It’s hard to imagine the District without Metro, no matter how much we get frustrated by their escalator failures and constant reconstruction, the system is part of our DNA here, right up there with the Monuments, the Politicians and Lobbyists, and Embassy Row. It’s just there, ever has it been, ever will it be.
What would happen if you woke up tomorrow and it just wasn’t there?
The Atlantic Cities has taken on that project, along with a lot of help from many reports from WMATA and Metro itself, and they have all manner of studies, maps and graphs that show what DC would need to make up for a lack of buses and the rail system that we take for granted, right as we curse its frustrating existence. Just a taste to get you hooked:
WMATA then ran a second scenario in which the transit disappeared, but the region added new roads to get people to where they travel today. Just to keep congestion at present levels, the region would have to add more than a thousand lane miles of arterials and highways, at a cost of about $6 billion. This would be the rough equivalent of adding 15 more lanes to the already massive beltway that encircles the city – or, all of these roads, many of which run through the core of downtown, where street expansion would be all but impossible.
Metro’s not so bad now, is it?