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


Weekend links: Unfortunately expected

Police ticket cyclist in Los Angeles. Photo by alexbcthompson on Flickr.
Hurt cyclist ticketed for nonexistent violation: Police gave 3 tickets to the cyclist hit by a truck driver at 11th and U. One was for not wearing a helmet, even though the law doesn't require him to wear one. (DCist)

Costco "beautiful," says Kwame: Costco will soon come to Fort Lincoln. Kwame Brown praises the development because it'll "look beautiful" to look at the back of the store while driving in on New York Avenue. Really? (Post)

Let's loosen the numbers: Current budget projections for DC show a $34.8 million surplus next year. Mayor Gray thinks that's "unrealistically low", and is pushing back against the CFO's projection. (Post)

Evans has Logan Circle parking plan: Councilmember Jack Evans wants to reserve half the street for resident-only parking in Logan Circle, as is now the case in performance parking zones in Ward 6 and soon much of Ward 1. (DCist)

Want a grocery? Add housing: Why does Foggy Bottom get a Trader Joe's, Petworth a Safeway, but Anacostia a warehouse supermarket? Income and population density. To attract a better grocer, neighborhoods must add housing. (R U Seriousing Me)

Hidden urbanism: Governor O'Malley's proposed budget limits the mortgage income tax deduction by limiting tax deductions in general, and Maryland's housing industry is not happy about it. (Market Urbanism, WAMU)

Sprawl is really quite big: A whole village could fit inside a typical 12 acre park-and-ride lot, complete with shops, housing, and public space. (Small Streets)

Promise and peril in public housing: Housing projects exemplify 60s-style urban decay, and few were worse than St. Louis's Pruitt-Igoe project. Urbanists would be wise to listen to that failure's lessons when planning newer public housing. (Atlantic Cities)

Elect the regionals?: The only elected regional government in the US presides over Portland. Though the experiment is a success, state and local governments have been reluctant to give away such power and follow Portland's example. (Atlantic Cities)

And...: A judge imposed a lifetime driving ban on a 17-year-old driver whose crashed into a tree, leaving a passenger in a coma for weeks. (CBS) ... St. Louis will study whether to demolish a freeway downtown, which would give easy downtown access to the river and Arch for the first time in decades. (Streetsblog)

Have a tip for the links? Submit it here.
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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to be fair, the costco is prettier than all the burned out cars and dead bodies that used to be found there.

by a on Mar 3, 2012 10:13 am • linkreport

I like regional goverment too. For all the belly-aching about representation in congress, I suspect if someone offered Fairfax, Arl/Alex, Moco, and PgCounty a chance to join a larger federal district they would jump. A district that size would also be hard to refused a senate/house seat for.

But in this area, I think we are lucky that Fairfax county is almost the size of the Portland Metro. MoCo is also huge.

If density and demographics were everything, Rosslyn would have a significant upgrade from their crappy safeway.

by charlie on Mar 3, 2012 10:31 am • linkreport

Interesting that GGW went with the above description for the costco link. I submitted a link tip with the following description: Retail center anchored by Costco aims to transform the New York Ave gateway to the city, create 1200 jobs, and bring in $634M in tax revenue.

Focusing on a stray comment by Kwame is burying the lede on this one. Hmmmm....I wonder why.

The attitude of "TOD development or no development" for every possible location won't make Washington Greater.

by Falls Church on Mar 3, 2012 10:38 am • linkreport

Rosslyn is not that dense when it comes to residential development. Ever walk around Rosslyn at night? Pretty dead.

It's like trying to disprove the correlation by pointing to Federal Triangle and asking why there are no grocery stores. I know for a fact that a primary factor Whole Foods uses in determining store locations is the number of college educated people living within 15 mins of the location.

by Falls Church on Mar 3, 2012 10:46 am • linkreport

@FallsChurch; yes, I live in Rosslyn. Or rather by the safeway. It is very dense, very high income. Far more than the west end -- which is mostly hotel rooms.

by charlie on Mar 3, 2012 10:52 am • linkreport

That Atlantic article focuses on a HUD report on HOPE VI, and on the newly-released documentary The Pruitt-Igoe Myth

The article entirely misses the point of The Pruitt-Igoe Myth. The filmmaker argues, instead, that the project was a success, with a dramatically lower crime rate than the surrounding tenement neighborhoods, until white flight and the crash of urban industry killed St. Louis.

