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Breakfast links: Councilmember wishes

Photo by NCinDC on Flickr.
Buses may still come to Ivy City: Mayor Gray still wants to proceed with Ivy City bus parking and will appeal a judge's ruling over Kenyan McDuffie's objections. (City Paper)

Money order ban: Councilmember Mary Cheh looks to ban campaign money order contributions over $25. She proposed a similar ban before, but it got rolled up with a larger ethics reform effort that stalled. (DCist)

Go green to save green: Instead of a large and expensive tunnel system, DC Water may go for a more decentralized, greener solution for its stormwater management plan, involving rain barrels and rain gardens that could even save money. (DCmud)

Plow Arlington: Arlington's Master Transportation Plan has called for plowing Arlington's bike lanes and primary shared use paths since at least 1994, yet Arlington DES says they are still "strategizing" on how best to accomplish this. (Along the Pike)

Long Branch bets on transit: In its new sector plan, Maryland's Long Branch neighborhood is planning itself around transit in anticipation of a Purple Line station. One proposal would require developers to build pedestrian-friendly projects. (Patch)

Count on it: The Federal Highway Administration has issued guidelines on how to count cyclists and pedestrians which should improve the quality of data localities collect. Better data should make getting performance-based funding easier.

People talk commutes: The Washington Post is hosting a symposium this morning on transportation and commuting issues, which you can watch live online. Speakers include Rob Puentes from Brookings, Senator Ben Cardin, ACT's Ben Ross on a panel on transit, Stewart Schwartz from CSG, and at approximately 10:00, David Alpert, Harriet Tregoning, and DDOT bike planner Jim Sebastian.

And...: Dan Malouff has some pictures of a tour of the abandoned streetcar tunnels under Dupont Circle. (BeyondDC) ... WMATA is testing three-bike racks on some of its buses. (PlanItMetro) ... Google Maps returns to iPhone. (Post)

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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've often wondered about a subsidy to repair old cars.

I have a 20 year old car. I know it is both "seepy" and leaks AC coolant. Both are bad for the environemnt. It is in garage so I'd guess 98% of the oil seep is ending up on the garage floor and eventually in some sewer. Not clear if that is treated.

Is it worth repairing -- not for the $1500. I'd rather put in an extra quart of oil every few months. However, somehow capturing that externality would be good.

Another argument for underground garage parking rather than street parking.

by charlie on Dec 14, 2012 8:53 am • linkreport

Stupid question: does the long term planning of the DC Street Car system consider reusing the Dupont Station and tunnels? I haven't looked at any of the 22 or 37 mile proposals but its a stupidly obvious adaptive reuse of a wasted resource. I realize basic questions of electrification needs to be figured out, etc. I wonder if the new cars will fit in the tunnels.

by Ryan on Dec 14, 2012 8:58 am • linkreport

Those Dupont Station tunnels are really cool. I never knew they existed. I wonder if the Metro tunnels are planned the way they are to avoid the old Street Car tunnels...

by Austin on Dec 14, 2012 9:10 am • linkreport

Is it worth repairing -- not for the $1500. I'd rather put in an extra quart of oil every few months.

No, it's not worth repairing strictly from a monetary standpoint. It's also not worth the time and effort of disposing of household chemicals or batteries properly or recycling -- strictly from a monetary standpoint. Nor is the ROI positive for donating to charity. And, it's much easier to fart on the metro than to hold it in.

However, many people feel a moral obligation to be good stewards of our shared resources like clean air and water. On the other hand, I'll definitely agree that many other people operate with the view of squeezing every last dime out of society that is legal and not giving anything back that is not legally required. Which group would you like to be a part of?

by Falls Church on Dec 14, 2012 9:26 am • linkreport


The oil still goes somewhere, even if it is in a garage. I know my old employer in Bethesda would power-wash the garage every 6 months or so, I am sure the water was just pumped out and into the sewers, they were definitely not collecting it.

Regarding the rain barrel thing, this seems like a no-brainer. Spend 2.3 billion on one project, or spend less than that on a bunch of smaller projects. Through the DC Riversmart program, I am having a rain barrel installed. 150-gallons that won't get put into the sewers during rain storms. When you start talking about hundreds and thousands of these things, you have made a serious dent.

On Amazon, it costs $280 for a nice barrel. I have a $45 co-pay, so call it a cost to the program of $500/barrel when you include overhead.

For 10,000 barrels, that is a cost of $5,000,000. But those barrels can take up to 1.5 million gallons of water. I mean, for 2.3 billion, we could install 4.6 million barrels.

Heck, even for the 1,000,000 we are reactively spending to bail out Bloomingdale Homeowners without insurance, we could be proactive and put 2,000 barrels directly up-sewer of Bloomingdale.

by Kyle-W on Dec 14, 2012 9:29 am • linkreport

Those Dupont Station tunnels are really cool. I never knew they existed. I wonder if the Metro tunnels are planned the way they are to avoid the old Street Car tunnels...

