Posts Tagged ‘parking’

Metro’s Two Flavors of Parking

September 4th, 2013 4 comments

A handful of end-of-line stations’ parking facilities are doing the lion’s share of extending the reach of Metro across the region, while parking at most other stations primarily serves nearby residents.

Parking at rail stations is traditionally thought to extend the geographic reach of transit in the region, by giving longer-distance commuters a way to access a rail station. Based on an analysis of Metro parking customers’ origins, a handful of large end-of-line Metro parking facilities perform this function, but most Metrorail parking facilities do not. Nine Metrorail stations are capturing 70 percent of all customers who drive from more than three miles to park-and-ride, while the 26 other Metro parking facilities primarily serve the surrounding neighborhoods.

Our map of parking customers’ origins showed how far Metro’s reach extends across the region.  Now, this map shows the dominant station among Park & Ride customers, by half square-mile, for a typical weekday:

Map of dominant station of Park & Ride customers, highlighting each station's "catchment area"

Map of dominant station of Park & Ride customers, highlighting each station’s “catchment area.”

Areas where there is no clear primary station are shaded gray: for example, the dividing line between Southern Ave. and Branch Ave. stations. The dominant station is shown, regardless of how many Park & Ride customers there are for a square. There is some noise in this data, but two “flavors” of parking emerge: Read more…

Huntington Station Auto Access “Hotspots”

July 25th, 2013 2 comments
Heat map showing parking access within 1 mile and 3 miles at Huntington station, which may indicate good opportunities for pedestrian and bicycle improvements  (click for full map)

Heat map showing parking access within 1 mile and 3 miles at Huntington station, which may indicate good opportunities for pedestrian and bicycle improvements (click for full map)

We continue to explore barriers to pedestrian and bicycle access to Metrorail stations with a look at Huntington station. Previous posts in this series explored Forest Glen and Southern Avenue stations.  All stations profiled share similar characteristics in that they have a high percentage of short-distance (less than three miles) parking access, and low bicycle use.  By looking at street layout, customer distribution and gathering your comments we are working to better understand barriers facing pedestrians and bicyclists and improve safety.

The map on the right (full version) shows auto access “hotspots” for Huntington station. Huntington is located in Alexandria Virginia less than a mile south of interstate 495, the Capital Beltway.

The station serves as a park and ride option for commuters from south of the DC metropolitan area as it is the last station on the southern end of the Yellow Line and is easily accessible from the interstate. Still, roughly half of the 3,600 daily parking customers originate from the many residential areas within three miles of the station.

Short distance parking customers almost exclusively originate from south and west of the station. The Potomac River, Capital Beltway, and proximity to Eisenhower Ave, Kings Street, and Braddock Road stations also along the Yellow Line seem to influence this. Read more…

Where Do Parking Customers Come From?

June 28th, 2013 6 comments

One-third of Metro parking customers drive from less than three miles to their station. But Metro’s importance can also be seen far across the greater Washington region, in this new visualization of parking customer’s origins.

Most Metrorail parking facilities primarily serve the neighborhoods immediately surrounding the station: 64%55% of parking customers come from less than five miles away, and 47%35% come from less than three miles away. However, some riders come from much farther away, particularly to end-of-line stations near major highways, such as Greenbelt, New Carrollton, and Vienna.

With approximately 60,000 parking spaces, Metro is one of the region’s largest parking operators. Our 2012 Metrorail Passenger Survey provides good insight into the travel patterns of rail customers, including those who drove and parked at any of Metro’s 35 stations offering daily parking. These parking customers represent around 15% of all rail trips on a typical weekday.

DistanceDriven_to_MetrorailStation_Systemwide_bar_chart_revised

Read more…

Categories: Engage Tags: , ,

Southern Ave Station Auto Access “Hotspots”

May 13th, 2013 8 comments
Heat map showing short-distance parking access at Forest Glen station, which will be incorporated into the next rail to bike planning effort (click for full map)

Heat map showing parking access within 1 mile and 3 miles at Southern Ave. station, which may indicate good opportunities for pedestrian and bicycle improvements  (click for full map)

Last December we looked at the Forest Glen station and asked you for insights on why people coming from so close (less than three miles) would drive to the station. In the upcoming weeks we are taking a look at five additional stations that also have a high percent of short-distance parking access and low bicycle use: Southern Ave, Glenmont, Largo Town Center, and Grosvenor-Strathmore. For each, we will explore the station’s local conditions and we ask you to share your insights about what can be done to improve walking and biking access to these stations.

