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The Density of Columbia

January 31, 2015

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Just like Christmas, the Transportation Research Board is now over and done with.  While the conference was as conferences go, my eyes dazzled around the metropolis known as Washington.

So I left Atlanta last last Thursday for Washington D.C for the annual Transportation Research Board Conference, which for the non-transport types is held every year in the nation’s capitol for professionals and up-and-coming publishers to discuss their findings in the transportation field.  I went because as a student, I was advised that you must go at least once in your career.  Much of the topics were very interesting, and some I’ve really heard time and time again…

But let’s get to the setting of the conference.

Now I’ve never been to the great megalopolis of BosWash (the continuation of cities and suburbs from Washington D.C. to Boston), so I was just all eyes and ears as my Megabus pulled into Union Station Friday morning.  I rode the metro, which after I decided that Atlanta gets points for having a simpler fare structure.  (A week unlimited pass in D.C. was the same as a month unlimited university pass in Atlanta). Oh yeah, I don’t think D.C. has replaced their trains since their inception, as the trains needed a good power wash and some Febreeze…but this transit nerd wasn’t bothered one bit! As long as I got from point A to point B (which in this case was Potomac Yard), I didn’t care. I also rode the new silver line to the Tysons Corner area which was kind of exciting. It takes forever, so what possesses people to live waaaay out there in Northern Virginia and still pay an arm and a leg, is beyond me. Other than that, the trains came quick, the stations are nice and compact, and the trains actually go everywhere.  Oh yeah, single-tracking is an even bigger nightmare here. Humble yourself, Atlanta.

I loooooved the different neighborhoods in and out of the District, with my favorites being: Dupont Circle, Logan Circle, Virginia Square, Clarendon, Del Ray, Old Town Alexandria, Chinatown, Crystal City, H Street, Shaw and U Street, and Silver Spring. I know that sounds like a lot, but they all exemplify the dense, urban atmosphere that other cities yearn for.

The Capital Bikeshare was also the best way to see the city.  The Pennsylvania Avenue Cycle Track is a must to bike down.  Luckily, it wasn’t too cold out to bike around as I whizzed past all of the traffic in my own bike lane.

I also took the MARC Commuter Rail to Baltimore. Nice town

Shoutout to CCTGirl for the hospitality and to all of the readers a joyous year of the transit!

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