Greater Greater Washington

Posts by Eric Fidler

Eric Fidler has lived in DC and suburban Maryland his entire life. He likes long walks along the Potomac and considers the L'Enfant Plan an elegant work of art. He also blogs at Left for LeDroit, LeDroit Park's (only) blog of record. 

DDOT helps "complete" Florida Avenue

A section of Florida Avenue NW will soon better provide for all its users, including drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians. The street will get wider sidewalks, street trees, and bike lanes after residents and DDOT collaborated to redesign it.


Photo by the author.

This section of Florida Avenue has enjoyed significant population growth over the past decade. New condo towers went up on both sides of the street and more are on the way.

The street's wide, auto-oriented roadway may have been appropriate for the area's previous use a warehouse district. Today, however, most of the industrial uses are gone and old shops and parking lots are turning into mixed-use residential and commercial buildings.

The project area encompasses 9th Street NW from U Street to Florida Avenue, and Florida Avenue NW to just past Sherman Avenue. The project also includes the southern­most block of Sherman Avenue and the northernmost block of Vermont Avenue.


Project area. Click for an interactive map.

More crosswalks and better sidewalks

Increasing the share of trips taken by means other than an automobile is an important goal for the District and especially for the U Street area, which is already at its car-carrying capacity. Making walking safer and more enjoyable is a good way to encourage people to shift from driving to walking for more of their trips.

The agency's designs call for widening the sidewalks and installing a planting strip buffer between the sidewalk and the roadway. Separating pedestrians from high-speed traffic with a row of parked cars or a planting strip improves pedestrian comfort. Few people want to walk within 2 feet of speeding traffic.

Crossing Florida Avenue today is a daunting task. The road's width encourages speeding and provides no median refuge for pedestrians. The new design resolves this problem with a median, a few bulb-outs, a narrowed roadway, striped crosswalks, and a new traffic light.

One of the more notable changes is that DDOT intends to turn the intersection of 9th Street, V Street, and Florida Avenue into a signalized intersection. Regular concertgoers know this intersection as the location of the 9:30 Club. The intersection's current form requires concertgoers to cross a wide section of Florida Avenue while hoping that motorists will stop for them at the crosswalks. The new signal will provide more order to this process.


Intersection of Florida Avenue, V Street, and 9th Street NW.

DDOT plans to reconfigure the intersection of Florida Avenue and Vermont Avenue to slow traffic turning from southbound Florida Avenue to Vermont Avenue. Currently, the intersection is designed like a highway ramp for southbound traffic. The new design will force motorists to make a sharper right turn, which will cause them to slow down. This reduces the chance that a pedestrian will suffer severe injury or death if struck while crossing the street.


Intersection of Florida Avenue and Vermont Avenue NW.

New bike lanes, bike boxes, and sharrows

The new street will receive bike lanes in some stretches and sharrows in others. DDOT will also implement some of its new bike practices here. The agency will place bike boxes on Florida Avenue at Vermont Avenue to aid turning and merging movements. A new southbound bike lane on Vermont Avenue will connect the Florida Avenue bike lanes with the V Street lane, which stretches to the foot of Adams Morgan 10 blocks west.

The District is now starting to paint green bike lanes to help differentiate the lanes from regular street lanes. The agency will apply the same treatment to assist cyclists who wish to continue on Florida Avenue beyond Sherman Avenue.


Intersection of Florida Avenue and Sherman Avenue NW.

More trees, less impervious pavement

The proposal calls for adding 57 street trees, one of the most notable visual and environmental changes. At the first community meeting a year ago, DDOT planner Gabriela Vega noted that her agency was under a mandate to increase the District's tree canopy.

Trees reduce the urban heat island effect, raise property values, and reduce stormwater flow into the sewers. Converting some of the asphalt pavement into grassy planting strips and medians will help the soil absorb rainwater and reduce the pressure on the combined sewer system.

Reducing stormwater volume is especially important in light of recent storms that caused minor flooding in one of the condo buildings on Florida Avenue. This section of Florida Avenue drains to the Northeast Boundary Tunnel, the massive century-old combined sewer that has backed up and caused flooding several times this summer in the LeDroit Park and Bloomingdale neighborhoods.

