Greater Greater Washington

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You can still be urban with an office park; neither is mutually exclusive as you can also have an urban like feel in a office park like atmosphere.

Dunn Loring you have one urban like development yet everything else around there is not. Unless the new offices are in Downtown DC, Silver Spring, Bethesda, Crystal City, Arlington County's Ballston corridor. Anywhere else you would just be sticking an urban building in the suburbs.

I would rather have a campus like feel so basically an office park but in an area with stores and transit nearby.

Look at the Bloomberg article about Microsoft Redmond campus; they are trying to add stores, and apartments for employees and interns.

Though many of the new developments by companies for their hq's seem to be closer to the old company towns of the past.

by kk in Businesses no longer want office parks, and that can mean more revenue for cities on Sep 4, 2015 10:40 pm • linkreport

Leif Dormjo for Metro GM. Then clone him and make his clones the board of directors.

Let's make it happen.

by Robert Griffin III in WMATA admits there's a problem with the culture on Sep 4, 2015 9:55 pm • linkreport

The linked Washington Post article mentions a few times that it is the Virginia members of the WMATA board who are against hiring a "restructuring specialist" in either a consultancy role or in the GM role - but that the DC and MD reps have been pushing this for some time. Does anyone have any insight into this? Why the state divide on that issue?

by NTD in WMATA admits there's a problem with the culture on Sep 4, 2015 9:35 pm • linkreport

@Richard Layman

Individual stores can also get sweetheart deals; for example Tysons Corner Center really wanted Zara and swayed them to open up in the mall.

@ Rich

The Bloomingdale's in Chevy Chase use to be a Macys and before that a Hechts (however it was spelled). Macys really did not spend much money. The building needed to be remodeled and they just swapped one brand they owned for another one. They did not buy any land so it was no lost for changing the Macys to a Bloomingdales.

by kk in There may be hurdles to redeveloping the White Flint Mall, but not to tearing it down on Sep 4, 2015 8:57 pm • linkreport

I thought VRE & MARC weren't compatible due to trains not fitting in certain tunnels?

by Aman in There's a plan for more rail options in Baltimore and it doesn't involve the Red Line on Sep 4, 2015 7:29 pm • linkreport

In regard to Marc service in Baltimore; if a new station was ever built that served Amtrak and Marc. Why not getrid of the Camden line or make it a spur of the Penn Line.

How much would it cost to add a Wye where the Penn & Camden Lines cross each other near the Patapsco River, Route 1 & 895.

Personally I would send the line straight under Route 40 until Bayview

@Richard Layman

Merging VRE & MARC is a good idea but I would only do it on one condition. All lines in the State of Maryland, along rails where VRE operates in Virginia and for point where service would be in Delaware, Pennsylvania or West Virginia gets electrified.

And that this happens after Washington Union Station is remodeled and a new station in Baltimore is built.

Lexington Market would be a good location for the new station.

by kk in There's a plan for more rail options in Baltimore and it doesn't involve the Red Line on Sep 4, 2015 7:19 pm • linkreport

@August4

Ah, yes, Portland has become so crowded that nobody lives there any more.

by A Streeter in Breakfast links: A new path for WMATA on Sep 4, 2015 5:14 pm • linkreport

After the 2009 crash, you'd assume it would not be too difficult to get journalists and bloggers to put safety at the center, in their coverage. You wouldn't think it would be too difficult to get people (leaders, the dreaded "thought-leaders" even, journalists, officials) to agree that this should be the recommendation - safety should be at the very center of metro's … whatever - plan, strategy, vision. Yet it was. Instead, people wanted to focus on communication, PR, and customer service. Safety should have been (these many years) at the center, and every last thing should radiate from that center. As recently as a few months ago, I was doing face palms arguing with people about PR and communications and that silly report that came out that was paid thousands for.

