Posts by David Edmondson
|David Edmondson is a transportation and urban affairs enthusiast living in Mount Vernon Square. He blogs about Marin County, California, at The Greater Marin.|
Live in 5? Vote! (McDuffie!): Ward 5 goes to the polls today to choose a replacement for Harry Thomas, Jr. We have endorsed Kenyan McDuffie. Turnout will likely be light, so votes are critical to shape the future of the ward.
Budget boosts housing, delays NoMa park: Kwame Brown's proposed budget changes restore affordable housing funding, taking money from NoMa parks. It also allows later bar and restaurant hours but only around certain holidays, and avoids higher alcohol taxes. (Post, Washington Times)
Taxis get better: The taxi stand at Union Station now has a police officer keeping order, ensuring that the past chaos of involuntary group rides, refusals by drivers to take people to certain destinations, and the like are a thing of the past. (Post)
Bike & Ride opens today: WMATA's first new secure biking facility, called a Bike & Ride, opens today at College Park station. Metro wants to triple its bicycle access by 2020, and Bike & Rides are planned to be a big part of that increase. (TBD)
What to do with Franklin: Franklin Square could transform from a haven for the homeless to a centerpiece of a new living downtown. But it'll take a long time... and what about the homeless? (Harry Jaffe)
Pepco trims trees: Pepco is cutting back trees in Maryland that have caused so much damage to its infrastructure during storms. Residents disagree: is this long overdue, or is it an unnecessary loss of nature? (Post)
Fly to PDX, SJU, AUS, SFO: DOT has awarded 4 new nonstops from DCA to destinations beyond the 1,250 mile perimeter: Portland, San Juan, Austin, and San Francisco. The recent FAA reauthorization created the 4 new exemptions. (The Hill)
Nothing new under the sun: Opposition to the Golden Gate Bridge was just as fierce as opposition to major projects today. The arguments are uncannily familiar: no unbiased numbers, proponents are moving too fast, and more. (SFGate)
Santa Monica fights meter feeding: Santa Monica is installing sensors that will prevent drivers from feeding meters beyond the time limit. But perhaps they would be better served by changing to performance parking? (Huffington Post, Neil)
Los Angeles grows up: Atlantic Boulevard is emblematic of both old car-centric LA and the emerging transit city championed by the local council of governments and Mayor Villaraigosa. New development engages the street next to old strip malls, and highways mix oddly with the new light rail. This city is changing. (LA Times)Have a tip for the links? Submit it here.
Wheaton Costco may not get gas: Marc Elrich wants to prohibit gas stations close to parks and schools. His bill largely targets the Wheaton Costco, where residents say an environmental analysis is overlooks many impacts. (Gazette)
H Street gets gas: H Street residents haven't been able to stop a gas station at 14th and Maryland NE. They say it doesn't fit with the neighborhood's direction and the Public Space Committee rejected plans in the past, but now the station's owners have a design that passes regulatory muster. (City Paper)
Bus grows at rail's expense: With Metrorail becoming less attractive and more expensive, bus ridership seems to be growing. Real-time arrival boards, expected for 2013, would only accelerate the trend. (TBD)
Silver Line not a priority outside NoVa: Only 32% of Virginians believe the Silver Line is important to the state but 67% of Northern Virginians do, according to a survey. Also, most of Virginia does not favor tax hikes for infrastructure. (Post)
CaBi is infrastructure: Mayor Gray vociferously defended Capital Bikeshare in an exchange with a radio producer who thought DC's system should have private sponsorship and consequently higher costs. (TBD)
Bad bike citations are common: WABA reviewed all citations for bicyclists "riding abreast" and found not a single example where the cited cyclists were actually violating the law as written. They conclude officers need more training on bike laws.
Community survey cut: The House of Representatives voted to eliminate the American Community Survey, an important supplement to the census that helps communities across the country understand the needs of their residents. (Huffington Post, Matt T.)
And...: Moving young people to the suburbs isn't a solution to the affordable housing problem. (City Paper) ... The DC region has some mighty burdensome regulations on businesses and small contractors. (Examiner) ... Metro is up $20 million this year thanks to energy savings from manual train driving. (Examiner)Have a tip for the links? Submit it here.
