Greater Greater Washington

Breakfast links: The fix is coming


Photo by brownpau on Flickr.
WMATA replacing 4000 series cars: WMATA exercised an option to buy more 7000 series railcars from Kawasaki, which is currently building cars for the Silver Line and to replace the 1000 series. The new order, which will take 6-8 years, will replace the failure-prone 4000 series cars. (Post)

Transit center will get repairs: Foulger-Pratt and its subcontractors will fix the Silver Spring transit center without any more taxpayer money. Repairs will not start until late summer, at best. (Post)

Will Arlington steal the food trucks?: Arlington is easing regulations for food trucks to help more operate there. Coupled with more restrictive proposed DC rules, some operators say they will just move across the river. (Patch)

Police fight crosswalk scofflaws: Fort Lee, NJ tried ticketing drivers who don't yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, but a lot of drivers just got angry. Will this change driver behavior over time, or not? (Atlantic Cities)

DC is the most "post-industrial": The Washington area has the highest ratio of services to goods, coming in at almost 3 times the national average. Other top finishers are New York, Miami, Tampa, and Boston. (Atlantic Cities)

Growth causes angst: A resident emails Michael Neibauer to complain about houses becoming condos or apartments and wants DC to suspend building permits, primarily because it's becoming harder to park. (WBJ)

And...: A cyclist was hit near the MLK memorial. (WashCycle) ... Bowie's railroad museum teaches homeschooled children about trains. (Gazette) ... New, pretty renderings are released of the proposed park for McMillan. (UrbanTurf)

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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. 

Comments

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I'm not shocked by the condo conversion angst.

As we see with the "finger' building on V, they are being done on the cheap by bad developers.

The proposed parking minimums are making a big mistake by exempting buildings under 9 units. This is exactly why existing residents get pissed off. There is certainly a place for condo conversions, but they are coming with cars, and they need to provide for that.

Or have a way to negoiate with the city to provide other options. Even a bikeshare staion could be in their budget.

by charlie on Apr 9, 2013 9:19 am • linkreport

From the Atlantic Cities article:
Some drivers insist they don’t see the officers, which tells you something right there.

lol.

by drumz on Apr 9, 2013 9:20 am • linkreport

There's a parking problem in DC residential neighborhoods? Huh, lived here 20 years and I've never really noticed...

by rg on Apr 9, 2013 9:20 am • linkreport

Oh, so after all the claims from Foulger-Pratt about how the county screwed up and didn't do things right, they are having to eat crow and fix the transit center at their own expense? Good on the county for not backing down.

by MLD on Apr 9, 2013 9:31 am • linkreport

I applaud Montgomery County for standing firm and protecting the taxpayer's interest. Foulger-Pratt accepting to do this work without payment is certainly eating crow. That said, it is unfortunate that these repairs will not begin until late summer at the earliest, and could be quite extensive.

by Murn on Apr 9, 2013 9:36 am • linkreport

I agree with charlie about the V Street condos. This will add three to five new residents to the neighborhood but at the expense of making existing neighbors hostile to growth and turning the ANCs skeptical towards any new infill development.

Additionally, abolishing the parking minimums makes sense for residential units along bus corridors and next to metro stations but there are many condo conversions that are located nowhere near decent transit. These buildings should at least have a minimum level of off-street parking.

by 202_cyclist on Apr 9, 2013 9:37 am • linkreport

The Transit Center repairs will start sooner than summer. The first step, which must be done before the rest of the work, is to completely replace the panels that were built without steel reinforcement. That can be done according to the initial design, so it will start soon. By summer, if all goes well, that initial step will be finished, and the remainder of the fix will be designed and approved and ready for construction.

by Ben Ross on Apr 9, 2013 9:40 am • linkreport

I'm not sure how Arlington is "stealing" the food trucks by having less restrictive regulations. Nobody is forcing the food trucks to come over here; they'd just rather operated in a more business friendly environment.

by Sam on Apr 9, 2013 9:41 am • linkreport

@202_cyclist; I think the current minimum is 1 parking space for 2 units.

So, for up to 9 units that is 4 spaces. Is that so onerous?

I fully agree there are times when a 9-10 units building could get away with less parking. However, a blanket exemption isn't helping.

