Greater Greater Washington

Breakfast links: Stay safe


Photo by jGregor on Flickr.
Dangerous intersections: DDOT has released its list of the most crash-prone intersections for bikes and pedestrians. 14th and U NW was the most dangerous for bikes, and Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and Howard Road SE saw the most crashes involving pedestrians. (DCist)

Bad scheduling kills door bill: Virginia's dooring bill failed in committee possibly thanks to the fact that a third of the committee did not vote. 4 likely yes votes from Northern Virginia were at other committee meetings. (Post)

Communication breakdown: Metro officials admitted that miscommunication played a role in making it harder to help passengers stranded on a Green Line train late last month. (Post)

Don't play favorites: Some other county officials are not happy about what they think is WMATA favoring Prince George's County in the bidding for the new FBI headquarters. (Post)

A very particular set of skills: Do you have the skills it takes to ride Metrorail and Metrobus? DCist has a list of abilities to speed your commute, like being able to quickly add money to your SmarTrip card and knowing where the station exit is.

Don't dis Anacostia: Nikki Peele has responds to everyone who tweets derogatory, and often ignorant, things about Anacostia or "southeast DC." (CHOTR, Terry Scott)

And...: Mayor Gray wants to increase DCPS and charter funding by 2%. (Examiner) ... Scaffolding will go up around the Washington Monument as early as next week. (DCist) ... Think you know DC's neighborhoods? Try this game. (Click that 'Hood)

Have a tip for the links? Submit it here.
Steven Yates grew up in Indiana before moving to DC in 2002 to attend college at American University. He currently lives in Southwest DC.  

Comments

Add a comment »

There's an extra word or a wrong word in the Anacostia tweet summary. "has responds"

I remember missing the scaffolding when they finally took it off last time. More importantly, will the scaffolding be part of firework displays?

by selxic on Feb 15, 2013 8:55 am • linkreport

The Anacostia thing is the squeaky wheel syndrome or whatever it's called. Basically, if you don't go there and your only interactions are based on obnoxious loud teenagers yelling random things at you saying "We from SE, yo" etc, it's not going to leave a great impression. Totally unfair of course, but that's life I guess. But it also goes both ways.

by Alan B. on Feb 15, 2013 9:09 am • linkreport

I keep telling people WMATA is always going to have a bias towards DC and MD because of the way the board is made up. This is just the most visible demonstration of that bias. Far more dangerous is the bus network they have set up in Fairfax. If they want to keep playing politics like this why should Virginia put up with it?

Mind you I am extremely progressive when it comes to transit, but I am against wasteful spending when it doesn't ultimately go to improve the network.

by Tysons Engineer on Feb 15, 2013 9:13 am • linkreport

RE: WMATA bias

Does WMATA own another giant piece of property near one of their stations suitable for this project?

No doubt the people who are moaning about WMATA's "bias" when it tries to develop property it owns are the same people who demand transit operate with more business sense.

by MLD on Feb 15, 2013 9:16 am • linkreport

@Tysons Engineer

Where's the beef?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ug75diEyiA0

by jnb on Feb 15, 2013 9:21 am • linkreport

I've lost complete faith in the Metro Board. They're blaming passengers for "self-evacuating" trains, which certainly exacerbated the problem, but fail to understand that people did so because nobody trusts Metro. The Board looked at this incident as a one-off event but it is actually the result of years of being lied to by Metro management, a historical lack of misinformation to passengers, and experiencing the agency's incompetence on a near-daily basis. Having been on a train that was disabled for more than hour (after a series of announcements that the train "would be moving momentarily"), it's no wonder people didn't listen to a word the train operators had to say (if they even communicated with passengers at all).

If the Board doesn't understand this, then there is no hope for progress and change at Metro.

by Adam L on Feb 15, 2013 9:23 am • linkreport

[i]Does WMATA own another giant piece of property near one of their stations suitable for this project?[/i]

not of that size in a suitable location in FFX that I know of. There's a parking lot they have wanted to develop near Huntingon station, but i don't think its big enough. There's the lot at Dunn Loring, but thats being redeveloped for urbanist mixed use. There certainly is no room on the visible WMATA property at Springfield.

