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Australia has an enormous nationwide beltway

Washington’s I-495 beltway is a 64 mile long loop. London’s M-25 orbital motorway is 117 miles. They seem big, but they’re practically microscopic next to the greatest ring road on Earth, Australia’s 9,000-mile Highway 1.


Map from the Commonwealth of Australia.

In fact, Highway 1 is the longest single highway in the world. It’s 32% longer than Russia’s Trans-Siberian Highway, and almost three times longer than the longest US Interstate, I-90.

The Australian government created Highway 1 in 1955, by compiling a network of existing local and regional highways under a single banner.

Unlike American Interstates, Highway 1 isn’t fully limited access for its entire length. Near big cities like Sydney or Melbourne it looks like an Interstate, but many sections in rural areas are simple two-lane roads, and some extremely isolated sections are even more basic.

All hail the king of ring roads.

 Cross-posted at Greater Greater Washington.
 
 
 

January 12th, 2015 | Permalink
Tags: fun, maps, roads/cars, transportation



Well, the streetcar works in the snow

Today’s snow made for at least one happy side effect: The H Street streetcar got an opportunity to test operations in challenging weather. So far, it seems to be working smoothly.

This is no surprise. Toronto has the largest streetcar network in North America, and streetcars there handle snow just fine.

Of course, the real test will come when the streetcars begin to carry passengers, hopefully around January 19.

 Cross-posted at Greater Greater Washington.
 
 
 

January 6th, 2015 | Permalink
Tags: streetcar, transportation



No more posts this week; happy holidays

I’m with family near Albany, New York until December 30ish. With any luck, the next post you see here will be for the opening of the H Street streetcar.

With luck.

Yes, I’ll believe it when I see it too.


Albany. Photo by Doc Searls on Flickr.

December 23rd, 2014 | Permalink
Tags: in general



“Park-Its” now protect the Pennsylvania Avenue bikeway

As of last week, rubber parking stops called “Park-Its” now protect a half block segment of the Pennsylvania Avenue protected bikeway, between 9th and 10th Streets NW.

The Park-Its are intended to protect cyclists from drivers making illegal U-turns across Pennsylvania Avenue’s median bike lanes.

DDOT crews installed the first Park-Its yesterday around 11:00 am. Workers will add more in the coming days, until Park-Its line the bikeway for the two block stretch from 9th to 11th.

Full installation of Park-Its all along Pennsylvania Avenue could eventually happen, but for now DDOT hopes to determine if this initial installation works. According to DDOT’s Darren Buck, the Park-Its on 1st Street NE sometimes pull up out of the pavement.

Park-Its succeed the zebras that DDOT installed in 2013, but which proved only partially effective. For now, the zebras between 12th and 13th Streets will remain in place.

 Cross-posted at Greater Greater Washington.
 
 
 

December 22nd, 2014 | Permalink
Tags: bike, transportation



Amsterdam plays spot the Christmas streetcar

Remember #bikeinbloom, when Capital Bikeshare dressed one of its bikes up in cherry blossom regalia? Every Christmas, Amsterdam does the same thing with one of its famous streetcars.

Amsterdamers call it the “kersttram”, or “Christmas tram.”


Photo from Alexander Meijer on Flickr.

Amsterdam isn’t alone. Other cities around the world partake in the same fun with their own trams. Among them: Budapest, Zurich, and San Francisco.

How about it, DDOT? Maybe next year, when H Street is finally up and running?

 Cross-posted at Greater Greater Washington.
 
 

December 18th, 2014 | Permalink
Tags: fun, streetcar, transportation



San Francisco street lights will animate subway trains below

A public art installation on San Francisco’s Market Street will add animated lights following the movement of subway trains running directly below.


Image from Illuminate The Arts.

The project is called “LightRail,” and according to its sponsors it will be the world’s first “subway-responsive light sculpture.”

Two LED strings will stretch above Market Street for two miles through downtown San Francisco. Using real-time arrival data, the strings will visualize movement of BART and Muni trains directly underneath the street.

Sponsors hope LightRail will open in 2015, and will remain in place until at least 2018. If it proves popular, officials may decide to keep it up longer.

Without a doubt, this is one of the coolest public art projects I’ve ever seen.

 Cross-posted at Greater Greater Washington.
 
 
 

December 17th, 2014 | Permalink
Tags: fun, lightrail, metrorail, transportation



Metro’s flooded stations, in pictures

The water main break that temporarily flooded parts of Metrorail this morning was painful for commuters. These photos from Metro’s Twitter account show just how serious the flood became.


All photos from WMATA.

Metro’s third rail is eight inches high. It was fully covered by water.

The flood drained after DC Water shut off water flow. As the water receded, the tracks slowly became visible once more.

Hopefully that’s not an experience we’ll have to go through again any time soon.

 Cross-posted at Greater Greater Washington.