In their conversations with DDOT, residents suggested adding a median with street trees and planting strips along the curbs. In response, DDOT plans to widen the sidewalks, many of which are too narrow for wheelchairs today, and add planting strips to both sides of the street. A tree-studded median will stretch from Vermont Avenue to W Street.


Proposed median and street trees along Florida Avenue from Vermont Avenue to W Street NW.

Missed opportunities

Though DDOT added nearly all of the ANC's requested improvements, the agency was unable to add two important features. First, the ANC requested striped crosswalks for the intersection of Florida Avenue and W Street to aid people crossing Florida Avenue.

Richard Kenney of DDOT explained that the two lanes of southbound traffic make a crosswalk at W Street difficult. If a motorist in one lane stops for a pedestrian in the crosswalk, it would be too likely for a motorist in the second lane to continue moving.

Though a traffic signal at W Street could bring all traffic to a stop, DDOT's engineers worried that traffic would back up along Florida Avenue and block the intersection at Sherman Avenue.

The ANC also requested the addition of a striped crosswalk across Florida Avenue on the south side of the intersection with Sherman Avenue. The agency rejected this request, fearing that the left-turning traffic volumes from Sherman Avenue would be too high and cause drivers to block the intersection while waiting for pedestrians to cross.

Vega, DDOT's planner, was sympathetic to the ANC's desire to add every pedestrian accommodation possible, but said that the design process is a negotiation to balance numerous interests.

Even without these ANC-suggested changes, the project will widen sidewalks, add street trees, reduce the size of intersection corners, add bike lanes and bike boxes, remove curb cuts, and add a new traffic signal. It will create a street that is vastly better for residents on foot and on bikes.

Policy matters in the creation of complete streets

The ANC was instrumental in adding these complete street elements to the design. I volunteer as chair of the ANC's Transportation Committee and was happy to see residents, including a road engineer, mark up the original designs to add complete street elements I had not even considered.

The elected commissioners passed the list of requests and DDOT incorporated the vast majority of the requests into its design. The ANC did not get everything it wanted, but it got the majority.

Adding street trees and improving the quality of the walking experience are explicit District policy objectives that both Mayors Fenty and Gray have embraced. Though skeptics may dismiss these policy statements as electioneering, these official guidelines are critical in advocating improvements in new public projects. They provide political force for planners and citizens as they advocate for complete streets.

Schools and taverns can coexist

The Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board will grant a license for All Souls, the proposed restaurant to occupy the long-vacant storefront at 725 T Street NW in the Shaw neighborhood. While most liquor license applications face protests over noise and trash, several residents had objected on the grounds that children at the school across the street would be harmed by merely viewing adults consuming alcohol.


The vacant storefront where All Souls will locate. Photo by the author.

The objection seemed like a quaint, Puritanical reaction incongruent with a diverse, secular city. All Souls thus became a lightning rod for unexpected opposition in March, drawing crowds and TV news coverage to its liquor license hearing. Long before the hearing, however, the proprietor agreed to only serve alcohol inside and only serve after 5 pm.

DC law does, however, recognize that alcohol-serving establishments near schools merit at least some level of extra scrutiny. In fact the law prohibits the issuance of liquor licenses:

within 400 feet of a public, private, or parochial primary, elementary, or high school; college or university; or recreation area operated by the District of Columbia Department of Parks and Recreation (DC Code 25-314(b)(1)).
The protestors, legally referred to as "protestants", thought this provision would damn the All Souls application. The same section of the DC Code, however, lists 10 exceptions to the 400-foot rule, including this important one:
The 400-foot restriction shall not apply if there exists within 400 feet a currently-functioning establishment holding a license of the same class at the time that the new application is submitted. (DC Code 25-314(b)(3))
The board found that the Mesobe market on 7th Street NW is indeed already within 400 feet of the school. The distance measurement, the board's ruling stated, "'shall be the shortest distance between the property lines of the places.' 23 DCMR 101.1 (West Supp. 2012)."

The existence of Mesobe within 400 feet of the school provides a precedent that satisfies the exception for All Souls, the board decided in its ruling.

