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Photo by The Malones on Flickr.
Extended play: Congress approved a 90 day extension of transportation funding, ensuring the gas tax and road construction funds will not end this weekend. The House never took up the Senate transportation bill. (The Hill)

Congressional meddling to get behind: A Redskins training facility on Reservation 13 could violate federal law deeding the land to the District, as the law specifies any use must comply with the Reservation 13 Master Plan. (Flahaven, oboe)

Streetcar comes up short: DC's streetcar will have a 42% operating shortfall, and the District doesn't know yet where it will get the money. Fares are only expected to cover 19% of operating expenses. (Examiner)

Schools face cuts: Costs at DC Public Schools rose 5%, but Mayor Gray's budget only adds 2%. Special education coordinators and librarians are likely to see cuts. (Post)

Bar owners back their best interest: Mayor Gray's proposal to keep bars open an hour longer won praise from bar owners who said it would improve their business and the city's economy, safety, and nightlife. Councilmember Graham, though, is concerned the later hours would bring more crime and noise late at night. (Post, DCist)

DoD choice worsens traffic: The Department of Defense is setting up a sprawling campus near the Beltway and Route 50 in Fairfax. Since it's not new construction, it doesn't have the same rules for reducing single-passenger vehicle use. (WTOP)

Bike sharing a ripoff? Expand it!: A London mayoral candidate calls its bike sharing system "an under-used, elitist rip-off." So what does he want to do? Expand the program to more and poorer neighborhoods. All 4 candidates are competing to see who can have the most aggressively pro-bicycle policy. (The Times)

Formalize the informal street: New York City has an informal, 6-block "avenue" connecting lobbies and plazas that gets heavy use. Now the city will add crosswalks and stop signs to make "6½ Avenue" legal to walk from end to end. (NYT, Ben Ross)

And...: The H Street area gets its first bike shop. (Post, Falls Church) ... DDOT wants to close a block of 10th Street NW to cars in front of Ford's Theater. (City Paper, Bossi) ... DC's largest private solar array is under construction in Tenleytown. (DCmud) ... Mayor Gray will propose tax breaks for high-tech businesses and their investors. (Post)

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David Edmondson is a transportation and urban affairs enthusiast living in Mount Vernon Square. He blogs about Marin County, California, at The Greater Marin

Comments

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Considering Metrobus only covers about 30% of operating costs with fares and advertising, I would say that covering 58% of operating costs is pretty good for the streetcar.

by Michael Perkins on Mar 30, 2012 8:32 am • linkreport

“In the night people don’t travel,” he said, sitting in a blue delivery van on Tuesday afternoon on West 53rd Street. “But cars do.”

Apparently the cars drive around empty.

by Michael Perkins on Mar 30, 2012 8:40 am • linkreport

You are getting "farebox recovery" confused with everything else.

Per the article...

"The District Department of Transportation estimates that fares would cover 19 percent of the costs to run the first two lines over five years. By comparison, Metro fares cover 82 percent of the costs for Metrorail and 27 percent of Metrobus expenses"

Fares alone cover 27% of bus costs. DDOT is only expecting fares to cover 19% of the streetcar.

by streetcar on Mar 30, 2012 8:41 am • linkreport

What is the circulator recovery rate?

by charlie on Mar 30, 2012 9:01 am • linkreport

Although it's true that the Defense Health Headquarters didn't have to meet the same 1-pax vehicle rules as some other BRAC moves, the WTOP article points out that:

Raytheon, the previous tenant of the building housed a similar number of employees.

by Arl Fan on Mar 30, 2012 9:11 am • linkreport

DC's largest private solar array is under construction in Tenleytown.

Georgetown's ICC solar roof still produces 4 times the energy that this "largest private solar array" will produce. It used to be 7 times as much back when it was built in 1984.

http://sustainability.georgetown.edu/initiatives/carbonfootprint/

I am not sure how Georgetown University is not a private entity in DC. Same for the panel at AU.

Look, I'm happy that someone installed a solar panel on his roof. As far as I'm concerned, capturing solar energy should be part of mandatory building code. But there's no reason to claim you're the largest when you're not.

by Jasper on Mar 30, 2012 9:22 am • linkreport

@Michael Perkins: Yes - didn't you hear? They develop a mind of their own after 10 o'clock at night. In another couple of years they're going to take over completely.