Building costs for a 9-10 unit building come in at about 1.3M (assume 1000 sq per unit / 150 a foot). Throwing in bikeshare (40-50K) isn't going to kill the developer.

by charlie on Apr 9, 2013 9:45 am • linkreport

I guess replacement of the 4000 series cars 20 years earlier than planned kinda takes away the argument that things like rail cars and street cars are cheaper because they last 40 years (with midlife refresh). Having to outlay a couple hundred million dollars, 20 years earlier than expected creates a big hole in Metro's capital improvement budget.

Oh, and I was always suprised when Metro bought these cars from an Italien manufacturer as heavy manufacturing in Italy is a joke.

Think about it, Italien cars are beautiful to look at, but all of them are maintenance nightmares. Same goes for appliances, HVAC systems etc.

by Metro on Apr 9, 2013 9:45 am • linkreport

Why is GGW not following the story of a man slain by Metro PD last night? Safety, crime, and police accountability are core planning polemics. The Post is trying to slander the still anonymous deceased by associating him with Barry Farm, even though that public housing complex is a half mile from the site of the killing. This is why we need and look to independent journalism to get the story right and ask the tough questions of the city power structure.

by Owen on Apr 9, 2013 9:54 am • linkreport

So, for up to 9 units that is 4 spaces. Is that so onerous?

Geometrically, yes - cars are large and require a certain geometry for access.

I fully agree there are times when a 9-10 units building could get away with less parking. However, a blanket exemption isn't helping.

Sure it is. If you fully agree that there are times when those small buildings don't need parking, then what is your justification for requiring it?

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

Abolishing parking minimums is not the same as prohibiting parking.

If there is some bizarre neighborhood that is far (like more than a half mile) from the nearest metro station but doesn't have off street parking for most of the residences (I'm sure there are detached homes in DC out there without any sort of driveway/alley but a lot do) there then figure something out for that neighborhood. But it's still silly for the city to halt all growth just because there is someone out there somewhere who might be parking where you want to park.

by drumz on Apr 9, 2013 9:56 am • linkreport

New Jersey is way ahead of Maryland in dealing with crosswalk problems than Maryland, even tough NJ's law is more lenient. In NJ, one need only yield to a pedestrian in an unmarked crosswalk; if MD a vehicle must stop for both markes and unmarked crosswalks.

On Long Beach Island, many times when a pedestrian is stranded half way accross the 5-lane road (suicide lane in the middle) I have seen police cars going the other way who turn on their flashing lights and turn their squad cars into a 45-degree angle across both lanes or traffic, to ensure that the drivers stop.

In Maryland, by contrast, a police car will keep driving. If you stop for a pedestrian and a police car is behind you, he will simply pull into the adjacent lane and pass. The police in Maryland do not know the law.

by JimT on Apr 9, 2013 9:58 am • linkreport

There's a parking problem in DC residential neighborhoods? Huh, lived here 20 years and I've never really noticed...

It used to be much worse in the 90s when I lived in Adams Morgan. I've noticed DC parking has gotten much better in the last decade or so (after I moved to east Cap Hill). Clearly whatever policies Fenty/Gray implemented worked.

by oboe on Apr 9, 2013 9:58 am • linkreport

@AlexB; again, it is a regulation. All a question of drawing the line.

You had a good post a while back on exactly how the geomery would fit, but even then you used larger buildings. Again -- 9 units = 4 spaces. assume 40K per space, that might bring the cost up by less than 10%.

It is a minimum. If you want to go around it, and can justify it, you can get less.

The developers that can't figure this out -- much like the "finger" probably shouldn't be building.

And there are places where the new owners are bringing in cars. Particuarly true in condo conversions since they are targeting the condo market and not rentals.

Establish a baseline, then exempt if necessary.

by charlie on Apr 9, 2013 10:02 am • linkreport

Why can't the baseline be zero?

by drumz on Apr 9, 2013 10:04 am • linkreport

All a question of drawing the line.
You had a good post a while back on exactly how the geomery would fit, but even then you used larger buildings. Again -- 9 units = 4 spaces. assume 40K per space, that might bring the cost up by less than 10%.

The geometry problem is worse in small buildings on smaller lots.

Let's say you're building a 10 unit building on a 40 foot wide lot. Let's also say you need 5 parking spaces by code.

Even under the most generous circumstance (easy alley access across the entire 40' lot width), that's only 4 pull-in parking spaces. To get that last space, you need some sort of parking lot circulation to get access to the space, which is a major cost - either a construction cost or the opportunity cost of giving up a unit (for either the space to provide the parking or to reduce the required spaces - or both).

I'm fine with your idea of 'exempt if necesary' so long as the criteria for granting the expemtion are very easy to meet. And in that case, why not just get rid of the requirement in the first place?