The idea that WMATA is discriminating against FFX by doing this is silly.

No doubt the people who are moaning about WMATA's "bias" when it tries to develop property it owns are the same people who demand transit operate with more business sense.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Feb 15, 2013 9:25 am • linkreport

The Board looked at this incident as a one-off event but it is actually the result of years of being lied to by Metro management, a historical lack of misinformation to passengers, and experiencing the agency's incompetence on a near-daily basis... If the Board doesn't understand this, then there is no hope for progress and change at Metro.

+1. Also undermining trust in this specific incident -- the wrong information fed to riders that day, which contributed to the disabled trains being overcrowded and overheated.

Sadly, this incident will likely be remembered as another missed opportunity / warning sign in the quite-probably event of a real Metro mass disaster.

by Bitter Brew on Feb 15, 2013 9:33 am • linkreport

This seems like political grandstanding. The WMATA proposal comes off as completely rational to me. I would guess they also analyzed capacity and saw that that section of the green line has plenty to absorb additional peak trips in that direction. And it's just a huge site that checks all the boxes. And they already know that Blue line service is getting cut back even more for the medium term future.

by Alan B. on Feb 15, 2013 9:35 am • linkreport

If I was on a plane that got stuck on the tarmac for an hour, I sure as hell wouldn't pop the emergency hatch and scamper out onto the runway, no matter how terrible and misinformed the flight attendants were.

Just sayin'.....

by andrew on Feb 15, 2013 9:39 am • linkreport

The first Dunn Loring lot mixed-use building has popped up pretty quick. They will likely be done the exterior within the next few months. I think that once they finish that, they will build another one on the second half of the lot.

by m2fc on Feb 15, 2013 9:41 am • linkreport

RE: Bad scheduling kills door bill: Unlikely- this bill was killed because the GOP crowd didn't show up to vote- see the post on Blue Virginia. They all were present and voting for the immediate next bill-

http://bluevirginia.us/diary/8720/nova-republicans-to-cyclists-drop-dead-but-too-cowardly-to-cast-votes-accordingly

by bad-schedualer on Feb 15, 2013 9:42 am • linkreport

@andrew: What if the flight attendants locked themselves in the cabin and refused to say anything about what was going on?

by The Dawn of a New Gray on Feb 15, 2013 9:51 am • linkreport

The mid-block pedestrian crosswalks south of U on 14th NW are a cruel joke. The batons were knocked down long ago and almost no cars (traveling fast) stop for pedestrians in those crosswalks.

Crossing there makes you feel like a bowling pin.

by Tom Coumaris on Feb 15, 2013 9:53 am • linkreport

Seems to be lots of poor reporting on the FBI thing. The developer who controls the development rights for greenbelt wants to bid on the FBI site,and Metro is going to allow them to do that.

Most of the reporting indicates Metro is bidding on the FBI HQ, which is not the case.

http://m.bizjournals.com/washington/breaking_ground/2013/02/metro-land-deal-for-greenbelt-metro.html?page=all&r=full

by Alex B. on Feb 15, 2013 9:56 am • linkreport

RE: "you wouldn't self-evacuate from a plane, right?"

Consider the differences: on the train you are underground (this adds stress) and the fact that there is only one person "in charge" who may or may not be providing information.

by MLD on Feb 15, 2013 9:58 am • linkreport

Thanks Alex B.

by selxic on Feb 15, 2013 10:00 am • linkreport

MLD and Dawn are exactly right. I'm not saying that I would evacuate a train, but given the conditions I can't necessarily blame people who did. And besides, airlines face actual penalties when they treat their passengers in such a manner. Metro? Not so much.

by Adam L on Feb 15, 2013 10:04 am • linkreport

Airlines get fined if passengers are stuck on the tarmac for several hours, not one.

I don't argue that this was a bad situation, but it is practically suicidal to trespass on an active railroad, especially when a third rail is involved.

by andrew on Feb 15, 2013 10:17 am • linkreport

Yes, the passengers should not have left the train. Does anyone blame them? I'm sure the WMATA team was tweeting like mad, but that doesn't help the passengers underground.

by charlie on Feb 15, 2013 10:22 am • linkreport

Agreed, andrew. I don't think people understand the disorientation you experience and the potential dangers of just walking around the tunnel.