I can't get in there and advise an organization as complex as how to do it, but I can sure as heck expect a lot more from the media and our government. Someone needs to keep us not just informed, but well-informed.

by Jazzy in WMATA admits there's a problem with the culture on Sep 4, 2015 4:47 pm • linkreport

Baltimore needs transportation now can't want wait on the next "BIG IDEA" that can take years (decades) of planning and approval and lots of money. The red line went through the planning process and makes sense but mostly failed because the Gov felt that the tunnel through downtown made the project too expensive. Alternatives should be based on what is easy, what makes sense, and most cost effective. Filling Highway to Nowhere with rail makes perfect sense. Instead of light rail, build Baltimore Subway East from West Baltimore Station and connect with existing subway (only need a tunnel from MLK BLVD to connect with existing subway tracks under Eutaw St. - about 1/2 mile rather than a 4 mile tunnel). This creates connection from W. Baltimore to downtown, Baltimore County, and Johns Hopkins. Then, as others have mentioned extend Baltimore subway from Johns Hopkins up Broadway (again, only 1/2 mile) and build connection/new MARC station at Broadway and additional stop at Bayview. These small improvements in Baltimore Subway and MARC meet many of the goals of the red line: connection from West Baltimore to East (Bayview), connecting existing transit (subway and MARC in this case), and only requires about a mile of tunnel.

by MW in There's a plan for more rail options in Baltimore and it doesn't involve the Red Line on Sep 4, 2015 4:42 pm • linkreport

re: Portland.

Portland has higher property taxes than Vancouver Washington. The jurisdictions are about 1 minute apart by car, divided by the Columbia River, and well connected through numerous bridges.

Basic economics would predict that house prices and rents are lower in Portland to account for the higher costs. But the reverse is true. Somehow, people would rather live in Portland, with higher rents and AND pay higher taxes.

by SJE in Breakfast links: A new path for WMATA on Sep 4, 2015 4:26 pm • linkreport

I'd only be okay with more stops on the Penn Line if they reduced the ridiculous charge of $7 / $8 each way.

by Aman in There's a plan for more rail options in Baltimore and it doesn't involve the Red Line on Sep 4, 2015 4:01 pm • linkreport

Yes, a few more stops on the Penn line might add a few minuest to the total time (from downtown) but i want you to consider TOTAL TRAVEL TIME door to door. The extra stops would make the line so much more convient to many people.
Cut down on the total travel time.
Also I would better plan the new Pen Line to travel around the north part of the city, more or less following THE BELTWAY around, and CUT OUT THE CITY CENTER. Most of us that use the Penn line live out here, anyway.

by Baruch Atta in There's a plan for more rail options in Baltimore and it doesn't involve the Red Line on Sep 4, 2015 3:59 pm • linkreport

Metro is NOT "colorful!!"

by Capt. Hilts in Colorful metro and more in the Flickr pool on Sep 4, 2015 3:56 pm • linkreport

... just call it the Silver Line Express, which is what I meant...

Alas, the FAA regulations are more strict than that.

These regs are strict for a reason. The basic concept for airport finance in the US is based on using airport fees and airport-based taxes to pay for the infrastructure. The travel is profitable enough to make this happen.

But because airports generate revenues like this, and because those revenues are used to pay for airport infrastructure, there is a concern that some local governments might see airports as a cash cow to pay for other stuff. That's what a regulation like this is supposed to prevent.

And for facilities, this works out OK. Only allowing airport funds to be used for a road that connects to other roads makes sense. But transit services aren't roads - they are services, and those services need to be operated in concert with a larger regional network. They can't just connect the same way a road does.

This is, in part, why we have some odd airport transit systems. It's a big reason why the JFK AirTrain is the way it is: airport funds couldn't be used to extend it further to Manhattan; nor is it easy for using airport funds to extend the subway to JFK (for example). It's a rule with a lot of unintended consequences, particularly for good transit connections to airports.

by Alex B. in Breakfast links: A new path for WMATA on Sep 4, 2015 3:34 pm • linkreport

Blindly firing people is bad and counterproductive but if the problem is culture you cannot make changes without replacing some of the people, especially those at the top. The Board should have some replacements.

