Greater Greater Washington

Breakfast links: Elect


Photo by whiteafrican on Flickr.
Vote now: Today is Election Day. Go vote! If you're still undecided, you can review our endorsements for DC, Maryland, and Virginia. DC residents, don't forget to flip the ballot over to the back as well.

Transportation on other ballots: Voters will approve or reject 19 transportation ballot measures in 12 states, including in Los Angeles, Orange County (Chapel Hill) NC, and Alameda County (Oakland, Berkeley) CA. (Metro, SF Chronicle)

Time change leaves Metro riders stranded: Following the end of daylight savings time on Saturday night, Metro closed an hour early, stranding many passengers. Metro had announced they would stay open the extra hour. (Post)

Storm gives New York temporary BRT: In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, New York City quickly established a rapid bus line linking Brooklyn and Manhattan at frequent intervals. But bikes were even quicker. (BikePortland)

Accessory apartment for rent?: Montgomery's accessory apartment bill would require homeowners to put up signs announcing the space for rent. Lawmakers found the additional requirement of letters to neighbors redundant. (Examiner)

Less driving not just the economy: Total vehicle miles traveled fell during the recent 2007-09 recession and have continued to fall during the slow recovery, unlike the steady rise in driving during each previous recovery. (Streetsblog)

And...: 30 feet of the 1st Street NE cycle track have opened in front of Union Station. (BeyondDC) ... Consistently-Democratic DC could give its electoral votes to future Republican candidates if the National Popular Vote takes hold. (DCist) ... Arlington rules against licensing an all-electric cab company, citing the proposal as unfeasible. (WBJ)

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Comments

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No, it's not the recession that is turning VMT down. It is continued unemployment, and more critically people who have given up looking for work.

I suspect diminished mexican immigration is also a large part.

But nice to see streetsblog celebrating american misery.

by charlie on Nov 6, 2012 8:35 am • linkreport

charie: Actually, no; I saw a chart that basically showed VMT and GDP moving in lockstep until a few years ago, when VMT started to lag GDP both in the downturn and then in the recovery.

I'll try to find and post the chart.

by David Alpert on Nov 6, 2012 8:43 am • linkreport

GDP, sure. Employment, no.

there is a certain positive factor that $3-4 gas has caused, but a lot of that is going to moved by shifts to more efficient vehicles.

by charlie on Nov 6, 2012 8:49 am • linkreport

charlie doesn't need no stinkin' facts!

by gob on Nov 6, 2012 9:11 am • linkreport

The Transportation Commission just advises the County Board. Our taxi recommendation differed from the County Manager's, but nothing is decided until the board votes on the 17th.

by Chris Slatt on Nov 6, 2012 9:12 am • linkreport

Re: National Popular Vote movement. While the electoral college has a small-state bias, giving all of a state's electoral voates to the popular vote winner would create a new set of problems, especially when there is voter suppression.

Consider the voter suppression caused by Hurricane Sandy. It won't change who gets the electoral votes of NY, NJ, or CT--but it could change the popular vote winner.

Consider potential suppression of minority voters in Texas. While that is a problem today, at least it does not affect who wins the presidency because Texas will get the electorial votes anyway.

Consider the rare corrupt voting official. At least today such official can only affect the electoral votes of a close state--with popular vote initiatives, corrupt officials in all 50 states could affect the outcome.

Consider the year 2000: At lesat the fiasco was limited to one state. With the popular vote initiative, recounts in every state would be ongoing to the same degree.

by Jim T on Nov 6, 2012 9:23 am • linkreport

Agreed, this country needs to commit to actually holding free and fair elections before we start tinkering with the electoral college. Right now we don't have that. First something like a national vote-by-mail process, then maybe we can talk about popular vote initiatives.

by oboe on Nov 6, 2012 9:31 am • linkreport

One thing from the hurricane effects in NYC is the need for redundancy.

I've often though a dedicated bike bridge over the Potomac would be silly; nice, but not necessary.