The board is just completely incompetent and unwilling to ask questions like "how are you going to prevent this from happening in the future?" They also don't seem to understand the severity of the problem - both the inadequacy of Metro's response to the incident and the dangers of people just leaving the train to try to walk to the next station.

by MLD on Feb 15, 2013 10:22 am • linkreport

When something like this happens, the most passengers hear is: "We're experiencing mechanic problems. The train will be moving momentarily."

What passengers should hear is: "Attention passengers. This is _____, your train operator. The tracks have lost electricity and we are unable to proceed to the next station. I am in radio contact with Metro HQ and they have a maintenance crew currently working to restore power. In order to speed up the repairs, please remain inside the train at all times. I will provide continued updates as I receive them. I apologize for this inconvenience and thank you for your patience."

by Adam L on Feb 15, 2013 10:47 am • linkreport

@andrew: Nobody's arguing that it's safe for passengers to self-evacuate. What's odd, though, is that:

(1) WMATA hasn't figured out how to get drivers to provide basic information in this case (like Adam's simple suggested script), and

(2) The first response of the board is not to criticize that failure but to blame the passengers for responding in an unsafe way when WMATA failed to communicate basic information to them.

by The Dawn of a New Gray on Feb 15, 2013 11:04 am • linkreport

@Adam L: I agree; more specific and timely information would have saved Metro a lot of heartache with the Green Line debacle, and probably prevented the dangerous self-evacuation.

I also find it frustrating that Metro does not anticipate the reality (NOT the possibility, but the REALITY) of passenger self-evacuations. When passengers are left stranded in a Metro car for extended periods of time with little to no nformation, they will eventually self-evacuate if they feel it is a safe option. The directions inside the Metro cars on self-evacuation also plant the seed of inspiration.

The same thing happened in Boston in 2007 when passengers self-evacuated from the Red Line after being stuck on the Longfellow Bridge when the train was stranded for more than an hour in the summer without air conditioning due to a station fire at the Park Street Station.

http://bostonist.com/2007/10/06/stuck_mbta_pass.php

If only Metro and other transit systems would acknowledge that people are human beings, who we KNOW will try to evacuate a subway on their own in situations where the train has been stopped for a long period with little to no information given. then they could change their operating /rescue procedures accordingly. Human beings are self-preservation aliases, and will act to remove themselves from stressful and confined situations - any behavioral psychologist can tell you that. Metro and other transit systems should not be willfully blind to this phenomenon.

For example, Metro could do as Adam L. has suggested above, and give more accurate descriptions of the nature of the service stoppage. Metro could also make it an SOP to contact the police if a train is stopped for longer than 20-30 minutes, to prepare for the possibility of passengers self-evacuating, even if Metro does not order them to.

Metro needs to acknowledge that they are transporting people and not cargo; people who will have repeatedly shown themselves willing and capable of self-evacuating if they don't have a viable alternative (I.e. a fuller understanding of the nature of the stoppage, what exactly Metro is doing to resolve the issue, and some reasonable estimate of when it will be resolved)

by Adam on Feb 15, 2013 11:19 am • linkreport

RE: DDOT Bike Crashes Report

Just going to copy/paste what I said on DCist- An official traffic engineering report with no mention of collision rates is a useless document.

by Bossi on Feb 15, 2013 11:27 am • linkreport

Basically, if you don't go there and your only interactions are based on obnoxious loud teenagers yelling random things at you saying

It's more likely that your impression has less to do w/obnoxious loud teenagers than a view of "what to expect" in certain parts of the city. Loud obnoxious students headed home to Adam's Morgan usually wouldn't give people the impression that everything in AM reflects their behavior. The teens only support existing views based on things real and imagined.

But sometimes it does require people bringing things to your attention. You either consider the change or not. FWIW, all my friends know the caution they should use when discussing anything EOTR-related.