The map on the right (full version) shows auto access “hotspots” around Southern Ave station. The Southern Ave station is located just southeast of the boundary between the District of Columbia and Prince George’s County.

Many residential neighborhoods are located within the three-mile radius of the station, and a large concentration of parking users residing within one mile of the station.

However, many possible barriers could inhibit non-motorized travel to Metro:

  • Southern Ave SE is a fast-moving, four-lane road that is uninviting to pedestrians, despite traffic signals, sidewalks and streetlights.
    • WalkScore.com gives the Southern Ave Metrorail station a walk score of 52 out of a possible 100.
  • The station has no direct connectivity to the surrounding residential neighborhoods.  All access to the station must occur via Southern Ave SE.  As such, many neighbors of the station must travel long and circuitous routes to access Metrorail.  See the image below.
  • The station nestled into a corner of Oxon Run Park, further limiting station access routes for nearby residents.

Read more…

Chart of the Week: “Hotspots” for Pedestrian and Bike Access to Rail Stations

December 17th, 2012 10 comments

Heat map showing short-distance parking access at Forest Glen station, which indicates good opportunities for pedestrian and bicycle access (click for full map)

In our effort to improve safety, access and sustainability, Metro is expanding our understanding of bike and pedestrian barriers faced in commuting to our Metrorail stations. Over the past several years, we have focused our bike and pedestrian project planning and implementation efforts on improvements we can make to our station areas such as, installing bike racks or constructing pedestrian improvements. Now, we’d like to expand the envelope and develop a list of access needs beyond our own boundaries and work with our jurisdictional partners to make needed improvements.

One way we are doing this is by gaining a better understanding of where auto commuters come from when they drive to our stations, and zeroing in on areas where we see a good deal of auto access to determine if there are barriers to walking or biking to the station.

The map at right (full version) shows auto-to-station “hot spots” around the Forest Glen station, to pick one example, locations from which clusters of customers drive and park at Metro. According to the 2007 Metrorail Passenger Survey data, many customers drive from within a 1-3 mile radius; some are even closer. So why are so many people from this area driving? In our 2010 Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan, we teased out some of the more broad-based reasons why people drive rather than walk or bike – now we’d like to explore each station’s local conditions and see what can be done to improve walk and bike access.

The Forest Glen station is located north of the Capital Beltway and west of Georgia Avenue. More commuters to Forest Glen are from north of the Beltway and east of Georgia Avenue. There is pedestrian overpass over the Capital Beltway which helps facilitate foot traffic:  Is crossing Georgia Ave then a barrier?  There are four Metro rail stations located within a 2-mile radius of Forest Glen which draw away commuters farther from the station. This could help to explain the highly localized nature of the parking shed.

There are many factors not considered here such as demographics, bus usage, and average driving trends. Further research into parking and commuting trends is in the works.

If you commute from this area, can you comment about what you experience on your commute? Do you drive?  If so, what factors influence you to drive instead of walk or bike? Would you like to walk or bike, but the infrastructure isn’t there or the traffic is too daunting? Or do you see something else from this data? We want to hear from you and appreciate any feedback you have that can make our system more accessible to pedestrians and cyclists.

Metrorail Parking Pay-by-Phone Pilot

July 26th, 2012 2 comments

A familiar sight at Metro’s metered lots is that of a customer searching for coins to feed the parking meter.  Priced at $1/hour, that can add up to a lot of quarters or dollar coins.  Starting Monday, July 30, 2012, at the Fort Totten and Rockville Metrorail stations, Metro is introducing a new parking meter technology from  Parkmobile that will allow customers to pay for parking using a smartphone app or over the phone. It’s the same payment system widely in use in the District of Columbia, but with an extra twist: within seconds, thanks to sensing technology from Streetline, the time you pay actually displays on the meter.  You can find out about Parkmobile and download the app at  http://parkmobile.com.

 

This new Parkmobile payment technology is compatible with the “Parker” app by Streetline for iPhones and Android, which provides another option for cash-free payments while enabling many additional features.  For example,  you can find a parking spot in real time at the Fort Totten and Rockville metered lots, and the Vienna-Fairfax/GMU South daily surface parking lot.  Additionally, Parker provides policy information for every single Metro parking lot and garage (even those without sensor information) — see http://www.streetline.com/find-parking/.