And there are places where the new owners are bringing in cars. Particuarly true in condo conversions since they are targeting the condo market and not rentals.

That sounds like a great market incentive for the developers to provide off-street parking to me.

If I'm marketing condos to car-owners, who's going to do a better job selling their units? Developer A, who includes parking, or developer B who does not?

by Alex B. on Apr 9, 2013 10:12 am • linkreport

The McMillan park renderings are impressive but the design is badly misguided. Over-designed, with way too much hardscape for a park in a residential area lacking useful green space, and it looks like it obliterates the turn-of-the-20th-century charm of the old structures. I hope the design will be toned down before it's built.

by jimble on Apr 9, 2013 10:12 am • linkreport

I have often fantasized about a pedestrian sting on either NY Ave or N. Capitol St. during rush hour. Drivers on those routes would run over their own grandmother to get to a light 10 seconds faster.

by Ward 1 Guy on Apr 9, 2013 10:15 am • linkreport

@Metro

The 4k car never got a mid life rehabilitation like their older brothers did (2 and 3k cars). WMATA deferred the rehabilitation of the 4k cars that would have happened shortly after the 3k cars were rehabilitated because of lack of funding.

All of the flack Breda has gotten about the rolling stock they have manufactured happened to car they built after the WMATA procurement.

The 2, 3 and 4k cars built by Breda had fewer teething problems after arriving on the property then any other series of car in the fleet.

Me thinks the primary reason why WMATA is dumping the 4k cars for 7k cars is because they are structurally similar to the 1k cars.

Oh, and by the way, all of the Breda car were final assembled at Amtrak's Beach Grove Indiana repair facility.

by Sand Box John on Apr 9, 2013 10:15 am • linkreport

RE: Transit Center

No surprise here. After Parsons Brinckerhoff came out a couple weeks ago and said in no uncertain terms that they would design the necessary fixes, Foulger-Pratt looked stupid since they looked like the only party not interested in seeing the thing completed. Now they're just trying to save face.

by King Terrapin on Apr 9, 2013 10:19 am • linkreport

I'd rather see developer fees for any new construction or conversions to go into a city transit pot to pay for street cars, ped improvements, and new buses etc. Also hike up the residential permit fees in denser areas. I am very skeptical that many people "need" a car in Dupont or U St.

by Alan B. on Apr 9, 2013 10:29 am • linkreport

@Charlie

Your costs for building a 9-10 unit building are WAAYY off. Even if they're just renovating a building, outside/inside finishes only, you're still going to be far above $150/sq ft. And providing parking for that constrained of a site is not easy and would be definitely higher that 40k/spot because you won't have economony of scale that you'll see in a larger apartment building with underground space.

And with regards to the Silver Spring Transit center, it's not as simple as Folger-Pratt eating crow and eating all the costs. There will still be lawsuits and settlements with regards to who screwed up where but from what I read the county should be safe and it will reside in the design/build team. If the steel shops "lost" the supports then that's entirely on Parsons, and the poorly poured floors will be between the third party inspector and folger. But they need to finish the work so they can sue for those costs, that's why it's moving on.

by jj on Apr 9, 2013 10:34 am • linkreport

@ Alan B; "need?"

1. Again there is a difference in car ownership between rentals and owning. With all the taxes, commisions, etc even in a hot market you're living in a place for 3 years if you buy. Probably longer. So you may not "need" a car now but want to have one for the future.

2. Condo = expensive =dual income. Guess who is buying million dollar condos? So one partner may have a car.

3. "Need" a car is very different than driving one. I'd fully agree that transit helps reduce the driving aspect, but you use a car for more than just going to work.

by charlie on Apr 9, 2013 10:34 am • linkreport

@JJ, I am basing those numbers of my new buiding (late 2000s) on square foot.

And if the costs are higher than 150 a square foot, then the cost of parking is coming down as well as proportion.

I haven't seen any parking spots sell for over 50k, so I doubt the construction costs are much above 40K.

(and there aren't any COSTS to leaving a space in the back. Yes, you can't build on it and sell it. However the concerte costs what --1000?) i"m being pretty generous with the 40K.

by charlie on Apr 9, 2013 10:39 am • linkreport

@Alan B.

Totally agree. Would add in a permit cost of $10k per spot if that is what they decide the right number is. The idea that someone who wants to convert a rowhome to 4 units should be required to add 2 parking spots is ridiculous.

by Kyle-W on Apr 9, 2013 10:42 am • linkreport

"I haven't seen any parking spots sell for over 50k, so I doubt the construction costs are much above 40K."

