Greater Greater Washington

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The Greatest mistake of the StreetCar to date was building the yard and temporary shed on the SpringArn School Yard. Had even one person at DDoT had a lick of sense, or anyone in the Mayor's office ever bothered to actually spend some time in NE, they would have realized they could have cut a deal with Pepco for the Benning Rd Generating station. Lease the buildings for a dollar there, stretch some rail down to 36th street and put the car barn inside the generating hall. That would have helped spark development further east, and by preserving a historic structure would have added to the aesthetics and saved pepco millions in the teardown/cleanup.

putting the permanent facilty at Springarn is just kind of stupid when that lot would make an excellent mixed use project. Benning Rd already has things that are killing pedestrian mobility, do we need more?

by pat b in No, DC is not abandoning plans for most streetcar lines on Oct 31, 2014 12:50 am • linkreport

Bullet voting makes perfect sense if

a. the probability your vote will help #2 beat #3 times the value to you of 2 beating 3

is greater than both

b. the probability your vote can help defeat #1 times the value of doing so

And

c. The value of making a statement by voting for a fringe candidate along with your preferred #2, plus the probability your vote will help #2 beat #3 times the value to you if 2 beating 3, minus the probability your vote will help the fringe best #2 times the harm of that outcome.

Presumably, a is often greater than b, which is why it may make sense to vote for your first choice but not your second choice. But voting for your first plausible choice plus a fringe candidate you like is almost always better than bullet voting, unless there is a chance you are wrong in assuming one to be a fringe and you like #2 alot more than the fringe candidate.

by Jim Titus in For DC Council: Elissa Silverman and Robert White on Oct 30, 2014 9:41 pm • linkreport

perfect is the enemy of good, but:

Given the width of the roadway, why can't there be cycletracks on each side of the road, going with the direction of car traffic?

by 7r3y3r in First flowerpots, and now, a cycletrack on Oct 30, 2014 9:33 pm • linkreport

Congratulations sonner!

by Sharon in Please welcome our new Associate Editor, Jonathan Neeley! on Oct 30, 2014 9:27 pm • linkreport

@charlie at 11:38, while Dupont does not have a cinema, it's a 10 minute walk to West End Cinema in the adjacent West End neighborhood.

Dupont had a cinema up until January 2008 with the Cineplex Odeon Dupont 5, and given the recent appearance of popup theaters with fewer screens, I could readily see another one in the future.

by Craig in Breakfast links: Who's ahead on Oct 30, 2014 9:16 pm • linkreport

Hee hee, Fairfax is beginning to feel it slip away.

by NE John in Breakfast links: Who's ahead on Oct 30, 2014 9:04 pm • linkreport

Another reason to dislike the coppers. Yeah, I'm a. Cop disliker.

by NE John in Breakfast links: Who's ahead on Oct 30, 2014 9:02 pm • linkreport

HUP HUP!

by NE John in First flowerpots, and now, a cycletrack on Oct 30, 2014 8:56 pm • linkreport

+1 to MLD, exactly.

by William in For DC Council: Elissa Silverman and Robert White on Oct 30, 2014 8:22 pm • linkreport

JB, guess what, car traffic just isn't the only priority in the world. Those of us not in the metal boxes count too.

by JR in Flowerpots create a safer pedestrian crossing from Gallaudet to Union Market on Oct 30, 2014 8:22 pm • linkreport

Can't we just hire Nate Silver to answer the bullet voting question? Or convince someone at NPR to research it for us? In all seriousness, now that I'm old and 30, these kinds of mathy things just make my head hurt.

by Steven H in For DC Council: Elissa Silverman and Robert White on Oct 30, 2014 7:59 pm • linkreport

Pretty much focused on "the 40 taxes passed or raised" during the O'Malley-Brown administration, not acknowledging the reality of the recession since 2008, and which peaked in terms of negative impact on local and state government in Maryland in FY2010.

Under Hogan the state "will be open for business" and will cut govt. spending because of "$2 billion" in identified "government waste" etc. ...

http://www.gazette.net/article/20141015/OPINION/141019481&template=gazette

by Richard Layman in In Maryland and Virginia, vote to build transit on Oct 30, 2014 6:28 pm • linkreport

There are good reasons for any city to want its employees to live in the same city, notably by contributing to the tax base from which they draw their salaries. Because of that advantage, the city should be able to offer monetary incentives to residents: e.g. if the resident would add X to the tax base, any raise below X would be saving the city money.

