Greater Greater Washington

Lunch links: Protect yourself

Live chat at 1: Our first of what will hopefully become a series of live chats is today at 1 pm. This time, it will feature Greater Greater Washington contributors. Bring your questions!


What curb cuts do to a residential street. From CSG.

"NIMBY insurance"? Ryan Avent suggests a clever economic solution to resident opposition to change. If some residents, like the vocal folks in Brookland, are so worried that future development in their neighborhood will reduce their property values, and if having most of your net worth in a home makes people extra nervous about changes that might impact property values, how about allowing people to hedge that risk? Many of us believe the development would actually enhance the neighborhood and drive values up. The city or developers could even pay the premiums in exchange for smoother approvals.

Curb cuts are bad for many reasons: Georgetown's ANC rejected a curb cut because, rightly, it takes away on-street parking to give people off-street parking. But, Georgetown Metropolitan explains, it's also bad a for a host of other reason having nothing to do with other people's parking.

Bus driver assault spree? Yesterday, a number 53 bus driver assaulted a cyclist. It turns out that on Saturday, a number 52 bus driver punched McGruff the crime dog in the head. The MPD definitely takes bus driver assaults seriously when committed against their own officers. Same driver? Or is there something in the air on the 14th Street bus corridor?

From DC CTO to federal CIO: Vivek Kundra will be the new federal Chief Information Officer, everyone is reporting. He did a good job making DC much more open and accessible, through better systems, posting data feeds and encouraging mashups. It'd be great if he can do the same at the federal level.

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David Alpert is the founder and editor-in-chief of Greater Greater Washington. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He now lives with his wife and daughter in Dupont Circle. 

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On the subject of open information, I've noticed that DC offers GIS shapefiles for the District free of charge, whereas other area units of government (with the exception of VDOT, from what I've found so far) charge a fee for their GIS data. Not sure if Mr. Kundra is responsible for the Districts position on GIS data availability, but if so, kudos to him.

by Froggie on Mar 5, 2009 1:11 pm • linkreport

While I understand the other points about curb cuts, I don't see how taking a car off the street is a problem. At worst, you're removing a street parking space for an off-street parking space, and perhaps more than one (typical curb cut is approx. 10-12 feet, which is less than a parking space for most cars). If it feeds two-car garage (or more), then it's a net benefit.

Now, I realize those that view the creation of parking as a bad thing. But fact is we have cars right now, and people need to park 'em. I'd rather not see the cars than see 'em.

by ah on Mar 5, 2009 4:20 pm • linkreport

A curb cut makes that space available to all of one person. A space on the street is available to all. The more of the pooled resource is out there, the better.

by NikolasM on Mar 5, 2009 4:25 pm • linkreport

ah: Check out GM's article. But basically, if they're off the street, then they have to cross the sidewalk to get in and out. The more of those there are, the less safe it is for pedestrians.

Also, the on-street space is public. The off-street space is not. When someone parked on the street takes the car to go somewhere, say to the mall, then someone else visiting that neighborhood can park there. If we take the space away, now the off-street space will stay vacant much of the time. We shouldn't be designing our neighborhoods with 3 times as many spaces as cars (one for home, work, and shopping). Cars should be sharing the spaces that exist.

Finally, having on-street parking narrows the feel of the street. That makes cars move more slowly, which is safer. The cars also provide a safety buffer that protects pedestrians from the traffic. The street in the picture is not wider than many residential streets, but it feels like a higher speed street now. It also makes the area feel more car-oriented and less walkable.

by David Alpert on Mar 5, 2009 4:27 pm • linkreport

NikolasM--that doesn't really matter. All that having pooled spaces does is mean that people have to search around. If every space on the street were assigned, then you'd have the same result in this regard as curb cuts.

by ah on Mar 5, 2009 4:33 pm • linkreport

Well, the hunting for a space should be helped by parking sticker permits. Guests have a few hours, you have 24/7. Make sure it is enforced.

by NikolasM on Mar 5, 2009 5:11 pm • linkreport

<shameless> re: Kundra: If you're interested in policies regarding public sector information in the DC area, check out Free Culture DC. </shameless>

by Gavin Baker on Mar 5, 2009 9:44 pm • linkreport

To me curb cuts are great-especially when they take cars off of the street- provided that the homeowner is also allowed to reuse their garage as an extra room and not for a car.Curb cuts add to the mobility for cyclists , parents w/ strollers, handicapped w/ wheelchairs- and as a cyclist who trys NOT TO CYCLE ON THE ROADS WITH CAR TRAFFIC - I happen to think they give me more options as to where I can go on the street. Part of the problem is that NIMBYs hate it when someone turns a garage into a room when they have a curb cut out front. I THINK THIS SHOULD BE ENCOURAGED !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SCREW THE SELFISH NIMBY CAR IDOITS !!!!

by w on Mar 6, 2009 8:58 am • linkreport

Well, it's good to know that more parking spaces are bad, except when they aren't. And that free parking to the public is bad, except when it isn't.

by ah on Mar 7, 2009 9:03 pm • linkreport

Today I read on WTOP that an EMS vehicle crashed at Mass Ave on its way to help a pedestrian struck at 23 and L.

http://www.wtop.com/?nid=596&sid=1618186

by Jazzy on Mar 8, 2009 8:41 am • linkreport

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