Tag Archives: Transportation

ANC Preview: The Plural of Anecdote is Not Data

Photo by randomduck.

The ANC meets next week for its March session. And it will be a star-studded affair. Well…not really “star-studded”, more like “public servant-studded”.

You see, not one, but two councilmembers will be in attendance to discuss a topic that has created a significant degree of whining recently: the Glover Park lane reconfiguration. Ward Three’s Mary Cheh and our own Jack Evans will be there to go through the ritualistic act of listening to angry people stand up and complain about how a few extra seconds of travel time via car through Glover Park is the absolute worst thing to happen to them in their entire lifetime.

The ANC has been incredulous of the changes ever since they were first implemented. Recently, they have been soliciting residents to complain about how the changes have affected them (ostensibly they asked for positive comments too, but who is going to write their commissioner and say “got through a couple blocks in a reasonable amount of time!”?).

To be fair, some have been complaining about the changes before the ANC asked them to complain. But now it appears that the ANC might request the changes be undone simply based upon these anecdotal complaints (to the tune of millions of dollars wasted). The old saying goes, the plural of anecdote isn’t data. Particularly in this case where we can actually gather real data!

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Counting Georgetown: Getting to Work

Today, GM digs back into the recently released American Community Survey results issued by the Census Bureau. Specifically, GM is going to explore one of his favorite topics: transportation.

Last year, GM reported that the numbers showed a dramatic reduction of Georgetowners driving to work and a smaller, but still significant, jump in transit use. He is somewhat sorry to say that some of those trends reversed themselves this year.

Here are the year to year comparisons:



Drove Total



     Drove Alone















At Home



The driving totals went almost back to where they were in 2009 and the transit cohort shaved off a few percentages. “Other” is up pretty significantly, which probably reflects the growing numbers of bike commuters.

Before you jump to a conclusion that something happened in 2011 to change people’s behaviors, remember that each of these results reflects a running five year average. So when the 2011 numbers say 23.05% of Georgetowners took transit, it’s really saying that from 2007 to 2011, an average of 23.05% of Georgetowners took transit. So while shifting up a year would affect that somewhat, it’s not a “snapshot”.

The long term trends, though, are still towards transit, walking and “other” (which, on top of biking, also includes motorcycling, Segwaying, and whatever else doesn’t involve a car or public transit.) Continue reading


Filed under Demographics

ANC Round Up: Seeing Signs Edition


Last night the ANC met for its last meeting of 2012. It was also the last meeting for Commissioner Jake Sticka, who did not run for reelection this year due to the fact he’ll be graduating this spring. As is normal, the commission will honor him with a special commendation at the February meeting.

But he wasn’t gone yet. And he dutifully took notes through the length of the relatively uneventful meeting. (GM wonders if the next crop of student-commissioners will refuse to serve as secretary. They’ve been stuck with the job going at least as far back as Jenna Lowenstein.)

One of the more substantive topics on the agenda last night was the city’s proposed signage regulations. This is something GM has mentioned briefly before. In short, the city is proposing the adoption of signage rules for the whole city. Technically speaking signage rules are nothing new for Georgetown. But too often they are more honored in the breach than the observance. The new rules would bring some more vigor to the rules, even those that already apply to Georgetown.

Last night the ANC voted to submit a letter supporting the new rules with some proposed changes. For instance, the ANC’s comments suggest that neon signs should be banned unless they meet certain criteria such as being the only sign on the store identifying the store name (like Bridge Street Books does). Additionally, they suggest that sandwich boards should be kept off of the main drags but remain allowed on the side streets.

(Full disclosure: GM drafted CAG’s comment letter on the same rules. CAG took a more conservative approach. For instance, rather than list exceptions out to the blanket prohibition on electronic signs, CAG suggested the rules be drafted to make it clear that the Old Georgetown Board’s review standards should apply.)

Everyone is in agreement that something needs to be done to crack down on the proliferation of ugly and illegal signs. Hopefully these rules can lead the way. Continue reading


Filed under ANC

Georgetowners Continue to Get to Work More and More Without Driving

Last year, GM took a look at the then new Census numbers which for the first time produced reams of datasets for communities as small as Georgetown. One of those data sets GM took a particular interest in was the dataset stating how Georgetowners get to work. Here’s what GM found last year about the daily transportation choices Georgetowners make:

  • Drive to work – 40%
    • 35% drive alone
    • 4% carpool
  • Transit – 22%
  • Bike – 3%
  • Walk – 25%
  • Other – 10% (mostly people who work at home)

This data came from the American Community Survey, which uses samples to arrive at their results. Unlike the Census itself, which is a snapshot every ten years, this data represents an average over five years. So last years numbers essentially were saying that on an average day between 2005 and 2009, this is how Georgetowners traveled.

