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Breakfast links: Off the rails


Photo by drewsaunders on Flickr.
Metro derails: A Blue Line train derailed near Rosslyn last night. It was quickly evacuated and there were no injuries, only delays. (Examiner)

Diner on the move: The train car that housed the recently-closed Capital City Diner has moved to the former DC Farmer's Market. One of the developers of the Florida Avenue Market purchased it and plans to incorporate it into the project. (Post)

Who are the new residents?: Residents that moved to DC recently tended to be young, well-off, and childless. The District's challenge will be to keep these residents as they start families and remain affordable to the less affluent. (Post)

Farm the roof: Taking green roofs to a new level, one developer wants to put farms on the roofs of the planned Capital Crossing I-395 air rights development. He hopes the small farms will be an attraction for certain restaurants. (Post)

3-foot confusing: Maryland's 3-foot passing law is a mess of confusing exceptions. In fact, the only ones who would likely understand all the exceptions are experienced cyclists who happen to be driving. (WashCycle)

What's libertarian transportation?: There's little consensus among libertarian thinkers on transportation policy. While some think that multi-modal choice has a role to play in a market based system, others think cars are the only way to go. (Streetsblog)

Rental units not all in big buildings: Across the country, more people rent in houses than in high rises, a trend which will likely continue as foreclosed homes are offered for rent. Locally however, thousands of new units in large buildings will come online in the next few years. (Urban Turf)

Barry makes point poorly: Marion Barry compared charter schools to Asian-owned restaurants in a comment at a hearing. His statements about the restaurants created a major controversy recently, but this time he was making a serious point about whether charters should or should not favor local residents. (Examiner)

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Steven Yates grew up in Indiana before moving to DC in 2002 to attend college at American University. He currently lives in Southwest DC.  

Comments

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"Young, well-off, and childless" seems like a great combo. Why do want those people when they start breeding and creating a lot of expenses? As long as you can capture their income via a tax -- which many cities do not -- you're better off having them move with their kids to the suburbs and let those suburbs pay for the education.

by charlie on Apr 25, 2012 8:55 am • linkreport

It's not clear to me why it's so necessary to retain folks in the District as they hit 30 and start having kids. When they leave in search of good schools, another generation of young professionals will take their places (and the current ones who don't have kids may likely stay put). I think transportation, neighborhood design, dining, and entertainment are all fairly tractable to policy solutions, and we're seeing the fruits of success in those areas. But schools are incredibly difficult to improve from the top down, because they are subject to strong vicious or virtuous cycles--either well-off parents and good teachers flee because a school has a bad reputation, or the same folks are drawn in because it has a good reputation. In my opinion, that tipping point has to come from the bottom up. In the meantime, let's focus on encouraging dense, walkable neighborhoods around the suburban Metro stops so that moving to the suburbs for your kids' sake doesn't have to mean two hours stuck in traffic every day.

by Jeff on Apr 25, 2012 9:21 am • linkreport

I was on that blue line train that derailed. I don't think I'd use the term "quickly" to describe our evacuation....

by Michael on Apr 25, 2012 9:22 am • linkreport

@Charlie: I remember that during the debate about the Tenley Safeway on GGW, one of the opponents was against it because of his fear that hordes of children will overrun Janney and other schools. Once again, it looks like the facts aren't too kind for NIMBY propoganda.

by No NIMBY on Apr 25, 2012 9:28 am • linkreport

The District's challenge will be to keep these residents as they start families and remain affordable to the less affluent.

It's not clear that the District even wants to do this. I think that DC pretty much has decided to put to rest the "dream" (if it ever existed) of a DCPS that middle class and upper middle class families would want to attend. It seems to me that DC has decided to stick to the model of DCPS as a source of stable middle-class employment for residents as teachers and central office staff to serve the families without the resources to move to MD or VA.

The resources required to retool DCPS into something that well-off families would want to attend (including building classrooms with walls and door) are far in excess of what is available.

by JustMe on Apr 25, 2012 9:42 am • linkreport

@charlie and jeff

to some extent it depends on how deep you think the young affluent childless market is. How many young affluent childless are there in the metro area? How many of those will choose to live outside the district anyway, due to work location or other issues? Does that leave enough to add the population you want?

