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Breakfast links: Worrying about parking


Image from Calvin Cafritz Enterprises.
Chevy Chase building draws a fight: A group of residents is organizing to fight an 11-story by-right apartment building at Connecticut and Military. Michael Brown and Patrick Mara were quick to voice opposition to the project, while Matt Frumin and Paul Zukerberg want better communication and transparency. (Georgetown Dish)

Evans demands parking privileges: Jack Evans is really "furious" that the Secret Service won't let DC councilmembers drive to the Wilson Building after 6 am on inauguration day. (Examiner) ... Tim Craig noted councilmembers only asked about their own convenience, not residents' needs, at the inauguration security briefing.

Make cars louder?: Regulators are proposing rules to force electric and hybrid vehicles to make some noise at 18 mph or less, so pedestrians can hear them. NHTSA estimates this will save 2,800 injuries per year. (The Fast Lane)

FTA fixes funding priorities: New FTA rules will make it much easier for transit in walkable areas, and projects that will drive economic development, to get federal money instead of favoring rail in medians of highways. (Streetsblog, Slate)

Baltimore gets new cameras: Baltimore will replace all 83 of its speed cameras after revelations that some cameras' error rates exceeded 5%. (Baltimore Sun)

Cancel games, lose revenue: The Washington Capitals will soon return to the Verizon Center after missing a few months of their season, but Natwar Gandhi estimates the District lost $200,000 for each cancelled game, or $6.4 million in total. (DCist)

Corporations ride free?: A California man who drove alone in the carpool lane with his corporation's paperwork in the passenger seat is contesting his ticket, arguing that as a corporation is a person, he was not driving "alone" at all. (Patch, David E.)

And...: WMATA adds express rush hour bus service on New Hampshire Avenue between DC and Maryland. (WAMU, Kelly B) ... Unemployment in the DC area remains at 5.3%. (Post) ... The budget autonomy vote will go ahead as planned on April 23. (Post) ... A spate of problems are afflicting the new Boeing 787. (NYT)

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"A California man who drove alone in the carpool lane with his corporation's paperwork in the passenger seat is contesting his ticket, arguing that as a corporation is a person, he was not driving "alone" at all."

GENIUS!

by Alan B. on Jan 9, 2013 8:56 am • linkreport

Capitals, not Capitols.

Is that quote from Mara real ("Of course I support the residents of Chevy Chase in opposing this monstrosity.”)

I guess he is trying to shed the republican moniker, but this is a matter of right project.

by William on Jan 9, 2013 9:01 am • linkreport

Did you all really miss the regions biggest transportation news of the day? Bob Mcdonnel wants to eliminate the gas tax and raise the regressive sales tax instead? I didn't submit a tip, but figured there was no way I would be the first!

My favorite part is that it includes a $100 charge on alternate fuel vehicles, because even with no VA gas tax, those people are paying less FEDERAL GAS TAXES, so VA would proportionally get less federal gas taxes.

by Kyle-w on Jan 9, 2013 9:02 am • linkreport

Kyle-w: We have a post on that in the works for this morning. Hang on about an hour and then discuss away.

by David Alpert on Jan 9, 2013 9:04 am • linkreport

That California story is pure lulz. But what about this?

"Frieman has been attacking what he calls the “absurd” corporations-are-people definition for more than 10 years, putting himself as bait in the carpool lane roughly 25 times."

It took 25 tries for him to get pulled over in the carpool lane? Is that typical? Anyone know how likely you are to get pulled over in one of the local HOV lanes? Seems pretty ineffective to mark lanes that way if they rarely get enforced.

by David on Jan 9, 2013 9:04 am • linkreport

William: I've fixed the spelling.

by David Alpert on Jan 9, 2013 9:06 am • linkreport

David:

I assumed such! I was super excited for that one! I agree, likely too big of a deal to hijack the breakfast links for just that.

