Reporting on pedestrian life in the D.C. area

#RV11: When the Rail~Volution conference landed in D.C.

October 17, 2011 - 01:46 PM
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(Photo: Rail~Volution)

The national Rail~Volution conference has finally come to Washington, D.C, as I first discussed back in September. What does the gathering mean? Scores upon scores of transit enthusiasts will be talking, talking, and talking about the different implications of our transportation systems, from the Metro to bus to biking, from yesterday's opening ceremonies to Wednesday, centered at the Mariott Wardman Park. The conference is also, inevitably, expensive to attend, with registration costing hundreds of dollars.

Yet there are many ways to enjoy Rail~Volution's ride into town for free or for far less.

One very easy way is to follow the hashtag #RV11 on Twitter. There you can see updates from the many conference attendees in real-time as they share photos of Councilmember Tommy Wells during yesterday's opening ceremonies and burst with transportation glee over some of the charrettes and wonky details on the discussion table. Often you'll see the conference's insights distilled into 140 characters as they're happening. Former DDOT director Gabe Klein, for instance, has apparently suggested we can lower cyclist mortality by reducing speed limits to 15-20 miles/hour in neighborhoods. At the Last Mile session, people are talking about how bike share use reduces the amount that folks use transit. Without the Metro, WMATA assistant general manager Nat Bottigheimer allegedly said, D.C. would need 200,000 more parking spots.

But Twitter is not the only low-cost resource from which to enjoy Rail~Volution.

Tonight at 6 p.m. at the Carnegie Institution for Science, the Coalition for Smarter Growth is hosting a film festival and happy hour in conjunction with the ongoing conference. Tickets run $25, and the event promises to offer a taste of the more expensive access of the conference itself.

On Wednesday there'll be three locally focused discussions that anyone can attend from 2 to 5 p.m. Topics include the communities that will be affected by the proposed Purple Line as well as the jobs-housing balance in our D.C. region.

Curious yet? Matt Johnson explains the various ways to reach the Rail~Volution conference site over at the organization's D.C. blog. This is an event worth watching.

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