The Washington, DC region is great >> and it can be greater.

Posts by Nick Casey

Nick Casey is a Project Manager at the Center for American Progress. He and his wife live in Takoma DC. Nick is originally from the west side of Cleveland and attended Denison University. His posts do not necessarily reflect the views of his employer.  


Breakfast links: Longtime residents

Photo by pablo.raw on Flickr.
Bonds wants tax break for elderly: Councilmember Anita Bonds wants to eliminate property taxes or subsidize rent older residents who have lived in DC for 25 years, be at least 80 years old, and earn less than $150,000. (Examiner)

Sued for blocking development: Some Southwest condo residents filed a landmark application to try to block development in their complex, but a developer threatened a lawsuit, since the condo owners agreed to allow development there when they bought their units. Another group also applied for landmark status. (City Paper)

Evans opposes disclosures: Councilmember Jack Evans (ward 2) wants to delete new rules that force members to file monthly disclosures. Few are in "full compliance" now; David Grosso suggests training could help. (Examiner)

Food truck regs not tasty enough: DC councilmembers don't seem inclined to approve food truck regulations. DCRA will allocate 180 spots for trucks downtown, but truck operators want more concentration in the popular areas. (City Paper)

Arlington may relax rules: Arlington might let food trucks park for more than 2 hours and later at night, but as in DC restaurant owners say trucks' lower costs and no state taxes make competition unfair. (WAMU)

Bike lanes for Hyattsville: Hyattsville will be getting new bike lanes to connect the West Hyattsville Metro to the Arts District and retail on Queens Chapel Road. (Gazette)

And...: The Museum of Natural American History's transportation exhibit is 10 years old and still popular. (Post) ... DC doesn't have many pre-fab homes but one is coming to H Street NE. (PoPville) ... The National Aquarium will close. (DCist)

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Breakfast links: Welcome

Photo by flickr-rickr on Flickr.
More tourists for DC: DC tourism increased 3% in 2012, setting a record high. The big draws were museums and memorials. DC fared better in the recession than elsewhere. (Examiner)

Robberies up on Metro: Crime has declined overall on Metro due to safer parking lots. But robberies, mostly people stealing phones, has increased. Transfer stations like L'Enfant Plaza and Gallery Place are the biggest targets. (Post)

DC ready for armed march: A radio host proposed marching with loaded rifles from Arlington Cemetery to DC. Police Chief Cathy Lanier plans to enforce DC gun laws. (Wash. Times) ... Side note: Both ends of the Memorial Bridge are actually in DC.

Raid affordable housing for summer school: The DC Council approved $4 million to keep summer school open to more kids. But the funds came out of the $51 million Mayor Gray pledged to increase the amount of affordable housing. (Post)

Route 1 urban or suburban?: A Costco with a huge parking lot and a dense mixed-use development are both coming to Route 1. Does Fairfax want it to be a walkable urban corridor or strip malls? (WAMU)

Transit union opposes Circulator: The WMATA workers' union isn't pleased about the Circulator expanding. They say it would cost jobs, but Mary Cheh says it means better service for the same number of jobs. (Circulator workers are also union.) (WJLA)

"Roll models" help women bike: WABA's program to help more women bicycle is starting to get results. They've picked 10 women "roll models" who can help friends and acquaintances overcome obstacles, like what gear they need. (Post)

Seriously, chill, NYC: Sommer Mathis, who covered CaBi's rollout extensively, patiently explains to New Yorkers that all of the complaints about Citibike stations are nothing new. Here, at least, they mostly vanished once the program opened. (Atlantic Cities)

And...: Arlington and Alexandria are increasing property taxes; Alexandria's will allow the city to fund Capital Bikeshare and libraries. (WAMU) ... David Catania's truancy bill received preliminary approval, without the part about imprisoning parents. (WAMU) ... Retail at Dulles and National airports could get a lot better soon. (WBJ)

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Breakfast links: The campaigns heat up

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Bowser running on development: Muriel Bowser is making development in Ward 4 a central part of her campaign for mayor. But Mary Cheh says the mayor has much more power over development than a ward councilmember. (Examiner)

New Virginia poll: Governor Bob McDonnell now enjoys 64% approval, including 52% among Democrats, likely thanks to his transportation bill. Ken Cuccinelli leads Terry McAuliffe by 5-10 points in the governor's race with 6 months to go. (Post)

Bikeshare is "awesome": Capital Bikeshare is so great, it even impressed a New Yorker who's not otherwise a huge DC fan. The app is "f***ing great," though the writer encountered empty docks and full stations around the Mall.

