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

Past Posts


If car commercials were honest, this is what they'd look like

A sporty coupe glides joyfully along a seaside highway, all by itself. It's heaven for the anonymous driver. That's the standard, ridiculous car commercial.

This video shows what car commercials would look like if they were actually honest.

We initially ran this post last year, but we wanted to share it again! It's also cross-posted at BeyondDC.



Come hang out! We're hosting happy hour in Chinatown on Tuesday.

It's time for GGWash's next happy hour! Tomorrow, Tuesday October 25th, join GGWash contributors, readers, and the winners and finalists from the MetroGreater Contest in a conversation about how our region is great, and can be greater!

Our last happy hour, at Fire Works in Arlington. Photo by Jonathan Neeley.

We all know that Metro is facing some very big challenges right now. But people all over the region still ride Metro everyday, and the MetroGreater finalists and winner proposed some great ideas to help make riders' daily Metro commutes a little better. We want to say "thanks."

Join us tomorrow from 6 to 8 pm at RFD, located at 810 7th Street NW. RSVP today!

RFD is one block from the Gallery Place-Chinatown station (Red, Green, and Yellow lines), and a few blocks from Metro Center (Red, Blue, Orange, and Silver lines). If you're coming by bus, Metrobus 70/79 stops on 7th and 9th streets, while the X2/X9 stops on H Street NW. There's also a Capital Bikeshare station at 8th and H streets NW.

On the way, you can take a stroll through the Barnes Dance intersection at 7th and H.

In the past few months, we've been to Arlington, Mount Rainier, 14th Street, Silver Spring, and Edgewood for happy hours. Where would you like us to go next?

If you can't make the happy hour (or even if you can!), check out these other great events in the region, including the Coalition for Smarter Growth's forum on funding for Metro.

Tuesday, October 25, Thursday, October 27, and various dates to come: DC's Comprehensive Plan, the guidebook for where and how to grow, is due for an update. We need your help to make it the best it can be. There are meetings all over the city over the next few weeks, including Tuesday at 6pm at 3950 Chesapeake St NW and Thursday at 6pm at 4058 Minnesota Ave NE. Find the one closest to you, attend a meeting, and weigh in to have a real impact on DC's future. Sign up here to get further updates from GGWash about ways to make a difference on this Comp Plan process.

Wednesday, October 26: Funding is a huge issue for Metro, from recent ideas to cut service to the ongoing question of what role, exactly, the jurisdictions the Metro serves should play in making sure it stays up and running. Dive into the intricacies of Metro funding with Coalition for Smarter Growth and a panel of seven experts, including DC Councilmember Jack Evans and Maryland state delegate Marc Korman, this Wednesday at Georgetown University of Urban and Regional Planning (640 Massachusetts Avenue NW). RSVP now for details.

Thursday, October 27: Curious about how DC's at-large candidates feel about housing? The economy? Get informed for the 2016 local DC election at an at-large candidate forum on Thursday at 6:30 pm at 2235 Shannon Place SE. Confirmed candidates to date are David Grosso, Robert White, Lee Aikin, Carolina Celnik, and John Cheeks.

Saturday, October 29: A tiny area at the east end of U Street and north of Shaw has seen enormous growth. New developments, like the one at the Atlantic Plumbing building, are changing the game with striking modern industrial architecture. Take a look at some of the major changes in housing, retail, and business that are fueling the transformation and get the inside scoop on projects in the pipeline with Coalition for Smarter Growth as they explore the area on their final walking tour this season. The event is this Saturday at 10am. RSVP for details.

Next Monday, October 31: Jonathan Rose, founder of a company that focuses on environmental, social, and economic solutions to urban issues, will speak about his new book, The Well-Tempered City, a "passionate survey of the ongoing evolution of the metropolis," next Monday at Politics and Prose (5015 Connecticut Avenue NW). Seating is first-come-first-served.

Calendar: Beyond what we've highlighted here, there are many other worthwhile events across the region. Check out more great events in our events calendar:

Do you know of an upcoming event that may be interesting, relevant, or important to Greater Greater Washington readers that should go on our events calendar? Send it to us at


We know where most of DC's population lives. Does Metro run through those places?

The maps below show where DC's most densely-populated pockets are, as well as where its Metro stops are. It turns out they aren't always the same places, or in other words, DC isn't building enough around transit.

Highest density census tracts comprising 50% of DC population, with Metrorail overlay. Map by John Ricco, overlay by Peter Dovak.

Back in July, John Ricco created a pair of maps showing that 50% of DC's residents live on 20% of the land, and a quarter of the population lives on just 7% of the land. Peter Dovak, another Greater Greater Washington contributor, did me the favor of overlaying John's maps onto the Metro system.

Looking at the map above, which shows where 50% of the population lives, there are some obvious areas of overlap between density and Metrorail access, including the Green/Yellow corridor through Shaw, Columbia Heights, and Petworth. The southern area of Capitol Hill also has multiple Metro stops and is relatively dense.