With that argument down, the board addressed the general assertion that it is unsafe for children to view adults consuming alcohol. Here is where the board delivered its most scathing criticism of the objectors:

Finally, we reject the Protestants' unsubstantiated assertion that the mere sight of the Applicant's tavern will be detrimental to the students of Cleveland Elementary School... Indeed, if we accepted the Protestants' argument that the mere sight of adults in a tavern consuming alcohol is harmful to children, the Board would similarly have to ban children from:
  1. entering restaurants that serve alcohol to patrons;
  2. attending sporting events where alcohol may be consumed by adult fans;
  3. eating dinner with their parents if wine is served with the parents' meal;
  4. participating in religious ceremonies where wine is part of the service; and
  5. walking through neighborhoods with large concentrations of liquor-serving establishments during the daytime, such as Adams Morgan and U Street.
The board further described the objection as "unworkable, unreasonable, and not in accordance with current societal practices."

There are a few important lessons from this case. The most important is that District boards don't always cave to the flimsily argued demands of a vocal few. A common complaint, especially among the business community, is that DC's various boards, such as Zoning Commission, the Board of Zoning Adjustment, the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB), the Old Georgetown Board, the ABC Board, etc., exercise their discretion in ways that are too often inconsistent or outright bizarre.

The most frustrating experience with these boards is encountering unsupported opinions. In cases before the HPRB, many opponents argue that a proposed building is "incompatible" with the historic district while they fail to elaborate why it is allegedly incompatible. Georgetown resident Topher Matthews explained this sentiment that I have also encountered when following historic preservation cases:

Time and time again, neighbors use the historic preservation design review process to object to the size of the project rarely out of any genuine concern for the preservation of the neighborhood's historic character but rather because they simply just don't like the project. The basis for the complaints would be no different than if the project were in a brand new development with no historic character: it blocks my view, it's too big, you'll be able to see into my garden, et cetera.
In the All Souls case, the school proximity argument failed to establish harm to students to a degree that would warrant killing off a fledgling local business. It is a non sequitur to many people that children are harmed by catching a glimpse of adults across the street sipping wine at 5 pm. Merely believing that something is true doesn't necessarily make it true. In rejecting this claim, the ABC Board rightly stood firm in the factual evidence presented to it.

The entire licensing process, which was unusually protracted in this case, certainly cost the proprietor of All Souls a hefty sum in legal fees. When the proprietor attended community meetings on his proposed license, he usually had his attorney with him to address the fine legal distinctions, especially as it applied to the somewhat complicated 400-foot rule.

In fact I pitied the man. All he wanted to do was open up his small businesses. His modest license request unleashed the histrionic vitriol of a few strident Furies who spoke as though he were defiling the sanctity of childhood itself!

The board ratified a voluntary agreement between All Souls and three neighbors uninvolved in the school-proximity protest. The text of this side agreement is not currently available, but if it is like most other voluntary agreements, it likely negotiated closing hours and restrictions on indoor music volume, not moral arguments about child psychology and societal vice.

For all the complaints about DC's regulatory bodies, the regulatory system worked rationally in this case. The board ratified the agreement with the neighbors willing to compromise. It rejected outright the protest of people who refused to believe the business should even exist.

The good news is that even the opponents who lost their case actually won. Cleveland Elementary School is a great school and will continue to be a great school long after All Souls has poured its inaugural beer. The conversion of the vacant storefront into an occupied business will deter the loitering and drug-dealing along that block of T Street and will remove a visible physical blight from the neighborhood.

The neighborhood and the school will both be better off once All Souls opens.

Cross-posted at Left for LeDroit.

A moratorium will stifle new restaurants and lower service

There is yet another movement afoot for a liquor license moratorium (and thus a restaurant moratorium) on U Street. This moratorium is a bad idea, and some other residents have created a petition to oppose it.


Photo by Jenn Larsen on Flickr.

A resident on 13th Street is behind the latest push; she proposes the moratorium for all new liquor license applications within a 1,800-foot radius of Ben's Next Door. This was a bad idea 2 years when Jim Graham suggested it, and it's bad now.

