Greater Greater Washington

Parking


Heritage will charge closer to market rate for parking

The Heritage Foundation wants to build a large parking structure beneath new row houses on residentially-zoned land adjacent to their office building near Union Station. At their Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) hearing on April 9th and the ANC 6C meeting on April 10th, Heritage agreed to several changes which will improve this project.


Site plan image from the application.

The parking garage is now slightly smaller, including 3 levels below grade instead of 4. This will decrease the number of spaces to 90 from 105 and reduce the amount of required excavation and construction time.

Heritage will also charge more for the parking. They previously planned to charge $90 per month, the same as the current charge in their parking lot. Instead, the fee will reflect, if not the market rate, at least the cost of building this underground parking structure. This policy change essentially removes a subsidy flowing to employees who drive from non-driving employees and donors.

Close neighbors worried about potential hazards from the garage exhaust shaft. The Heritage Foundation agreed to move the shaft farther from neighboring homes and raised its height above the alley from 8 to 22 feet. In addition, it will replace an existing cooling tower with a more efficient and quieter model.

An air quality study commissioned by the Heritage Foundation at the request of ANC 6C confirms that there will not be unhealthy levels of CO, NO2 and particulate matter at neighboring properties as a result of this project.

A new Capital Bikeshare station, which Heritage will pay for at a cost of $70,000, will also help encourage employees and visitors to use other forms of transportation. It will also create a neighborhood amenity and improve access for other local businesses along Massachusetts Avenue, NE. This was included at the request of DDOT, before their BZA hearing, but was not in the original filing.

The new rowhouses are a positive improvement to this neighborhood, and recent changes will help mitigate some of the negative impacts of the parking structure.

The ANC voted to support the project, and the BZA will rule on the required variances and special exceptions in the near future. Now that the ANC and many neighbors are in support of this project, it is likely that the BZA will follow suit and approve zoning relief as well.

Tony Goodman is an ANC Commissioner for 6C06 in Near Northeast/NoMA and member of the DC Pedestrian Advisory Council. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, he is a Construction Project Manager with a Masters degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Michigan and has lived in Washington, DC since 2002. 

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Has HF hinted at any particular fee other than "closer to market rate"? Most of the garage and lot parking in the vicinity of the HF charges around $250/month for unreserved spaces, but I am guessing it will be lower for employees or visitors to the HF.

by Scoot on Apr 11, 2013 12:33 pm • linkreport

good for them, good for the neighborhood. If they weren't the heritage foundation would you have any problem with this plan? Probably not. I don't agree with the HF but that doesnt mean I'm not going to let them have a parking structure.

by Richard Bourne on Apr 11, 2013 12:39 pm • linkreport

Scott: Heritage did not give a specific number, but it will likely be lower than the market rate. The current rate of $90 covers operatings costs on the existing surface lot. They have now told employees that the new rate will be higher so that Heritage won't lose money, and will thus not be providing a subsidy (if not a profit).

by Tony Goodman on Apr 11, 2013 12:49 pm • linkreport

What was the decision behind increasing the monthly rate and who/what ends up being most affected by the initial amount?

by HogWash on Apr 11, 2013 12:49 pm • linkreport

yay, because the one set of people I was really worried about in today's world are donors to the Heritage foundation. Thank goodness someone's looking out for their financial interests.

by Kolohe on Apr 11, 2013 12:50 pm • linkreport

My concerns about the project have nothing to do with the work of the foundation. It has to do with a project that encourages more drivers to commute in by car to downtown when the city's adopted policy is to do exactly the opposite. The fact that it is so close to a major transit center only makes it more questionable. That said, structured parking is far superior to a surface lot. Still the idea that the city has to accomodate people that choose (yes - CHOOSE) to live 50 miles away and therefore "have" to drive to work is something I will continue to argue against. If they don't like that then they can move their businesses out to Leesburg or something.

by Alan B. on Apr 11, 2013 1:31 pm • linkreport

Thanks for the update. The bikeshare station will be a nice amenity. I must admit, this is about the only thing Heritage Foundation has ever done that I approve of.

by H St LL on Apr 11, 2013 1:46 pm • linkreport

How is the city being required to "accomodate" anyone here? Heritage is building parking at its own cost to meet the needs of its employees and visitors. If this wasn't a good idea for their operations, they wouldn't be doing it.

Other than a philosophical objection to commuting by car, I can't see any real reason to object to this project. Heritage seems to be responding to neighborhood concerns about some aspects of the project. You may not like that some people drive long distances to work, but that's going to continue to be a part of life in DC and some businesses are going to take measures to keep such employees happy.

by Potowmack on Apr 11, 2013 1:47 pm • linkreport

This looks great. Seems like there was some progress here, and the market rate parking is the biggest thing. Keep in mind that the city does charge people 18% tax on parking, so

Its not ideal, but ultimately, it is their land, and they are putting it to (relatively) productive use, in a way that will increase the population/density/tax collections of the city. Ideal, no, but something we can live with, sure.

by Kyle-W on Apr 11, 2013 1:48 pm • linkreport

@Potowmack:

How is the city being required to "accomodate" anyone here? Heritage is building parking at its own cost to meet the needs of its employees and visitors.

If they were also using their own subterranean tunnels to get from out of state to the Heritage building, then the District would be making no "accomodation". As it is, they're using District infrastructure.

by oboe on Apr 11, 2013 2:06 pm • linkreport

oboe - if this were in a zone where they could build the garage by right, would you say the district was accommodating them by allowing people who use their garage to drive on the roads?

Fact is, this not by right because this is in a zone where a garage needs a variance. So the District is accommodating them. but the reason such a zone exists, is NOT as a back door parking maximum, but to limit local impacts of the garage. They seem to have redesigned it to limit those impacts, and to have tossed in the 70k bikeshare bribe for good measure (to make this win win). Opposing this variance just cause you want fewer cars, seems on the same order as folks using historic pres to block a development just cause they dont like more apts.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 11, 2013 2:13 pm • linkreport

That's a pretty odd argument. Someone driving over the streets of the District to park in the Heritage Foundation garage is not asking for any special privilege that is not otherwise available to every other user of such infrastructure.

If you want to argue that we should impose some sort of limits on people driving into and through the District, that's fine. But the Heritage Foundation is not asking for any special treatment here, other than some relatively minor variances.

by Potowmack on Apr 11, 2013 2:15 pm • linkreport

Agreed that this isn't ideal, but almost certainly the best possible outcome. I'm pleasantly surprised by how well Heritage responded to the concerns of the local community.

by andrew on Apr 11, 2013 2:26 pm • linkreport

Andrew- The HF has been in this location since the 1980's. They're an established member of the neighborhood, so I don't think it's surprising that they're in tune with the needs of the area.

by Potowmack on Apr 11, 2013 2:34 pm • linkreport

Heritage Foundation is a foundation(see it's in the name) not a business. I doubt they are contributing much to the city's tax coffers and drivers consume city resources. So yeah they are probably adding a burden with increased traffic that they aren't paying for.

by Alan B. on Apr 11, 2013 2:49 pm • linkreport

@Alan B: as DC is, uh, filled to the brim with untaxed governmental and other non-profit organizations, your argument is not convincing.

by goldfish on Apr 11, 2013 2:54 pm • linkreport

@Alan B: Looking at its website, Heritage employs about 300 people. Like most similar organizations, those employees are probably a mix of DC residents and commuters. So, there's no real reason to think that Heritage's employees create some sort of unusual impact on the District's resources.

by Potowmack on Apr 11, 2013 2:59 pm • linkreport

That said, structured parking is far superior to a surface lot. Still the idea that the city has to accomodate people that choose (yes - CHOOSE) to live 50 miles away and therefore "have" to drive to work is something I will continue to argue against.