Orange Line to Wiehle?: Should Metro have made the Silver Line a branch of the Orange Line? London, New York, and others unify lines that share a route through the core. Metro asked about this on a survey, but riders didn't go for it. (Atlantic Cities)

On the Maryland rails: Senator Barbara Mikulski enthusiastically endorsed Charles County's push for light rail from Branch Avenue to Waldorf, but said the Red Line and Purple Line must come first. (SoMDNews, Ben Ross) ... The Red Baltimore Red Line's planner answers the line's critics. (Baltimore Brew, Fern Shen)

Offices getting denser: With rising rents, new technology, teleworking and more, many companies in downtown DC are packing more workers in less space. (Post)

Credit cards coming to taxis: The head of the DC Taxicab Commission says that credit card machines will be in all cabs by September of this year. (WAMU)

Woman falls onto tracks: A 73 year old woman fell onto the tracks at the Dupont Circle Metro. Fortunately, no trains were nearby, and other riders helped her up. (Examiner)

Virginia private tolls unconstitutional?: A judge has thrown out the public-private partnership for a tunnel road in Portsmouth, VA. The ruling, if upheld, could also block other such private toll road deals around the state (Virginian-Pilot)

And...: 37% more people bought VRE "step-up" tickets to ride Amtrak in March. (Examiner) ... VW donates $10 million to the National Mall. (ABC) ... A 4-year-old darted out into the street in Alexandria and was killed. (Post)

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Breakfast links: Where the headquarters go

Photo by Elvert Barnes on Flickr.
Police HQ swap for DCU stadium?: A potential DC United stadium deal could have DC give Akridge its aging police HQ on Indiana Avenue, in exchange for Akridge's Buzzard Point land and Akridge building a new police HQ on city land. (WBJ)

Post wants "cheap" HQ, handouts: Washington Post publisher Katharine Weymouth wants to find a "cheap" place for their new headquarters, near the Capitol and courthouses. It could be DC or Virginia, and she hopes governments woo the paper with money. (City Paper)

The housing action is in cities: Single-family house prices will not rise much over 10 years, predicts housing index cofounder Robert Shiller. Most growth is in multifamily housing, since more people want to rent and live in walkable places. (Yahoo)

Single unemployed people don't buy homes: Other possible reasons fewer people are buying houses: young Americans are getting married later and are more likely to be unemployed. (UrbanTurf)

McAuliffe backs ethics panel: Virginia Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe, has called for an independent state ethics panel. The FBI is looking at gifts given to Governor Bob McDonnell. Ken Cuccinelli, the Republican nominee, received gifts from the same donor and opposes an ethics panel or a gift ban. (Post)

Metro morsels: The Verizon Center will pay to keep Metro open late for the NHL playoffs. (Post) ... Please don't open Metro emergency doors; one rider did and it stretched a short delay into a very long one. (WAMU) ... The Red Line was severely delayed this morning due to a cracked rail near Rhode Island Ave. (Post)

Bike bits: The long-awaited M Street NW cycle tracks are coming this August. (WTOP) ... CaBi is coming to Montgomery County by late summer. (Post) ... Watch DC install a CaBi station at Wisconsin and O in Georgetown. (Patch)

Development dollops: 9 developers submitted proposals for Walter Reed, and DC narrowed the list to 5, while Hill East received only 1 proposal. (City Paper) ... The Wonder Bread factory in Shaw is almost done with renovations. (Elevation DC)

Forethought for Foxx: Former transportation secretaries give Anthony Foxx some advice, like listening to good people in the bureaucracy. ... Is there any way President Obama can make a difference on transportation? (Streetsblog)

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Breakfast links: Strong Bonds

Photo by EMSL on Flickr.
Bonds wins: Anita Bonds won Tuesday's special election with 32% of the vote. Elissa Silverman was second with 28%, Patrick Mara 23%, and Matt Frumin 11%. (Post)

Budget referendum passes easily: DC voters overwhelmingly supported the budget autonomy referendum Tuesday. Will DC's congressional overlords be upset by citizens asserting their rights? (DCist)