Further down the hierarchy, you also need to make the culture "accountable": which will require some new processes, and some people being let go. e.g. if a station manager spends all his time reading the paper and is rude to customers, he should warned, and then removed if he doesn't change.

by SJE in WMATA admits there's a problem with the culture on Sep 4, 2015 3:33 pm • linkreport

Where I work, here's what probably would have happened:
Each identified anomaly would have been reported. Anomalies would have been compared to specific criteria and adjudicated. Since the anomalies were safety critical, the anomalies would have either had an independent check or a verification check (the difference being whether the 2nd person saw what the first person said before adjudicating). Then the list of adjudications would have been passed to a senior supervisor, who would approve the list. Any safety critical anomalies would have been referred for repair, and operations would have been restricted where repairs could not be complete before revenue operation.

If someone had made an honest mistake like this, we would have held a critique. The root causes of the event would be investigated (in this case, poor procedure writing in addition to the honest mistake of an inspector), and in addition to short term corrective actions like suspending the operator's ability to inspect pending a requalification and correcting the track problem, we would have determined long-term corrective actions like fixing the problem with the procedure, looking for other procedures with potential single-point failures, and looking at previous inspection records for instances where this might have occurred. We also would have evaluated inspecting the track system again, or placing operating restrictions on the track system until we could determine this is an isolated incident.

The person making the honest mistake would likely not have been fired. People make mistakes. The problem was with the procedures and process that allowed someone to make a mistake and have that lead directly to missing a critical flaw.

The fact that the safety department is not involved in the process of track inspection, safety critical maintenance or training is very troubling to me. I think based on this testimony it is not likely that the safety department either audits safety-critical maintenance no ensures that the maintenance departments have a self-assessment program.

by M P in WMATA admits there's a problem with the culture on Sep 4, 2015 3:06 pm • linkreport

1) I knew this was the Silver Line, and one of the two stations along VA 123 because the tracks are to the side of the roadway. I should have looked harder at the roofline. I guessed Tysons Corner, which was wrong.

2) I knew that this was either southern Green Line or Franconia-Springfield, from the High Peak canopy. I rather hastily ruled out Southern Avenue, Suitland and Franconia-Springfield after a quick image search. Although I wasn't completely confident, I chose Branch Avenue which was correct.

3) That view to the south is very familiar to me. Although the photo was black and white, and relatively low resolution, I instantly recognized it as Grosvenor.

4) I guessed Foggy Bottom-GWU somewhat blindly. Although it was only one station away, it was incorrect.

5) I blindly guessed Crystal City, which was wrong.

by Frank IBC in Here are the answers to whichWMATA week 66 on Sep 4, 2015 2:54 pm • linkreport

@Steve Dunham: yes, what would be more interesting would be visibility into the traffic studies, including observed max and quartile speeds

by Mike in When governments make road data public, anyone can help make roads safer on Sep 4, 2015 2:51 pm • linkreport

I'm with kob here. One can definitely overstate the effect of racism on patterns of urban development in the US. In fact, it's true that the decreasing de jure segregation along racial lines and replacing it with de facto segregation along income lines had a destructive effect on poor blacks, as it concentrated poverty and deprived those communities of capital-building sources and role models.

by Crickey7 in Breakfast links: What's on the Pike? on Sep 4, 2015 2:49 pm • linkreport

@ andrew: Blindly firing people when things go wrong doesn't improve anything. You're just inviting another person to make the same mistake.

Agreed. Also, blindly firing people creates a culture of fear. Not productive. Unless you're Jeff Bezos.

... most of the percieved "laziness" is because most employees are completely unempowered to fix the organization's problems.

I bet a lot of employees have given up themselves.