You assume a relation between cost and equilibrium - thats true when supply is set by the market - when supply is mandated, its quite easy for cost to be well in excess of price.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 9, 2013 10:43 am • linkreport

And if you're looking to buy a condo and want to have a car you'll probably consider the parking situation. And if you're at a point where you can afford a million dollar mortgage you'll probably have options on places that provide parking.

by drumz on Apr 9, 2013 10:43 am • linkreport

@Alex B./drumz:

"If there is some bizarre neighborhood that is far (like more than a half mile) from the nearest metro station but doesn't have off street parking for most of the residences (I'm sure there are detached homes in DC out there without any sort of driveway/alley but a lot do) there then figure something out for that neighborhood."

Glover Park is more than 1 1/2 to 2 miles from the nearest metro station. There have recently been three condo conversions (http://www.northviewcondosdc.com/, http://3925fultonst.com/, http://lock7development.com/3937-davis-place-nw-2/). These have doubled or tripled the density of the previous WWII-era homes. It is nearly impossible to find on-street parking in Glover Park any evening during the week, with Glover Park likely having the scarcest parking in Ward 3.

Admittedly, all of these units have off-street parking but it would have been irresponsible to let the developer build any of these three units without off-street parking. The D1/D2 buses provide fair transit service but for many people in this neighborhood, foregoing a car isn't a realistic option. This isn't Dupont Circle or Columbia Heights.

by 202_cyclist on Apr 9, 2013 10:43 am • linkreport

The obsession over parking is baffling and extremely childish. People need to get over it.

Maybe the problem isn't (god forbid!) new people moving into a neighborhood with all of their cars, but the fact that street parking is provided nearly cost-free to residents. This incentives people to keep cars on the street that 1) they don't need, or 2) because the parking spot they own at their residence is more valuable to use as personal space (patio, storage, trampoline, etc).

It never ceases to amaze me that people cannot grasp the very simple concept of supply and demand, and how to best allocate scarce resources. Here's a hint: it's not by giving something away for free.

I'm willing to bet that for every car a new resident brings into a neighborhood, there is also an existing resident who wastefully uses public on-street parking because it only costs...what? $15 a year? My neighbors are a good example (row house in Columbia Heights). They have the exact same size lot as me. I have a parking pad that can accommodate 2 cars (which I use for my one car). They have a garage that is used for STORAGE. Their 2-3 cars (group rental house) are parked on the street and from what I can tell are used mostly for errand-running on weekends. The garage never gets used to park cars. NEVER.

Maybe we need some kind of grand bargain: keeping some form of parking minimums in return for charging market rates for street parking?

by td on Apr 9, 2013 10:49 am • linkreport

I admittedly was thinking of neighborhoods more like Brightwood or west of Rock Creek so Glover park may prove an exception.

However, if the problem is with how street parking is handled in a neighborhood. You have to manage the street parking. Mandating that new buildings provide parking is at best an indirect fix of the real problem.

by drumz on Apr 9, 2013 10:49 am • linkreport

And again, abolishing the minimum is not the same as prohibition.

by drumz on Apr 9, 2013 10:49 am • linkreport

@Drumz, Alex B., etc:

I encoourage any of you who think that abolishing parking minimums outside of transit zones is an excellent idea to come to Glover Park any weeknight and see if allowing any of these condo conversions with zero off-street parking is an excellent idea.

Living car-free is an excellent idea, especially if you live next to a metro station. Our metro network, however, is not as extensive as it could be and there are many neighborhoods miles away from the nearest station. Yes, people should be biking to work and taking the bus but there are people who work in locations such as Dulles corridor where there is currently no transit or who may work late nights and return when there is no bus service, or who might have young kids. It is simply not realistic in many neighborhoods to completely do away with off-street parking.

by 202_cyclist on Apr 9, 2013 10:56 am • linkreport

I've been commuting via Metro for 6 days now. During those 11 trips (12th will be this afternoon), I've been impacted by 3 trains experiencing technical difficulties and going out of service.

Once, an in-service train pulled into my stop, announced it was out of service, and unloaded everyone. It took 2-3 minutes to move the train out of the station and then another 3-4 minutes for the next train to arrive. The second occasion, I was on the train when it was announced that the train had technical difficulties and was going out of service. Luckily, we were arriving at WFC, so they had the extra track to use and we could board the next train without the first train clearing out. This was probably only a 2 minute delay in my commute.