The Metro tunnels are very deep at Dupont/Woodley so they can go under the park.

by MLD on Dec 14, 2012 9:34 am • linkreport

I'm all for the decentralized solution to control run off. Mosquito control will have to be improved, however.

by SJE on Dec 14, 2012 9:38 am • linkreport

"spending to bail out Bloomingdale Homeowners without insurance"

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't flood insurance basically impossible to get? I know my otherwise solid homeowners policy exempts flooding.

by TM on Dec 14, 2012 9:42 am • linkreport

Fairfax has a handy rain barrel workshop program.

If only my HOA would not ban rain barrels.

by Jasper on Dec 14, 2012 9:42 am • linkreport


In a word yes.

Cut and cover for the Dupont Circle metro station would have required the excavation of circle and the highway underpass.

The top of the bed rock is a few feet below the invert of the street car tunnel and highway underpass.

It was deemed simpler and cheaper and less disruptive to simply tunnel under the existing infrastructure then dig it up and restore it after building the station.

by Sand Box John on Dec 14, 2012 9:43 am • linkreport

For me, the slideshow on the Dupont Circle subway tunnels finally solves the mystery of how there can be trolley tunnels and a car tunnel seemingly in the same space :-) Thanks Dan!

by dc denizen on Dec 14, 2012 9:44 am • linkreport

@Kyle-W; right. Well, you live in nicer places than I do since I've never seen a powerwash in 10 years. IN any case, my understanding that in Arlington that would go into the the storm sewer, and would be treated so long as they didn't wash the garage after a storm.

by charlie on Dec 14, 2012 9:51 am • linkreport

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't flood insurance basically impossible to get? I know my otherwise solid homeowners policy exempts flooding.

Flood insurance is a separate type of insurance you have to purchase in addition to a normal homeowners policy. If flood insurance is not available from private industry in your area, you should be able to buy it from the Federal Flood Insurance program. If you live in an area with at least a 1% chance per year of being flooded, you can't get a mortgage without flood insurance.

by Falls Church on Dec 14, 2012 10:00 am • linkreport

IN any case, my understanding that in Arlington that would go into the the storm sewer, and would be treated so long as they didn't wash the garage after a storm

Treatment plants have a fixed capacity to treat harmful chemicals like motor oil. If they need to upgrade that capacity because there are more chemicals going into sewers, it's very expensive. Industrial users of chemicals are monitored so we can avoid expensive upgrades that will raise everyone's water bills but households are on their own to decide what they will allow to get into sewers.

by Falls Church on Dec 14, 2012 10:04 am • linkreport


Was the nicest office building in Bethesda. Class-A space I suppose expects things like a power-washed garage haha.

I tend to think, as this was basically man-made flooding (crap sewer system) that it was ok to bail them out this ONE time. I do think that people in Bloomingdale should be made very aware that this was a one time thing. If you live in Bloomingdale, and do not buy flood insurance after what happened this summer, I have less than zero sympathy for you.

by Kyle-W on Dec 14, 2012 10:21 am • linkreport

Rain barrels are a nice idea and could help mitigate some of the overflow. But looking at the amount of overflow per rain event, you have to install over 200,000 rain barrels in the CSO area to get started on solving the problem.

That's not to say they shouldn't do it - DC Water should be trying to install these rain barrels everywhere they can. And city agencies should be working on how to install more pervious surface.

by MLD on Dec 14, 2012 10:58 am • linkreport


Totally agree with you. To get to 200,000, it takes 1 at a time though (for the most part.) They are doing a decent job of it, and the SmartRivers program seems solid. I am getting a rain barrel, as well as removing a bunch of pavement in my backyard, and replacing with permeable pavers for a parking pad. Just one house, but when you repeat that process thousands of times, you can see serious progress.

by Kyle-W on Dec 14, 2012 11:02 am • linkreport

@charlie: there was a cash for clunkers program, partly to get the dirty old cars off the road. It lasted about 2 months in 2009.

As anybody who has owned an old car knows, it is always cheaper to dump a $3 quart of oil into it now and then rather than get a $2500 rebuilt engine. The end-game economics are fascinating, as you will always find it is always cheaper to keep your old car that is still running. The reliability problems -- how often it leaves you stranded -- is what prompts people to buy a new car.

by goldfish on Dec 14, 2012 11:03 am • linkreport

I have a rain barrel but they only hold about 50 gallons which is pretty small compared to the amount of water that will come off a large roof in a heavy rainstorm.

In the past week the parking pad for 4 cars across my back alley has been changed from gravel to concrete and the 20' alley beside my house has been completely torn up (including the original cobblestone) and redone in asphalt.

We're not headed green yet by a long shot.

by Tom Coumaris on Dec 14, 2012 11:27 am • linkreport

although Ivy City (!) is headed green in another way- the first marijuana grow facility got it's C of O there yesterday:

by Tom Coumaris on Dec 14, 2012 12:16 pm • linkreport

@charlie. If your car leaks oil in the garage, it probably leaks way more on the road than the small amount you suggest, since the oil is under pressure when the engine is running. The oil you see on the floor is the residue left on the engine from the last time you drove it. I have a 20-y.o. pickup with 163k on it, and it neither drips nor burns oil. It is possible to keep your older vehicle leak-free.

by Paul on Dec 14, 2012 2:02 pm • linkreport

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