This is what the film website says:

The world-famous image of its implosion has helped to perpetuate a myth of failure, a failure that has been used to critique Modernist architecture, attack public assistance programs, and stigmatize public housing residents. The Pruitt-Igoe Myth seeks to set the historical record straight.
The filmmaker is quite explicit and even more forceful in his defense of the Pruitt-Igoe idea in an interview with 99% Invisible (a design show; nothing to do with OWS).

by David R. on Mar 3, 2012 10:57 am • linkreport

There are already a number of grocery stores in shit neighborhoods where people from the other neighborhoods have to go. It's really a non-issue.

by aaa on Mar 3, 2012 11:50 am • linkreport


I lived in Rosslyn for 10 years and would agree with the below UrbanTurf article that points out that while Rosslyn is dense with office space, not so much with residences. That's changing, though, and I expect better grocery options will be on the way.

“I think there’s pent-up demand and a complete lack of product,” Jim Abdo, who built two condo loft buildings in Rosslyn a few years ago and recently broke ground on a third, told UrbanTurf.

“We feel very bullish on Rosslyn: there’s a transformation to a very pedestrian-friendly experience [going on].”

Rosslyn has a reputation as a place that shuts down after 6pm, and there is some truth to that as, so far, the neighborhood doesn’t have a critical mass of restaurants or nightspots that would make it an evening destination.

Like the area’s residential situation, Rosslyn’s cultural and commercial scene is evolving.

Developers like to say that retail and restaurants follow residential growth. If true, that bodes very well for Rosslyn, an area with a housing market that’s hot and getting hotter, but that has a pretty lackluster commercial scene. In a few years, who knows? Rosslyn could become the dynamic, pedestrian-friendly, day-and-night destination that developers envision.

by Falls Church on Mar 3, 2012 11:54 am • linkreport

@Falls Chuch:

According to the census, there are 12K people in the 22209 area code (rosslyn)

14K in 20037 (west end)

There are at least 4 new buildings that came up since the census -- all resiedntal. 3-4 new ones planned and in construction.

Average sale price of $700K.

Look, I've been in line at that safeway and I'm the only person who did not attend an Ivy League college. Demographics are off the chart sometimes, and clearly better than west end with a large student population.

And that's not including people working there.

Again, demographics is not destiny when it comes to grocery stores.

by charlie on Mar 3, 2012 12:17 pm • linkreport

The cops should have arrested the cyclist for being a dumbass. Required or not, anyone who runs a red light and is not wearing a helmet is just that.

by Bob on Mar 3, 2012 3:11 pm • linkreport

"Want a grocery? Add housing: Why does Foggy Bottom get a Trader Joe's, Petworth a Safeway, but Anacostia a warehouse supermarket? Income and population density. To attract a better grocer, neighborhoods must add housing. (R U Seriousing Me)"

If this is true, why does Cleveland Park and McLean Gardens just get a Giant, rather than a TJs or a Wegman's?

by Axel on Mar 3, 2012 3:14 pm • linkreport

@Bob, It is unclear if the cyclist actually ran the red light. Witness testimony has been vague and contradictory and police did not interview the cyclist before they issued the ticket. It is also unclear if the truck driver signaled his turn and/or ran the red light (a rolling stop). The fact that police issued a ticket for something that isn't illegal casts strong doubt on all of the tickets. Also, yes he should have worn a helmet, but it would not have protected his crushed pelvis.

by Slim on Mar 3, 2012 3:47 pm • linkreport

Want a grocery? Add housing: Why does Foggy Bottom get a Trader Joe's, Petworth a Safeway, but Anacostia a warehouse supermarket? Income and population density. To attract a better grocer, neighborhoods must add housing.

Does Anacostia want a better grocer, or would they rather simply drive to another neighborhood to go grocery shopping, especially when the alternative would be more residential and commercial density?

by Tyro on Mar 3, 2012 4:03 pm • linkreport

I am dubious that the truck had his signal on. Or if so the cyclist could not see it. I find it highly unlikely that any cyclist with an iota of experience would continue straight on the right of a vehicle with its turn signal flashing--regardless of traffic signals.

Although it is legal to turn right on a red light at this intersection, it is unclear if the truck came to a complete stop, but rather rolled on through. That is consistent with some of the eyewitness accounts.

The police did not interview the cyclist and they issued several tickets--one for a nonexistent infraction--based on conflicting eyewitness reports and incomplete information.

Do they simply have discretion to make things up and decide who to believe or not believe and choose not to talk with those they would rather not (the cyclist, e.g.)? None of this gives me much confidence in our system, regardless of whether the cyclist made a mistake.

by Steve O on Mar 3, 2012 8:09 pm • linkreport

"Although it is legal to turn right on a red light at this intersection, it is unclear if the truck came to a complete stop, but rather rolled on through."

And this points to a problem with the 'okay to pass on the right' bicycle reg. Right on red didn't exist when this law got codified. Passing a truck that is stopped at a red light and having to wait for the light to change (as used to be the case) is one thing. Passing a truck stopped at a redlight which is in its rightmost lane and therefor legally able to make a right turn at any time is a whole other matter. A prudent and experienced cyclist would never attempt to pass on the right a truck in this position. But CaBi isn't intended to serve the experienced cyclist, is it? (problem #2) ...

