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Breakfast links: Unfortunate contradictions

Photo by macwagen on Flickr.
Cyclist killed in Arlington: A cyclist was struck and killed at the an Arlington intersection where officials have been planning safety improvements. The driver remained on the scene and is cooperating. (ARLnow)

Arlington, DC really friendly: DC got upgraded from Bronze to Silver in the Bicycle Friendly Community rankings. In new Pedestrian Friendliness rankings, and Arlington (already also Silver for biking) was one of the first 5 Gold level communities. (WashCycle, BeyondDC)

Walmart a wash for jobs: 2 years after a Walmart opened in a Chicago neighborhood, the number of jobs lost by businesses that closed was essentially equal to the number of jobs created by Walmart. The businesses that closed also had paid similar wages and benefits to the new Walmart jobs. (Post)

Schumer wants Amtrak 'no-ride' list: After officials reported that al Qaeda had discussed targeting trains, Senator Chuck Schumer called for a "no-ride" list and passenger screening on Amtrak. (NYT, Matt')

More rest for operators?: The Tri-State Oversight Committee wants to increase the time off required between shifts for Metro operators to allow 8 hours of sleep, but has met resistance from the ATU, since members are cashing in on overtime. (Examiner)

Council divided on Gray budget: DC's council members are deeply divided over the Mayor's proposed budget, which cuts some services but also raises taxes on those making more than $200,000. (Post) ... At least one group says a tax hike won't scare off affluent residents like is often feared. (DFFPI)

PATH crash injures dozens: A crash yesterday morning at the PATH train station in Hoboken, New Jersey sent 34 people to the hospital. The train overshot the end of the track and crashed into a bumper. The cause has not been released. (, Matt')

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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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Not to make light of the Arlington death, but it is looking as it this is the rare case where the cyclist hit the car, not the other way around.

And it wasn't the intersection -- it was the hill.

by charlie on May 9, 2011 9:49 am • linkreport

ATU is opposing a workplace safety rule in order to boost income? How the labor movement has changed!

by Eric Fidler on May 9, 2011 9:55 am • linkreport

At least one group says a tax hike won't scare off affluent residents like is often feared. (DFFPI)

Hah! And here cynical me thought it was going to be the *DCFPI* (DC Fiscal Policy Institute) who was the "one group".

Oh, wait, never mind...

[Disclaimer: I don't necessarily disagree that marginal tax rates have little effect on where rich folks choose to live; just pointing out that dogs often bite men is all...]

by oboe on May 9, 2011 10:03 am • linkreport

Schumer wants Amtrak 'no-ride' list

A very sensible measure. We should implement this right after compiling a "no-watch" list for all MLB games? Also, NFL, and NASCAR.

And clearly we'll want a "no-listen" list for all large musical concerts?

I'm curious: is there a staffer, or maybe a colleague who could point out to Schumer that these sorts of horse-shit "security theater" measures are exactly the effect that terrorism is intended to produce?

by oboe on May 9, 2011 10:10 am • linkreport

I really shake my head at these "Walmart Studies" that are high on rhetoric and low on any real statistical data.

So you take a Walmart, and loosely study loss of jobs within a 4 mile radius (a distance that would nearly cover the entire District of Columbia) and study job loss for two years, the two worst years for the national economy since the Great Depression?

Target and Walmart are the same company with a different logo. Did the Target in Columbia Heights knock out 82 businesses within the entire District of Columbia?

Again, and again people point out that 3 of the 4 proposed locations are complete and utter business wastelands. Nothing is currently there to put out of business so can we stop looking at something that is a serious net benefit for the District and pretending like it isn't.

Disclaimer, and as I've said manytimes before on Walmart discussions, I am generally the biggest Walmart hater of them all, but not every situation is the same.

by freely on May 9, 2011 10:20 am • linkreport

+1 oboe on both comments.

by charlie on May 9, 2011 10:20 am • linkreport

this is the rare case where the cyclist hit the car, not the other way around.

If the police report is to be believed (but why should it?), it would be more accurate to summarize the article as "cyclist struck car and was killed". Wouldn't want to be cyclo-centric.

by ah on May 9, 2011 10:23 am • linkreport

While this comment may get me on the future "no ride" list wouldn't it be easier to booby trap the tracks rather than try to do something on the train? So far, the best security measures on airplanes has been other passengers defending themselves against the potential threat, I would imagine the same would be on the train.

by Canaan on May 9, 2011 10:23 am • linkreport

>> And it wasn't the intersection -- it was the hill.

May be a bit of both I bike the same direction every morning at around 5:15 am. This morning (5/09) as I was coming down the hill I watched a diver go from the access road, through a red light on S Walter Reed Dr make what would be a left onto four mile run, just after some cars went through the intersection .... Have said that as biker, you have be very careful to build up to much speed on hill (I am on my brakes most of the way down the hill).

by Mark on May 9, 2011 10:31 am • linkreport

An important variable in the job creation/job loss equation that the Wal-Mart study authors mention is that the area where the Chicago Wal-Mart went in had a dense network of stores before Wal-Mart went in, thus a greater chance for the effects of big-box competition to impact the local market. I don't know what the retail landscape is around where the District Wal-Mart is to go in, but it seems to merit examination before any prediction can be made about what Wal-Mart's jobs effect will be.

by ksu499 on May 9, 2011 10:31 am • linkreport

Seriously Chuck Schumer? Who's going to check and screen the "no-ride" list at all of those unstaffed amtrak platforms across the country? Let's think rationally here, instead of spouting security theater.

by CB on May 9, 2011 10:36 am • linkreport


Which would be an interesting view. But, as freely points out, the retail sector has been killed the last 3-4 years. Was the close of retail shops in and near Wal-Mart in Chicago, Wal-Mart's fault. Maybe some of it was by more likely it was the economy or a combination of the two.

