Greater Greater Washington

Breakfast links: Provocative suggestions


Photo by The Great Photographicon on Flickr.
Move the jail to Buzzard Point?: Tommy Wells suggests moving the DC Jail to Buzzard Point. A soccer stadium, being considered for Buzzard Point, could then go next to RFK stadium, where there's better Metro access. (Post)

Allow bottled water on Metro?: Metro allowed people to drink bottled water on trains this weekend because of the heat. Should they allow it permanently? (Unsuck DC Metro)

2 Councilmembers call for Thomas to resign: Mary Cheh and David Catania both say Harry Thomas, Jr should resign. He agreed to pay back the money he allegedly took from youth baseball for personal use. (Washington Times)

Charlottesville getting bad bypass: The McDonnell administration pushed through a freeway Charlottesville that the city doesn't want. The bypass will likely create demand for another bypass before long thanks to poor planning. (Bacon's Rebellion)

Driver killed cyclist in hit-and-run: Police are searching for a driver who struck and killed a cyclist in Anne Arundel county on July 14. The driver got out of the car momentarily before driving away. (Post)

Historic trolley station to be preserved: The Oakton Trolley station from the Washington & Fairfax Electric Railway line still exists as a private home. The owner is offering a conservation easement to preserve the building. (Sun Gazette, David C)

Explore interactive census data: The Washington Post created an interactive map showing census data from 1990-2010. The map has data for the entire country and there are several data sets to explore. (Geoff Hatchard)

And...: Cities in the UK have a creative way to show how many bikes fit in a parking space (The City Fix) ... Maryland governor Martin O'Malley will introduce a bill legalizing gay marriage (Baltimore Sun) ... The National Building Museum is opening a photo exhibit that explores DC neighborhoods ... Arlington deciding what to do with last remaining dairy farm (WAMU).

Have a tip for the links? Submit it here.
Jamie Scott is a resident of Ward 3 in DC and a regular Metrobus commuter. He believes in good government, livable communities and quality public transit. Jamie holds a B.A. in Government from Georgetown University and is currently pursuing a Masters in Public Policy at Georgetown. 

Comments

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The Charlottesville bypass won't create demand for another bypass so much as it'll create demand for an extension to the bypass. The poor planning is on Albemarle County's part, for not preserving right-of-way for improvements along Route 29 itself.

by Froggie on Jul 25, 2011 8:41 am • linkreport

I was a bit disappointed to hear the dairy farm in question actually closed in 1950.

by charlie on Jul 25, 2011 8:46 am • linkreport

with the inability to round up 6 votes and no support from the deputy mayor, all wells will produce in the next 3 years is "ideas." great for the greater greater wells debate club, terrible for ward 6 constituents like me.

by LeonT on Jul 25, 2011 9:12 am • linkreport

re Thomas,

Can we stop with this ridiculous "alleged" crap.

The man is as guilty as they come and just because he got to skirt the technicality by working out a deal that that doesn't require him to admit guilt, while simultaneously refunding all the money doesn't mean this crime is "alleged".

While I am somewhat pleased that some of the corruption that takes place with such frequency in this town by our elected officials has been "punished", I am simultaneously sickened that this ghetto thug with a suit has gotten off so easily thus far.

Sue the man for a million, settle a month later for 300K, and he can't be involved in city fundraisers anymore!! Thats is?

They had reams of emails, financial data, they had his accomplices turn witness against Thomas and even pay the city back their part and this is it? They should have pressed him to leave office, repay DC the original 300K and all associated costs since, AND serve some jail time.

Granted, this deal doesn't mean the feds can't press criminal charges, but who knows if they will.

by freely on Jul 25, 2011 9:17 am • linkreport

Cities in the UK have a creative way to show how many bikes fit in a parking space

Great idea for CaBi stations.

by Jasper on Jul 25, 2011 9:40 am • linkreport

RE: Trolleys

Interesting stuff. I bet lots of people in the area don't really know much about the history of public transportation there. It would be really interesting to see some google maps markups with old routes and such. Too bad google fusion tables doesn't let you draw lines between points...

by MLD on Jul 25, 2011 9:41 am • linkreport

If only there was already a stadium at RFK that DC United could us.
Don't build a new stadium. They are so expensive - take all of that money and give it to the poor. I enjoy soccer, but would be willing to risk not having a team if it meant not giving into demands for a new stadium.
LA has a long history of resisting new stadiums for the Olympics, NFL, etc and it is better for it.

