Greater Greater Washington

Breakfast links: Closures


Photo by Tommy Ironic on Flickr.
Some schools survive: DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson will keep some schools open she had proposed closing, including Garrison and Francis-Stevens in Ward 2, Johnson and Malcolm X in 8, and and Smothers in 7. (DCist)

School closings have costs: Is the pattern of regularly closing DCPS schools the equivalent of a transit death spiral? DCPS estimates this round of closings will save $8.5 million per year, but others disagree, and Muriel Bowser and Yvette Alexander worry many kids won't have alternatives in their neighborhoods. (Examiner)

Gas tax vs sales tax: A Maryland bill would allow local jurisdictions to impose a 2% sales tax on gasoline. (Gazette, JimT) ... AASHTO's outgoing director also suggests a sales tax on gas replace the gas tax. (Streetsblog)

Silver Spring plan too monolithic?: Residents near the proposed Studio Plaza in Silver Spring, which Dan Reed somewhat unfavorably reviewed recently, say the building would destroy their sense of community and is too monolithic in appearance. It also has 1 parking space per unit, which may be too much. (Gazette)

Light rail for Southeast DC?: The Capital Riverfront BID has proposed a new light rail line running from Union Station to St. Elizabeths. How would it relate to existing transit or the planned streetcar network? (WBJ)

G'town argues parking: At the Georgetown parking meeting, some suggested smaller RPP zones while others like being able to commute to Dupont. Charging non-residents to park on side streets was also controversial. (Georgetown Metropolitan)

Parade will show off bilke lanes: When the inaugural parade goes down Pennsylvania Avenue, there will be no way for the TV cameras not to capture shots of the bike lane right down the middle. DC officials are excited about showing off the lanes. (Post)

Darrell Issa, DC's best friend: When many thought House Republicans might try to re-impose the Control Board, oversight chairman Darrell Issa instead turned out to be a big advocate for more DC budget autonomy. How did that happen? (City Paper)

And...: WMATA reached a deal to replace 128 of its 588 escalators by 2020. (Post) ... Chap Petersen's VA anti-dooring bill made it through a Senate committee on a close vote. ... Ray LaHood is optimistic that the Silver Line will receive TIFIA loans. (WAMU)

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Comments

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One more datum regarding schools:

Van Ness is slated to reopen for the 2015-16 school year.

http://www.jdland.com/dc/index.cfm/3788/Van-Ness-Elementary-Apparently-Still-on-Track-For-2015-Reope/

by goldfish on Jan 18, 2013 9:14 am • linkreport

Why would you propose a separate light rail from the Streetcars? Unless this is some cushy project for consultants to work on that will never go anywhere, I'm just confused.

by Alan B. on Jan 18, 2013 9:22 am • linkreport

So regardless of the merits of the building that gazette article just trots out the whole "this building will turn Silver Spring into Crystal City!" meme that crops up anytime a tall or big building is proposed.

Repeat it after me: height is only one factor when it comes to the urban form, and while it is the most obvious factor it is rarely the most crucial. Your sense of community doesn't and shouldn't be defined by the relative height of the buildings around you.

by drumz on Jan 18, 2013 9:37 am • linkreport

the DC street car plan has a line on M street SE, connecting to 8th street (I think) and then across to buzzards point. That does not add to north south connectivity for Cap Riverfront. IE connectivity to western Capital Hill and NoMa (the Green line isn't great for that either)

A seperated yellow line has been suggested here that would work, but thats decades off, if not generations.

So they are tossing a street car N-S into the mix. Since this sounds like very preliminary brainstorming, they must not have felt the need to determine anything about organizational questions.

by MStreetDenizen on Jan 18, 2013 9:41 am • linkreport

Why would you propose a separate light rail from the Streetcars? Unless this is some cushy project for consultants to work on that will never go anywhere, I'm just confused.

Because they had nothing else better to do. I'm not fan of the streetcar line but CERTAINLY think lightrail from Union Station to St. E is nothing short of ridamndiculous.

Don't know if crowding was an issue but I would much prefer my child travel three blocks to Turner Elementary than the Malcolm X Penitentiary.

If DC officials are really excited about showing off bike lanes then it goes to show you just how misplaced our priorities are.

Interesting about Issa considering the condemnation that rained down from nearly all DC media outlets.

by HogWash on Jan 18, 2013 9:53 am • linkreport

what would be impressive is a bikeshare parade, not the lanes.

The inventor of the Viper Car alarm as the savior for the District. Bad omens? Someone I'm not surprised he doesn't like the height limit.

by charlie on Jan 18, 2013 9:59 am • linkreport

"I'm not fan of the streetcar line but CERTAINLY think lightrail from Union Station to St. E is nothing short of ridamndiculous."

If you were the Capital Riverfront BID, how would you suggest adding N-S connectivity to strenthen the area?

by MStreetDenizen on Jan 18, 2013 10:01 am • linkreport

WMATA reached a deal to replace 128 of its 588 escalators by 2020. (Post)

Great! At that pace, by 2070 they'll all be replaced.

by Scoot on Jan 18, 2013 10:03 am • linkreport

what would be impressive is a bikeshare parade, not the lanes.

