Archive for the ‘Loudoun County’ Category

Daily DC Item: Street Lines FAIL?

Courtesy of Loudoun Extra

Courtesy of Loudoun Extra

It looks like something straight out of FAIL Blog but it’s not.

The Zig-Zag lines you see there is not the product of drunken VDOT workers, it’s actually a new technique that is being tried out in Ashburn to reduce accidents at pedestrian and bicycle crossings. The technique of painting confusing lines to slow down drivers has already been used in Europe, and VDOT is one of the first in the United States to try it out for themselves.

If you are interested in seeing the work it has been placed along Route 7 at Belmont Ridge Road and Sterling Boulevard. And if it catches on it will be implemented in more areas throughout the region.

If you thought that wasn’t crazy enough the Loudoun Extra article on the story ends with, “VDOT officials aren’t sure what to expect from the zigzag lines but will try to gauge how they are working this week by placing “fake” pedestrians in the crosswalk to see what happens.” Fake pedestrians? Why does that sound like joy to a reckless teenager?

Illegal Immigration Debate is Xenophobia Disguised

Reading about the illegal immigration laws passed in Price William and Loudoun counties, I am struck by the foaming-mouthed obstinacy of those who stop at the word “illegal”.

The upstanding citizens of both counties that refuse to debate any aspect of the multi-faceted relationship we have with immigration in America if the word “illegal” is present. It really defies all rational thought. Until you replace the word “illegal” with the word “foreigners”.

And in this context, I mean the definition of “foreigners” as people who are different in language, culture, and maybe physical appearance, and almost importantly, who are perceived as having a lower socio-economic status.

To test out my proposition, let’s take a few quotes as an example, and substitute “foreigners” for “illegal” and you’ll see what I mean.

Sue Flemining of Help Save Manasas

“If we turn our heads and permit illegal foreigners entry into our county without making any effort or identification, we are saying our language, our culture, our Constitution, our neighborhoods and our flag are inconsequential.”

Eugene A. Delgaudio (R-Sterling>

“We need help in Loudoun. We are struggling. We are a small county, and we can’t handle the hordes that are coming here and using up our services. Illegal Foreign immigration is taking a greater and greater toll on our community.”

Reading these two quotes in their new form, do you see what I mean? The upstanding citizens of Price William and Loudoun counties really don’t care about legal or illegal, that is a red herring. They are really scared about “those people” the different ones who do not conform to the accepted norms of sterile suburban life. Or as Woodbridge resident Chris King said:

“I’m tired of pressing ‘1’ for English” on the phone.

And I am tired of obscene hypocrisy of people like Ms. Fleming and Misters Delgaudio and King. The hypocrisy of their desire to discriminate against the very foreigners who built the houses those very upstanding citizens sleep in, pick the fruit they eat, wash the dishes they eat off, mow the lawns they take pride in, and pretty much do every menial minimum-wage-at-best job none of those very same upstanding citizens would ever demean themselves with.

Especially since we are all immigrants in the end.

Get on your bikes and ride! Vol. 1 – W&OD


As we enter our first spring like week of the year I am starting a series of profiles of area bike trails. I begin with my personal favorite, the Washington & Old Dominion Regional Park trail. In 2005 I rode the length of the trail from west to east in one afternoon.

An early example of the “rail-to-trail” phenomenon, W&OD was simply known as the “bike trail” to me and my friends when I was growing up. Now forty-five miles long, the flat, straight trail starts in Arlington, near Shirlington, and extends all the way past Leesburg to Purcellville. In actuality, the trail is part of W&OD Regional Park, which is the old railroad and current Virginia Power right-of-way (hence the high tension power lines), giving it dimensions of about 45 miles by 100 feet. Those 100 feet provide a buffer of nature through the most populated region of the commonwealth. Much of the Arlington portion traverses Four Mile Run Park while it parallels the windier Four Mile Run trail. Think of W&OD as I-95 to Four Mile’s US 1 and you get the idea of how the two trails exist together.

Get Ready for a Fare Hike

Metromap.png With Metro’s giant budget gap looming, and the budget meeting to discuss new fare and service options this evening, commuters and other Metro riders ought to get ready for some pain in the wallet. Metro’s fares have remained constaint since 2003, and are now facing a significant increase.

What’s good? SmarTrip users won’t pay quite as much an increase as those who use paper tickets, with paper ticket fares going up by $0.65 to $1.75, while SmarTrip fares will go up only $0.15 to $0.45.

What’s a little weird? That the downtown core stations will get an extra $0.35 tacked on to the fare. From Courthouse to L’Enfant Plaza on the Orange Line, Pentagon to L’Enfant Plaza on the Blue Line, Pentagon to Mt. Vernon Square on the Yellow, Mt. Vernon Square to Waterfront on the Green Line and from Dupont Circle to Union Station, is the new zone (see also the graphic here) that will receive an additional $0.35 congestion charge.

The new “max fares” under the new fare regime would be $4.75 for SmarTrip customers and $6 for paper ticket customers. Also on the block are some of the weekend and holiday services, so you may end up waiting longer and longer for trains on the weekends and on certain holidays. Metro won’t be changing service for holidays like Independence Day because they’re not completely mental. As many as twelve bus-lines may also face service cutbacks or outright route cancellations. Fares for the bus may go up by $0.05 if WMATA’s plan goes into effect.

So, fares are on the rise, and services are going to be cutback. Is this too much of a fare hike? Too much of a service cutback for too much a service cut? What say you?

graphic shamelessly cropped and borrowed from this Washington Post Story, with kudos to the graphics team there and apologies because any graphic I’d have done would’ve involved stick figures or badly drawn metro maps.

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