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Breakfast links: WMATA won't pay


Photo by tracktwentynine on Flickr.
WMATA will run, not fix transit center: Metro wants to operate the Silver Spring Transit Center, but doesn't want to be on the hook for ongoing maintenance. (WTOP)

Graham must pay for his lawyers: WMATA will not pay to defend Jim Graham in a lawsuit which alleges Graham improperly quashed a land deal between a developer and Metro while he served on WMATA's board. (Examiner)

Wrong escalator parts: Nine escalators won't get repaired as scheduled thanks to a contractor ordering the wrong parts. But Metro officials wouldn't or couldn't identify the contractor to the board. (Post)

A shifty shift of funds?: Muriel Bowser and the committee she chairs pulled funding for relocating DC Water to make way for a Capitol Riverfront mixed-use project. Instead, the money will pay for three projects in Bowser's Ward 4. (WBJ)

In Purple's path: Maryland prepares to tell 110 residents and businesses that the Purple Line may force them to move, though some may ultimately be able to stay. (Post)

BIDs get real-time: Screens showing real-time transit information are likely on the way for Ballston and Georgetown. Both areas' BIDs have agreed to fund the screens to help visitors find transit and reduce pedestrian crowding. (Elevation DC)

Less flooding, but other problems: To deal with Bloomingdale flooding, DC Water will build a giant tunnel under some streets, but residents of those streets are upset at the plans, which could close their streets for 2-3 years and destroy trees. (City Paper)

DC IDs 150 food truck spots: DC officials will identify 150 spots for food trucks in the most popular locations, but that likely won't be enough to satisfy truck owners. (Post)

Bike lanes breed safety, profits: A New York study found that bike lanes made streets safer and even helped increase local businesses' sales up to 50%. (Taking the Lane)

And... : Construction starts on First St. NE, including a 2-way cycletrack. (NoMa BID) ... Dupont's ANC opposes the U Street moratorium and new food truck rules. (Borderstan) ... HPRB is still iffy on McMillan. (Bloomingdale)

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Steven Yates grew up in Indiana before moving to DC in 2002 to attend college at American University. He currently lives in Southwest DC.  

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those darn Bloomie NIMBYs and their trees. What did they expect by moving into a city?

by charlie on May 10, 2013 8:29 am • linkreport

Re: Bloomingdale

I can understand a few people being upset about tree removal (even though the trees will be replanted) but this whole "DC Water’s plan to destroy my street" rhetoric is ridiculous, as if the plan just came out of nowhere. It's DC Water's plan to protect their street, and thus property, from future flood damage. Unfortunately there's no easy fix for an ancient sewer system that can no longer do its job. Would they rather their roads flood and toilets back up every time it rains?

by MetMet on May 10, 2013 8:59 am • linkreport

Would they rather their roads flood and toilets back up every time it rains?

No, the people complaining would rather they do it on some other street where other people who are not them live.

by MLD on May 10, 2013 9:13 am • linkreport

[Ballston & Georgetown's] BIDs have agreed to fund the screens to help visitors find transit and reduce pedestrian crowding.

Because when I think of Ballston, I think of pedestrian crowding.

by Bossi on May 10, 2013 9:33 am • linkreport

Crowding might be a stretch, but Ballston is one of the busiest Orange line stations (~12,000 boardings daily) and a major bus terminal for Arlington so it makes sense.

by Alan B. on May 10, 2013 9:38 am • linkreport

It doesn't sound crazy to be upset with the loss or road access to your home for a significant amount of time.

by selxic on May 10, 2013 9:40 am • linkreport

@ selxic; roads are for wimps. DC hasn't been the same since they started paving.

by charlie on May 10, 2013 9:53 am • linkreport

re Bowser

Is she kidding? I don't see her angle here of getting in the way of needed development in the ballpark district in favor of her own Ward. If she thinks solidifying here based in Ward 4 is the key to her election as mayor, I've got 7 other wards she needs to visit.

She wants to be the mayoral candidate who stood in the way of development in one of the most visible areas of the city, one the Major League Baseball believes needs to have more development before we have any chance of hosting the All-Star game, which we won't get until at least 2017 under the current circumstances.