The third occasion was this morning. The train sat in a tunnel for a couple minutes then pulled into the next station and, again, announced there were technical difficulties. I was on the next train about 4-5 minutes later.

I realize my 11 trips is a very small sample size, so I'm hoping this has just been some bad luck on my part. But, those issues, along with a few other minor things, don't really make me happy that I switched to Metro. I'm sticking with it, though, because I don't want to buy another car right now and the tax payers are nice to enough to subsidize my full commuting cost.

Of course, new trains in 6-8 years don't really do a lot for me right now.

by jh on Apr 9, 2013 11:00 am • linkreport

Yes, if you abolish the minimum, most rational developers will still provide some off-street parking because they should have a good idea who their target democgraphic is and many of these future potential residents will want at least some parking.

There are some unscruplous developers, however (i.e. the V Street pop-up) who will not provide any parking if they are not required to.

by 202_cyclist on Apr 9, 2013 11:00 am • linkreport

Yes, and I agree that RPP permits and on-street parking is generally underpriced.

by 202_cyclist on Apr 9, 2013 11:01 am • linkreport

Well,
A. the proposal in the OP zoning update limits the places that you could build a parking free structure to places within a 1/2 mile or so within a metro station. So anything built in Glover Park will be required to have parking.

B. There are still plenty of places to park off street in Glover park. Lots of garages and alley access. Sure some of those may be filled with storage while the car is parked on the street but that's an issue with how the street parking is managed.

C. People do value off street parking. So we're still likely to see parking built even in the parking free zones.

D. People's careers and other choices may necessitate needing a car. I don't see where its in the city's interest to mandate new parking for everything just to try to hedge for those sorts of contingencies. Especially when the solution is indirect.

E. I thought the problem with the V Street pop up was that it was ugly. This is the first I've heard about the parking there. But considering that house is steps from the metro then I don't know of a better place to try parking free development.

by drumz on Apr 9, 2013 11:13 am • linkreport

@drumz:
"A. the proposal in the OP zoning update limits the places that you could build a parking free structure to places within a 1/2 mile or so within a metro station. So anything built in Glover Park will be required to have parking."

Are you sure about this?

Here is an earlier GGW post:

"In the interests of full accuracy, it's not strictly true that the update "does not modify parking minimums outside of transit zones," since new residential buildings of up to 10 units won't have parking minimums even outside transit zones. However, that doesn't override any of the cogent arguments for the change."

http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/17772/glover-park-anc-supports-zoning-update-support-them/

by 202_cyclist on Apr 9, 2013 11:27 am • linkreport

Maybe the problem isn't (god forbid!) new people moving into a neighborhood with all of their cars, but the fact that street parking is provided nearly cost-free to residents.

Why should residents give up their low-cost parking in order to make way for new residents? That's at the crux to the resistance to additional density as cited in the link.

It used to be much worse in the 90s when I lived in Adams Morgan. I've noticed DC parking has gotten much better in the last decade or so

That's really surprising. My experience has been quite the opposite over the past 15 years. I'd say parking was on a slow rise in increasing in difficulty (as measured by distance from my destination that I need to park) and has increased dramatically in the past three years. Obviously, that's true in high growth neighborhoods like Columbia Heights, U ST, H ST, and Mt. Vernon but it's even true in well established hoods like G'town and Adams Morgan and to a lesser extent, Dupont.

by Falls Church on Apr 9, 2013 11:30 am • linkreport

Why should residents give up their low-cost parking in order to make way for new residents?

Provocative thought. It suggests that if the parking minimums are abolished, the difficulty of getting a project through the various permits and hearings will amp up, as the neighbors band together to oppose it. So in reality, while the abolition is sold as a way to decrease the cost of housing, due to the additional opposition each project may attract it may actually increase housing costs.

by goldfish on Apr 9, 2013 11:34 am • linkreport

"Why should residents give up their low-cost parking in order to make way for new residents? That's at the crux to the resistance to additional density as cited in the link."

IE its become a property right, and why would anyone give up a property right uncompensated? Unless forced to?

A. You can decide that this property right (RPPs below market value) is a problem for the district as a whole, and thus eliminate it. Tough noogies.

B. If thats not politically feasible, or the powers that be can't see it as just, then just buy out the property right. Everyone who is currently entitled to an RPP in a neighborhood why they cost less than they are worth, gets a one time check for some considerable amount of money. Theres probably some amount that would cause opposition to melt away, while still making this a worthwhile thing for the District.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 9, 2013 11:38 am • linkreport

Why should residents give up their low-cost parking in order to make way for new residents?