Sounds rather odd but where did the notion that they're building to accomodate people who might live 50 miles away? Please get out of your small bubble and realize that there are hoards of people who CHOOSE to live IN dc and DRIVE to as many places as the possibly can. Why is this fact lost on so many of you?

As it is, they're using District infrastructure.

Well sure. And you want to prevent them from using it for what reason again? Because Heritage "shouldn't" build an underground garage and charge market rent?

Seriously, the ideological/partisan positioning here often gets exhausting and totally interrupts what most would consider a rational thought process.

by HogWash on Apr 11, 2013 3:04 pm • linkreport

They are asking for a special exemption, that's what a variance is by definition. They are literally increasing the supply of parking in the area to accomodate more drivers - there is no other reason to do so. All you are arguing is that they should be allowed to do whatever they want, but you haven't provided any evidence why this is better for the city to do so.

by Alan B. on Apr 11, 2013 3:10 pm • linkreport

if this were in a zone where they could build the garage by right, would you say the district was accommodating them by allowing people who use their garage to drive on the roads?

Certainly. What would you call it? If NPS decided to build a huge underground tour bus parking facility under East Potomac Park, would the roads in and around Haines Point have to accomodate the increased tour bus parking? If not, what would you call it?

Look, I'm not saying Heritage should be prevented from building parking here. But building a large amount of auto parking that doesn't currently exist will induce more auto traffic. That traffic will have to be "accomodated" by any meaningful definition of the word.

by oboe on Apr 11, 2013 3:12 pm • linkreport

Seriously, the ideological/partisan positioning here often gets exhausting

...as does your continuing insistence that everyone here holds the same views.

by thump on Apr 11, 2013 3:18 pm • linkreport

...as does your continuing insistence that everyone here holds the same views.

And it stands to reason that if you aren't prone to the ideological/partisan positioning I mentioned above, it doesn't apply to you correct? If you know the shoe doesn't fit...don't wear it and then complain that's its too small.

by HogWash on Apr 11, 2013 3:23 pm • linkreport

I don't see why the city needs to accomodate lazy drivers even if they are district residents. It's one thing for people who don't have other reasonable options, but this location to me is completely innappropriate for added parking. If you are disabled it's one thing -- but breaking out in sweat if you have to walk a few blocks doesn't cut it. Again if you are bringing in tax dollars through business or new residents you are providing a net benefit to the city. Why should I care if Heritage Foundation people want to make it easier for their wealthy donors to drive in?

Again I'm not against this project, in the end it's relatively minor in the grand scheme. It just strikes me as silly that all the arguments are that they should be able to do it because they want to. It's actually perfectly valid for the city and ANC to weigh the pros and cons of whether or not they think this is positive development.

by Alan B. on Apr 11, 2013 3:23 pm • linkreport

I think it was mentioned in the previous article about this, but part of the benefit to the District in general and this neighborhood specifically is that this garage will reduce the pressure on street parking around the Heritage headquarters. By building this garage, a private entity is using its own money to lessen the demand for public infrastructure. Isn't that a positive model for dealing with parking in the District?

The only opposition to this is purely philosophical. That is, you don't like anything that makes automobile-based commuting more viable. However, the reality is that a significant percentage of people working and living in DC will continue to use cars for various purposes for the foreseeable future. In light of this reality, market-based solution to parking (such as this new garage) seem like a productive response to the problem.

by Potowmack on Apr 11, 2013 3:25 pm • linkreport

"Look, I'm not saying Heritage should be prevented from building parking here. But building a large amount of auto parking that doesn't currently exist will induce more auto traffic. That traffic will have to be "accomodated" by any meaningful definition of the word."

I think we are quibbling over words now. Since the context of this is a debate over a variance, it seemed like you meant that giving them said variance was a special accommodation of some kind. But I was clearly wrong in reading you that way. I am of course interested in the debates on commuter taxes, congestion charges, and parking taxes. But none of those implicate HF in particular, more than anyone else. They ARE being accommodated in that they want to be allowed to build a garage in a RESIDENTIAL zone. For which I agree, they need to give something back. Seems to me the 70k for the Cabi station is fair, esp given that they have tried to reduce the impact on their immediate neighbors.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 11, 2013 3:37 pm • linkreport

"It just strikes me as silly that all the arguments are that they should be able to do it because they want to."

I forget, is anyone arguing that? Didnt their initial proposale come with concessions. Notably the 70k for CaBi? Thats over $70 per space upfront - aside from parking taxes. And property taxes on the garage. Are we sure that doesnt pay for any incremental externalities?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 11, 2013 3:41 pm • linkreport

pardon - brain freeze

70,000 divided by 100 = 700.

So over $700 per space upfront.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 11, 2013 3:42 pm • linkreport

I don't see why the city needs to accomodate lazy drivers even if they are district residents. It's one thing for people who don't have other reasonable options, but this location to me is completely innappropriate for added parking.

Why do they have to be lazy though? I could if you were making the case that people are lazy because they choose escalators over stairs. But this is quite different. You don't have to be lazy in order to prefer cars over mass transit. That's the rub. The belief that anyone who doesn't "choose" transit is somehow other worldly. I agree w/Potowmack in that this is purely philosophical, especially since we're talking about an underground garage.

by HogWash on Apr 11, 2013 3:43 pm • linkreport

Was there no chance of including ground floor retail along Mass Ave in this proposal?

by Hillman on Apr 11, 2013 4:13 pm • linkreport

Its not just philosophical. When someone chooses to drive instead of using one of the alternative transportation methods the effect on me is material. I am effected by more noise, more air pollution, more water pollution and less safe streets.

by Tina on Apr 11, 2013 4:24 pm • linkreport

"Heritage Foundation is a foundation(see it's in the name) not a business. I doubt they are contributing much to the city's tax coffers and drivers consume city resources. So yeah they are probably adding a burden with increased traffic that they aren't paying for."

City tax records show they pay about $250,000 a year in real estate taxes for two parcels on Mass Ave NE.

Not sure how much they pay for the parcel(s) fronting on 3rd St, but it would appear that those would be taxable as well.

And of course there's taxes on all the goods and services they consume. Which to run an entity of this size - that adds up pretty quickly.

And taxes on salaries of any of their personnel that live in DC.

And every time one of their hundreds employees has lunch on Mass Ave there's a ten percent tax there.

And as others have pointed out there is an 18% tax on every single parking space they rent out.

by Hillman on Apr 11, 2013 4:27 pm • linkreport

Tina

yeah.

So we should address the externalities generally. Gas tax, VMT tax, carbon tax. For city specific problems, maybe a congestion charge or parking tax (or higher parking tax). Gotcha. But not EVERY issue has to be about optimal society wide modal choice (just as not every issue has to be about the impact on the poor). I get them some people are being put off by wording someone used about "needing" to drive.

But lets get back to urbanism basics. We are for transportatin CHOICES - which means some will choose to drive whether they "need" to or not. Just as many (or even most) will prefer to live in an autocentric layout (just less than do now, and more will choose a WUP lifestyle than we really accommodate now). In that context what do I see. A business paying to build its own parking, not mandated to do so, and even offering a giveback to an alt mode in order to do so.