Given we have 5 bridge crossing that allows bikes (key, Roosevelt, memorial, and 14th, and beltway) do we need a dedicated bridge for bikes still? Mixed. Certainly upgrading the facilities on Roosevelt would help. Having another bridge near chain bridge might be cheaper.

by charlie on Nov 6, 2012 9:33 am • linkreport

David, charlie - is this what you're looking for?

http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/20/growing-without-driving/#more-97123

by JDAntos on Nov 6, 2012 9:33 am • linkreport

Yesterday was my first time hearing about the national popular vote idea and it seemed really dumb and a way to once again silence DC residents. What's the point of voting if it ends up that people somewhere else can even take away the one lever you did have against them.

Let's reform our voting process at the federal level. Its amazing that we let states decide how federal elections are run anyway.

by drumz on Nov 6, 2012 9:46 am • linkreport

VMT per capita started declining in 2004, before the recession. There is plenty of evidence that people are cutting back on driving, combining trips, etc. "People have given up looking for jobs" doesn't fully explain things.

by MLD on Nov 6, 2012 9:48 am • linkreport

Also, even besides GDP growth the unemployment rate is still falling (and "quit looking for work" is a nebulous term anyway) and we have net job growth. That's commensurate with the fact that VMT is still down.

by drumz on Nov 6, 2012 9:51 am • linkreport

No, it's not the recession that is turning VMT down. It is continued unemployment, and more critically people who have given up looking for work.

The unemployment rate has dropped from a high of 10% to 7.9%. Since March 2010, 4.361 million jobs have been added to payrolls. Yet, VMT has gone down. That's not enough evidence for you?

Also, the workforce participation rate doesn't matter for VMT. What matters for VMT is the total number of jobs on payrolls. If you add 4m jobs and VMT goes down, clearly the VMT per job is shrinking.

by Falls Church on Nov 6, 2012 9:56 am • linkreport

do people looking for work use a lot more vehicle miles than folks who are discouraged? I mean you may need to drive to an interview, but lots of searching and even networking happens online these days.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Nov 6, 2012 9:57 am • linkreport

@FallsChurchs; as I explained, when people leave the workforce -- that is, they give up looking for jobs -- they aren't counted as unemployed.

Are we in a recovery -- yes. Are we seeing minor gains in employment, yes. Do we have a very serious problem with long term unemployment -- absolutely.

by charlie on Nov 6, 2012 10:05 am • linkreport

I don't think that owners of accessory dwellings in MoCo are being asked to put up sign announcing that a space is for rent. I think they're just being asked to put up a one time sign announcing their desire to get a permit to have an accessory dwelling. It's the same with DC. Whenever you apply for zoning relief, you have to put up that huge sign in your window announcing the date of the hearing.

by TM on Nov 6, 2012 10:07 am • linkreport

Again, surely the drop in the unemployment has more people simply finding work rather than people "dropping out".

by drumz on Nov 6, 2012 10:21 am • linkreport

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/wonkbook-the-real-unemployment-rate-is-11-percent/2011/12/12/gIQAuctPpO_blog.html

"Remember that the unemployment rate is not "how many people don't have jobs?", but "how many people don't have jobs and are actively looking for them?" Let's say you've been looking fruitlessly for five months and realize you've exhausted every job listing in your area. Discouraged, you stop looking, at least for the moment. According to the government, you're no longer unemployed. Congratulations?
Since 2007, the percent of the population that either has a job or is actively looking for one has fallen from 62.7 percent to 58.5 percent. That's millions of workers leaving the workforce, and it's not because they've become sick or old or infirm. It's because they can't find a job, and so they've stopped trying. That's where Luce's calculation comes from. If 62.7 percent of the country was still counted as in the workforce, unemployment would be 11 percent. In that sense, the real unemployment rate -- the apples-to-apples unemployment rate -- is probably 11 percent. And the real un- and underemployed rate -- the so-called "U6" -- is near 20 percent."

