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A 24-hour Metro? For one rider, the train is always half full – By Kytja Weir, Washington Examiner
|| 1/5/2011 || 10:09 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Logo for Washington Metropolitan Area Residents for a 24 Hour Metro

Earlier this week I got a random Facebook message from a reporter who noticed that I had created the Facebook Group Washington Metropolitan Area Residents for a 24 Hour Metro and was interested in doing an interview. I wrote her back and we ended up speaking for about 30 minutes about this project. A couple days later this article showed up on the Washington Examiner’s Capitol Land blog:


Screen grab from the Washington Examiner website

A 24-hour Metro? For one rider, the train is always half full

By: Kytja Weir 01/05/11 3:34 PM
Examiner Staff Writer

Nikolas Schiller has a dream. But even he calls it “a dream deferred.”

He’d like to see the Metro system operate 24 hours a day. And 689 others agree with him.

The D.C. consultant and artist created a Facebook campaign in February 2009 called “Washington Metropolitan Area Residents for a 24 Hour Metro.” It quickly got a following, even though he acknowledges that many of the fans were already his friends.

“The United States government operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so should Metro,” became the motto.

He traveled around to other systems and realized few agencies but New York City run 24 hours a day. But his thinking was that if riders miss the last train of the night in D.C., they have to shell out big bucks for a taxi to get home.

So why not charge riders more for late-night service, perhaps running just one train per hour? That would allow the trains to move on a single track, freeing up the other side for the track work and maintenance that gets done at night, he said.

He started the campaign to gauge interest. He even bought ads on Facebook to tout the idea.

At one point he tried to organize a meet up of the like-minded, hoping to re-create subway parties that occurred on London’s system.

But alas, Metro has talked of cutting service in recent years, not expanding it. Even the extended weekend service of 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights teetered on the chopping block during the last budget cycle, saved at the last minute by District officials.

Now, the current focus on safety makes Schiller’s idea even less likely. And then there’s the cost.

Metro has charged $27,000 to groups to open the rail system an hour early, say for a marathon or other event. At that rate, it would cost about $135,000 a day to keep trains running. That’s $49 million for an entire year.

To cover the extra costs, the system would need for riders to make about 26,000 more trips each day at $5.24 a pop (twice the current average rail fare) on top of the already 700,000 or so trips that occur on a typical weekday. That’s before taking into account the extra wear and tear on the trains and tracks or other costs that would come from running continuous service.

But Schiller says he would still like to see it happen. And the Facebook campaign lives on, gathering a few hopeful followers at a time. Three more joined this week alone.


Leave comments on the Washington Examiner website: http://washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/capital-land/2011/01/24-hour-metro-one-rider-train-always-half-full



Don’t Look Back – Physically Assaulted On A MetroBus
|| 8/12/2010 || 11:58 pm || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

This was first posted on Facebook to allay the concerns of my friends after reading the tweets:


Riding home on the 92 down U street- got on at 18th & Wyoming. Going 8 blocks down U. About 5 minutes after boarding a crazy dude behind me at about 7 rows back says something like ‘look back here again and I’ll kick your ass.’ Thinking it was someone else I looked back. Crazy dude walks up to my seat and proceeds to start swinging at me in my seat. Woman from behind me, about 3 rows back, in between he & I, pulls him away. The bus stops. He gets ejected off at 15 & U. I am asked if I want to press charges. Shaken, I felt my forehead, said No. One block later, this same crazy person, walks/runs to the next block to the 14th & U intersection, outside the McDonalds, and DEMANDS to get back on the bus being that he had already paid his fare. At this point a series of people get out their phones and call 911. I call myself and give my statement. The Darwin award goes to the man who waits for the police to arrive. 3 cars do. Then a couple more. A few people get off the bus to announce to the police what happened. I get up, apologize to the bus for hindering their commute, and as I step off the bus a police officer, last name Ali, asked if I was hit by the man. I said yes. He leaves and proceeds to arrest the crazy dude. It was painful to watch them take him down. He was placed in handcuffs on his belly. Two people from the bus came forward to give their eye-witness statements. The woman in her mid-20’s from Georgia who yanked the crazy dude off me (thank you) and the mid-20’s Asian man both gave their contact information. After all the police left, one by one, the last officer got out the camera, and he took a couple pictures of the welt on my forehead. One photograph included a millimeter measuring stick that actually measured the size of the red mark. I walked two blocks toward and ran into to one of the people I’ve known longer than anyone else in DC– JR Russ– who I had my first Thanksgiving in DC with. Story told. Walked the rest of the way home. Tired. No concussion. Needless drama. Needless pain. Don’t look back.