My reasons for police coming from the community are additional to those arguments, and apply particularly to the police in ways that do not apply to the fire department.

by SJE in Breakfast links: Who's ahead on Oct 30, 2014 6:17 pm • linkreport

I never understood the "Tactical Urbanism" branding of things like this. It makes good, well executing projects like this seem temporary and skirting public process. I mean this done by a public agency for the benefit of the general public in a timely and well thought out manner for what I only assume was pennies on the dollar. Maybe I'm just being curmudgeon-y, but safe streets shouldn't be tactical, new urbanist, or hip, they should simply be boring status quo.

by Petrarch in First flowerpots, and now, a cycletrack on Oct 30, 2014 5:31 pm • linkreport

Its great that transit support has spread nationwide - I did not mean to imply that no Republicans support it. I do think that attributing the gentrification in NYC to liberal preservationist NIMBYISM misses the point. I am not familiar with lack of support for Gateway from NYC. Certainly I do not think Gov Christie needed any help killing ARC. And of course NYC has a level of new construction now that dwarfs what we see in DC. It also has taken steps to directly provide workforce housing in the Bronx, I believe, and to address roots of poverty by expanding preK - and doing so by taxing the highest incomes.

And most NYers would do more to address income inequality, but again face national constraints at the hand of elected officials from Utah and Texas.

by CrossingBrooklynFerry in Breakfast links: Who's ahead on Oct 30, 2014 5:17 pm • linkreport

@Richard: The Gazette newspapers endorsed Hogan? That's pretty hilarious. What was their reasoning?

by Gray in In Maryland and Virginia, vote to build transit on Oct 30, 2014 5:14 pm • linkreport

@CrossingBrooklynFerry
My skepticism on transit remains. New York could have meaningfully pitched in to support increased capacity across the Hudson, but instead gave the ARC tunnel project the runaround, and is now showing no enthusiasm for the Gateway project. I wouldn't be surprised if more transit is currently being built in Republican jurisdictions than in Dem areas. I'm thinking of Dallas and Salt Lake.

by renegade09 in Breakfast links: Who's ahead on Oct 30, 2014 5:04 pm • linkreport

Congrats on the new gig!

(And congrats to Truck for making Pro Flight! /ultimatespeak)

by Hagiographer in Please welcome our new Associate Editor, Jonathan Neeley! on Oct 30, 2014 5:03 pm • linkreport

Nice story. My opinion of you, however, will be based entirely on your Oxford Comma policy.

by Hadur in Please welcome our new Associate Editor, Jonathan Neeley! on Oct 30, 2014 4:58 pm • linkreport

...which explains why 20% of police officers live in DC, instead of only 15%

by JimT in Breakfast links: Who's ahead on Oct 30, 2014 4:49 pm • linkreport

Cool! I'm from Mechanicsville as well

by Matthew in Please welcome our new Associate Editor, Jonathan Neeley! on Oct 30, 2014 4:47 pm • linkreport

@Thad, @Spartan
DC already has programs to provide assistance to DC government employees purchasing their first home in the District. They may be eligible for matching downpayment funds up to $1,500 and a deferred loan of up to $10,000, as well as an annual tax credit of $2,000 against their income tax liability for five years, and a generous property tax credit. See: http://dhcd.dc.gov/service/employer-assisted-housing-program-eahp

by OtherMike in Breakfast links: Who's ahead on Oct 30, 2014 4:37 pm • linkreport

Thad:

Yes there are different ways to offer incentives.

But the idea of forcing cops and firefighters to live in the city comes up every so often in DC.

by Spartan in Breakfast links: Who's ahead on Oct 30, 2014 4:28 pm • linkreport

@Spartan - Let's see, here are a couple of different ways to structure programs:

Loan Programs: http://www.sf-moh.org/index.aspx?page=288
Bonus Programs: http://www.buckheadcid.com/programs/atlanta-police-foundation-housing-program/
Dedicated Housing: http://www5.milwaukee.k12.wi.us/dept/teacherhousing/

Not to mention that all of these groups all ready get "a substantial incentive in the form of a discount of 50% from the list price of the home" through HUD's Good Neighbor Next Door Sales Program - http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/housing/sfh/reo/goodn/gnndabot - which is a restricted number of homes, but does offer good deals.

by Thad in Breakfast links: Who's ahead on Oct 30, 2014 4:09 pm • linkreport

I sense an opening for some guerilla gardening!

by maktoo in Flowerpots create a safer pedestrian crossing from Gallaudet to Union Market on Oct 30, 2014 4:07 pm • linkreport

wrt Hogan and his position on transit, I was surprised the Gazette newspapers endorsed Hogan, given their support for the Purple Line.

by Richard Layman in In Maryland and Virginia, vote to build transit on Oct 30, 2014 4:05 pm • linkreport

Dizzy -- fwiw, there are legitimate questions about the West End deal and whether or not the citizens got dissed. That's what the lawsuit was about, not development, not mixed use, but did the city get adequately compensated for the transfer of the library, police station, and fire station sites. Arguably, even though the lawsuit didn't go the plaintiffs way, the answer is no. One really big bone is how the condo owners won't have to pay towards the maintenance of the area around the building, that's all tagged on the public library portion of the building.

by Richard Layman in In Maryland and Virginia, vote to build transit on Oct 30, 2014 4:04 pm • linkreport

Voting for just one candidate doesn't just double your vote, it makes it infinitely more. If A is certain to finish first, and B and C are vying for second, then voting for B and C means your vote doesn't count at all, while voting for B or C means your vote could make the difference. It's that simple.

