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Breakfast links: Delayed gratification

Photo by tracktwentynine on Flickr.
7000 series delayed: Most of the new 7000-series rail cars won't start arriving until August of 2014, several months after the December 2013 scheduled opening of the Silver Line. This will put a strain on rail car reserves. (Examiner)

Pick your poison: Many industrial areas in DC have vacant areas, particularly in Wards 5 and 7, but Councilmembers McDuffie and Alexander disagree on whether distilleries or marijuana cultivation facilities are better additions to their wards. (City Paper)

No way around bypass: Governor McDonnell has apparently booted Commonwealth Transportation Board member James Rich for opposing the Charlottesville bypass. Rich says he plans to continue fighting the bypass and hopes the General Assembly will stop it. (Charlottesville Tomorrow)

Transit not good enough in northern DC?: Many people in Ward 3 and Ward 4 seem skeptical about transit-oriented living because there isn't great transit coverage. Does the area need more feeder routes to Metro stations, like Ride On? (RPUS)

Fact checking bold claims: The Times piece on DC might have been right in calling Brookland lower middle class but $3,000 rents aren't common at all. And contrary to Jack Evans' belief, $250k is a lot of money in DC. (R.U. Seriousing Me?)

Congress on Metro: Members of Congress from both parties take Metro, although Eleanor Holmes Norton is not among them. Some complain about reliability and broken escalators, but the system still garners mainly positive reviews. (Politico)

Bike researchers found...: The TRB Conference had some interesting findings including that hillier cycle commutes are more satisfying. Less surprisingly, better connecting bike facilities boosts cycling mode share and it's better to emphasize how cycling is convenient rather than its health or environmental benefits. (Streetsblog)

Next White House COS bike(d) to work: Denis McDonough, expected to be the next White House Chief of Staff, bikes to work from Takoma Park—or did: "After scrapes with motorists, he now mostly drives," says the New York Times.

No more parking tickets?: Instead of issuing parking tickets, could cities just charge motorists for the precise time they use a parking space, and establish a sliding scale for increasingly longer times? (Atlantic Cities, Jack Love)

And...: One of the few pro-bicycle Republicans will chair a key House transportation subcommittee. (Streetsblog) ... Glenn Beck really hates central planning, except when he centrally plans his own city. (Streetsblog) ... Bethesda's bus bays might have to close for 2 years for renovations. (BethesdaNow)

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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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Not sure acs is the best data on rents

I saw a recent report that class a rents are about 2700.

Part of the issue is roommates; I see a lot of that.

by Charlie on Jan 17, 2013 8:18 am • linkreport

Many people in Ward 3 and Ward 4 seem skeptical about transit-oriented living because there isn't great transit coverage. Does the area need more feeder routes to Metro stations, like Ride On?

I think you've got that backwards: there isn't great transit coverage because many people in Wards 3 & 4 are skeptical about transit-oriented living. See Georgetown residents' longstanding hostility to buses that dare venture off of Wisconsin, M, or K; the demise of the N6; the continuing absence of any bus service on Foxhall Road, etc.

by Dizzy on Jan 17, 2013 8:32 am • linkreport

And yes, I know Georgetown is in Ward 2. Ward 2 geography, Ward 3 mentality.

by Dizzy on Jan 17, 2013 8:39 am • linkreport

Not sure acs is the best data on rents
I saw a recent report that class a rents are about 2700.

Part of the issue is roommates; I see a lot of that.

Considering the threshold given was $3000, and that lots of people don't live in Class A buildings, the ACS data lines up with reality quite nicely. $2700 is not $3000.

by MLD on Jan 17, 2013 9:02 am • linkreport

There's something vaguely attractive about the ticket-free parking idea, but
a) Not everyone has a credit card (but then if driving is a privilege, why can't parking be?)
b) I don't see any way this can work with performance parking.

by Lucre on Jan 17, 2013 9:02 am • linkreport

@ MLD; Yep, but I suspect that class A is a lot more than the 2% cited.

Even worse, ACS is averaging it back to 2006. Rents didn't explode until 2009 or so.

In my building, I am one of the few paying 2400 for a 1 bedroom. Almost everything else -- and this is class B -- is at the 2900 range for 2-3 bedrooms.

by charlie on Jan 17, 2013 9:20 am • linkreport

doesn't the ticket-free parking work *only* if there's performance parking?