So, what should happen is see who those are, and keep those, while getting rid of the others. However, that is not going to happen because the union will fight firings, while it is also hard to find competent people here.

by Jasper in WMATA admits there's a problem with the culture on Sep 4, 2015 2:46 pm • linkreport

I also wonder if the lack of enforcement on the Beltway, as compared to I-270, is related to the relative lack of long straightaways which make it easier to judge speed visually, and safe areas to pull over.

by Frank IBC in When governments make road data public, anyone can help make roads safer on Sep 4, 2015 2:45 pm • linkreport

Time for UberAmbulance?

by Greg in Breakfast links: A new path for WMATA on Sep 4, 2015 2:45 pm • linkreport

I believe most of the speeding tickets in downtown Bethesda are related to aggressive drunk-driving enforcement at night.

by Frank IBC in When governments make road data public, anyone can help make roads safer on Sep 4, 2015 2:42 pm • linkreport

Portland might have a lot going for it, but no one can afford to live there.
by August4 on Sep 4, 2015 1:48 pm

Yogi?

by Jeffb in Breakfast links: A new path for WMATA on Sep 4, 2015 2:17 pm • linkreport

@ Richard Layman

I suppose what makes planning so difficult is that there are so many factors - both known and unknown - that play a role. But yes, having strong, visionary leaders is vital..

And yea, I'm enrolling in the Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning. Exciting times.

by Russ Doubleday in Breakfast links: A new path for WMATA on Sep 4, 2015 2:17 pm • linkreport

And it's important to point all this out because most Americans still subscribe to a very powerful myth, the myth that differences in wealth, health, education and myriad other indicators of socio-economic status between racial groups in the US are simply accidents of history.

A lot of Americans will say something to the effect of:

"Slavery doesn't exist any more, black people can vote, and racial discrimination is illegal, so it's their fault they're still poor and still live in the ghetto. It's not fair that I have to work hard to support my family while my tax dollars are being given to some lazy [insert racial epithet here] in the ghetto who doesn't want to get a job."

This kind of attitude has a lot to do with why the US has such as meager and ineffective welfare state compared to other advanced countries (homogenous Sweden, for example). And it has a lot to do with why we haven't solved our historic problems of segregation as we approach 2016 (50 years post-Civil Rights era).

by ndw_dc in Breakfast links: What's on the Pike? on Sep 4, 2015 2:16 pm • linkreport

Portland might have a lot going for it, but no one can afford to live there.

by August4 in Breakfast links: A new path for WMATA on Sep 4, 2015 1:48 pm • linkreport

@CBF
But I think the notion that there was some grand plan to move all whites to the suburbs and put all blacks in public housing is simply not correct.
Untrue.

I know it may seem like hyperbole, and that there are of course more facets to the story, but if you objectively examine the historical evidence it becomes clear that this was in fact the case in America's large cities after WWII. Once you are aware of the breadth of scholarship on this issue, it is hard to deny that there was in fact a plan during that time period to encourage massive white migration to the suburbs while enforcing racial segregation and poverty for black people through urban renewal and the concentration of public housing construction. It is a bit similar to the climate change issue. Once you are aware of all of the evidence, it becomes hard to deny.

A good starting point would be Making the Second Ghetto by Hirsch, which is a detailed case study of racial housing segregation in post-war Chicago. Hirsch explains the deliberate, decades-long process that Chicago's city government undertook to destroy existing neighborhoods and in their place build highways and high-rise public housing (for example, the Robert Taylor Homes). White politicians and bureaucrats literally planned out on a map where black people were and weren't allowed to live, on a block by block basis.

There needn't have been an explicit federal policy of white suburbia and black ghettos; the practical effect of what actually happened was identical to if there had been. Local politicians did make this plan explicit (as in Chicago) and the federal influence has already been discussed here. The combination of the two has the same practical effect as if the President has detailed as much in a national TV address. This seems extreme to the average person when they first hear it, but that is only because we are largely ignorant of our own history.

by ndw_dc in Breakfast links: What's on the Pike? on Sep 4, 2015 1:41 pm • linkreport

None of the candidates in the Alexandria primary signed such an oath. IIUC Silberberg has not even made a point of campaigning for the Dem candidates for Council (it should be noted that some of the GOP candidates for Council supported her, and Virginia had an open primary - it is very likely that her margin of victory came from GOP loyalists)

I intend to vote for Euille if he runs.

by CrossingBrooklynFerry in Breakfast links: A new path for WMATA on Sep 4, 2015 1:40 pm • linkreport

Also, I'd argue that most of the percieved "laziness" is because most employees are completely unempowered to fix the organization's problems.

by andrew in WMATA admits there's a problem with the culture on Sep 4, 2015 1:25 pm • linkreport

I've said this elsewhere, but I really think that were focusing far too much on the TGV operator.

