursuit of a new energy economy requires a sustained, all-hands-on-deck effort because the foundation of our energy independence is right here, in America."
The growth in driving is due in large part to urban development, or what some refer to as the built environment. Americans drive so much because we have given ourselves little alternative. For 60 years, we have built homes ever farther from workplaces, located schools far from the neighborhoods they serve, and isolated other destinations--such as shopping--from work and home.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
Stimulus Funding Highways at the Expense of Transit?
I wrote a post on this topic last week, and it appears I'm not the only one who is fretting about this stimulus. Yesterday's Washington Post had an excellent article explaining why I'm worried. If you missed it, make sure to follow the link.
Got Transit? Fill 'er Up:
Matthew Yglesias has a great post up on the topic of demand management for transit. After all, it's more efficient when it's not running empty.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
This post is the latter.
I still haven't seen the movie "Milk." I've been meaning to for a while. In fact, I was in San Francisco when it debuted at the Castro Theater, although I didn't find out about that until the following morning, in the Chronicle. But last week, my boyfriend and I went downtown to one of (only) two theatres in metropolitan Washington that is screening the film. The woman in front of us in line got the last two tickets.
So I still haven't seen it. This weekend, I'm going to get there an hour and a half early, since 45 minutes isn't apparently enough. We weren't the only people turned away, either. I think the movie theater could make some more money with additional screenings, but supply and demand isn't the subject of this post.
Today's Washington Post ran with an article on that subject. It responds to the question that everyone in America, apparently, wants to know: what's it like to kiss a guy?
And the title of the article says it all: Why Can't A Kiss Just Be a Kiss?
James Franco has been fielding questions left and right about his on-screen kiss with Sean Penn in Milk. And after reading some of the questions, I agree with the writer. And I'm offended.
First off, I've never been a fan of Letterman. When I do watch late night television--and that's not often--I watch Leno. I always found Letterman to be in bad taste and quite uncomedic. I mean how desperate can you be for jokes when you have to resort to "will it float?" I'll make sure to steer clear from now on.
"I didn't want to screw it up," Franco told Letterman on "Late Show" last week.
"See, if it's me, I'm kind of hoping I do screw it up," Letterman shot back. "That's what you want, isn't it?"
"To screw it up?" Franco asked.
"I mean, do you really want to be good at kissing a guy?" Letterman said as his audience howled with delight.
Well, yes, Mr. Letterman. I suppose an actor playing the role of a gay man would actually want to be good at it--that's what it means to be a good actor, to be good at portraying something you aren't. And what's wrong with that? Is James Franco suddenly to be shunned because he didn't vomit afterwards?
Mr. Letterman might have been making light of the situation the only way he knows how, but his tasteless jokes suggest something more. They suggest that there's something to be horrified about for any straight actor handling this situation.
The article's author, Hank Stuever, makes this point very poignantly.
Underlying the questions (and the answers) is this notion that a gay kissing scene must be the worst Hollywood job hazard that a male actor could face, including stunt work, extreme weather or sitting through five hours of special-effects makeup every day. We live comfortably, if strangely, in a pseudo-Sapphic era in which seemingly every college woman with a MySpace page has kissed another girl for the camera; but for men who kiss men, it's still the final frontier.
There's a whiff of discomfort of the Seinfeldian, "not-that-there's-anything-wrong-with-it" variety. It's a post-ironic, post-homophobic homophobia, the kind seen most weeks in "Saturday Night Live" sketches or in any Judd Apatow movie.
To put it in perspective for those of you who bat for the other team (after all that's how it appears from my dugout), the article entices the reader to think about how it must feel for those of us in the GLBT community:
"No one ever asks Neil Patrick Harris what it's like to play a straight guy who sleeps with lots of women" on the sitcom "How I Met Your Mother," Scholibo says. "No one ever asks him how 'gross' it is to kiss a woman."
And from personal experience, it is gross. I don't know why. It just is. It always has been. But I don't expect my heterosexual readers to agree with me. And that's fine.
Perhaps the most mature of comments I've heard on the topic come from (heterosexual) "Brokeback Mountain" star Jake Gyllenhaal, who talks about his on-screen kisses in "Brokeback" by saying it's "like doing a love scene with a woman I'm not particularly attracted to."
Exactly. At least one good thing's come out of all this:
I can finally stop saying to Letterman, "I wish I knew how to quit you."
I assure you, that won't be a problem anymore.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
But despite my lack of time this week, I want to express some frustration. I'm not the only one around to be doing so, either.
You see, on November 4, I stood in line in the cold and voted for change. While I waited with my neighbors and fellow disenfranchised citizens (in DC), I thought back to the first time I voted for Barack Obama, on a snowy day in March, during the Potomac Primary. It was cold then, too. But I felt that I was casting a ballot which would help to thaw America from the icy clutch of the Republicans. For 8 long years, they stood with the reigns of power, and created public policy in the transportation, energy, and urban policy areas which made me want to vomit.