Actually, I agree w/that.

If you were the Capital Riverfront BID, how would you suggest adding N-S connectivity to strenthen the area?

I would first question the need for a connection that allowed people to travel between Union Station to St. E. considering that it takes you 15minutes to get from Anacostia to Union using metro.

It looks good and flowery but is it the best use of money? I'm not convinced. There's a streetcar and a 1000 buses that will take you from Ana to St. E. Let's marshall our current resources rather than going after the next big shiny object.

by HogWash on Jan 18, 2013 10:08 am • linkreport

I'd like to point out that we're already talking about downgrading the proposed LRT to a mixed-traffic streetcar: yet another example of LRT creep.

by ldrks on Jan 18, 2013 10:15 am • linkreport

@hogwash

You are missing the point. Do you think the Capital Riverfront BID is concerned about moving people the entire length from Union Station to St E's? I imagine they are primarily concerned about moving people from Union Station to Capital Riverfront. While they are at it, I guess they thought a better connection between St E's, Congress Heights, and Anacostia to Cap Riverfront is good too. A single stop ride from St E's to say, the Navy Yard, would I think beat getting to metro from St Es, taking it to the Navy Yard station, and then walking from NJ avenue to the Navy Yard.

@ldrks

I really don't know the route options on the Anacostia side of the river. Within near SE itself I dont think theres any alternative to on street running (though that COULD be a dedicated lane on M Street - who suggested mixed traffic?) I used the term street car in absence of detailed route info.

by MStreetDenizen on Jan 18, 2013 10:24 am • linkreport

ldrks,
well, the Light rail proposal is just the suggestion by the BID while the streetcar plan is on the books already and has a much more concrete plan.

Also I assume the big draw of Union Station to St. E's is Marc commuters (since metro riders would just stay on the metro to gallery place or Fort Totten). In that case a better move would be to let Marc run down to Alexandria and MARC riders can get off at L'enfant.

by drumz on Jan 18, 2013 10:29 am • linkreport

I would first question the need for a connection that allowed people to travel between Union Station to St. E. considering that it takes you 15minutes to get from Anacostia to Union using metro.

I'd suggest better bus connections would do it combined with existing metro access which is quite good. Unless I'm mistaken the DC Streetcar system proposal at one point at least included connections between St. E and the west side of the Anacostia.

by Alan B. on Jan 18, 2013 10:39 am • linkreport

Drumz you too are missing the point.

Why run the Silver line from Ashburn to Largo, when hardly anyone will ride it from Ashburn to Largo? Why run the Orange line from Vienna to New Carrolton, when almost no one takes it from Vienna to New Carrolton?

Answer - people take the Orange line from Vienna to downtown DC. People take it from New Carrolton to downtown DC. Linking it up is useful cause of the overlap - people going from New C to Foggy Bottom, or Rossyln. From Vienna to the Eastern Market, say.

If we are going to judge street cars, LRT, or BRT, by looking at the ENDPOINTS and asking who will go from one endpoint to the other, we will never see any rationale for any transit other than heavy rail metro and commuter rail, and we will totally underserve short distance trips.

Cap Riverfront BID, OTOH is concerned about the short distance trips, and I believe that is why they want some kind of improved transit to NoMa/Union Station (better than the Circulator in mixed traffic, which mainly makes a good case for CaBi as transit). That they are looking to also connect to EOTR is just being forward thinking.

by MStreetDenizen on Jan 18, 2013 10:40 am • linkreport

@MStreet, I don't believe I missed the point. From what I gathered from the article, the CRB, "In plain English, wants to encourage people to come to the riverfront to work, shop and live." I didn't misunderstand that.

I question the need for spending untold amounts of money designing a system that competes with the reasonable and available options we currently have. Sure, a single-stop ride would be better. But why reinvent the wheel? Why not use the buses and streetcar and metro (all available options) to get you from point A to B w/o the added financial expense. It takes 10 minutes (if that) to walk from NY Station to the Navy Yard. Are we that much of a "convenience and lazy-like society" that we believe it's too burdensome to expect people to walk for 10 minutes?"

And if they are really primarily concerned w/getting people from Union Station to Cap Riverfront, there is no need to throw Anacostia/Congress Heights a doggy-bone just so they can feel better about themselves.

by HogWash on Jan 18, 2013 10:41 am • linkreport

"I'd suggest better bus connections would do it combined with existing metro access which is quite good. Unless I'm mistaken the DC Streetcar system proposal at one point at least included connections between St. E and the west side of the Anacostia."

I think the proposal was to go across the 11 st bridge and then up either 8th or 11th. A glance at a map will indicate why that does not address Cap Riverfront's concerns.

Bus service on dedicated lanes could be a first step, as long as it does not preclude rail, and the leveraging of rail infrastructure EOTR.

by MStreetDenizen on Jan 18, 2013 10:42 am • linkreport

Unless I'm mistaken the DC Streetcar system proposal at one point at least included connections between St. E and the west side of the Anacostia.

