Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Crazy Idea?

A Crazy Idea?
Riding this morning, I remembered that recently DC was soliciting suggestions as to what to do with their stimulus money. (I can't find the link right now, and I''m not sure they're still taking.) Of course I wrote in saying we should have more bike lanes and expanded mass transit. Now I'm thinking that the two could be even more related than anybody's tried to make them.

Why not build an elevated bike trail on top of the above-ground Metro lines?

I'm mainly thinking of the Red Line from Silver Spring to Union Station here. It's a section of town that is far from the Crescent Trail and that could use some more healthy people going through it. Yes, there are a few bike lanes woven through the grid around there, but bike lanes are unsafe compared to dedicated bike trails, even elevated ones.

Here's how it works, how it would be safe, and how it makes money: make the bike trail above the Red Line only accessible at Metro stations. Charge a high one-time fee for each bike that people want to use on it (and this will tie into DC's push for bicycle registration) OR supply rental bikes at major hubs. Also charge a flat $0.50 fee every time a cyclist enters the Red Trail. This charge would necessitate having a Smartrip that was also registered.

The charges should not ever be increased, because there'd be very little cost to maintain what will essentially be a cover for the train. The excessive registration would be to help Metro get over the fact that people could theoretically stay on the Red Trail all day, with access to the rail possible (though unlikely, due to the elevation and the side-railing that Metro would put up).

I understand it might be difficult to construct, and I would never want Metro to go through with it if it would shut down the Red Line to do it. But how cool would a Red Trail be?

(I don't know about the name, though. Sounds a little... Cold-War-ish?)

1 comment:

Phaedra said...

sounds really awesome! but it seems it may cost all of the stimulus money plus more to make that happen...then there's ongoing maintenance and law enforcement for those trails...i would be all about it if i still had to do that b-more-dc commute