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Weekend links: Hold it

Photo by IntangibleArts on Flickr.
A matter of personal dignity: Metrobus drivers typically don't have time for bathroom breaks, and when they do have time there's often no place to go. Not only is it uncomfortable, but holding it so long can lead to health problems. (Post)

ICC beats projections: Intercounty Connector usage exceeded expectations by about 1,000 cars per day for the first two weeks tolls were enforced. The freeway is projected to take 30,000 cars per day around June. (Examiner, Dan Reed)

Micro living for the masses: For only $850 per month, Vancouver renters get 291 square feet of their own in the downtown core. The apartments show just how much demand there is for urban living. (Grist, Dan Reed)

Our suburban presidential candidates: All but one of the Republican candidates for president have elaborately decorated McMansions in the suburbs. Jon Huntsman, the exception, owns a Kalorama rowhouse. (NYT, Dan Reed)

Closing bars for safety's sake: Mood Lounge is closed for 96 hoursincluding the New Year's holiday - following a double stabbing Friday night. Chief Lanier used her emergency liquor license suspension powers to close the club. (Post)

Purple Line moves ahead: Maryland's Purple Line received $69 million in state funds for preliminary engineering work on Thursday. The line could start construction in 2015, but much more funding is still needed. (Examiner)

Bluetooth travel time: Arlington wants a real-time travel system on Highway 50 with displays showing how long it will take to drive from one point to another. The system would work by measuring how long it takes Bluetooth signals to travel from one detector to the next. (Business Journal)

Redevelopment agencies lose fight: Most of California's redevelopment agencies will be shut down after losing their court fight against Governor Jerry Brown's austerity budget. The agencies captured property taxes to fund themselves, which the Governor said was a drain on local and state budgets. (LA Times, Pacific Sun)

And...: Arlington is on track to have its first murder-free year since 1960. (ARLnow, Miles Grant) ... A pedestrian struck in a crosswalk dies. (Post) ... DC's office market isn't quite so hot. (Business Journal) ... 8 of the 10 busiest Metro days were Nats game days. (Patch)

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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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It doesn't help that the first few primaries are all in rural states as well. Matt Yglesias (OMG!) had an idea about moving the NH primary to Massachusetts that would actually force candidates on both sides to talk about urban issues.

Then again, the Tea Party/Republican party at large thinks smart growth legislation is actually an attempt to abolish private property and turn the nation into a collectivist state.

by Canaan on Dec 31, 2011 11:02 am • linkreport

Hey, Huntsman owns the Top Chef house!

Also, as much as I dislike Ron Paul, his sale strategy is quite awesome:

by Tim on Dec 31, 2011 11:19 am • linkreport

Bathroom Breaks :

There is a simple solution reroute buses so that the start and end points are places where the drivers could use the restroom. I dont know about all buses but most in the Beltway and almost all in DC could be extended or rerouted to nearby MetroStations, local Malls, or Shopping Centers.

In many countries bus routes travel from Bus Depot to Bus Depot or Bus Depot to Station, which fixes many problems we have here; bathroom breaks, broken down buses, changing operators etc. But since that is not done here and could not be done due to placement of the depots there will have a hard time finding a solution.

by kk on Dec 31, 2011 1:32 pm • linkreport


Not necessarily. An ongoing problem with downtown is the lack of public restrooms. WMATA and DPW could partner up and install public restrooms along bus routes, solving two problems at once.

by OctaviusIII on Dec 31, 2011 1:40 pm • linkreport


Installing public restrooms downtown does nothing for the rest of the area. Many places are more isolated than downtown and should be handled first.

Think about the bus routes that travel out into Laurel, Crofton, Bowie, Burtonsville, Clinton, Indian Head etc, where would you find a bathroom at.

One good example would be the Metrobus C18 that use to travel to Waldorf it was long and there was no place or time to use the bathroom, since the bus never had a layover in Waldorf.

Would you install public restrooms along every bus routes ? it would be cheaper and less of a hassle to reroute every bus to a station.