Yes, it still does...which was the whole point in creating the line there. It was to be another option beyond the 5 different buses that travel the same route.

by HogWash on Jan 18, 2013 10:44 am • linkreport

The same 10 minute (distance from Ana to St. E) route that is

by HogWash on Jan 18, 2013 10:45 am • linkreport

"I question the need for spending untold amounts of money designing a system that competes with the reasonable and available options we currently have."

Before anything is spend, the amounts of money will be told.

" Sure, a single-stop ride would be better. But why reinvent the wheel? Why not use the buses and streetcar and metro (all available options) to get you from point A to B w/o the added financial expense. It takes 10 minutes (if that) to walk from NY Station to the Navy Yard."

For riders from Union Station, including MARC riders, thats two metro trains, with a not very frequent transfer to the Green line, PLUS the walk from the Green Line. For people farther from Union Station metro, but right on the transitline, the savings in time and effort would be even greater.

"Are we that much of a "convenience and lazy-like society" that we believe it's too burdensome to expect people to walk for 10 minutes?""

We, in this instance, are a group of developers and landowners, who have an office district with a 10% vacancy rate (a lot higher if you narrowed it to private sector focused buildings), several proposed office buildings hanging fire due to lack of anchor tenants, and the need to compete with "hot" NoMa, with reinvented Crytal City, etc. Snarkiness about laziness is all very well, but when you have millions of your own money at stake, you are more interested in the actual transportation choices people make, not those they should make.

by MStreetDenizen on Jan 18, 2013 10:48 am • linkreport

@drumz

Repeat it after me: height is only one factor when it comes to the urban form, and while it is the most obvious factor it is rarely the most crucial. Your sense of community doesn't and shouldn't be defined by the relative height of the buildings around you.

To be fair, 'sense of community' is most defined by the people in the community. The quantity of people has a major impact on that. A community of detached SFHs will feel very different if one plops down a 15 story residential building in the middle of them, which by itself would hold as many or more people as all the surrounding houses.

I prefer a more dense community - that's why I live here - but others do place a greater premium on "knowing all of your neighbors" and stuff like that.

by Dizzy on Jan 18, 2013 10:48 am • linkreport

Well, if the BID wants to pay for a light rail connecting those segments to bring people to the riverfront then I applaud them and wish them well and would definitely support it.

But in terms of overall planning you already have the established streetcar planned (which can be tweaked further as the newer lines get closer to reality) but you already have the metro close by.

by drumz on Jan 18, 2013 10:51 am • linkreport

another thing to keep in mind about the Capitol Riverfront BID's lightrail proposal is that for six months of the year, there's no Circulator service after 7 pm on weeknights, and absolutely none on weekends. It really hinders connecting the neighborhood to other parts of DC, imo.

Selfishly, I'd like to see a SW Waterfront-Capitol Riverfront-Barracks Row/Eastern Market-H Street-Union Station connection.

by Birdie on Jan 18, 2013 10:53 am • linkreport

@drumz: Regarding the SS article, I definitely agree with you about the height. But I think "this will turn X into Crystal City" is really just code for "this project will bring in RENTERS!!!!!" The author paraphrases that woman as being concerned that this building would decrease the sense of "ownership," which I think hints at what she's really concerned about.

But there are plenty of additional layers of ridiculousness:

(1) This is not the only large building going in near the SS metro station, so it can't really be considered a "monolith" in context.
(2) These people complaining live a full half mile (or more) away from the metro, in SF homes on streets that wouldn't even be impacted by additional traffic.
(3) The woman who complained about the possibility of this turning SS into CC moved to SS last year. How could she possibly have not been aware of all of the huge developments going up in DTSS in the near future?

by Gray's in the Fields on Jan 18, 2013 10:53 am • linkreport

I would note that several commentors have opposed changing the height limit, on the grounds that places like Capital Riverfront can absorb the overflow. Well face it people, Capital Riverfront accessibility is not close to downtowns, and is not better than several centers in Arlingon, MoCo, etc. One metro station served by one line, an urban center does not make.

You can revise the height limit and put more office space downtown. You can cough up the money to significantly increase transit access in places like Cap Riverfront. Or you can accept further movement of employment to the suburbs.

by MStreetDenizen on Jan 18, 2013 10:53 am • linkreport

DCPS estimates this round of closings will save $8.5 million per year, but others disagree...

and

The closings will save DCPS $19.4 million but cost $10.9 million, resulting in a net $8.5 million annual savings, Henderson said. That does not include the cost of busing.

Education finance expert Mary Levy disagreed. Although DCPS will save $8.5 million on staff, the net savings probably will be between $1 and $2 million after the schools shell out for the costs of moving, storage and transportation, she said.

I wonder if anyone could ask "education finance expert" Mary Levy (or the other critics of consolidation) how they account for their estimate of $6.5 to $7.5 million dollars per year in recurring costs for "moving, storage and transportation" because of the closures in the next year or so? They do realize that whatever physical assets DCPS removes from these closed schools, we're not going to put them on tractor trailers and have teamsters drive them around without stopping for the next 20 years, right? Maybe they don't.