*I chuckled reading the tweet from the guy who lives in SUITLAND (of all places) criticizing SE DC* - uhm...AS IF!!!!

by HogWash on Feb 15, 2013 12:05 pm • linkreport

When we left Waterfront we were told that the fire had been cleared. By the time we got to NY, we were told that we couldn't continue because people were walking through the tunnel. If that were the case, then they contributed to it taking people hours to get home.

As inconvenienced as I might be, there is no way in the world I'm about to walk through anybody's tunnel unless I am directed to do so or some catastrophic event. Yes, I know how to safely evacuate if need be. But I wouldn't have done that...especially because I'm a supersized punk when it comes to rats.

*cringe even thinking about it*

by HogWash on Feb 15, 2013 12:13 pm • linkreport

That would be fine, HogWash, if that were the case that I ran into obnoxious students in Adams Morgan. But my bad experiences always seem to be on the Green Line or the X2 etc. I'm not going to pretend that the pattern doesn't exist because it's not PC to say so.

by Alan B. on Feb 15, 2013 12:33 pm • linkreport

That would be fine, HogWash, if that were the case that I ran into obnoxious students in Adams Morgan.

I would hazard a guess that you don't run into many obnoxious teenagers in A-M because 1. there isn't a high school there and 2. there are way fewer teens living there than in other places in the city.

by MLD on Feb 15, 2013 12:43 pm • linkreport

The guy on the Ffx Board of supervisors is only whining because the Greenbelt site is serious competition. It's pretty obvious to most rational thinkers that there's clearly no bias in the WMATA Board decision. If there was a huge, Metro-owned plot of land in Fairfax with a previous development agreement, Fairfax would have received the same "bias."

Greenbelt is the best location for the FBI hq for many reasons I've listed before. If the Prince George's govt was halfway as competent as Fairfax in attracting econ. development, I would say that the choice of the Greenbelt site is a foregone conclusion.

Montgomery and Loudoun counties are only fooling themselves in thinking that they can win the HQ. The former has no available land near any Metro station, and the latter is 10 million miles from the Beltway out in the boonies and has no Metro.

by King Terrapin on Feb 15, 2013 1:03 pm • linkreport

re: self-evacuating - one difference between getting off a stuck train and a stuck plane is that getting off the train might actually get you to an alternate means of transportation that can take you where you're going. The people who self-evacuated from the stopped green line were able to pop out in Anacostia Park and get home another way. Getting onto the tarmac at DCA isn't going to get you to Boston, San Francisco, or Seattle.

by worthing on Feb 15, 2013 1:06 pm • linkreport

I'm old enough to no longer see purpose in expending energy attempting to change ingrained feelings. I can only challenge what comes out from your mouth...as well as make assumptions based on my experiences with those who are "not" as pc. The problem is, we never believe assumptions and the resulting generalizations are ever warranted in the reverse. I understand that.

To be or not to be pc is always a choice. Then so is today's underwear.

by HogWash on Feb 15, 2013 1:10 pm • linkreport

@ King Terrapin: the latter is 10 million miles from the Beltway out in the boonies and has no Metro.

DC-centric view: From the Roosevelt Bridge (DC) to Dulles (Loudoun) is 23 miles. Hardly in the boonies. From the most eastern point in DC to the most western or northern point in Loudoun is about 75 miles. About 10 million miles short of 10 million miles. The Beltway is not the end of the world. And there be no dragons beyond the Beltway.

by Jasper on Feb 15, 2013 1:28 pm • linkreport

The Beltway is not the end of the world. And there be no dragons beyond the Beltway.

Maybe not, but there are pterodactyls flying around, and supersized reptiles crawling about.

Wear boots when you go there.

by Sydney on Feb 15, 2013 1:45 pm • linkreport

i believe GSA has said the FBI hq must be within 2.5 miles of the beltway, which would rule out Loudoun, dragons or no.