What would DC be like if every new 100 car garage came with a new bikeshare station paid by the developer?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 11, 2013 4:30 pm • linkreport

"Again if you are bringing in tax dollars through business or new residents you are providing a net benefit to the city."

A large part of their buildout a couple years back was residential.

So there's your new residents.

And they didn't add any parking at that time.

by Hillman on Apr 11, 2013 4:45 pm • linkreport

"As it is, they're using District infrastructure."

And they are paying hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in DC taxes.

And providing hundreds of jobs.

And supporting quite a few local businesses.

by Hillman on Apr 11, 2013 4:47 pm • linkreport

@AWITC -i was responding to @Potowmack who wrote,"The only opposition to this is purely philosophical.

Thats BS. Its not a philosophy against motor cars. I love motor cars. They're awesome. They're like a magic carpet. However the experience with motor cars doesn't end there. If it did, that would be a philosophical opposition. The opposition is, as you point out, to the negative effects of motor cars. Thats what I'm responding to; the assertion that the effort to ALLOW more modal choices is something against the motor car as an abstract entity, a philosophy. Its material, not philosophical. In any case this city (and most places in the US) has accommodated the use of motor cars with disproportionate emphasis to the point that the negative effects place a humongous measurable burden (measurable indicates material, not philosophy) and in addition, many places in this region its IMPOSSIBLE to get to some places -even places <10miles away with vast transportation infrastructure (roads) without a car. That effect is also material, not abstractly philosophical.

by Tina on Apr 11, 2013 4:49 pm • linkreport

In any case this city (and most places in the US) has accommodated the use of motor cars with disproportionate emphasis to the point that the negative effects place a humongous measurable burden (measurable indicates material, not philosophy) and in addition, many places in this region its IMPOSSIBLE to get to some places -even places <10miles away with vast transportation infrastructure (roads) without a car.

In this case, you're essentially arguing against parking garages. And that is a philosophical..not material position. If we already knew the "negative" effects and actual usage at the garage, it would be different. Using your logic, we should ban the construction of all new parking garages since the negative effects of having automobiles on the road outweigh any concessions owners might have.

+1000000 for AWITC whose position is definitely on point!

by HogWash on Apr 11, 2013 5:08 pm • linkreport

@Hogwash -i am not arguing against this parking garage. In fact I really don't have strong feelings about the HF project. i see it as an interesting case in the greater scheme of the changing zoning code which seeks to balance opportunities for transportation choices within the infrastructure; where there has been an imbalance prioritizing motor cars above all else. Personally I can see how this HF project may be an ok compromise.

My response is to the assertion that anyone who sees the special variance allowing addition of parking in close proximity of a metro stop as a negative outcome b/c it may spur more people to drive to the neighborhood is motivated purely by philosophy. No. The opposition to more driving is opposition to the negative material outcome of more driving.

This project may or may not have that effect. IDK. They already had some parking and other people were parking on the street, so maybe there won't be any induced demand but I'm open to any evidence that shows it will induce demand, and I'm sympathetic to the argument against the project for that reason -because of the material impact of more driving, not b/c of philosophical opposition to the idea of motor cars abstracted from the real world negative impact.

by Tina on Apr 11, 2013 5:11 pm • linkreport

I think we dont all use "philosophical" in the same way. Tina is using it to imply it means her concerns are not about tangible effects. Im reading Pot to mean a general concern about the mode, rather than a concern about this particular project.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 11, 2013 5:13 pm • linkreport

Tina is right about the auto industry being heavily subsidized in years past.

Just like mass transit is now.

I guess my problem is that opposition here is twofold.

First, some of the opposition is because it's the Heritage Foundation.

Second, it's because it's cars.

Though actually it isn't. The proposal created AS MANY bike spaces as it did car spaces. The proposal included CABI spaces AND spaces in the parking garage itself.

But beyond that the rest of the infrastructure for the cars is already in place. Adding an additional 50 spaces to this neighborhood isn't going to exactly overwhelm the neighborhood infrastructure.

The argument in DC now seems to be that we must encourage ONLY mass transit and cycling and walking. That under no circumstances can any vehicular transit ever be tolerated, and that to prove our point about the awesomeness of everything but cars we must artificially choke off the viability of cars.

by Hillman on Apr 11, 2013 5:18 pm • linkreport

Tina I think we might be reading/understanding "philosophical" in different ways.

by HogWash on Apr 11, 2013 5:19 pm • linkreport

Oops, what AWITC said.

First, some of the opposition is because it's the Heritage Foundation. Second, it's because it's cars.

Yes and YES some more! Ideological/partisan/philosphical

That under no circumstances can any vehicular transit ever be tolerated, and that to prove our point about the awesomeness of everything but cars we must artificially choke off the viability of cars.

Have mercy! *doing the prayer dance*

by HogWash on Apr 11, 2013 5:23 pm • linkreport

"The argument in DC now seems to be that we must encourage ONLY mass transit and cycling and walking. That under no circumstances can any vehicular transit ever be tolerated,"

even if DC banned all new parking spaces, that would still tolerate auto traffic because there are legacy parking spaces. And a parking maximum in certain districts need not mean no new parking spaces.

But I really think that the concerns to be addressed wrt to parking maximums, or alternatives like congestion charges, are a distraction from the issues at hand here. And politically unrealistic in environment where its a fight to abolish parking minimums in transit zones.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 11, 2013 5:28 pm • linkreport

@Hilman -Tina is right about the auto industry being heavily subsidized in years past.

Are you including roads, sewer lines, power lines in in the definition of "auto industry"? Its not just the manufacture of cars, its the infrastructure that prioritized cars at the expense of other choices. I repeat - in many places it is very difficult to get from place to place without driving even for short trips even in places that are heavily developed and have massive transportation infrastructure.

In any case, Ford never took bail out money and the other car manufacturers have paid it back.

by Tina on Apr 11, 2013 5:31 pm • linkreport

Other than a philosophical objection to commuting by car, I can't see any real reason to object to this project.

The implication here is that there's no rational reason to oppose any part of this project; the only reason is an emotional "don't like cars." That is wrong. Assuming that all modes are the same is just false equivalence.

The proposal created AS MANY bike spaces as it did car spaces.

So? This implies that one bike space mitigates one car space.

Look, I know that company built seven dirty smog-producing factories, but they also planted seven trees! Problem solved!

Honestly if they want to justify how many parking spaces they need to build why don't they just produce the numbers that say "X number of our employees are already taking up metered parking/other spaces and we want to absorb that."

by MLD on Apr 11, 2013 5:33 pm • linkreport

Tina:

I'd include a ton of things in the subsidy that cars have gotten.

Everything from the huge interstate highway system to the way we designed suburbs.

To the massive cost of nearly everything we've done in the Middle East over the past 50 years.

And environmental costs.

The only slippery slope in this argument is the idea that people really really wanted suburban living.

And I can see why. There's a quality of life value in the suburbs that was probably only obtainable by using cars.

We definitely got something tangible for all that subsidization.

Though you could argue that with better planning that wouldn't have necessarily been true nearly to the extent that it is now.

by Hillman on Apr 11, 2013 5:46 pm • linkreport

My other point is that what we are now demanding of our urban infrastructure is stupid in many ways.

First, claiming we have a viable public transit policy and tolerating the hell that is the DC taxi industry for 40 years should be Exhibit 1 in the follies of DC policymaking.

You can't have a viable public transit system without decent cabs.

And we refuse to require that we have decent cabs.