The reason for time limits is because parking is scarce, and subsidized, and thus time limits are used to make sure the subsidy is available broadly (e.g., so different shoppers will come to stores).

If parking is simply pay as you go, it converts all parking spaces to simply renting a space, with those claiming them first getting the entire subsidy and none of the benefits of that subsidy accruing to, say, local businesses.

Performance parking eliminates that subsidy so prevents this problem.

by ah on Jan 17, 2013 9:22 am • linkreport

Denis McDonough, expected to be the next White House Chief of Staff, bikes to work from Takoma Park—or did: "After scrapes with motorists, he now mostly drives," says the New York Times.

If only there were some other way to get from Takoma to Farragut Square. I can't quite put my finger on it, but it seems like there might be one.

by iaom on Jan 17, 2013 9:32 am • linkreport

Governor McDonnell has apparently booted Commonwealth Transportation Board member James Rich

From the link:

“This is a very different board then the one I served under Gov. Allen,” Rich said. “On this board, all the decisions are made by the secretary and I question whether we really need a board.”
So glad to see that democracy-loving republicans only allow yes-men on their boards. No wonder they cling to their guns in fear of oppression by a tyrannic government. Glen Beck knows why.

Pick your poison
Somewhat surprised to see alcohol and pot be called poison on a progressive blog like GGW.

by Jasper on Jan 17, 2013 9:43 am • linkreport

Don't agree about Wards 3 and 4. As Layman's own map shows, there is plenty of transit serving large tracts of these wards: 2 branches of the red line, 30s buses, H buses, S buses, 50s buses. In fact, I suspect that wards 3 and 4 came into existence as streetcar suburbs. Were the residents who opposed the Babe's redevelopment lacking transit options?? It's 2 blocks from Tenleytown metro!! Nah, the problem is mindset. Existing residents are skeptical that new residents could/would use the transit because driving is all they know and they don't believe other people might think differently.

by renegade09 on Jan 17, 2013 9:44 am • linkreport


I can easily imagine someone who finds driving alone a superior choice to the Red Line, but who finds biking beats either.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jan 17, 2013 9:49 am • linkreport

I don't think the "pick your poison" line is meant as a values judgment but rather quoting what seemingly every saloon bartender says in a cowboy movie right before the big brawl.

by drumz on Jan 17, 2013 9:49 am • linkreport

Yes there is not a lot of transit in upper Ward 3 - but it is also one of the least dense areas of the city.
Are they transit averse? No, but the reliability and the frequency of current service reafirms that transit can't replace or minimize the use of the car.
If MacArthur and Wisconsin had a streetcar (like they did) I guarantee you the use of transit would increase as would density.
In the end, most folks in Wesley Heights, Spring Valley or the Palisades will not take transit as the opportunity cost for transit is too high under current market conditions. Until gas is $12/gallon and frequent transit service is available - many families in Ward 3 will rely primarily on private cars.

by andy2 on Jan 17, 2013 10:02 am • linkreport

It's an English language idiom.

Sort of like "calling 'shotgun'". Doesn't mean the person calling actually is pledging to bring a shotgun. The person just wants to ride in the front passenger seat.

by Matt Johnson on Jan 17, 2013 10:03 am • linkreport

I don't disagree with @andy2.

So, let's get the CT Ave, Wisc Ave and MacArthur Blvd (Palisades/Glen Echo) lines back into the Streetcar program!

by Andrew on Jan 17, 2013 10:04 am • linkreport


"If only there were some other way to get from Takoma to Farragut Square. I can't quite put my finger on it, but it seems like there might be one."

I lol'd. Driving from Takoma to the white house definitely takes longer than metroing (I live there/work near there). However, if he is working crazy 7am-8pm hours, which he probably is, they would be comparable in time, or even faster with driving with longer headways at late hours. Biking takes 30-40 mins.

by Steve on Jan 17, 2013 10:07 am • linkreport

New chair of the Railroad SubCommittee of the Transportation Committee is decidedly anti-rail:

"I don't believe gas tax money should be going to rail," Denham said.

by Tom Coumaris on Jan 17, 2013 10:22 am • linkreport

Re: those delayed rail cars, is eight really several? XKCD disagrees.

by Gray's in the Fields on Jan 17, 2013 10:28 am • linkreport

Oh, good lord. Some silly follow-up from that cross-border DC/SS complaint-fest the other night. Some highlights:
"I can’t find a place to park," said Gary Goins, who lives in Shepherd Park, adding that he notices a lot of Maryland tags on the offending cars.