Since many restaurants depend on liquor sales, a liquor moratorium will also effectively block restaurants. A moratorium doesn't distinguish the responsible businesses, which improve the neighborhood, from the rowdy ones that cause problems for residents. It's also unfair, arbitrary, hard to administer, and won't solve the ultimate problem.

It makes no distinction between responsible businesses and rowdy businesses.

A moratorium fails to differentiate between businesses that are quiet and cause no trouble for their neighbors, like the Saloon, and those that cause raucous noise late into the night. ANCs and neighbors should protest irresponsible and disruptive businesses, but a moratorium is essentially a permanent, unconditional protest of all proposed restaurants and bars. Many new establishments are started by experienced restaurateurs whose previous businesses exist in harmony with their neighbors.

It's effectively a restaurant moratorium.

Restaurants make their money on alcohol and relatively little on food. This is why Shaw's Tavern, when dry, quickly shuttered. Prohibiting the issuance of new liquor licenses will essentially deny new restaurants the ability to earn enough to pay rent. A liquor license moratorium is a restaurant moratorium.

It will reduce customer service.

A moratorium will limit the supply of restaurants and bars even while demand rises. This means restaurant prices will face upward pressure, seating may become scarcer, and service quality will likely fall. The population of the census tract covering the eastern side of the U Street corridor grew by 86% from 2000 to 2010 and will continue to grow as more residential buildings come online. If you think finding a table is hard now, a moratorium will make it worse.

It unfairly "picks winners."

Placing a legislative cap on new business activity unfairly privileges incumbent businesses. To intervene so severely in the market as to artificially limit consumer choice means that current license holders will enjoy an oligopoly. This increased business, however, will not result from a restaurant's merit, but will result from the fact that consumers will face limited choices. A business owner's "merit" will simply be that he had the good luck open shop just before the regulatory door slammed shut behind him.

It's arbitrary.

There are currently 107 licenses within the proposed moratorium area. There is no definitive proof that the 107 number is too high, too low, or just right. Unfortunately, moratoria disregard nuance and set arbitrary numbers as permanent limits. Furthermore, it's arbitrary to propose that the moratorium be based on a perfect circle, that the circle have a 1,800-foot radius, and that the circle be centered on Ben's Next Door.

It will not resolve the stated problem.

Matters of crime, noise, and trash, which the City Paper reports as the main motivators for the moratorium's proponent, will not be resolved by a moratorium. Restricting the issuance of alcohol licenses will not reduce crime, will not reduce noise, and will not reduce trash. It will, however, result in longer wait times for table, higher prices, and lower service.

It's difficult to administer.

Laws should be simple to understand and administer. The proposed moratorium area is a circle and circles are harder to measure on land. In fact, we discovered this problem recently when measuring the distance between a liquor store and Cleveland Elementary School. Do you measure by the edge of the property line or by the edge or the building?

Certainly we have the technology today to determine this distance, but it takes time and skill to do it accurately. The technical challenge is a hurdle for business owners and citizens alike to understand the impact of the law. A listing of city blocks would be far easier to decipher and would cause less confusion than a circle.

Reject the moratorium.

Instead of swinging a legal sledgehammer to stop all future restaurants, good and bad, we should judge each application on its own merit. Restaurateurs who have proven records of being good neighbors should by all means receive licenses and less reputable restaurateurs should be denied. Please sign the petition and oppose the moratorium.

Experimental real-time transit screens come to Arlington, DC

If you go into the Java Shack coffee shop near Court House in Arlington, or walk past the Red Palace bar on H Street in DC, you will see a new experimental project from the Mobility Lab: Digital screens showing real-time transit arrivals and Capital Bikeshare availability.


Real-time transit screen at Java Shack.

At Java Shack, customers waiting for coffee or sitting at a table can see the next Metrobus, ART, or Orange Line arrivals, and bike availability at the Capital Bikeshare station across the street. The Red Palace screen faces outward onto the sidewalk on H Street, letting passersby see their bus and CaBi options.

Stop by one of these businesses and let us know what you think! This project is still in an early stage, so the screen displays will evolve over time. Moreover, we're hoping to add screens in more businesses soon.