by MW on Jul 25, 2011 9:44 am • linkreport

I think that Metro has become too lax on allowing drinks on the trains and buses. While I have no real problem with bottled water, for some time Metro has allowed riders to bring coffee cups on board as long as they are "covered" and not consumed. This is a not-insignificant safety issue. I have seem riders drop their Starbucks cups, with their flimsy plastic lids, only to splash other riders with hot coffee. Plus it creates a real mess when the cups spill. A rider holding onto a pole, briefcase, blackberry and hot cup of coffee on a lurching train or bus is a safety issue waiting to happen.

by Bob on Jul 25, 2011 9:54 am • linkreport

Should have said:
"If only there was already a stadium at RFK that DC United could use."
I should be more careful when being snarky :-)

by MW on Jul 25, 2011 9:54 am • linkreport

It's important to understand that DC United would build the stadium with its own money; the city's investment would simply be for the necessary infrastructure improvements to support it.

by Phil on Jul 25, 2011 10:11 am • linkreport

@ Froggie,

If you had read the full article about the Charlottesville bypass, you would have seen that local planners have, indeed, been doing more suitable planning for Rte. 20.

To wit:

"As an alternative, Bypass foes had championed Places 29, a plan to re-develop the U.S. 29 development corridor by making spot road improvements to the highway, building parallel roads to divert local traffic from the main drag, creating more walkable, mixed use places along the corridor, and tying major activity centers together with mass transit. That plan, which has been refined over a decade of community input and negotiation, had broad buy-in from Charlottesville and Albemarle County citizens and leaders. The major improvements to Places 29 will cost an estimated $80 million – less than half the cost of the Bypass."

by Christine on Jul 25, 2011 10:19 am • linkreport

MLD, I'm embarrassed to nerd out on you here, but I once made just such a map.

by David C on Jul 25, 2011 10:29 am • linkreport

"A rider holding onto a pole, briefcase, blackberry and hot cup of coffee on a lurching train or bus is a safety issue waiting to happen."

Yet somehow the vast majority of transit systems around the world allow food or drink of any sort, and there aren't legions of burn victims from spilled coffee.

Also, I have been consuming bottled water on Metro for the past decade, without problems. I don't think anyone really cares as long as you are discreet about it.

by Phil on Jul 25, 2011 10:31 am • linkreport

We could move the jail to Hains Point. It has more of an Alcatraz feel and, thanks to NPS, we wouldn't have to worry about prisoners escaping on a Bikeshare bike.

by Ward 1 Guy on Jul 25, 2011 10:31 am • linkreport

Buzzard Point is prime real estate. Much more scenic than the Armory area. I'm surprised that the city isn't going to try and revitalize that area - kick out the cement trucks, The USCG is moving to St. E's...where else in the city do you have a view of the confluence of both rivers, and a direct line to Alexandria? (Nowhere). The last thing SW DC needs is a stadium...things are bad enough with the Ballpark.

by Matt Glazewski on Jul 25, 2011 10:44 am • linkreport

@Phil

This WaPo article makes it sound as though DC is responsible for most of the bill of a new stadium (but not all of it).

http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/struggling-with-crumbling-rfk-stadium-dc-united-is-desperate-for-a-new-home/2011/05/11/AFiiNb1G_story_1.html

by MW on Jul 25, 2011 10:53 am • linkreport

The Charlottesville bypass debacle that McDonnell is pushing through makes me so angry. I'm a UVA alum, plus I lived in Charlottesville and have often thought about moving back to the area in the future. That town will always have a place in my heart, and projects like this bypass and the lack of land-use planning north of the City are destroying so much of its quality of life and character. The alternative, smart growth concept seems like such a no-brainer in that situation. Why wouldn't you create places people want to live and play and solve many of the transportation problems for less than half the cost of the "bypass". Anything we can do to reverse the land use trends in the Charlottesville area would be a good thing. McDonnell and Cuccinelli are a cancer to the state, and I don't think that even approaches hyperbole.

