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


Breakfast links: What's in your wallet?

Photo by Dvortygirl on Flickr.
More on money orders: More evidence is emerging that Jeff Thompson's money orders were absolutely not on the level. (City Paper) ... Mary Cheh wants to ban or limit money order contributions to campaigns. (Washington Times)

Senate passes transportation bill: The Senate passed a 2-year transportation bill with strong bipartisan support and plaudits from many quarters. It would also restore transit tax benefits to $230/month, as last year. Leaders are urging the House to take up the Senate version. (Streetsblog, Examiner, The Hill)

Want to buy a paper?: The hedge fund owning the Washington City Paper and 2 other alt weeklies plans to sell them all, but first, imposed a 5% pay cut on all staff. The other 2 alt weeklies also faced layoffs, but not WCP. (Poynter)

Special comment: The City Paper is one of DC's best media, with absolutely top-notch coverage of urbanism issues thanks to Lydia DePillis. All residents should hope WCP gets owners who appreciate its fantastic work and all of its excellent staff.  David Alpert

How should Arlington expand CaBi?: As Arlington expands Capital Bikeshare, they could grow various ways: Keep stations in its 2 main dense zones, or expand through neighborhoods, trails and commercial corridors. (BikeArlington)

Liquor licenses need reform: A small bar trying to fill an abandoned building has run into dogged opposition by a small yet vocal group, inhibiting neighborhood revitalization and boosting calls to reform the liquor license process. (Blade)

Don't get squashed by a truck: Cyclists can significantly improve their own safety by learning how to avoid blind spots from trucks and buses. Most importantly: Don't pass a truck on the right anywhere near an intersection. (Commute Orlando)

The Disneyfied monument: Contemporary monuments tell a story through quotes and images, an experience for our television-trained minds, but do we lose the gut reaction associated with older, simpler monuments with this new design ethos? (Borderstan)

More forum wrap-ups: If you don't want to watch the complete video of Tuesday's at-large Democratic DC Council forum, besides our summary, Borderstan and David Klion put together their summaries and thoughts.

And...: An innovative solution to limited retail variety has residents pledging support to retailers they won't buy from. (WDWGFH?) ... Laurel invests $300,000 in downtown. (Gazette) ... An Arlington affordable condo plan doesn't quite work out. (ARLnow)

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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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Hmm, you missed a link. The Schuelke Report is being issued today?

Why is that important? Alleges criminal misconduct in, yes, the DOJ office of public intergrity.

If I'm reading the WCP report right, more smoke than fire. Having subsidiary corporations donate money is legal in DC.

Pardon me if I'm a bit suspicious of the feds these days.

by charlie on Mar 15, 2012 8:43 am • linkreport

My gut reaction is that Arlington should focus on CABI within its existing corridors and then blanket each new area (columbia pike, shirlington, lee hwy) en masse rather than choosing a less dense but larger coverage area.

Re: buckingham village. The county could have done better than just buy the place and keep renting it out however that would have meant a. knocking buildings down creating temporary displacements b. a lot more expensive but the layout of those apartments means there is a lot of unprogrammed and awkward space. The place could be denser, support the same number of subsidized apartments with market rate ones and added more commercial space on Glebe and had room for a new park/play area.

by Canaan on Mar 15, 2012 9:40 am • linkreport

and count me in as a big fan of the city paper and Lydia DePillis as well.

by Canaan on Mar 15, 2012 9:42 am • linkreport

Re: Buckingham Village:

The article stated," In the end, the market research suggested it could have taken up to four years to sell all 48 units, with a county subsidy of nearly $230,000 per unit."

That's insane considering that someone could currently purchase an older condo in that area for about that much right now.

by Fitz on Mar 15, 2012 9:49 am • linkreport

My gut reaction is that Arlington should focus on CABI within its existing corridors and then blanket each new area (columbia pike, shirlington, lee hwy) en masse rather than choosing a less dense but larger coverage area.

Ideally, I would think Arlington could benefit from a network of less dense stations in the less dense areas, making crosstown rides betweeen North and South Arlington easy. One of Bikeshare's assets in DC is the ability to link with transit trips and cut across the spokes of the transit network, thereby avoiding a) a longer trip, and b) a transfer.

