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Weekend links: Hang out at the gas station

Photo by brianwallace on Flickr.
Eat here, get gas: A gourmet deli has opened near U Street... in a gas station. The unusual location provides rents affordable to a fledgling small business. (Post)

Gas dependence varies nationally: Virginians annually spend 4.45% ($1,994) of their incomes on gas compared to 3.97% ($1,947) for Marylanders. In contrast, Mississippians spend 7.23%, or $2,255 annually. (NRDC)

Station manager to the rescue: Metro honors station manager Timothy Lee, who has twice saved passengers from suicide attempts. (Post)

Pay by mail fine for a coma: A Baltimore driver pleaded guilty to negligent driving after a crash that left a bicyclist in a likely-permanent coma. The driver had to pay a mere $220 and was able to pay by mail. (Baltimore Sun, Stephen Miller)

Senate pushes for complete streets: Half the states have adopted complete streets legislation and the Senate is catching on. The Senate bill requires states to consider cyclists, pedestrians, and transit for all federally-funded road projects. (Streetsblog)

WMATA improving web outreach: The agency will hire someone for "social media monitoring..., detractor response, comment moderation, [and] Facebook facilitation," among other things. Read our recommendations for WMATA's next tweep. (TBD)

No ultimatum to Walmart: Mayor Gray's reported ultimatum to Walmart about opening a store in Skyland was made in "jest", says DMPED Victor Hoskins. Councilmember Yvette Alexander says the Mayor was just pushing for a citywide Community Benefits Agreement. (City Paper)

Only laws the police know about matter: Responding to a car-bike collision, an MPD officer said he doesn't know about the 3-foot law, and therefore "it doesn't matter" whether the drive was violating that law or not. (TheWashCycle)

Rehab the rehabbers: A list of 5 ways to be a good gentrifier sparked a retort that it's really just a list of ways to be a good neighbor no matter where you live. (DCentric)

And...: Someone is stealing copper from wiring along local roads. (WTOP) ... A local music duo released a free location-aware soundtrack to the Mall; here'a video sample (ReadysetDC) ... The wit behind the Metro-themed drinks brings you pick-up lines for urban planners. (Irish Breakfast)

Have a tip or witty pick-up line for the links? Submit it here.
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. 


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That sandwich place is excellent. Great quality and value. Try the corn empanadas!

by JTS on May 28, 2011 10:22 am • linkreport

The Baltimore driver is an 83 year old woman, And is facing a significant civil suit. This particular case is much better decided by the civil justice than criminal justice system.

by Kolohe on May 28, 2011 10:59 am • linkreport

From the Gentrification article:
"4. Don’t automatically cross the street to avoid young, black kids."

I'd like to add:
"4.a. Don't wear a white hood and burn crosses on your neighbor's lawn. It's considered disrespectful. Instead, invite them over for a BBQ."

by Smoke_Jaguar4 on May 28, 2011 1:49 pm • linkreport

@gas usage

NY Times had a county by county breakdown map back in 2008.

The country by country variation is massive. In some areas, people spend over 15% of their income on gas while in others it is just about 2%.

by Nicoli on May 28, 2011 2:31 pm • linkreport

I know that the Baltimore driver is facing a significant civil suit. It is still galling that the fine is so insignificant, and only came about after heavy pressure from cycling organization. Did the lady lose her license?

If I was cleaning my gun, and it went off and the bullet hit someone in the head, leaving them in a coma from which they will never recover, do you think I would get a $200 fine that I could pay by mail. How about I am a pharmacist, and I give you the wrong dose of a drug and it almost kills you, and you are in a coma.

In all three situations, they are accidents, the activity is licensed by the state and they results in the same injury. Is the punishment the same?

A quick review of the web shows that "accidental shootings" in maryland almost always result in a criminal investigation. If the victim dies, the charge can be murder.

Pharmacy errors are not uncommon, and errors are treated seriously by both the police and the licensing board. For example, a pharmacist who accidently killed a toddler in 2009 was facing serious charges, and plead down to manslaughter.

In Maryland, in 2010-2011 there have been several cyclists and pedestrians killed by cars, and very few have resulted in more than a traffic fines.

So, when I see another case of a driver getting a traffic ticket after killing another, its not unreasonable to ask
1. Why is the law so lenient for one privileged class?
2. Will the person lose their license?
3. And, when the person is old, or has a history, I ask why was that person still driving?

by SJE on May 28, 2011 11:12 pm • linkreport

I've got a good weekend link:

A group of residents from the Westover Place townhouses protested AU’s proposed expansion of student housing May 26 in Ward Circle...

About 25 protesters walked back and forth at two points in Ward Circle — between Massachusetts Avenue and the Nebraska Parking Lot, and between the parking lot and the Ward building...

The email, sent out by an unidentified member of the listserv, said the residents would cross Massachusetts Avenue and Nebraska Avenue repeatedly to “physically demonstrate the impact 600 or 700 students will have on traffic, if AU puts the number of beds it wants on the Nebraska Avenue parking lot.”