WMATA needs to approach safety like the FAA. Instead of scapegoating the TGV operator, why not look at the whole picture?

Does the TGV generate lots of false positives? Why aren't the results double-checked? Why didn't a subsequent inspection reveal the problem? What caused the track to deteriorate so badly in the first place?

IMO the DOT report was a far more scathing indictment of Metro's culture than the most recent incident.

And, no. Blindly firing people when things go wrong doesn't improve anything. You're just inviting another person to make the same mistake.

by andrew in WMATA admits there's a problem with the culture on Sep 4, 2015 1:23 pm • linkreport

Euille should just pack up and try again next time around. What a sore loser. Even Trump was willing to sign a loyalty oath to not run against his party if he loses the primary.

by SYSM in Breakfast links: A new path for WMATA on Sep 4, 2015 1:17 pm • linkreport

There's also the thing that the 5A does a lot more than just take people to and from their flights at the airport. The 5A is also useful to get airport workers out to work. That's part of the reason it goes to DC, and part of the reason it should continue to be region funded.

For the record, the B30 should be region funded too.

by Michael Perkins in Breakfast links: A new path for WMATA on Sep 4, 2015 1:07 pm • linkreport

The biggest problem with WMATA is incompetence. Fire all the morons and hire people with some brains. Problem solved.

They also need to change their hiring practices. WMATA needs a personnel overhaul more than anything else. Many lazy and terribly incompetent people working there.

by Paul in WMATA admits there's a problem with the culture on Sep 4, 2015 1:04 pm • linkreport

The map shows where drivers were ticketed. I think that a map showing where drivers were speeding would be pretty much identical with a map of the road network.

by Steve Dunham in When governments make road data public, anyone can help make roads safer on Sep 4, 2015 1:01 pm • linkreport

(I should know better than to challenge you on airport issues...)

by Richard Layman in Breakfast links: A new path for WMATA on Sep 4, 2015 12:49 pm • linkreport

... just call it the Silver Line Express, which is what I meant...

by Richard Layman in Breakfast links: A new path for WMATA on Sep 4, 2015 12:49 pm • linkreport

I've always told people to speed freely on I-495 because there are hardly any cops- this data seems to support that.

by Jason L. in When governments make road data public, anyone can help make roads safer on Sep 4, 2015 12:41 pm • linkreport

WMATA admits there's a problem with the culture

Everybody else has known this for years.

Why should we trust that anything is going to change? A consultant will just cost a lot of money and be tossed out like Fenty and Rhee when change needs to be made.

by Jasper in WMATA admits there's a problem with the culture on Sep 4, 2015 12:40 pm • linkreport

The problems with the culture were evident from at least the time of the 2009 crash, and only reinforced since. The only people who were not aware was the WMATA board. The governors and mayor need to listen to their voters, and replace a bunch of their representatives on the WMATA board.

by SJE in WMATA admits there's a problem with the culture on Sep 4, 2015 12:28 pm • linkreport

@renegade09
"$80/rider per month" is a curious statistic. What is % farebox recovery, and how does that figure compare with other services? How does ridership per trip compare with other routes? I suspect that the 5A would compare very favorably.
Anyway, the linked article says that the motivation for eliminating it is a regional bun-fight over resources. I think that is the real story, that local agencies just can't play nice together. That probably accounts for a lot of WMATA's issues too.

If it gets 1050 passengers per weekday paying $7 fares that's about $1.8m in revenue per year, so with $.9m subsidy that's about 66% cost recovery. Very good.

JC's comparison of the $7 fare and "$80/month subsidy" isn't apples to apples.

And yes, I agree that the infighting between jurisdictions over relatively small amounts of money for this or that service shows exactly how dysfunctional the board is.

by MLD in Breakfast links: A new path for WMATA on Sep 4, 2015 11:59 am • linkreport

Alex B. -- you're right that transit usage is severely constrained by Federal law wrt airports and their use of funds. But probably (I don't know all the regulations) nothing prevents the 5A from being contracted from WMATA by MWAA.