And you have to have a safe city. You can't insist that people face the dangerous conditions that many in DC face if they must rely only on public transit.

That ten block walk to the bus line or Metro stop may be technically doable.

But after having been mugged a couple times on that route I don't think we should continue demanding that that be the only viable option available to people.

In short, we are demanding public transit and walking and cycling as the only options, but we refuse to do the heavy lifting of creating a safe city and transit requirements like a reliable and decent cab system.

by Hillman on Apr 11, 2013 5:49 pm • linkreport

Oh I guess I got ahead of myself, they did include that information:

39 employees/visitors use offsite parking currently.
They want to build 50 new additional parking spaces in their newest plan, not including the 6 for the row houses.

Honestly I don't have a problem with this plan at this point, I do have a problem with people saying that building excessive amounts of parking doesn't have any sort of impact.

by MLD on Apr 11, 2013 5:51 pm • linkreport

@Hillman -I don't think you really read my comment. Here:
"In fact I really don't have strong feelings about the HF project. Personally I can see how this HF project may be an ok compromise."

I didn't see anyone assert the following:

The argument in DC now seems to be that we must encourage ONLY mass transit and cycling and walking. That under no circumstances can any vehicular transit ever be tolerated, and that to prove our point about the awesomeness of everything but cars we must artificially choke off the viability of cars.

The object is to balance what is a historical imbalance of priorities in the transportation network that has given precedence to the car above all else. This imbalance has many negative consequences including reduction in personal freedom of choice. To interpret an effort to correct the historical imbalance as, "omg they're trying to take away my car!" is exceedingly irrational.

by Tina on Apr 11, 2013 5:52 pm • linkreport

"Look, I know that company built seven dirty smog-producing factories, but they also planted seven trees! Problem solved!"

Not really an apt analogy.

"Honestly if they want to justify how many parking spaces they need to build why don't they just produce the numbers that say "X number of our employees are already taking up metered parking/other spaces and we want to absorb that.""

They did exactly that.

And posters on this forum who apparently decided they know better dismissed that as being a lie.

In part because it was from a political organization that they don't like.

by Hillman on Apr 11, 2013 5:52 pm • linkreport

"The object is to balance what is a historical imbalance of priorities in the transportation network that has given precedence to the car above all else. "

I thought the object is to create a city in which people can reasonably get around in.

And doing things like denying parking that comes at no cost to the city (and includes tangible benefits to the city) is working against that goal.

by Hillman on Apr 11, 2013 5:57 pm • linkreport

@Hillman -in short, we are demanding public transit and walking and cycling as the only options,

You are plainly wrong. No one is demanding this. The taxi cab commission though related, is not really relevant. The cabs have roads to drive on and that won't change.

by Tina on Apr 11, 2013 5:59 pm • linkreport

I thought the object is to create a city in which people can reasonably get around in.

Yes! That includes the ability to reasonably CHOOSE to walk or bike. Building infrastructure that makes walking and biking, including in combination with transit, a reasonable choice corrects a historical imbalance that prioritized infrastructure for driving above all else.

by Tina on Apr 11, 2013 6:04 pm • linkreport

If I could fix the problems with buses and taxi cabs in the city I could.

Meanwhile it doesn't help ones point that anyone with objections to this (general or specific) is being unreasonable and biased when you have to rely on broad generalities to make that point.

by Drumz on Apr 11, 2013 6:04 pm • linkreport

"The taxi cab commission though related, is not really relevant. The cabs have roads to drive on and that won't change."

it's absolutely relevant.

Try living east of the Anacostia and having to rely on taxi service.

It's simply not a reliable option.

by Hillman on Apr 11, 2013 6:07 pm • linkreport

"You are plainly wrong. No one is demanding this. "

You may not be demanding it, but quite a few people in DC are absolutely determined to see an end to cars in DC.

"Yes! That includes the ability to reasonably CHOOSE to walk or bike. Building infrastructure that makes walking and biking, including in combination with transit, a reasonable choice corrects a historical imbalance that prioritized infrastructure for driving above all else."

And that's exactly what this project does. It includes over 50 cycling spaces, including a CABI station.

I would have preferred it include a requirement for ground floor retail, as that more than anything makes a city more walkable.

But denying a project like this (as some wanted to do) takes away the choice of driving.

If you can't park you can't drive.

by Hillman on Apr 11, 2013 6:11 pm • linkreport

@Hillman ^...infrastructure that makes for walking biking and transit reasonable choices has the effect of making getting around easier. There are more choices. Maybe not you b/c you want to drive. But you aren't the only one here. I don't understand how you can't see that if fewer people rely on driving b/c they have more real choices that means driving for you will be easier. At least it won't get worse. i guess thats what you fear; that bulb outs, hawk signals and bike lanes will make driving harder for you. But really, what if the thousands of people who ride bikes in DC everyday started driving-wouldn't that make driving much much worse than a bulb out?

by Tina on Apr 11, 2013 6:15 pm • linkreport

@Hillman -taxis rely on road networks -thats the only relavent aspect of taxis to this conversation. Taxis will have roads to drive on in perpetuity.

For the rest of your comment to me, please see my comments at 5:11 & 5:52:

"i am not arguing against this parking garage. In fact I really don't have strong feelings about the HF project. Personally I can see how this HF project may be an ok compromise."

And regarding this:
You may not be demanding it, but quite a few people in DC are absolutely determined to see an end to cars in DC.

I have not heard nor seen any realistic official, planner or politician ever assert anything even close to this. In any case its unrealistic so you don't have to worry about it.

by Tina on Apr 11, 2013 6:21 pm • linkreport

You can feel free to paint me as someone who would like to see no more auto use in our cities but I don't mind because I have plenty of examples where the thinking "if only we made it easier for drivers" made the problems they were trying to fix worse.

by Drumz on Apr 11, 2013 6:25 pm • linkreport

In any case I don't any sort of authority in DC zoning so HF faces no real danger from me.

by Drumz on Apr 11, 2013 6:26 pm • linkreport

@Drumz- i have my utopian fanatasies too, but even in central Amsterdam some people drive, including delivery trucks..And I have a car and I drive it, though not for commuting. And I would drive it less if the infrastructure allowed me the freedom to choose to leave it at home for more trips.

by Tina on Apr 11, 2013 6:32 pm • linkreport

I was being facetious, I just find amusing that when discussing any sort of change to the streetscape it's always assumed that it equates a prohibition on cars or trying to come up with some situation that proves that the aforementioned pretend prohibition won't work.

by Drumz on Apr 11, 2013 6:41 pm • linkreport

Tina and Drumz:

You may be surprised to find we aren't actually that far apart on a lot of these issues.

I fully support bike and transit infrastructure, as long as it's done intelligently.

For instance I find our public rail system to be laughably bad, particularly compared to other countries. We should have a far more robust high speed rail infrastructure, at least in the NE, and possibly in other areas as well.

But I also absolutely believe, from fifteen years of living here, that many in DC think that the only way to get public transit and cycling and walking numbers up is to artificially make it harder for people to drive. No matter the circumstance.

And that it's perfectly legit to artificially strangle the ability for people to drive, in an effort to force those people to take public transit or bike or walk.

And opposition to this project is an example of that.

Overall I think the lack of our ability to require ground floor retail on the Mass Ave street frontage is a far bigger loss to the community. This retail strip can't quite reach critical mass, and every new restaurant possibility would have helped.

by Hillman on Apr 12, 2013 7:09 am • linkreport

That's all fine, but I think people can express their objections to this while recognizing that a. What's done is done and this project is happening and b. they don't have it out for just HF or want to ban cars or something.