But what stands out are the dense places that aren't near Metro. The northern end of Capitol Hill, including the H Street corridor and Carver Langston, as well as the areas to the west around Glover Park, a few tracts to the north near Brightwood, and two larger areas east and west of the Green Line in Ward 8, near Congress Heights and Fort Stanton Park.

All of these places show that DC's growth isn't being concentrated around its transit (its transit isn't being extended to serve dense areas either, but that's harder to do).

Of course, Metro is far from the only way to get around. Residents of high density, Metro-inaccessible neighborhoods rely on buses and other modes to get where they need to go; specific to northern Capitol Hill, for example, there's also the DC Streetcar). Also, some areas next to Metro stops are low density due to zoning that restricts density or land nobody can build on, like federal land, rivers, and parks.

Still, it's useful to look at where DC's high-density neighborhoods and its high-density transit modes don't overlap, and to understand why.

25% of DC's population lives close to metro... mostly

Really, the S-shaped routing of the Green Line is the only part of Metro in DC that runs through a super dense area for multiple stops.

Looking at the map that shows 25% of the District's population, the Green/Yellow corridor helps make up the 7% of land where people live. But so does Glover Park, Carver Langston, and a tract in Anacostia Washington Highlands near the Maryland border—and these places are a long way from a Metro stop.

Highest density census tracts comprising 25% of DC population, with Metrorail overlay.

There are historical reasons for why things are this way

According to Zachary Schrag in The Great Society Subway: A History of the Washington Metro, Metro wasn't meant to be an urban subway; it was always meant to be a regional rail system. It explicitly bypassed the relatively few people in DC's high-density areas, in favor of speeding up rides for the greater number of through-commuters. Apparently, DC had little say in that decision, which is evident in the map.

On the other hand, the citywide streetcar plan was meant to bring rail access to many more DC residents—partly because, well, it was to be built by DC's government, for DC's residents, which Metro was not.

The first version of this post said that a tract was in Anacostia, but it's actually in Washington Highlands.


Our endorsements for ANC in Ward 2

When tourists visit DC, they spend most of their time in Ward 2. After all, it's home to Georgetown, Dupont and Logan Circle, downtown, and the Mall. But for the people who call these places home, there are decisions to make in your local elections this November. Below, we've written about six candidates we advise voting for in competitive Advisory Neighborhood Commission races.

Map created with Mapbox, data from OpenStreetMap.


What are ANCs, and why should I care?

Advisory Neighborhood Commissions, or ANCs, are neighborhood councils of unpaid, elected representatives who meet monthly and weigh in with the government about important issues to the community. ANCs are very important on housing and transportation. An ANC's opposition to new housing, retail, a bike lane, bus improvements, etc. can stymie or significantly delay valuable projects. On the other hand, proactive and positive-thinking ANCs give the government suggestions for ways to improve the neighborhood and rally resident support.

Each ANC is divided into a number of Single Member Districts (SMDs), averaging about 2,000 voters. Races often hinge on a small handful of votes; Your vote—every vote—really counts.

Not sure which SMD you live in? Find out here.

Here are our endorsements

After reviewing the candidate responses from each competitive race in Ward 2, we chose six candidates to endorse. Here, you can read their positions, along with responses from many unopposed candidates.

Foggy Bottom. Photo by ep_jhu on Flickr.

In ANC 2A, we endorse Marco Guzman

As with a few of the districts in Ward 2, ANC 2A covers an area that is full of buildings but not necessarily full of voting residents. George Washington University in this ANC, and the school creates an interesting dynamic (which you also see around other universities in DC). Commissioners here must balance the needs of students and residents, even if many students are not DC voters. Another interesting piece of the puzzle is that sometimes, ambitious students run for ANC seats to get their political feet wet.

Aside from influencing voters and candidates, George Washington is an issue in and of itself for ANC 2A thanks to thinks like the school's campus plan. Another topic facing 2A is homelessness in the area, an issue highlighted especially last year when the encampments near the Watergate Hotel were cleared multiple times by city officials.

There is only one competitive race in this ANC: 2A03, a small district sandwiched between Pennsylvania Avenue and I Street. And here, we like one of those aspiring GW students: Marco Guzman.

In terms of Guzman's stance on the university's campus plan, he hopes the school continues to "stay true to their 'grow up, not out' growth plan," and is happy with the university's progress in building more student housing and discouraging student parking in the area. As far as homelessness goes, Guzman says he will rely on what he learned while working on the issue with the DC Fiscal Policy Institute, and will make sure "homeless individuals have access to and knowledge of the resources available to them."

We liked what Guzman had to say on other issues as well. He is clear that he wants to preserve parts of historic Foggy Bottom, but also is not afraid "to see taller buildings to help accommodate increased density." While he did skip some transportation questions on our survey, he was supportive of bike lanes along Pennsylvania Avenue.

Marco's opponent, Matthew Chwastek, seemed reasonable but opposed to many changes to his neighborhood. When asked what he would like the area look like in 20 years, his reply was short and simple: "I would like to maintain the current look and feel of the neighborhood." He also prioritized street parking over better bus service. We think Guzman should get a chance to sit as commissioner.

Dupont Circle. Photo by NCinDC on Flickr.