Under current regulations, MWAA cannot simply pay for the 5A bus.

First, MWAA is not a part of WMATA. Second, MWAA has the FAA regulations to deal with.

http://www.faa.gov/airports/resources/publications/orders/compliance_5190_6/media/5190_6b_chap15.pdf

A facility may
extend for a distance off airport property or be used in part by nonairport passengers. Such cases
can be complex, and a three-part analysis should be applied:

First, is the facility owned or operated by the airport sponsor?

MWAA owns and operates the Silver Line Express. They do not own nor operate the 5A.

Second, is the facility directly and substantially related to air transportation? ... The facility must be designed and
intended for airport use even if others will also make use of it once the project is built. Airport
funding is limited to the portion (road or rail line) from the airport to the nearest line of mass
capacity, typically a highway or rail line adjacent to or close to the airport boundary.

This is another challenge. The 5A has lots of non-airport users from the Herndon park and ride. It also doesn't connect to the nearest point on the transit system.

I believe this was part of the challenge with the old Washington Flyer service that went downtown. It needed to cover all of its costs so that the airport didn't need to use any funds, but it couldn't. So it terminated at West Falls Church, the closest point to IAD on the transit system.

Third, is the airport contribution prorated to the forecast use of the facility? If 50 percent (50%)
of the passengers on a transit line with a stop at the airport will be airport passengers, then the
airport can contribute up to 50 percent (50%) of the cost of the rail line across airport property.

This is another reason why MWAA isn't paying a larger share of the Silver Line's capital costs. Their contribution from airport funds is limited by the FAA.

by Alex B. in Breakfast links: A new path for WMATA on Sep 4, 2015 11:47 am • linkreport

This is a great map! Looking at some of the arterial roads, I'm intrigued to find a few big hotspots for speeding:
- downtown Bethesda (where the speed limits are 25 on Wisconsin and East-West Highway, suggesting many drivers are ignoring them)
- Georgia Avenue north of Randolph Road, where it basically becomes a separated highway (and where Montgomery County and Maryland are building an interchange to further encourage speeding)
- Route 29/Columbia Pike north of Cherry Hill Road, where the state built several interchanges 10 years ago and is working on another one

if Georgia and Columbia Pike were actually freeways like I-270, maybe speeding would be as big of an issue. But both roads feed directly into several of the county's downtowns (Silver Spring, Wheaton) and areas the county envisions as future town centers (Glenmont, White Oak), meaning that making them pseudo-freeways will only dump more fast-moving traffic into areas where the county's own policy says it needs to do exactly the opposite.

by dan reed! in When governments make road data public, anyone can help make roads safer on Sep 4, 2015 11:44 am • linkreport

Alex B. -- you're right that transit usage is severely constrained by Federal law wrt airports and their use of funds. But probably (I don't know all the regulations) nothing prevents the 5A from being contracted from WMATA by MWAA.

But they don't think about the 5A as one of the elements of the traveler experience and in TDM for workers.

Neither does WMATA nor the TPB.

Which is why we have this problem.

With transportation planning and service provision more generally. We don't really plan it at the metropolitan scale. By default WMATA is the planner.

At the network breadth and depth scale, that doesn't work because at the end of the day, the budget and the cross-cutting and differential goals of the four compact members means that decisions are made that often don't take the full network or rider needs into account.

by Richard Layman in Breakfast links: A new path for WMATA on Sep 4, 2015 11:34 am • linkreport

Russ, yes citizens are involved in planning, but they are in most places.

If you don't have great elected officials who think about and deal with the future, at the end of the day, all the citizen involvement in the world doesn't matter.

To me that's one of the distinguishing characteristics about Portland. It goes back to super community spirited developers like Bill Naito, and Nohad Toulan, the guy who was the founding dean of the College of Urban Studies at PSU.

http://www.pdx.edu/ims/sites/www.pdx.edu.ims/files/NToulan_UniversityintheCity.pdf

by Richard Layman in Breakfast links: A new path for WMATA on Sep 4, 2015 11:30 am • linkreport

I don't really understand why the 5A was designed to go to/from downtown DC, when the B30 forces everyone to transfer at Greenbelt.

