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Breakfast links: Opposition

Photo by afagen on Flickr.
Rs say no to Outer Beltway: 6 Virginia Republican legislators came out against Governor McDonnell's plan to build the Outer Beltway in Virginia. They say it's too costly and will worsen traffic on I-66, which is the higher priority. (Examiner)

WaWa drama: Herndon isn't the only critic of a planned WaWa at Old Ox and Oak Grove Roads. Loudoun's Department of Planning criticized the proposal in a memo, saying a stand-alone single use is not compatible with the plan for the area. (WBJ)

DC cabs: red with gray stripe: The new design for DC taxis will be red with gray stripes, says the DC Taxicab Commission; the detailed design is not yet available. It will take some years before all cabs have the uniform colors, and some taxi companies vow to fight to keep their own colors. (NBC, City Paper)

Landmark Mall forgets peds, bikes: An Alexandria Transportation Commission representative opposes the current redevelopment plans for Landmark Mall, saying it lacks safe pedestrian and bicycling access from surrounding areas. (Patch)

Less foolish primary date: DC might move its primary date (again), to June. The current April 1, 2014 date invited jokes, would force candidates to collect petitions during the holidays, and would create 8-month lame ducks. (NBC)

Who's running: Robert Bobb, City Administrator under Tony Williams, is considering a run for mayor. (Post) ... Doug Gansler, Maryland Attorney General and likely candidate for governor, criticized the recent transportation funding bill. (Post)

Harder to FOIA Virginia: The Supreme Court unanimously upheld a Virginia law which limits FOIA requests to only come from Virginia residents. Many media organizations argued to overturn the rule. (Ars Technica)

And...: Parts of 3 Smithsonian museums will close due to sequestration. (City Paper) ... A new Tumblr blog chronicles the worst Cleveland Park neighborhood complaints. (DCist) ... Walk the future M Street bike lane with WABA on Monday.

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Jereme Altendorf is your typical political junkie and addicted to issues related to public transportation, inter-city rail and urbanism. Professionally, he is a US Coast Guard Reserve Officer and an environmental emergency response expert who consults with federal agencies to develop environmental emergency response and regulatory programs.  
David Alpert is the founder of Greater Greater Washington and its board president. 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 two children in Dupont Circle. 


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Uhmmm. You realize that the June primary date would have the effect of precluding many students from participating? Maybe the date for ANC elections will coincide to ensure less of those pesky engagements?

by Tom M on Apr 30, 2013 8:42 am • linkreport

ANC elections are non-partisan and are thus held during the general elections in November. However, June elections not only would preclude many college students from voting, but depending on the dates, if DCPS is out, can impact turnout on that front as well.

by William on Apr 30, 2013 8:50 am • linkreport

I thought the whole purpose of the earlier primary date was to comply with the MOVE Act which requires final ballots to get to servicemembers abroad earlier enough so they can vote by absentee? Before the city moved to April it was violating the law. June is still pretty early but if that works, why didn't they choose it in the first place?

by TM on Apr 30, 2013 8:57 am • linkreport

Nothing on the FBI investiging illegal supplements sales in Richmond? What restraint!

by charlie on Apr 30, 2013 9:20 am • linkreport

@ Alex B - So Mary Cheh in Ward 3 with the large contingent (potentially) of American University Park suggests the change. And this change is suggested shortly after Frumin makes a showing in Ward 3 of support in the special. What a massive unrelated set of developments!

by Tom M on Apr 30, 2013 9:21 am • linkreport

Tom M: read the date on that press release.

by Alex B. on Apr 30, 2013 9:33 am • linkreport

"6 Virginia Republican legislators came out against Governor McDonnell's plan to build the Outer Beltway in Virginia."

So wait, that means GGW will have to support the Outer Beltway now, right?

by Mike on Apr 30, 2013 9:34 am • linkreport

@Alex B
Tom M: read the date on that press release.

So it's a time travel conspiracy too?!

by MLD on Apr 30, 2013 9:37 am • linkreport


Hehe. No, it means that there are some conservatives out there who aren't willing to just fall in line. They were able to look at this, realize it is a terrible idea, and vow to fight it. Kudos to them.

by Kyle-w on Apr 30, 2013 9:38 am • linkreport

The Cleveland Park listserv Tumblr blog is just great. Leaf blowers! Flower thieves! Fat cat harnesses! (Seriously.) Diabetic cats! TV crews imprisoned in homes!

by dcd on Apr 30, 2013 9:39 am • linkreport

1. Wow, GOPers fighting with the Gov and VDOT on the outer beltway. I'm surprised - wonder if they can still push it through - and Im very dubious any improvements to I66 can be done that quickly

2. Equally suprised at Loudoun OP position on the Wawa - of course it looks like the Loudoun pols wont support the planning office on this

3. Not sure about the Landmark mall thing - the write up was interesting, but there are a lot of complexities there - first stage vs second stage improvements, and whether a by right development is feasible

by AWalkerInTheCity on Apr 30, 2013 9:39 am • linkreport

So it's a time travel conspiracy too?!