Seriously. Anyone? Please tell us how DCPS is going to incur $6.5 million every single year into the future due to moving expenses from the closures.

If they can't do that, perhaps they could let us know how we're to interpret their argument as anything but disingenuous hackery....

School consolidation is something that *all* functional school systems go through. It's a central part of managing a healthy system. When the baby boom collapsed in the 70s and 80s, you saw a bunch of schools being closed in MCPS. There was some push-back, but it was widely understood that if you have far too many facilities for the number of schoolkids, you're going to hemorrhage money.

by oboe on Jan 18, 2013 10:54 am • linkreport

"Well, if the BID wants to pay for a light rail connecting those segments to bring people to the riverfront then I applaud them and wish them well and would definitely support it. "

I assume there would be a substantial developer contribution. I don't think they are close to getting to the details.

by MStreetDenizen on Jan 18, 2013 10:55 am • linkreport

Dizzy,

If that's what they want that's great but I would caution them from buying a house that's only a block behind the main commerical thoroughfars of downtown Silver Spring however if tranquility is what they desire above all else.

According to the article the building in question is replacing a lot in an area of already tall buildings.

by drumz on Jan 18, 2013 10:55 am • linkreport

MStreetDenizen,

You and I actually agree a lot. I just think that at this point this is likely nothing more than wishful thinking unless the BID is way more serious than they let on. Until then we can focus on specific things that have a greater and easier possibility in the future like improving the circulator, the current DC streetcar plan, through running MARC and VRE and so forth.

by drumz on Jan 18, 2013 10:59 am • linkreport

If DC officials are really excited about showing off bike lanes then it goes to show you just how misplaced our priorities are.

No idea what this is supposed to mean. How does this speak to our priorities?

by oboe on Jan 18, 2013 11:01 am • linkreport

I don't think the BID is suggesting holding up the H Street line or the Long Bridge improvements for this.

But as we all should know, it takes a long time from floating a concept, to getting planning approval, dealing with financing, the Feds, the NIMBY's, etc, before you even get to detailed design. If they want it, they need to float the idea as soon as possible.

And DDOT is already well along in the public input process for M Street's redesign. With the assumption apparently being that any new transit will take the form of east - west on M Street from Buzzards Point to 8th street. If the BID wants a N-S line as well, or possibly with a higher priority than the line to Buzzards Point, the time to raise the issue is now.

by MStreetDenizen on Jan 18, 2013 11:04 am • linkreport

I don't think the BID is suggesting holding up the H Street line or the Long Bridge improvements for this.

That wasn't implied by me either. But this seems about the same as me wishing I had light rail line from Ballston to Burke so I could get to my in-laws house easier on Sunday.

by drumz on Jan 18, 2013 11:07 am • linkreport

@Dizzy:
To be fair, 'sense of community' is most defined by the people in the community. The quantity of people has a major impact on that. A community of detached SFHs will feel very different if one plops down a 15 story residential building in the middle of them, which by itself would hold as many or more people as all the surrounding houses.

I prefer a more dense community - that's why I live here - but others do place a greater premium on "knowing all of your neighbors" and stuff like that.

And I prefer a dense community but my wife preferred a SFH, so we compromised on this neighborhood where we can walk to the metro, lots of restaurants, two grocery stores, a drug store, and plenty of other services.

The central point here is that this is not plopping down a tall building in the middle of a block of SFHs. This development is converting a parking lot half a mile from these SFHs, near the metro and right by lots of other commercial development, into a building that is not incredibly tall in context. There are taller buildings closer to these people's houses. I think the distinction is that those buildings aren't full of renters. It's unclear, though.

I can only imagine the full-blown freakout they'll have when it comes time to redevelop the tall building at the corner of Fenton and Sligo, which I believe will be turned into condos or apartments. That building really will be right around the corner from these people's neighborhood, and I suspect that they're even less open to lots of new neighbors so close to them.

by Gray's in the Fields on Jan 18, 2013 11:07 am • linkreport

MStreet,

I guess the issue seems to be that a bunch of disparate proposals makes it harder to develop a cogent system that we can all support. From my perspective, it would be more useful for the BID to talk to ddot about what they want out of the streetcar system than propose a likely $500M plus light rail that is somewhat redundant and unlikely to ever see funding without a broad base.

by Alan B. on Jan 18, 2013 11:10 am • linkreport

The Feds are funding a 3.3 mile light rail in Detriot that is costing $140M total:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20130118/us-detroit-light-rail/?utm_hp_ref=homepage&ir=homepage

by Tom Coumaris on Jan 18, 2013 11:20 am • linkreport

For riders from Union Station, including MARC riders, thats two metro trains, with a not very frequent transfer to the Green line, PLUS the walk from the Green Line. For people farther from Union Station metro, but right on the transitline, the savings in time and effort would be even greater.

I'm confused. What do you mean "not very frequent transfers to the green line?" The transfers are as frequent as the rest during Rush hour. I'm not particularly bothered by the fact that people who live well outside the city would have to get off Marc..on @Union...travel 4 minutes to Gallery and 8 minutes to Nay Yard. Imagine how the people using the LIRC feel.