Changing the law to make it illegal for a cyclist to pass ANY vehicle on the right (as it is for motor vehicles) is something worth considering to prevent what is otherwise sure to be increasing instances of this kind of accident.

by Lance on Mar 4, 2012 9:27 am • linkreport

And considering that the bicycle regs as they relate to use of roads and streets were written with children riding their bikes around their neighborhood in mind and not with adults using bikes for commuting purposes, we really ought to revisit ALL the bicycle regulations in effect.

by Lance on Mar 4, 2012 9:32 am • linkreport

That doesn't sound very likely about the bike regs being written with children in mind. However, here's a change in the biking regs that would be helpful: "In any accident involving a bicycle and a motor vehicle, the driver of the motor vehicle will be assumed to be at fault unless he/she can prove otherwise".

by renegade09 on Mar 4, 2012 9:42 am • linkreport

Sounds good to me. A car can do more damage than a bicycle. With great power comes great responsibility.

by Amber on Mar 4, 2012 10:37 am • linkreport

When I first moved to rosslyn there were no crazy lines at the safeway. Since that time Rosslyn has actually added a lot if residents and I predict that a renovated safeway and/or better grocery options are on their way.

That said, rosslyn will never get a fancy grocery because it's already between two TJs and two whole foods (foggy bottom and clarendon). While there are more than just two factors developers use to locate retail like groceries, demographics and density are two of the most critical.

DC is generally under served by groceries. Probably has to do with the cost of space and of doing business. I'd say one grocery for cleveland park sounds about right compared to what the rest of the city has.

by Falls Church on Mar 4, 2012 10:53 am • linkreport

""In any accident involving a bicycle and a motor vehicle, the driver of the motor vehicle will be assumed to be at fault unless he/she can prove otherwise".

this makes about as much sense as if we wrote '"In any altercation involving a man and woman, the man will be assumed to be at fault unless he can prove otherwise".'

It doesn't make sense because (a) it wrongly assumes that in all instances one party is always capable of doing more harm, and, more importantly (b) it is not based on justice being served but on the interests of one class of parties over the other. We may just as well say 'in any instance of a car accident between a registered voter and an illegal immigrant, the illegal immigrant will be considered to be at fault unless he/she can prove otherwise'.

Whoever thought of this idea is either completely ignorant of the basis of law and justice or so blinded by their own needs and wants that they just don't even care about law and justice. Sad.

by Lance on Mar 4, 2012 11:24 am • linkreport

$35 billion? Upward spiral for DC?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Mar 4, 2012 12:41 pm • linkreport

@Lance Changing the law to make it illegal for a cyclist to pass ANY vehicle on the right (as it is for motor vehicles) is something worth considering to prevent what is otherwise sure to be increasing instances of this kind of accident.

This would be unreasonable where bike lanes exist; otherwise it probably would be safety-enhancing. But query whether it will really affect the behavior of casual CaBi riders who are unlikely to have detailed knowledge of the biking regs.

by Arl Fan on Mar 4, 2012 12:59 pm • linkreport

Build brand new buildings with fitness centers, grills, and wifi, and you automatically get a Harris Teeters, I think.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Mar 4, 2012 1:43 pm • linkreport

Lance, in 'accidents' involving bicyclists/pedestrians and vehicles, the two parties are entirely unequal, unlike with your spurious analogies. The law ought to more adequately reflect this. Driving a motor vehicle carries with it significant potential to kill or injure, however most drivers are aware that they face minimal consequences if they are involved in a collision.

Right now though, it is irrelevant what the law is anyway, because cops in this town seem to always look for a way to blame cyclists in these cases.

Lance, a cyclist who got run over was cited for an imaginary infraction (not wearing a helmet). Do you agree that this is proof that cops are not applying the law fairly in road accidents involving cyclists?? Will you demand an investigation?

by renegade09 on Mar 4, 2012 2:16 pm • linkreport

pardon typo. 35 million is still not bad.

by Aw on Mar 4, 2012 4:26 pm • linkreport

Also, yes he should have worn a helmet, but it would not have protected his crushed pelvis.

Yes, it may have been ineffective, but at least the victim would have signaled his moral seriousness to the @Bob's of the world.

by oboe on Mar 4, 2012 6:00 pm • linkreport

The Anacostia comparison makes a point, but misses some other ones. Anacostia is not that far from Hillcrest, which has a Safeway. Foggy Bottom has stores that would be expensive for Central Georgetown or most of Dupont, which is a big part of their draw. Except for the Piney Branch Safeway, there are no grocery stores in the area between Petworth/Columbia Heights and the MoCo border, a populous stretch of DC that is solidly middle to upper income. NE DC (outside of Capitol Hill), outside of the Brentwood Giant is another supermarket desert.

