Monday, November 17, 2014

Stop what you are doing and read this article. And then comment on it.

Go HERE to read the full Washington Post article: 

From Anacostia to Tysons: Many ride Silver Line long and far to jobs in Virginia


 November 16 at 9:25 PM  
Before Metro’s Silver Line opened over the summer, Jazmine Jenifer, 21, worked for her mother at Glamour Girls Hair Studio in Temple Hills, Md. Her job was “helping out” around the shop, she said, and her pay was “whatever my mother could give me.” 
Which she realized was no way to make a living. 
Now, with Metrorail extending into the relatively job-rich Tysons Corner area, Jenifer rides a bus from Fort Washington, where she lives, to the Green Line’s Branch Avenue station in Suitland. From there, she travels eight subway stops to the L’Enfant Plaza station in the core of Washington. Then she transfers to a Silver Line train, rides 14 stops to the Tysons Corner station, gets off and walks a short distance to her new workplace. 
It’s an hour-plus trek in each direction, more than $12 a day in fares.
“It’s worth it,” said Jenifer, who was hired last month as a $9.25-an-hour cashier at the Nordstrom cafe in the Tysons Corner Center mall.


After “many, many hours” of work, Ross said, he noticed that a sizable number of passengers getting off at the five new Silver Line stations that week had begun their trips in Southeast Washington and Prince George’s. He narrowed his focus to the morning rush hours, defined by Metro as 5 to 9:30, and calculated daily averages. 
Of the average 2,987 Silver Line riders who exited at the McLean, Tysons Corner, Spring Hill, Greensboro and Wiehle Avenue stations each morning, 432 of them, or 14 percent, had started their rides at 20 stations in the Anacostia area and Prince George’s, Ross discovered. Of the 432, he said, 126 got off at Tysons. 
“The most common motivation for Silver Line riders from the east side is surely economic necessity, as most board at stations that draw riders from less affluent neighborhoods nearby,” Ross said on the Greater Greater Washington blog, where he posted a summary of the data. “These ridership figures are a reminder of how painful it is when low wages meet land use policies that separate jobs from affordable housing.” 


Brian said...

If we spend $12 to go to Tyson's Corner to get a $20 deal on a pair of pants, then why wouldn't someone have to spend $12 to go to Tyson's Corner to work. We're all responsible for Tyson's Corner being the area's center of commercialism. Buy local this season. Keep your money where people need jobs: in your community. Then go out to eat nearby too. Problem solved. No policies, promises from politicians, land developers, or one-hour commutes required.

Darin said...

While the anecdotes in the story don't tell the story for everyone commuting on the Silver Line, I do think that it is worth noting that one of the main arguments I have heard for building more and more Affordable Rental Housing in DC, and by default-EOTR, is the need for low-wage DC workers to have someplace to live. This article seems to suggest that the most motivated of that population are actually supplying their labor to places like Tyson's Corner, and not DC so much. It may be a result of editing, but none express a desire to stay in DC- where they do express a preference, it is for a place closer to where they work- unsurprisingly. I guess this article gives some anecdotal support for the argument that people will go where their job skills meet the demands of the job market. (And can we talk about those commuting costs? Wow!)Take away question for me: How much of DC's AH is subsidizing lower-wage jobs in the surrounding areas? Shouldn't our AH stock house our own workers?

The Advoc8te said...

Darin said: "How much of DC's AH is subsidizing lower-wage jobs in the surrounding areas? Shouldn't our AH stock house our own workers?"

Darin, this comment is pretty spot on (and frankly not something I had considered before) definetly worthy of further research and a study.

Mari said...

Long commutes are common, regardless of salary. I had a co-worker (GS-11) who commuted 2+ hours from Way-The-Hell-Out, VA to PG County. Another from St. Mary's county, MD to DC. A neighbor who commutes from Shaw to Tysons, via the SUV. We had an intern (no money) who commuted from Bowie. I once had a boss ($$$) who drove in from Baltimore. Then there were the co-workers coming in from West Virginia.....
I'm happy that the silver line provides options and opportunities for more people. I get that most people don't live in walking distance of their jobs. Ask around where you work and see that people live a variety of distances from where they work. We need to stop wasting time on some fantasy that jobs should be in walking distance or a 10 minute bus ride away from where people live. People tend to live about 45min to 1hr away from work. We should make sure affordable workforce housing for people who are employed more often than they are unemployed are in spots where the workers who work can get to work in about 1 hour.