In ANC 2B, we endorse Teal Baker and Scott Davies

The neighborhoods directly surrounding Dupont Circle make up ANC 2B. Specifically, the boundaries stretch down from Florida Avenue to Pennsylvania Avenue, and west from 15th and 16th Streets towards Rock Creek Parkway.

Neighbors here battle with some of the same questions DC residents are facing across the city: How do we keep this neighborhood affordable? How do we decrease our dependence on parking? How can we accommodate housing for new residents?

Teal Baker, candidate for ANC 2B05, had particularly good answers to many of these questions, and we're endorsing her. Baker's district, a relatively long one that makes up the southeastern corner of the ANC, runs north from the White House to Q Street.

For Baker, the answers to the above questions are often related, especially density and affordability: "I favor increased housing density to allow for the creation of more affordable rental units. It is vital that our Commissioners bargain hard with developers to include ample affordable housing units in each new development project." In particular, she is in favor of adding more housing along the 16th Street corridor.

Baker is hesitant to remove parking or advocate for less of it even for better bus service, but is "really proud of the protected bike lanes on 15th Street" and believes "we need more options" like those to help non-motorized commuters in the neighborhood.

We also liked some of what Randy Downs, Baker's competitor, had to say. In general his answers were less specific, but he seemed supportive of creating more affordable housing and improving bike and public transit. In the end, we thought Teal's experience and clearer vision for the neighborhood came through in her responses, and it was enough to win our endorsement.

In the northwest corner of the ANC, the small 2B09 is also contested this year. In this race, we think Scott Davies is the obvious choice.

In many places, Davies was cautious in his responses to our questionnaire. He was clearly hesitant when asked if he would support density and more housing in the area, but said he believed there should always be "room for discussion so our automatic response isn't just 'no'." Similarly, he did not take a strong stance on reducing parking, but did say "there is room to support the new zoning regulations that recognize we live in an area with great public transit."

We definitely prefer Davies over his opponent, Ed Hanlon. Hanlon was very protective of parking in his SMD, and was generally suspicious of new housing in his area. When asked about improving or adding bike lanes, Hanlon mostly discussed the problem of bicyclists riding "far too fast on the sidewalks" and advocated for extending the downtown ban on sidewalk-riding.

What is more, readers wrote in that Hanlon has had a history of drama in the neighborhood, once getting a protective order filed against him during an ongoing argument with a neighbor over an outdoor deck. We believe Davies would be a good addition to the ANC this year.

Georgetown. Photo by Bob M ~ on Flickr.

In ANC 2E, we endorse Greg Miller

ANC 2E is Georgetown, home to Georgetown University and some very delicious cupcakes. How to accommodate a growing DC in Georgetown is a particularly prevalent issue, as neighbors traditionally fight to maintain the "village" look and feel over any attempt to add more housing. Parking is another constant source of debate, as the neighborhood receives daily influxes of visitors and has no Metro stop to provide an alternative to driving.

There are two contested ANC races in this area. The first is ANC 2E03, the area directly surrounding the main entrance to Georgetown University. Looking at the two candidates running here, we think you should support Greg Miller.

Miller noted that Georgetown's federal historic status leaves few chances for adding housing, but seemed supportive of doing so in select cases when possible. He is strongly in favor of "wider sidewalks and bike lanes along M Street," and as a non-car owner, he relies "on transit, walking, and biking to get around the city so [is] generally supportive of improving our transit options." Additionally, Miller included a number of specific proposals in his responses to improve bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.

Rick Murphy, Miller's opponent, had reasonable answers to our questionnaire as well. In the end, we decided to support Miller as he seemed to be more open to many of the changes we typically advocate for here at Greater Greater Washington.

The other contested race in Georgetown is 2E05, which makes up the entire southern border of the ANC, running south from Prospect and M Streets to the Potomac River. We could not identify a candidate to endorse in this race.

Incumbent Bill Starrels gave short and generally unhelpful answers to our questionnaire, but does write to say that "[t]he historic integrity of Georgetown is paramount" to development decisions. Challenger Lisa Palmer took more care with her answers and we liked some of the things she had say, in particular her ideas for bike lane improvements.

But in the end, we weren't convinced of some of her stances, as she spent more time explaining situations and promising to work closely with agencies and neighbors than making plain her views with clearer recommendations and opinions.

If you are a resident in this area, make sure to read both candidate responses here and make your own decision.

Logan Circle. Photo by NCinDC on Flickr.

In ANC 2F, we endorse Jason Forman and Alex Graham

The final ANC in Ward 2 with contested races is 2F, which is basically the Logan Circle neighborhood, traveling south down 14th Street into downtown. One prominent site in this area, Franklin Square Park and the adjacent Franklin School, will eventually be redeveloped and is a place where ANC commissioners will exert some influence in coming years. Also of importance in this ANC are proposals to improve bus service, including talk of potential express bus service down 14th Street.

