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Mara, the bicycle Republican

Patrick Mara, challenging incumbent Carol Schwartz in the Republican primary for DC Council at-large, told WashCycle he's more pro-bike than his opponent.

Is this Columbia Heights bike rack telling us something? Photo by Mr. T in DC on Flickr.
I do not own a car and understand the importance of more environmentally friendly transportation in the District. Cycling is a fun and practical form of transportation in an urban environment. As a Columbia Heights resident, I appreciate the bike lanes on 11th street (my home street). I would certainly advocate more bike-friendly policies and oppose the opening of Klingle road to autos. I am also keenly interested in the new SmartBike DC program. It has the potential to be a great success.
Schwartz was one of three Councilmembers to fight for roads over recreation on Klingle. During her tenure chairing the committee overseeing DDOT, she passed legislation to add a few more on-street parking spaces at the expense of any larger transportation vision.

I'm sure I disagree with Patrick Mara about a great many issues, but from what we know so far, on transportation he'd be an improvement over Carol Schwartz.

David Alpert is the founder of Greater Greater Washington and its board president. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He now lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle. 


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I hope he wins his primary!

by Bianchi on Sep 5, 2008 9:20 am • linkreport

Schwartz, over her long and illustrious tenure, has done many great things for the city. She is a republican in name only, and even fought for mandatory sick days for workers (which is why many republican groups now support Mara). She has oversight of the DMV and has completely tranformed it from a laughing stock into a (relatively) efficient agency.

While it wouldn't be tragic for some new (R) blood to be injected into the council, Schwartz is someone worthy of our utmost respect and admiration for what she accomplished during the dark days of the DC council.

by SG on Sep 5, 2008 10:30 am • linkreport

She also supports paving over the creek and valley in the Klingle valley while calling herself an environmentalist and she referred to CDC and NIH evidence as hyperbole. She personally attempted to ridicule the person presenting the NIH and CDC data (me) and thereby tried to discredit the evidence. She is not at all worthy of my utmost respesct. She acted very disrespecfully to me personally in a public forum. I will never respect her again unless and until she comes to me personally, face to face, and apologizes. One of her Democratic collegues did the same thing. Party affiliation is not a factor.

by Bianchi on Sep 5, 2008 11:19 am • linkreport

We desperately need more pro-transit, pro-Smartgrowth Republicans. This can't remain an issue bogged down in the typical Democrat vs. Republican trenches.

by PJ on Sep 5, 2008 1:18 pm • linkreport

Bianchi- If restoring Klingle Road is "paving over the creek and valley in the Klingle valley", despite the large amount of remaining unpaved parkland there, then what is the selfishness of development to not allow a South Capitol promenade, but rather just another K Street?

And what about "e" groups as the Sierra Club which said nothing at all about the latter?

by Douglas Willinger on Sep 5, 2008 1:22 pm • linkreport

the only way a successful road could be built in Klingle Valley would be to channellize the creek- otherwise any "restored" road would be vulnerable to the frequent out-washing that plaqued the "old" road. Regarding the S. Cap Prom. and K St I don't know what you're talking about. If you have a question for the Sierra Club, contact them and ask!

by Bianchi on Sep 5, 2008 2:02 pm • linkreport



It was the issue that the local "e" groups surrendered their credibility as "independent" organizations" insofar as a start for not reporting upon it.

I did contact the Sierra Club a few years back to no avail.

Perhaps someone quite influential lives along Klingle Road?

by Douglas Willinger on Sep 5, 2008 2:17 pm • linkreport

DW-you seem to be implying something. Why don't you just come out and say it? I can't read your thoughts. In any case I am certain that what ever you are implying has nothing to do with me. It turns out the most influential people regarding the recent political outcome for Klingle Valley were hundreds of people who emailed city council, dozens who testified and, ultimately, 10 Council members who voted with the trend of citizen sentiment.

by Bianchi on Sep 5, 2008 2:25 pm • linkreport


Perhaps you should provide the link to your blog. To be honest with you, I think your blog has the best information about this South Capitol Street Mall idea. Come to think of it, the same is true with the idea for a Mall north of Union Station.