Metro gets doored: The biggest source of Metro delays is problems with train doors. Though mechanical wear-
and- tear thanks to stuck backpacks and caught arms are a problem, problems with internal door circuitry are just as bad. (TBD)
Spurned pot applicants sue: Three rejected applicants to grow medical marijuana in DC have sued, saying their applications were improperly scored and should be reconsidered. (Washington Times)
Memorial to Red Line victims: A memorial to victims of the 2009 Red Line crash is coming. WMATA is soliciting proposals for the memorial's design, which will be built near the site of the crash. (DCist)
Germantown steps a little forward: A new central park for Germantown Town Center has a good internal design, but the surrounding cityscape is so bland that it likely won't live up to its full potential. (BeyondDC)
Renting success: The shift from owning big-ticket items to simply renting them, from apartments to carsharing, opens Americans to the kind of mobility needed to best match skills with jobs. (WSJ)
Downtown needs to perform: Parking demand in downtown DC exceeds supply, meaning spaces are scarce. Performance parking will alleviate the crunch. (TBD)
Economics reaches Gaithersburg: Gaithersburg will probably start charging for parking near its MARC station. It's also considering building a new lot; perhaps they should charge first and then determine how much demand remains. (Gazette)
School gap grows: There is a larger gap than ever between DC's best and worst schools. At top schools, students gain more ground on standardized tests than those at bottom schools. (Examiner)
And...: DCPS will reopen its only planetarium, which has been used as storage for years. (Examiner) ... Legislative scenarios that would lead to budget autonomy do not look good for abortion rights in the District. (Roll Call) ... Please don't nail signs to trees. (District Curmudgeon)Have a tip for the links? Submit it here.
Imhoff/Brizill house burns down: A fire destroyed the 1870 Columbia Heights house of longtime DC activists Gary Imhoff and Dorothy Brizill. DC had taken enforcement action in 2002 and 2007 because the house was in run-down condition, though the fire does not appear related. (Post, DCist, City Paper)
Cabbies behaving badly: Passengers getting late-night cabs at Union Station complain that drivers choose destinations and share passengers despite laws and injunctions against the practice. In response, DC may improve enforcement, eventually. (Post)
Whose gax tax is it?: Gas taxes in Northern Virginia are not going to the jurisdictions they ought because the companies paying the tax don't know where the gas was sold. Governments have until January to find the lost money. (Examiner)
Preserve ze space: Z Burger wants to enclose a portion of Columbia Heights' plaza for seating, and the neighbors don't like it one bit. The plaza, they argue, is public space and should remain open to everyone. (City Paper)
Flip the switch, save a bird: Many office buildings leave their lights on all night. That not only wastes energy, it kills birds. A new campaign is trying to get offices to change their practices. (Huffington Post)
Why biking to school got rare: Far fewer kids bike to school now than they did 30 years ago, thanks to planning that relegates biking to recreation and a legal environment that holds schools accountable if kids get injured traveling to and from school. (NPR)
And...: Many Washingtonians know very little about bicycle laws. (TBD) ... Will $700,000 be enough to attract a restaurant to a Ward 7 shopping center? (City Paper) ... Dallas residents don't want a new freeway through downtown. (Streetsblog)Have a tip for the links? Submit it here.
The trial is over: Harry Thomas, Jr. will serve 38 months in prison for embezzling of government funds and not reporting that as income to the IRS. (DCist)
...but the scandal wears on: There is $230,000 missing from CYITC's drug prevention fund, the same fund Councilmember Thomas used to embezzle, but CYITC can't account for it. (City Paper)
The listless university: UDC struggles with low enrollment, high costs, minimal DC Council support, and a president with a big vision but without the political savvy to win any battles. (City Paper)
Parking may perform: Performance parking throughout all of DC got the nod from a council committee yesterday. DDOT then has to implement it, and its new parking chief seems promisingly smart-growth minded. (Examiner, TBD)
Real-time meter data?: The DC Council transportation budget report asks DDOT to consider releasing real-time meter occupancy data publicly. That could empower a generation of apps and tools to help people understand and find parking. (TBD)
14th goes grit to glam: Development is booming along 14th Street NW. Though it's a sign of the District's strong economy, high rents and land prices means much of the strip's gritty character will disappear in favor of upscale retail. (NYT)
CP CaBi in the wrong places?: College Park and UMD have picked the locations for their 8 Capital Bikeshare stations, but some are very close together and others quite far-flung. Will this system succeed? Is 8 too few? (Patch, Bicycle Bug)
Dangerous to bike in Olney: A driver hit and killed a woman biking near Olney. Another residents says she's afraid to bike in the road and drives her bike to a place to ride. The road design needs to become safer for cyclists. (TheWashCycle)
And...: Two teenagers released pepper spray at L'Enfant Plaza yesterday afternoon. (Examiner) ... Which bus stops would you eliminate? (Examiner) ... While congestion and turmoil rage above ground, Cairo's subway trains keep running every 4 minutes. (NYT)Have a tip for the links? Submit it here.