RE: 10th St.: I used to work in that block, and it mightn't be a bad idea to close that street off for thru traffic. Especially in tourist season there are a LOT of buses offloading in that area. So if they allow buses to unload, and closed the rest of the street off, it could do some good.

by Ser Amantio di Nicolao on Mar 30, 2012 9:38 am • linkreport

I am not sure how Georgetown University is not a private entity in DC. Same for the panel at AU.

Probably considered non-profit or institutional, rather than fully within the private sector.

But there's no reason to claim you're the largest when you're not.

Sure there is. Everyone is always looking for good publicity.

by Alex B. on Mar 30, 2012 9:39 am • linkreport

@Charlie,

The Circulators systemwide farebox recovery is 21.4%, but individual lines range from 6% to 25% farebox recovery.

Good question though...I think it is a little weird that the system won't even get a farebox recovery equal to the circulator.

by streetcar on Mar 30, 2012 9:46 am • linkreport

I can see how the later hours help. The current time dumps a lot of people on the street at once since metro also closes at 3am. An extra hour can spread out the exodus and decrease the concentration of drunks in one place, thus reducing tomfoolery and ruckus.

by RJ on Mar 30, 2012 9:47 am • linkreport

Since the current 3am shutdown time is the time the LAST train stops operating, there's already about half an hour where the bars are open and there's no Metro service to bring you home.

by Michael Perkins on Mar 30, 2012 10:12 am • linkreport

@ Alex B:Everyone is always looking for good publicity.

Lying is good publicity?

by Jasper on Mar 30, 2012 10:21 am • linkreport

Given buses are the biggest problem on 10th Street *are* the problem, allowing them access is the worst of all worlds.

And is this really the place we want to highlight for tourists? Crappy souvenir shops, Hard Rock Cafe, and a theater with mediocre shows despite its historic significance.

by ah on Mar 30, 2012 10:46 am • linkreport

Lying is good publicity?

How are they lying? Like I said before, Universities aren't exactly comparable to the for-profit private sector.

This isn't a Grand Jury deposition, this is some marketing schtick. Relax.

by Alex B. on Mar 30, 2012 10:52 am • linkreport

And is this really the place we want to highlight for tourists? Crappy souvenir shops, Hard Rock Cafe, and a theater with mediocre shows despite its historic significance.

It's specifically designed for tourists, who are the only people who go there. The plan is perfect, actually.

by JustMe on Mar 30, 2012 11:14 am • linkreport

A prior GGW entry noted that the streetcar will pay for itself. Now this suggests a shortfall Is the difference between the thoughts construction vs. operating and how does that affect overall costs.

by HogWash on Mar 30, 2012 11:24 am • linkreport

@HogWash:

"Now this suggests a shortfall Is the difference between the thoughts construction vs. operating and how does that affect overall costs."

What?

by Gray on Mar 30, 2012 11:29 am • linkreport

Hogwash,

I think that was referring to just the construction rather than operation. Specifically through federal contributions and increased assessments on surrounding properties.

by Canaan on Mar 30, 2012 11:37 am • linkreport

Re: H ST Bike Shop

The news is that this is the first DC bike shop to cater primarily to bike commuters, not that this is the first bike shop on H ST.

Raytheon, the previous tenant of the building housed a similar number of employees.

However, Raytheon didn't chop down a bunch of trees and erect brightly lit security towers that stay lit all night. Glad to know that Supervisor Smyth is on top of this issue as usual.

by Falls Church on Mar 30, 2012 11:38 am • linkreport

RE: H ST Bike Shop

I would say that BicycleSpace, opened 2010?, also has a primarily commuter focus.

But more is better!

by JeffB on Mar 30, 2012 11:55 am • linkreport

Yeah. BicycleSpace definitely caters primarily to commuters, and many of the other shops seem to have taken up the same lede, given that it's becoming a large and profitable market segment. I hope they survive in their new location...things looked pretty bleak when I stopped by the other week.

The new shop on H St looks kind of expensive, and like it caters to the crowd that would like to own a bicycle as a fashion statement. Not sure that's a trend I love.