December 16th, 2014 | Permalink
Tags: metrorail, transportation



The Lincoln Memorial just became Capital Bikeshare’s busiest station

For most its history, Capital Bikeshare’s busiest individual station has been at Dupont Circle. Not anymore. As of this summer, the Lincoln Memorial station is the new king.

This animation shows trips coming and going to the Lincoln station.


Video from Mobility Lab.

Capital Bikeshare’s most recent usage data is from its third quarter report, and covers the period from July 2014 through September.

During that period, the station at Massachusetts Avenue and Dupont Circle NW (historically the busiest) served 42,237 total trips. That’s an average of 459 per day.

But the Lincoln Memorial station served 44,177 total trips over the same period, averaging 480 per day.

Follow the tourists

Dupont Circle is usually the busiest station because it combines a nearly perfect storm of bikeshare ridership ingredients: Lots of nearby bike lanes, a Metro station feeding transfers, high job and population density, and a busy nightlife. It’s hopping at nearly all hours.

The Lincoln Memorial has virtually none of those things, but does have its own advantages. It’s one of the most popular parts of the National Mall, and is a far walk from convenient transit. For tourists who don’t want to drive and aren’t part of a group with a tour bus, bikeshare is an obvious way to access the Lincoln.

The animation shows how tourists drive most of the station’s usage. Blue lines show trips from regular members, while red lines are trips from short term users more likely to be tourists. Aside from a spike of blue around rush hour, the animation is a flood of red lines.

It probably won’t last

Will the new champion hold its spot, or will the Lincoln’s dynasty prove fleeting?

Tourists flock to Washington in the summer, but there are far fewer of them in the winter. When data for autumn comes out, it’s extremely unlikely the Lincoln will still be the busiest station. Odds are that honor will return to Dupont.

And next summer, bikeshare will face added competition from the new DC Circulator route scheduled to run along the National Mall beginning in 2015.

So this may well be the Lincoln’s only moment in the sun. It will be interesting to follow.

 Cross-posted at Greater Greater Washington.
 
 
 

December 12th, 2014 | Permalink
Tags: bike, transportation



How fast can you go? Map of maximum speed limits around the world

In most of the United States, the maximum speed limit is somewhere between 65 and 75 miles per hour. What about the rest of the world? This map tells you.


Maximum speed limits around the world. Map from Reddit user worldbeyondyourown.

In the eastern US, most states top out with maximum speed limits of 70 miles per hour. Out west, most states allow 75, and a handful go even higher than that.

Texas has the highest speed limit in the western hemisphere, at 85 miles per hour. On the other end of the spectrum, no road in Canada’s province Nunavut has a limit above 45 miles per hour.

Germany’s Autobahn famously has no maximum speed limit, but it’s not the only place in the world to hold that distinction. Australia’s Northern Territory is also speed limit free. But don’t try racing down roads in Bhutan, where the maximum limit is no higher than 45.

What else jumps out?

 Cross-posted at Greater Greater Washington.
 
 
 

December 11th, 2014 | Permalink
Tags: maps, roads/cars, transportation



Gift ideas for the DC urbanist

Is there an urbanist in your life? Of course there is; you’re reading this blog. Here are a bunch of great gift ideas to satisfy your favorite urban geek, or maybe add to your own wish list.

DC streetcar holiday cards from Analog, and Ben Ross’ book Dead End.

There are tons of great genre gifts available in stores and online. But special mention goes out to two that come from members of our own urbanist blogging community:

Ben Ross’ book Dead End

Ben Ross is a frequent GGW contributor and a prolific author. His book Dead End: Suburban Sprawl and the Rebirth of American Urbanism is perhaps the most cogent explanation ever written about the motivations of community activists. Dead End is $26 new from Amazon.

DC streetcar greeting cards

Get your correspondence on with DC streetcar themed Christmas cards, which my wife Melissa makes for her Brookland store Analog. A set of 8 cards is $14, available online, at the shop, or at upcoming pop-up markets in Rosslyn and Silver Spring.

More great options


White house tree ornament, Metro map phone case and bracelet, DC neighborhood wall art.

This year’s White House Christmas tree ornament is an old style train ($24).

Local graphic designer Cherry Blossom Creative makes a series of colorful DC neighborhood wall prints ($20).

WMATA has an official DC Metro Store that sells a wide variety of Metro-themed products, including iPhone cases ($39), bracelets ($32), mugs ($12), model buses ($35), and more. Or if you’re looking for something more functional, how about a SmarTrip card loaded with fare money.

Still need more? Everything from last year’s gift guide would still work, Urbanful has an extensive marketplace, and Etsy is filled with DC-themed gifts.

COPY ONTO BDC
 Cross-posted at Greater Greater Washington.
 
 
 

COPY ONTO GGW
Cross-posted at BeyondDC.

December 10th, 2014 | Permalink
Tags: events, in general



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