This is the third time I’ve been physically assaulted in the District of Columbia in the last three years…. The previous assaults happened on July 17, 2008 & October 28th, 2008



[FOUND MAP] Dear WMATA, is it called the Hirshhorn Gallery or Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden?
|| 7/18/2009 || 7:55 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Earlier this month when I was returning home from Artomatic, I snapped this photograph in the Navy Yard Metro station. I found it interesting that the cartographers at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority decided to use Hirshhorn Gallery instead of Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. I could tell the map was somewhat current, but how current is the usage of Gallery vs. Museum and Sculpture Garden? I did some google searches and my general conclusion is that its commonly & mistakenly called Hirshhorn Gallery, but does that mean WMATA should too?

Related Found Maps:

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Note to the cartographers at the New York Times: the Red Line goes into Maryland
|| 7/11/2009 || 7:00 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

I know this a bit late, but I was looking over the coverage of the DC Metro train collision last month on the websites of the Washington Post (below) and the New York Times (above) and noticed one glaring error in the New York Times map. The Red Line does not start and end at the borders of the District of Columbia, rather it extends far into the state of Maryland. Maybe the New York Times can issue a cartographic correction?

I guess you could say this is a good example of when the local newspaper gets it right…


Related Found Maps:

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Metro Crash Quilt #2
|| 6/29/2009 || 2:23 pm || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

: rendered at 18,000 X 12,000 :
Metro Crash Quilt No.2 by Nikolas R. Schiller

Continuing on the theme of my last map, I decided to focus on the merging of the two Metro trains for this version. To create this map I first sampled a portion of Metro Crash Quilt, then I used that portion to create an intermediate map (that I chose to not publish), which I then sampled again to create this fractal Hexagon Quilt Projection map. This process of recursive sampling allowed me to focus more and more on the portion of the map where the two train merge together. The result is a weaved pattern of train tracks and merging Metro cars; a far more intricate map than my previous version. What is lost, however, is the area around the crash site and the crash site itself, in their place are more trains and more train track. I have sampled a portion of this map and am in the process of seeing what a third iteration will look like.


View the Google Map of the crash site in upper Northeast Washington, DC.

: detail :

View the rest of the map details:

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Metro Crash Quilt
|| 6/27/2009 || 12:09 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

: rendered at 18,000 X 12,000 :
Metro Crash Quilt by Nikolas R. Schiller

As I stated before, I decided to make a map of the location of where the Metro crash took place. When preparing the imagery I did my best to include both the train and the exact site of the collision, but when it came to trying out different Quilt Projection designs, I found the Square Quilt Projection to have a very interesting line of symmetry– the Metro train itself.

While this map is derived from orthophotography, which essentially flattens out the terrain, the train’s laterally merging together on a line of symmetry creates a different viewing approach to the train. Since I cannot replicate the Metro train on top of another Metro train (nor would I really want to or even have access to the aerial photos of the crash itself), this line of symmetry approach offers a stylized (albeit sad) way to show the merger of two trains.

The aim of this map was to document the location of this tragedy, but I was able to add more than I expected to the final result; a simulated merger of two trains. Had there not been a random train passing through the area on that day in March of 2005, this map would be devoid of the subject of it’s creation and only show the location of the tragedy.

I am working on a second iteration of this map which should be ready shortly.


View the Google Map of the crash site in upper Northeast Washington, DC.

: detail of the crash site with two Metro trains merging together :

View the rest of the map details:

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The aerial photography of the area around the Metro crash site contains a Metro train
|| 6/23/2009 || 11:10 am || + Render A Comment || ||

Like the highway collapse of I-35 in Minneapolis, the partial collapse of the MacArthur Maze, the destruction of Hurricane Katrina, and the Columbine shootings, I’ve decided to make a map of the area around yesterday’s Metro crash site. Earlier today I downloaded the imagery of the site and found something I wasn’t expected. Not far from the actual crash site there is a Metro train on the tracks. While its not as interesting as the Ghost Cars on the I-35 bridge, I found it interesting that of all the locations for the Metro train to be when the plane flew over in March of 2005, the Metro train happens to be VERY close to the actual site of the tragedy.