No. Even if A is certain to win, voting for B and C puts a vote in both of their buckets. It does not "make your vote not count." It does not "cancel" out your vote. The only way it makes sense is if you don't want C to win at all, in which case, why are you casting a vote for them?

by MLD in For DC Council: Elissa Silverman and Robert White on Oct 30, 2014 3:40 pm • linkreport

I don't like walking up broken escalators because I don't trust them to stay in one piece. Also the Walker Effect.

by Another Nick in Ask GGW: How much pain will riders face while Metro replaces the Bethesda escalators? on Oct 30, 2014 3:39 pm • linkreport

Having cops and firefighters and teachers live in the community is great.

But if you artificially force that then you are going to limit your pool of applicants considerably.

Starting salary for DC cops is $50,000. Like it or not that doesn't go far in DC anymore.

Much smarter way to do it would be to provide incentives to live in the community.

Like rent /mortgage subsidy instead of flat-out saying anybody unable to afford a decent DC neighborhood can't apply.

Cops and firefighters often have fairly large families. And getting a place in DC just ain't a realistic option for many.

But then you also raise the question of where do you draw the line?

Do teachers really need to live in DC?

And how do you define 'community'? Does it have to be in a certain geographic part of the city?

Plus of course firemen and cops and teachers are often reassigned.

Does that mean they would then have to find new housing in their newly assigned area?

by Spartan in Breakfast links: Who's ahead on Oct 30, 2014 3:39 pm • linkreport

@drumz; actually flea collars for dogs are a bigger contributor these days.

I don't see the obession with where a public employee lives. It is their choice, after all.

by charlie in Breakfast links: Who's ahead on Oct 30, 2014 3:21 pm • linkreport

As much as I don't like the streetcar as-is I think opposition to the aquatics center is a much better barometer of fiscal sanity.

by Fitz in In Maryland and Virginia, vote to build transit on Oct 30, 2014 3:16 pm • linkreport

I'm no impersonator (there are just a lot of Brett's here it seems (-formerly Brett M of 11:10am).
Re: MPD. I'd love to see a FOIA of the residencies of DCPS teachers. That could suggest if it's a question of pay (teachers are paid pretty well in DC, perhaps more than MPD), preference, or shifts (teachers must be at work pretty early, don't have same flexible shifts as DC FEMS).

by Brett3 in Breakfast links: Who's ahead on Oct 30, 2014 3:10 pm • linkreport

@Gray Thanks! No idea how I missed that. Obviously been slacking on my GGW reading as of late.

by Ross in In Maryland and Virginia, vote to build transit on Oct 30, 2014 2:49 pm • linkreport

@Ross: there was a post with DC endorsements yesterday.

by Gray in In Maryland and Virginia, vote to build transit on Oct 30, 2014 2:48 pm • linkreport

Nice to see this, but hoping to also see DC endorsements at some point. I'll be away for election day, so I need to cast an early ballot. I have decisions on mayor and AG, but haven't had much time to dig into the candidates for council and appreciate the research GGW makes into these issues.

by Ross in In Maryland and Virginia, vote to build transit on Oct 30, 2014 2:35 pm • linkreport

@T1: fracking costs too much for the prices to get anywhere near $2/gal

by Mike in Gas is suddenly cheap(er); the reason is bigger than you think on Oct 30, 2014 2:35 pm • linkreport

@jeff

Including the gutter as part of the cycletrack is also a problem on 1st NE. While I would definitely prefer some kind of bike infrastructure over none at all, it is nonetheless a bit aggravating that the cycletracks are not uniform smooth surfaces, but include gutter debris, sewer gratings, manhole covers, etc.

by ndw_dc in First flowerpots, and now, a cycletrack on Oct 30, 2014 2:31 pm • linkreport

Now if only Florida Avenue (west of NY Ave & Dave Thomas Circle) would be narrowed from 6 to 4 lanes with bike lanes. DDOT, Hello.

by Aaron Z in Flowerpots create a safer pedestrian crossing from Gallaudet to Union Market on Oct 30, 2014 2:17 pm • linkreport

Do all the people who subscribe to bullet voting also not vote for President? Because your vote, individually, really doesn't count there.

by 7r3y3r in For DC Council: Elissa Silverman and Robert White on Oct 30, 2014 2:15 pm • linkreport

That's quite the reduction in lane width! What is the width of the cycletrack? The cutaway drawing doesn't show it. One minor quibble - the curbside direction seems to use the gutterpan as part of the width. Debris collects here by design and cuts down on the usable width of the lane. This has been a problem on 15th St. and would like it to not become standard practice.

by jeff in First flowerpots, and now, a cycletrack on Oct 30, 2014 2:13 pm • linkreport

Yeah, I was going to say, much of the reason neighborhoods like U Street or NoMA or the Hill or the R-B corridor are so popular is because they're transit-accessible (obviously that's not the sole factor but it's a huge portion of it).