One of the main challenges in convincing people to switch to transit is the unpredictability of bus arrivals. If every stop featured a digital screen displaying the number of minutes until each bus arrived, more people would be willing to take the bus.

Outdoor screens, however, are expensive to install, which is why we created this indoor alternative at a fraction of the cost. For the past few months I have been working with Andy Chosak and David Alpert at the Mobility Lab in Arlington to bring this low-cost alternative to fruition.


Screenshot of the Java Shack screen.


Screenshot of the Red Palace screen.

Every 20 seconds, our web server queries each transit agency for the arrival predictions for the stops near both test sites, then relays the data to the screens. The actual unit inside the shops is just a low-cost, barebones Linux system connected to a standard computer monitor and the business's own Wi-Fi and power. We've configured the box to automatically load up the screen when it starts, so there's no need to log in or launch an app after the unit is plugged in.

We are continuing to build the system so it can be deployed quickly and cheaply throughout the region at participating shops, bars, cafes, and restaurants. Ultimately, a business will be able to sign up, type in their address, and get a screen automatically customized with the nearest bus stops, Metro station, and Capital Bikeshare station. And someone with their own computer connected to a standard computer monitor will be able to set up their own screen for free.

This project is only possible thanks to open data from our transit agencies. We can only pull bus and train predictions as well as the status of each CaBi station because the agencies behind these systems have wisely chosen to provide stop locations, route information, and real-time arrival predictions to outside software developers.

If you run a businesses are interested in finding out more about purchasing one of these screens for your location, let us know at screens@mobilitylab.org.

Breakfast links: Welcome and unwelcome guests


Photo by Garyisajoke on Flickr.
Developer wants bus stop gone: A developer who installed a "mosquito" device at 7th & H in Chinatown recently asked the city to eliminate the adjacent X2 stop "to reduce sidewalk congestion and repeated criminal activity." (City Paper)

Wells wants DC United to stay: Tommy Wells wants city officials to find a way to keep DC United in DC. (Examiner) ... Like Mayor Gray's statement on luring back the Redskins, Wells didn't specify whether DC should commit public money.

What to do with Union Station? Tour buses?: A lot is happening around Union Station, but a plethora of agencies and scarce funding stand in the way of making it truly great. It also kicked out tour buses to accommodate intercity buses, but where will the tour buses park while kids are touring? (City Paper)

DC United not considering Prince George's: County officials are looking into building a lacrosse stadium that could double as a soccer stadium for DC United. DC United, however, says they're only looking for new locations in DC and Baltimore. (Examiner)

Inflation applies to Dulles tolls: To fund the Silver Line, tolls on the Dulles Toll Road, like everything else in the economy, will rise annually for decades hence. (Examiner)

Protest updates: Some Occupiers are staging a hunger strike to protest DC's lack of voting rights and budget autonomy. (HuffPo, Ryan M.) ... Police arrested more than 70 protestors yesterday for blocking traffic on K St. (Post)

Cyclists' Ed. comes to elementary school: WABA gave safety and riding tutorials to Stoddert Elementary students last week. Program is funded through DDOT under the Safe Routes to School Program. (Georgetown Patch)

Test scores and the achieve gap rise: Test scores at DCPS are up, but among the nation's urban school systems, DC suffers the widest achievement gap between white and black students. (Washington Times)

And...: One London entrepreneur has assembled shipping containers to create a pop-up mall. (CNN) ... DC will add 4,000 housing units this year, but is that enough? (Forbes) ... Government officials can avoid FOIA by using their personal email accounts. (City Paper)

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Breakfast links: Sports talk


Photo by dukiekirsten3 on Flickr.
Skins envy explained: Mayor Gray explained his rationale for trying to woo the Redskins back to DC: "I'm telling you, almost everywhere I go, people say, 'Bring them back, bring them back.' And I say, 'Well, we are working on it.'" (Redskins Nation via Post)

DC to get a velodrome: No need to treck to Trexlertown, PA, anymore. A cycling league is looking to build a velodrome near the ballpark in DC. The bicycle race track, which will include seats for 60 spectators, will be funded with private money. (DCist)