Because that parking takes place in public space - they never had a 'right' to it in the first place.

Don't get me wrong, I know that's not a winning sales pitch. But it is the truth. There are lots of positives for the city in allowing new development. There's no reason the city shouldn't also alter the use of public space to accomodate this development.

Existing residents may currently benefit from low-cost parking in pulic space, but that does not mean they are entitled to it in perpetuity.

by Alex B. on Apr 9, 2013 11:41 am • linkreport

Why should residents give up their low-cost parking in order to make way for new residents? That's at the crux to the resistance to additional density as cited in the link.

They don't have to give up the low cost part. But if they want to ensure a spot closer to their front door then raising the price may be one solution.

202_Cyclist,

Ok, you got me on buildings less than 10 units. Unless there are plans afoot to replace a huge number of houses in Glover Park with 10 unit buildings (assuming the zoning even allows for that) and all those people bring at least 1 car per unit then the impacts to parking in Glover Park are going to be negligible.

by drumz on Apr 9, 2013 11:41 am • linkreport

Oboe wrote: "It used to be much worse in the 90s when I lived in Adams Morgan. I've noticed DC parking has gotten much better in the last decade or so."

While that hasn't exactly been my experience, it's possible that there are neighborhoods where 20 years ago the real estate market supported a number of group houses in which several adults lived (and parked cars on the street). As the market changed, houses were sold and converted back to single family use, so it's possible that the number of parked vehicles in those areas has declined. There's also been a proliferation of DC streets with RPP zone restrictions in the past two decades, which may have reduced the number of cars routinely parking on certain streets.

by Alf on Apr 9, 2013 11:47 am • linkreport

@drumz:

Reread my post above. There have been three conversions of post-WWII buildings into new condos within the past six months. This has doubled or tripled the density on these parcels. This isn't bad but you can't expect affluent (some of these units are selling for $800K - $900K) residents living in buildings two miles from a metro station not to have a car. It is irresponsible to pretend otherwise.

"Glover Park is more than 1 1/2 to 2 miles from the nearest metro station. There have recently been three condo conversions (http://www.northviewcondosdc.com/, http://3925fultonst.com/, http://lock7development.com/3937-davis-place-nw-2/). These have doubled or tripled the density of the previous WWII-era homes. It is nearly impossible to find on-street parking in Glover Park any evening during the week, with Glover Park likely having the scarcest parking in Ward 3."

by 202_cyclist on Apr 9, 2013 11:48 am • linkreport

"Because that parking takes place in public space - they never had a 'right' to it in the first place.

Don't get me wrong, I know that's not a winning sales pitch."

In the middle ages the kings of england had something called the writ of "quo warrento" Where a noble claimed (as a property right) the right of administering local justice, they asked for proof that the noble had been granted that as a property right. Of course the kings had to have political, and ultimately, military, dominance to do that. The tendency of usage to become a property right, and of such property to be defended, is strong.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 9, 2013 11:48 am • linkreport

@drumz:

There are nights in Glover Park where there probably aren't ten extra on-street parking spaces in the entire neighborhood.

Additionally, in the past 2-3 years, DDOT and WMATA have cut transit service to our neighborhood (N8 bus, RIP).

by 202_cyclist on Apr 9, 2013 11:49 am • linkreport

I'd hope that someone able to spend 800K+ on a condo is also able to see their needs re: transportation and whether if they must have a place that provides parking.

by drumz on Apr 9, 2013 11:52 am • linkreport

Re: accelerated 4k replacement.

@Metro, first of all while it may be true that Italy is not known for its heavy industry, that's actually completely irrelevant. In the case of WMATA's 4k cars, Breda built only the carbody and performed final assembly. All th vehicle subsystems such as HVAC, brakes, etc come from well established industry stalwarts. For example, the propulsion system was supplied by AEG Westinghouse. Secondly, Breda is not some one-off manufacturer. Their rail cars and buses are in widespread use all over the world. Finally, the 2k and 3k series were built by Breda as well.

Here's my take on it. The 4k cars get a bad rep because of poor maintenance. They are a solid well designed car. They are unique in WMATAs fleet in that they are the only series to use a DC chopper motor drive. Maintaining this equipment demands a high skill level and thorough understanding of the system. This is a stark contrast to all other car series (including the rehabbed Rohrs) where a technician plugs in a laptop and throws replacement parts at it. WMATA has failed to hire and retain talented maintenance staff so now I guess the "problem cars" get the boot rather than fixing the real issues.

by dcmike on Apr 9, 2013 11:53 am • linkreport

Meanwhile parking is being built in GP already. And if someone realizes that they can't sell at the price point they want without parking they'll provide it.

