Thursday, February 08, 2007

Train Truth

Last Tuesday's Planning Commission hearing on the Payne Street condos drew an interesting mix.

There were Parker-Gray neighbors concerned about density and traffic. There were residents from the townhouses directly opposite the proposed development, who were worried about headlights in their windows from the alley running through the project. Then there was a delegation from Colecroft (there's a group you don't hear from often) who were concerned about the project's open space and even proposed a redesign to make it more publicly accessible. And there was also a Del Ray resident from the Transportation Task Force present to extoll transit-oriented development.

That apparently resonated with Planning Commission, which approved the project 6-0-1. (H. Stewart Dunn abstained out of concern that this project was being moved forward before the Braddock Road Metro Small Area Plan was approved.) The biggest boosters for the condos were Jesse Jennings (former Parker-Gray resident) and John Komoroske, with an assist from Larry Robinson (chairman of the Transportation Task Force).

But in the course of Mr. Komoroske's comments, the Growler picked up once again on something that has been bandied about as some sort of truth: that Braddock Road is one of the least used stations in the entire Metro system.

Not so, Mr. Komoroske. According to statistics compiled by the Northern Virginia Transportation Committee (motto: "Thinking Outside the Car Since 1964"), Braddock Road is the second-highest utilized Metro station of the four stations in Alexandria.

In FY 2005, there were 2,078,933 trips emanating to or from Braddock Road. This was outstripped by King Street's 3,704,946 but nearly a quarter of a million trips higher than Van Dorn Street (1,842,606) and nearly 1.2 million more trips than Eisenhower Avenue (881,893).

In addition, Braddock Road had more trips than several other Arlington and Fairfax stations, including Arlington Cemetery (730,784), Virginia Square (1,611,381), Clarendon (1,771,575) and East Falls Church (1,976,060).

As for Braddock Road being one of the least utilized stations in the entire Metro system -- well, the Growler is digging for current data right now. But back in 2001 the National Association to Restore Pride in America's Capital (NARPAC) found that Virginia Square, Capital Heights, Forest Glen, Navy Yard, Deanwood, Arlington Cemetery, Mt. Vernon Sq/UDC, Cheverly, Eisenhower Avenue, and Minnesota Avenue were in descending order the least used in the entire system.