Though if the biggest cost to having a more walkable, bike able city is that it's going to have to be harder (often meaning you can't go as fast as you'd like) the. That's a cost I think the city should always be generally willing to bear.

by Drumz on Apr 12, 2013 7:49 am • linkreport

@Hillman- artificially make it harder for people to drive. No matter the circumstance.

Maybe some people you know express that in private. I've never heard anyone express that vision with any seriousness, and I certainly have not heard or read of any serious politician, official or planner express that.

Are you saying that you believe there is a measurable proportion of people opposed to this and similar projects (getting a special variance to add parking to a metro accessible bldg.) who say, "i'm opposed to this b/c I think it will bring more car traffic, and thats a bad thing for all of the negative consequences long established with increased car traffic" but who are really using those real, material, measurable consequences as a deceit for his/her true motivation which is to artificially make it harder for people to drive. No matter the circumstance.? And you are privy to these secret inner thoughts and motivations -- how?

Do you accept there are negative consequences from large majorities of people driving cars? Do you accept that we have had policies dominated by priorities for car driving that have led to making it harder to get around by all modes including driving? You're concerned about being able to find a parking spot-why exactly is it difficult to find parking? Because other people drove and parked! More people driving makes it harder for you to drive.

But really, dismissing honest opposition based on real-life evidence as a secret ruse to artificially make it harder for people to drive. No matter the circumstance is incredibly disrespectful and even kinda paranoid. If thats what you think the true motivations are of someone who opposes this type of project, why should any one listen to your reasons for supporting it? Maybe you're dishonest and using evidence to hide a secret anti-social motivation too.

by Tina on Apr 12, 2013 8:49 am • linkreport

"Maybe you're dishonest and using evidence to hide a secret anti-social motivation too."

I have no idea how to respond to that.

by Hillman on Apr 12, 2013 9:05 am • linkreport

@Hillman- Whats different about that statement and this one,

But I also absolutely believe, from fifteen years of living here, that many in DC think that the only way to get public transit and cycling and walking numbers up is to artificially make it harder for people to drive. No matter the circumstance.

And that it's perfectly legit to artificially strangle the ability for people to drive, in an effort to force those people to take public transit or bike or walk.

And opposition to this project is an example of that.

How can someone who opposes this project for honestly expressed reasons respond to this accusation?

by Tina on Apr 12, 2013 9:14 am • linkreport

Tina:

I should clarify that not all people expressing reservations are so motivated.

But other than a few minor issues - like the ventilation shaft placement- there really was no reason to oppose this project.

Certainly none that were reasonably expressed in this forum.

But just curious - what were these 'honestly expressed reasons'?

I don't recall any that stood up to scrutiny.

by Hillman on Apr 12, 2013 9:21 am • linkreport

Induced driving.

by Tina on Apr 12, 2013 9:23 am • linkreport

Care to elaborate on the term 'induced driving'?

by Hillman on Apr 12, 2013 9:29 am • linkreport

@Hillman
http://vtpi.org/gentraf.pdf

by Tina on Apr 12, 2013 9:33 am • linkreport

Induced demand ("hey! there is a lot of parking there, might as well drive") will cause more traffic on the streets. The opportunity costs of buildings parking here when there could have been something more productive. The environmental cost of more exhaust and the environmental costs of the new constructions.

by drumz on Apr 12, 2013 9:35 am • linkreport

But anyway, mention those and its actually just an attack on HF's values or just saying how all cars must be banned and that traffic impacts of parking garages don't matter but bike lanes across the city are the real problem.

by drumz on Apr 12, 2013 9:38 am • linkreport

I also absolutely believe, from fifteen years of living here, that many in DC think that the only way to get public transit and cycling and walking numbers up is to artificially make it harder for people to drive.

Your honest belief is misguided.

It's understandable, but wrong. What many in DC think is that, for decades we've been trying to accomodate a steadily growing population of resident automobiles and commuters. If we continue to do so, that accomodation will choke off all other modes, and continue to negatively impact quality of living for both residents and commuters. So we can keep doing what we've done since the 70s, and slowly watch the city wither on the vine, or we can implement sane policies that don't prioritize personal automobile use--leaving whatever scraps for people who walk, bike, or take transit.

The difference is that, if we do the former, we'll get to the point where *travel* is a miserable hell that brings the city to a standstill. If we do the latter, we'll get to the point where *driving* is a miserable hell, but with alternatives (and actually better than it would be otherwise because there are alternatives).

Let's all agree that the days of carefree motoring in the Nation's Capitol are gone, and there's nothing that's going to bring them back. Today's experience as the driver of a private automobile is as good as it's ever going to get, so enjoy.

by oboe on Apr 12, 2013 9:39 am • linkreport

How can someone who opposes this project for honestly expressed reasons respond to this accusation?

The challenge in defending "honestly expressed reasons" is that it still seems to boil down to, "if transit access is available, people should choose that over driving" and while that might seem like a reasonable goal it actually isn't practical..nor will it ever be. The negative effects of driving are the same in any city across the entire US. The goal should be to adequately accommodate all modes of travel...not to the exclusion of specific ones.

Keep in mind, some of the opposition found in the initial post on this was ideological (We hate HF)..some philosophical (We should discourage business from building garages near transit centers)...and then there's the negative consequences of driving argument.

by HogWash on Apr 12, 2013 9:42 am • linkreport

Tina -

Simply not applicable in this case.

We are talking about an additional 50 parking spaces. At no cost to taxpayers.

There are no additional infrastructure costs, as Heritage Foundation is doing all the spending here.

50 additional cars pass this location on Mass Avenue about every four minutes.

And most of these vehicles that will now park here would have been parking in metered and neighborhood spaces.

And, again, this project creates as many bike spaces as it does car spaces.

And the freed up metered retail spaces greatly help the local businesses.

Importantly, this isn't about peak period demand (presumeably rush hours), as your link focuses on.

This is about availability for neighborhood and retail parking mid-day, nights, weekends, etc.

The benefit to residents and businesses greatly outweigh any 'induced driving' increase.

by Hillman on Apr 12, 2013 9:43 am • linkreport

Saying that this project (and similar ones) will have impacts. And that the city should be stringent in the future in requiring that people who want to build such things also have clear expecations and mitigations for those impacts somehow turns into this.

and while that might seem like a reasonable goal it actually isn't practical..nor will it ever be. The negative effects of driving are the same in any city across the entire US. The goal should be to adequately accommodate all modes of travel...not to the exclusion of specific ones.

Meanwhile a great way to get nothing done is to say that something is reasonable and yet unpractical at the same time.

by drumz on Apr 12, 2013 9:45 am • linkreport

You may not be demanding it, but quite a few people in DC are absolutely determined to see an end to cars in DC.

I have not met this person, but I have heard about him. He's about 5'11", wears old clothes, and is made entirely out of straw, right? Damn this "straw man" and his plans to end cars in DC! Let's dispense with him once and for all!

by oboe on Apr 12, 2013 9:47 am • linkreport

So we can keep doing what we've done since the 70s, and slowly watch the city wither on the vine, or we can implement sane policies that don't prioritize personal automobile use--leaving whatever scraps for people who walk, bike, or take transit.

