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Weekend links: Everything old is new again

Photo by christinboggs on Flickr.
Urban farming returns to DC: Urban farming faces uphill battles with every vacant lot used, but a forgotten law to encourage urban farming could make things easier for farmers. (City Paper)

Fighting sprawl in 1959: The problems of sprawl had become readily apparent by 1959, but cures prescribed in a period video, such as cul-de-sacs and loop roads, were often worse than the disease. (Planetizen)

Mark Center gets a parking max: Mark Center is now limited to 2,000 parking spaces for its 6,700 workers. The limit, mandated by Congress, can only be raised if the Pentagon increases level of service at nearby intersections. (WAMU)

Cities fight gangs, power vacuums: Slums run by gangs become occupied zones after police move in and cities are struggling to integrate them into the broader urban fabric. (The Atlantic Cities)

UK crashes mapped: A beautiful map shows every car crash over the last 12 years in the UK. The lines put into visual form the human cost of roadways. (O'Reilly Radar)

Eisenhowers criticize Eisenhower Memorial: Frank Gehry's design for the Eisenhower Memorial has had its share of critics, but now Dwight Eisenhower's granddaughter Susan has spoken out against the design on behalf of the family. (Post, Steven Yates)

Cop hits bicyclist: A DC police car struck a bicyclist in Sherman Circle Friday morning. The cyclist was hospitalized for his injuries, but there is no word as to whether the officer was cited. (My Fox DC)

Next stop, holiday cheer: Chicago, San Francisco, and even Canadian Pacific all deck their trains with holiday decorations. Any chance we could see Washington's trains do the same? (Atlantic Cities, Steven Yates)

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David Edmondson is a transportation and urban affairs enthusiast working on his master's in city and regional planning at Cornell University. He blogs about Marin County, California, at The Greater Marin


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Let's be clear that Susan Eisenhower is objecting to the depiction of her grandfather as a boy, not to the particular stylistic choices Gehry made.

I think her objection is unwarranted. The origin story is one of the most powerful aspects of Eisenhower's life. The imperial fixation on triumph is not as interesting as the Cincinnatus angle. Creating a memorial that reminds Americans that politicians can start out simple, serve their country, and not grow old and corrupt in their office. How much more of a defense against cynicism can you get?

Whether you like Gehry's particular M.O. or not, that is the genius of his design. Unfortunately, it is also the primary target of criticism. It is mistaken.

by Neil Flanagan on Dec 17, 2011 10:01 am • linkreport

Just the other day I noticed a couple of MPD cars flying down one of our neighborhood streets at something like 50 mph (or more) with their lights on and wondered to myself if any reponse call could justify putting so many people at risk. I can understand their right to go through traffic lights, drive on the wrong side of the road, or 'whatever' when their lights are on and it's an emergency, but I can't understand there ever being a time when speeding at a rate more than double the speed limit is justifiable in terms of the risk vs. the benefits. Some states have passed laws outlawing these high speed chases. Given that we don't have too many high-speed roads to begin with in DC, you'd think we'd have even more of a reason to pass such a law here too. Maybe if the Council worried less about what people use to carry their groceries home from the market, they'd have time to consider something much more important and relative like this?

by Lance on Dec 17, 2011 10:40 am • linkreport

Sweet! I'm totally for decorating our trains for the holidays. I assume we're talking about Diwali and Ramadan? Can we use fare money or govt subsidies to pay for the decorating? Maybe we can divert staff from maintenance or customer service to put the decorations up.

by Falls Church on Dec 17, 2011 1:46 pm • linkreport

Or maybe we can fund a few wreaths and a couple of strings of lights by checking if there's an extra $100 of money that was originally bound for a pothole. I know it's a lot of money, but I can dream, right?

by Amber on Dec 17, 2011 2:22 pm • linkreport

Actually, those trains decked out in Christmas fare maybe do wonders for the morale of the people forced to work on those trains during the Christmas Season ... to say nothing of all the transit riders having to do the same. Normally, I'd be in agreement that we shouldn't be spending public funds on things not related to the service being provided. But given the season, and the reason, I'd relent on this one. And to those without the Christmas cheer, I say you're doing a great imitation of that 'bah, humbug' bit from Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol'.

by Lance on Dec 17, 2011 2:31 pm • linkreport

An associate of mine spotted the Canadian Pacific holiday train in central Minnesota (where CP has trackage) this past week.

by Froggie on Dec 17, 2011 5:44 pm • linkreport

I've always described Gehry as an "anti-urban" architect. So in this sense, his choice as an architect for a memorial in DC is quite appropriate.

by Tyro on Dec 17, 2011 10:35 pm • linkreport


by Drake Perth on Dec 17, 2011 11:19 pm • linkreport

What exactly are "Ramadan decorations", Falls Church?

I've seen lots of people bemoaning the supposed "War on Christmas" bringing this up. No matter that Ramadan was over and done with three months ago.

And since Islam (like Judaism) prohibits idols, this seems to severely limit such "decorations" - no Nativity of Muhammad statues, etc.

by Frank IBC on Dec 18, 2011 3:39 am • linkreport

And Diwali occurred on October 26, so "Diwali decorations" seems to be yet another talking point in the "War on Christmas" myth.

by Frank IBC on Dec 18, 2011 3:44 am • linkreport

I have no problem qith christmas decorations as long as we have decoratipns for other religions and beliefs. We could have Diwali decorations in Oct/Nov and still do christmas in December. Lets stop the war on Diwali.

