Greater Greater Washington

Breakfast links: Kicked out


Photo by vladeb on Flickr.
NPS punts soccer team from the Ellipse: FC Barcelona is in town for this weekend's match against Manchester United. The team wanted to kick around on the Ellipse in front of the White House, but the Park Service would not allow it. (Post)

Bikes make it across the bridge: Tommy Wells organized a group of cyclists to try to cross the Frederick Douglass (South Capitol Street) bridge, which lacks any sidewalk or other separate facility. It's harrowing and several cars honk, but they make it. (WAMU)

Metro morsels: New cameras on buses have caught drivers using cell phones and other infractions; the union isn't pleased. (Examiner) ... Some lucky riders got to try new seat coverings for future railcars. (Post) ... Stats show escalators less reliable than in the past, but actually, it's just that they're being inspected more often. (TBD)

Arlington faces heat for protecting its residents: The highways-at-any-cost Northern VA Transportation Alliance blames Arlington for scuttling the HOT lanes on I-95 & I-395. Arlington feared the widening would wreck residents' quality of life. (TBD)

Black folks can gentrify, too?: Black professionals moving to houses in Anacostia are learning that the term "gentrifier" may be more about class than race. (Post)

Developers sad that sprawl may be harder: Prince George's will stop letting developers pay into a fund when building in Brandywine, in the rural south of the county. Developers say this will hurt growth there, but is that really a bad thing? (Gazette)

Consequences of Congress: The debt ceiling debate already threatens credit ratings of area jurisdictions by potentially reducing local jobs and leases. (Post) ... Will the House fail to renew the gas tax, which expires at the end of September? (Politico, Rob P)

Poplar Point won't get DHS project: A proposed high-security federal development at Poplar Point is not going to happen since there's no money available. That could mean a less forbidding project ultimately helps create a neighborhood here. (City Paper)

And...: Women in the House finally get their own restroom. (Post) ... Some MARC commuters are partying hard on the ride home. (TBD) ... You might recognize a few of Zipcar's low-car diet participants. ... Walk in Arlington? take this survey. ... The Onion deftly mocks our country's poor infrastructure spending.

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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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"potentially reducing local jobs and leases". I have a felling with all the upcoming cuts being proposed, things are going to get ugly around here.

by RJ on Jul 29, 2011 8:54 am • linkreport

Also this morning there's a discussion going on on the Prince of Petworth blog about NIMBYism:
http://www.princeofpetworth.com/2011/07/friday-question-of-the-day-do-nimbys-get-a-bad-rap-reader-submitted/

by MrTinDC on Jul 29, 2011 8:57 am • linkreport

I'm not surprised about that story about the Ellipse; everyone knows all the NPS rangers are huge Madrid fans.

by TM on Jul 29, 2011 9:29 am • linkreport

The Frederick Douglass bridge does have a separated walkway on both sides, but it's narrow and difficult to cross if there are both pedestrians and bikes.

by Alan on Jul 29, 2011 9:35 am • linkreport

Ahem, sorry to step on your buzzwords, but the HOT lanes project did not propose any widening.

by Pete on Jul 29, 2011 9:37 am • linkreport

I Ride across the Frederick Douglass Bridge twice a day - is does have a narrow but usable sidewalk on each side, along with paths so that you don't have to cross S Cap St. It could be better, but it's nowhere close to the worse bridge crossing for bikes around town!

by Ash on Jul 29, 2011 9:39 am • linkreport

New cameras on buses have caught drivers using cell phones and other infractions; the union isn't pleased.

Can I just mention how fucking awesome the timing of this is, in view of the other thread? Damn WMATA management for not providing sufficient training!

by oboe on Jul 29, 2011 9:41 am • linkreport

If I get caught talking on my cellphone while driving, then get suspended without pay, and then return to my job and no longer talk on my cell phone while driving, that is good training. I have been trained on how to follow the damn rules and be a safer driver. Ms. Jeter you are nothing but an apologist for crappy dangerous Metro drivers.

by rdhd on Jul 29, 2011 9:52 am • linkreport

I cross the Douglas Bridge several times a week on bike. There are facilities on both sides (which include the cutest little barricades to keep me from passing when the bridge is drawn) that are relatively well-kept. Sure, it gets tight if there is another, slower bike or ped, but that's common on all bike and ped facilities. Of all the bridges to point out the deficiencies of, Douglas is a poor choice.

by jmg on Jul 29, 2011 9:56 am • linkreport

Wow, the Park Police idiocy has absolutely no bounds.

by MLD on Jul 29, 2011 9:58 am • linkreport

I may be completely off base here, but the gist I got from reading the WaPo article on black gentrification is:

Black gentrification = good
White gentrification = not good

by Fitz157 on Jul 29, 2011 9:59 am • linkreport

Not surprised that the Euro-wannabies on GGW would take offense that the National Park Service didn't want a professional soccer team (and their cleats) tearing up the Ellipse.