There's a lot of underutilized space in DC and very close to it that would become even more desirable with transit access, and connecting them to a city would not, as renegade09 suggests, be relegating lower incomes to a periphery.

The more prevalent transit is, the less of a price premium it commands. If transit was no longer a significant distinguishing feature - because virtually everywhere had good transit - it would be a win-win for everyone. (But yes, this has to be coupled with increasing the housing stock - even opening up every unit in DC to good, separated-grade, frequent transit wouldn't be enough to absorb the demand.)

by Low Headways in Breakfast links: Who's ahead on Oct 30, 2014 2:12 pm • linkreport

I have a former police officer in the family that actually refused to live in the city where he worked. He did not want his family to live there ... now what does that say about how he viewed those he was sworn to protect?

Personally, I think that police officers, teachers, firefighters, and similar should live in the communities that they work in (as much as possible) or as close as possible to those communities. I grew up in a small town in NC and I saw my teachers at the grocery store. I saw the local cops, off-duty at church. They were members of the community and when "at work" they still knew us as people.

by Thad in Breakfast links: Who's ahead on Oct 30, 2014 1:55 pm • linkreport

Actual polls conducted on ArlNow always show a strong majority for transit. The Vihstadt supporters are just more vocal in the comments.

@drumz

Yeah, I think a fair way to read the Vihstadt campaign literature is that he's saying "things like the Artisphere and the Aquatics Center, I'll oppose them" referring not just to the Aquatics center (which may be on hold, but isn't dead) but also to potential future projects like them. He groups the streetcar in there.

I do think the Artisphere is a waste of taxpayer money, and the Aquatics center would be if built. I certainly would also oppose something like them in the future. But I think the streetcar is different, in that it is actually worth the cost.

But that's too much nuance to expect in a political campaign.

by Hadur in In Maryland and Virginia, vote to build transit on Oct 30, 2014 1:53 pm • linkreport

If ArlNow is any barometer, Vihstahdt gets lots of support from all the folks unhappy with urbanization, with biking, etc, even though he has not come out against either. He also gets support from both the Green "the streetcar will kill affordable housing for the poor" crowd and the "arlington has too many poor, Arlco should stop encouraging them to stay" crowd.

by CrossingBrooklynFerry in In Maryland and Virginia, vote to build transit on Oct 30, 2014 1:48 pm • linkreport

I feel that a better interview process would start with the same questions and allocation of time for each candidate. It's pretty disconcerting to me that not a single question was asked here about education, which I would think should be the top issue in the election.

by David desJardins in David Catania on Metro, economic development, streetcars, affordable housing, bike lanes, building heights, and more on Oct 30, 2014 1:45 pm • linkreport

Voting for just one candidate doesn't just double your vote, it makes it infinitely more. If A is certain to finish first, and B and C are vying for second, then voting for B and C means your vote doesn't count at all, while voting for B or C means your vote could make the difference. It's that simple.

by David desJardins in For DC Council: Elissa Silverman and Robert White on Oct 30, 2014 1:35 pm • linkreport

@Tom - Rain Gardens.

@Greg, etc. - OK I see your point. Maybe space the words out farther apart? But the "stop for peds within crosswalk" sign that was already there does the same thing, anyway. And if you're obeying the law, drivers, bicyclists, etc. all have to yield to crosswalk users anyway. So no signs or lettering are really needed.

by Dave G in First flowerpots, and now, a cycletrack on Oct 30, 2014 1:33 pm • linkreport

@Brett Young: it's really hard to find 1000 people with landlines

by Mike in Breakfast links: Who's ahead on Oct 30, 2014 1:32 pm • linkreport

The difference in this Howze-Vihstadt matchup and the previous one is the tailwind given to Howze due to the concurrent congressional race (though which is not as strong as one given to the Democrat on the party line in a Presidential election). Increased turnout is going to make Vihstadt lose his seat. However, he's going to be in good shape for *next* year's county board race when there are no federal candidates scheduled to be up for election.

by Kolohe in In Maryland and Virginia, vote to build transit on Oct 30, 2014 1:30 pm • linkreport

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