"It is just that ours has always been a quiet neighborhood up in the northwest corner, and now we have lots of folks who are not paying our taxes in D.C. using a lot of our services," Tim Shuy, president of the Shepherd Park Citizens Association, told the Post.

Councilmember Ervin noted the lack of parking in downtown Silver Spring and pointed to three big apartment developments in the future—The Blairs expansion, the Falkands and a Newell Street property—as markers that Silver Spring will become even more dense, the Gazette reports.

Ervin said she wanted to address parking with the County Council this year, the newspaper said.

"This is not resolved," Ervin said. "This is a long way from being resolved."

by Gray's in the Fields on Jan 17, 2013 10:58 am • linkreport

It would be better for the public welfare if Cong. E.H. ("Representation without Taxation") Norton took Metro. I saw her drive away from a daytime event a few months ago, and it reminded me of the notable scene in Annie Hall of Woody Allen trying to drive in L.A.

by Bob on Jan 17, 2013 11:05 am • linkreport

I think the whole NW transit thing is pretty much a case of people moving there because they don't want to take transit. Transit is for the other people, and they tolerate it because it makes it slightly easier for them to drive and I mean the maid has to get there somehow. I know lots of people (even in the 20s and 30s range) with this mentality so it's really (but sadly) no surprise that older, wealthier people think so.

by Alan B. on Jan 17, 2013 11:05 am • linkreport

There are a lot of commuters in Ward 3 who drive and take Metro. They use their "ward-wide" RPP sticker to drive and park on streets close to a Metro station, all day for free. While this puts some more riders on Metro, they have to drive to get there. It also really impacts folks who live in Woodley, Van Ness, Tenley, Cleveland Park, etc., who find that the residential streets are full with commuters -- defeating the purpose of the RPP program for them.

Interestingly, the Glover Park ANC voted recently to oppose smaller RPP zones for this very reason -- their constituents want to drive and park near Metro. Although the DC government is calling Wisconsin Avenue a "high service bus corridor", apparently Glover Park doesn't find it an adequate transit solution for that neighborhood.

by Bob on Jan 17, 2013 11:14 am • linkreport

"If only there were some other way to get from Takoma to Farragut Square. I can't quite put my finger on it, but it seems like there might be one."

Because the WH only expects him at work during the hours that Metro runs. Also, depends on where in Takoma Park he lives. Most of the town is not walking distance from Takoma Metro and the station itself does not have good parking.

Now, if we had a real 24 hour system...

by Eitan on Jan 17, 2013 11:23 am • linkreport

Serious question: Have any rail cars that Metro ordered ever arrived on time?

by Juanita de Talmas on Jan 17, 2013 11:33 am • linkreport

If he gets to work before 6AM or leaves after 10PM most nights no one should begrudge him driving. I actually really don't think it matters unless he's traveling at rush hour personally. Cars are theoretically fine, it's the traffic they cause (and to a certain extent parking issues) that bother me when I'm on the bus. I think they should ban SOV during peak hours say 7-9am and 4-6pm within the downtown area, but I'm sure that will never happen.

by Alan B. on Jan 17, 2013 11:40 am • linkreport

@Alan B.

Yes, yes, yes, ban SOV during rush hours. I'm thinking in like a giant rectangle bounded by 23rd st NW, n. cap., k st, and constitution. The negative externalities of solo driving downtown during rush hour are astronomical in terms of delays for everyone else so you can take your 3,000 pounds of metal with you to work.

Or, don't ban SOV, and institute a congestion fee, like in London.

by Nick on Jan 17, 2013 11:47 am • linkreport

@charlie - ACS numbers are adjusted to the most recent year, so rents are in 2010 dollars. But you are right, it only adjusts up by CPI, and households surveyed in 2006 would not reflect a boom that occurred in later years.