Read more…

Categories: Planning Studies Tags: ,

What Does the State of the Commute Survey Tell Us?

January 11th, 2012 1 comment

State of the Commute Survey Results

Last summer, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) posted the results from the 2010 State of the Commute (SOC) Survey. Metro planners are reviewing the results now in support of our Regional Transit System Plan, which is looking to better connect areas of concentrated growth, such as the regional activity centers, and increase core capacity through 2040. The survey is conducted every three years to help MWCOG’s Transportation Planning Board better understand commuting trends and evaluate the effectiveness of its Commuter Connections program, which provides information about and benefits for commuting by transit and carpooling instead of single-occupancy vehicles (SOV).

Read more…

Metro Launches Parking Pilot Data

June 9th, 2011 No comments

Screen capture of live parking information for Fort Totten. Click image for live site.

As part of Metro’s ongoing effort to make parking more convenient for riders, a trial of real-time sensing has been underway at the Fort Totten Metro Kiss and Ride Lot for the past few months. This system uses sensors embedded in the pavement and in parking meters to let users know when spaces are available in the Kiss and Ride Lot, and when they should save time, energy and reduce their carbon footprint by driving to a different lot or using some other mode to access Metro.  Eventually, we hope that a similar sensors and monitoring technology will be available at all Metro metered parking spaces as a customer service to riders and to improve transit access, information and use.  Information on parking space availability reduces traffic cause by motorists search for parking and reduces pollution from vehicles being driven around in the search for parking.

This real-time space availability information from the Fort Totten Kiss and Ride Lot is currently available on Metro’s website on the Fort Totten parking page:

http://www.wmata.com/rail/parking/parking_detail.cfm?station=28

Read more…

Balancing Transit Mode of Access with Urban Design in Suburban Settings: A Comparative Assessment of Four European Transit Systems

May 27th, 2011 1 comment

Metro’s early experience with promoting TOD took place at below-ground rail stations in established urban settings that did not require the provision of transit access facilities beyond connections from sidewalks to the stations below. More recently, WMATA’s opportunities to develop its land to support TOD have been predominantly in suburban rail stations that include extensive parking lots, bus bays, and facilities for taxis, bicycles, customer pick-up and drop-off, and ADA patrons.

The default agency policy in recent years has been to replace existing facilities with a like amount and kind of facilities on a reduced footprint, and to emphasize transit operational functionality over urban design issues.  For example, this approach has tended to favor placing parking structures and bus bays adjacent to the station in lieu of pedestrian facilities, public spaces and mixed-use development.  However, public feedback has prompted WMATA to reassess the appropriateness of this default approach, and there is a need for new thinking about how future patrons should arrive at suburban stations; how transit operations should function in TOD contexts; and how to better meet local development policy objectives.

Development plan for Twinbrook Metrorail station.

Development plan for Twinbrook Metrorail station. Click the image for more information.

Over the past five years, WMATA has made a number of significant policy and program changes to recognize the changing development environment at suburban rail stations. For example, in 2008 WMATA adopted a new set of real estate development guidelines (1.91 MB PDF), and the first real estate projects implementing those guidelines were initiated in the summer and fall of 2010. While the evolution of WMATA’s planning and land development practice is underway, it is far from complete. WMATA’s most recently-launched TOD projects confront the agency with the immediate challenge of replacing first-generation, auto-oriented transit access facilities with a new generation of facilities that supports transit access, transit operations, and TOD.

Read more…

Fort Totten Real-Time Parking Pilot

January 21st, 2011 3 comments
Embedded sensor, currently being tested at Fort Totten Kiss and Ride hourly metered parking spaces.

Embedded sensor, currently being tested at Fort Totten Kiss and Ride metered parking spaces.

One of the challenges Metro faces is how to best support Parking customers. Good data on parking space utilization at metered Kiss and Ride spaces can be hard to come by and finding a metered parking space at many stations can involve guesswork. To address this lack of space availability information, Metro is beginning a 1-year pilot of sensors in parking spaces at the Fort Totten Metro Kiss and Ride parking lot to capture data on space availability and usage and to facilitate payment. These battery-powered sensors will be mounted flush with the pavement in each parking space, and communicate information on availability and usage. These space sensors will last 5-7 years on their internal batteries, and provide nearly real-time information. Read more…