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Breakfast links: take the train, save a life

New commute stats: A recent MWCOG survey discovered that one-third of residents of DC, Arlington and Alexandria take transit to work, and ten percent walk. Region-wide, five percent take transit and seven percent walk.

Image from BeyondDC.

Chinatown National Park: The Post looks at the shrinking Chinatown, where rising rents are pushing out Chinese businesses (via BeyondDC). One idea: create a "gateway" in the triangular park at Massachusetts, I, 5th and 6th. The biggest obstacle: money. The second biggest obstacle: like so many of our little parks, the National Park Service controls the land.

More than a slap on the wrist: Maryland is considering a law to allow prosecuting negligent drivers who kill other people as a misdemeanor when their actions don't quite qualify as vehicular manslaughter. Today, the police can only give those drivers a traffic ticket. In New York, a truck driver killed two children last week, but the driver faces no penalties. AAA's Lon Anderson actually agrees: "It's high time that we make murder behind the wheel something more than reckless driving where you can just write a check and walk away."

We told Rybczynski: Rob Goodspeed wrote a thoughtful critique of architect Witold Rybczynski's Last Harvest, about a New Urbanist community in Pennsylvania. While fascinating in its account of the technical and political obstacles and tradeoffs, according to Goodspeed, it misses the influence that federal housing and transportation policies pushed development into distant auto-dependent exurbs like this one. Rybczynski is a member of the U.S. Commission on Fine Arts, which approves projects in Georgetown and around federal parkland in DC.

And: Metro is asking for $5.28 million to recoup inauguration expenses; The Transport Politic maps out a potential high-speed rail network (tip: Michael); BeyondDC makes some great "Obamicons".

David Alpert is the founder of Greater Greater Washington and its board president. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He now lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle. 


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These numbers cannot possibly be correct. About one fifth of the Washington metropolitan area's population lives in the district, Arlington, and Alexandria. If one third of those jurisdictions' population uses transit, that is 6.6% of the entire area. Even if no one else uses transit.

by Ben Ross on Jan 30, 2009 10:03 am • linkreport

Depending on the wording, perhaps the 5% who take transit are really 5% who take only transit, which would eliminate all the people who drive to metro, park and take the train in. We'd have to see the actual study, I guess...

by Pat O on Jan 30, 2009 10:23 am • linkreport

We need money to fix us the mall IMO. Not only for the damaged sustained during the inauguration but also the maintenance that is already needed. So it should become a priority sooner than later.

I'm also interested in hearing what the policy will be on drivers killing people. It really is a dicey situation b/c there's a lot of grey area in these accidents. I do think penalties on drivers need to be more severe in cases and prevention needs to be encouraged and forced, possibly w/ more red-light and speed cameras and stricter cops. But accidents happen and these people shouldn't always be treated as criminals if the situation isn't clear-cut negligence.

by Vik on Jan 30, 2009 10:58 am • linkreport

In regards to Chinatown I suggest they erect another gate or two to create a sense of a Chinatown neighborhood. Currently, you walk through the gate and you are still on any other street. It would create a street, or multiple streets, enclosed by the gates.

If one has visited Yokohama, Japan there are a number of gates to the Chinatown neighborhood. Additionally, the lampposts to where adapted to give the neighborhood a more Chinese feel.

by Ohio Hoya on Jan 30, 2009 11:03 am • linkreport

No surprise there. Metro rides in DC, Arlington, and Alexandria. Not so much outside the best way. And, outside the beltway, there is (free) parking near homes, as opposed to within the beltway.

Ergo, if transit is available, people will use it. A lot.

by Jasper on Jan 30, 2009 11:47 am • linkreport

OK, so if a driver only maims a pedestrian severely, it's a "traffic" violation, but killing a pedestrian is a misdemeanor. Wonderful. I suppose any improvement is good, but to put this in perspective: Under Maryland Code 6-301, a pedestrian who causes more than $500 in damage to a car also has committed a misdemeanor and could be required to pay a $2500 fine and/or spend 3 years in jail. (If the damage is less than $500, it's still a misdemeanor but the fine is $500 and/or 60 days in jail.) So...killing a human being with a car will get you 3 years in jail and causing $500.01 in damage to a car gets you the same time in jail. I suppose I should take comfort in the fact that the fine for killing someone is higher, but forgive me if I'm not impressed. (My sarcasm/dismay is not directed at you, just at the fundamental injustice in the continuing abuse of pedestrian rights.)

by Eileen on Jan 30, 2009 8:10 pm • linkreport

Disappearing Chinatown has been going on for years.

It started even before the commercial boom.

I wonder if the traditional pharmacies are still around?

by Jazzy on Jan 30, 2009 8:23 pm • linkreport

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