Above the actual Logan Circle lies 2F's northernmost district, 2F01, where we're endorsing Jason Forman. Forman had good answers on bicycle and pedestrian issues, but was less solid elsewhere. He recognizes that "adding dedicated bus line for 14th Street is needed for residents," but demands that this be done with no "net loss of residential parking spaces." He is open to more development in the neighborhood, but says that the area is "already hyper dense."

Above all else, we support Jason over his opponent Casey Root. Root is clear on buses: "I am against bus lanes." He is similarly clear on bike lanes: "I do not support additional bike lanes as they are abused as they currently stand." He is definitely for parking: "I would vote against limiting and or removing any street parking."

We hope Jason wins a term as commissioner here.

Farther south, the small triangle made by Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Vermont Avenues is ANC 2F03. This is a very close race, and we liked both candidates here a lot. Ultimately, we sided with challenger Alex Graham over sitting commissioner Pepin Tuma.

There is a lot to like in Graham's responses. He has grand visions for the future of Franklin Square Park, and "fully support[s] dedicated bus lanes on major thoroughfares including 16th and 14th Streets," despite some concerns from a few neighbors. He has smart recommendations for where to incorporate more housing into an already dense neighborhood, and wants to "make sure that our bike highways are effectively connected to each other."

Here was one reason Graham thinks he deserves your vote: "I have a knack at accomplishing things in an extremely bureaucratic environment." ANCs are the right place for you, sir.

Incumbent Pepin Tuma also seems great. He agrees that "[e]xpress service makes a lot of sense" on 14th Street, and points out that during his term he has worked to improve bus service in the corridor already. Likewise, he supports improvements to bike and pedestrian infrastructure, and wants to make sure current residents have opportunities to stay in their neighborhoods even as development continues.

Like we said, this is a tough call, but Graham just edges his opponent out to win our endorsement.

Just south of 2F03 is 2F05. This district includes Thomas Circle, the surrounding neighborhood and parts of downtown. This is another place where we didn't land on a clear winner for our endorsement.

One candidate, Ron Rubin, was hesitant to throw his support behind adjustments to bus infrastructure on 14th Street. He is supportive of bike lanes and has specific recommendations for places to add more housing, but also focused a lot on process in his answers. Omeed Alerasool was similarly defensive of parking over bus improvements, though he was more clearly in favor of an express bus on 14th Street.

While not perfect, both of these candidates seem generally good and we just couldn't find reason to endorse one over the other. Residents, here are their answers in full. Vote for who you think is best.

Want to read the responses of all of the Ward 2 ANC candidates who responded to our questionnaire and judge for yourself? Check out the full PDF for Ward 2. You can also see responses and our endorsements for all 8 wards on our 2016 ANC Endorsements Page, and we'll publish our rationale for those in upcoming posts.

These are official endorsements of Greater Greater Washington. To determine this year's endorsements, we sent a reader-generated candidate questionnaire to all ANC candidates. We then published candidate responses and collected feedback. Staff evaluated all candidate responses and feedback for contested races and presented endorsements to our volunteer editorial board, which then made the final decision.

Correction: In the original version of this post, we wrote that Marco Guzman was a George Washington student. That's not the case; Marco received a BS from Arizona State and a masters degree in public policy from George Mason.


Breakfast links: Close call

Photo by Siowleng Long on Flickr.
Bad day for inspectors: Metro suspended two train operators after they failed to slow down and nearly hit two track inspectors near National Airport. (WTOP)

Hogan changes tune on Metro funding: When Governor Hogan heard about the idea for a one-cent regional sales tax that would provide Metro with dedicated funding, he shot it down. Now he says he's willing to "keep an open mind" on the idea. (Post)

HPO approves SunTrust: DC's Historic Preservation Office recommended approval of the controversial redevelopment plans for the SunTrust Plaza. It's a good indication that the Historic Preservation Review Board will do the same. (UrbanTurf)

A dozen strange Metro delays: Everyone knows that track problems and disabled railcars are frequent culprits for Metro delays. But other, weirder things can happen too, like trains striking deer or birds in the operator cab. (Washingtonian)

Express bus for 14th?: Residents along 14th St NW are fed up with sub-par bus service along the busy corridor, so they've formed a riders alliance to push DDOT to introduce express service. (Petworth News)

Judging Maryland's Marriott deal: Multi-million dollar deals like the one Maryland recently made with Marriott to keep the hotel chain from relocating to another state might not be the best way to drive economic growth. Studies show improvements to quality of life, transportation, and work force training yield better results. (Post)

Airbnb hearts inauguration: Even before a new president is elected, DC residents are listing their homes for rent for inauguration for exorbitant prices, with the average listing for two guests rising from $162 per night to $488. (UrbanTurf)

Behind Glover Park's name: The namesake of DC's Glover Park neighborhood is Charles Glover, who began his career in banking and is responsible for beautification projects like the National Arboretum and Rock Creek Park. (Architect of the Capitol)

Have a tip for the links? Submit it here.


Term limits are a terrible idea for Montgomery County

Here's a plan that is sure to improve the quality of your local hospital: Fire all the doctors and nurses with nine to 12 years of experience. Just kick them all out. Or why don't we fire every Apple software engineer who has been at the company that long? That'll surely yield better iPhones. Or fire every Post reporter with a decade under his or her belt.