. Snarkiness about laziness is all very well

I don't think referring to the idea that we should spend money on a system that makes it easier for people to get from NY Metro to Navy Yard is snark at all. Convenience and laziness is a big thing in DC. It explains why you see people line up to go up or down a moving escalator instead of just using the stalled one.

but when you have millions of your own money at stake, you are more interested in the actual transportation choices people make, not those they should make. but when you have millions of your own money at stake, you are more interested in the actual transportation choices people make, not those they should make.

Well sure. And as long as they are using their own millions and not those generated from our taxdollars...then go ahead.

by HogWash on Jan 18, 2013 11:20 am • linkreport

" But this seems about the same as me wishing I had light rail line from Ballston to Burke so I could get to my in-laws house easier on Sunday."

Hardly. We are talking about connecting a major new office district with other major locations. IIUC DDOT is also now looking at rebuilding the Douglas Bridge - if there is any possibility of rail up S Capital Street, it makes sense to examine it now, to avoid the mistake made with the 11th street bridge. I would also suggest that a line up S capital makes a lot more sense, from a Cap Riverfront POV, than an E-W line that goes to Buzzards Point.

@Alan B

Again, I presume they will talk to DDOT about how to integrate it. I guess they wanted to run it by their membership first, in conjunction with discussion of other topics of importance to the future of the BID.

by MStreetDenizen on Jan 18, 2013 11:24 am • linkreport

"Well sure. And as long as they are using their own millions and not those generated from our taxdollars...then go ahead."

As I said, I would guess they will put up a big chunk (as the NoMa BID did for the NY Avenue metro station).

by MStreetDenizen on Jan 18, 2013 11:26 am • linkreport

"Convenience and laziness is a big thing in DC. "

convenience is a huge issue for transportation in general. Total travel time, reliability of travel time, comfort (in different weathers, at different times of day, to people of different ages, genders, and physical conditions), are all factors that will impact where and how people will travel.

Categorizing actual behavior as laziness is not useful to people who actually have to make decisions on what infrastructure will have what impact on travel patterns, and on development.

by MStreetDenizen on Jan 18, 2013 11:31 am • linkreport

Why couldn't a US -> Navy Yard LRT line just follow the proposed 8th St Streetcar line, and turn left onto the H St line?

Along with the proposed M St route, I don't see why this would be particularly difficult. A line that formed a loop of Union Station -> H St -> Barracks Row -> Navy Yard -> SW Waterfront -> Gallery Place -> Union Station seems like it could be very useful.

by andrew on Jan 18, 2013 11:34 am • linkreport

Okay, well if this is the case it sounds great. I'd suggest repackaging the plan as modifying the street car system to better serve the area than develop a new light rail.

FYI the Columbia Pike Light rail is projected at like $250M and going through downtown DC is going to make it more expensive, plus a bridge. Dunno where the Detroit $ projection is coming from, but I'd be surprised if it didnt end up going over that at the end of the day.

by Alan B. on Jan 18, 2013 12:13 pm • linkreport

@Gray's in the Fields (and drumz)

My only point was to state that building height, and the accompanying major increase in population & density, certainly can have a major impact on "sense of community." Not because of the physical attributes of the building necessarily, but because of the people. I totally agree that the complaints being made here are ridiculous due to context (it's Silver Spring, people...) and that it is really about renters/non-families/different people moving next door. So it's not an 'inaccurate' concern - just a misplaced and at least slightly prejudiced one.

by Dizzy on Jan 18, 2013 12:18 pm • linkreport

As I said, I would guess they will put up a big chunk (as the NoMa BID did for the NY Avenue metro station).

Sure, but that's all speculative. I don't believe the city should invest one dime in what will essentially be a duplicitous system.

Total travel time, reliability of travel time, comfort (in different weathers, at different times of day, to people of different ages, genders, and physical conditions), are all factors that will impact where and how people will travel.

I agree. But nothing about the proposed light rail makes either of those much less difficult to navigate. And I still fail to see how looking out for our MARC commuters makes any sense at all. The connections make sense for those w/in the immediate area but not for MARC commuters whose contributions to the economic vibrancy of the capitol riverfront will be minimal at best.

Categorizing actual behavior as laziness is not useful to people who actually have to make decisions on what infrastructure will have what impact on travel patterns, and on development.

We categorize behavior all the time. Does talking about "aggressive" drivers make it any less difficult for planners to make decisions wrt to our infrastructure?

I'm not part of the decision-making process. But I am a resident of this city who has an opinion about people who are lazy and your suggestion that it'll be easier to get from NY Station to the Navy Yard is an example of how we contribute to our laziness. Get out and walk people and stop waiting for the next shiny object.

We need to get a handle on thinking that everything that looks and sounds good is actually good for the city. It's not..and this proposal is one of them.

by HogWash on Jan 18, 2013 12:37 pm • linkreport

It's interesting to see the recent DCPS action solely labeled as "closings", with reference only to what was closed and what was spared. A casual viewer might be under the impression that DCPS in a death spiral.