Meanwhile if parking on the street is hard then fix that problem directly.

by drumz on Apr 9, 2013 11:55 am • linkreport

With RPP, I'd agree that it priced it at market rates you'd solve the parking problem in a month.

market rate being around 150 a month, or 1800 a year.

Good luck getting that passed.

by charlie on Apr 9, 2013 11:56 am • linkreport

@drumz:
"Meanwhile if parking on the street is hard then fix that problem directly."

Yes, you fix it by raising the price of RPP and perhaps charging a 2-part fee structure so larger vehicles that use more curbside space are charged more than small cars but nobody seems to want to do that.

Additionally, you can do it by investing in more transit and improving the quality of transit. This is an extended commitment and please see my other post above about reduction of bus service to Glover Park. DDOT and WMATA also tried to reduce frequencies on the D1/D2 in 2011.

by 202_cyclist on Apr 9, 2013 12:00 pm • linkreport

The reason for the replacement of the 4000 series is simple. Metro did the math, and it will cost them more to upgrade and maintain the 4000-series cars than it will to just replace them.

It's a fairly small batch of cars, and Metro doesn't want to need to keep spare parts and extra staff on hand to maintain the oddballs in their fleet. Additionally, they're going to require a ton of upgrades to be brought up to acceptable modern standards. Add those costs together, and it's cheaper to just buy replacements.

In particular, the 4000-series cars were built without crash energy management (ie. crumple zones for trains). Metro would be irresponsible to refurbish the cars without adding this safety feature. However, the process would be fairly invasive, and likely tip the scales toward replacement rather than refurbishment.

How important is CEM to safety? Take a look at this crash test that the FRA did in 2006. A lot of lives would have been saved in the Fort Totten collision if the 1000-series train had been equipped with CEM.

The trains will be 26 years old when they're retired. Admittedly, that's not a very long lifespan for a railcar, but it's not terrible, especially considering that they'll have lasted for 26 years without a major overhaul.

by andrew on Apr 9, 2013 12:00 pm • linkreport

Drumz wrote "the proposal in the OP zoning update limits the places that you could build a parking free structure to places within a 1/2 mile or so within a metro station. So anything built in Glover Park will be required to have parking."

This is not exactly correct. The OP proposal to eliminate off-street parking requirements also applies to any so-called enhanced transit corridor. OP considers Wisconsin Avenue to be such an "enhanced" corridor, despite the notoriously slow and erratic 30s bus lines. This means that much, if not most, of Glover Park, would be covered by the elimination of the parking minimums. The flaw in OP's reasoning is demonstrated by the GP ANC's recent vote to oppose changes in the current ward-based RPP system, specifically to oppose proposals to make RPP zones smaller or individually tailored to neighborhoods. The ANC found that Glover Park's bus service is sub-par public transit and concluded that GP denizens need the "right" to drive their cars to Woodley or Cleveland Park (also in Ward 3) and park all day for free on streets near Metro stations.

by Alf on Apr 9, 2013 12:13 pm • linkreport

Because that parking takes place in public space - they never had a 'right' to it in the first place.

True, but they have a right to ask their elected leaders not to approve new permits and their leaders are likely to give their opinion weight if there are significant numbers of people.

Meanwhile if parking on the street is hard then fix that problem directly.

The complaint from the resident cited in the article was not that parking was too hard historically. Rather, that new development has made parking harder, so they want to stop permits for additional density. My guess is that they don't want to pay may more money to park either.

To me, the most practical solution is to create two classes of properties. Those that convey RPP rights to their residents and new developments which don't. That system seems to work fine for Arlington. While there already exist many classes of property within DC that convey various rights to their owners, there seems to be resistance to creating this new class of property for some reason.

by Falls Church on Apr 9, 2013 12:15 pm • linkreport

I used to live in Glover Park, but parking was a beast 10 years ago. Maybe it's gotten worse, but in my experience it's always been bad. Also, I think you guys should band together and try to get the Georgetown streetcar route routed up Wisconsin. Anywhere there probably is a poing where density and transit access do need to be taken into account both in terms of RPP cost and parking minimums. I don't have much sympathy for people that only seem to care about parking though, it has to be part of a greater transportation plan.

by Alan B. on Apr 9, 2013 12:17 pm • linkreport

Final report on Benning Rd extension of the Streetcar is out:

http://www.dcstreetcar.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Benning-Rd-Streetcar-Extension-Executive-Summary-April-2013-Final.pdf

Still reading it, but routing it on Benning Rd has a far higher project ridership than going up to Minn Ave metro (3500 extra daily vs 550 extra daily riders by 2040).