Here is hoping the building on Military and Connecticut gets built. That is a big intersection of two streets that take you most anywhere in the district. Density here is definitely needed.

by Kyle-w on Jan 9, 2013 9:13 am • linkreport

Re: Chevy Chase NIMBYs
Haha. I love that guys frown in the second picture in the article. It's like an Onion article picture :D

"Get off my lawn!"

by dc denizen on Jan 9, 2013 9:22 am • linkreport

I love aviation news as much as anyone (maybe a little more), but what is the connection with the 787 story and GGW.

by RJ on Jan 9, 2013 9:23 am • linkreport

Alright, I will agree that the design of that apartment building is way out of proportion to what is around there and is not pretty in general. But I'm not talking about the fact that it is next to single family homes because its silly to assume that housing should only be with like housing.

However, it's their's to build by right and has been so tough luck.

by drumz on Jan 9, 2013 9:26 am • linkreport

A lot of the complaints about cameras and error rates would be allievated if they gave residents a "get out of jail" pass once or twice a year. Also for parking. I'm packing up for a move, going through 12 years of parking tickets, and it about 2 per year -- except for one very bad year.

by charlie on Jan 9, 2013 9:37 am • linkreport

Great news about the K9 -- now I can get halfway to work at the FDA quickly -- then wait for another bus to take me the rest of the way slowly.

Why not extend the Express bus all the way to White Oak? 6,000+ people work at the FDA campus with no legitimate public transit options.

by Josh on Jan 9, 2013 9:38 am • linkreport

dc, I laughed when I saw that picture too. Maybe GGW should start a caption contest.

by Alan B. on Jan 9, 2013 9:45 am • linkreport

@charlie-So basically what you're saying is, you'd like to not have to pay the two tickets/year that you average.

by thump on Jan 9, 2013 9:58 am • linkreport

I'n not sure it's fair to portray opposition to the Chevy Chase apartment/office building as NIMBYism when they conduct a straw poll and it's unanimous opposition. I personally don't have issue with the height, as I see all major avenues in and out of DC being lined with similar height buildings.

Why would the building's developers be so in your face with an aesthetic that screames office building in a residential neighborhood? Everyone knows these shear glass walls will become a gallery of curtains when people move in. It dosen't have to be a Beaux-Art classical building, but why not blend the building a little bit to it's context?

by Thayer-D on Jan 9, 2013 10:00 am • linkreport

RE: Chevy Chase Building Draws A Fight

"Michael Brown and Patrick Mara were quick to voice opposition to the project, while Matt Frumin and Paul Zukerberg want better communication and transparency."

Looking at the associated picture, I'd say that thanks to the glass curtain walls, the building couldn't get any more transparent.

by DR on Jan 9, 2013 10:01 am • linkreport

I have no issue with the height but it does look like an office building. Why not something like any of these buildings on 14th?

http://goo.gl/maps/XsZ5R

by MLD on Jan 9, 2013 10:08 am • linkreport

I am looking forward to a VA gas tax article too. If eliminating the gas tax makes it subject to a sales tax, then that could be a very good thing.

by aaa on Jan 9, 2013 10:09 am • linkreport

@Thayer-D

The meeting was called by and sponsored by those opposed to the building. Why would anyone else attend?

The proposal is matter of right. While I don't like the aesthetic either, as a matter of right proposal, I don't get a say. The irony is, this same neighborhood voted against being designated as a historic district a while back. So it is really a fit or either irony or hypocrisy to now come back and demand some sort of input on a matter of right proposal.

by William on Jan 9, 2013 10:10 am • linkreport

The only leg the neighbors can stand on is this supposedly negotiated agreement to close an alley. If Caffritz was allowed to convert public property to provate property, then I think anything it promised to so in return should be binding. But it sounds that there's some ambiguity over what exactly it promised and how binding that agreement is.

Designwise, I'm not sure what would be appropriate for the space. The apartment buildings that do exist that high on Connecticut aren't the graceful pre-wars that exist on lower Connecticut. They're mostly kind of bland 60s-era products.

Of course, I'm not the first to point out that if Chevy Chase residents really think it's their rights as neighbors to weigh in on the project, they should've voted to accept a historic district status several years ago. Goose meet gander.

Oh and please say some of the sounds that car manufacturers are considering for hybrids include the sound of the Jetsons flying saucer or at least the sand cruiser from Star Wars.

by TM on Jan 9, 2013 10:12 am • linkreport

@MLD - I wouldn't use the Arlington-lite style on 14th Street as an example of "good" architecture.

As it is, I think the building is definitely out of place for the area but the local community rejected a historic district, so there goes your chance to make cosmetic changes to new construction.