Not sure if there are viable sites in MoCo.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Feb 15, 2013 1:54 pm • linkreport

According to the good people at Bethesda Games, there are also giant fire-breathing ants at East Falls Church and terrifying four-armed crawling zombies with tentacles in one of the hotels near the Convention Center, so I'm not sure inside the beltway is any safer.

by worthing on Feb 15, 2013 2:04 pm • linkreport

@Jasper

As AWalkerInTheCity stated, the new HQ has to be on (or inside) the Beltway, so as far as Loudoun is concerned it might as well be in China.

by King Terrapin on Feb 15, 2013 2:07 pm • linkreport

I like to mention when people bad mouth SE about the nice areas of SE; Eastern Market, part of Capitol Hill etc to get people to stop generalizing entire areas and to speak of a specific neighborhood if they want to talk about a place in a bad or good way.

by kk on Feb 15, 2013 2:17 pm • linkreport

@ Sydney:Maybe not, but there are pterodactyls flying around, and supersized reptiles crawling about.

Not true. There were meteorite falling from the sky, but that was in the Ural Mountains. That's about 5k miles away, and still way short of 10 million miles.

by Jasper on Feb 15, 2013 2:28 pm • linkreport

http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer">

The fear and derogatory statements about neighborhoods in SE is real and hurtful. Help us spread Southeast Love and combat fear about the SE quadrant of DC. To learn more visit: www.congressheightsontherise.com or follow the #SoutheastLove hashtag on Twitter.

Peace!

by Nikki Peele on Feb 15, 2013 2:29 pm • linkreport

@kk

That's how people in PG county feel.

by adelphi_sky on Feb 15, 2013 2:37 pm • linkreport

I am in SE DC as I write this.

I fear to walk across the Douglass bridge though.

So I do not fear SE, but I don't think my attitude is exactly what you are looking for.

by MStreetDenizen on Feb 15, 2013 2:42 pm • linkreport

@awalkerinthecity

It's true: there are no sites in MoCo that meet the FBI's criteria. I doubt they will, but I hope MoCo gets behind Greenbelt as well, since it's close enough that some workers may consider relocating there, especially around Silver Spring.

Personally, I think it's ridiculous that every time a big employer announces their desire to move/relocate in this area, the counties all start a massive pissing contest to see who's the best. The FBI belongs in Prince George's because it can corrects the regional jobs/housing divide, but everyone (especially MoCo) needs to concentrate on how to attract and nurture the smaller businesses that will actually support and grow the local economy.

by dan reed! on Feb 15, 2013 2:55 pm • linkreport

We went thru all this before when IRS went to PG and as a balance, Navy went to VA. Moran and Hoyer both have a lot of power and MD & VA usually both get something.

by Tom Coumaris on Feb 15, 2013 5:13 pm • linkreport

hmm? I thought the Navy went to Va in 1943.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Feb 15, 2013 5:17 pm • linkreport

Metro should look at the self-evacuation incident as a wakeup call. You can be sure it will happen again, and maybe next time, a passenger is hit by a train, or falls while climbing over a fence, or is electrocuted by the third rail.

The board should undertake a Root Cause Analysis of why passengers decided to detrain on their own. This process asks the reiterative question of "Why?" -- Why did the pax evacuate? Why did the train stop? Why was the power cut? Why didn't communications occur? Why - why - why? It keeps asking that until it reaches a root cause.

Once a root cause is reached, a mitigation strategy is implemented specifically to deal with that root cause. The root cause of this particular incident was not that the power was cut - that is simply a symptom of what has been happening at the agency for years, if not decades.

A root cause analysis for Metro would be conducted in the same way that safety boards are convened by NTSB for common carrier accidents. That ensures independent oversight and review of findings and process. And more importantly, it focuses on mitigating the problem rather than pointing fingers. Once you remove blame from the fact-finding, people will oppen up.

by Arrgh Street on Feb 15, 2013 5:39 pm • linkreport

The WaPo said the power was shut off by a transit police officer at the work site. What was a transit police officer doing there? Are the repairmen suspected in a rash of Kindle thefts? Have the recent Metrobus stabbings and rock-throwings been traced back to a track gang? Does Metro actually have *all* its electric work done by transit police officers nowadays?

by Turnip on Feb 15, 2013 8:10 pm • linkreport

The FBI belongs in Prince George's because it can corrects the regional jobs/housing divide

While it's true that relocating to PG may be in the best interest of the DC region, the FBI's responsibilities are first to the citizens it serves, second to its employees, and a distant third to other stakeholders. Really, the decision should be about doing what's best for its employees in a way that is fiscally responsible and acceptable to the local communities.

by Falls Church on Feb 16, 2013 11:16 am • linkreport

@Falls Church

"While it's true that relocating to PG may be in the best interest of the DC region, the FBI's responsibilities are first to the citizens it serves, second to its employees, and a distant third to other stakeholders. Really, the decision should be about doing what's best for its employees in a way that is fiscally responsible and acceptable to the local communities."