Not sure how they are coming up with these super conservative estimates, but whatever.

by H St LL on Apr 9, 2013 12:20 pm • linkreport

@dcmike

Hasn't the entire industry moved to AC propulsion? AFAIK, AC motors are mechanically simpler, more reliable, and more efficient. Any overhaul of the 4000-series would almost certainly switch the motors out for a modern AC drive.

The problem seems to be that the number of important new technologies that have evolved since the original construction of the 4000-series cars was great enough that WMATA were basically going to end up stripping the cars bare to refurbish them.

It's very silly for WMATA to need to keep specialized staff on hand to maintain a tiny percentage of their fleet.

by andrew on Apr 9, 2013 12:20 pm • linkreport

@Jim -- Very interesting experience you've had on Long Beach Island. However, if you're trying to extrapolate what a few NJ police do on a resort beach island to what they do statewide, you're in for a rude surprise.

by Fischy (Ed F.) on Apr 9, 2013 1:04 pm • linkreport

How about: keep parking minimums everywhere, but abolish street parking and use the extra street space to create dedicated bus lanes and bicycle lanes. Everybody wins!

by Chris S. on Apr 9, 2013 1:28 pm • linkreport

@andrew

You make some great points with regard to CEM and moving to AC propulsion, I do not disagree. I would however like to see WMATA's numbers they used for their math in comparing overhaul vs replacement.

"It's very silly for WMATA to need to keep specialized staff on hand to maintain a tiny percentage of their fleet."

Of course it is, but that's not what I'm advocating. As I said before, they have failed to hire and retain talented people. To be very specific, as of last June, WMATA completely abandoned the practice of using written and practical exams when hiring car maintenance repair personnel. The threshold for a job offer has dropped to nothing but a brief interview. Literally hundreds of people have been hired since under the "momentum" program. If you think it's bad now.. just wait.

To call the 4000 series cars "failure prone" is disingenuous at best. The failure is a lack of skilled people working on them.

by dcmike on Apr 9, 2013 2:29 pm • linkreport

I would say that it is fair to call a product that requires much more careful maintenance and handling than your other products "failure prone."

"They're not 'failure prone,' you just have to spend more time and energy fixing them!"

by MLD on Apr 9, 2013 2:33 pm • linkreport

There's really only about a dozen or so major streets (that I'm familiar with) that need bus lanes. No need to get rid of 80% of on street parking, in fact sometimes it makes more sense than like a third travel lane. The fact that there is so much on street parking on Wisconsin, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Florida, K st, I st, H St, U st, 16th, 14th etc is stupid and counter productive. They should probably reserve some metered locations near major corridors as well when they put in RRP zones.

by Alan B. on Apr 9, 2013 2:38 pm • linkreport

@Alan B.

The street parking on the streets you listed is ridiculous.

Allow about 10 people to park on the street per block in their solo vehicles, and take up a lane that could be streetcar or bus only. Genius!

by Nick on Apr 9, 2013 2:52 pm • linkreport

Central Union project about to start. Nice tasteful Dupont/Logan retrofit/reuse with appropriate new build on ZipCar lot and moderate roof additions:

http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/central_union_mission_to_break_ground_on_condo_project_in_8_weeks/6904?utm_source=newsletter&utm_campaign=Tuesday+April+9th%2C+2013&utm_medium=headline

by Tom Coumaris on Apr 9, 2013 4:22 pm • linkreport

"Police fight crosswalk scofflaws"
----
Wow.

People are being beaten up for blocking crosswalks - or for crossing outside of them?

Pretty draconian.

by ceefer66 on Apr 10, 2013 9:12 am • linkreport

RE: Landmark Mall

Here's how Hughes' spokesman was quoted in the Patch:

“We really can’t achieve this plan without the cooperation of Sears and Macy’s, who, by the way, want to cooperate, and they are working with us,” he said.
http://westendalexandria.patch.com/articles/landmark-mall-redevelopment-residents-hopeful

by Kevin Beekman on Apr 10, 2013 10:58 am • linkreport

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