I wonder if the Logan rule will make much difference. Most of the people who park near me live in the neighborhood.

The headline for the cyclist should have noted running the red light, as well as the non-existent infraction.

by Rich on Mar 4, 2012 7:09 pm • linkreport

the problems with projects have always been more than the usual stereotypes. Low rise, smaller projects fared much better than high rises in many places. The status of public housing as the housing of last resort, instead of housing with well-enforced rules was a problem, along with the deterioration of maintenance. Deferred maintenance was the preferred way for the public and private sector to whether the growing inflation of the 70s. NYC's projects seem to be in better shape than most other cities--I did a site visit for a research project in the S Bronx a few years ago and the atmosphere around the projects was totally different than what I used to experience on the South Side of Chicago. The projects in NYC tend to be less concentrated and the chronic shortage of affordable housing in the city probably has played a role.

by Rich on Mar 4, 2012 7:18 pm • linkreport

The only elected regional government in the US presides over Portland.

This is inaccurate because it is one of many limited-purpose governments, this one mainly for planning. The primary example of limited-purpose governments are the water districts: irrigation and water control, which often span counties.

The true regional governments are consolidated cities in which the main city has merged with its containing county and has other cities within the boundary. Examples include Nashville-Davidson, TN, Indianapolis-Marion, IN and, most recently, Louisville-Fayette, KY.

VA law permits the creation of consolidated cities. This has been overlooked in the discussions about incorporating Fairfax County. The County has joint ventures with Fairfax City and Falls Church City, which make them candidates for merger with Fairfax County. They and Fairfax's towns would become "tier cities" with powers determined by negotiations before the consolidation. This would be superior to simply incorporating Fairfax County, as the interests of existing localities can be accommodated.

by Chuck Coleman on Mar 4, 2012 7:58 pm • linkreport

In a shooting involving an armed gunman and an unarmed victim, the gunman shall be assumed to be at fault unless proven otherwise.

by Ward 1 Guy on Mar 4, 2012 9:36 pm • linkreport

@Ward 1 Guy. Thanks. You've shown how ludicrous this 'assumption' is and how it turns justice on its head. It could be someone else who 'did it' ... It could be the supposed 'victim' shot themselves. The list goes on and on. Thanks for helping illustrate how crazy (and simplistic) this assumption is. It's kind of scary though that some people really don't get how wrong this is ...

by Lance on Mar 4, 2012 10:24 pm • linkreport

I don't think we're even close to the point of what the cyclist should or shouldn't have done if we can't even get the police to know the law well enough to write a ticket for an infraction that doesn't exist.

Also, always illegal to pass on the right is silly. That could be construed that a car that is in the left lane with its left signal on would be illegal to pass.

by Canaan on Mar 5, 2012 9:07 am • linkreport

Falls church; I have no idea when you lived in Rosslyn. For kicks, I looked up the 2000 census -- population was in the 12K range, so about the same. And for 1990, I'd gues it is the same.

Now, a lot has changed since 1990, but you've had high density for 30 years, and one (very lousy) grocery store. I don't see the religion of "build it dense and they wil come" as working. There are always other facts.

The Safeway was renovated around 1999, and really, since then, it has been acceptable.

by charlie on Mar 5, 2012 9:11 am • linkreport

Getting a good laugh here at the specious analogies and ridiculous ideas being put forth in reaction to the run-over cyclist being issued dubious tickets by an uncaring police officer with a bad case of windshield perspective. "make it illegal to pass cars on the right? Ludicrous. While riding in a bike lane that's pretty much what you do, pass cars on the right, I do it constantly every morning while auto traffic is gridlocked. To any rational person, as opposed to frothing-at-the-mouth bike haters, the ticket for not wearing a helmet should definitely be dismissed! The whole episode is reminiscent of the time a pedestrian crossing Connecticut Avenue was struck, and may have even been unconscious, but was issued a ticket for jaywalking while the motorist who plowed into the pedestrian while likely violating the 25mph speed limit was unpunished.
Also, the reporting of these stories is deficient and biased. "He wasn't wearing a helmet" uhm, irrelevant in this case, and just a way of casting a negative light on the victim. With pedestrians you always hear "they were wearing dark clothing", oh the HORROR! Everyone should change into white or yellow clothes immediately upon nightfall, it's the fault of the pedestrian for wearing a tasteful black or brown coat instead of hunter orange...

by MrTinDC on Mar 5, 2012 11:38 am • linkreport

So those laws that automatically assume that the car rear-ending another one is in the wrong shouldn't exist? There are plenty of laws on the books like this.

by lou on Mar 5, 2012 3:24 pm • linkreport

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