Maybe that's true in Ward 7 and Ward 4. I don't follow schools in those areas anywhere closely enough to speak with any authority. But in Ward 6, where I live, DCPS schools are booming, and the biggest complaint is that there isn't enough space to handle the demand, at least on the elementary level.

If you just read the links above, and certainly the headlines and write up here, you wouldn't know that two programs, Montisorri at Logan and School Within a School dramatically EXPANDED.

by Tim Krepp on Jan 18, 2013 12:39 pm • linkreport

@oboe: Anyone? Please tell us how DCPS is going to incur $6.5 million every single year into the future due to moving expenses from the closures.

The savings due to the closures are not permanent if the school is later reopened -- for example, see my link about Van Ness. DCPS thinks that the school population will increase by 55% in 10 years (see p. 9 of this DCPS presentation.)

I still have not seen the basis for this astounding projection, but you get the point -- DCPS won't save much if the schools are quickly reopened.

by goldfish on Jan 18, 2013 12:46 pm • linkreport

"Sure, but that's all speculative. I don't believe the city should invest one dime in what will essentially be a duplicitous system."

I suspect there will be some riders who will benefit, and some properties that will benefit, outside the BID boundaries. But I agree its speculative at this point. I assume you mean that duplicative btw.

"I agree. But nothing about the proposed light rail makes either of those much less difficult to navigate."

The Green line, in slightly off peak times (like 7PM) can involve an 8 minute wait. As an additional impediment (beyond the wait for the Red Line) thats not trivial, and in addition you have the time to walk at Gallery Place. Plus the walk (ten minutes for some, longer for slower walkers). So say an average incremental wait of 4 minutes, average transfer walk at Gallery Place of two minutes, and a walk of 10 minutes on M - a total of, conservatively, 16 minutes. That can be significant. PLUS each transfer introduces a reliability element. PLUS that 10 minute walk in the rain, the snow, the cold, summer heat, will be more of a deterrent.

"And I still fail to see how looking out for our MARC commuters makes any sense at all."

First, its not only MARC commuters. Its going to be people who live in NoMa and commute to Cap Riverfront. And visa versa. And trips to points between.

" not for MARC commuters whose contributions to the economic vibrancy of the capitol riverfront will be minimal at best."

To an employer being well located for the widest possible workforce is important. Convenience to Union Station (And to capital hill, and to NoMa, and maybe even to St Es) will be an additional draw to employers, who Cap Riverfront needs to fill that office space - and DC needs to get property tax revenue.

"We categorize behavior all the time. Does talking about "aggressive" drivers make it any less difficult for planners to make decisions wrt to our infrastructure?"

If you have issue with use of language on another issue, please take it up there.

"I'm not part of the decision-making process. But I am a resident of this city who has an opinion about people who are lazy and your suggestion that it'll be easier to get from NY Station to the Navy Yard is an example of how we contribute to our laziness."

It will be easier, and that matters, in impacting what modes people choose, and where firms locate.

"We need to get a handle on thinking that everything that looks and sounds good is actually good for the city. It's not..and this proposal is one of them."

until we have a route, a cost proposal, an estimate of ridership (and an understanding of how it will integrate with the rest of the street car system, etc) I dont think its possible to say.

I can imagine that people worried about losing a conventional lane on South Capital street might not want this to even be discussed.

by MStreetDenizen on Jan 18, 2013 1:00 pm • linkreport

@goldfish,

Sure, but as Tim touched on, it's in no way a sure thing that the population patterns in 2023 will look like the ones from 1960 (or whenever these underenrolled schools were last viable). As you say, DCPS won't save much if all of these schools are quickly reopened--but if their 55% doesn't come to pass the savings should be significantly larger.

And if the school population growth comes primarily in areas away from these schools slated to close, we'll get no savings from closing the underenrolled schools, and we'll need that money for areas with growing enrollment.

by oboe on Jan 18, 2013 1:00 pm • linkreport

@oboe, you think too much. Just assume that the schools closed today will be identical to those reopened in a few years. Then it makes sense.

by goldfish on Jan 18, 2013 1:06 pm • linkreport

@goldfish,

Much happier now, thanks!

by oboe on Jan 18, 2013 1:11 pm • linkreport

@oboe & goldfish: All good points. In addition - is Ms. Levy suggesting that a savings of "only" $1-2 million is reason NOT to close the schools? Because we should just piss money away at drastically underenrolled schools?

by dcd on Jan 18, 2013 1:18 pm • linkreport

So say an average incremental wait of 4 minutes, average transfer walk at Gallery Place of two minutes, and a walk of 10 minutes on M - a total of, conservatively, 16 minutes

Again, this speaks to the lazy argument. 16 minutes to get to Navy Yard is hardly burdensome. That certainly doesn't present any reason why investing in such a project is a good thing. Moreover, will the rail line run every 5 minutes? If not, the "time in" argument really doesn't hold up well.

First, its not only MARC commuters. Its going to be people who live in NoMa and commute to Cap Riverfront. And visa versa. And trips to points between.