Morning Hyperbole is often better than coffee. Considering the number of transit improvements during the past decade, it's kinda ridiculous to infer that we've been doing the same thing as we have since the 70's. I know you carry the meme, "DC is doing the same things it's been doing so let's fear what hasn't happened in years" in your pocket, but lets get serious.

by HogWash on Apr 12, 2013 9:47 am • linkreport

Oboe:

Back when DC had several hundred thousand more residents we managed to accommodate all means of transit, including cars.

The issue to me is more about preserving options for neighborhood-specific uses, rather than commuters.

This parking garage is a fine example of helping neighborhood-specific uses. In large part because of it's location mere feet off of a retail strip that desperately needs all the help it can get, and a residential neighborhood where commuters routinely monopolize most of the parking.

by Hillman on Apr 12, 2013 9:49 am • linkreport

Meanwhile a great way to get nothing done is to say that something is reasonable and yet unpractical at the same time.

And fortunately, we are continuing to get things done.

by HogWash on Apr 12, 2013 9:49 am • linkreport

Hillman,

Maybe but that was really never needed for HF to provide to the BZA.

The results are about as good as we could've got. That doesn't preclude the need for groups who want to add a lot of parking (and 90 spots that require three levels of excavation in the middle of capitol hill seems to qualify to me, though standards for what the line needs to be needs to be set) to justify why they need it and what the impact will be.

by drumz on Apr 12, 2013 9:51 am • linkreport

"So we can keep doing what we've done since the 70s, and slowly watch the city wither on the vine, or we can implement sane policies that don't prioritize personal automobile use--leaving whatever scraps for people who walk, bike, or take transit."

I'd hardly say the kajillion dollars we spend on Metro has been 'leaving scraps'.

Not that I'm begrudging that subsidy. I think it should be greatly expanded.

One of the reasons people drive in DC is because Metro just ain't that great.

by Hillman on Apr 12, 2013 9:53 am • linkreport

Drumz:

Actually it's about 50 spots. The existing surface parking lot and the 30 something spots there are going away, to accommodate the underground spots.

by Hillman on Apr 12, 2013 9:55 am • linkreport

@Hogwash- "honestly expressed reasons" is that it still seems to boil down to, "if transit access is available, people should choose that over driving"

no, induced demand.

by Tina on Apr 12, 2013 9:56 am • linkreport

You're talking about the net. Sure.

I'll also clarify my point that there was a traffic study but this was at the request of DDOT and not from the BZA

by drumz on Apr 12, 2013 9:56 am • linkreport

@Hillman,

It's an interesting phenomenon to look at historically, but DC population is irrelevant, given the number of suburban car commuters. As DC population fell, population of suburban car commuters saw a corresponding rise.

What you want to do is show a comparison of all vehicle registrations in the DC metro region in the 60s and 70s with registrations today. I don't have a cite for that, but I can tell you it's *significantly* higher.

I'd hazard to guess that total *DC* vehicle registrations are higher in 2013 with 600,000 residents than at any time pre-1980 (which is when DC resident population was above it's current number)

by oboe on Apr 12, 2013 9:57 am • linkreport

And the net doesn't matter so much because its just replacing parking with more parking.

Meanwhile, the solution to fixing metro doesn't involve building a lot of parking to replace it.

by drumz on Apr 12, 2013 9:58 am • linkreport

Oboe:

I don't have data on DC-specific vehicle registrations now compared to back when we had hundreds of thousands more actual DC residents.

But suggesting that a suburban vehicle is the same as a DC vehicle in terms of demand for DC parking and infrastructure doesn't make sense.

My DC vehicle sees a lot more residential streets and DC specific uses than the vast majority of commuter vehicles that park on my residential street every day.

By and large these chaps come in, they park once, and stay there all day.

Five days a week. Daytime only (for the most part).

Whereas I am all about the neighborhood, many times, at all hours.

The uses aren't the same.

What's always struck me as odd is how much more proactive the burbs are in terms of commuter parking vs residents.

Tons of suburban streets are absolutely no parking zones unless you live there.

Try parking even for a second in the residential streets near the Costco at Pentagon City.

But my Capitol Hill streets? You as a commuter can park pretty much unmolested for as long as you want.

Parking enforcement is a bit of a joke, as they go after the low hanging fruit of people parked too close to corners, etc. It's more work for them to enforce the 2 hour resident only parking thing.

If we were serious about restoring neighborhood parking we would take a lesson from our suburban brethren.

by Hillman on Apr 12, 2013 10:04 am • linkreport

@Hillman -Simply not applicable in this case.

So says you. Anyway regarding this project, If you look up thread you will see all the comments agree that this project in the end seems like an ok compromise if not what one would ideally want to see.

The original concerns expressed for adding parking all had to do with induced demand. You express above your rejection of the legitimacy of anyone to express the concern of induced demand. I responded originally b/c of the assertion that anyone who might oppose must be doing it for purely philosophical reasons (abstract thoughts, not material consequences), and you are continuing that same train of thought- asserting "many" who oppose really have secret anti-social motivations, while you reject any intellectual consideration of decades of empirical evidence that might be seen in this project.

by Tina on Apr 12, 2013 10:08 am • linkreport

"Meanwhile, the solution to fixing metro doesn't involve building a lot of parking to replace it."

Not entirely true.

Part of Metro's weakness is that suburbanites can't really get to a Metro stop in their own hood.

Metro parking lots are tiny, and so often suburbanites weigh the hell of trying to use Metro versus just driving all the way into DC.

A lot more would use Metro if they could have a reasonable expectationof being able to park in a Metro parking lot.

by Hillman on Apr 12, 2013 10:09 am • linkreport

If we were serious about restoring neighborhood parking we would take a lesson from our suburban brethren.

And how would that be accomplished? Somehow grow the amount of land that the district has? Many cities have tried this (even DC) it doesn't work like people want it to.

by drumz on Apr 12, 2013 10:09 am • linkreport

"You express above your rejection of the legitimacy of anyone to express the concern of induced demand."

No. I'm saying the idea that there is substantial induced demand because of this project is simply not supportable.

And even if there were the benefits to the retail strip and the neighborhood would greatly outweigh that supposed increased demand.

by Hillman on Apr 12, 2013 10:11 am • linkreport

@Hillman-Back when DC had several hundred thousand more residents we managed to accommodate all means of transit, including cars.

There were fewer cars in overall number and fewer cars per household. car ownership exploded in the mid 1970's. look up a trend line of car ownership. Once again, your anecdote about not being able to park is directly related to other people driving in increasing numbers.

by Tina on Apr 12, 2013 10:12 am • linkreport

But suggesting that a suburban vehicle is the same as a DC vehicle in terms of demand for DC parking and infrastructure doesn't make sense.

No, obviously not. But the residential parking issue is much different than that in commercial areas, which is what this article was about.

As far as RPP goes, I'm not sure where you live on the Hill (or if you still do), but I can speak to this a bit, since I just had to park an out-of-state car on our street for a few weeks before getting around to registering it in DC and getting RPP. And it was not easy by any stretch.

I had a temporary guest parking placard I got at the local MPD station, which I had to renew twice in person; I allowed it to lapse once, and DPW wrote a ticket the *morning* it expired; and within a week, I got a ROSA notice (resident out-of-state auto) telling me the car would start racking up big fines unless it was either registered, or I applied for an exemption.

Currently the law is that in residential zones, you get 2 hours unless you're showing a residential sticker, and that's two hours all day, not in a given spot. So if DPW sees your car again in a Zone n parking spot again within 24 hours, they can and will ticket you.

