How Can The Coverage of Transit Walk Sheds Be Increased?

Pedestrian infrastructure can cost-effectively increase coverage of transit walk sheds.

The roadway networks of most station areas are mostly unchangeable.  Existing structures on private property create unmovable barriers and  usually prevent new roads from being added to the network.  However, there is still opportunity to add pedestrian facilities that would increase a station’s walk shed in a relatively cost-effective way.

Take the example of Southern Ave Metrorail station.  We previously noted how a large number of customers drive to the station from between one and three miles away.  We discussed several reasons for this tendency to drive to Southern Ave, including the proximity to parks on both sides of the station.  The map below shows the transit walk shed of Southern Ave station.

Current walkshed of Southern Ave station.  The area with the orange dotted border contains over 1,200 households that could be within a half mile of Metrorail if a direct pedestrian connection were built.

Current walkshed of Southern Ave station. The area with the orange dotted border contains over 1,200 households that could be within a half mile of Metrorail if a direct pedestrian connection were built.

 

But what if a pedestrian path could be built to connect the station to the neighborhood to the north?

If a well lit, safe pedestrian path were constructed between the station and the orange-dotted area on the map, it could expand the walkshed to include up to 1,200 additional households in DC.  This new connection would likely increase ridership at Southern Ave. and might even generate enough additional fare revenue to fund the construction of the trail.

Metro’s Office of Planning is currently evaluating the walk sheds of our rail transit stations.  What other opportunities do you see for cost-effectively increasing the walk sheds around Metrorail stations?

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  1. Frank
    July 2nd, 2014 at 13:07 | #1

    Michael,
    Excellent Analysis. The West Falls Church metro station is another example of a metro station that could reap large rewards in ridership with a small investment of a pedestrian path. The area to the north of the West Falls Church station (Pimmit Hills) would immensely benefit from an infrastructure investment. Metro would likewise benefit.

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  2. July 8th, 2014 at 09:05 | #2

    Landover seems like an obvious opportunity – a short pedestrian bridge/tunnel over/under Route 50 and you open up the station walkshed to hundreds of homes. Couple that with the potential for TOD in the station’s parking lot and the adjacent industrial areas and there would be a great opportunity to increase that station’s daily ridership.

    The proposed pedestrian bridge over Backlick Run would also tremendously increase the walkshed of the Van Dorn St station. The bike/ped bridge currently under construction in DC at the Rhode Island Ave station will also be a tremendous benefit in increasing station access.

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