Probably the demographics most easily added though, are not the families with school age kids, but the empty nesters and the families with kids under 6. The data in the article shows that families with kids under 6 are much more likely to move to DC than ones with kids between 6 and 18. Now some young families are okay with that. Some want to move once and not have to move again when the kid turns 6. Indeed that move is probably a deterrent to some childless couples who expect to have their first child within a year or two.

I would agree that drawing the full demographic range isn't first priority now - there's too much lower hanging fruit that needs to be gathered first, before amassing the resources to bootstrap up. But its worth thinking about.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 25, 2012 9:43 am • linkreport

To those question why we want families since we can always replace those young people who move out with new residents. Really? Do you not remember the decades when everyone moved out of cities and no one moved in? Why do you not think that such a scenerio could not happen again? Maybe the republicans will really get their way and the federal government will be severely cut, will people keep moving in then?

it is the same concept as diversifying yur portfolio, over reliance on one thing (young rich professional) can lead to problems. The only way the city can be stable is if you have a mix of residence including people who are willing to commit long term to the the city and its community regardless of who is in power and their policies.

by nathaniel on Apr 25, 2012 9:49 am • linkreport

@ AWalkerInTheCity; yes, depth is an issue, but that is more of a problem nationally than locally.

DC is, and has been for 20+ years, a magnet for people out of grad school. Lots of jobs in that area. Part of the standard rotation (DC, NYC, and LA). I know about 85% of my college class ended up in those cities after graduation. Very few live here now.

If you're high income enough you can afford private schools, and they are MUCH better than Arlington and Fairfax public schools. Your kid is not getting into the Ivy League or even UVA if they gradudate from there. MoCo has slighly better systems, but the taxes...

So, capture families making over 400K a year, who can afford private school. Send the rest back to Virginia.

Really, it works well.

by charlie on Apr 25, 2012 9:52 am • linkreport

Barry has made some pretty bad statements recently, but that Examiner headline is totally misleading. Read the article, he says nothing about the restaurants being Asian. He makes a reasonable point about charters and compares them to restaurants not locally owned. The comparison may be a bit of a stretch, but he didn't bring race into it (this time). That's the Examiner's (all too predictable) spin on it.

by TM on Apr 25, 2012 9:58 am • linkreport

@charlie

whats relevant isnt jobs in the area, as much as jobs in DC and adjacent parts of Arlington. There are some young engineers who will reverse commute from DC to Reston or Sterling, etc, but not that many. In addition to those, the inner urbanist suburbs are appealing to many - go to Clarendon on a Saturday night and look at the mobs of 20 somethings.

Private school families certainly provide a way for DC to appeal to families with children prior to fixing DCPS. But lets look at the numbers. A family with say 410k in income, with one kid attending a 40k year private school, is more like a 370k family. Actually less, because that 40k is not tax deductible so its off after tax dollars. That family is more like a 350k family, or less. Yes, they can still afford a nice house in DC, but not what they can get in North Arlington.

"Your kid is not getting into the Ivy League or even UVA if they gradudate from there."

Im not sure what you mean? Lots of FCPS and ACPS grads to to UVA, and to the Ivies, including HYPMS. That not even looking at TJHSST.

" MoCo has slighly better systems"

Thats not correct.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 25, 2012 10:00 am • linkreport

@JustMe
I think that DC pretty much has decided to put to rest the "dream" (if it ever existed) of a DCPS that middle class and upper middle class families would want to attend. It seems to me that DC has decided to stick to the model of DCPS as a source of stable middle-class employment for residents as teachers and central office staff to serve the families without the resources to move to MD or VA.

By what measure or observation is this even remotely true? School reform continues.

by MLD on Apr 25, 2012 10:09 am • linkreport

There are a decent number of good elementary schools in DCPS. Middle and high school is where everything breaks down. The problems in the middle and high school levels are much more intractable than those at the elementary level, so I think a focus on keeping families until their kids reach middle school age makes sense for now.