That's right, they're stated claim is that building a residence hall on top of an existing parking lot will increase traffic. Keeping in mind that AU students are not eligible to receive reciprocity permits and cannot park in the neighborhood either.

They're not trying to maintain even the appearance of logical consistency anymore.

by Dizzy on May 29, 2011 12:26 am • linkreport

So it is Ok to cause serious permanent harm to a cyclist if you are an 83 year old driver?

by Fred on May 29, 2011 8:44 am • linkreport

Fred: of course, but it was an accident. Its completely irrelevant that she is 83. Just the other day I saw an 83 yo neighbor playing with explosives. He killed a few teenagers, but hey, it was an accident.

by SJE on May 29, 2011 11:23 am • linkreport

Who's says she getting away with it? I'd like to be you guys, that has enough spare change in the couch cushions to cover the legal fees from defending against a 10 million dollar suit.

What good is it to put an 83 woman in prison? To get her of the streets? Pour l'encouragement des autres? Rehabilitation?

What do want to her to get? More than 5 years? That's what John Demjanjuk just got and he was merely responsible for a portion of the Holocaust. (since we're playing with hyperbole here)

by Kolohe on May 29, 2011 12:59 pm • linkreport

Kolohe: Its not hyperbole if you have the same intent, actions, and results, but different punishments.

Regarding defending a law suit. Let's turn it around. Who has the money to launch a civil suit? The only way it can be funded it through contingency, which means (a) indigent bad drivers don't get any punishment and (b) the family gets less than it needs.

Lets also look at other situations: what is to be gained by putting the mistaken gun owner, or the mistaken pharmacist in prison? Yet we do it.

In any case, who said we are locking up Grandma? There are a lot of options between locking up Grandma for 10 years, and giving her a traffic ticket. Personally, I am not a big fan of jail except for serious crimes with intent. There needs to be better options, earlier.
- Mandatory retesting when people get older
- License suspension or revocation for accidents causing injury or death, except where the other person was at fault.
- Community service or something that indicates that drivers need to be responsible.

Without going into all the various theories of punishment, its pretty well accepted that one goal is to send a signal: i.e. its more than just the individual situation. When you value the life of another person at a few hundred dollars (Nathan is never going to recover), you are telling drivers that their rights are superior to cyclists and pedestrians.

This also sets up a vicious circle. Old folks need to drive because its too dangerous to walk because of the crazy drivers, which include other old folks, etc....

by SJE on May 29, 2011 2:05 pm • linkreport

Kolohe, perhaps the state should be sued for negligence in licensing the 83 year old driver. Simply run a few eye sight + reflex tests, and if she fails them, sue the shit out of the state for granting her permission to drive. Maybe after a few lawsuits like that, the government will get serious about testing drivers.

by JJJJJ on May 29, 2011 4:02 pm • linkreport

JJJJ: the state is immune from this sort of lawsuit.
The state is very reluctant to pull the license from anyone for whatever reason-which is a shame, IMO. Currently, you have to have multiple offenses and then almost kill someone, and then it might be prison. It would have been better to revoke someone's license after a second DUI, e.g. I'd rather that we get the worst drivers off the street, and it would make us all a little safer and value our licenses a lot more.

by SJE on May 29, 2011 9:48 pm • linkreport

I agree with SJE, her age is irrelevant and she should be placed on probation, which would include loss of license/with a class to restate it (if possible) and community service.

by David C on May 30, 2011 12:18 am • linkreport

Her age is absolutely not irrelevant. Reflexes and sight decrease with age. That is a simple fact. The system treating an 85 year old the same as a 35 year old is ridiculous.

SJE, why are they immune? The state just lost a lawsuit concerning the pedestrian due to their road design. The state is saying "we decide who gets to drive". Seems to be that they are liable for letting people not able to properly drive, drive. Just like a theme park would be liable for letting a 45inch person onto a 48 inch+ ride.

by JJJJJ on May 30, 2011 2:56 am • linkreport

The state can assert immunity, and usually does. You can pierce that immunity if (a) there is a State law, Constitutional right, or contract that over-rides (b) there are Federal Statutory or Constitutional rights (c) the actions were accompanied by some illegal activity (d) the actions were of an actor that is not covered by state immunity.

For example, if I am hired by the state to design and build a road, I might require that the state indeminify me. If someone is killed, they sue both me and the state. Effectively the state cannot assert immunity without violating its contract with me, the road builder.

Personally, I am opposed to governmental immunity in most cases. Government should get immunity from enhanced damages in matters of discretion, but should not get immunity from negligence, and should try to make people whole.

by SJE on May 30, 2011 12:38 pm • linkreport

On the copper wire theft; the type that was stolen weighs about 9 lbs per foot, and is nearly impossible to bend by hand. It was no amateurs who stole it, they likely had a heavy duty truck with a high power, low torque cable reel on it. What they stole would weigh several tons, and no local scrapper would buy $25k worth of obviously stolen municipal property. There's more to this story.

by Will on May 31, 2011 12:57 am • linkreport

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