Note: Google Maps currently uses the same USGS imagery that I am using.



Dreaming of being on the Metro then one hour & seventeen minutes later a Metro train crashes
|| 6/22/2009 || 10:29 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

So around 3:30pm I awoke from my afternoon nap and Twittered that I had two vivid dreams at 3:45pm. About an hour and seventeen minutes after I posted that, while I was sitting on my front porch reading today’s paper, the worst train crash in the history of Metro took place. This type of dream prescience has happened before, so before the dream goes into the deep recesses of my memory, I am going to briefly transcribe what I remember. The following recollection was written at shortly after 6:05pm on June 22nd:

The dream started out inside of a train that looked and felt like a Metro train traveling at somewhat high speeds. However it seemed to be moving faster than normal, or maybe that was just the nature of the dream. Behind me was what looked like an airline pilot and a lady in a business suit. We were talking about how it was nice to be traveling on the train and then the conversation made its way to Accela. Where I turned around and said, “But it still uses the same rail lines as the regular trains.” They both laughed and then the train went completely silent as we rolled on. The silence reminded me of when I am on the Metro and the AC goes off and this audible static goes away for a brief moment. As we roll on down the track in silence this portion of the dream ends….

I then found myself floating above Nationals Stadium. A batter has hit a baseball deep into the outfield. Instead of a normal wall, there a crowd of teenagers who are in the field with baseball mitts and one of them catches the ball and then the crowd of teenagers disperses. No once can see who took the baseball. Then the crowd of the stadium starts to sing in unison to the tune of “Happy Birthday To You,” a phrase that causes those in the stadium to break out in laughter, “Where is the baseball, Where is the baseball, Where IS the baseballllll, Where is the baseball?” Shortly after this scene the dream ends.

I found it interesting that my mind had created something both funny and completely new in the context that I tend to think of dreams as a subconcious means of rehashing ideas and visions that have taken place in my waking life. Every part of the train sequence was rehashed from experiences of being on Metro and Accela trains, but the baseball portion was different. I have never created a somewhat humorous song while sleeping. However, its the train portion of the dream that is still haunting me.



UPDATE: To make matters more eerie, it turns out that two of the fatalities in the train actually resemble the two people I was talking to on the train in my dream. The pilot who died, Maj. Gen. David F. Wherley Jr., was involved in protecting Washington, DC during the whack events on 9/11, which is the source of my previous dream and he was sitting next to his wife, who also died. I got a chill down my spine after looking at their photos. However, unlike my dream, we were all sitting in the back of the train, not the front where they were actually sitting. I specifically remember turning around to speak with them because they were behind me and from my experiences on Metro trains the seats at the end of the car tend face the direction of the trains movement. Moreover, the lead cars, where the conductor is located and where they were sitting, have fewer seats than the back of the train. Regardless, I’m still a bit shaken by this synchronicity.



Washington Metropolitan Area Residents for a 24 Hour Metro
|| 2/4/2009 || 5:32 pm || Comments Off on Washington Metropolitan Area Residents for a 24 Hour Metro || ||

Recently I’ve read about the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority threatening to cut back on services. Today I decided to create a Facebook Group that ignores this threat and asks for expanded services– specifically, having the Metro run 24 hours a day. I’d be willing to pay more for late night service, but will WMATA care? Will they expand their services and make DC a more world-class city? I doubt it…



Tango in the DC Metro – YouTube Video of Federico Aubele’s “Tan Dificil”
|| 11/12/2008 || 1:28 pm || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

I absolutely love this video. Directed by my friend Robin Bell, it features my favorite track from Federico Aubele‘s most recent studio album Panamericana, and showcases local dancers Sharna Fabiano and Isaac Oboka doing the tango in the Washington, DC Metro. Sharna teaches an intro to tango class at the 18th Street Lounge on Tuesdays at 8pm and the song is also available on iTunes.





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Nikolas Schiller is a second-class American citizen living in America's last colony, Washington, DC. This blog is my on-line repository of what I have created or found on-line since May of 2004. If you have any questions or comments, please contact:

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