You mean the people who live in NoMa who can just as easily get on at NY Ave or Union Station metros? I'm sure most people EOTR would like the convenience of having one train take us from EOTR to Metrocenter. It would be convenient but it doesn't mean it's a worthy investment.

To an employer being well located for the widest possible workforce is important.

Well sure. And those employers interesting in drawing the largest possible workforce should incur all costs associated w/the plan. Our tax dollars shouldn't be used for this effort.

If you have issue with use of language on another issue, please take it up there.

I don't have an issue with language. You do. I also wasn't the one who said characterizing behavior makes it difficult for planners to plan. Suggesting that I reference our normal behavior in another post in no way explains how it's somehow difficult.

It will be easier, and that matters, in impacting what modes people choose, and where firms locate.

If firms won't locate to the Capitol Riverfront absent an addition rail line, then maybe the city should reconsider it's plans for the area altogether.

until we have a route, a cost proposal, an estimate of ridership (and an understanding of how it will integrate with the rest of the street car system, etc) I dont think its possible to say.

Considering such, is it possible for us to say anything? I don't think we need a study to find out whether a current commute from Union Station to navy yard is too burdensome.

I can imagine that people worried about losing a conventional lane on South Capital street might not want this to even be discussed.

Haven't heard this suggestion and don't recall it being part of this article. However, if you have an issue with what people may or might not want to discuss wrt to South Capitol's conventional lane, maybe you should discuss that in another post. :)

by HogWash on Jan 18, 2013 1:31 pm • linkreport

"Again, this speaks to the lazy argument. 16 minutes to get to Navy Yard is hardly burdensome."

its about time, which matters. Whether its "burdensome" depends on the persons total schedule. Its certainly the case that it effects peoples choices.

" That certainly doesn't present any reason why investing in such a project is a good thing. Moreover, will the rail line run every 5 minutes? If not, the "time in" argument really doesn't hold up well."

I assume the street car will be as frequent as the red line. thats why i only count the wait for the green line as incremental.

"You mean the people who live in NoMa who can just as easily get on at NY Ave or Union Station metros?"

with a 16 minute longer trip, a less reliable trip, and for many, a less comfortable trip.

" I'm sure most people EOTR would like the convenience of having one train take us from EOTR to Metrocenter. It would be convenient but it doesn't mean it's a worthy investment."

No, not ipso facto. That would only be one part of the cost benefit analysis, perhaps a small one.

"Well sure. And those employers interesting in drawing the largest possible workforce should incur all costs associated w/the plan. Our tax dollars shouldn't be used for this effort."

Maybe. I am not sure about the proposed route, but I think it will stop near some parcels outside the BID - Im not sure what the mechanism to capture that value would be. I would note that as these properties pay property tax, their increased value is of benefit to the city coffers.

"I don't have an issue with language. You do."

yes, but only on this thread, because I thought it was confusing the issue on this thread.

" I also wasn't the one who said characterizing behavior makes it difficult for planners to plan. "

Nor did I. I did say that such charecterization is of no benefit. I still fail to see its relevance. If you mean that loss of traveler time should be ignored in cost benefit analysis, that would be clearer. You will find that traveler time IS reflected in cost benefit analysis, including of bridges, highways, etc.

"If firms won't locate to the Capitol Riverfront absent an addition rail line, then maybe the city should reconsider it's plans for the area altogether."

Perhaps. In which case, as I said, the city may need to either relax the height limit, or accept a loss of employment to the suburbs. I don't see why though, they should rule out that another rail line will make sense.

"Considering such, is it possible for us to say anything? I don't think we need a study to find out whether a current commute from Union Station to navy yard is too burdensome."

Once again, "too burdensome" is not the criteria. Its whether the costs of the route are justified by the benefits, including development, modal shift to transit from autos, etc. To determine those a study may be required - but I do think the BID should clarify its proposal (and if they are considering staking $$$) before DDOT initiates a more formal study.

I can imagine that people worried about losing a conventional lane on South Capital street might not want this to even be discussed.

"Haven't heard this suggestion and don't recall it being part of this article."

Nor have I. I am simply finding it odd that something that was merely mentioned at meeting of the BID, that may well (based on the NOMA precedent) be fully financed by the BID, is eliciting such a strong reaction.

by MStreetDenizen on Jan 18, 2013 2:19 pm • linkreport

Nor have I. I am simply finding it odd that something that was merely mentioned at meeting of the BID, that may well (based on the NOMA precedent) be fully financed by the BID, is eliciting such a strong reaction.

You've seriously considered why this would be a good idea..based on nothing more than the idea being merely mentioned at the meeting. So I'm not sure why you think it's odd that someone else would have a strong opinion that it's a bad idea. We've both presented why it should and shouldn't happen. I don't consider it odd but consistent with how we always have discussions here. Maybe you don't come around enough?

If you mean that loss of traveler time should be ignored in cost benefit analysis, that would be clearer. You will find that traveler time IS reflected in cost benefit analysis, including of bridges, highways, etc.

We've discussed the "time" scenarios here and if they decide to build the line in order to shave off what would likely be no more than 10 minutes of travel time, then yes...they should forget any mention of this plan.