If we assume Lowrey was rounding to the nearest thousand, then "$3,000" would include $2500 and up:
5.1% of DC renter households pay at least $2500 in monthly rent. Regionally, the number is 4.8%.

by Chris DP on Jan 17, 2013 12:00 pm • linkreport

On Connecticut Ave there isn't really adequate transit. I am a daily L2 rider and have been for the better part of the last decade and the busses are packed during the morning and evening rush hours a lot of the time. Off peak we have service every 20 minutes or less which severely reduces the amount of people who would want to take these busses. Of course this does have to do with the nature of the neighborhoods and the amount of cars but that still doesn't excuse the service between Chevy Chase and Van Ness however. With regards to the 30's they are prone to bunching and get stuck in traffic a lot on lower Wisconsin Ave. I also think that the Ward may be changing to some degree with younger people and although I will fight the NIMBY's of my neighborhood we should acknowledge that there are tons of transit riding people who want many of the things that Greater Greater Washington fights for in Ward 3 who I suspect outnumber the NIMBY's but don't have the time to devote to support transit and density at meetings across the ward, although many did show up at the zoning update

by Ryan Keefe on Jan 17, 2013 12:11 pm • linkreport

People in Ward 3 would love to see more transit options. One good suggestion is a fleet of smaller minibuses that feed passengers to the Metro, from areas that are too small to support a regular bus line. But believing in reliable bus transit doesn't always make it so. I tried commuting with the 30s bus line but gave up because it was too unreliable to get to work on time. Flagrantly missed schedules and then the proverbial bunching of 3 - 4 buses that arrived at once. A frustrated neighbor once stood outside the Friendship Heights bus garage one morning with a 30s schedule. One bus was to leave at an appointed time and didn't. A few minutes later, the second bus was to leave but it didn't, yet the neighbor observed a group of drivers standing there talking. A few minutes after that, the drivers of the two late buses finally started up and left. The next bus wasn't supposed to leave yet, but the driver had no one to talk to, so he pulled out with the first two. Bus drivers will tell you that bunching is always due to traffic, but methinks it's a Metro management issue.

by Bob on Jan 17, 2013 12:46 pm • linkreport

@ Bob:People in Ward 3 would love to see more transit options.

Sure, but they oppose increased density to make that transit viable.

by Jasper on Jan 17, 2013 12:52 pm • linkreport

@Alan B

Easy on the ragging on upper W3 and W4 residents. My wife and I bought a rowhome in upper W4, right on the edge of Petworth and Brightwood. I am an active CaBi user, and regularly ride metro to anything south of me. My wife and I also ride the 70 buses regularly. We bought where we did due to financial constraints, as being closer to metro meant we could not have afforded a full rowhouse, which we wanted.

Be careful using too broad of a brush to paint an area. I am dying for further transportation options, and would GLADLY vote myself into some sort of taxable district if it meant the streetcar up GA Ave became a reality.

by Kyle-W on Jan 17, 2013 12:55 pm • linkreport


I get that density might be helpful to attracting riders to a new heavy rail line (as if Metro is going to build a new one anywhere in DC!). But several posters above have noted the frequent overcrowding of existing bus lines. If they're jammed to overcapacity, it hardly suggests that bus transit is not yet "viable and that more density is needed to create demand.

Others have suggested that ways be found to reduce car dependency, and that is why there should be a small jitney option, to reach the less dense areas of NW. Some may call them "suburbia," but the fact is that Spring Valley, Kent and the back streets of Forest Hills and Chevy Chase with their single family homes are just not going to become much denser. Still, there should be a way to provide appropriate public transit alternatives to the car. Otherwise, don't complain that W3 residents are too attached to their vehicles.

by Bob on Jan 17, 2013 1:08 pm • linkreport

Re: 7000 series cars, given that "WMATA project late, over-budget" is the "Dog bites man" of the transportation world perhaps it would be more efficient to only report on things that they do right. Absent other news, we can just assume they screwed up like they always do. I will admit to get a laugh out of Iraqi Information Minister Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf...excuse me, I mean Metro Spokesman Dan Stessel's attempts to deny that the delay will have any impact on anything.

by Jacob on Jan 17, 2013 1:14 pm • linkreport

W3 and W4 could use many better travel options especially for those who may travel east/west.

I lived near the area for a few months a few years ago near Shepherd Park and worked near the Friendship Heights station. All options to travel between the two involved long metrorail ride or going to Silver Spring to take a Ride On to Friendship Heights or a bus to Kennedy Street or Military Rd.

The things that are needed are solving how to get around Rock Creek Park

1 More east/west buses besides the H2/4 and E lines which are the only buses that cross Rock Creek park until you get south of Adams Morgan.

2 Rail service; this could be as easy as extending the Yellow Line to Cleveland Park, Van Ness or TenleyTown instead of going to Ft Totten.