I agree with NPS. But I say, before we let some Europeans tear up Presidents' Park, let's be willing to let a high school championship football team play there (with the Pledge to the Flag and maybe a little pre-game prayer to start off the evening).

by Ralph on Jul 29, 2011 10:04 am • linkreport

Oh come on, Ralph, don't you know we're also communist atheists? Although we do love the overt homoeroticism of American football!

by jmg on Jul 29, 2011 10:11 am • linkreport

@Ralph-

Some of us ARE European. Those barbed words aside, I do at least agree that NPS concerns over turf impacts aren't entirely unfounded... though that's not to say there's not already a shortage of wear upon the turf elsewhere.

by Bossi on Jul 29, 2011 10:17 am • linkreport

Ralph,
Way to read. It wasn't anything about cleats it was about activities with large groups in the ellipse. I actually do agree with the Park Service in this case. Barca just showed up and started playing. If they would have asked in advance and worked with Park Service, the Park Service should have found someway to accomodate them. The other thing that should have happened is someone should have pointed them to the grounds of the Monument and told them to go there.

by nathaniel on Jul 29, 2011 10:18 am • linkreport

Actually Ralph, if you look at the pictures/video they aren't even wearing cleats. Probably because they didn't want to tear up the grass in a public park.

by MLD on Jul 29, 2011 10:19 am • linkreport

@Fritz157:

I think that oversimplifies things a bit; I actually thought the article was a good one. Lot of cognitive dissonance going on there, though.

First, no one thinks they're a "gentrifier". Everyone sees themselves as working to restore/strengthen a community.

Second, the comment about how black middle-class gentrifiers won't "snub" old-timers was pretty interesting:

Many older, middle-class black residents say they are proud that successful and wealthy black professionals are increasingly choosing to live in black communities. They feel confident that they won’t be standoffish to black neighbors, especially in a city with a bitter history of racial discrimination and segregation in housing.

In my experience, successful middle-class black folks are *less* tolerant of the various behaviors that lead to tensions in gentrifying communities (panhandling, drug use/dealing, public drunkenness, public urination, etc, etc...). The idea that white gentrifiers are "standoffish" towards friendly middle-aged ladies in church hats is silly. Heck, I'm not even standoffish towards the older gentleman in the disintegrating house a couple of doors down who has a constant stream of shady-looking individuals entering and exiting his house at all hours of the day.

My guess is your average black lawyer won't be as tolerant. Especially without a dollop of white-guilt to soften his approach. (Have you ever seen a middle-class black church lady respond to a panhandler's request for a handout? It's not a pretty sight.)

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

NPS are obviously Man United fans. Bunch of tossers.

by aaa on Jul 29, 2011 10:33 am • linkreport

Has anyone ever seen @Ralph and @Lance together in the same place?

by oboe on Jul 29, 2011 10:38 am • linkreport


The Post article on Gentrification was non-sense like most discussions here on Gentrification and Race. When Gentrification becomes an instrument of public policy using public resources designed to support low, middle and working class families to undermine community growth subsidize quick profits for a few, you a government and citizenry in moral and ethical collapse. The article attempts to use Race as a cover-up.

by W Jordan on Jul 29, 2011 10:45 am • linkreport

Re: the wmata article, did the union rep say anything more than just "they told us it was for training, they lied"?
Before I would consider this apologizing for bad behavior, I would like to hear the clarification because as it stands, his quote doesn't really say much. "They lied?" Oh ok. And what the hell does that mean? The examiner didn't think it was necessary to ask a follow-up? I mean geez, even GGW would ask the follow-up and not allow such a incomplete response.

@Fitz, I may be completely off base here, but the gist I got from reading the WaPo article on black gentrification is: Black gentrification = good..White gentrification = not good

You got it my brotha/sista! That's exactly what the article suggests. In fact, it's a continuation of similar articles that seek to change the "face" of gentrification I guess to make it sell better.