Is there anything that can be done to oppose this project in favor of the vetted smart growth solution?

by Nick P. on Jul 25, 2011 10:55 am • linkreport

I agree that Buzzard Point is prime real estate and isn't a better place to put a jail than near the Armory, but I don't think a stadium there is a bad idea. Soccer stadiums can be built to be more compact and would be as much of a benefit to the area than some relatively uninspiring condos and apartments. And while I don't think large swaths of the city should be unused for long periods of the year, I think having the two stadiums near each other could be a good thing. There would still be plenty of space around there for waterfront condos, parks and attractions.

by Vik on Jul 25, 2011 10:57 am • linkreport

@MW

I'm not sure how you read that and conclude that any potential deal (remember, there isn't anything concrete even on the table right now) would be 'mostly' public.

It's frustrating that the most obvious site for a new DC United stadium (using the existing RFK parking lots - my preference would be Lot 3, just to the north of the Armory) is essentially off the table since that land that's local in purpose is federally controlled.

Stadium issues aside, the idea of a land swap to move the DC Jail is interesting. Both Buzzard Point and Hill East have strong development potential, but both require significant infrastructure investments to make that happen. Both have some geographic issues - the existing DC Jail is wedged up against the Congressional Cemetery and the Anacostia River, both large barriers that aren't going to change anytime soon. Buzzard Point has similar barriers with the rivers and Fort McNair.

by Alex B. on Jul 25, 2011 11:03 am • linkreport

@MW

I don't think DC United's owners are looking for an insignificant amount, but I don't think it would be most. Probably closer to 1/3. Maybe $100 million or so. I think the city has learned their lesson, isn't desperate, but can also negotiate an alright deal. The DC Convention Center hotel went from being completely public-financed to mostly private-financed. I know the economics are different for the two projects, but I hope something can get done.

by Vik on Jul 25, 2011 11:05 am • linkreport

@David C -re: street car map: on RI Ave NE and onto Rte 1 to Laurel, were the only stops at the Riverdale and Laurel stations? I know there was a turn around in Mt. Rainier at RIA & 34th...

by Tina on Jul 25, 2011 11:08 am • linkreport

"This WaPo article makes it sound as though DC is responsible for most of the bill of a new stadium (but not all of it)."

The Poplar Point deal that Fenty walked away from had DC United paying all of the construction costs. Also, most of the existing soccer-specific stadiums for MLS teams were paid for by the team. But, the infrastructure investments needed from the city are still substantial - tens of millions of dollars for utility connections, road work, etc.

by Phil on Jul 25, 2011 11:11 am • linkreport

@ 29/C'ville: Great, just what C'ville needs. More confusing road numbering. After US-250, US-250BYPASS, US-29, and US-29BUS, now more confusion with US-29 BYPASS.

Really, there are more numbers than 29 and 250!

by Jasper on Jul 25, 2011 11:35 am • linkreport

@David C- thanks for this map! My dad took the trolley from where he lived at Rhode Island and Blackfoot road all the way into Brookland DC for school back in the late 50s-60s. He remembers it all so fondly and I've emailed him the link to see the whole network.

by gina a on Jul 25, 2011 11:36 am • linkreport

Tina, I think there were more stops than that. There is a website that shows where all the stops were, and the guy took photos along the route to show remnants and such. But I can't look for it right now. I'm sure with a little digging you can find it.

by David C on Jul 25, 2011 11:37 am • linkreport

It would be nice to know what 9 acre parcel they are looking at trading out in SW for the prison. Buzzard Point has a lot of development challenges with Fort McNair, NDU, the power station, and South Capitol. If they positioned the jail site well, they could likely do so without a significant impact on the surrounding area.

As a Hill East resident, I'm totally biased though. I'd love to see something happen with Reservation 13.

by Nicoli on Jul 25, 2011 12:13 pm • linkreport

@Christine: I'm very familiar with Places29. Three problems with it, though: A) it doesn't go far enough north (should go all the way to Ruckersville), B) it doesn't do enough to counter the mass hordes of traffic signals along 29, C) serious right-of-way issues/constraints that will be expensive to remedy.

by Froggie on Jul 25, 2011 12:15 pm • linkreport

Nicole, Akridge owns this site at 1st and V SW:

http://www.100vstreet.com/

They've been marketing it for a long time.