Last December the new numbers were released. These are also averages over five years, but now it’s 2006 to 2010. So while it’s not a snapshop, comparing the numbers to the previous year shows which direction the numbers are going. So without further ado, here are the updated numbers: Continue reading


Filed under Transportation

This Is How Bad Transportation Decisions Are Made

At the last ANC meeting, the issue of the south exit of the Safeway was discussed. GM discussed this after the meeting, but he thinks it’s worthwhile to walk through the story of the changes to this intersection because it demonstrates how too often bad transportation decisions are made.

Prior to the construction of the new Safeway, and shortly after it opened, there were three different phases for the lights and crosswalks of this intersection:

During the first phase (which is 60 seconds), car traffic on Wisconsin Ave. had a green light and pedestrians were allowed to cross the curbcut at the Safeway exit. Cars leaving Safeway and pedestrians crossing Wisconsin were shown a red light.

During the second phase (which is 20 seconds now, but was much shorter before the changes), pedestrians were allowed to cross Wisconsin, but pedestrians were not allowed to cross the curbcut, nor were cars allowed to exit the Safeway, either north or southbound. Car traffic on Wisconsin was obviously also stopped. Continue reading


Filed under Transportation

Georgetown Needs a Master Transportation Plan

Someday Georgetown is going to have its own Metro stop. GM might be old and retired by then, but it is going to happen. It will revolutionize how people get to and leave Georgetown, finally erasing a decades old short-sighted mistake by Metro planners.

But Georgetown can’t wait until then to better manage its transportation network. And the thing is, people aren’t waiting. Several different groups are working to bring transportation changes to Georgetown. The problem is that they’re not working together and there’s no overarching plan to organize the efforts.

For example, the BID and CAG are working with DDOT on how the streetcar will come to the neighborhood. A completely different working group is working towards bringing performance parking to Georgetown. Yet another group has long term plans to widen the sidewalks along Wisconsin Ave. and possibly M St.

One plan calls for the construction of an in-fill Metro stop between Rosslyn and Foggy Bottom (the idea being that using a ventilation duct as the backbone of a new station would be much less expensive than a new Metro line). Others want to tear down the Whitehurst. Yet others want more bike lanes. Others still want transit-only lanes.  Continue reading


Filed under Transportation

How Georgetown Would’ve Looked if Metro Never Built

As reported by several outlets, WMATA just put out an interesting study that looked at what DC would look like if Metro were never built.  While the focus elsewhere has been on how devastated a neighborhood like Mt. Vernon Triangle would be in this alternate universe, Georgetown wouldn’t fare that well either.

The study estimated what the road network would have to look like in order to deliver the same number of workers downtown. Here are what roads would have to be expanded:

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Georgetown By the Numbers: Transportation

A while ago, GM wrote about the car situation in Georgetown and argued that a small amount of residents were having an outsized impact on the supply of cars in the neighborhood. In writing this article, GM relied on the census data from 2000. Now that the American Community Survey five-year estimates are out, GM can circle back and see whether the stats he relied on are still holding up.

So without further ado, here’s how Georgetown gets around:

Car Ownership

When GM first looked into this, GM found a surprising amount of households in Georgetown without any cars. That number has increased.

Here are the numbers from 2000:

  • Total Households without any car: 20%
  • Total Households with just one car: 57%
  • Total Households with two or more cars: 23%

Here are what the ACS was the average from 2005-2009:

  • Total Households without any car: 22%
  • Total Households with just one car: 50%
  • Total Households with two or more cars: 28% Continue reading

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The Morning Metropolitan

Canal by Alykat.

Good morning Georgetown, here’s the latest:

  • Pantless man exposes himself near the university.
  • DC UrbanMud takes a look at the O and P St. rehab that’s soon to be underway.

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The Morning Metropolitan

Waterfront by Mr. T in DC.

Good morning Georgetown, here’s the latest:

  • Thomas Jefferson St. to close for a year starting July 28th.
  • That’s pretty much it. Happy slow news Thursday!


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