No? Sound crazy? I agree. Those are terrible ideas.

For some reason, though, a lot of folks who would never suggest this do seriously entertain term limits for legislators, which Montgomery County will vote on this November as Question B. It's a bad idea, and voters should say no.

Continue reading my latest column in the Washington Post.



Worldwide links: Does Seattle want more transit?

Seattle is about to vote on whether to expand its light rail, stirring up memories of votes to reject a subway line in the late 60s. In San Francisco, people would love to see subway lines in place of some current bus routes, and in France, a rising political start is big on the power of cities. Check out what's happening around the world in transportation, land use, and other related areas!

Photo by VeloBusDriver on Flickr.

Subway in Seattle?: Seattle is gearing up for a massive vote on whether to approve a new light rail line, and a Seattle Times reporter says the paper is, on the whole, anti-transit. Meanwhile, lots of residents haven't forgotten that in 1968 and 1970, voters rejected the chance to build a subway line in favor of a new stadium and highways. (Streetsblog, Seattle Met, Crosscut)

Fantasy maps, or reality?: Transit planners in San Francisco asked residents to draw subway fantasy maps to see where the most popular routes would be located. They got what they asked for, with over 2,600 maps submitted. The findings were also not surprising, as major bus routes were the most popular choices for a subway. (Curbed SF)

Paris mayor --> French president?: Sometimes labeled as the socialist "Queen of the Bohemians", Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has quietly moved up the political ladder, and she's now a serious candidate to be France's future head of state. Hidalgo did the unthinkable by banning cars from the banks of the Seine, and her ability to make change at the local level makes her believe cities are, in many respects, more important than the countries they inhabit. (New York Times)

How romantic is the self-driving car?: In the US, driving at age 16 was a 20th century right of passage. But what happens when we take the keys away? What happens to people's love affairs with cars if cars drive themselves? Does turning 16 mean anything in terms of passage into adulthood? In this long read, Robert Moor wonders how the self-driving car will affect the American psyche, and especially whether older drivers will ever recover. (New York Magazine)

Pushing back on art in LA: Local activists in Boyle Heights, a neighborhood east of downtown Los Angeles, are pushing back against artist spaces they feel are gentrifying the neighborhood. Research shows that the arts aren't necessarily a direct gentrifying agent, but planners do watch art spaces to analyze neighborhood change. (Los Angeles Times)

Quote of the Week

We've had this concentrated population growth in urban areas at the same time that people have been doing an increasing percentage of their shopping online. This has made urban delivery a more pressing problem.

- Anne Goodchild on the growth of smaller freight traffic in urban areas. (Associated Press)


Here's what the public told the WMATA Board about the idea to permanently cut late-night Metro service

On Thursday, WMATA held a nine and a half-hour public hearing about its proposals to cut late-night Metro service. Lots of people turned out to say they depend on Metro, while others stressed an array of options to consider before moving forward with late-night cuts.

Metro staff is proposing that cuts to late-night rail service, which are currently in effect as part of SafeTrack, become permanent so that there's more time for much-needed system maintenence.

While it still hasn't made a clear argument as to why these cuts are necessary, at least not publicly, Metro staff has moved forward by presenting the WMATA Board of Directors with four different options for shorter hours. The WMATA compact stipulates that before the board can make any of them official, it has to hold public hearings like yesterday's.

WMATA staff has asked the Board to make one of these sets of hours of operation official. There are Image from WMATA.

A quick rundown of how these hearings work: anyone who wants to testify signs up to do so, and when it's their turn, they get to address the board directly for three minutes (elected officials get five). Yesterday, board members mostly listened, withholding comment except to thank whoever had spoken once they finished.

Regarding testimony to the Board, Justin Lini, who recently explained why closing Metro stations in Wards 7 and 8 would (that's a separate-but-related matter), said that most of the people who showed up to speak were regular riders from DC, Maryland, and Virginia.

"There were also a number of ANC reps from Wards 2, 4, and 7," he said, "as well as DC Councilmembers and a councilmember from Capitol Heights, MD. There were some disability activists there as well, and and African American activists. The local service union had a large contingent too."

Nicole Cacozza, another GGWash contributor, added that when she got to WMATA's headquarters, a group with signs was outside to protest the cuts.

Photo by Nicole Cacozza.

According to Justin and Nicole, nobody who showed up at the hearings was there to support cutting service. People cited all kinds of arguments for why Metro needs to go back to the drawing board and come up with better options, from saying it would damage to the city's reputation and economic growth and that it would do disproportionate harm to low-income communities to asking why Metro couldn't do a better job with the maintenence time it already has.

Nicole said a lot of people spoke about how much they rely on Metro, and how not having service late at night would be devastating:

One man came to testify on behalf of his former coworkers in the service industry who worked long shifts and needed Metro to get home.

A woman from WMATA's accessibility committee spoke about just not being able to travel on weekends if Metro cut its morning service, because she cannot get around without public transportation.