How you gonna get the DeLorean up to 88 mph in a world of speed cameras and traffic calming?

by Alex B. on Apr 30, 2013 9:45 am • linkreport

The Loudoun directive from their OP doesn't surprise me as much. There has been a real turnaround there when you look at their general plan and it is very explicit about their desire to create more mixed use places in the county. Obviously, what was built in the past is there to stay for the moment but it makes sense that they oppose the continuation of the same.

I'm also glad to see that republicans are also balking at the governor's transportation philosophy ("what about the truckers?!") and saying that by fixing people's commutes you can also solve a lot of the freight problem.

by drumz on Apr 30, 2013 9:46 am • linkreport

@Drumz; I'd also like to see how they are going to make Dulles the leading air-cargo airport.

I'd agree it is big enough, and the area works, but we don't have the labor force and or the room to have giant warehouses all over Nova.

(I'd also think truckers would want to avoid the east coast at all costs!)

A short haul railroad from dulles to winchester or harrisonburg however could be very interesting.

by charlie on Apr 30, 2013 9:51 am • linkreport

I'd be mad if someone was stealing my flowers too. I don't know if I'd appeal to the common humanity in us all as an impassioned plea but still.

Also there are totally coyotes in DC. It's not that bizarre to expect them.

I've never before seen an argument to ban leaf blowers though.

by drumz on Apr 30, 2013 9:54 am • linkreport

NYT op-ed says an urban crunch is coming with the Stimulus ending just as Sequester begins:

One good suggestion contained is federal involvement to force localities to drop exclusionary zoning.

by Tom Coumaris on Apr 30, 2013 9:59 am • linkreport

I think it's just the logic of "traffic is so bad truckers coming from anywhere south of Richmond will refuse to come this way!" and deciding that what would work best is billions spent on new roads that will only shave minutes while ignoring the existing infrastructure that is the real problem.

I always get caught up in Fredericksburg more than PWC anyway. At least the traffic in Northern Virginia makes sense. Fredericksburg/stafford is an exercise in insanity as people can't handle the amount of people merging.

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

Not to side with the Cleveland Park pearl-clutchers, but leaf blowers truly are the worst. Sometimes they are needed, but from my observations, most of the time a rake would do the job just as fast. I've seen a guy stand over a pile of wet leaves blasting it with wind for minutes trying to move them when he could have been done in seconds with a good old fashioned rake.

by TM on Apr 30, 2013 10:50 am • linkreport

"Cleveland Park Complaints" - file under "First World Problems".

by Frank IBC on Apr 30, 2013 10:53 am • linkreport

I hate leaf blowers and people that start construction work before 9AM on the weekend.

Despite my totally unabashed pro-WaWa sentiment, it's good to see that at least OP is against the development as it is currently proposed.

by Alan B. on Apr 30, 2013 11:04 am • linkreport

There are jurisdictions that have banned leaf blowers, particularly the gasoline-powered ones. They're noisy and pollute. It's an especially questionable practice outside the autumn leaf season, when many landscape services use the blowers to blow every twig and spec of dirt or pollen off their customers' walks and grass (and, in a denser neighborhood, into someone else's property). Unnecessary leaf blowers may be a problem that pales in comparison to world hunger, terrorism or what to do with Syria -- but it's not a ridiculous issue if one is concerned with the environment, sustainability and the general quality of life in an urban area.

by Ron on Apr 30, 2013 11:14 am • linkreport

Re: cab color. A taxi color's purpose is one of utility- to allow people to quickly spot a cab, even if they're unfamiliar with the city, language, etc. I realize that red goes nicely with the Circulator buses, but that shouldn't be the primary reason for the color choice.

Yellow is internationally-recognized as a color for taxis, and provides more contrast to surrounding traffic than the red will.

by Matt A on Apr 30, 2013 11:25 am • linkreport

In addition to the noise, gasoline-powered leaf blowers use two-stroke engines, which use a mix of gasoline and lubricating oil and leave a huge amount of unburned hydrocarbons.

by Frank IBC on Apr 30, 2013 11:30 am • linkreport

Yellow is internationally-recognized as a color for taxis

No, it's not. It's an internationally-recognized color for taxis in New York City.