Regional transit system emerging in Maryland: Officials in Howard and Anne Arundel County are pushing for a truly regional bus system under a unified name and fare structure. (Baltimore Sun)

Fewer offices, more Silver Spring housing: A proposed office building switched to residential and is adding almost 300 apartments to downtown Silver Spring. The county planning office says this is part of a trend. (Gazette)

Bag fee for fewer stores?: 4 Montgomery councilmembers want to narrow the year-old bag fee to only affect stores that sell food (like DC's law). Council staff and the Department of Environmental Protection want the law to stay. (Examiner)

Tesla blocked from Virginia: Tesla wanted to open a showroom in Tysons, but Virginia law wouldn't allow it because they weren't going through a dealership. The Virginia Automobile Dealers Association lobbied for the decision. (WTOP)

Every stadium deal has a subsidy: Matt Yglesias is skeptical that a DC United stadium deal would be good for DC. The team may pay for the stadium but the land and infrastructure would be free. All that for 17 games per year. (Slate)

And...: The recently-announced Silver Line bids are just the first of many contracts for Phase 2. (Post) ... Pennsylvania Avenue finally reopens to pedestrians and cyclists. (NBC) ... A Beverly Hills driver mowed down a cyclist and was caught on camera. (Fox LA)

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Shocking rhetoric from John Townsend and AAA

This week's Washington City Paper cover story quoted AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesman John Townsend calling Greater Greater Washington editor David Alpert "retarded" and a "ninny," and comparing Greater Greater Washington to the Ku Klux Klan.

Many other reporters, people on Twitter, and residents generally have clearly stated in response what should of course go without saying, that such personal attacks are beyond the pale.

Some may get the sense that there is personal animosity between Townsend and the team here at Greater Greater Washington. At least on our end, nothing could be further from the truth. We simply disagree with many of his policy positions and his incendiary rhetoric.

Spirited argument is important in public policy, but it should not cross into insults. When it does, that has a chilling effect on open discourse. Fostering an inclusive conversation about the shape of our region is the purpose of this site, but discourse must be civil to be truly open. That's why our comment policy here on Greater Greater Washington prohibits invective like this. In our articles, we try hard to avoid crossing this line, and are disappointed when we or others do, intentionally or inadvertently.

The "war on cars" frame unnecessarily pits drivers against cyclists and pedestrians instead of working together for positive solutions. The City Paper article, by Aaron Wiener, does a good job of debunking that, and is worth reading for much more than the insults it quotes.

When pressed, Townsend told Wiener he wants to back away from the "war on cars."

"I regret the rhetoric sometimes," he says. "Because I think that when you use that type of language, it shuts down communication with people who disagree."
We hope Townsend, his colleagues, and their superiors also regret the things he said about David and Greater Greater Washington. We look forward to the day when AAA ceases using antagonistic language and begins working toward safety, mobility, and harmony among all road users.

In the meantime, residents do have a choice when purchasing towing, insurance, and travel discounts. Better World Club is one company that offers many of the same benefits as AAA, but without the disdain.


Breakfast links: The military and the battle

Photo by Joe in DC on Flickr.
Tanks roll into Ft. Totten: Riders on the Red Line north of Union Station are used to looking at warehouses and graffiti, but on Tuesday morning they passed dozens of Bradley Fighting Vehicles. Destination: classified. (DCist)

Rock Creek bike crossing needed: Richard Layman calls for a cycletrack on Military Road across Rock Creek Park. There are currently no good options for cyclists looking to cross the park in the area and Military Road is designed like an interstate.

Mara leads in cash: While Anita Bonds leads in the polls, Patrick Mara has a the most cash on hand with one week to go to the April 23 election. Elissa Silverman is second, while Matt Frumin has spent the most already. (Examiner)

McAuliffe doubles Cuccinelli: Terry McAuliffe raised $5.1 million to Ken Cuccinelli's $2.4 million in the first quarter. Ethics rules barred Cuccinelli from fundraising while the legislature was in session, but McAuliffe's take is historically huge. (National Journal)

Trains to Virginia getting popular: Amtrak trains in Virginia which used to be delayed half the time are now running 90% on time, and ridership has soared. (Post)

Banning vans as rape prevention?: Vans are a popular public transit option in Rio de Janeiro. When a tourist was raped in one of them, the city banned the vans from the touristy areas. Is that good precedent? (Atlantic Cities)