Ethics just got real: Councilmember Bowser wants to strip Mayor Gray of one of his ethics board appointments and give it to Chairman Brown. Gray hasn't named any appointees to the board seven weeks after the statutory due date. (Examiner)
Silver Line in peril: Continuing deadlock on funding Phase 2 of the Silver Line has put the segment in jeopardy. The state is also considering taking over construction from MWAA. (Post)
Higher prices, not Sundays: Jim Graham suggested of allowing liquor sales on Sundays instead of the late-night bar hours in Mayor Gray's budget. But it wouldn't raise enough money and people objected, so he settled on a 6¢ alcohol surcharge. (Post)
Sidewalk cafes grow in number, not size: Downtown has more small sidewalk cafes than a year ago, and slightly fewer large ones. There are about 450 across the city, just 50 years after they were first allowed. (TBD)
Some parts of Ward 5 vote: Turnout in Ward 5 weighed heavily toward the north part of the ward. If turnout in the May 15 special election follows the same pattern, it could affect the results. (GeoCommons, Mike DeBonis)
MDOT loses head: Effective July 1, Marlyand's Transportation Secretary Beverly Swaim-Staley will step down from her post. In her tenure, Swaim-Staley pushed for higher tolls and gas taxes for the state's transportation system. (Post)
GeekEasy wasn't so easy: Start-up business incubator GeekEasy will move to the MLK Jr. Library after being unable to find enough tenants to break even on its commercial space. The incubator rents space to businesses that can't afford traditional offices. (Post)
Parks from parking lots: Miami-Dade wants a park within "strollable distance" for everyone in the county. To help, they're considering making worn-down strip malls into parks and paying for it with future development on the rest of the site. (MiamiHerald)
The road to ruin: Highway projects seemed to generate economic benefits when first built, but then it comes time to replace them, and there's no added tax revenue from that. This cycle is bankrupting many jurisdictions. (Strong Towns)
And...: Residents of 9-story buildings in Southwest don't like the idea of 11 story buildings. (Examiner) ... A 1-story nail salon on H Street will become a 1-story 7-11. (City Paper) ... Congestion pricing doesn't just limit traffic; it boosts transit substantially. (Streetsblog)Have a tip for the links? Submit it here.
Thomas had help: Harry Thomas Jr. seems to have had help with his money theft scheme from within Children and Youth Investment Trust. His nonprofits received special treatment and lax oversight from the agency, but who was responsible, and why, are a mystery. (Examiner)
... but Graham is on it: To help unravel the mystery of who helped Thomas, Councilmember Graham has been given subpoena power to investigate. The Mayor's office isn't pleased, though, arguing that the council's investigation will interfere with the federal one. (City Paper)
A party as old as tea: Tea Party opposition to planning and development may not be so different from traditional opposition, though the language is sometimes different. To properly address their concerns, one should treat them like anyone else. (Planetizen)
The sordid world of fare jumping: Fare evasion is the most often-cited crime on Metro, but it's likely many more get by, costing the system around $1.8 million per year. Yet fines don't go to WMATA, but to the state where the infraction occurred. (FOX 5)
DC does foliage: DC does a fabulous job planting new street trees but doesn't do nearly enough to protect them. Casey Trees' annual report card said the city needs to do more maintenance if it wants to grow the canopy. (DCist)
The invisible helmet: Rather than go without a bicycle helmet, either to protect your carefully gelled hair or to feel the wind on your balding scalp, perhaps you should invest in an airbag collar that only appears when you're in a crash. (Bloomberg)
And...: The bus operator thought to have viral meningitis didn't have it after all. (Post) ... The new streetcars are due in 545 days, which means mid-October 2013. (TBD) ... Portland's limo companies get in trouble for offering Groupon discounts. (IJ) ... HPRB approves the latest version of the Hine project. (DCmud)Have a tip for the links? Submit it here.
Anacostia fears tsunami: The wake of Lumen8Anacostia and Cherry Blast have left questions and concerns in Anacostian minds. Could the neighborhood control a wave of gentrification if it comes to Anacostia's shore? (City Paper)
DDOT moves, but slowly: DDOT has now placed its order for 2 new streetcars. But councilmembers worry that it's been slow with hiring, streetcar purchases, and more. (WTOP, TBD)
Barry blames press: Asian and Pacific Islander residents criticized Marion Barry for his recent comments; Barry responded by blaming the media for blowing up the issue. He's also reached out to the Phillipine ambassador who called for an apology. (Post)
Back to work: Maryland needs 2 special sessions to for the budget and gambling legislation, though the Senate wants to deal with transportation instead. Perhaps it's time for the state to move to a full-time legislature? (Washington Times, FreeStater)
Costco not winning hearts: Costco tried to convince nearby residents that the large gas station it wants to build behind a new Wheaton store won't harm air quality and the neighborhood. Most were unconvinced, but liked the landscape architecture. (Patch)
Infant mortality improves: DC's infant mortality rate has improved markedly, moving from 23.1 deaths per 1,000 to only 8 deaths per 1,000. Home health visits and better healthcare outreach contributed to the improvement. (Post)
Hope from DC's renaissance: Detroit's current plight is much like DC's in the 1990s: loss of financial control, declining population, and rampant violence. Yet if DC could turn around, Detroit can, too. (MLive)
The snarl reaches Brazil: São Paulo's traffic is obscenely bad, largely from onerous parking minimums that often double the space a developer needs to build. (IBT)
And...: DC's major development projects continue to crawl forward. (WBJ) ... San Jose is plotting a major shift towards sustainable growth and transportation. (Sociecity) ... The Sierra Club endorses candidates for Falls Church City Council. (BlueVirginia)Have a tip for the links? Submit it here.