I've said it before, but I really like the color scheme on these Chinese taxis. It's simple, visually appealing, and follows the contours of the car (compared to the two-tone designs currently used in DC, which look like they were designed to be painted onto a 1980s Cadillac). It also incorporates a bit of "Taxicab Yellow," which would hopefully calm down the contingent who feel that every cab in the world should be painted with this color.

DC would do well to follow this design, rather than the appallingly ugly concepts that were presented last year.

by andrew on Apr 30, 2013 12:02 pm • linkreport

I think we should paint the taxis clear. Or camouflage. Or to look like giant rats. But I'm an artist at heart.

by David C on Apr 30, 2013 12:07 pm • linkreport

A 15-foot long, articulated rat tail, on roller skates, would be kind of cool.

by Frank IBC on Apr 30, 2013 12:20 pm • linkreport

Yes, Andrew, you cited 3 example of cities whose cabs are not yellow. However, especially in America, the color yellow has become strongly associated with taxi services, and there is no doubt that it is the most popular and strongly-recognized color.

Again, a cab color's purpose isn't to look pretty or blend in with a city's color theme. It's quite the opposite- the color should stand out from other traffic.

by Matt A. on Apr 30, 2013 12:44 pm • linkreport

"Robert Bobb, City Administrator under Tony Williams, is considering a run for mayor."

Better Robert Bobb than Bob Roberts.

by oboe on Apr 30, 2013 12:46 pm • linkreport

Interesting that the R legislators oppose the Outer Beltway but didn't say anything about the 460 toll road bypass. While both are bad projects, the economics of the 460 bypass are much worse. The bypass costs even more than the Outer Beltway and would likely result in a lot less economic development. Although, the OB has unaccounted costs associated with sprawling development which could make it more costly than the bypass in the long run.

by Falls Church on Apr 30, 2013 3:47 pm • linkreport

Cab color schemes serve multiple purposes. An obvious one is to make them distinctive to would-be passengers, but another important one is to make it easier to enforce taxicab regulations by making it easy to tell at a glance which taxicabs are under which jurisdiction and where they can and can't pick up passengers. If we get serious about taxi enforcing regulations, a color scheme that isn't shared by any cab company in the region would help with enforcement.

by cminus on Apr 30, 2013 3:52 pm • linkreport

None of the Republican politicians represent areas near the 460 bypass, Falls Church.

by selxic on Apr 30, 2013 7:17 pm • linkreport

+1000 on leaf blowers being AWFUL. They are SO LOUD, the fumes are noxious, someone using one nearby blows debris right in your face if they don't see you coming, and they stir pollens/allergens ALL UP making me and anyone else with allergies MISERABLE if we pass by a place where one is in use or has been recently. Many of my neighbors use them to clear clippings from their sidewalk that a simple broom would do just as well with (the average house around here has about 15' of sidewalk which doesn't exactly take a lot of time to sweep off). We made our landscapers stop using them except to remove leaves from the yard in the fall (we have 8 trees and a decently large yard, so they save time there, but that accounts for only 2 or 3 uses a year) - they now just sweep the clippings into the grass. It takes no longer, we can have a pleasant morning, and the couple of allergy sufferers in my building are MUCH more comfortable on Wednesday mornings when we walk out of the house.

On top of that particular rant, a lot of those things sound totally normal for a neighborhood list-serv. Okay, okay, owning expensive antiques you're looking for advice on sounds pretentious, but if someone kicked my dog they'd be lucky if the worst I did was report them to the list-serv, or even animal control. Who knows, maybe that dog is a terror, but kicking a dog is generally unacceptable unless it's attacking you. Because I'm a big proponent of urban gardening, some neighborhood kids have my permission to pick ripe veggies from my container garden (and I was very pleased to see this morning that one house with said kids put in their own little garden this year!), but if someone just stole my plants I'd be righteously angry. It's not the money, it's not that I'm not willing to share (on top of giving the kids permission to grab some goodies, if I get more good seedlings than I can plant in my containers, I leave them out front so people can take and plant them if they want)'s that ripping up someone's garden isn't cool. Sure, the rhetoric/phrasing can sound a bit silly, but, overall, the issues seem pretty legit to me, and if you don't care/know about antiques or entertainers or fat cats, just skip the thread.

by Ms. D on Apr 30, 2013 8:04 pm • linkreport

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