The Washington, DC region is great >> and it can be greater.


Breakfast links: Remembering and moving on

Photo by RBudhu on Flickr.
Memories stay secure: Ceremonies took place at Ground Zero, the Pentagon, and Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Police in DC and New York tracked down several stolen vans, but none linked to terror plots. (Politico, Washington Times, Post, NYT)

"Mile-high club" couple triggers scare: Fighter jets scrambled to escort 2 flights where people reported suspicious bathroom activity, but neither were terror-related. In one, a couple turned out to be "making out" in the bathroom. (AP, MSNBC)

Emergency response still muddy: The region's emergency response plans still have huge holes; for example, nobody has clear authority to order coordinated action across all jurisdictions. ... Does E Street really need to stay closed? (Post)

Financial disclosure or erosion of home rule?: Kwame Brown wants greater financial disclosures. Councilmember Cheh agrees with the idea, but opposes using a federal law to implement it, which could put DC even more under Congress' thumb. (Post)

Is this development crime-resistant?: Prince George's police might review development plans for their potential to foster or resist crime, like whether there's adequate lighting and the design facilitates "eyes on the street." (Examiner)

Car-free easier and more popular: It's easier than ever to go car-free in DC, thanks to transit, bike infrastructure, and car sharing services. Over ¼ of households now own no car. Younger drivers are driving less as well. (Post) ... Sign the pledge to go car-free on Car-Free Day, September 22!

New MLK road signs confusing: Perhaps not surprisingly, new signs for "Martin Luther King Drive" are very confusing in Anacostia, where the ceremonial road sometimes overlaps with MLK Blvd, SE and sometimes other roads. (And Now, Anacostia)

And...: What would Obama's jobs bill bring to DC? (City Paper) ... The MLK memorial dedication will be October 16. (Post) ... Tom Toles riffs on the new Metro map. (Post)

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John Muller is an associate librarian, journalist and historian. He has written two books, Frederick Douglass in Washington, DC, Mark Twain in Washington, DC, and also writes at Death and Life of Old Anacostia


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In the comments on the Post's website 20 somethings are ridiculed for living car free and people wonder about when they'll move back to the suburbs. However of the two people profiled one is in her sixties and the other the age isn't mentioned.

by Canaan on Sep 12, 2011 9:16 am • linkreport


Not surprising given the WaPo comments are a cesspool of bigotry and ignorance. Things have improved since they started moderating comments, but only barely.

Case-in-point, see the enlightened comment on Islam in the "Does E Street really need to stay closed" article.

Avoid them at all costs.

by MLD on Sep 12, 2011 9:25 am • linkreport

The county I used to live in near Birmingham, AL, had what I thought was a very intelligent ordinance -- no two streets could have the same or similar names. This was primarily put into effect at the request of emergency services, which had experienced several close calls in which EMS response was delayed due to streets, roads, circles, drives, etc., having the same or almost the same names. Seems like such a policy is called for with respect to Martin Luther King, Jr., MLK, and other name permutations in this case.

by ksu499 on Sep 12, 2011 9:30 am • linkreport

@ksu499:no two streets could have the same or similar names.

That makes sense. So, it will never happen in DC.

Aside from that, it is cumbersome here because there are so many interrupted streets. Go look on a map where Delaware Ave all pops up. There are basically 4 utterly unconnected parts.

by Jasper on Sep 12, 2011 11:01 am • linkreport

Seconding Jasper's point, my personal favorite is the 3600 and 3700 blocks of U Street, NW.

by Dizzy on Sep 12, 2011 12:13 pm • linkreport

Regarding the police review of development plans, is this really something we want? We just celebrated the tenth anniversary of an event that's been used to justify closing off and ugly-ifying (that's a technical term) just about every public building in the country. Do we need more non-design professionals mucking up the process and giving us police-state design?

by Bryant Turnage on Sep 12, 2011 12:21 pm • linkreport

@ Dizzy: my personal favorite is the 3600 and 3700 blocks of U Street, NW.

Obviously on the intersection with 48th St.

And nearby: Q St, Q Pl and Q Ln NW. Hey, and did you know there's a Potomac Ave NW?

by Jasper on Sep 12, 2011 12:30 pm • linkreport

Don't forget 12th Pl NW!

The stupidity of street naming in this city knows no bounds.

by MLD on Sep 12, 2011 12:48 pm • linkreport


In the comments on the Post's website 20 somethings are ridiculed for living car free and people wonder about when they'll move back to the suburbs. However of the two people profiled one is in her sixties and the other the age isn't mentioned.