Wheaton moving too slow: Montgomery County Council President Nancy Navarro, whose district includes Wheaton, says Ike Leggett is moving too slowly on redevelopment projects there. Leggett now doesn't want to move the planning department to what's now a parking lot, as previously planned. (WTOP)

Who has frequent network maps?: Maps highlighting transit routes that come at least every 15 minutes are very useful, but hard to find. BeyondDC is trying to list every city with a frequent map. Know of any that aren't on there yet? (BeyondDC)

And...: Is retail redlining holding back certain neighborhoods? (Atlantic Cities) ... An event tonight discusses how to create vibrant retail east of the river. (REEL) ... Computer problems grounded all American Airlines flights for several hours Tuesday. (CNET)

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Breakfast links: Dig yourself a hole

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DC Water is spending big: DC Water is spending $2.6 billion on tunnels to keep stormwater out of base­ments and the Anacostia River. When completed, the tunnels will be 12.8 miles long. (Post)

Bonds' platform: "I'm black": One of Anita Bonds' primary issues is that she looks like about half of residents and different from the other half. (Post)

Benning is better: DDOT's study of extending the streetcar to Ward 7 concluded that a terminus Benning Road would draw significantly more riders than at Minnesota Avenue. It would also cost more, but likely be worth it. (City Paper)

MPD not releasing marijuana data: MPD's data problems are continuing. The crime map came back online last week after a long hiatus but they can't pull data on 2012 or 2013 marijuana arrests. (DCist)

Landmark Mall redevelopment far off: The owner of the Landmark Mall in Alexandria would like to build a mixed use development, but Sears and Macy's would have to sign off on that and they aren't interested. (Post)

How smart is Street Smart?: The annual "Street Smart" road safety education campaign kicked off yesterday with ads of "tired" faces with tire tracks on them (ha). But would it be more effective to give people information they don't know? (TheWashCycle)

Count traffic for $200: Folks are trying to create a $200 traffic counter that anyone could buy, temporarily place to count cars or bikes, and upload the info to an open database. They're running a Kickstarter to fund the project. (A4B&W)

And..: Head Roc wrote a song about Marion Barry, who liked it so much he tweeted it 12 times. ... Car sharing is becoming more popular nationwide. (NPR) ... Is the 30-year fixed mortgage a bad thing? (Bloomberg)

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Breakfast links: Rage, rage

Photo by ZORIN DENU on Flickr.
Two drivers pull weapons: A Silver Spring woman flashed a knife during a road rage incident on the Anacostia Freeway. A Virginia man then displayed a gun. Both were arrested. (Post)

Driver who hit cyclist takes plea: A driver caught on video intentionally hitting a cyclist and fleeing has accepted a plea deal for community service and anger management classes in exchange for having charges dropped. (WTOP) ... WashCycle asks, "What do you have to do to lose the right to drive in this town?"

Cheh wants safety not money: The New York Times uses DC as the centerpiece of an article on speed cameras nationwide. Mary Cheh says, "I know citizens sometimes don't believe this ... I don't want your money. I want you to stop speeding."

Brown is out: Michael Brown has ended his campaign to return to the DC Council in the April 23 special election. He says he won't endorse any other candidate. (City Paper) ... Greater Greater Washington has endorsed Elissa Silverman.

Only one brain cell open at BOE: The DC elections board will resend a postcard to all voters, at a cost of $30,000, after the initial one potentially misled voters to think there was only one polling place. The board's executive director assumed everyone knows that "vote centers" means "early voting centers" and not "polling places." (Post)

CaBi grows: Capital Bikeshare set new ridership records, plus more from daily members than annual ones. 48 more Capital Bikeshare stations will start being installed this week and 8-10 per week after that. There is funding for 20 more beyond that as well. (Post) ... Update: one went in today at 6th and Indiana.

Fewer new condos: New condo inventory in the region is down 20% since January. Only 1,000 new units are coming this year, most in Northern Virginia. Prices per square foot range from $175 in Loudoun/Prince William to $730 in central DC. (UrbanTurf)

And...: Marion Barry was hospitalized for low blood sugar (he's diabetic). (Post) ... Learn the history of Columbia Heights at a free lecture tonight. (PoP) ... Jack Evans proposes a tax break for jazz club Blues Alley to move. (WBJ)

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