This is different from the streetcar in Anacostia (which I oppose) because at least it will be an alternative to buses along that corridor and connect to the larger network. But spending 100's of million to make it easier to get the the soon-to-be budding Capitol Riverfront district from Union Station is ill-advised.

by HogWash on Jan 18, 2013 3:34 pm • linkreport

"You've seriously considered why this would be a good idea..based on nothing more than the idea being merely mentioned at the meeting."

I do not know if its a good idea, that should be implemented. Knowing the area, I find it intriguing. I know that connectivity north south IS poor (and yes, Ive taken the metro from Navy Yard to various red line stations on different occasions. Adding a north south line would present real benefits. I do not know the trip generation points between the Douglas bridge and St Es as well, but I suspect a line there would help as well. And I am quite aware that there is lots of empty office space in the area, and that NoMa appears to be doing better.

However its quite possible that the cost will still exceed any benefits. I am not advocating for this being built. I am not, at this point, suggesting DDOT spend any money on a study. I presume the BID will have to provide much more information first. At that point I think it may well be worthwhile for DDOT to study. It may even proved to have enough benefits beyond the BID property owners, that its worth it to the district to chip in SOMETHING. But I do not know that yet.

Your tone gives me the impression you are convinced its a bad idea. I dont understand why you are prejudging it. If I have given the impression from MY tone that I am sure this should be built, forgive me, as that was not my intention. I simply do not know, since I have seen no data.

"We've discussed the "time" scenarios here and if they decide to build the line in order to shave off what would likely be no more than 10 minutes of travel time, then yes...they should forget any mention of this plan."

Why? We dont know what the cost will be. What if its tiny (maybe they will do BRT, at low capital cost, or hook onto some other street car line, as someone above suggested)? What if the 16 minutes time (I have not agreed its about ten minues for all the users - and of course reliability will also be a factor) is multiplied by vast number of users?

Do you object to ANY transport improvement that only saves 16 (or 10) minutes per traveler? Because there are many road improvements that are designed to save that amount of time, or less. We do not automatically rule those out.

by MStreetDenizen on Jan 18, 2013 3:58 pm • linkreport

re: School Closings

Looks like grassroots community organizing group Empower DC is planning on suing DCPS over closing the empty schools. I guess that's one way to make the closings more expensive.

wapo.st/11F3xGp

by oboe on Jan 18, 2013 5:05 pm • linkreport

Knowing the area, I find it intriguing.I know that connectivity north south IS poor (and yes, Ive taken the metro from Navy Yard to various red line stations on different occasions. Adding a north south line would present real benefits.

I get that. But I believe the sexiness of the idea fades when you consider "need." Most of the discussions I've seen wrt to this issue has been about the lack of connectivity east/west and in my opinion that should be the real concern..not providing access from Union Station to the CR.

Your tone gives me the impression you are convinced its a bad idea. I dont understand why you are prejudging it.

Yes I am convinced it's a bad idea...even though its only being mentioned at this point. Look at it this way, the Redskins training facility was similarly mentioned. We (here and around city) participated in numerous discussions about why it would and wouldn't be a good idea absent any such plan. So please don't consider my tone confrontational or too aggressive as this is just how we have discuss things here...even in the preliminary stages.

Do you object to ANY transport improvement that only saves 16 (or 10) minutes per traveler? Because there are many road improvements that are designed to save that amount of time, or less. We do not automatically rule those out.

Sure, Capital Bikeshare. But I also do not believe we should invest money in a system designed to ferry people from Union Station to CR by shaving 16 minutes off their travel time. I just don't believe people would be so turned off by not having the 16 free minutes, that they would decide to not travel to the CR. I just don't..especially when the lack of a connection doesn't seem to keep people from traveling to G'town or Adams Morgan.

Its hard to compare a road project to this one.

by HogWash on Jan 18, 2013 5:21 pm • linkreport

Sure, Capital Bikeshare.

Oops. No..I think Capital Bikeshare is kewl...even if it only shaves off 10 minutes.

by HogWash on Jan 18, 2013 9:04 pm • linkreport

" I just don't..especially when the lack of a connection doesn't seem to keep people from traveling to G'town or Adams Morgan."

I am sure its impacted Gtown. That is why one of the benefits of a seperated blue line will be a metro station there. OTOH Gtown and AM are mostly built out and not targeted for large amounts of new office space.

"Its hard to compare a road project to this one."

The principle is the same. You examine all benefits including travel time savings in doing the cost benefit. You do not exclude time savings because they are under some arbitrary length.

by MStreetDenizen on Jan 19, 2013 4:34 pm • linkreport

One of the most thoughtful articles or pieces on education in DC I've read lately is on Richard Layman's blog. I highly recommend it, and reading the comments too.

by Jazzy on Jan 20, 2013 6:05 am • linkreport

With the amount of schools closing how many neighborhoods actually have neighborhood schools anymore. If I had children in DC schools I would start wondering about school buses at this point.

by kk on Jan 20, 2013 9:13 pm • linkreport

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