Because the 5A was initially pushed for and funded by the District of Columbia. It was coupled with the 5B to Tysons, with a reverse commute and access to jobs focus.

Once DC's grant funding ran out, they've been trying to find a different method to pay for it ever since.

And why MWAA not WMATA?

MWAA runs a very useful bus service from the end of the Silver Line right now.

http://www.washfly.com/flyer_bus_schedule.htm

$5 one way, runs every 15-20 minutes, and it's a ten minute or less ride from Wiehle to the IAD terminal in a nice new bus with great luggage racks specifically used for airport service.

Why can't MWAA just subsidize the 5A? I believe it is because there are restrictions to what airport revenues can be used for when it comes to transit. Maryland engages in paying for the B30 because they can do that kind of tacit cross-subsidy, as the state both pays into WMATA and runs BWI.

That's not the case with MWAA, so MWAA must run their own bus service.

by Alex B. in Breakfast links: A new path for WMATA on Sep 4, 2015 11:29 am • linkreport

@nw_dc
People weren't fine with living in central cities. The had no choice but to live in dense and often overcrowded conditions to commute to work. In my initial post I did not discount at all exclusionary policies. But I thought the original write-up had neglected the economic incentives for exiting cities, which were very powerful. To argue that the shift to the suburbs was largely motivated by racism overlooks the deteriorating housing conditions in central cites. To suggest that doesnt in anyway overlook shameful practices that fostered all-white communities. To Richard's point about underinvestment, no doubt that's correct. The reaction by many cities was not to invest in housing but to tear it down to make room for highways and 'redevelopment.' You can soundly argue that some of these policies were racist and economically unfair because displaced families, more often than not, lived in poorer neighborhoods.

by Kob in Breakfast links: What's on the Pike? on Sep 4, 2015 11:21 am • linkreport

SJE -- great point about Portland. There was this libertarian planner (like Randal O'Toole but not him), who lives in Clark County (where Vancouver is), who always wrote pieces about how Portland was going to hell and used Vancouver as a counter example.

As a "city" Vancouver doesn't offer very much at all in the way of amenities, although it's nice enough. (One reason its retail is weak is because Oregon doesn't have a retail sales tax.)

Meanwhile Portland continues to add population and business activity and continues to improve its sustainable mobility infrastructure and quality of life. And it has the McMenamins and their growing empire of super cool cinemas, brewpubs, inns, etc.

The thing about Portland that always amazes me is how they made some key visionary decisions in the late 1960s (the freeway) and early 1970s (focusing development on Downtown) and kept making new visionary decisions (such as on transportation) that built upon and extended the earlier decisions and the infrastructure that grew out of them.

So the whole is bigger than the sum of the parts. Most jurisdictions may make some great single decisions, but usually each decision and the subsequent actions don't interconnect and build and contribute to a greater whole. Balt. County is like that. It arguably had the nation's first rural-urban growth boundary, was a leader for awhile in adding urban design to the suburban toolkit, created one of the nation's first environmental agencies at the local government level, etc. But all the actions remained kind of one-offs.

Arlington had that kind of visionary leadership for awhile but it seems to be in serious backsliding mode today. That kind of vision is nonexistent in DC.

by Richard Layman in Breakfast links: A new path for WMATA on Sep 4, 2015 11:18 am • linkreport

RE: 5A, "$80/rider per month" is a curious statistic. What is % farebox recovery, and how does that figure compare with other services? How does ridership per trip compare with other routes? I suspect that the 5A would compare very favorably.
Anyway, the linked article says that the motivation for eliminating it is a regional bun-fight over resources. I think that is the real story, that local agencies just can't play nice together. That probably accounts for a lot of WMATA's issues too.

by renegade09 in Breakfast links: A new path for WMATA on Sep 4, 2015 11:05 am • linkreport

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