by JD on Jul 25, 2011 12:30 pm • linkreport

(oops, sorry, Nicol*i*)

by JD on Jul 25, 2011 12:31 pm • linkreport

@gina @David C. -this lists the MD stops on the Laurel Line (and all the other lines too, or links to 'em)

by Tina on Jul 25, 2011 12:36 pm • linkreport

If only there was already a stadium at RFK that DC United could us.
Don't build a new stadium. They are so expensive - take all of that money and give it to the poor. I enjoy soccer, but would be willing to risk not having a team if it meant not giving into demands for a new stadium.
LA has a long history of resisting new stadiums for the Olympics, NFL, etc and it is better for it.
by MW on Jul 25, 2011 9:44 am

MW you are a man or woman after my own heart. Restraint. What a novel idea. Living within one's means. Working hard. Making something WORK with what one has.

TRAILBLAZER

by Jazzy on Jul 25, 2011 1:29 pm • linkreport

@ Phil
That is good news that past negotiations have DC United paying for building costs. I presume the amount the government pays is still being negotiated. With Baltimore and other jurisdictions offering cash, it is important to be OK with the team leaving.
From everyone's responses, it sounds like officials are already on top of things. That is great

by MW on Jul 25, 2011 1:37 pm • linkreport

@MW

No other jurisdictions are offering any cash as far as I know. Baltimore has a site, but they have no financing details - at least not public ones.

@Jazzy

The reason DC United is looking for a new stadium instead of renovating RFK is because a renovation of RFK wouldn't be cost-effective to accomplish their goals.

by Alex B. on Jul 25, 2011 1:43 pm • linkreport

A quick comment about DC United and RFK. DC United loses money playing at RFK or at any stadium where they don't control the revenue. And RFK has serious structural issues. Don Garber, the commissioner of Major League Soccer, has made it clear that without a new stadium, the league will have to move United.

Also, it's not as if the only use a soccer-specific stadium would get is 20 or so United home games. Other sss's get plenty of use for concerts, events, other sports. A 20-25k seat stadium near Metro and highways would be ideal for a variety of revenue-generating programming.

by Matt W on Jul 25, 2011 2:02 pm • linkreport

@ Alex B
Sounds like you follow this closely and there are fewer reasons to worry than I realize.
Although, statements like "Any deal is likely to require some assistance from the city. But the council and mayor ... are scrambling to fill a $322 million budget gap" (from the WaPo article) make me nervous. Can't say I understand the city's involvement in financing options (they are not pure cash transfers, but seem to involve public support).
But I am glad folks are following it and keeping the stakeholders honest.

by MW on Jul 25, 2011 2:34 pm • linkreport

My own $0.02 about a soccer stadium at the jail site (full disclosure: I contribute to a DC United-centric blog on SB Nation).

Matt W is correct that United's ~20 games per year would not be the only ones played at a potential stadium. There are U.S. National Team (men's and women's) games, El Salvador National Team games, Maryland/ACC tournament games, and DC United Women games. There's also the possibility for lacrosse games to be played in the stadium in addition to non-sporting events like concerts.

RFK is literally collapsing around the team - as in "chunks of concrete falling off the building". It's quite likely to be cheaper to tear it down than to renovate it. That said, I am happy to see several commenters pointing out the difference between building a stadium and using public money to finance building a stadium. If the land swap does go through and Ackridge wants to partner with DC United to construct a soccer stadium on part of the old jail site, that's an entirely separate issue from whether tax money or public bonds should be used to pay for/finance the construction.

by The AMT on Jul 25, 2011 2:35 pm • linkreport

@MW

The reality is that any development at the Hill East site (or at Buzzard Point) will require some contribution from the city. Neither area has adequate infrastructure presently, and it's somewhat useless to engage in hypotheticals at the moment.

by Alex B. on Jul 25, 2011 3:24 pm • linkreport

@Alex B.

I agree, but given the scope of planning for Reservation 13 (stadium ? aside), there will have to be a degree of investement for any plans for that site. A stadium would be a single piece of the Res 13 development picture, and a realtively small one at that.

The alternate to compensating for lack of infrasture is to leave the site alone and let the potential benefits of developing Res 13 remain unrealized.

by anon on Jul 25, 2011 4:34 pm • linkreport

@Alex B.:

The reason DC United is looking for a new stadium instead of renovating RFK is because a renovation of RFK wouldn't be cost-effective to accomplish their GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLs.