So on November 4, I was out in the streets cheering when CNN called the election for Obama. It was raining, but we didn't care here in DC. Getting wet that cold November evening didn't matter. We had won! After 8 years of strife, victory was at hand. Change was in the air. In a matter of months, a new era would start in America--an era of growing environmental consciousness, of reinvestment in our cities, of policies for the people--instead of for corporate executives.
Now, I'm not so sure that I got what I voted for. To be certain, Mr. Obama has not yet taken office, and much is still unknown about his policies, but I am worried.
In a speech on Saturday, the President-Elect called for investment. But I did not hear a call for anything remotely like the Second System. Instead I heard a call that hearkens back to the Eisenhower Administration.
"We will create millions of jobs by making the single largest new investment in
our national infrastructure since the creation of the federal highway system in
the 1950s. We’ll invest your precious tax dollars in new and smarter ways, and
we’ll set a simple rule – use it or lose it. If a state doesn’t act quickly to
invest in roads and bridges in their communities, they’ll lose the money.”
Granted, Obama did not actually call for investment in the federal highway system. But he did use it as an example. Where are his calls for high speed rail? Where are his examples of the UMTA transit program of the 1970s that gave us BART, Metro, and MARTA? The program that gave us LRT in San Diego, in Pittsburgh, in San Francisco?
In a world where highway building has been the status-quo for over 5 decades, the lack of mention of transit does not bode well. For the last 7 years, Mr. Bush has called for Americans to reduce their dependence on foreign oil in each of his States of the Union. Not once did he ask Americans to try transit--nor did he do much to increase the supply of transit. Do we face another 4 years of the same?
Mr. Obama says that if communities don't invest in roads and bridges, they'll lose federal dollars. I fear that if they don't invest in transit, they'll lose their communities. But where are Mr. Obama's pledges of money to fund transit projects that are in design?
According to today's Washington Post, Maryland and Virginia have new hopes for road projects cancelled by the recent downturn. Excuse me? What about the major cuts to MARC service proposed by MTA? Shouldn't we be hoping for a stimulus that would at least keep transit service at today's levels, especially in the face of vast increases in ridership?
Just yesterday, the Post ran a story about transit ridership across the nation--it's up, way up. In heavy rail, LA leads the pack with a 14.1% increase over last year. Baltimore's light rail leads with an increase of 19.6%. The Railrunner in Albuquerque leads with a huge increase of 35.8%. For the Post's editorial board, the evidence is clear and convincing. They're calling for investment in transit. The Post rightly points out, that any fast-acting stimulus penalizes transit because of the hoops we've created for those projects to jump through. And while Obama might be the likeliest candidate to change that situation, he has so far shown no inclination to fund a transit stimulus.
Even though VMT is dropping and transit ridership is increasing, Mr. Obama wants to give states money to widen highways, like I-66 and I-95, but doesn't see fit to give a few federal dollars to stop the elmination of already-crowded commuter trains running alongide these corridors.
Indeed, with all this talk of infrastructure spending to rival the New Deal, why haven't we heard about his pick for Secretary of Transportation? If we're really going to invest in our transportation infrastructure like Eisenhower did, why isn't Mary Peters' replacement already drawing up plans?
I'm still holding out hope for a Transportation Secretary like Jim Oberstar or Earl Blumenauer, but with Obama's talk of highway spending, I'm afraid we'll get someone more like Robert Moses.
I haven't yet given up hope for change. But I also haven't heard much since November 4 to suggest that change is really coming, at least to transportation policy. And in this time of high ridership and demand for government infrastructure investment, that would be a shame. This is the chance of a generation to change the way our cities are structured--we cannot afford to squander that opportunity just to build more highways. Not if we have any hope for redesigning cities to survive into the 21st century--a century guaranteed not to be the century of cheap oil.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
In Baltimore, the north-south light rail was constructed in a transit mall, but cross traffic often delays trains. The Red Line is a proposed east-west light rail line through central city Baltimore with a proposed subway section in downtown. This is certainly a more reasonable approach to light rail, one I hope isn't killed by the "cost-effectiveness" criteria of the FTA.
- Los Angeles
- Saint Louis
- San Francisco
- Seattle (under const.)
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
The 77 mile line includes 29 regular stops, 1 football only stop, and 2 weekend only stops. Service on weekdays operates approximately every 30 minutes, with additional service provided during rush periods. Most service operates over the segment of track between San Francisco and San Jose-Tamien Station, with additional service provided south to Gilroy during peak times.
Other rail transit connections are available at multiple points along the line:
- San Francisco Caltrain: Muni Metro light rail
- Milbrae: BART heavy rail
- Mountain View: VTA light rail
- San Jose Diridon: VTA light rail, ACE commuter rail, Amtrak Capitol Corridor
- San Jose Tamien: VTA light rail
- Limited Stop train, Millbrae-SJ Diridon
- Baby Bullet, Mountain View-SF Caltrain
- San Jose Diridon
- Mountain View
- San Francisco Caltrain (4th & King)