One woman who immigrated to Maryland as a child said that she used Metro to travel to Virginia after school in order to spend time with other people from her home country, and she currently knows people who use it to attend GED classes after work.

One person brought up that there have already been reports of workers sleeping in their offices because they could not get home.

Similar stories stood out to Justin:
Some spoke about how cuts will make it harder for them to get to work. Others talked about not being able to go out in DC anymore. One person got very emotional over the Nats game last week and talked about how she didn't make it home until 4 am due to lack of metrorail service.

We also had some people who were concerned about increasing drunk driving, and the environmental impact of putting more cars on our roads.

Personal accounts like these illustrate why Metro has to find a way forward that doesn't include cutting late-night service, and it's important that Board members hear them. But there was also plenty of comment regarding the technical and logistical problems Metro is up against, and how to fix them.

Justin said that DC Councilmenber Elissa Silverman pushed WMATA to develop better metrics to measure its performance, and also for the agency to do more to put out information on particular incidents or plans, like it did last year when there was a fire at Stadium-Armory that curbed service for 13 weeks.

A number of comments also suggested looking to other systems for examples of how to do massive repairs while not making such drastic service cuts. "References were made to the PATH system in New Jersey, in that its a two track system which runs 24 hours," Justin said. "Another model raised was SEPTA night owl service, which runs busses overnight parallel to rail routes."

People also said WMATA should consider doing maintenence SafeTrack-style, closing segments of lines for longer periods of time (or even entire lines if absolutely necessary) but not the entire system. Patrick Kennedy, a GGWash contributor and ANC commissioner, said this in his testimony:

Rather than taking a meat cleaver to the hours of the system across 110 miles of track, I'd encourage the Board to consider a more surgical policy of prioritizing limited service reductions—single-tracks, early shutdowns, etc.—in discrete locations where maintenance tasks are to be performed. This would require additional effort for planning purposes in order to inform customers and manage impacts on revenue service, but it would carry a significant dividend for riders over a complete service reduction as proposed.
Another common refrain: if Metro does go forward with permanent late-night rail closures, it's got to provide the bus service needed to bridge the gap—and right now, the proposal on the table doesn't come close.


Walkways and crossings in the Flickr pool

Here are our favorite new images in the Greater and Lesser Washington Flickr pool, showcasing the best and worst of the Washington region.

Anacostia Riverwalk Trail. Photo by Joe Flood.

McLean Metro Station. Photo by Daniel Kelly.

National Gallery. Photo by Daniel Kelly.

Photo by Beau Finley.

Photo by Jill Slater.

US Capitol. Photo by Victoria Pickering.

Got a picture that depicts the best or worst of the Washington region? Make sure to join our Flickr pool and submit your own photos!


Our endorsements for ANC in Ward 6

There's a lot to Ward 6. On one end, you can be standing in Navy Yard, outside of Nationals Park, while on the other you're in Shaw. And as you travel between the two, you might pass the Supreme Court! Ward 6's neighborhoods have experienced a lot of change recently, and many of its Advisory Neighborhood Commission races are hotly contested. We looked through these races and found seven candidates to endorse.

Map created with Mapbox, data from OpenStreetMap.


What are ANCs, and why should I care?

Advisory Neighborhood Commissions, or ANCs, are neighborhood councils of unpaid, elected representatives who meet monthly and weigh in with the government about important issues to the community. ANCs are very important on housing and transportation. An ANC's opposition to new housing, retail, a bike lane, bus improvements, etc. can stymie or significantly delay valuable projects. On the other hand, proactive and positive-thinking ANCs give the government suggestions for ways to improve the neighborhood and rally resident support.

Each ANC is divided into a number of Single Member Districts (SMDs), averaging about 2,000 voters. Races often hinge on a small handful of votes; Your vote, every vote, really counts.

Not sure which SMD you live in? Find out here.

Here are our endorsements

After reviewing the candidate responses from each competitive race in Ward 5, we chose eight candidates to endorse. Here, you can read their positions, along with responses from many unopposed candidates.

Photo by Ryan Blanding on Flickr.

In ANC 6A we endorse Yair Inspektor and Stephanie Zimny

ANC 6A is the northeastern corner of Ward 6, including the neighborhoods east of 8th Street between East Capitol Street and Florida Avenue/Benning Road. Sections of the H Street Corridor and Lincoln Park are part of this commission. Maryland Avenue cuts diagonally across the ANC, meaning commissioners will have a chance to influence the outcomes of the ongoing Maryland Avenue Pedestrian Safety Project, a multi-year process by the District Department of Transportation to fix the corridor which has "a history of hazardous conditions for pedestrian travel."

For ANC 6A05, directly in the middle of this neighborhood, we endorse Yair Inspektor. Citing examples from many conversations with neighbors about the Maryland Avenue Project, Yair is cautiously "in support of the plan," though he does believe that"additional traffic mitigation and diversion strategies should be considered." He claims that as commissioner, his "aim is to build relationships with and between all of our neighbors, and to insure that Capitol Hill remains a home for people of various incomes and backgrounds."