Even now, in this recovery, Barnes and Noble and Borders are likely going out of business right now. Retail is a tough business. You are either getting bigger or someone is going to get you. See Woolworth's that led to Sears that led to Wal-Mart and someone will eventually catch them. It is the nature of the beast.

by Burger on May 9, 2011 10:44 am • linkreport

Per CNBC the Florida rail money has been redistributed. Good choices also.

by H Street Landlord on May 9, 2011 10:45 am • linkreport

What exactly do you mean by "is cooperating?" The clear subtext is that the driver did something wrong, and the police appear to have determined all but conclusively that the cyclist crossed into oncoming traffic and struck the car. Then the driver stayed on the scene. That doesn't sound like "cooperating [with the police]," that sounds like knowing you might get blamed for a tragic accident for which you are totally blameless. I think you need to whip out your strikethrough font pretty quickly.

by almondwine on May 9, 2011 10:53 am • linkreport

Yup, looks like the NEC got just under 40% of the Florida money ($795MM/$2,000MM).

by WRD on May 9, 2011 10:59 am • linkreport

"Sigh"...sometimes folks really should remove their tin-foil hats sometimes.

There is no subtext almondwine. There is also no conspiracy by local police to assign blame to cyclists every single time one of them does something reckless and gets themselves injured or killed. I know it may stretch the imagination but "gasp" cyclists are occasionally responsible for the accidents they are in.

And you are looking at someone who responsibly and by doing so, followed the letter of the law and stayed at the scene of an accident. Just because someone stayed, doesn't mean their are guilty, it just means they were an responsible adult doing what the law requires. Leaving the scene of an accident in which you were involved is guaranteed to end with you in jail. Please tell me this doesn't surprise you?

Cutting across traffic directly in front of a moving vehicle, for whatever reason is a surefired way to get dead. End of story.

by freely on May 9, 2011 11:18 am • linkreport

@freely, @almondwine,

Uh oh. Looks like a tragic friendly-fire incident in the WAR ON DRIVERS!!11!

by oboe on May 9, 2011 11:24 am • linkreport

There is also no conspiracy by local police to assign blame to cyclists every single time one of them does something reckless and gets themselves injured or killed.

It's foolish to ascribe a single cause to any accident. This accident could arguably be partially attributed to the design of the intersection, insufficient signage, the topography of the area, the cyclist getting distracted, inadequate or poorly-maintained brakes on the bike, and the car performing a maneuver that was legal, but probably not the best idea. Of course, "A confluence of several minor factors contributed to the death of a cyclist" makes for a crappy headline, which is why we never hear it.

Many of us get angry because the causes of these accidents are very frequently summarized to "The cyclist did something dumb and got himself killed," which is almost never solely responsible for a fatal accident (even in the cases where the cyclist is legitimately at-fault). This prevents us from collecting data that helps us make improvements to unsafe intersections, or to hold legitimately bad drivers to task for their actions (the Natasha Pettigew case being one of the most cut-and-dry examples that I can think of).

For whatever reason, bicycle-related accidents are not subject to anywhere near the level of scrutiny that gets applied to vehicle-on-vehicle accidents.

by andrew on May 9, 2011 12:16 pm • linkreport

Not a fan of Walmart, but given that DC is largely under-served with retail, it seems like the net gain would likely be positive at least for DC. I just hope they don't get any tax abatements out of this deal.

by Nicoli on May 9, 2011 12:28 pm • linkreport

I've read a couple reports of the TSA doing occasional random security checks of people getting on Amtrak trains - in Savannah I think, although Amtrak apparently tried to kick them out because it was uncoordinated. I guess Chuck Schumer would like to expand the TSA, the most hated government agency around (with the possible exception of the IRS), and have them run checkpoints at every Amtrak stop.

And Canaan is right - any terrorist with a brain would then just skip getting on the train and blow up a track. They wouldn't even need to do it when the train is there - just sometime before it shows up and you'd derail the train, shut down the line, and maybe kill a lot of people. Guerrilla groups like the French resistance did it all the time because its so hard to defend hundreds of miles of rail lines against one or two people. And it doesn't take much of a bomb to mess up the track enough to cause a derailment. What then? TSA guard towers every hundred yards along the track? Get a clue Schumer.

by Nick on May 9, 2011 12:32 pm • linkreport

Nick, TSA has been banned from Amtrak property by Mr Amtrak, after he saw the youtube video of the idiocy in Savannah.

by JJJJJ on May 9, 2011 5:02 pm • linkreport

@Nick, JJJJ

The idiocy in Savannah stemmed from TSA doing screenings of people getting off the trains. Not that screening people getting on the trains isn't idiotic, but it kind of raises it to a new level.

by ChrisB on May 9, 2011 6:31 pm • linkreport

I don't think it's all that unreasonable that a Walmart in SE could put a small hardware store in NW out of business. They dominate markets. That's what they are about. Has anyone seen that Frontline when they feature Rubbermaid. Gave me the shivers.

Not that everything small is good. There is at least one small h'ware store (I won't mention which) in NW that leaves something to be desired. But generally speaking, you can't compare the customer service received in Wal Mart and for example Fragers. There's just no comparison.

I must say, for those without a car, Home Depot could sure be a lot more convenient. That's a long, treacherous walk from the metro station.

by Jazzy on May 9, 2011 7:09 pm • linkreport

Darnit, where's that edit button?

I forgot to add that a pedestrian was struck and killed near RFK.

by Jazzy on May 9, 2011 7:10 pm • linkreport

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