3 New Major Street crossing Rock Creek Park (will never happen)

by kk on Jan 17, 2013 3:35 pm • linkreport

One thing to note is that smaller minibuses are barely cheaper than 40 footers because the majority of the operating cost is the driver. So unless they are just filling up every run or the physical geometry of the area precludes larger buses, minibuses don't make much sense from a cost recovery basis.

by Alan B. on Jan 17, 2013 3:46 pm • linkreport


Don't get me wrong, I know you guys exist and I think it's awesome. But based on my experience you are definitely in the majority in that part of town, especially once you get west of Rock Creek.

Also, I forget who posted it but I have to agree, the 30s were awful when I was taking them 04-06, partially because traffic on Wisconsin/M St. is atrocious in the morning. The bunching was a real pain as well.

by Alan B. on Jan 17, 2013 3:48 pm • linkreport

I agree emphatically: Transit not good enough in northern DC.

If you look at the new bus map in the post after this one the dearth of transit in upper W3 & W4 is illustrated especially with regards to E-W travel. E.g., there is no direct route between Van Ness and Takoma.

by Tina on Jan 17, 2013 4:30 pm • linkreport

The bunching was a real pain as well.

This is perpetually a problem with the 'S' buses on 16th St. as well. Surely there is a solution for something that is known to happen repeatedly.

by Shite 2/Shite 4 on Jan 17, 2013 4:33 pm • linkreport

Bunching happens either because dispatch is doing a shitty job or more likely you get drivers with lead feet or super slow. Especially with frequent headways it's not that easy to actually keep them spaced. But yeah sometimes it's outrageous. I do feel like the S buses are somewhat better than I remember from 4-5 years ago.

by Alan B. on Jan 17, 2013 4:38 pm • linkreport

Actually riding to Farragut Square is incredibly great by bike from Takoma.

Take 3rd St. NW to Kansas Ave. NW. Turn right on KS Ave. and continue to 13th Street. Turn left. Ride 13th Street either all the way down to V St. and turn right to New Hampshire and then go to 17th St.

Or depending, turn right somewhere, Columbia isn't the greatest but I don't mind and go to Connecticut and down CT Ave. It's a bit out of the way. This particular way is how I ride to Georgetown and Arlington County.


Just recently I have been turned on to 5th St. NW south of New Hampshire Avenue NW.

So you still do 3rd St. NW to KS Ave. NW to 5th St. NW.

(Before the Circle shift to the outside left of the lane so you can get out into the circle by semi taking the lane.) After Grant Circle 5th St. has a bike lane and it's just an incredible ride. One of my favorites, if not my favorite bike lane-based route in DC.

You go on the back side of Armed Forces Retirement Home, McMillan Reservoir, Howard U. to Rhode Island Ave. It gets a bit congested behind HU. But LeDroit Park is pretty in any case.

From RI you have many options, higher or lower traffic.

by Richard Layman on Jan 17, 2013 6:57 pm • linkreport

wrt some the w3/w4 (and w2) comments, wrt models for minibus services, see the Tempe Orbit system as the best kind of example on what could be offered. But yes, the biggest expense is personnel. (But my general concept is that these kinds of intraneighborhood transit services should be free.)

2. wrt the S buses, I was talking with a leading WMATA bus planner on Monday night and he told me they've made many changes to the line, including the S9 express bus, but also shifting more articulated buses to the line in the evening (in response to the summer Post article about large numbers of riders at night and limited service).

He said that the S9 and the other changes have led to a 20% increase in ridership, with a total approaching 20,000 riders/day. That's quite good, but of course, includes some Marylanders in the mix.

Interestingly, express bus services on other lines hasn't resulted in comparably high increases. (All the others that WMATA has done thus far have contributed less than 10% increases respectively).

I don't understand why L service on CT Ave. isn't comparable to the services on 14th, 16th, GA, and WI avenues.

by Richard Layman on Jan 17, 2013 7:07 pm • linkreport


either I'm not understanding what you're saying, or I'm not understanding the ticket-free parking idea.

If a person can leave their car somewhere indefinitely without getting a ticket, just getting charged for the time they remain in the space, the incentive to vacate that space after a certain amount of time passes is much less. If we want to incentivize turnover of parking spaces, I think the punitive cutoff of getting ticketed after a given period is much more psychologically effective than just racking up a bigger charge, even if the total cost of the latter is higher.

by Lucre on Jan 18, 2013 11:13 am • linkreport

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