I wish her partisan approach the best of luck.

by fongfong on May 10, 2013 9:57 am • linkreport

I realize that Bowser represents Ward 4, but I can't believe she would make such a blatant self-serving move re: stripping funds from the Cap Riverfront if she expects to represent the entire city. To me it seems clear that the Cap Riverfront has a lot of positive momentum and is poised to be a flourishing destination that will benefit the entire city. If there is prioritizing to do, then I would think most people would say you should prioritize Cap Riverfront over Ward 4 projects at this juncture.

by I. Rex on May 10, 2013 9:58 am • linkreport

Has DC Water considered green stormwater improvements like bioswales and rain gardens to take some of the pressure off? Building a huge tunnel seems like a 1950s solution to the problem... I know other cities have had tremendous success using new techniques like this.

by Lilly on May 10, 2013 10:00 am • linkreport

@Lilly,
It's funny you ask that question, because DC is extremely ambitious when it comes to implementing a market-based program for providing tax credits to homeowners for installing improvements such as green roofs and rain barrels. This is coming through the RiverSmart program, about which you can find out more here: http://green.dc.gov/riversmarthomes
I'll leave it to the people to decide how successful the implementation is. They are very ambitious, but it may end up that a big expensive 'ol sewer pipe is the only way.

by renegade09 on May 10, 2013 10:15 am • linkreport

@fongfong: I highly doubt the possibility that DC won't host an MLB All-Star game will be of little to no concern to most voters when considering Bowsher's act of self-service in stripping Capitol Riverfront's development funding.

by 7r3y3r on May 10, 2013 10:56 am • linkreport

I've never understood the fixation on trees. They're not clearcutting a forest. They're cutting down a few trees for accessibility issues to support a project. We can replant trees. They grow back.

by JustMe on May 10, 2013 11:08 am • linkreport

That may be, but why not keep development momentum going in areas where there is a realistic timeline, rather than defunding and prioritizing for Ward 4, where development at Walter Reed is still a ways off.

For the Councimember overseeing Economic Development, this seems like a stupid move.

by William on May 10, 2013 11:09 am • linkreport

I really hope this leaves Graham pennyless. He wants a 700-1000 dollar an hour lawyer to dig him out of the illegal hole he dug himself, he can pay for it himself.

Yes, as Councilman he gets some legal coverage, but not related to non-council specific duties, and he has to use primarily Council legal representation. If WMATA holds firm, and I hope they do, this will cost Graham a minimum of 100K.

Double whammy, it appears he already has stiff competition for his Council seat the next election. He won't just be the assumed candidate who runs unapposed so he will be poor and out of a job, and it couldn't happen to a "nicer" guy.

by Graham-stander on May 10, 2013 11:10 am • linkreport

@selxic

Fair enough but I have yet to see the residents propose a viable alternative.

I think MLD is spot on.

So is NIMBY-ism a phenomenon associated with old age, or (hopefully) a dying breed on their path to extinction along with segregationists and homophobes?

by dcmike on May 10, 2013 11:12 am • linkreport

I've never understood the fixation on trees.

Trees = money; see here.

by goldfish on May 10, 2013 11:15 am • linkreport

Constant threat of floods also = money.

by drumz on May 10, 2013 11:27 am • linkreport

The Purple Line Washington Post news reports on the notices for possible property acquisition and the University Blvd shrinking to 4 lanes: boy are there are a lot of hostile and anti-Purple line comments. Of course, comments to newspaper articles are usually dominated by anti this or that attacks or people who don't like change. Still, maybe some pro-Purple Line people should post some factual positive posts. Or would that just be feeding the trolls?

by AlanF on May 10, 2013 11:35 am • linkreport

It's not really surprising that people are concerned. Obviously they should do what they can to minimize the impact on affected residents, but it seems like a necessary project given the history of flooding. I mean I would be upset to, but I'm not sure there is a viable alternative. Decades of neglecting our infrastructure is catching up with us.

by Alan B. on May 10, 2013 11:41 am • linkreport

So is NIMBY-ism a phenomenon associated with old age, or (hopefully) a dying breed on their path to extinction along with segregationists and homophobes?

NIMBY-ism is a phenomenon associated with self-interest which, last I checked, isn't going out of style anytime soon. People will always prioritize what they perceive as their own interest over the interests of others. That's not too say that there isn't a correlation between NIMBY-ism and age. The older you get, typically the more interests you have to protect.

by Falls Church on May 10, 2013 12:35 pm • linkreport

"Metro wants to operate the Silver Spring Transit Center, but doesn't want to be on the hook for ongoing maintenance."

How is this any different from how they operate Metro?

by Colleen on May 10, 2013 12:57 pm • linkreport

People will always prioritize what they perceive as their own interest over the interests of others.