This idea is so widespread that I probably wouldn't know what you're talking about if I didn't have your blog bookmarked. Despite the fact that I sharply disagree with you about building freeways in cities, I have enjoyed your blog for its posts on history.

On another note, no one lives on Klingle Road. It was a road through a large urban park remember? The fact that it was destroyed and world didn't end lends credence to the idea that traffic disappears (motorists become cyclists, transit riders, don't bother to make what was a discretionary trip, while the few remaining find another route) when a road is closed. The Sierra club is against rebuilding Klingle Rd. because that road does not exist in a vaccuum. The traffic on that road has consquences, many of which are negative and unintended.

by Cavan on Sep 5, 2008 2:33 pm • linkreport

I ask about who lives in that area because of the *disproportionate* amount of attention to it by the Sierra Club (indeed it is the ONLY issue appearing on their open spaces pages).

Yes, the Sierra Club totally ignored the South Mall, as did EVERY "e" group that I contacted about it in 2004+. Since canceling the SCM may ultimately save but one building -- St Vincent de Paul RC Church -- asking about properties and their ownership are logical questions.

BTW- what are the traffic counts on the parallel roads to Klingle Road? I think its more likely for drivers to divert to another roughly parallel road then it is to switch to walking or riding a bike, or switching to some mode of transit.

If Klingle Road was the only road to cross CT Ave with a grade separated crossing, how much more brake dust was created by closing it?

by Douglas Willinger on Sep 5, 2008 2:53 pm • linkreport

DW, I don't have any inside information on S.C. or other "e" groups. Regarding Klingle - this battle is won, in my perspective (Yayy!). Maybe someone else will take your bait and re-hash with you. Personally I am very much looking forward to getting on a bike trail at Cortland (a tiny street) and Klingle (SW end of Klingle) and riding to the Beach Dr. trail directly. Yayy! It will be so much safer than going to Conn. Ave and down Porter with all the racing cars, which is what I do now. Yayy! Yayy! Yayy! Bike trails!

by Bianchi on Sep 5, 2008 3:09 pm • linkreport

Good for the bike trails.

We could use far more of them!

But I do think that the turn out over the Klinlge Road issue had something to do with the amount of attention given by the "e" groups, just as the converse was true with the South Capitol Mall.

by Douglas Willinger on Sep 5, 2008 3:13 pm • linkreport


I am transportation chair for the DC Chapter of the Sierra Club and you NEVER contacted me about South Capitol Street. We are an all-volunteer organization and have limited resources, so we can only do so many things. Right now, our main transportation campaign is streetcars and all of our VOLUNTEER resources are focused there.

Our position on Klingle had nothing to do with who lives nearby. Indeed, if, as you imply, our position on Klingle was somehow tied to material gain or some other nefarious goal, I have yet to see the fruits of that Machiavellian scheme. (Perhaps other chapter leaders are keeping me in the dark as they spend their ill-gotten Klingle booty!) Bottom line: Sierra club is an environmental organization and it's not a stretch for an environmental organization to oppose a road through a park. You might think we were wrong to oppose the road, but please stop trying to attribute that opposition to some dark, nefarious and pseudo-secret goal.

I personally like the NCPC plan for South Capitol Street but I also like a lot of other ideas that various organizations and people have floated. If I and our other volunteers did not have jobs and lives, perhaps we could actively promote 25% of the ideas that we think have merit. In the meantime, if you think South Capitol Street and the southward extension of the Mall are so damn important, stop blaming other organizations for lack of action and get to work on a grass roots movement to promote it!

by Ralph Garboushian on Sep 5, 2008 5:18 pm • linkreport

Ralph Garboushian-

That's what I tried starting, in 2005 with my web site "The Future South Capitol Street Gateway", in 2004 with my testimony at the DC City Council stadium hearing, and starting in March 2006 with my South Capitol Street blog.

I even had created that stamp pair graphic in 2005.

I contacted plenty of people within the various "e" movements, and it was like trying to wake up the dead.

by Douglas Willinger on Sep 6, 2008 9:50 pm • linkreport

With the Committee of 100, this went beyond inaction, as that organization opposed the Extending the Legacy, and had sent a letter against it to then President Clinton.

by Douglas Willinger on Sep 9, 2008 11:23 pm • linkreport

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