District of conservation: Calling for 250,000 more residents, 75% of travel done by transit, walking or biking, fishable rivers and more, Mayor Gray's 20-year sustainability plan is nothing if not ambitious. Gray will unveil the full plan later today. (Post)
Slow down in MoCo: Montgomery County will add more traffic cameras on busy roads, partly to avoid drivers slowing for the camera and racing off after they've passed. (Examiner)
Bus driver has meningitis: A bus driver has been diagnosed with viral meningitis, and Metro is taking the bus he drove out of service to be "thoroughly sanitized." The other buses in its barn will also be sanitized. The driver last drove the 52 and 54 last Friday morning. (Post)
Metro defibrillators get an outside look: The Tri-State Oversight Committee will review Metro's defibrillator inspection practices to ensure inspections are occurring properly and no units suffer a dead battery, as occurred last week. (Examiner)
Buy your own communion wine: If DC allowed alcohol to be sold on Sunday, it would bring in $710,000 to the city. Councilmember Graham proposed it as an alternative revenue source in place of keeping bars open until 4am. (Post)
Service eases the parking search: Parking Panda has launched in DC, allowing drivers to search for and reserve registered parking spaces. Though it will start for just some lots, anyone can register their driveway or alley. (Post)
Rollin north: Montgomery County Planning Director Rollin Stanley has been hired by Calgary, Alberta, to head its 800-strong planning department. He ends his tenure at Montgomery County next month. (Patch)
And...: Rosslyn's bikeshare system will double in size this week. (BeyondDC) ... Park Police ticketing cyclists at Hains Point for running stop signs. (TBD) ... Mitt Romney was once a smart-growth governor, but would he be a smart-growth president? (Grist) ... The MBTA will try smartphone ticketing on its commuter rail. (WSJ)Have a tip for the links? Submit it here.
Stretch taller strategically: If Washington is to grow taller, it needs to happen in areas where views are non-essential. This is the advice of a fascinating thesis out of MIT, which also finds that DC has as much floor space as similarly-sized cities. (City Paper)
Or maybe keep it on the DL: Delegate Holmes-Norton isn't quite so keen to change the Height Act, after all, both because she finds value in the current state of affairs and because nobody has lobbied her to change it. (DCist)
Put some places first: To lower rates of crime, obesity, and other ills, Prince George's County will target risky neighborhoods with any extra resources county departments have, from code enforcement to policing. (WAMU)
Biking costs cities less and more: When bicycling displaces driving, it's a win for the city
— except when it comes to gas tax revenue. Infrastructure for bikes is far cheaper than that for cars, but can mean less money in the long-term. (Treehugger, BikePortland)
Vegas markets places, not neighborhoods: Like DC, Las Vegas has trouble bringing tourists out of its most famous district and into the rest of the city. To draw them out, Vegas casually markets restaurants and shops outside the strip alongside more traditional offerings
— a largely successful approach. (Atlantic Cities)
Seattle's food forest: Plans are underway for a food forest in Seattle, with nut and fruit trees alongside herbs and spices all in a park-like setting and free for the taking. It faces challenges, but the city is excited about the possibilities. (Atlantic Cities)
And...: VRE raises fares by 3%. (Post) ... As it turns out, the half-mile circle around transit stations may not be the best measure of accessibility. (Half-Mile Circles) ... Vallejo, CA, will turn to the public for its budget process. (Times-Herald)Have a tip for the links? Submit it here.
- Cyclists are special and do have their own rules
- M Street cycle track keeps improving, draws church anger
- O'Malley announces first projects using new gas tax money
- Can Loudoun grow while protecting its rural areas?
- ICC losing bus service in classic bait and switch
- Silver Spring mall could get massive facelift, new name
- WMATA launches "Short Trip" rail pass on SmarTrip