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Breakfast links: Votes and non-votes


Photo by Elvert Barnes on Flickr.
DC Council votes: The DC Council approved bills to reduce traffic fines and deregulate Uber, and passed the tax break for Howard Town Center, but narrowly voted down red-top parking meters for drivers with disabilities. (Post, Examiner)

Tysons tax vote pushed back: Fairfax Supervisors delayed a vote on raising Tysons real estate taxes to fund transportation upgrades. Supervisors have supported the proposal, but are again considering adding an exemption for residential landowners. (Post)

Olson "too Arlington" for PG?: The Prince George's County Council unexpectedly denied Eric Olson the chairmanship and reelected Andrea Harrison. Olson had clashed with Rushern Baker, and a zoning lawyer said some think he's "too Arlington." (Post)

Gray not into autonomy vote: The efforts for DC budget autonomy might be "set back many years" if Congressmembers "bristle at this attempt to circumvent their authority" by putting a referendum on the April special election ballot, Mayor Gray argued in a letter to the DC Council. It approved the referendum anyway. (Post)

L Street lane opens, M is next: The L Street cycle track has officially opened. (DCist) ... Mayor Gray says DC the M Street counterpart is coming in 2013.

A "bike beltway" for Towson?: Towson, Maryland is considering a 5-mile "bike beltway" around the downtown area. The plan would ring the Baltimore suburb with a mix of painted bike lanes and sharrows. (Baltimore Brew)

Court hears psychic's zoning challenge: A Virginia psychic is challenging zoning which prevents her from sharing a work space with licensed psychologists. (WAMU)

Not throwing stones: Residents in a few cities are building glass houses, even where passersby can often see in. They like the light and don't mind being visible. (WSJ)

More infrastructure $?: President Obama wants more infrastructure spending as part of a budget deal. It's not clear how much of any new stimulus will go to transit, repairing roads and bridges, or new sprawl projects. (Streetsblog)

And...: Amtrak service in Virginia has steadily increased lately. (BeyondDC) ... LA voters approved a tax district to build a streetcar. (LA Downtown News) ... How about a trampoline bridge or trampoline road in DC? (Huffington Post, Ken Archer)

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Layman has been running an excellent series on exchaing height for community benefits. I wonder how this applies to Tysons. Not familiar enough to say, but while current residents are small, there plan is to have a lot more. Why shouldn't they pay?

Also, couldn't you just exempt the first 1M or so of property value? Would cover 90% of condos there.

by charlie on Dec 5, 2012 8:55 am • linkreport

One might be tempted to say that in this case, "too Arlington" is also a coded dog whistle for something else...

by Dizzy on Dec 5, 2012 9:09 am • linkreport

They call him "Too Arlington" and yet nothing in the story indicates that he's into any smart growth initiatives.

The story mentions a few projects but not what they entail so how the hell am I supposed to know if they're good projects or not. Casinos in and of themselves aren't a smart growth issue.

by drumz on Dec 5, 2012 9:17 am • linkreport

@charlie - Tysons funding is coming from a combination of special fees (not sure what they are calling them, essentially proffers) on NEW construction whether commercial or residential - PLUS increased property taxes on all real property, including older property (since the new Tysons will significantly increase the value of existing office buildings, that makes sense) its older residential property (mostly large 1980s era condo towers, I think) that would be exempt.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 5, 2012 9:26 am • linkreport

"Casinos in and of themselves aren't a smart growth issue."

at last, a way to fund Artisphere.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 5, 2012 9:28 am • linkreport

Eric Olson is my council member and great council member.

What does it mean to be "too Arlington"? Given that the phrase appeared in the Washington Post, this would not be a bad topic for a Post op-ed.

I was glad to see that the other council member for Glenn Dale, Ingrid Turners, stood by him. While this has to be a great disappointment, adversity sometimes brings opportunities. I think that he will still be able to move his legislation forward.

The obvious question is whether he plans to run for state office after his final term expires in 2014.

by JimT on Dec 5, 2012 9:35 am • linkreport

Yeah, I'm not particularly happy w/ Campos for switching his vote. I've only heard good things from Olson constituents.

I'm not sure that anything racial was meant by "too Arlington", but I could be wrong.

by thump on Dec 5, 2012 10:01 am • linkreport

"[Congress may] bristle at this attempt to circumvent their authority"

Nevermind the taxpayers bristling at Congress' attempts to circumvent our authority. Congress should learn its place, not the other way around.

by Steven Harrell on Dec 5, 2012 10:02 am • linkreport

Disappointed about the red-top meters. I have no clue why this didn't pass. Seems like we are currently letter people from Maryland scam the system with grandma's disabled permit, taking up a spot all day.

This program was a win-win. Make sure handicapped people can actually find spots, and eliminate the ability for people to game the system (or at least make them pay $2 an hour to do such)

by Kyle-W on Dec 5, 2012 10:14 am • linkreport

From the red top parking meter article "opponents were concerned that the proposal required handicapped motorists to pay for parking and reduced available on-street parking for non-disabled motorists."

Why shouldn't handicapped people pay for parking? Handicapped does not equal poor. I can't emphasize this enough: I don't want Charles Krauthammer getting free parking!!!

The second issue might be a legitimate use of resources issue - hundreds of empty parking spaces do no one any good.