Admittedly, my next bike will probably be another Trek (ie. a totally normal bicycle with modern components). I was eyeing the Soho the last time I was in Georgetown; it's a really slick commuter bike (and check out where Trek's promo photo was taken!)

by andrew on Mar 30, 2012 1:16 pm • linkreport

@andrew, I think you're right about the new bike shop. Based on their website it looks like they cater primarily to people who ride bicycles in the tweed ride but that's it. Bicycle helmets that look like pith helmets or horseback riding helmets aren't exactly in demand among commuters, and there's no information about say, service or practical bike accessories like tubes or tires. I really hope they offer more than a simulacrum of cycling and have things that practical, regular riders might actually need and enjoy.

by Joe on Mar 30, 2012 1:33 pm • linkreport

@andrew:

The new shop on H St looks kind of expensive, and like it caters to the crowd that would like to own a bicycle as a fashion statement. Not sure that's a trend I love.

Not sure how this is different from the current class of racers or commuters. You're fooling yourself if you don't think that guy on the Pinnarello isn't making a fashion statement. The only question is, will these bikes be ridden? If so, good for them.

by oboe on Mar 30, 2012 1:56 pm • linkreport

I think that people seeing bikes as status symbols is an overall good sign. People do the same with motor-vehicles, if they're choosing to do so increasingly with bikes that probably a good sign.

by Canaan on Mar 30, 2012 2:13 pm • linkreport

Just to clarify, I'm always happy to have more bike shops and people riding bikes; hopefully dilettante riding will open the door to more riding. That said, a bike shop like the one on H St doesn't look like it's going to be very helpful to someone who is looking for practical bikes or gear. I would compare it to the cupcake shop that opened recently in my neighborhood; we could really use a great bakery with a wide variety of different things, and instead we get a cupcakery. I like cupcakes every now and then too, but I'm unlikely to go more than a few times a year. Whereas a more general bakery I would probably visit once a week. I think a more general focus is also probably a more viable economic option.

by Joe on Mar 30, 2012 2:24 pm • linkreport

I actually think these types of bikes are *more* practical for the city. Bikes were invented for city transportation. If someone is biking about the city what is missing from these bikes?

1) They feature an upright riding posture = safer to ride in city
2) Accessories come standard (racks and baskets) = useful to carry things
3) Internal hub and enclosed chain case = low maintenance

by jeffB on Mar 30, 2012 3:08 pm • linkreport

I think it's great that someone's opening a bike shop to cater to customers interested in this style of bike (which, considering the popularity of the Dandies and Quaintrelles events, there seem to be plenty of).

I agree that BicycleSpace also has a focus on commuters rather than racers, but the sheer increase of cyclists in the city means there's plenty of room for more shops, and more niches. Each bike sold in the District (particularly each first bike) increases the likelihood of members of the non-cycling public to consider it as a viable transportation option.

by Jacques on Mar 30, 2012 3:15 pm • linkreport

To what extent is the low expected farebox recovery rate for the streetcar a temporary consequence of operating a full-scale maintenance barn, stocked with special Hungarian drill bits, to tend only 3 cars that ply a short route whose turnaround facilities are kind of close together?

by Turnip on Mar 30, 2012 8:52 pm • linkreport

@andrew, et al, thank you for the concern.

Things are humming along in our new location, but the transition, notably, has been rough. We had a lease deal go sour at the last minute, and were left in January needing to be out of our old space by Feb 29 with nothing solid in the works. We found the space on 7th, negotiated and signed the lease, had an architect draw up plans, got our permits, got the work done, passed inspections, did the finish work, packed, moved, and opened all in 7 weeks.

I got a lung infection in the process and am convalescing still, but am feeling cheerful since we just won the City Paper's Best of DC. You'll see a steady progression over the next couple of months as we get the final pieces built and installed, improve our displays and such. And in the meantime, big thanks to everyone for the support! Our first month in the new space has been exceptionally good.

We have always catered primarily to those who use their bikes as a form of transport, but will also stack our service department's talent and staff's knowledge against any bike shop in the country. We call it style with substance, a rare combination.

by Erik on Mar 30, 2012 9:57 pm • linkreport

I should add that I'm an owner of BicycleSPACE, and we were the sole bike shop sponsor going back two years, and we designed and led both the Tweed Ride and Seersucker Social in conjunction with Dandies and Quaintrelles last year. That's a natural for us because our mechanics regularly restore and repair those vintage bikes, and we have an exclusive arrangement in DC with both Pashley and Brompton, the most popular English brands.

by Erik on Mar 30, 2012 10:15 pm • linkreport

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