The Washington, DC region is great >> and it can be greater.


Breakfast links: Old school

Photo by Bill on Capitol Hill on Flickr.
Hine gets OK: The DC Zoning Commission has approved the Hine School PUD, officially closing the community feedback phase. Developers will now focus on securing financing and aim to start construction next summer. (DCmud)

Not down with escalators: Planned escalators in the Main Hall could hamper future expansion at Union Station. Amtrak officials want to know if the holes for the escalators could be easily removed to accommodate passenger flow. (Post)

A lot to do in 5 years: Mayor Gray's 5-year economic development plan is certainly ambitious, but some goals might be difficult to achieve. The planned tech center at St. Elizabeths has a ways to go. (City Paper)

Academic village in NoMa: While some parts of Gray's 5-year economic plan might be difficult, one developer is moving forward with a NoMa academic village, which aims to attract and keep talent in the District. (WBJ)

Height limit estimate too high?: Ryan Avent and Matt Yglesias have been arguing DC's height limit costs over a billion dollars a year in a "shadow tax," but are they overstating their case by conflating too many factors into an inaccurate number? (Atlantic Cities)

Safer to be blue: Blue states tend to see fewer traffic fatalities than red states, with DC leading all states with the fewest fatalities per capita. Do travel patterns explain this difference or might there be something else? (Streetsblog)

And...: Thanksgiving weekend will have several transit closings and modified schedules. (Post) ... RideOn buses now feature bold ads promoting pedestrian safety. (WAMU) ... Sand Box John has another thorough update on Silver Line construction.

Have a tip for the links? Submit it here.
Steven Yates grew up in Indiana before moving to DC in 2002 to attend college at American University. He currently lives in Southwest DC.  


Add a comment »

[This comment has been deleted for violating the comment policy.]

by charlie on Nov 21, 2012 8:47 am • linkreport

OFFS, on that Streetsblog traffic fatality article. Rural roads have higher speeds (both by rules and by traffic permissiveness) and thus more chance of getting into a fatal accident - particularly on a per capita basis. It has nothing to do with 'suburbanization' (otherwise, for instance, Maryland wouldn't be so low) and only tangentially do with politics - it's a textbook example of correlation != causation.

by Kolohe on Nov 21, 2012 8:55 am • linkreport

Is "removing holes" akin to dividing by zero?

by ah on Nov 21, 2012 8:55 am • linkreport

@ Kolohe - well put. My thoughts are the same. The correlation develops only because of a common correlation between rural/urban divides and both political leanings and driving fatalities.

by ah on Nov 21, 2012 8:59 am • linkreport

Not sure why Streetsblog thought it necessary to bring in the stats for Obama voting. Yes, rural states tend to vote Republican, rural states have more traffic deaths per capita, but this seems entirely tangential. And to call the divide urban/suburban seems misguided at best. I'd say it's more of an urban/rural divide and rural areas do tend to be more dangerous due to longer stretches of open road that are hazardous due to dangers that are minimized in the city (to name a few): sleepy drivers, snow/ice, wildlife, more tractor trailers, etc...). I think if you could control for these, the numbers would balance out, particularly when you factor in pedestrian/cyclist deaths as well. Don't get many pedestrian deaths out in rural Wyoming, but guess what, you get a s**t-ton in supposedly safe DC.

by MM on Nov 21, 2012 9:15 am • linkreport

ah- you beat me to it :)

When I think of removing holes my mind inevitably recollects watching Looney Tunes.

by Bossi on Nov 21, 2012 9:18 am • linkreport


But look at California, rather low on the list and Texas in the middle. Both those state have the highest total of hwy miles, while Mississippi and Arkansas are at the top and are relatively smaller states. No way political leanings play are part, but I wonder if something else does, my hunch, it involves wealth and this list matches up nicely.

by RJ on Nov 21, 2012 9:19 am • linkreport

With the Giant and Hine passed, this year is turning out to be a good one for the PUD.

by Neil Flanagan on Nov 21, 2012 9:56 am • linkreport

If you look at the bottom rankings, most of those have transit systems. I imagine that fact greatly contributes to the "disparity" in the numbers.

I agree, adding Obama into the mix is ridiculous. In fact, the accident/party distinction is rather meaningless here.

by HogWash on Nov 21, 2012 9:59 am • linkreport

The Streetsblog article was especially for emphasizing the "No one knows the answer to this great mystery" quotes. The full answer may be complex, but as others point out, there's a fairly clear correlation between having dense urban areas and lower traffic fatality rates (although it's not a strictly inverse relationship between a state's density and fatality rate). As for tying it to politics, others have written (especially in the run up and aftermath of Nov. 6) about how urban density correlates with political outlook on a variety of issues. The bottom line of many of those articles being something like - if you live in close proximity to others, you tend to have somewhat greater tolerance/preference for ethnical/racial/sexual-orientation diversity, and you also tend to believe more strongly in the need for/benefit of a government role in certain issues. So denser areas tend to be bluer than red. And for many of the reasons cited above and in the article, denser areas tend to have fewer fatalities per capita (lower speeds, less driving, more pedestrian and awareness of them). So even though correlation isn't the same as causation, it's certainly possible that the tendencies of an area to both be blue and have lower traffic fatalities stem from similar roots.

by Paula Product on Nov 21, 2012 10:21 am • linkreport

Density does not explain it

look at Iowa and Maine vs Missouri and the Carolinas.

I don't think either percent rural, or average pop per sq mile explains it.

I suspect its cultural issues, that impact attitudes toward risk taking, towards alcohol consumption, auto purchase preferences, towards infrastructure AND towards politics.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Nov 21, 2012 11:43 am • linkreport

The fatality list is interesting, but without controlling for potential confounders like density, rural/urban, etc. of limited usefulness. It's also unclear how meaningful the differences between states really are, statistically, esp. once you get past the top & bottom of the list

At a more impressionistic level, I'm not surprised that VA fares a bit worse than MD and that Southern states fall where they do. Having lived in Georgia & Tennessee, I'd say that the driving style is quite "lassiez faire" and I can recall seeing spectacular accidents (explosions, lots of cars involved) because of one person's need to suddenly move over several lanes of traffic into a space to small for their vehicle (and doing this nowhere near one of the awkward transitions that are common esp. in the Atlanta area). there's also the question of road engineering--the Atlanta area, in particular, was filled with places where one needed to move over several lanes of traffic to execute fairly common turns or turnoffs.

by Rich on Nov 21, 2012 2:02 pm • linkreport

You don't have to be an economist to take a stab at the "cost" of the height limit, but you do have take a lot of things into account and Avent and Ynglesis don't even come close. One confound is having a lot of that new class A space coming on line (say a couple high rises) will distort the market and may actually bring down prices at least temporarily. DC's robust economy is not a long-term given. The old CBD was dead for decades and only recently has retail come back to any large extent. The decline of the CBD probably was augmented by development of the West End, which itself seems to be facing transitions with some buildings being renewed and others replaced.

by Rich on Nov 21, 2012 2:07 pm • linkreport

Whew re: Hine. Just walked past it today with my parents and had to apologize about it being such an eyesore. What a shame that more people won't get to have their offices/apartments at such a splendid location.

by Payton on Nov 22, 2012 12:28 am • linkreport

Add a Comment

We are switching over to our new website. Commenting on the old site is now disabled. Thank you for your patience and pardon our dust!

Support Us