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Weekend links: Can of worms

Photo by Ivan Lian on Flickr.
Thomas had help: Harry Thomas Jr. seems to have had help with his money theft scheme from within Children and Youth Investment Trust. His nonprofits received special treatment and lax oversight from the agency, but who was responsible, and why, are a mystery. (Examiner)

... but Graham is on it: To help unravel the mystery of who helped Thomas, Councilmember Graham has been given subpoena power to investigate. The Mayor's office isn't pleased, though, arguing that the council's investigation will interfere with the federal one. (City Paper)

A party as old as tea: Tea Party opposition to planning and development may not be so different from traditional opposition, though the language is sometimes different. To properly address their concerns, one should treat them like anyone else. (Planetizen)

The sordid world of fare jumping: Fare evasion is the most often-cited crime on Metro, but it's likely many more get by, costing the system around $1.8 million per year. Yet fines don't go to WMATA, but to the state where the infraction occurred. (FOX 5)

DC does foliage: DC does a fabulous job planting new street trees but doesn't do nearly enough to protect them. Casey Trees' annual report card said the city needs to do more maintenance if it wants to grow the canopy. (DCist)

The invisible helmet: Rather than go without a bicycle helmet, either to protect your carefully gelled hair or to feel the wind on your balding scalp, perhaps you should invest in an airbag collar that only appears when you're in a crash. (Bloomberg)

And...: The bus operator thought to have viral meningitis didn't have it after all. (Post) ... The new streetcars are due in 545 days, which means mid-October 2013. (TBD) ... Portland's limo companies get in trouble for offering Groupon discounts. (IJ) ... HPRB approves the latest version of the Hine project. (DCmud)

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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


Add a comment »

Tea Party opposition to planning and development may not be so different from traditional opposition, though the language is sometimes different.

Tea Party == John Birch Society.

The "Tea Party" phenomenon is as old as the country. Not a new phenomenon at all. Only the scapegoats change.

by oboe on Apr 28, 2012 10:50 am • linkreport

That invisible helmet is interesting, but definitely something that I'd want to see a lot of other people test out before I trust my skull to it.

by tom veil on Apr 28, 2012 11:54 am • linkreport

Ok, if the 2 street cars are delivered in Sept/Oct of 2013, which new DC area transit service will start operation first: Phase 1 of the Silver Line or streetcars on H street? My money would be on Phase 1 of the Silver Line.

On the Metro fare evaders article, if the Metro system is losing only $1.8 million a year to fare evaders, that is a very small amount. The article does not say how much in fines the local governments collect in total with the $50 fines. The revenue from the fines should be shared with the Metro system. Maybe a 50/50 split if such an agreement could ever be reached between Metro and all the local courts?

by AlanF on Apr 28, 2012 12:13 pm • linkreport

For those paying attention, there is no maintenance and follow through in DC when it comes to public lands. Old story. Doesn't matter if it is Casey or DPR.

Fare jumping - and what should we call it when the bus driver waves passengers through who get the buzz instead of the ding? With actual money, this happened a lot less. The drivers want to see everyone boarding faster than ever now, so often the path of least resistance is just waving people through. I've seen this many times on downtown, uptown and cross town buses. Does not matter.

by Jazzy on Apr 28, 2012 12:28 pm • linkreport

@ Jazzy.

Tradeoff between efficiency and revenue. Since most of the cost of most bus rides is already subsidized, slowing down the bus while waiting for someone to find the $1.50 that they might have in their pocketbook doesn't make sense. Obviously, you want to incentive people to load their cards ahead of time. But about 10% of the time (in my experience), the bus card reader isn't working. The problem isn't the driver waiving people through, it's the lost revenue from inoperative card readers.

PS: Anyone have a non-anecdotal estimate on what's lost because the readers aren't working? I'll take a "percentage of time the card readers are operative multiplied by total fare revenue" if you got it.)

by Bill on Apr 28, 2012 2:10 pm • linkreport

Whats the deal with putting flower and tree boxes so close to the curb? This makes it very dangerous for metro buses especially whose back door typically opens up right on these boxes.

by Todd on Apr 29, 2012 1:38 pm • linkreport

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