I don't know what decorations would be appropriate for muslims but I imagine there's something out there.

by Falls Church on Dec 18, 2011 2:39 pm • linkreport

Google Eid or Ramadan decorations and you'll find plenty of ideas.

by Falls Church on Dec 18, 2011 2:42 pm • linkreport

I'd also point out that the White House does a Diwali celebration just like they do celebrations for other faiths. Why can't WMATA also give equal treatment to all religions.

by Falls Church on Dec 18, 2011 2:50 pm • linkreport

@Falls Church
We are all supposed to be part of one culture here, one greater Washington area community. Holidays are about GETTING TOGETHER and celebrating, not everyone going there own separate ways at different random times of year to to try to celebrate. The more the merrier anyway.

Why don't we just make Christmas more inclusive by also pretending it's Mohammed or Buddha's birthday or whoever else?

I mean don't believe in ancient Arab zombies or any of that mythic nonsense but I still like Christmas decorations. They are actually to celebrate to winter solstice. Our ancestors just told to the bible thumpers it was about Jesus to keep them from ruining the fun. Pine trees, ribbons, mistletoe and miniature lights don't have anything to do with Jesus or religion. Have some eggnog and relax why don't you.

by Doug on Dec 18, 2011 5:03 pm • linkreport


I have no problem celebrating the secular version of Christmas. Christmas is really two holidays in one: one secular and the other religious. If it were only a religious holiday, I'd have bigger gripes than a wreath on a train. Where's my vacation time for _all_ religious holidays, like Ramadan and Diwali and Winter Solstice!?

It's secular.

by Amber on Dec 18, 2011 5:30 pm • linkreport

Susan Eisenhower is quoted near the begining of the article as saying...

"The truth is we care (about)what we know, and I don't think my grandfather would be comfortable with the scale and scope of this design."

It's pretty clear that she's objecting to more than just the depiction of her "Granddad" as a boy. At least it's clear to anyone who dosen't have an ideological axe to grind. She goes on to say that "When I look at this memorial, I don't see any bit of him in it."

Even Mr. Kennnicott of the Washington Post, another knee jerk defender of modernism, invents his own narrative to disparage the critics, whomever they might be.

"If there are murmurings within the Eisenhower family and among Gehry skeptics and conserative critics, they probably have a lot to do with the basic feminization of the memorial language" Seems like he missed the memo also.

While Mr. Kennicott spins a psychobable yarn about this design inverting the heroic masculinity of traditional memorial design, ironically it's the designs colossal scale that many find appaling.

"Susan Eisenhower and her family, who she says are 'all on the same page' would prefer a simpler, more traditional design, one that depicts their grandfather's accomplishments."

It's quite clear what Susan Eisenhower thinks, it's just that to avowed modernists, it just dosen't matter.

by Thayer-D on Dec 18, 2011 8:26 pm • linkreport


I agree. It's not as if the trains are being decorated w/ nativity scenes. And, I think a lot of Christian denominations condemn idol worship as well. It's clearly evolved from being only a religious celebration.

I don't have any problem w/ celebrating the holidays of other cultures, but we're not going to celebrate every and all culture out there w/ the same enthusiasm. Most people in this country celebrate Christmas. Smaller minorities celebrate Diwali, Eid, Yom Kippur, etc., and no matter how much we try to force observance down people's throat, things will never be completely "equal" in that respect.

by Vik on Dec 19, 2011 10:18 am • linkreport

Uh-oh! You guys fell victim to one of your own biggest pet peeves in traffic reporting...

You write: "A DC police car struck a bicyclist in Sherman Circle Friday morning."

I believe you mean: "A DC police officer struck a bicyclist with his/her police car in Sherman Circle Friday morning."

I agree with GGW's stance that a car is an inanimate object that is the tool of the driver. Drivers, not cars, hit things. But if you are going to (rightly) call out the press for this mistake, don't forget to be careful about your own phrasing!

Happy holidays.

by Will on Dec 19, 2011 10:25 am • linkreport

I HATE the giant metal mesh screens in the Gehry memorial design.

by Tina on Dec 19, 2011 10:34 am • linkreport

@Lance, a high-speed [i]chase[/i] is dangerous inasmuch as it might inspire a bad guy to drive faster than conditions warrant. It sounds like that's not what you saw. You just saw evidence that all the police officers suddenly figured out they were in the wrong place. That is something the executive branch should study before taking action.

by Turnip on Dec 19, 2011 8:36 pm • linkreport

Thanks for the catch! The Fox headline ("DC Police Car Hist Bicyclist") got in my head I guess. At least I got the title right!

by David Edmondson on Dec 19, 2011 8:43 pm • linkreport

Lance: High speed chases are already discouraged (due to MPD policy), if not outright disallowed. I don't know to what extent the Council could actually pass a law regarding this one way or another. Given your interest in the matter, perhaps you could do the research on the topic and report back.

by Geoffrey Hatchard on Dec 23, 2011 1:43 pm • linkreport

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