So I'm not sure what more can be done in the case of residential parking.

by oboe on Apr 12, 2013 10:13 am • linkreport

Drumz:

It's pretty simple actually.

Start making residential parking for residents rather than commuters.

Make one side of each street resident only parking, 24 hours a day.

And make the fines for violating that substantial.

The first fine is low, as a warning.

Habitual offenders get higher fines the more they violate residential parking.

by Hillman on Apr 12, 2013 10:13 am • linkreport

All those sound reasonable but that's not really what they do in the suburbs. In the suburbs generally they just figure out how much parking they need and then cut down to that spec. (generally, depends on whether you want to classify places like Arlington and Downtown Silver Spring as suburbs even though their form is totally urban).

by drumz on Apr 12, 2013 10:16 am • linkreport

Oboe:

Actually the parking issue relating to this project is both retail and residential.

Visitors and staff at Heritage were taking up both metered retail and regular residential spaces.

by Hillman on Apr 12, 2013 10:25 am • linkreport

@Hillman-No. I'm saying the idea that there is substantial induced demand because of this project is simply not supportable.

And, once again, if you read the comments there is agreement that in the end this specific project seems like an ok compromise all thing being equal.

But when some expressed legitimate concern about induced demand you responded that

many in DC think that the only way to get public transit and cycling and walking numbers up is to artificially make it harder for people to drive. No matter the circumstance.

And that it's perfectly legit to artificially strangle the ability for people to drive, in an effort to force those people to take public transit or bike or walk.

And opposition to this project is an example of that.

So are you striking that comment now? Because that comment is a direct rejection of any intellectual consideration of induced demand wrt to this project. Its one thing to say "I don't think this project will induce demand and this is why". Its completely different to accuse anyone who expresses concern for induced demand as dishonestly hiding behind evidence for anti-social motivations.

by Tina on Apr 12, 2013 10:25 am • linkreport

Oboe:

The vast majority of commuters don't do the two week placard thing.

Particularly since now MPD has actually gotten better at limiting it to two placards of 15 days each.

Instead they simply park in the residential zone.

All day.

On many days at least half of the streets spaces between Stanton Park and the Capitol are taken up by non-DC cars.

And maybe MAYBE ten percent of those ever get tickets.

by Hillman on Apr 12, 2013 10:26 am • linkreport

It's pretty pathetic that some hateful, loser, exclusionary foundation can afford to build an underground garage while the Washington Nationals and the Lerners get to backtrack and build horrible above ground garages.

And while I am the first to say "not everything is political," I'm just pointing out how sad it is that when the Heritage Foundation is being honest, the Nationals are just being greedy.

by Mike on Apr 12, 2013 10:28 am • linkreport

Tina:

Sorry. I just can't follow your whole thing about dishonesty and anti-social motivations.

So whatever point you are trying to make I will just say you are right.

But where you aren't right is that there wasn't opposition to this project. Read the original thread from a few days ago if you don't believe me. Better yet, read the original posted article. It's tone is decidedly against the project.

by Hillman on Apr 12, 2013 10:30 am • linkreport

@Hillman- you aren't right is that there wasn't opposition to this project

I have written many times over now that there was opposition to this project -motivated by concerns about induced demand.

The motivations you ascribe to people who opposed this project are anti-social motivations having nothing to do w/ induced demand. Read your own words. According to you "many people" who expressed opposition to the project are dishonest and secretly anti-social. (and made of straw)

by Tina on Apr 12, 2013 10:41 am • linkreport

"Read your own words. According to you "many people" who expressed opposition to the project are dishonest and secretly anti-social. "

Come again?

Where exactly did I say that?

by Hillman on Apr 12, 2013 10:45 am • linkreport

"many in DC think that the only way to get public transit and cycling and walking numbers up is to artificially make it harder for people to drive. No matter the circumstance."

This is ascribing anti-social motivations to others.

And that it's perfectly legit to artificially strangle the ability for people to drive, in an effort to force those people to take public transit or bike or walk.

This is ascribing anti-social motivations to others.

And opposition to this project is an example of that.

This is accusing anyone with a legitimate concern wrt induced demand as being dishonest and hiding their true motivation for opposing the project, which you ascribe to them above.

by Tina on Apr 12, 2013 10:50 am • linkreport

@oboe: What many in DC think is that, for decades we've been trying to accomodate a steadily growing population of resident automobiles and commuters. If we continue to do so...

What Hogwash said; this is just not correct. Most transportation money in DC since the 70s has been spent on building the Metro. In the 60s and early 70s, far more people drove to downtown DC than do today, thanks to such improvements.

by goldfish on Apr 12, 2013 10:54 am • linkreport

Tina:

Your interpretation is simply not an accurate reflection of what I said.

I don't really know what else to tell you.

If it makes you happy I will clarify - yet again - that not everyone that expresssed reservations about this project would be motivated by whatever it is you're claiming here (honestly, I can't make sense of the 'anti-social' label, as I generally attribute that to listening to bad goth rock and dressing all in black).

For the love of God can we move on to something more substantive?

by Hillman on Apr 12, 2013 10:58 am • linkreport

@goldfish-there are currently more cars in DC and everywhere else then there were at the end of the 1960's. that photo isn't really a lot of cars. i see that many go by in 30 secs on Connecticut Ave during rush hour.

by Tina on Apr 12, 2013 11:00 am • linkreport

In followup to the 'then vs now' concept....

A ton of our traffic congestion woes could be solved with basic things, like better timing of lights, real enforcement of no parking on major commuter routes during rush hour, etc.

I'm assuming that sort of thing was better before Marion Barry took over and stocked all DC agencies as make-work projects, rather than with professionals that took these sorts of things seriously.

A lot of the feeling that we are somehow at peak use of our roads is because of absolutely terrible traffic management.

And much of that is relatively easy to fix.

Other cities know how to do this.

Try parking on a commuter route in Philly or NY in rush hour. You are towed within seconds.

In DC? Not so much.

I can't count the number of times I've seen major routes in DC ground to a halt because of illegally parked cars.

And traffic light timing in DC? Truly abysmal.

Great example is Columbus Circle (which is an integral part of Mass Ave, which is an integral major traffic route).

Used to be you could get through all those lights spaced forty feet apart in one cycle.

Now you stop at every single one of them.

For no apparent reason.

by Hillman on Apr 12, 2013 11:04 am • linkreport

A picture of a full parking lot doesn't indicate whether more people drove then vs. now.

by drumz on Apr 12, 2013 11:18 am • linkreport

@hillman - that not everyone that expresssed reservations about this project would be motivated by whatever it is you're claiming here

you claimed it, not me.

Again, you claimed "many people" are opposed to this project b/c they want to

to artificially make it harder for people to drive. No matter the circumstance.

And because "many people" think

it's perfectly legit to artificially strangle the ability for people to drive, in an effort to force those people to take public transit or bike or walk.

Most reasonable people think this constitutes an anti-social attitude-"forcing some to walk"? Very anti-social. You ascribed it to people who opposed this project.

Then you claimed that

opposition to this project is an example of that...

"that" being the antisocial motivations you ascribed to "Many people". Thus you dismissed concerns about induced demand as not the real motivation of "many people", i.e., as dishonest reasons, b/c the real reasons are the anti-social ones you ascribed to them.