The problem is that for a place with such walkable corridors, Arlington's connectivity between those corridors largely stinks. If I'm at the Drafthouse on Columbia Pike and I want to go to Crystal City, I have one route to take - that's it. And it's not all that direct. There are essentially two places where you can cross 395 - that's it. Going north isn't much better, good crossings of 50 are few and far between.

by Alex B. on Mar 15, 2012 9:53 am • linkreport

When Lydia's not castigating entire swaths of Anacostia residents, she's otherwise fairly decent.

I think they should limit money order contribution to maybe $100-300. I believe people should have the option to write a money order or check. But this also means the campaigns and the OCF must perform due diligence and be held accountable if they screw it up.

Haven't followed the Senate legislation much but wonder what's the GGW/urbanist position on it. I remember reading stories here noting how the unfairness in road vs. transit/rail allocations. Or am I confusing that w/Virginia?

The liquor license debate sounds familiar with the Anacostia /Women's Shelter debate.

Is WDWGFH an acronym for something?

by HogWash on Mar 15, 2012 10:04 am • linkreport

@alexB; short term vs. long term.

I saw some figures (not sure from when ) that suggest there were less than 1000 members in Arlington. Frankly, I'm surprised. WCP did a data dump last summer on zip codes, and I remember (perhaps wrongly) there were already several hundred arlington members, and that was before the living social deal.

So shrort term, you've got saturate Wilson and push N/S on that. I mean going down to 50/Washington Blvd (basically EatBar) and up to Lee Highway. You've got to boost the number of Arlington members.

Getting them near retail (lyon village, safeway on lee highway) is also important.

Long terms, yes, you've got to figure out how to get to Columbia Pike and Shirlington. Shirlinton is already an easy bike ride to Crystal City. Shirlington/Ballston is doable with the W&OD, but there isn't anything in between.

by charlie on Mar 15, 2012 10:12 am • linkreport

It's sad--the City paper and its siblings have been making a slow comeback. The two writers in Atlanta are veterans and very capable people. Supposedly, these changes have nothing to do with the sale, but I suspect that's b.s. of the first order. All of the papers were gutted when their parent was going under and the DC and Chicago papers never should have been sold. The CL parent had been torn by a family squabble and couldn't handle the debt that came with buying The Reader and City Paper, not to mention their lightweight approach to local journalism.

by Rich on Mar 15, 2012 10:12 am • linkreport

WDWGFH? Is the abbreviation of the source blog, which has the cumbersome name, Where Do We Go From Here?

by David Edmondson on Mar 15, 2012 10:20 am • linkreport


I tend to agree - but as an interim step, I think widening the reach of the R-B corridor network (since Crystal City is more geographically contained) is a great idea. That corridor shouldn't be so narrowly defined - I think anything between Lee Hwy and 50 is a good idea.

Arlington is a little more hindered in that regard than DC, as I think Arlington's residential areas tend to be more purely residential with fewer 'corner store' locations that would be a logical origin but also destination point for bikeshare users.

by Alex B. on Mar 15, 2012 10:21 am • linkreport

@alexB; agreed. The bikeshare "heat map" isn't very helpful and somewhat misleading on arlington. You've got to focus on retail. Another place that would be good is westover.

Another aspect is rebalancing. A more concentrated area makes it easier to rebalance. Something like westover might be hard to rebalance.

by charlie on Mar 15, 2012 10:27 am • linkreport

Yes - the hope with a bikeshare station at a retail node (no matter how small) is that the node might at least provide some incentive for natural rebalancing - but Arlington's land use patterns aren't particularly conducive to that.

Even if expansion away from R-B were focused on the N-S corridors like Glebe, Quincy, etc, that would help.

by Alex B. on Mar 15, 2012 10:34 am • linkreport

I know of a few examples of corner stores that really work in Arlingtonesque detatched-home suburbs, each of which function more as small markets - think 11th & M Market but upscale - than as real supermarkets or the kind of corner stores typical in DC. The best one that I know of is in Marin County, CA - Andy's Sun Valley Market.

by OctaviusIII on Mar 15, 2012 11:54 am • linkreport

From Lee to 50 is what I had in mind concerning expansion as well. It's an easily bikeable distance as it fans out from rosslyn back to ballston and beyond and can help if someone is deciding on whether to wait 20 minutes for the bus or to just bike it to R-B stations.