"Im not sure what you mean? Lots of FCPS and ACPS grads to to UVA, and to the Ivies, including HYPMS. That not even looking at TJHSST."

Yeah, I thought this was a howler too. FCPS is well known as one of the best public school districts in the country. There is even a trend of Korean families sending their children to live with US family members so that they can attend FCPS.

by Phil on Apr 25, 2012 10:19 am • linkreport

"Young, well-off, and childless" not news. Need to keep people here: not news. Libertarians like cars and non-existent markets: Not news, but David is desperate to "engage" non-existent allies.

by Rich on Apr 25, 2012 10:20 am • linkreport

@ AWalkerInTheCity; nope, the Fairfax system -- outside of TJ -- is very geared towards mediocrity. Nothing wrong with that. However, high powered parents want their kids to go to the Ivy League, and the easiest way to do that is private school. So you'll be paying $20K a year whether you live in Fairfax or DC.

Again, my rule of thumb: If you're not making $100K, get the hell out of the region. You'll do much better somewhere else. If you're combined income isn't well above 300K, move to the suburbs to educate your kids. If you're making over $500K, or have a private trust fund to pay for your kids education, stay in DC or wherever and send your kids to private school.

by charlie on Apr 25, 2012 10:23 am • linkreport

@nathaniel:

To those question why we want families since we can always replace those young people who move out with new residents. Really? Do you not remember the decades when everyone moved out of cities and no one moved in?

It's still early, and I'm cutting out caffeine (so no 'real' coffee), but I'm not understanding why a District population that's heavy on families is somehow "stickier" than a population heavier on singles, childless couples, and empty nesters. It seems to me the opposite is just as likely to be true.

by oboe on Apr 25, 2012 10:30 am • linkreport

There's a big difference between observing a trend, and advocating for policies that will reinforce the trend.

The public schools in DC suck, and people who can afford to either send their children to private schools or move to the suburbs. Yes, that's a fact. No, it is not an urban plan.

DC must continue to invest in its schools, and endeavor to improve them, because that's the right thing to do. I have no children, but I support the use of my tax dollars on our schools and will vote for candidates who run on education platforms. Individual choices that parents make regarding their childrens' education should not drive the aggregate policy towards schools.

by CJ on Apr 25, 2012 10:30 am • linkreport

@Phil,

There are a decent number of good elementary schools in DCPS. Middle and high school is where everything breaks down.

Actually there are some pretty great high school options as well, and they're "magnet" schools. She's got a long way to go, but when my kid is high school aged, and we're still in the city, I'm not to concerned about her placing into one of the "good" high schools in the city.

Middle school is the looming disaster.

by oboe on Apr 25, 2012 10:33 am • linkreport

I do love the huge number of people without kids who keep going on about how DCPS sucks. Five years in as a DCPS parent and the education my daughters receive is far, far better than I did in the suburban "good" school system. And compared to what I hear about my friends who move to suburban schools, we've got it pretty good.

Not all DCPS schools are as good as the one we use, and we're still a couple years away from middle schools, but so far, DCPS has been a selling point in staying in the city.

But that's just an anecdote, and I hope you feel free to disregard it. Far better to base your opinion on "what everyone knows" and "the way it's always been" and not someone's first hand experience.

by Tim Krepp on Apr 25, 2012 10:37 am • linkreport

Not mentioned in the article is the percentage of the "young, rich, childless" that move into DC actually invest in the city by buying a home in the District and paying DC property and income taxes, as opposed to merely renting for a few years and using their parents' non-DC address for vehicle registration, income tax and voting purposes.

Does anyone know of any data?

by ceefer66 on Apr 25, 2012 10:40 am • linkreport

Let's be fair, Tim Krepp. This is turning into all public schools are bad (FCPS included) and not just DCPS. Of course all charter schools are bad too. Basically, education in the US is horrible except for select universities at and above the graduate level.

by selxic on Apr 25, 2012 10:44 am • linkreport

@ceefer

Rich people using their parents addresses for tax purposes? Huh?