Yair's opponent did not complete our survey despite multiple attempts to reach him, and our one complaint of Yair is that he seemed at times hesitant to take firm positions on an issue. Nonetheless, we are impressed by Yair's commitment to community and his willingness to learn and engage with neighborhood issues.

Just north is 6A06. Here, we support Stephanie Zimny. Stephanie is fully in support of the Maryland Avenue project, and has years of experience addressing development in the neighborhood, serving on the 6A Economic Development and Zoning Committee. She believes that "a good working relationship with all community members and business interests, as well as a knowledge of zoning rules and development insight can lead to smart development that benefits the whole community." We're with you there.

In general, all of Stephanie's answers revealed a reasonable, well-informed, and capable candidate. We did not received a response from either of Stephanie's two opponents, but our readers pointed out that one, Peter Grant, has "been leading the effort to halt the Maryland Avenue Pedestrian Safety Project," and in fact "[s]topping the project may be the reason why he is running." We see Stephanie as a solid choice in this race.

Union Station. Photo by on Flickr.

In ANC 6B we chose not to endorse, and in ANC 6C there are no competitive races

ANCs in Ward 6 are generally known for being positive, productive, and reasonable, as many have spent years deftly negotiating important developments across the ward. 6B in particular has proven home to strong neighborhood leaders over the years, moderating the debate about the redevelopment of the Hine school and incorporating smart opportunities for housing and transportation developments throughout the neighborhood.

There is only one contested race in 6B: K. Denise Krepp and Cam Norris are vying for the 6B10 seat, with Krepp being the incumbent. Both candidates' surveys had some good points and some vague sections, and we didn't feel that there was a clear choice. Please read their responses carefully and make your own decision here.

ANC 6C includes much the area surrounding Union Station and is also home to many talented commissioners. This election, all of these candidates are running unopposed, so we did not offer endorsements here as per our process outlined here.

Buzzard Point. Photo by Geoff Alexander on Flickr.

In ANC 6D, we endorse Gail Fast, Cara Lea Shockley, and Katelynd Mahoney.

If you live anywhere in the growing areas around the Navy Yard, Waterfront, and L'Enfant Plaza Metro stations, you probably live in 6D. These neighborhoods have experienced extraordinary amounts of growth and change in recent years, and commissioners there need to be sharp and active to keep pace and keep neighbors informed.

Two waterfront developments dominate conversation in these neighborhoods: the redevelopment of Buzzard Point around the new DC United Soccer Stadium, and the proposed 11th Street Bridge Park, an elevated park reminiscent of the High Line in New York City that will span the Anacostia River.

Four candidates are running for a seat in 6D01, the area in between 14th and 4th Street SW and from Independence Avenue to the Washington Channel. Out of the two who returned our questionnaire, we really liked Gail Fast.

Gail in unafraid of the many changes happening around the area, acknowledging that redevelopment in all of Southwest "is already in full swing, and done correctly should be a benefit to all the City, with increased tax revenue from new development, added housing, and better use of the waterfront for all of the community."

Gail is supportive of the plans for Buzzard Point but gives an entirely thorough explanation of why she believes "that there is a lack of monitoring and enforcement on the part of the city" and that "there could be (if there isn't one already) a public health threat" in the area, primarily from pollution.

Gail is also excited about the workforce development proposals incorporated into the 11th Street Bridge Park plan, seeing the project as a chance "new employment, for social integration, and for social equity." She vows to strongly advocate for more affordably housing among all the construction in the area, and has experience serving on many planning committees for the neighborhood.

Opponent Wes Ven Johnson also completed our questionnaire, but did not impress us as much as Gail. When asked about accommodating more housing in his district, Wes's primary concern was "that the new buildings blend in with current buildings and do not block out their views." He also was against the recent Bard development, which would have brought both cultural space and housing to the area. He says he advocated for the proposal that cut the buildings floors from nine to four or five. The other two candidates here did not respond to our survey.

The area generally surrounding South Capitol Street south of Independence Ave is 6D02, and there we endorse Cara Lea Shockley. Like Gail, Cara is most excited about the job opportunities present in the 11th Street Bridge Park Equitable Development Plan, only she hopes these promises are made good this time around, as similar local hire proposals have not been upheld in the past. At Buzzard Point Cara was unique among candidates in sharing that she thinks "putting the soccer stadium there is a mistake," providing a dire analysis of the traffic impact she imagines it will bring.

Transportation is a key issue for Cara. She thinks "[b]ike lanes are extremely important," and wants "to see fewer cars" in the neighborhood, in part by advocating for adding more car sharing locations. On parking: "I've seen cities work which have little or no street parking, and I think it should be the direction we move in." We didn't get a response from Cara's opponent, and we like a lot of what we see in Cara's responses.

11th Street Bridge Park Proposal. Image from the 11th Street Bridge Park Equitable Development Plan (click for link).

Finally, the southern tip of the ANC encompasses much of Buzzard Point and Fort McNair. Here there is another highly-contested race, with four candidates running for the seat of 6D05. Three of these responded to us, and while two seem strong, we decided ultimately to endorse Katelynd Mahoney.

