WAMU 88.5 : News

Area Commuters Say That Highway And Transit Maintenance Is A Priority

Play associated audio

You won't be surprised to learn what commuters ranked as our region's biggest transportation problems in a new survey.

The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments surveyed 660 commuters in D.C., Virginia, and Maryland, asking them to rank their woes.

"Sure enough, they ranked both highway and transit congestion as very high in terms of challenges, and both transit and highway repair needs as major challenges," says Rob Kirby, the council's director of transportation planning. Today he will testify before Metro's board of directors about what commuters—not advocates or activists, just ordinary citizens—want to see improved.

"Maintenance and repair of both the highway and the transit system is priority one," he says.

Commuters say alleviating bottlenecks and improving access to transit, both rail and bus, should also be prioritized. Survey respondents strongly supported four strategies to address their transportation the challenges. Metro maintenance was supported by 91 percent of respondents. Roadway maintenance was the second most supported strategy at 89 percent, followed by alleviating roadway bottlenecks (85 percent) and improving transit access (81 percent).

Anyone who commutes in and around Washington might have expected such a survey to produce these results, but Kirby says the region's focus has to continue to shift in one important way:instead of looking at solutions one project at a time, he says the region's future depends on integrating the different strategies with land-use policies that emphasize development around transit stations.

"You need to look at this as a system. It's highway. It's transit. It's bike. It' s ped[estrian]. And it's land use. They are an integrated package. You can't look at one particular mode or just land use, for that matter. It has to be an integrated package to be effective," says Kirby.

He says that adding capacity to some highways and rail lines is necessary, but maintenance cannot be overlooked, and he's urging elected officials to begin working now on the federal reauthorization of Metro's rehabilitation funding that is due to expire in 2020 after ten years and $3 billion in aid.

"A lot of money is being put on particular capacity improvements, whether they are roadway or transit improvements. I think what we need to be conscience of is that we have to keep our systems in good condition and that is something you have to do on an ongoing basis, every day of every week of every year,” Kirby says.

The survey can be found here.

NPR

Writer James Alan McPherson, Winner Of Pulitzer, MacArthur And Guggenheim, Dies At 72

McPherson, the first African-American to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, has died at 72. His work explored the intersection of white and black lives with deftness, subtlety and wry humor.
NPR

Oyster Archaeology: Ancient Trash Holds Clues To Sustainable Harvesting

Modern-day oyster populations in the Chesapeake are dwindling, but a multi-millennia archaeological survey shows that wasn't always the case. Native Americans harvested the shellfish sustainably.

WAMU 88.5

Your Turn: Ronald Reagan's Shooter, Freddie Gray Verdicts And More

Have opinions about the Democratic National Convention, or the verdicts from the Freddie Gray cases? It's your turn to talk.

NPR

Trump's Cyber Comments Rouse The Democrats

As they bolster their case that Hillary Clinton is ready to be commander in chief, Democrats are seizing on Donald Trump's comments seemingly encouraging Russia to use cyber-espionage against Clinton.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.