Aside from being incredibly disrespectful, this line of thinking rejects intellectual consideration of how the decades of evidence of induced demand might apply to this and other projects, and the cities goal of increasing transportation choices for making "getting around easier".

by Tina on Apr 12, 2013 11:20 am • linkreport

@Tina and Drumz: consider the transportation alternatives that existed in the early 70s. There was no Metro and no street cars; only buses. You either drove or took the bus. QED.

by goldfish on Apr 12, 2013 11:24 am • linkreport

@gold fish-the population in the region was some fraction of what it is today too. there are more cars in DC and everywhere else now then there were in the late 1960's. Are you really asserting there were more cars on the streets in the late 1960's than now?

by Tina on Apr 12, 2013 11:27 am • linkreport

Of course that only looks at the proportion of people driving in vs. the absolute number.

It may be higher, I don't really care. But it's silly to assert that the city's best time was when when it was bending over backwards to satisfy drivers and provide parking and say that focusing on transit and walkability won't solve any problems and that the real solution is free and abundant parking.

by drumz on Apr 12, 2013 11:31 am • linkreport

"But it's silly to assert that the city's best time was when when it was bending over backwards to satisfy drivers and provide parking and say that focusing on transit and walkability won't solve any problems and that the real solution is free and abundant parking."

Who is saying that?

I don't think anyone is arguing that we shouldn't encourage transit and walkability.

And I don't see anyone saying that free and abundant parking is the 'real solution'.

by Hillman on Apr 12, 2013 11:35 am • linkreport

@Tina, I do know if there are more cars coming into DC now. Nevertheless it is clear that in those days, a far higher fraction of people drove. For example, there were satellite parking lots up near Children's Hospital, with buses to move commuters from there to downtown. There were far more surface lots, taking up huge amounts of space, and with correspondingly fewer buildings. People drove more because there was no alternative.

I would say the best days of easy driving in DC was in the 40s and early 50s, when there were fewer people moving with a functioning streetcar system, and the L'Enphant grid was is better shape. By the 60s it was clear to all that DC had outgrown its surface transportation system.

by goldfish on Apr 12, 2013 11:38 am • linkreport

Who is saying that?

Anyone who has debated that HF must have this parking because it will make it easier for the community to park and any suggestions that people (whether they work for HF or not) can also metro/bus/bike/walk to the neighborhood to do what they need to do are obviously insane because not everyone can do those things and why do you hate the Heritage Foundation anyway? Plus why do you hate cars?

It's the same argument just applied to a specific instance.

That's what led to the broader discussions about the history of the city/current city wide needs and such.

by drumz on Apr 12, 2013 11:43 am • linkreport

Drumz:

I don't see anyone on this thread saying we shouldn't have transit and cycling infrastructure.

It's not either/or.

All options can peacefully co-exist. In fact, they can compliment each other.

by Hillman on Apr 12, 2013 11:59 am • linkreport

Trying to figure out how for decades we've been trying to accommodate a steadily growing population of resident automobiles and commuters is incompatible with most transportation money in DC since the 70s has been spent on building the Metro.

Okay, giving up now. Time to get a sandwich.

by oboe on Apr 12, 2013 12:25 pm • linkreport

@Goldfish-Nevertheless it is clear that in those days, a far higher fraction of people drove.

No. There are data easily available to show you VMT and proportion of trips made by car, as well as overall numbers of cars and proportion of car ownership/household have increased substantially since "those days".

A major reason for the increased VMT and proportion of trips made by car is the bit-by-bit transportation infrastructure that prioritized that mode over all else.

Thats why looking at this project in that context is important. The balance correction will take time and occur bit-by-bit

by Tina on Apr 12, 2013 12:57 pm • linkreport

Sure but when people wondered if the impacts of this were worth it (and in fact, harmed rather than complemented multi-modalism) it pretty much went straight to "some want to ban all cars"'.

You can say we need a mix of modes but the debate over this is whether the project adds to much parking (an thus too much driving) to the established mix.

by Drumz on Apr 12, 2013 1:14 pm • linkreport

@Drumz-is yout last comment a response to me? If so, yes, I agree completely.

by Tina on Apr 12, 2013 1:17 pm • linkreport

No. There are data easily available to show you VMT and proportion of trips made by car, as well as overall numbers of cars and proportion of car ownership/household have increased substantially since "those days".

Nationally yes. In DC? I would like to see the data.

by goldfish on Apr 12, 2013 1:21 pm • linkreport

I would like to see the data

I'm sure you can find it!

by Tina on Apr 12, 2013 1:23 pm • linkreport

Sorry, no it was to Hillman

by Drumz on Apr 12, 2013 1:28 pm • linkreport

@Tina, this is your assertion, not mine. You are welcome to demonstrate that it is true, in spite of the clear changes to the DC transportation system that counter your assertion. If true, that would make it interesting and probably worth a full article here on GGW.

by goldfish on Apr 12, 2013 1:28 pm • linkreport

@Goldfish -it is your assertion that a greater proportion of trips were made by car in "those days" (1960's?) than today. I'd like to see those data.

by Tina on Apr 12, 2013 1:39 pm • linkreport

@Tina, frankly I cannot see why you are arguing with me. Prior to 1 March 1976, the day that the red line opened, were but two ways to get around: bus and auto. Since then lots of people have adapted to the Metro, and clearly many trips that were taken by car, in the 60s, have been replaced by trips on the Metro.

The total construction cost of Metro was estimated to be $10B in 1979 ($32B in 2013 dollars), and the fraction of that within DC probably constitutes most of the transportation money spent. If the Metro has not taken up some of the trips, then that money has been wasted.

by goldfish on Apr 12, 2013 2:03 pm • linkreport

@Goldfish-you are asserting there were more cars on the road in the 1960's than today and/or before the metro opened. This is simply wrong.

http://www.census.gov/prod/2011pubs/acs-15.pdf

by Tina on Apr 12, 2013 2:09 pm • linkreport

#Tina, never wrote that; only that the fraction of trips made by car has declined, if for no other reason than there was no Metro before 1976.

The data you cite was the national averages, which does not describe how for trip and commuting patterns have changed specifically within DC area. Obviously due to Metro, DC will differ substantially from national trends.

by goldfish on Apr 12, 2013 2:20 pm • linkreport

You're still focusing on the ratio when we're talking about the total number of people. More than twice the number of people who drove to work in the 60's is driving today. That number is be lower for DC specifically but the increase in the overall dwarfs any gain.

Besides, at that chart it shows the DC MSA at about 15%

by drumz on Apr 12, 2013 2:40 pm • linkreport

@goldfish -the fraction of trips made by car has declined,

You don't know this. You are guessing. You asserted this originally to support your claim that

In the 60s and early 70s, far more people drove to downtown DC than do today,

This is simply not the case. There are many more people driving to downtown DC than before. There are more cars on the roads of DC now than there were then.

the study I linked has data for greater DC; 14% used transit to commute in 2009; the national avg. using transit in 2009 was 5%. In 1960 the national avg using transit was 12%.

http://www.census.gov/hhes/commuting/files/1990/mode6790.txt

There are a lot more cars on the road today than the 1960's -70's.

I do not think the proportion of trips made by individual automobile has gone down significantly in 40-50-years, in spite of investment in metro, but I'm open to evidence to the contrary.

What metro has done has kept a proportion of cars off the road over the years.

There's no evidence at all that there were more cars on the road ~1965 than today. In fact all the evidence indicates there are more cars on the road today.

by Tina on Apr 12, 2013 2:42 pm • linkreport

@Tina, I am happy that we agree.

by goldfish on Apr 12, 2013 2:57 pm • linkreport

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