In my experience, successful middle-class black folks are *less* tolerant of the various behaviors that lead to tensions in gentrifying communities (panhandling, drug use/dealing, public drunkenness, public urination, etc, etc...).

Hunh? The tensions encountered in gentrifying communities are a result of panhandling, drug use and public urination?

Maybe I'm reading that wrong.

by HogWash on Jul 29, 2011 10:49 am • linkreport

Ahem, sorry to step on your buzzwords, but the HOT lanes project did not propose any widening

The HOT lanes didn't propose widening 395 but proposed increasing the number of lanes available to non HOV riders. It's kind of like "widening" but not exactly.

I agree with Arlington's position not to want the HOT lanes but disagree with their tactics which is what I think is causing so much blowback. Arlington sued the members of the Fairfax Board as individual citizens. That meant they potentially had to defend themselves personally with their own money (not sure if that ended up being the case).

by Falls Church on Jul 29, 2011 10:54 am • linkreport

My rugby team came to DC for spring training back in....wow I feel old (2000).... we practiced on the Ellipse for hours every day, usually twice a day.

The only time I remember dealing with any law enforcement is when some mounted police (Metro? NPS? Secret Service?) came by to watch and and asked us to roll a ball towards a horse's front legs, which we did a few times. I think it was some training thing--horse wasn't supposed to spook but was supposed to back away slowly etc. It was nice. It was also pre-9/11 and 11 years ago. So yeah.

by Catherine on Jul 29, 2011 11:13 am • linkreport

@HogWash:

...tensions encountered in gentrifying communities are a result of panhandling, drug use and public urination?

Sorry, I wasn't clear: When we're talking about the gentrifiers, that's exactly where 99% of the tension comes from.

by oboe on Jul 29, 2011 11:26 am • linkreport

"The District has plans to demolish this bridge and build a new one, but no money to carry them out."

Add tolls. In fact, add tolls at every bridge.

by Rayful Edmond on Jul 29, 2011 11:57 am • linkreport

I may be completely off base here, but the gist I got from reading the WaPo article on black gentrification is: Black gentrification = good..White gentrification = not good

What would happen if a house in Ward 3 put up a sign that said "No Blacks"?

Would it be shrugged off, explained away as "fear"?

What I got from teh article is the Ward 8 gentrifiers in no way believe that they are gentrifiers, because that's .. you know.. a white thing. It isn't... but that is, was and always will be the DC perception.

by greent on Jul 29, 2011 12:56 pm • linkreport

I thought the HOT lanes did propose adding 1 lane and then converting some of the other ones. But still there would be a net gain of 1 lane.

by canaan on Jul 29, 2011 1:19 pm • linkreport

From the gentrification article:

Still, skin color alone has not been enough to inoculate them against criticism that they are outsiders and interlopers. Anacostia has benefited from development brought by investment, but the G-word is still freighted with racial and class sensitivities. Some black gentrifiers said they feel some of the friction felt by whites when buying property in the area.

But the article doesn't really talk about what kind of difficulties that black gentrifiers face (in fact, it goes on to talk about people spray painting "no whites"). That's unfortunate, because the rest of the article seems like people are against gentrification exclusively because of race. If that is the case, that pretty much ends the debate on gentrification, since it's not the money they fear, but the fact that gentrifiers are white.

by Steven Yates on Jul 29, 2011 2:19 pm • linkreport

@ nathaniel: Barca just showed up and started playing. If they would have asked in advance and worked with Park Service, the Park Service should have found someway to accomodate them.

Yeah, cuz just playing a bit of soccer on a massive piece of underused grass should be regulated with forms and application procedures! This is DC!

by Jasper on Jul 29, 2011 3:16 pm • linkreport

@Steven Yate:

What struck me was that the dynamic is so similar to "gentrification" by white people moving into traditionally black neighborhoods. After all, here are a bunch of middle-class black folk who've decided to move into these neighborhoods with the best intentions: they want to fix up the houses, bring new retail, etc, etc... And of course, they don't want to alienate the existing non middle-class residents. After all, they're not like those *other* people! They've got good intentions.

We've operated on the assumption for so long that newcomers with white skin have the attitude of Dutch settlers arriving in South Africa, or something. But, of course most newcomers don't see themselves that way. They think they're honoring the history of the neighborhood, and would really, really like to have good relations with all their neighbors. Whether they're black or white.

