Greater Greater Washington

Weekend links: World-sized ideas


Image from AEPA Architects Engineers P.C.
Will giant globe perch over freeway?: An architect wants to construct a building that looks like a split globe of the earth atop the I-395 Center Leg Freeway. (DCist, WBJ behind paywall)

Dupont underground movies?: Tenants pondering using space in Dupont's under­ground tunnels include a movie theater and a big retailer. The revenue would help fund arts space in much of the tunnels. (City Paper)

What agencies say about buildings: The Office of Planning thinks the proposed Adams Morgan hotel is too tall. Historic preservation staff recommend denying a raze permit for townhouses a church has been neglecting and wants to covert to parking, but take a different view of one DC-owned property in Anacostia.

Petition against the sidepath law: Ask the Senate to reject the provision in the transportation reauthorization draft that would force cyclists onto sidepaths in parks and other federal roads. Here's why it's a terrible idea. (Bike League, Streetsblog)

Height limit = high prices in one city: Gentrification is pricing the poor AND the middle class out of Munich. A height limit, which limits the amount of housing, is one contributing factor. (International, Erik W)

Traffic is bad for you, biking good: Science says traffic is bad for your brain. (WSJ) ... People with very long commutes are happier than those with medium-length commutes and transit riders, but walkers and bikers are best off of all. WTOP's story gets the message completely backward on cycling. (Men's Health, WashCycle)

The decline of pedestrian rights: Once, pedestrians roamed streets freely. They started to lose their dominance to streetcars and then bicycles, and ultimately to cars, especially when on-street parking became legal. (NY Times)

And...: A cyclist says a driver tried to intimidate him. (PoP) ... Nats catcher Wilson Ramos, kidnapped in Venezuela, is safe. (Post) ... New CaBi bikes get upgrades. (BeyondDC)

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David Alpert is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Greater Greater Washington and Greater Greater Education. 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 loves the area which is, in many ways, greater than those others, and wants to see it become even greater. 

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I'm pretty sure there used to be things called horses in the street. Pedestrians were killed by them all them time. Runway carriage? Not to mention the manure.

by charlie on Nov 12, 2011 10:04 am • linkreport

Awesome news about Wilson Ramos!

by Dave Murphy on Nov 12, 2011 11:23 am • linkreport

@Charlie
I'd feel more safe standing the middle of the street with a horse riding towards me than a car. In fact I think it would be hard for the rider to get the horse to trample me even if he was trying to. The animals natural instinct is to just go around you.

(Full disclosure: I have no actual real life experience with horses, the contents of this comment are based solely on many hours of Red Dead Redemption and my imagination)

by Doug on Nov 12, 2011 2:51 pm • linkreport

Can we amend the Senate legislation to force cyclists on to the path in open road sections of Rock Creek Park?

by Redline SOS on Nov 12, 2011 3:12 pm • linkreport

As for that split globe thing, as hideous as it is it beats looking at a freeway.

by Dave Murphy on Nov 12, 2011 3:24 pm • linkreport

@Doug, people were routinely trampled and killed by horses and carriages in the pre-car era. I have little to no direct experience with horses, but have read enough old newspapers to have come across multiple obits.

by Tim Krepp on Nov 13, 2011 7:25 am • linkreport

@Tim people were routinely trampled and killed by horses and carriages in the pre-car era. I have little to no direct experience with horses, but have read enough old newspapers to have come across multiple obits.

Yeah, I remember my great grandmother talking about someone she knew how got killed by a runaway horse (and carriage.) The sense I got is that these kind of incidents happened mainly when the horse stopped being under the control of their drivers. I.e., when something spoofed them or they otherwise just 'had a mind of their own'.

As for Doug's statement that 'The animals natural instinct is to just go around you. ... It shows a lack of understanding of how horse-powered transportation functioned. Horses wore blinders. They could only see straight ahead ... And the driver turned their head to force them to see in the direction the driver wanted the horse to go. So horses always went straight unless directed otherwise by their drivers ... Because the horse didn't have a say in seeing where to go ... It was the stopping and going that the horse would have more say over ... As witnessed by the many 'run-a-way' horse accidents they experienced back in the day.

by Lance on Nov 13, 2011 9:47 am • linkreport

South Bend, IN has a 25-story hotel, yet DC can't tolerate a 10-story hotel?

by Miles Grant on Nov 13, 2011 1:48 pm • linkreport

@Lance, I have absolutely no statistics but a sizable number of the articles I come across do reference runaway horses (and carriages). I can't ever remember them as alarmist, rather more in the tone that we use to describe accidents on the beltway (crash on 495, 2 dead, traffic backed up to the Wilson Bridge). Just a routine part of life at the time.

But I do come across stories from time to time of children being run over by horses on the street. "Look both ways" didn't start with the automobile...

by Tim Krepp on Nov 13, 2011 5:35 pm • linkreport

A long time ago, the term "carriage people" had some meaning -- a quick shorthand for the rich and arrogant.

It isn't a bad article, but most of the opprobrium is reserved for people riding bikes on the sidewalks. But yes, we've got to save the right for walking in the city. As someone who walks everyday I don't have many issues with cars. Bikes, trucks, busses, and people with double wide baby carrriages -- yes. And firetrucks. I am so tired of firetrucks.

by charlie on Nov 14, 2011 8:25 am • linkreport

An interesting factoid from the NYT piece that puts the current debate over speed limits into perspective:

After Charles Gates, a broker, was caught in 1906 driving 25 miles per hour in an 8-mile-an-hour zone in the Bronx, The Times carefully noted that he appeared in court wearing “a blue serge suit and light-colored spats.” He expected to get off, but Magistrate Leroy Crane told him, “You are a Wall Street man with millions, and you think that you can do what you please.”

Really, the bottom line is that there was a battle for public space, car drivers won, and they're no allowed to drive as fast as they please. The only responsibility lies with pedestrians to GTFOOTW.

My guess is that as the demographics of the city continue to change, we're going to see lower speed limits and greater (any?) enforcement.

by oboe on Nov 14, 2011 9:06 am • linkreport

Not long ago, my friend Stephanie was contacted by a well-bred Marylander from the Warfield family who was writing a book about his family. It seems Steff's great-grandfather saved a Warfield by heroically grabbing on to a runaway team of horses and bringing the carriage to a safe stop. It was rare for an African-American to get front page praise in a local newspaper, but young Mr Warfield shared tattered newspaper copies with Stephanie. It said his ancestor was saved from serious injury and possible death.

The Warfield family had some amazing people and stories. The King of England stunned the world by giving up his throne for "the woman I love," Wallis Warfield Simpson. And another member of the family ran a Chesapeake Bay passenger ferry business long before the Bay Bridge. They named one of the boats after him, the President Warfield. The Haganah bought the President Warfield, and renamed it the Exodus 1947.

by Mike Silverstein on Nov 14, 2011 9:17 am • linkreport

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