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Old Posted Jan 9, 2022, 2:26 AM
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Lessons from Washington Metro, America’s Last Great Subway System

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Highway construction was at its peak when the nation’s capital conceived and built one of the most comprehensive rapid transit systems in modern America. Zachary Schrag explains how and why it happened.
https://www.governing.com/community/...-subway-system
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Old Posted Jan 9, 2022, 3:18 AM
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Great Society Subway is a great read for anyone who wants to know how the Metro was made.
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Old Posted Jan 9, 2022, 3:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Busy Bee View Post
Great Society Subway is a great read for anyone who wants to know how the Metro was made.
Thanks for the recommendation Busy Bee!
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Old Posted Jan 9, 2022, 7:17 AM
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Washington Metro is a great system. That said, ridership was declining--significantly, chronically--long before COVID.
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Old Posted Jan 10, 2022, 3:27 PM
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The big difference between Washington and everywhere else is that the federal government owned much of the land and buildings in the district, meaning there weren't big private interests competing to have stations built right next to their property AND away from the sites of their competitors.

If you owned one of the big department stores back in the 1950s, a subway was only of use if a station - hopefully a transfer station - was located directly outside your building's front door. What would be really great is if that same line or lines were made to not serve your competitor.

This phenomenon was compounded by the wealthy families who owned land leases under the likely postwar skyscraper sites. Washington didn't have that same issue because of the height limit + the lack of blue blood land leases.

Fogelson's Downtown book goes into detail on height limits, land leases, and rapid transit. There was a consistent pattern in all big US cities from Boston west to St. Louis, with the exception of Washington.
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Old Posted Jan 11, 2022, 6:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craigs View Post
Washington Metro is a great system. That said, ridership was declining--significantly, chronically--long before COVID.
It had been rising again prior to covid. Still below the historic highs, but no longer declining.
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Old Posted Jan 11, 2022, 6:08 PM
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^That's right. I don't have it in front of me but I think I remember GGWash talking about it rising since 2014?? Correct me if I'm wrong.
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Old Posted Jan 11, 2022, 10:11 PM
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I plan on reading that Great Society Subway. Sounds engrossing.

Washington Metro is very interesting, in that it was the great postwar, post-auto system, and built in a monumental manner communicating "govt. can do good for society".

But it could have never been a prototype for other U.S. metros, given the unique characteristics of the nation's capital.
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Old Posted Jan 11, 2022, 10:33 PM
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Washington Metro is very interesting, in that it was the great postwar, post-auto system, and built in a monumental manner communicating "govt. can do good for society".
I am just glad WMATA decided to get rid of the gross carpet, with the mystery stains, that at one time was seen as an amenity to attract discretionary suburban riders.
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