Also, renters still pay property taxes - those costs are baked into their rent.

by Alex B. on Apr 25, 2012 10:45 am • linkreport

I think that DC pretty much has decided to put to rest the "dream" (if it ever existed) of a DCPS that middle class and upper middle class families would want to attend.

I think there's a bit of a "three blind men & elephant" problem here. The problem with DCPS is consistency. There are quite a few elementary schools that well-off families would want to attend--in fact, do attend. There are several high schools where that's also the case.

But there's only one middle school in DCPS that fits the bill, and that's Hardy.

We can talk about the incompetence of DCPS all day long, but the core problem is that it's impossible to provide a functional education system when the number of poor students gets up over, say, 50%. Hardy is successful because of the in-boundary system and its location. Of course, there are neighborhoods that have become solidly middle-class over the last decade or so, but there's the bootstrapping problem. If neighborhood parents sent their children en masse to any of the Capitol Hill middle-schools, the socioeconomic mix would be the same as Hardy's, and the school would be a success. Middle-class parents don't send their kids to these schools en masse because their current socioeconomic profile is overwhelmingly poor. (stuart-hobson being something of the excpetion).

But it has nothing to do with "resources" that DCPS is going to "allocate", and everything to do with extreme poverty driving out middle-class participation. The only thing DCPS can do is do what the charters are attempting: create various "safe-harbors" for middle-class parents to send their kids to. Obviously this is hugely politically controversial. But the idea that you can get middle-class kids into the system without "leaving some kids behind" is not viable. In the long run, everybody's kids are better off when the school system isn't overwhelmingly poor, but that's cold comfort to some poor single mother who can't get her kid into an out-of-boundary slot in a non-dysfunctional school because DCPS is wooing middle-class parents.

by oboe on Apr 25, 2012 10:54 am • linkreport

"@ AWalkerInTheCity; nope, the Fairfax system -- outside of TJ -- is very geared towards mediocrity."

It may not be geared toward the profoundly gifted, but it still has lots of kids going to Ivies, and to other top 50 (per USNWR) universities. Its probably easier to get into UVA from a Fairfax base school than it is from TJ (though not as easy as from a less prestigious school district in Va)

None of this is meant to diss DCPS (which I do not know intimately - my sense is that its improving, and that many of the elementary schools are at the forefront) but to take issue with some howlers about FCPS (and ACPS, btw).

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 25, 2012 10:56 am • linkreport

@Alex B.,

True, renters pay property taxes - INDIRECTLY. My question is how many of the new residents actually make an investment in the city - as opposed to merely moving in and paying the taxes on their high incomes to someplace else.

by ceefer66 on Apr 25, 2012 10:57 am • linkreport

Actually there are some pretty great high school options as well, and they're "magnet" schools. She's got a long way to go, but when my kid is high school aged, and we're still in the city, I'm not to concerned about her placing into one of the "good" high schools in the city.

Middle school is the looming disaster.

I'm less convinced than Oboe about the great high schools in DC, but agree wholeheartedly about middle school. Although elementary at my daughter's charter school is great, middle school has thus far been uneven (and the HS is just starting up). The middle school has been victim to the same middle/upper missle class flight that has plagued DCPS for years. As Oboe implies, DCPS has gotten many parents to buy into elementary programs, both WOTP and in other pockets around the city (no doubt aided by free PS and PK) - the trick now is to achieve the same effect for middle school (outside of Deal, which is overcrowded already and looks to get worse).

by dcd on Apr 25, 2012 11:01 am • linkreport

"If you're high income enough you can afford private schools, and they are MUCH better than Arlington and Fairfax public schools. Your kid is not getting into the Ivy League or even UVA if they gradudate from there."

This is absurd. If you can afford to send your kids to good private school, that's fantastic.

by Vik on Apr 25, 2012 11:03 am • linkreport

@Oboe - But there's only one middle school in DCPS that fits the bill, and that's Hardy.

I think you mean Deal?

by dcd on Apr 25, 2012 11:03 am • linkreport

My question is how many of the new residents actually make an investment in the city - as opposed to merely moving in and paying the taxes on their high incomes to someplace else.