Streecar stop stops moving: The streetcar will stop on the H Street bridge at Union Station. Mayor Gray made the call after Capitol Hill residents opposed an possible alternative to stop on the east side of Union Station. (City Paper)

Memorials are stubborn things: Organizers for the memorial to Presidents John and John Quincy Adams have settled on 4 potential sites. They may have to compete, however, with the memorials to fair housing and the Ukrainian genocide. (City Paper)

ICC pays homage to history: Metro revived the historic neighborhood names for Tenleytown, Brookland, and Ballston. Now the just-opened ICC has revived the name for long-forgotten Norwood. (JUTP)

Company helps riders dodge fares : In Stockholm a monthly subway pass costs $115 and a fare evasion fine is $175. However, a non-profit is selling insurance for fare evaders for just $15/month. The organization thinks transit should be free. (Atlantic)

Ethics bill passes: The DC Council passed an ethics bill, even with the support of embattled Harry Thomas, Jr. Most councilmembers say Thomas should take a leave of absence until his federal investigation concludes. (Washington Times)

Housing costs change poverty stats: Now that the Census factors housing costs into the poverty rate, Mississippi's poverty rate is lower than California's and New York's. But shouldn't this new measure also include transportation costs? (MetroTrends)

And...: Fairfax County approved funding for phase 2 of the Silver Line. (Examiner) ... DC building codes don't apply to federal land, which includes the "occupied" parks. (City Paper) ... Cameras don't deter crime in Metro parking lots. (Examiner)

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Breakfast links: Federal raid roundup


Photo by In Shaw on Flickr.
Feds raid councilmember's house: FBI and IRS agents raided the home of Councilmember Harry Thomas and confiscated his SUV and motorcycle. The investigation is related to allegations that Thomas spent $300,000 of public money on himself. (Post)

Structure sparks conflict in McPherson Sq: Park Police arrested 31 Occupiers yesterday. The standoff started shortly after protestors started constructing a "temporary" wooden structure in McPherson Square. (Post, City Paper)

Group questions NPS contracts: An advocacy group for the Mall has asked the Interior Department's IG to investigate the Park Service. The group alleges NPS unlawfully renewed concession contracts for now-defunct Tourmobile. (City Paper)

Antis get their just desserts: A few residents strongly opposed a mixed-use project at the Friendship Heights Metro. Now the developer has sold the site to Pepco and neighbors will get a power substation instead of restaurants and shops. (Examiner)

Johnson sought quid pro quo: A federal court will sentence disgraced former County Executive Jack Johnson on Tuesday. Prosecutors just revealed that Johnson spent much of his last year in office arranging lucrative contracts and sinecures for himself. (Post)

Parking at all costs: One Manhattan condo tower includes parking spots connected to residences 11 stories in the sky. Residents ride a car elevator to access their sky garages, which are estimated to be worth $800,000 each. (NYT)

Public spaces require good design: Walkable neighborhoods can't happen without successful public spaces that encourage a variety of uses. Even shops and kiosks can enliven a place. Just throwing down a plaza with a few benches isn't enough. (NYT)

And...: A Maryland court ruled that WMATA has sovereign immunity. (Examiner) ... Is our transportation network continually underfunded because of bad PR? (Streetsblog) ... Tolls start today on the $2.5-billion ICC. (Examiner)

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Breakfast links: Recent ideas reconsidered


Photo by The Great Photographicon on Flickr.
How will the streetcar connect to Union Station?: DDOT has proposed 3 options to connect the H Street line to Union Station. One option extends the route to the top of the Hopscotch Bridge and 2 options loop down to 2nd & F Streets NE. (City Paper)

WMATA may simplify and raise fares: The agency may hike fares to balance the budget, but may also eliminate the "peak of the peak" fare. WMATA also proposes charging paper farecard users $6 for one-way trips to stations outside of the core. (Examiner)

BRAC traffic study was far off: DoD's IG accused the Army of vastly underestimating the traffic induced by moving thousands of employees to Mark Center. The Army blames Alexandria for approving the zoning change to permit the project. (Examiner)

Few complain about Metro formally: Relatively few Metro riders file formal complaints with the agency. Of those who do, elevators and escalators are the biggest sources of complaints followed by rude staff. The Red Line received the most complaints. (Post)