There are a lot of 40, 50, and 60 year olds who live in the suburbs who simply can't conceive of the changes that urban DC has seen in the last decade. For the few who actually wanted to live in the city, they didn't see staying in DC circa 1987 as an option. Things have changed. Their notions have not.

by oboe on Sep 12, 2011 12:50 pm • linkreport

Actually, street naming in DC is pretty logical. "Place" is often used when it's necessary to insert a street into the system.

Let's say we need to add a street between 20th Street and 21st Street. What do we call it? I suppose we could call it 20th & 1/2 Street. I suppose we could make it a randomly named street. Or we could call it 20th Place.

by Matt Johnson on Sep 12, 2011 1:42 pm • linkreport

@Matt Johnson--

I don't know if it's so logical; I think it creates more confusion and I'd prefer unique street names. I live on a "street" that has a parallel "place" and we are constantly getting mail for the household that lives on "place". Worse, much of that is actually addressed to "street," suggesting that whomever did the original data entry likely saw 'place' but read 'street'.

If DC used house numbering that counted by more than 2, then they could use staggered street numbers on adjacent streets, which would help, but they don't.

by thm on Sep 12, 2011 2:07 pm • linkreport

Sometimes it is a half street — the small street off Pennsylvania Avenue east of the Wilson Building is 13½ Street, NW.

I like the approach on some letter streets best, of using streets with the same first letter as the adjacent main street (Hobart, Kilbourne, Otis, etc.).

I was never sure if Riggs Place just north of R and Swann Street just north of S were this pattern or not, since by that logic the 2 small streets just to the south should be Pchurch Street and Quorcoran Street, and Twallach, Twillard, and Taroline farther north.

by David Alpert on Sep 12, 2011 2:10 pm • linkreport

On police review of development--

The article talks about "crime prevention through environmental design" (CPTED) which is a real and fairly well developed program but it is troubling just to talk about "extra lighting". Hopefully this is just the reporter's mis-characterization.

The relationship between crime and lighting is anything but straightforward. IMHO most notably, the Chicago Alley Lighting Project [PDF] found that increased lighting led to an increase in both violent and property crime at night, compared to day-time levels and to a control area.

More important than light levels are factors like glare, shadows, and uniformity of illumination. To do an effective review would require the services of someone with a non-trivial amount of training in CPTED, and if the police department doesn't already have specialists it isn't the sort of thing that should just be handed over to some random officer.

by thm on Sep 12, 2011 2:34 pm • linkreport

@Matt Johnson

Then the problem is you have two adjacent streets that have nearly identical names. That creates confusion for mail carriers, emergency vehicles, and people just trying to find the street while cruising by; if you're trying to look for a street sign, having two in a row that have a big 12 on them makes it more likely you'll pick the wrong one.

I get that it's logical, it just seems to defy common sense to me. Especially in a city where you can't expect to just get on a street and keep going until you hit your destination (due to one-ways, natural barriers, diagonal streets, etc.)

by MLD on Sep 12, 2011 2:43 pm • linkreport

There's also Half St.SW where you get vehicles inspected

by Tina on Sep 12, 2011 3:12 pm • linkreport

Mile High Club

While I can understand the thrill of being up in the air going 600+ mph and 'doing it'. I can't ever conceive of actually going through with it when I see how small and nasty an airplane bathroom is.

At 6'2", there is barely enough room for me alone in there, let alone being paired with any of my petite ex-girlfriends. Next you have the aroma. Ugh! Last flight I took a large woman ahead of me just have gone standing up and left the entire lavatory drenched.

I'll pass on the Mile High Club and instead try out 'doing it' on the baggage carousel. :D Looks more fun there too.

by Cyclone on Sep 12, 2011 3:30 pm • linkreport

The city paper article on the impact of the jobs bill on DC doesn't mention the biggest potential boost -- increased employment of govt contractors and lobbyists associated with implementimg the bill.

by Falls Church on Sep 12, 2011 5:18 pm • linkreport

@ Matt, David, thm: To me, it makes a lot more sense to have Riggs and Reservoir near R St than to have Q Pl next to Q St. It is bad to have names that appear the same. Out where I live, we have South Run Rd and South Run Ct. They're utterly unrelated and it's terribly confusing.

But then again, DC is a name mess. For instance, why are Decatur Place and French Rd not simply Riggs Rd? And why is there a Riggs Pl while two blocks down the road it's Riggs Rd? Why does U St become Vernon? Why is the eastern part of California St not Seaton St?

I can not but snicker at virtually ever tourist guide that starts explaining the DC grid as simple and easy to navigate. The initial idea behind the grid was easy. It was never simply to navigate, and has become a terrible and illogic mess.

by Jasper on Sep 13, 2011 11:03 am • linkreport

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