As well they should - to a certain extent. I suppose one end of the scale would be self-preservation, and the opposite pole would be NIMBYs, where the extremely selfish rank.

by dcmike on May 10, 2013 2:25 pm • linkreport

This isn't about trees or neighbors acting selfish. This is the fact that DC Water is rushing to implement a project of this scale/scope that has never been performed in a residential neighborhood quite like this. Building a 20 foot wide by 100 foot deep hole on a street that is 28 feet wide and houses within 10 feet of the proposed hole is ridiculous. DC Water could perform this same work on their own property less than 100 yards away in an Industrial Zoned area, in which their would be slim to nil community impact. DC Water is unable to provide any other alternatives because they admit it would be "too difficult". Developing a plan to this size in the matter of a few months in order to stay within budget is their goal. It isn't about NIMBYism, it is about the safety and health of residents and asking DC Water to explore other alternatives that would have minimal community impact. Preservation of trees is the very last concern on anyones minds and that concern is taken out of context here. DC Water is for-profit entity and they want to put a band-aid on their own issues. EVERYONE in Bloomingdale wants a solution, including FLAGLER PL NW, which experienced flooding countless times. The engineers, Project Managers and PR folks at DC water have provided contradictory information on this project and all citizens of DC should be concerned about the professionalism and communication of DC Water.

by Bdale Res on May 10, 2013 3:29 pm • linkreport

DC Water is for-profit entity

What are you talking about? The DC Water and Sewer Authority is a political subdivision funded by ratepayers and operated by a board of trustees appointed primarily by the DC government but also the governments of PG County, MoCo, and FFX.

by dcmike on May 10, 2013 4:28 pm • linkreport

I think a certain level of NIMBYism is associated with age. I was chatting with a neighbor who I'm pretty sure is about 15 years older than me, but otherwise very similar (similar socioeconomic, length of residency in the community, etc.), and said how much I'd like to see a strip plaza on the main drag redeveloped into mixed-use. She was adamantly opposed. She said it was "too close" to our low-rise residential community. Even when I said I thought 3 floors of residential (which would hold only, maybe, 18-20 units) with ground floor retail would be the best way to take advantage of the location while respecting the scale of the nearby community (so, 4 floors total, with no residences directly across the side street and a pretty wide alley between it and the 2-story house next to it), she still said she'd oppose anything taller than 2 floors total. She was so vociferous you would have thought I'd proposed a 20-story highrise. She agreed she wanted it redeveloped, but was very vocal in opposition to anything even remotely dense, and even said she'd prefer it to be all residential rowhouses, even when I pointed out that there aren't a whole lot of people who would enjoy a rowhouse opening onto a wide, busy street, and WE BOTH SHOP AT THE PLAZA, so getting rid of the retail would hurt both of us.

I just hope I don't turn into that...

by Ms. D on May 10, 2013 7:41 pm • linkreport

@Ms. D, I don't think you need to worry about becoming your neighbor.

I'm a boomer. I seem to be a bit of an outlier for my generation, as I've always had a taste for crowded city life and a distaste for suburban sparseness. This hasn't changed as I've gotten older; instead, I'm having the delightful experience of all these younger folks, the coming generations, actually sharing my tastes in large numbers.

by A Streeter on May 10, 2013 8:53 pm • linkreport

Rain barrels as any serious flooding solution is kinda funny when you start looking at the amount of water involved during the bloomingdale floods. Each roof alone would have produced over a 1000 gallons of runoff. A 55gallon rain barrel does nothing except make you feel all green and fuzzy. I don't see residents running out and installing large cisterns en-mass to prevent runoff. W/o that, the mcmillan 6 million gallon temporary storage is the only real solution until unless you like watching river rescue tow rafts up to R.I and 1st.

by rain on May 11, 2013 1:35 am • linkreport

@rain

That seems wildly untrue. My rain barrel is 150 gallons. 1,000 of those are 150,000 gallons. It takes 40,000 barrels to take the 6 million gallons you mentioned. With 300,000 residences in the district, that is certainly attainable. You know how you get to 40,000? One at a time... We are up to three on my row, and we are directly north of Bloomingdale.

by Kyle-w on May 12, 2013 10:03 pm • linkreport

Kyle,

Yes, there are 300K housing units in the city, but only 120K of them are SFH, and only about 12000 of those drain to the same sanitary sewer that runs through Bloomingdale. Putting rainbarrels on every house in Tenley town isn't going to affect Bloomingdale one bit.

That leaves every single apartment and SFH that feeds that drainage responsible for getting a 500 gallon rain barrel.

It is not a solution, not even a "part" of the solution unless you get every single SFH owner to get a 500 gallon tank to sit outside their house (umm, no), and every apartment or condo building to build enormous underground cisterns to collect 500 gallons for every unit they have in the building. Again, not ever going to happen.

by rainbarrel on May 13, 2013 8:17 am • linkreport

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