I am mildly sympathetic to the argument that the developer needed the community's support for the project in order to close public space (an alley) to make way for a project that was negotiated by the community. As such, I think it is reasonable to say that this is not entirely a "by right" project. The developer needed public concessions and the community got some in return, in this case a brick building with a larger setback. "By right" or not, it would seem prudent for Cafritz to redesign this building to preserve its reputation when it wants to construct projects that do require some level of approval.

by Adam L on Jan 9, 2013 10:14 am • linkreport

Well I would think emulating the 14th street stuff would be better than what they've proposed and better than the 60s-era crapboxes that are nearby. "Arlington-lite" isn't real criticism or constructive.

I'm not exactly sure what people expect, is there some city in America or anywhere else where people are building these mythical unicorn fabulous apartment buildings? Any examples of something recent?

by MLD on Jan 9, 2013 10:18 am • linkreport

It took 25 tries for him to get pulled over in the carpool lane? Is that typical? Anyone know how likely you are to get pulled over in one of the local HOV lanes? Seems pretty ineffective to mark lanes that way if they rarely get enforced.

They're pretty aggressive about enforcement on I-66. I was pulled over once (but was OK since I had my boarding pass and was heading to Dulles). VA State Police even set up check points at random exits.

by dcdriver on Jan 9, 2013 10:20 am • linkreport

Also at sub 18mph speeds should the driver being going slow enough to stop for any hazards? Moreover, you'd think that blind people would know to be very predictable while crossing the street since they're well aware they can't see an oncoming car.

*Apologies to the blind, I don't know what is recommended for the hard of hearing in regards to traffic safety.

by drumz on Jan 9, 2013 10:22 am • linkreport

Stop me if you've heard this before: there's still no actual news on when the SS Transit Center might open.

by Gray's in the Fields on Jan 9, 2013 10:25 am • linkreport

@TM

The apartment buildings that do exist that high on Connecticut aren't the graceful pre-wars that exist on lower Connecticut. They're mostly kind of bland 60s-era products.

A lot of them are blah, but there are some better examples, like La Reine, Chevy Chase House, and the Sunrise retirement building.

I don't like the design of the proposed building either, but it certainly can't 'damage the fabric of the neighborhood' or whatever any more than this existing monstrosity.

by Dizzy on Jan 9, 2013 10:26 am • linkreport

"vans demands parking privileges: Jack Evans is really "furious" that the Secret Service won't let DC councilmembers drive to the Wilson Building after 6 am on inauguration day. (Examiner)"

Ironic, coming from one of those responsible for DC's "discourage driving" policies.

Let Evans - and the rest of the merry band of DC Councilmembers - "Take Metro!" like they tell rest of us to
do.
----

"Tim Craig noted councilmembers only asked about their own convenience, not residents' needs, at the inauguration security briefing."

I'm surprised no one here has complained about the councilmembers' "let them eat cake" mentality.

by ceefer66 on Jan 9, 2013 10:28 am • linkreport

The guy contesting his carpool lane ticket has no leg to stand on as none on of the individuals that comprise that corporation were riding with him.

by Sand Box John on Jan 9, 2013 10:28 am • linkreport

The corporation IS the person Sand Box, he doesn't need a board member or the CEO to be in the front seat.

by thump on Jan 9, 2013 10:36 am • linkreport

I was skeptical of the addition of sounds to hybrid and electric vehicles until I read the Slate article about it (http://www.slate.com/articles/business/gearbox/2012/05/hybrid_and_electric_cars_too_quiet_why_they_re_dangerous_to_pedestrians_.html) which includes links to some 2009 studies that compared the rates of accidents where either a hybrid/electric or internal combustion vehicle hit a pedestrian or bicycle. As a hybrid driver for the past 12 years myself, this was the first time I came across anything more than just people saying the cars were too quiet. Having some numbers showing that there appear to be more problems at low speeds helped a lot.