You're asking how many of the new residents are actually residents?

If you actually live in DC, it's kinda hard to also live someplace else. If you're as rich as people are implying, the likelihood of you still filing your taxes at your parents address in some other state would be slim.

As for renters paying property taxes indirectly, what difference does that make? Renters are actually paying at a higher rate, mind you, since they don't qualify for the homestead rate.

I'm not sure what tree you're barking up here, but it seems to be the wrong one.

by Alex B. on Apr 25, 2012 11:04 am • linkreport

Newer residents are young, well-off, childless and white (not what that part went missing).

I skimmed the brookings report but couldn't find out how they defined "well-off." Does anyone know? IMO, "well-off" is into the six-figures.

I think it's great that the city would want to retain this group post-children but we also should understand that not everyone see's raising kids in urban environment as a good thing. In fact, most people don't consider it best for them.

@JustMe, I don't think they're many people, relying on facts, who would agree with your poor assessment of DC schools. Kaya is essentially following Michelle Rhee's lead but in a much more effective and engaging manner.

by HogWash on Apr 25, 2012 11:04 am • linkreport

@Charlie

Heard your argument about people moving out of the region before, still disagree wildly. Just seems you are living in some sort of fantasy world. My wife and I make a bit over 100k, have no kids, own our own rowhouse, and are quite happy, and feel we are doing quite well. We have no intention of leaving DC at any point, as we like it here. Good to know you think we are idiots.

The fact you think that anyone outside of the top 5% should move out of the city just seems so ignorant. In summation, go kick rocks.

@AWalkerinthecity

I think it was a reasonable statement. Moco schools are better than Fairfax on the whole.

by Kyle W on Apr 25, 2012 11:11 am • linkreport

@CJ

I completely agree with you. I've heard of families in the relatively well-off areas of the city who send their kids to public schools at a young age and then send them to private high schools. I don't know how common it is in actuality. Maybe, those are people who are well-off, but not actually rich, who knows. Perhaps those are the people who will be the ones to watch to observe an inflection point in areas. But, I think it's the right thing to do to be relentless and fearless in fixing the problems that we have with schools even if it takes us a while.

by Vik on Apr 25, 2012 11:15 am • linkreport

@HogWash:

Newer residents are young, well-off, childless and white...

That's actually not very accurate (though certainly provocative). It's more accurate to say that they're more diverse than their socioeconomic group as a whole.

From the Post piece:

More than half of the people who moved into the city between 2006 and 2010 are white...

This in a country where 72% of the population is white. The takeaway here is that newcomers to DC are significantly more diverse than the country as a whole--probably considerably more diverse than their socioeconomic cohort.

by oboe on Apr 25, 2012 11:23 am • linkreport

Between charlie's "if you don't make more than $100K, leave" and "you're going nowhere if you went to a public school" I'm thinking "silver spoon much?"

To sort of echo oboe, the real determinants of education aren't "what school" (as long as teachers are actually attempting to teach something), so much as "where on the income scale is your family?" and "how smart/educated are your kids parents?" Suburban schools are "better" than inner-city schools because the suburban kids live in more comfortable/stable home environments and their parents are better educated.

@ceefer66
My question is how many of the new residents actually make an investment in the city - as opposed to merely moving in and paying the taxes on their high incomes to someplace else.

Personally I think the accusations of people living in DC and being a "resident" elsewhere are way overblown. I've only ever known of one person in the 6 years I've lived here that did this, and it was actually a lot more work than just paying your taxes to DC. Maybe there's something there with car registration, but again it's more work AND you basically can't park on the street if your car isn't registered in DC.

by MLD on Apr 25, 2012 11:25 am • linkreport

@Kyle W

I think MoCo is just top-heavier with respect to public schools. Fairfax may be deeper, if that matters, probably not so much. So, as a whole, they're probably close, but since the top-end matters more, in my mind, I think MoCo would have the edge.

by Vik on Apr 25, 2012 11:26 am • linkreport

@Kyle W Sounds like you're in the same boat my family is. For years now, people tell is you can't live in the city. If you do live in the city, you can't afford a house. If you do afford a house, you won't want to send kids to DCPS. And so on...