It's not every day that you find a commissioner who describes the "influx of housing coming to all corners of the neighborhood" as "[a] major blessing." You had us at hello.

But seriously, Katelynd's detailed and researched answers were good on a lot of points. She has particular recommendations for bike infrastructure and sidewalk improvements, and even though she claims both bus transit and parking are "severely lacking in ANC6D," she is willing to prioritize the needs of the bus system over more parking. Last, while she has some specific reservations, Katelynd supports both the controversial homeless shelter planned for the area and the redevelopment of Buzzard Point.

At least one reader is also very excited about the prospect of Katelynd winning this election: "Katelynd is the perfect example of what an ANC commissioner should be." That's a very high bar to clear, Katelynd!

In this race, Dana Lutenegger also seems like a reasonable candidate, but again, we felt that Katelynd was the strongest in the end. Dana wants to strongly advocate for more affordable housing, and had great answers on how to address crime and add new bike lanes. She He did seem reticent to remove any parking even to improve bus service, and was unsupportive of the the Bard development, saying it's too tall.

The incumbent, Roger Moffat, also responded to our questionnaire, but he did not articulate clear stances on many issues. What is more, many readers wrote in that they were unimpressed with Moffat's tenure, saying he did not always attend ANC meetings, was not responsive, and was more focused on parking than any other transportation issue.

All in all, we strongly favor Katelynd for ANC 6D05.

Photo by beautifulcataya on Flickr.

In ANC6E, we endorse Alexander Padro and Lily Roberts

This northwestern arm of the ward stretches narrowly out into Mount Vernon Triangle and Shaw. A large portion of this area is called Northwest One, and it's the former site of a collection of troubled low-income housing developments that was demolished to make room for mixed-income housing. Today it's mostly parking lots, though one remaining cooperative, Sursum Corda, is progressing with plans for redevelopment.

In the far northwest of the ANC, 6E01 is the neighborhoods surrounding Rhode Island Avenue between 11th and 7th Street. Incumbent Alexander Padro earned our endorsement for this seat.

During his tenure, Alexander negotiated to ensure Sursum Corda residents have a right to return after the redevelopment of their cooperative and was able to secure over $500,000 in community benefits for the surrounding recreation centers and service facilities. He is very experienced and knowledgeable (eight terms as commissioner), and had solid answers about housing and transportation in the neighborhood, including clear support for the controversial bike lanes along 6th Street.

We empathize with Alexander's characterization of parking as "[t]he 'P' word" in neighborhood politics, and while we get it that "[o]pposition to removal of on street parking is almost universal among residents," we hope he endeavors to try and find ways to ensure bicycle and bus infrastructure get appropriate priority as well as automobile needs. Alexander's opponent did not respond to our survey.

Truxton Circle and the district north of New York Avenue near Dunbar High School comprise 6E04. This is another four-candidate race, and we think Lily Roberts is the best of them.

Lily strongly advocates for "[a]dding housing at multiple price points," and wants to see the large surface parking lots throughout the area removed in favor of diverse housing and development options. She is excited about the work being done at Sursum Corda, though she thinks there are "far too many parking spaces (about 4x the required number)" included in the plans "in one of the most walkable parts of the city." Lily is also adamant that the government move faster this time around compared to how it acted with places like neighboring Temple Courts.

Her answers on transportation showed an in-depth understanding of the issues and her neighborhood, and she self-reports that she is not afraid to get wonky on things like "data-driven parking regulations." Join the crowd, Lily.

As one reader put it, "Lily's understanding of planning issues is both granular and global, and as both a social worker and a policy analyst, she has the right combo of brains and heart to do the job right."

One other candidate, Phil Tsolakidis, also completed our questionnaire. Phil had good and thoughtful answers to many of our questions, but he was unwilling to consider removing any street parking to improve bus service. Overall, we believe Lily is the best candidate between the two.

Last but not least, ANC 6E05 is Mt. Vernon Triangle, formed by New York Avenue, Massachusetts Avenue and 4th Street. Both candidates here responded to our questions, and we had a hard time choosing a clear winner for our endorsement.

Incumbent and chairperson Marge Maceda did not write much, but was generally supportive of bike lanes (including those proposed on 6th Street) and other transportation improvements. Challenger Alex Marriott clearly understands the benefits of, and favors, adding more housing. He also promises to increase communication between the ANC and residents. Both candidates were opposed to removing street parking under any circumstance.

We couldn't identify a clear choice here; both say some good things, and neither raised any red flags for us. We encourage readers to look carefully at their options and make what seems like the best choice to them.

Want to read the responses of all of the Ward 6 ANC candidates who responded to our questionnaire and judge for yourself? Check out the full PDF for Ward 6. You can also see responses and our endorsements for all 8 wards on our 2016 ANC Endorsements Page, and we'll publish our rationale for those in upcoming posts.

These are official endorsements of Greater Greater Washington. To determine this year's endorsements, we sent a reader-generated candidate questionnaire to all ANC candidates. We then published candidate responses and collected feedback. Staff evaluated all candidate responses and feedback for contested races and presented endorsements to our volunteer editorial board, which then made the final decision.

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