The only buses that I could think of in DC that could not be rerouted to start and end at a Metrostation without adding a long distance or amount of time to the route are the E6, M4, B2, B8, B9 and some A lines every other bus route in DC is within 2 miles from a station so they could easily be extended to a station.

by kk on Dec 31, 2011 2:36 pm • linkreport

Putting an early primary in a state like Mass has two drawbacks. One, its a large TV market, so the advantage would always go to the establishment favorite who always leads fundraising. A dark horse winning then becomes very unlikely. Second, urban states like Mass are solidly blue. A candidates ability to do well says little about their general election prospects. Small swing states where a candidate could win by knocking on doors rather than an elaborate air campaign are the truest tests in primaries.

by Falls Church on Dec 31, 2011 3:03 pm • linkreport

Your characterizations of the news articles couldn't be more arrogant. The Republicans, of course, must be said to live in "McMansions," but the folks who pack themselves into Vancouver high-rises like sardines are some vanguard of good judgment. One day you'll realize how you've made this blog a laughing stock by turning it into a parody of the sorts of things that urban liberals knowingly say to each other about others to make themselves feel good about their lifestyle choices. It's nothing more than an effete city version of Fox News.

by Dan on Dec 31, 2011 8:04 pm • linkreport

Keep up the good work in the new year, David. If we wanted phony populism, we would go to the FOX website.

by watcher on Dec 31, 2011 9:05 pm • linkreport


Well I expect rich people to live in big houses but what is interesting is that normal people are paying not insignificant sums to live somewhere where they trade a lot of space for location. Sure 850 could buy them a lot more Sq. footage somewhere else but they're choosing downtown. So yes we should pay attention when people are really hungry for affordable living in an urban area. And in a blog about urban issues isn't it noteworthy to note that the candidates largely are from rural/suburban areas.

by Canaan on Dec 31, 2011 9:24 pm • linkreport

Bluetooth! So that's how they do it!

I drove up I-95 north tonight and saw the new message board signs: e.g., Beltway 35 miles, 39 minutes. Wondered if they just guessed based on traffic counts and speed of passing cars.

But if you look carefully, there are overhead sensors every so often - not the EZ-Pass ones, either, but something stranger. They look like cones. So these things are noting Bluetooth signals and identifying individual transmitters?

How Orwellian!

by Jack Love on Dec 31, 2011 11:05 pm • linkreport

@Jack Love, They also use the movement of cell phones from one tower to another to triangulate where cars are, what direction they are heading in and at what speed.

That's how Google Maps (and your GPS) operates.

Yes it's Orwellian ... Combine that with the thousands of cameras in the DC area alone that can be tapped by centralized communications offices, and the ongoing mining of data and voice communications, and it's far more Orwellian than even George Orwell could have imagined.

by Lance on Jan 1, 2012 12:48 pm • linkreport

Glad to see the ICC story included without a snarky aside.

by Arl Fan on Jan 1, 2012 1:04 pm • linkreport


Not sure what you're describing is "Orwellian". In the dystopia Orwell described in "1984", everyone had a TV in their home as well. We've seen TV ownership grow to be practically universal. Very troubling.

Fortunately, ownership is falling, so the forces of freedom are on the march!

by oboe on Jan 1, 2012 2:04 pm • linkreport


For an urban-centered constituency, the fact that GOP candidates are from suburbia is concerning. They would probably have little sympathy for transit or density-related concerns, and that's what's interesting.

The Vancouverites that take the VERY small apartments is a sign of an extremely constrained housing market, and also a sign that some value location so much that they're willing to rent something so small for a fairly inflated price. This has implications for units-per-acre density limits and other zoning codes.

by OctaviusIII on Jan 1, 2012 2:14 pm • linkreport


No idea how it's done down here, but up north, it's done with EZ-pass sensors. The equipment is a lot smaller, because the system doesn't need to be as precise, catch every car, or shoot photos.

by andrew on Jan 2, 2012 10:34 pm • linkreport

The economics in Vancouver are a wonder to behold.

When I visited a couple years ago, there was a nice haberdasher across the street from my hotel. Ties cost $150.

by goldfish on Jan 3, 2012 8:44 am • linkreport

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