Is that P.C. for every Federal building that moves out of DC should be relocated to NOVA? :)

A few things. First, the FBI's responsibility to its citizens isn't location specific. I'm sure the great people in the FBI can do their job in MD, DC, or VA. Second, we can agree that the FBI has a responsibility to its employees. But this ca get very murky. There are a lot of variables that take into account what's best for employees. In other words that is highly subjective as each employees has different needs. So, wherever the FBI HQ lands, some employees will be happy, and others will be disappointed. For instance, I live in Maryland. IF I worked for the FBI, I would be disappointed if I had to drive across the Woodrow Wilson birdge now instead of a quick jaunt downtown. And let's face it. Riding the metro from the northern points on the greenline to Springfield isn't that cost or time effective when you add cost for parking at metro facilities. Mothly metro costs can go up to $200+/month for such long trips. And I'm sure those who live in VA wouldn't be happy about it moving to Maryland. So, making all employees happy is a moving target that will never be hit. That's why a totality of benefits to employees, and the region as a whole needs to be taken into account. Greenbelt was chosen because it helps to balance metro ridership traffic in a reverse commute, it serves a community that could benefit more from the FBI than NOVA, and it gives its employees a brand new state-of-the-art building.

by adelphi_sky on Feb 16, 2013 1:07 pm • linkreport

Is that P.C. for every Federal building that moves out of DC should be relocated to NOVA? :)

It really was not meant to be.

So, making all employees happy is a moving target that will never be hit. That's why a totality of benefits to employees, and the region as a whole needs to be taken into account.

The aim is not to make all employees happy. The aim is to maximize employee welfare. The FBI has a responsibility to work with its employee representatives to conduct surveys, focus groups, or other outreach activities to determine what would maximize employee welfare. Maybe moving to Greenbelt would be best for employees...no one knows until some analysis is done.

My point was not to say that Springfield should necessarily be chosen. Rather, my point is that what is best for the DC region should be far less important to the FBI than what's best for their employees.

by Falls Church on Feb 18, 2013 12:59 pm • linkreport

Folks are speaking of FBI responsibility - is the FBI the sole federal decision maker (leaving aside congressional intervention) or does GSA get an independent say? Should the optimal functioning of the FBI be the only Federal interest, or the optimal functioning of the entire Federal Government?

It seems to me that the Federal Govt as a whole benefits from a better balance in the metro area, since the costs of that imbalance impact congestion, housing cost, and other things that both directly impact the functioning of federal agencies, and their ability to recruit. Im not sure, but I've thought, that part of the motive of moving CG and DHS to St E's, of moving USDOT to the Riverfront, etc was to change the city and the region in ways the Fed Govt found desirable.

This is not to say that the FBI should locate to PG and not to Springfield - it is to say that the issue of regional balance is a proper one to consider - however it gets incorporated into the decision making process, whether by GSA, or if necessary, by congress making its weight felt (though some objective process run by GSA in which regional balance is considered with some finite weight would seem to me to be better than a heavy handed lean by congress)

by AWalkerInTheCity on Feb 18, 2013 1:44 pm • linkreport

Add a Comment

Name: (will be displayed on the comments page)

Email: (must be your real address, but will be kept private)

URL: (optional, will be displayed)

Your comment:

By submitting a comment, you agree to abide by our comment policy.
Notify me of followup comments via email. (You can also subscribe without commenting.)
Save my name and email address on this computer so I don't have to enter it next time, and so I don't have to answer the anti-spam map challenge question in the future.

or