The problem may be with selling it as this covers pretty affluent areas while those in columbia pike/shirlington can justifiably feel shorted but I think if you can propose a plan that can argue for laying down a whole network of bikeshare stations at once rather than piecemeal connections then you're better off. It also helps that Arlington is only 26 square miles or so.

by Canaan on Mar 15, 2012 12:30 pm • linkreport

@ OctaviusIII; I've love to see someething like that go in at Lee and Veitch (the Bergmann's cleaners)

by charlie on Mar 15, 2012 12:43 pm • linkreport

@DavidE, thanks. I had no idea!

by HogWash on Mar 15, 2012 12:49 pm • linkreport

Oddly enough, across the street from the Sun Valley Market is a laundrymat. It's definitely the most walkable detached home suburb I know, and it's almost exclusively due to this corner store and the three other businesses on that corner.

by OctaviusIII on Mar 15, 2012 12:57 pm • linkreport

Re: Bike Safety

There really needs to be a bike safety page on CaBi's site with some basic info. Based on recent event and anecdotal observation, your typical CaBi rider doesn't seem to be aware of the dangers of passing vehicles on the right at intersections or riding on the sidewalk. What FEELS safe isn't always what's ACTUALLY safe.

by Falls Church on Mar 15, 2012 2:46 pm • linkreport

Which specifically links to this:

by MLD on Mar 15, 2012 2:54 pm • linkreport


When Lydia's not castigating entire swaths of Anacostia residents, she's otherwise fairly decent.

Without a link or quote, this is just gratuitous mud-slinging.

by oboe on Mar 15, 2012 3:31 pm • linkreport


Huh, what do you know. I swear that page must be relatively recent or something. That said the last time I probably visited the Cabi homepage was months ago when I re-upped my membership.

Great they have a safety page but unfortunately, it's kind of terrible. First, there is way too much extraneous information on the page, the important info isn't at the top, and the safety info that's there is just common sense or meaningless (like "Be Alert!"). Any safety page that doesn't even mention the term "right hook" is a failure.

Here's an example of much better safety page. Cabi should just link to this rather than try to invent their own safety page:

I love the intro:

This page shows you real ways you can get hit and real ways to avoid them. This is a far cry from normal bicycle safety guides, which usually tell you little more than to wear your helmet and to follow the law. But consider this for a moment: Wearing a helmet will do absolutely nothing to prevent you from getting hit by a car. Sure, helmets might help you if you get hit, but your #1 goal should be to avoid getting hit in the first place.

Ten Ways to Not Get Hit

by Falls Church on Mar 15, 2012 3:53 pm • linkreport

Without a link or quote, this is just gratuitous mud-slinging

Yes, lydia castigated Anacostia residents by calling those of us who don't want another social services facility..NIMBY'S. She wrote a whole article about it and later poorly attempted to clarify her ridiculous remarks.

You aren't an Anacostia resident, correct? So you really aren't sensitive to the issue, which explains why you needed quotes and decided that I'm simply mudslinging, correct?

by HogWash on Mar 15, 2012 3:53 pm • linkreport

Sorry, but after Lydia ran that piece in January on Nancy Metzger in which she absurdly lent credence to the claims of Laura Elkins -- calling Elkins' grotesque expansion of a Hill rowhouse "otherwise sensitive" -- she lost a lot of credibility.

Ever since filing a highly misleading permit application for the work, which a certain incompetent HPO staffer failed to read with any real care, Elkins has been playing Little Miss Wronged-By-All-the-Mean-People-on-Capitol-Hill at every turn. It's nauseating to anyone familiar with the underlying facts, and [deleted for violating the comment policy.] Instead of cutting through Elkins' self-serving crap, Lydia gave her yet another platform to whine about how unfair it is that all her immediate neighbors hate her. ([Deleted for violating the comment policy.] As somebody once said, "Hubris hurts.")

by CapHill Resident on Mar 15, 2012 6:32 pm • linkreport

Lydia never met a condo complex she did not absolutely love. Not everyone shares the Lydia love. To say the least.

by Jazzy on Mar 15, 2012 9:46 pm • linkreport

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