I'm not sure that the quietness of the cars is the entire problem, though adding reasonable noise generators may be a feasible solution. It feels like as they've tried to make cars, and hybrids/electrics in particular, more aerodynamic that it has reduced visibility somewhat, especially while backing up. What I found really strange was that by default the 2012 Toyota Prius I currently have came with a persistent backup beep turned on, but it was only audible inside the car.

by Another Josh on Jan 9, 2013 10:44 am • linkreport

As for Pat Mara, the guy's natural constituency is older, entitled, well-off white people from Wards 2 and 3 (see e.g. the photo dc denizen posted above). Of course he's gonna cater to their preferences.

Questions about whether it is truly by-right or has stipulations will be decided in the courts. The neighbors will do to this project what they did to the Cathedral Commons Giant plan - stall it for as long as possible. What the legal system truly affords is the ability to stall things, to those who can afford it.

by Dizzy on Jan 9, 2013 11:01 am • linkreport

the Secret Service won't let DC councilmembers drive to the Wilson Building after 6 am on inauguration day.
...
councilmembers only asked about their own convenience, not residents' needs

Another example of entitled council members. Talk about waste of energy time and news space. The man can not park in front of his office one day every four years. Welcome to life for the rest of DC. If I want to park at work at all, I have to get on a waiting list for a few years first.

Make cars louder? ... NHTSA estimates this will save 2,800 injuries per year.

Of cars should not be louder. Am I safe to assume NHTSA only look at crashes where sound was involved, and ignored the effects of sounds pollution, and the impact of sounds barriers that do not need to be maintained and built if cars get quieter?

This is a classic conservative reflex to change. People have complained about the noise of cars since cars showed up. Be glad they get quieter.

Corporations ride free?

Onto the Supreme Court it is! Civil disobedience WIN.

by Jasper on Jan 9, 2013 11:32 am • linkreport

@thump - The corporation is indeed the person, and I do get the point that the guy is making (even agree). But isn't having the corporate documents in your seat akin to having a birth certificate of someone?

by RyanD on Jan 9, 2013 12:03 pm • linkreport

@RyanD

True, except that a corporation doesn't have a physical body and therefore has to resort to the absurd. Which, of course, is the exact point this guy is trying to make.

by Adam L on Jan 9, 2013 12:16 pm • linkreport

Thayer-D is right. When I saw the graphic (and before reading the headline), I thought the Chevy Chase design was for an office complex on the Dulles toll road. Modern architecture is fine, but it has to have some relationship to the surrounding context. Matter of right or not, it would be nice to have some design review for a project of this type.

by Bob on Jan 9, 2013 12:38 pm • linkreport

It would be nice, but then the residents shouldn't have opposed the historic district proposal. Short of that, those aren't the laws, rules or regulations in play for this case.

Indeed, many trumpet that matter of right is ok. Such was the drive-through bank at Ellicot and Wisconsin that is but a couple of years old.

by William on Jan 9, 2013 1:07 pm • linkreport

given the regular debates here about whether supply actually lowers rents, folks may be interested in this

http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/dc_apartment_rents_drop_as_new_supply_hits_market/6497

by LinkerfromUrbanTurf on Jan 9, 2013 1:17 pm • linkreport

@ thump

A corporation is an enterprise composed of one or more individuals, only one individual was in the car.

by Sand Box John on Jan 9, 2013 1:27 pm • linkreport

John,

In case you missed it, the whole legal defense is a play on one of Mitt Romney's utterances during the last presidential campaign:

http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2011-08-11/politics/35270239_1_romney-supporters-mitt-romney-private-sector-experience

You'll note in the linked Patch article, the guy who got caught did so solely for the purpose of challenging the idea that a corporation is a person in court:

Frieman, a 59-year-old San Rafael resident who has often challenged the idea of corporate personhood,

by Alex B. on Jan 9, 2013 1:38 pm • linkreport

@Sand Box John

Corporations are people my friend.

-Mitt Romney

by Kyle-w on Jan 9, 2013 1:44 pm • linkreport

If I had to add a noise generator to an EV, I would pick something that sounded like the flying cars from the "Jetsons".

by JackRussell on Jan 9, 2013 9:12 pm • linkreport

I will say it again corporations are composed of individuals, because they are composed of individuals this is how they can be defined as persons. It is the individuals that composed that corporation that make it a person not the stack of documents sitting on the guys passenger seat.

That same personhood applies to labor unions and trade associations.

by Sand Box John on Jan 9, 2013 9:44 pm • linkreport

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