Perhaps a solution would be to allow anyone to park at a red-top meter, but without a handicapped plate, you pay a much higher rate. Then, those will always be the last to fill. Give the extra money to parking garages and require that they allow the handicapped to park at the street rate. It's not perfect. Better ideas?

by David C on Dec 5, 2012 10:22 am • linkreport

I'm also one of Eric Olson's constituents and while I like the guy, I think he tends to talk bigger than he does. It's easy to talk about smart growth but another thing to brave the upset of the vocal 'never change anything' crowd. Then again, those folks tend to be reliable voters, so pushing against it may be too much to hope for from any politician.

by Distantantennas on Dec 5, 2012 10:24 am • linkreport

@David C:
Perhaps a solution would be to allow anyone to park at a red-top meter, but without a handicapped plate, you pay a much higher rate.
But I thought the first objection to the proposed policy was that there wouldn't be enough disabled spots? So then they decided to put one on every block, and now the problem is that it will take up too many spots.

I'm having trouble keeping up with the shifting opposition to this.

by Gray's The Classics on Dec 5, 2012 10:31 am • linkreport

Left out is that the bill to outlaw discrimination against ex-offenders lost 7-5.

Odd the Council cut camera revenues causing worry where the funds will come from and then immediately passed an unnecessary $11M subsidy to HTC which probably equals the camera shortfall.

by Tom Coumaris on Dec 5, 2012 11:00 am • linkreport

This seems easy to me. Implement Red Top meters on every street. Charge for parking. Implement performance parking in the areas where parking is especially tight.

Why is this taking so long? Even if we can't be as efficient as San Francisco with their performance parking, figure out where parking is particularly tight, and adjust meters on those streets to $3/hour. Check again in three months, if it is still an issue, adjust to $4/hour and so on. If people want to park on 17th a block from the White House, they should be able to find a spot, and if the market price to make sure a spot is open is $10/hour, then so be it.

by Kyle-W on Dec 5, 2012 11:01 am • linkreport

Can anybody explain what is wrong with being too Arlington? What are the failures in Arlington that PG County does not want to get?

by Jasper on Dec 5, 2012 11:16 am • linkreport

Jasper,

It means you're too pro-growth. Or not pro-growth enough. Or too environmental. Or you don't care about normal things.
Or whatever you want it to mean since apparently no follow up was ever asked.

by drumz on Dec 5, 2012 11:28 am • linkreport

Ah, so this is why PG is an embarrassment to Maryland.

We could only be so lucky if the Arlington Council got to run PG for a few years. Then we would see some real modern development. The county is a disgrace as it is and doesn't deserve most of its metro stops.

by That settles it on Dec 5, 2012 11:40 am • linkreport

The county is a disgrace as it is and doesn't deserve most of its metro stops.

Knowing several people who live in the county, PG is the farthest thing from a disgrace. Such a horrible thing to say about an entire country of folk.

by HogWash on Dec 5, 2012 1:18 pm • linkreport

Exchanging height limit exemptions in return for community benefits? How short-sighted can we get?

by Jazzy on Dec 5, 2012 1:45 pm • linkreport

@Jazzy:
Exchanging height limit exemptions in return for community benefits? How short-sighted can we get?
Refusing community benefits in return for nothing more than buildings of limited height? How short-sighted can we get?

by Gray's The Classics on Dec 5, 2012 1:49 pm • linkreport

Jazzy

if the benefits take the form of long live assets like parks, or proffers to be invested in long lived assets like a rail transit line, how is that short sighted?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 5, 2012 1:50 pm • linkreport

Layman has been running an excellent series on exchaing height for community benefits. I wonder how this applies to Tysons.

I don't believe it would apply to Tysons since FAR (essentially, height) is unlimited for parcels within a 1/4 mile of a Silver Line station.

by Falls Church on Dec 5, 2012 2:19 pm • linkreport

Knowing several people who live in the county, PG is the farthest thing from a disgrace. Such a horrible thing to say about an entire country of folk.

From a transit/development perspective, "That settles it" is correct, honestly. Those metro stations are going to waste because of an inability to take advantage of the infrastructure in development patterns. We'd save a lot of money just by closing those stations if PG County has no interest or ability in developing the land around those areas in a way that maximizes the use of the existing metro station infrastructure.

by JustMe on Dec 5, 2012 2:24 pm • linkreport

y'know, I'm not an anti-government black helicopter kind of guy, but here is what is being discussed vis-a-vis height for community benefits.

Step 1: Sell land without restrictions.
Step 2: Restrict all land with height limits. Don't compensate landowners. Say it is for the public good.
Step 3: Offer to let them build above that height in exchange for money.

That's a pretty good shake down, no? I know this has been upheld by the Supreme Court (through step 2 at least) but I wonder about step 3.

by David C on Dec 5, 2012 2:58 pm • linkreport

What are the failures in Arlington that PG County does not want to get?

A non-black majority.

by Vinh An Nguyen on Dec 5, 2012 4:09 pm • linkreport

From a transit/development perspective, "That settles it" is correct, honestly. We'd save a lot of money just by closing those stations if PG County has no interest or ability in developing the land around those areas in a way that maximizes the use of the existing metro station infrastructure.

What exactly does any of this have to do w/the belief that PG is a disgrace and doesn't deserve its metro stops?

And BTW, who is "we?" What will "we" save from closing an entire county's metro station? Savings for whom?

by HogWash on Dec 5, 2012 4:12 pm • linkreport

I don't think anything racist was meant by calling Olson, who is white in a majority-black county, "too Arlington."

I also don't think the inverse - calling a black person in Arlington "too PG" - is automatically racist either, though it could be.

I am quite confident that if someone said "too PG" though, people would immediately and loudly scream "racist" and refuse to listen to any rational evidence to the contrary.

by grouch on Dec 6, 2012 3:16 pm • linkreport

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