It's not that we couldn't move. It's that we don't want to, and that we really enjoy living here. What's more, we've examined the other options and can see no benefits that would outweigh the sacrifice of dislocating ourselves.

When you try and explain this is the norm, it's pretty amazing the mental contortions people will do to disregard your view.

by Tim Krepp on Apr 25, 2012 11:30 am • linkreport

That's actually not very accurate (though certainly provocative). It's more accurate to say that they're more diverse than their socioeconomic group as a whole.

I suggest you blame the post and the researchers. According to the 2nd chart from the same article you mention, the racial disparity (or lack) is between white and black

But I do agree with you that the WPost is known for being provocative.

The takeaway here is that newcomers to DC are significantly more diverse than the country as a whole--probably considerably more diverse than their socioeconomic cohort

I don't think that's an unreasonable takeaway. I just don't recall any part of the article suggesting such.

by HogWash on Apr 25, 2012 11:32 am • linkreport

I suggest you blame the post and the researchers. According to the 2nd chart from the same article you mention, the racial disparity (or lack) is between white and black

I don't follow you.

by oboe on Apr 25, 2012 11:36 am • linkreport

"To sort of echo oboe, the real determinants of education aren't "what school" (as long as teachers are actually attempting to teach something), so much as "where on the income scale is your family?" and "how smart/educated are your kids parents?" Suburban schools are "better" than inner-city schools because the suburban kids live in more comfortable/stable home environments and their parents are better educated."

This is true in most cases, but at the margin when you're trying to get your kids into the very top schools private school can matter a lot.

To give just one example, one well known backdoor into Ivy League schools is through athletics, specifically minor sports popular among the East Coast elite such as squash, racquetball, badminton, lacrosse, crew, yachting, fencing, etc. While Ivies do not give out athletic scholarships, they are more than happy to relax their admissions standards a bit to round out their sports teams.

Your average public school is unlikely to have a fencing, squash or yachting team good enough to get your child noticed, but you can bet that the area's private schools have good teams in all of the above. (Landon is a good place to send your kids if you are interested in this particular strategery..)

by Phil on Apr 25, 2012 11:37 am • linkreport

@ Kyle W; you're fitting my profile exactly. Over $100K combined; if you're single however....

$100K is around the middle percentile for income in this area for income. The fact you've bought a house is great, but that is already changing your mix for wealth.

by charlie on Apr 25, 2012 11:38 am • linkreport

Why does DC have to be "affordable to the less affluent?"

The "Great" things in life always cost more. Welcome to reality. If DC becomes a truly great city, it will naturally be a place where people want to live and are willing to pay a premium for. That is a good thing. The people who live here will be the better educated and harder working of society, which is exactly what you want in your neighbors.

by dcdriver on Apr 25, 2012 11:38 am • linkreport

@Oboe
I do not mean to suggest that DC should only rely on families. I am just countering the argument that it should not care about families at all and let them go to the suburbs.

I think DC should have a mix of all types and if it has too few of some group, it should think about enacting reasonable (and I recognize the defintiion of reasonable is where dispute will be) polices that encourage that group to live in the city.

by nathainel on Apr 25, 2012 11:43 am • linkreport

Why does DC have to be "affordable to the less affluent?"

"less affluent" reads like a funny way of trying to dance around the phrase "middle class."

We're not talking about affordability for those just above the poverty line here, but for those in the middle class. Big difference.

by Alex B. on Apr 25, 2012 11:49 am • linkreport

@DC Driver, who wrote: The people who live here will be the better educated and harder working of society, which is exactly what you want in your neighbors."

Don't you think that the cop, or the teacher or the cleaning lady who takes the bus to her night job are among the "harder working of society"??!