It sounds like the people in this article have bought into the gentrification narrative described above, and they're honestly shocked that folks from a different socioeconomic class would be threatened and resentful.

by oboe on Jul 29, 2011 3:20 pm • linkreport

@Steven, that's part reason why I don't even like reading articles on gentrification. Seems like every article attempts to explain gentrification away so that it fits safely within the confines of their own beliefs.

Everyone has their own version of what gentrification means to them.

by HogWash on Jul 29, 2011 3:24 pm • linkreport

Oh, and I should add, the fact that for so long gentrification has had a "white" face to it is likely part reason why those in less affluent, black neighborhoods react against it. Obviously it isn't helped by those (on both sides) seeking to politicize a rather sensitive issue.

by HogWash on Jul 29, 2011 3:28 pm • linkreport

as many others have mentioned, the Douglass bridge actually isn't bad to bike over, although there are a few places where it's quite narrow and you pretty much have to get off your bike if someone comes up the other way. There are definitely some places where the roads and trails could be better signed or connected to the bridge but there are much worse places to bike.

by sb on Jul 29, 2011 5:04 pm • linkreport

The original HOT proposal for Shirley Highway specified that the existing HOV carriageway would be resurfaced and restriped to fit three lanes within the existing footprint by narrowing the lanes and taking away the shoulders. Very bad idea. Narrowing lanes is bad enough (have you ever driven over the Goethals Bridge in New York with its 10-foot-wide lanes?), but taking away the shoulders is a terrible idea.

So technically the road would not have been "widened" per se in that it would have maintained the same footprint, but there would have been an additional lane in the reversible center carriageway.

by Rich on Jul 29, 2011 5:42 pm • linkreport

Forgot to mention the Douglass Bridge. As others have noted (and as the article linked above notes), it does have two very narrow sidewalks. My then-girlfriend (now wife) and I walked across the upstream sidewalk (the one closer to Nationals Park) after a weekend afternoon game a year or two ago to access the Anacostia Metro stop rather than crowding into Navy Yard with the masses. It wasn't exactly what I'd call a pleasant walk. The sidewalks are very narrow and close to the traffic and on the southern side of the bridge they dump you fairly far from the Howard Road sidewalk that leads to the Metro (in our case, it curved around and we then had to cross the fairly desolate park down there). I would not make that walk at night unless I were in a large group because you're simply too isolated on the south side.

We usually drive to the ballgames because it's substantially faster getting home (20 minutes by car versus 45 minutes to an hour on the Metro, changing trains twice). But I'd consider parking at the Anacostia Metro and walking over the bridge to a future day game, as long as the weather isn't like it is today. But then, I don't think I'd go to a game when it's over 100F. That's not my idea of fun!

by Rich on Jul 29, 2011 5:47 pm • linkreport

@Rich:

Totally unrelated but: Where are you traveling to that you change trains twice?

by Steven Yates on Jul 29, 2011 5:51 pm • linkreport

@ Rich:Narrowing lanes is bad enough

Most of Europe does fine with narrower lanes and higher speed limits.

by Jasper on Jul 29, 2011 7:02 pm • linkreport

@ S Yates: although each Metro line does cross every other one (unlike the MBTA), an instance where that might be appropriate would be from Franconia via Blue-Yellow-Green, instead of sitting through Arlington Cemetery, etc.

by Payton on Jul 30, 2011 12:18 am • linkreport

@Jasper-Smaller cars? I don't know if you guys have a lot of Ford Expeditions over there...

by thump on Jul 30, 2011 12:43 pm • linkreport

Most lanes are much wider than the actual cars are. But you don't need highway-grade, 12-14' lanes in a city.

by Neil Flanagan on Jul 30, 2011 1:32 pm • linkreport

Yep- most lanes in the suburban Maryland are 11'. Within the inner parts of MoCo: lanes are often in the 10' range. Bethesda and Chevy Chase both have areas with 8' and 9' lanes, including one turn lane that measure 7'. Though one caveat is that WMATA's newer buses are 11' wide, if I recall... makes for some entertainment when driving up Conn Ave.

by Bossi on Jul 30, 2011 5:49 pm • linkreport

What about that whole "the right of the people peaceably to assemble"? I'm getting tired of the NPS, and other government agencies regulating people from using public space in peaceful ways. Its becoming like that little town in Missouri trying to regulate any group assembling in their own homes.

by Boots on Aug 8, 2011 12:45 pm • linkreport

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