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Morning links: Things on the rise

Photo by 10ch on Flickr.
Dulles station debate heats up: The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors joined the Fairfax County Board and officially opposed the underground station. Rep. Frank Wolf was drowned out by protesters supporting the MWAA's Phase 2 labor agreement, which Wolf opposes. (Leesburg Today)

Carol Schwartz is fed up: Former at-large Council member Carol Schwartz is planning to withhold her federal taxes next year unless Congress is taking serious action to ensure DC real Congressional representation. (Post)

Georgetown waterfront flooded: The Georgetown waterfront was flooded yesterday and, because the flood walls failed to activate, suffered what is likely millions of dollars in damage. (DCist, WAMU)

MoCo council members fighting Costco: Montgomery County council members are opposing County Executive Ike Leggett's $4 million incentive package to lure Costco to Wheaton, saying the deal is inappropriate during social service cuts. (Examiner)

DDOT to plan more streetcars: Using the $100 million set aside by Mayor Gray, DDOT will begin planning an extension of the Benning Road/H Street NE line, as well as new streetcars on M Street SE-SW and a renewed transitway on K Street NW. (Examiner)

Cap Crescent and Purple Line are friends: While some groups oppose the Purple Line in the name of the Capital Crescent trail, the light rail line would actually improve the trail and allow it to extend all the way to downtown Silver Spring. (WABA)

Nats, DC fight over late service: WMATA DC and the Washington Nationals are struggling to agree who should pay for extended service if a weekday evening baseball game runs late and lets out close to the typical midnight closing time. (WAMU)

Amtrak puts railfans to work: Amtrak wants to harness the unending knowledge and fascination of railfans by creating a neighborhood watch-style program, encouraging train-watchers to report suspicious activity or potential hazards. (WTOP)

And...: The colorful William Donald Schaeffer, who as mayor of Baltimore transformed the Inner Harbor with various attractions died yesterday. (Post) ... The wayfinding information on CaBi stations benefits a lot more than just CaBi users. (RPUS) ... Join Kidical Mass, an event this Saturday to promote safe, family-friendly cycling.

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Erik Weber has been living car-free in the District since 2009. Hailing from the home of the nation's first Urban Growth Boundary, Erik has been interested in transit since spending summers in Germany as a kid where he rode as many buses, trains and streetcars as he could find. Views expressed here are Erik's alone. 


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Assuming the Council keeps the $100 million in the budget, that is great news for the Streetcar system.

by William on Apr 19, 2011 10:48 am • linkreport

I don't know what you mean by "flood walls failed to activate". They're not an automated system.

I've seen workers before and after high-water warnings with a crane sliding or taking out the flood wall panels. It's an entirely manually system that requires several workers and equipment.

by Byron on Apr 19, 2011 10:52 am • linkreport

FYI, this post says the Nats are fighting with Metro. In fact, the Nats are fighting with DC.

by MDE on Apr 19, 2011 11:02 am • linkreport

That's great that the mayor is allocating resources for the streetcar. It's nice to see so many people working together on a viable transportation plan.

However, I do strongly agree that the H Street construction has been a complete disaster. The planners need to seriously get it together so as not let the sour H street experience discourage other neighborhoods from supporting street cars.

I'm not an engineer, but it seems to have taken a extraordinarily long time to complete this short section.

by MJ on Apr 19, 2011 11:03 am • linkreport

@Byron; yes, particular wording. OF course, the property manager is about the get sued like no tomorrow so they very sensitive about language.

by charlie on Apr 19, 2011 11:04 am • linkreport

Womp womp!

H Street construction was a mess because of the streetscape improvements, not laying the track.

by Charlie Brown's Mom on Apr 19, 2011 11:14 am • linkreport


The streetcar installation was/is just a small part of the H-street reconstruction. This is a common misperception. Streetcar tracks can be laid in about 2-3 weeks per block if not combined with more major roadwork like on H. H-street has taken so long because it was a full-on rebuild of the street down to dirt, including new utilities, new roadway foundation, new curbs, etc., a project that would have taken nearly as long without the streetcar work.

The DDOT streetcar team seems to have a public relations problem on their hands when people associate streetcar construction with the wider 3-year Great Streets H-street reconstruction. They need to reiterate and work to educate the public going forward.

by Boris on Apr 19, 2011 11:16 am • linkreport

So what exactly does the $100 million for streetcars ($25 million in 2012) buy? Given how much America pays for infrastructure, probably not that much I expect.

by EJ on Apr 19, 2011 11:19 am • linkreport

Of course, then there's this quote:

"A utility worker tells ABC7 that whoever was supposed to raise the flood panels, which are operated by hydraulics, yesterday did not do it correctly."

from Source: Georgetown flooding caused by human error, which confuses me because I *know* I've seen a crane messing around with the panels before.

by Byron on Apr 19, 2011 11:26 am • linkreport

Byron - perhaps the hydraulics system is supplied by the same company that makes the Metro escalators.

by ah on Apr 19, 2011 11:30 am • linkreport

I know Carol Schwartz means well, but does she really think not paying her taxes is going to have more of an effect than what the mayor and others did in getting arrested? Her approach seems to combine stupid with greedy. At least the protests on the Capitol were a relatively selfless form of calling attention to the issue.

by ah on Apr 19, 2011 11:33 am • linkreport

I'm not really a huge Carol Schwartz fan, and I think the mayor was trying to divert attention from all of his foibles in the past month, but I don't think that Schwartz putting her taxes in an escrow account is greedy. Stupid possibly.

by CBGB on Apr 19, 2011 1:52 pm • linkreport

I think the cranes are used to move panels when the automatic system malfunctions.

by David desJardins on Apr 19, 2011 2:23 pm • linkreport

@ah-Carol S. said she would put her owed taxes in an escrow. she won't have access to the money, so I think greeedy is inaccurate. I believe she hopes to start a movement with many others putting their taxes in escrow along with her.

by Tina on Apr 19, 2011 3:59 pm • linkreport

I missed that detail about the escrow account, although I still believe it is not a terribly effective form of protest. And I suspect that if she did it, the detail about the escrow account would get little emphasis and many others would accuse her of being merely a tax evader.

by ah on Apr 19, 2011 4:32 pm • linkreport

The flood walls were partially up Sunday evening. I wonder what happened the reason the whole length was never raised.

by Juanita de Talmas on Apr 19, 2011 5:05 pm • linkreport

Normally, 32 hours prior to the Potomac River rising the property manager of the Washington Harbor complex is supposed to call a hydrologist at Harpers Ferry to find out whether the flood gates should be raised. A crane operator is then called in to lift the flood walls.

by Writer Wool Less on Apr 19, 2011 5:26 pm • linkreport

I work at the Washington Harbor. The walls are raised by a crane and then locked. They apparently also have inflatable seals to make it tight, and flood the basement to stabilize the structure.

The flood walls have been raised several times since I worked there. This time, someone completely dropped the ball. The place is a smelly mess, and no power.

by SJE on Apr 19, 2011 9:03 pm • linkreport

@ah It's sad to hear such complacency. Trust me, if a significant portion of DC residents put their federal taxes in escrow (or whatever it is), the whole country would hear about it REALLY FAST.

Have you heard the deficit talk on the Hill? FYI DC makes an enormously outsize contribution to federal income tax coffers, and by far leads the nation in such ontributions on a per capita basis.

Maybe we should all follow Carol (though maybe its too late for 2011) Let's start a movement for 2012.

by dcforlife on Apr 20, 2011 12:28 am • linkreport

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