I hope that your comment was tongue in cheek. If not, then I might change my mind and agree with Courtland Milloy's comments about "myopic little twits." He might have added "self-centered" and "full of themselves."

by Bert on Apr 25, 2012 12:03 pm • linkreport

Yes, out with the moochers who clean my office, serve me my coffee at Starbucks, and make my sandwich!

http://www.angryflower.com/atlass.gif

by MLD on Apr 25, 2012 12:08 pm • linkreport

If you can not afford private school it won't matter if they can get into one of the Ivies from public school, because you and your child can not afford it. We are seeing what massive loan debt has done to a generation. I think it is better to make sure your children are as well educated as it is economically feasible to do such. Top education doesn't always spells success, but poor financial stability rarely creates it.

by RJ on Apr 25, 2012 12:25 pm • linkreport

However, high powered parents want their kids to go to the Ivy League, and the easiest way to do that is private school.

Yes, it might be a little easier to buy your way in through private school, but most Ivy Leaguers come from public schools. Case-in-point: 70% of Harvard students come from public schools:

http://thechoice.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/09/16/harvarddean-part5/#

It's still early, and I'm cutting out caffeine (so no 'real' coffee), but I'm not understanding why a District population that's heavy on families is somehow "stickier" than a population heavier on singles, childless couples, and empty nesters.

Because people with school age kids are less likely to move because A) they would prefer not to make their kids change schools, B) it's more complicated to move an entire family and jobs than it is to move just yourself (single) or to move when you're retired and don't have a job.

by Falls Church on Apr 25, 2012 12:31 pm • linkreport

Because people with school age kids are less likely to move because A) they would prefer not to make their kids change schools, B) it's more complicated to move an entire family and jobs than it is to move just yourself (single) or to move when you're retired and don't have a job.

One could make the argument that what we've seen is that people with school-age kids are *more* likely to move: suddenly their house isn't big enough, they're tired of their car being broken into, and the amenities living in the city no longer hold as much allure for them.

Just saying, the conclusion isn't an obvious one.

by oboe on Apr 25, 2012 12:46 pm • linkreport

Some of these comments are eye opening...

There are scholarships and other offerings that may make an Ivy League education available to those who may want it, RJ. Getting into a top school isn't all about money.

by selxic on Apr 25, 2012 1:01 pm • linkreport

"If you're not making $100K, get the hell out of the region. You'll do much better somewhere else."

Unless, say, you're really mission-driven and would rather earn a middling income doing public interest environmental law here rather than personal injury law back in Middletown. Or, you know, there are also all those people who do things like cook your food and repave your streets.

"If you're making over $500K, or have a private trust fund to pay for your kids education, stay in DC or wherever and send your kids to private school."

You do realize that "over $500K" covers 1% of the region's households, right? Not exactly the kind of population numbers you can build a city around.

by Payton on Apr 25, 2012 1:28 pm • linkreport

Wow, great discussion all around, really eye-opening to me. I had not realized there were so many elementary and high schools considered to be good. My knowledge of DCPS comes from older co-workers who are raising kids and seem convinced, as they told me, "there's just no good schools in DC." Anyways, my questioning the importance of fighting to retain young families in particular does not mean I oppose improving the public schools. I think that's all well and good, and efforts to do so may even help some. I just don't think it should be motivated by trying to make our public schools the equal to MoCo, ACPS, and FCPS in a competition for parents to locate in one jurisdiction over another; it should be motivated by trying to do better by the kids in our schools.

Moreover, if you want to attract/retain affluent 30-somethings and 40-somethings, there are a lot more effective tools you can use (most of which benefit all residents): more police presence on the street, permitting denser construction which allows for more eyes on the street and helps meet housing demand, improving reliability of metro and buses, "blanketing the city in speed cameras" to make our roads safe for those who live around them, etc. I think many of these improvements will eventually spill over into the schools, by making the city more desirable to affluent parents considering leaving for the suburbs.

by Jeff on Apr 25, 2012 2:42 pm • linkreport

Moreover, if you want to attract/retain affluent 30-somethings and 40-somethings, there are a lot more effective tools you can use (most of which benefit all residents): more police presence on the street, permitting denser construction which allows for more eyes on the street and helps meet housing demand, improving reliability of metro and buses, "blanketing the city in speed cameras" to make our roads safe for those who live around them, etc.