by charlie on Nov 6, 2012 10:36 am • linkreport

@Charlie

The folks leaving the workforce aren't going to impact VMT per job, which is the relevant metric to see if our economy is becoming less driving dependent. If we're adding jobs but not adding VMT, the explanation is that people are getting to their jobs by some means other than driving. Workforce participation doesn't impact VMT per job one way or the other.

by Falls Church on Nov 6, 2012 10:40 am • linkreport

Shouldn't the "real" unemployment rate be falling as well? Considering we're adding net jobs each month?

by drumz on Nov 6, 2012 10:45 am • linkreport

@Fallschurch; but we are measuring VMT per CAPITA, or VMT by GDP. Not VMT/per job.

It is very easy to add to your GDP without adding to your employment.

by charlie on Nov 6, 2012 10:48 am • linkreport

Federal Reserve Research: Half the decline in labor participation due to long-term demographics

http://www.kc.frb.org/publicat/econrev/pdf/12q1VanZandweghe.pdf

Changes in labor force participation have historically reflected a
number of factors. Demographic, cultural, and institutional trends have
produced gradual, long-term changes in participation. The business cy-
cle has also influenced participation, as bad times typically have been
associated with lower participation rates, though the strength of this cor-
relation is small. Thus, it is not immediately clear which of these factors
would have caused the recent sharp decline in labor force participation.

This article presents a variety of evidence—including data on de-
mographic shifts, labor market flows, gender differences, and the effects
of long-term unemployment—to disentangle the roles of the business
cycle and trend factors in the recent drop in participation. Taken to-
gether, the evidence indicates that long-term trend factors account for about half of the decline in labor force participation from 2007 to
2011, with cyclical factors accounting for the other half.

by Falls Church on Nov 6, 2012 10:52 am • linkreport

@Charlie but we are measuring VMT per CAPITA, or VMT by GDP. Not VMT/per job.

Then you are measuring the wrong thing. If you want to answer the question "is the economy less driving dependent?" and want to take out the noise caused by the business cycle, then you need to measure VMT per job.

In March 2007, the total VMT (12 month moving average) was 3.02 billion. In August 2012 the 12 month MA was 2.95 billion. During that time the economy added well over 4 million jobs. Hence, VMT per job has gone down. Hence, the economy is less driving dependent. QED.

by Falls Church on Nov 6, 2012 10:59 am • linkreport

* I meant March 2010

by Falls Church on Nov 6, 2012 11:07 am • linkreport

@ drumz:Shouldn't the "real" unemployment rate be falling as well? Considering we're adding net jobs each month?

The number of jobs created is currently about the same as the number of babies created, meaning that despite extra jobs, it does not make unemployment go down.

by Jasper on Nov 6, 2012 12:13 pm • linkreport

I'm surprised nobody's talking about the transportation funding initiatives up for consideration this election. Whether these win or lose is really important, as it may be indicative of change in how state and local transportation is funded.

by Sage on Nov 6, 2012 12:54 pm • linkreport

"DC residents, don't forget to flip the ballot over to the back as well. "

Alexandria, VA ballots are two sided as well.

by Kolohe on Nov 6, 2012 12:58 pm • linkreport

Thanks, Jasper.

Though it should be obvious that its not these newly born babies that are filling positions today.

by drumz on Nov 6, 2012 1:10 pm • linkreport

@ drumz:Though it should be obvious that its not these newly born babies that are filling positions today.

True. But they do count towards the population. And that number is one of the two numbers used in calculating the unemployment rate: (people looking for a job)/population.

by Jasper on Nov 6, 2012 3:06 pm • linkreport

Technically, that's part of the Metropolitan Branch Trail, not the 1st Street cycletrack. Somewhere I have a planning drawing that labels it as such. Still, the cycletrack is basically the Met Branch Trail, so why quibble.

by David C on Nov 8, 2012 10:22 pm • linkreport

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