Montgomery rejects curfew and anti-loitering bills: The county council rejected both bills, the latter of which was considered a compromise. (Examiner)

Cuccinelli runs for governor: Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) announced his run for governor. He'll likely face Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R) in the 2013 primary. (Post)

And...: JetBlue is paying $40 million to fly out of National Airport. (HuffPo) ... The grocery store covenant may not apply to the proposed Skyland Walmart after all. (Post) ... Want to be a docent for the National Mall? (Examiner)

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Breakfast links: Emergency responses


Photo by The Great Photographicon on Flickr.
Major changes for firefighters: In addition to staff cuts, the fire chief wants firefighters to switch from 24-hour shifts to 12-hour shifts. The 40% of firefighters who live more than 30 miles from the city are unhappy with the proposal. (Examiner)

Metro braves the snow: For a few years, WMATA has closed aboveground Metro stations after 8 inches of snowfall. Now the agency will increase that threshold to 10 inches and will keep the Yellow Line bridge open no matter what. (Examiner)

Traffic cameras to find terrorists: Traffic cameras aren't just for red-light runners. DHS has given area police $1 million to install cameras that record the license plates passing along local highways. The surveillance is resulting in one arrest per day. (Examiner)

Is Georgetown really in trouble?: One Georgetown resident and real estate developer thinks Georgetown, despite its high rents, is down and out. Conveniently, he thinks the city should spend $11 million to subsidize development in Georgetown. (City Paper)

Downtown residents face unique problems: Downtown DC's residential population has doubled over the past decade. The increasingly assertive population has pushed back against plans to add glitz to downtown areas such as Chinatown. (City Paper)

Line forms for apartments: Forget Black Friday. Hundreds of people waited in line Monday night for a chance to rent affordable apartments in Columbia Heights. (Post)

Wells of 2 minds on bundling: Councilmember Tommy Wells, who opposes the bundling of campaign contributions, has received a few himself. He's not sure if he'll take them during the next campaign. (City Paper)

Put all the states on your wall: Looking for an interesting DC map for a gift? H Street spider map designer Peter Dunn has created an attractive poster of DC's state-named avenues. (Stonebrown Design) ... Read how these avenues came to be.

And...: More people leave California than move in. (LA Times) ... Pension costs for Montgomery County teachers have jumped sharply. (Examiner) ... The US Attorney for DC won't reveal his budget. (Post)

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Breakfast links: That will cost you more


Photo by Thomas Hawk on Flickr.
Taxi rate increase uncertain: The proposed fare increases for DC cabs faced stiff opposition at a hearing yesterday. Many skeptics oppose fare increases until service quality improves. (DCist)

Is a Metro fare hike on the way?: Metro faces a $124 million budget shortfall next year mostly due to increases in costs. If regional jurisdictions can't pony up the different, the agency may have to hike fares or cut service. (Post)

Child poverty rates climb regionally: Child poverty increased all across the region over the past few years. DC has by far the highest number, with 20,872 (31%) of 5-to-17-year-olds living in poverty. (Examiner)

WMATA tries to lure federal tenants: WMATA may partner with GSA to bring development to 4 metro stations. The agency would lease land to GSA near the Anacostia, Naylor Road, Branch Avenue, and Huntington stations. (Post)

Metro suicides failing lately: Several recent suicide attempts on Metro have failed. Either the trains were far away or stopped quickly enough. In one case, a man jumped from a parking garage and survived. (Examiner)

Thanksgiving enforcement jumps: Over the Thanksgiving weekend, 6 people died on Maryland roadways while 9 died on Virginia's. Police arrested or cited more than 22,000 people in both states over the weekend. (Examiner)

Montgomery challenges ballot question: The county eliminated collective bargaining for police over management decisions. The union wants to take the ban to the ballot, hoping voters will overturn it. The council is suing to stop the measure. (Examiner)

And...: The Post remembers that it's a local paper, not just a national paper. (Post) ... DC upholds sex-segregated dorms at Catholic University. (Washington Times) ... Mt. Vernon Triangle, once a land of parking lots, is finally filling with a critical mass of development. (DCMud)

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