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The Potomac Yard transitway is looking good

Construction on Alexandria’s Route 1 transitway is coming along, in anticipation of its August 24 opening. These pictures show the station at Route 1 and Custis Avenue.

While Alexandria’s transitway is just about ready, the second phase of the same project, in Arlington, is still a grassy strip. But preliminary construction work started earlier this year, and Arlington officials will host an official groundbreaking on Friday, July 18, at 9:00 am.

 Cross-posted at Greater Greater Washington.

July 14th, 2014 | Permalink
Tags: BRT, galleries, streetcar, transportation

The best picture of yesterday’s double rainbow

Yesterday evening DC was blessed with a lovely double rainbow. It seemed like just about everyone in town tweeted pictures of it.

But this one, from a 13th floor balcony near Massachusetts Avenue, is too great not to share.

Photo from reddit user nodecore.

July 9th, 2014 | Permalink
Tags: fun, galleries

View from a high-rise: Rosslyn & the National Mall, from Courthouse

I Wish I’d had a better-quality camera last week when I got to enjoy this fantastic view of Rosslyn, the US Capitol, and the Washington Monument. Alas, a cell phone snap is as good as it gets.

June 30th, 2014 | Permalink
Tags: fun, galleries

Have some nature: 8 photos from Rock Creek Park

Least controversial statement ever written on BeyondDC: Rock Creek Park is a nice amenity.

All photos by BeyondDC.

May 19th, 2014 | Permalink
Tags: galleries, parks

Slideshow: Baltimore via MARC

Now that MARC’s Penn Line runs on the weekend, it’s easier than ever for Washingtonians to day-trip up to Baltimore. I made use of the service over the winter, for no reason but to bum around and take some pictures. That’s the sort of thing a city nerd like me enjoys.

If you’re enough of a city nerd to look at my pictures, here they are.

April 8th, 2014 | Permalink
Tags: galleries

Dupont Circle becomes a snow sculpture garden

There was no mass snowball fight in Dupont Circle yesterday. Instead, Washingtonians celebrated the snow day by filling Dupont with dozens of snowmen and other snow sculptures.

There were two Washington Monuments, a US Capitol, snowman Barack Obama (aka Snowbama), a woman giving birth, a sphinx, and more. Enjoy these photos.

 Cross-posted at Greater Greater Washington.

February 14th, 2014 | Permalink
Tags: fun, galleries, parks

To see urban wildlife in the snow, find flowing water

Despite cities’ reputation as concrete jungles, most have a healthy collection of wildlife. Birds, rodents, deer, anything that can live on the margins of human activity. But what happens to that wildlife when the city is hit with winter weather?

With temperatures consistently below freezing, and even the mighty Potomac River frozen all the way across at points, wildlife is going to be looking for drinkable water. On Saturday, I dropped by fast-flowing Rock Creek to try and spot some. I wasn’t disappointed.

A Northern Flicker (top), Starlings (bottom left), a Downy Woodpecker (bottom center), and my viewing spot near P Street Beach (bottom right).

 Cross-posted at Greater Greater Washington.

January 27th, 2014 | Permalink
Tags: environment, galleries

10 great pictures from 2013, irrelevant to anything

Happy 2014!

I take a lot of pictures. Some of them are bound to be good, by luck alone. Enjoy 10 of my favorites from the BeyondDC flickr stream, taken in 2013. And if you’re interested in seeing more, another 65 or so are displayed on the SkyscraperPage photography forum.

All photos by BeyondDC.

January 1st, 2014 | Permalink
Tags: galleries

Philadelphia’s streetcar infrastructure: Old but interesting

Philadelphia’s streetcar network is the largest and busiest in the mid-Atlantic. It has several interesting features, some of which can help inform the planning for DC’s growing system.

Philadelphia’s Girard Avenue trolley, with island platform.

Philadelphia calls its system trolleys instead of streetcars, because it’s vintage from the original trolley era. While Philadelphia did discontinue many of its original trolley routes, unlike DC they also kept many.

The Girard Avenue trolley line even uses vintage trolley vehicles, originally built in 1947. It also runs in a unique on-street arrangement, with tracks down the center of wide Girard Avenue, and stations in narrow floating medians.

The Girard Avenue trolley’s floating platforms.

The Girard Avenue arrangement is totally different than DC’s H Street layout, which uses a mixture of curbside and full median tracks.

Philadelphia’s center-running tracks result in fewer conflicts with parked or turning cars, which speeds the trolleys down their route. It’s almost-but-not-quite like a dedicated transitway.

Unfortunately, the platforms are too narrow to meet modern disability-accessible design guidelines. If DC were to use a similar arrangement, we’d need wider platforms and thus more street width.

Narrow platform on the Girard Avenue trolley line.

On narrower streets in West Philadelphia, trolleys still run in the center, with bike lanes between the tracks and a row of parked cars.

West Philadelphia trolley line.

The trolley subway

Five trolley routes that run on-street in West Philadelphia combine and then move into a dedicated trolley subway to speed through Center City. It’s a great way to maximize the efficiency of the system through its most dense and congested section, while still taking advantage of the flexibility of on-street operations further out.

13th Street trolley subway station.

DC once had a short trolley subway too, under Dupont Circle. Today, DC’s reborn streetcar plan doesn’t call for any. They’re hugely expensive, after all. But with the specter of Metrorail capacity constraints looming, and new DC subway lines under consideration, perhaps someday a streetcar subway could again be appropriate in DC.

What else is there?

I’ve never personally lived in Philadelphia, so my experience with its trolley network is fairly limited. I’m sure there are other interesting features. What did I miss?

 Cross-posted at Greater Greater Washington.

December 17th, 2013 | Permalink
Tags: galleries, streetcar, transportation, Uncategorized

Colored bike lanes come in many colors

Green-painted bike lanes have become common in DC and around the US. They make bike lanes more visible, helping to remind car drivers to watch for cyclists. But at least 3 other colors are used for the same purpose elsewhere around the world. Here are some examples. Do you know of any others?

Classic green. Used in DC, New York, and all over the US.

London’s Copenhagen’s blue. Photo by Steven Vance.

Amsterdam’s dull red, also seen in Vancouver and many other cities. Photo by Scott Lowe.

Madison’s bright red. Photo by benet2006.

August 30th, 2013 | Permalink
Tags: bike, galleries, transportation



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