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


Breakfast links: Warnings of trouble

Photo by thisisbossi on Flickr.
Shuster gets transportation chair: Bill Shuster (R-PA) will chair the House Transportation Committee. He supports high-speed rail, but only privatized and in the Northeast Corridor, and wants more focus on highways and less on bike paths. (Streetsblog)

WMATA warned on cell service timeline: Mobile carriers warned WMATA a year ago that it wasn't on track for cell service in the tunnels by its federal deadline. Carriers also complained that safety escorts were insufficient and often late. (Examiner)

Transportation, housing add up: Washington families spend 72% of their income on housing and transportation combined, one of the highest rates in the nation. (WTOP)

U-turn on Penn, pay $100: Mayor Gray established an emergency rule yesterday to firmly prohibit U-turns across the Pennsylvania Avenue bike lanes (which DDOT is also now repainting. Violations come with a $100 fine. (WTOP)

On the Riverfront: The Capitol Riverfront has seen a dramatic revitalization in recent years. Now people who lived in low-income housing that was torn down are starting to move back in to much-improved units. (City Paper)

Arlington may go private: Arlington may have a private contractor design, build, and run its planned streetcar system. A private company is more likely to get the Crystal City segment as the Columbia Pike streetcar is seeking Federal funding. (ARLnow)

SW buys a screen: Southwest DC will use some of its performance parking revenue for a real-time screen that will show when nearby buses and trains are to arrive, numbers of CaBi bikes in the area, and nearby arts performances. (SWTLQTC)

Fewer will be WorkingSocial: LivingSocial will lay off 400 employees nationwide, but will DC's recent tax break deal, which requires them to maintain 1,000 employees in DC, stave off many DC layoffs? (WBJ, City Paper)

What if feds had fewer offices?: What if many federal government workers started telecommuting, and GSA cut down on the number of rented offices far from transit? The Office of Planning looked at this scenario with an animation. (OPinions)

And...: Arlington may get an electric cab company. (Post) ... DC is seeking a contractor to help visualize how taller buildings would look. (WBJ) ... The EPA names the country's best smart growth projects (none in Washington). (Atlantic Cities)

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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.  


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I wouldn't worry about the EPA not selecting any DC region projects for mention - one of the points of these awards is to highlight smart growth in places that aren't necessarily renowned for smart growth ideology, or even ideology in general - precisely to show that smart growth is something "normal" for Americans to do. Buffalo, Portsmouth, Fort Lauderdale, Denver, Brattleboro. Normal places. From the POV of the rest of the country, doing something because it was done in the DC region would be like doing something because it was done in Europe.

by jnb on Nov 29, 2012 8:58 am • linkreport

Way to go Arlington! I'm all for getting the street car lines built by hook or crook. Even though I'd rather the government do it, it's too important to let it languish in the halls of beaurocracy. Afterall, DC's where privately funded. It kind of undercuts the car lover's argument that transit is another unsustainable government boondoggle if the vaunted private sector's stepping up to cash in. Can we have some in DC and Montgomery Co. pretty please?

by Thayer-D on Nov 29, 2012 8:59 am • linkreport

Regarding the new fine for making U-turns across bike lanes: not only is it $100 out of your pocket, but 2 points on your license as it constitutes a moving violation. I think the "points on the license" aspect is the bigger deterrent in this case - the fine is somewhat low.

by Rudi on Nov 29, 2012 9:05 am • linkreport

@Thayer-D, the private sector usually "cashes in" by offering terms unfavorable to the local governments involved.

Private sector involvement in something is not proof that it's economically viable. Not a comment on the streetcar proposals specifically, but there's lots of reason to be wary of public-private "partnerships".

by Corey on Nov 29, 2012 9:21 am • linkreport

The link on the arlington steetcar isn't working. Is it a PP partnership, or just having a private company run the thing -- which I think was always the plan.

Great news on the U turns.

by charlie on Nov 29, 2012 9:21 am • linkreport

Re: rep shuster.

He says that he can't support money towards cycle infrastructure because PA. has deficient bridges and someone could get killed if they aren't repaired and money must come from the bike stuff to the bridges.


by drumz on Nov 29, 2012 9:29 am • linkreport

The Google Reader stuff at the end of the ArlNow link messes it up.

by selxic on Nov 29, 2012 9:36 am • linkreport

Also interesting to read up on Portsmouth in the Smart growth article. It is a shame how that city has floundered relative to the rest of the region down there.

by drumz on Nov 29, 2012 9:54 am • linkreport

Oh my. We now literally have a coal-state car salesman as transportation committee chair. This will be fun.

by Payton on Nov 29, 2012 9:58 am • linkreport

I've fixed the ArlNow link. Thanks.

by David Alpert on Nov 29, 2012 10:01 am • linkreport

I don’t wish anyone to lose their job but there is some level of smug satisfaction that goes along with saying “I told you so”. Groupon stock is in the tank and this entire business idea is laughable. It was a one shot kinda deal, new for a while but entirely ridiculous, useless and damaging to most retailers.

Despite what its supporters called it, it was the furthest thing from a "tech" company as you can get and it is embarrasing DC would offer the largest tax break it has ever offered to any company ever, to money hemmoraging coupon company.

Just another one of those companies that made money without doing anything, taking a piece of someone elses pie for emailing coupons to people. Thankfully it seems to be ending. I mean really…how many teeth whitening “deals” does someone need to buy?

by Livingsocial on Nov 29, 2012 10:37 am • linkreport

So I'm looking at the CNT study, and from what I can see, moderate-income families in the Washington region have the LOWEST combined housing and transportation costs as a percentage of income (51%), because of relatively high incomes. The 72% figure is for Miami, which has average housing and transportation costs, but also relatively low incomes.

by Esmeralda on Nov 29, 2012 10:38 am • linkreport

So, WMATA was warned about a potential problem long ago and did nothing to remedy it, and is now asking for leniency when the problem actually comes up. Seems like I've heard that maybe 20 times before. Congress should force some housecleaning to send a message.

by SJE on Nov 29, 2012 10:59 am • linkreport

Rep Schuster: He is right, the roads in PA are in terrible shape. Much worse than the neighboring states, those in the midwest, and any other that I have been through.

by goldfish on Nov 29, 2012 11:30 am • linkreport

@goldfish-Yeah, but he's not interested in providing funding to fix those roads and bridges, just funding to build more of them, at the cost of bike and ped programs.

by thump on Nov 29, 2012 1:01 pm • linkreport

@goldfish & thump

You're both right. Roads in PA are the worst I've ever seen overall in the US, I've driven on roads that are original WPA 30's concrete, patched thousands of times to give an unbelievably rough ride. But the PA DOT, or whatever they call it, is not interested in maintenance, only building new roads, whether it's the horribly named I-99, or their plans to convert US 15, 219, 220 (and probably others) to full interstate highways. Meanwhile SEPTA is probably the worst large transit agency in the country, and from what I hear PAT in Pittsburgh is imploding.

by kinverson on Nov 29, 2012 1:32 pm • linkreport

the roads in PA are in terrible shape.

Ah, PA road bashing. Always fun. I have so many scary memories of the I-79N/I-70W merge in Washington, PA. That must be one of the worst interstate mergers. That ramp from I-79 to I-70 had new scrapings and paint colors every time I drove by...

Also one of the very few spots on the interstate network where there is an advisory speed of 25mpgh for all traffic. And you better stick to that!

by Jasper on Nov 30, 2012 10:05 am • linkreport

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