All of those things help, not question. But, if someone has kids, you can live in the safest, most family-friendly area in the world - if the schools stink, and they (i) either can't afford ot don't want to attend private school, and (ii) can afford to move to the suburbs, a lot of them are going to move. Schools are one of those things that can be deal-breakers in many situations.

by dcd on Apr 25, 2012 3:06 pm • linkreport

@Kyle, @Tim Krebs: One nice thing is that if you stay in the city because it's working for you, in a few years most of the people you know (other than co-workers or relatives, perhaps) are also still living in the city because it's working for them. Others come around; my late father-in-law never understood why we didn't move to the 'burbs, but he did acknowledge that our kids in the DC Public Schools were being educated as well as his other, non-urban, grandchildren.

by A Streeter on Apr 25, 2012 5:06 pm • linkreport

Ha! We've been in the house for almost ten years and my father in law only fairly recently stopped asking when we were going to move. Generational gap. The idea that someone would choose to stay in the city just doesn't compute to our parents (broadly speaking).

by Tim Krepp on Apr 25, 2012 5:21 pm • linkreport

First off, anyone in the 21-25 range living in this town in $2200/month 1br apartments is not rich, their parents are rich. Especially the professional students at Georgetown/GW. My fiancee and I have no kids, live in Northeast DC, and are by no means rich. We're in our upper 20's, lower 30's, and moved here because I got a job here. My fiancee ended up finding one later on.

What are these kids going to do when they're finally on their own. I think at some point households in the median income range for DC will be pushed out, because rents are getting high, and correct me if I'm wrong, any new building being built has to have 20% of units at below market rent. And median income households can't qualify for below market rent units, but may have a hard time paying for the market rate.

In fact, what actually is market rate. If 20% of units have to be held below market, the property owner has to make up the difference somehow. So what is so called "market" in new places probably is higher than what it would be if 20% of the units didn't have to be held below market. There may be exceptions if developers get tax breaks, etc. for offering the below market units, which they then may pass on to tenants.

We like living here, but feel we may be squeezed out, or will have to move if we want a bigger place if we have kids. Even moving closer to the downtown core to a same size place may be prohibitive. But, everyone wants to live within walking distance of the hottest restaurants, bars, subway stops, grocery stores, etc. I guess you just have to be willing to pay.

by Nickyp on Apr 25, 2012 11:12 pm • linkreport

I think at some point households in the median income range for DC will be pushed out, because rents are getting high, and correct me if I'm wrong, any new building being built has to have 20% of units at below market rent. And median income households can't qualify for below market rent units, but may have a hard time paying for the market rate.

This is why we need to subsidize more workforce housing and less "welfare housing" (for lack of a better word). We have a surfeit of the extremely poor (in relation to our suburban neighbors) and a deficit of middle-income earners.

by oboe on Apr 26, 2012 11:31 am • linkreport

I thought the 20% minimum included work force housing. I think what nicky is referring to are the folks with from say 80% of ami to 100% of ami, who don't qualify for even work force housing, but find the current prices/rents for the amount of space they expect (not suburban sprawl standards, but historic US east cost middle class urban standards) too high to make sense. Nickyp seems to think abolishing IZ is the way to address that. Personally I hope other market ways to increase supply can be found.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 26, 2012 11:36 am • linkreport

I guess I'm not really sure what I'm advocating. Just pointing out what I see happening. But I think if the 20% thing were eliminated, it would level the playing field for everyone. I know the less fortunate need to live somewhere, but it ticks me off sometimes when I visit these new places, and they actually show me what someone would be
paying in rent with qualifying income. For less money, they're living in a nicer place than me or someone like me. If I lived there, forget about doing anything because all my money would be going to rent. So to me, to live in a nice new place, with amenities, within walking
distance to everything, and to have the "new urban" lifestyle, you either have to be making a real lot of money, or be well below the median income. Or have rich parents...

by Nickyp on Apr 26, 2012 4:22 pm • linkreport

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