Fixed.

by TJ on Jul 25, 2011 5:09 pm • linkreport

so wait a second, the gay strip club was moed to build Nats stadium, and now they want to build a soccer stadium at Buzzards point, where the gay strip club has relocated? That hardly seems fair.

by Fabe on Jul 25, 2011 5:46 pm • linkreport

@JD Thanks for the link.

I am curious as to what the final land swap would look like. Buzzards point has some great views, but also limitations, especially metro access. Don't know if the city would end up going for a 1 for 1 swap or one that would provide Akridge with more land.

Hope something move forward on this, it would be nice to get something other than a homeless shelter and methadone clinic in Hill East.

by Nicoli on Jul 25, 2011 7:13 pm • linkreport

>> "It's important to understand that DC United would build the stadium with its own money"

I don't believe that to necessarily be a true statement. On Poplar Point the former United owner (and Real Estate magnate) said he'd finance the stadium himself. But that was also part of an overall package where that owner who get vasts amount of waterfront land to build mixed use condos. My strong hunch is that all the profit from the condos made financing the stadium himself more feasible. But the faithful DCU advocates/fans want to believe that offer exists in a vacuum and that the franchise would self-finance a stadium on any singular plot of land if they could just find one... I think that's naive.

by Paul S on Jul 26, 2011 7:07 am • linkreport

For the sake of hypothetical discussion, let's say this jail land swap goes through and the DC United stadium is built in Hilleast. What then happens with the land RFK is on and on what timeframe does it unfold? Will RFK just sit decrepit for a decade? Will the parking lots around it be able to be developed? I really hope the powers that be don't just let it sit like a wasteland in the hopes of reserving it for a future return of the Redskins. I'm a Skins fan but I don't ever want to see them return inside the district. Land by a metro in the district is far too valuable to be purposed for a use that is only active 10-15 days a year. Not to mention the fact game days are generally only on Sundays so the Redskins game traffic does not compete with rush hour commutes. NFL Stadiums belong in the burbs.

by Paul S on Jul 26, 2011 7:17 am • linkreport

@Paul S:

RFK is tricky. The issue (as I understand it) is that it's not the city's land. It's federal parkland, under control of the NPS and essentially has been loaned to DC under a congressional charter that says there must be one - and only one - active stadium on the site. Otherwise the whole thing reverts from DC back to the feds. That's why United can't build on the parking lots without Congress acting first.

Essentially what happens to RFK after United leave - no matter where they go - is currently out of the city's control. They might be able to lobby Congress regarding redevelopment or an "East Capitol Mall" or the Danny Dome, but in no event is any of those totally up to the city.

by The AMT on Jul 26, 2011 7:38 am • linkreport

@The AMT - I'm aware of the charter. Surely it will be a long process to convince the Fed's of another purpose for the land. But I'm frustrated that it seems our Council looks at everything of this nature (RFK, Overhead wires for streetcars,etc) as something to postpone taking to congress for years and years rather than taking the bull by the horns and getting the ball rolling. If something is going to take along time to navigate federal bureaucracy and resolve get it going asap rather than procrastinate and push the time horizon out even further...

by Paul S on Jul 26, 2011 8:15 am • linkreport

@Paul S - I'm with you there. I'd be all for an out-and-out transfer of the land to the city, but I'm not at all sure that the feds would be amenable, especially this Congress, which seems to go out of its way to make sure the District is well-aware of its second-class status.

by The AMT on Jul 26, 2011 8:31 am • linkreport

My dream for RFk and the parking lots around it is that it is rebuilt as Kennedy Family National Recreation Area (as it's owned by the Park Service). Then it could include sports fields, the hike/bike trail, a velodrome, play areas, etc... all as tribute to JFKL, RFK, TK and Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Special Olympics events could be held there.

That isn't the plan though. There is a plan out there - I think by NCPC. It involves museums and monuments.

by David C on Jul 26, 2011 11:25 am • linkreport

Does the jail have to be in DC at all? anybody know? Both Buzzard Point and Hill East Developments are waterfront assets that should be utilized and have better uses than a jail - could DC buy or lease land outside DC proper in a rural area of Maryland - nobody wants a jail in their backyard

by DCS on Jul 26, 2011 1:58 pm • linkreport

The RFK Redevelopment study.

by David C on Jul 26, 2011 10:54 pm • linkreport

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