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Breakfast links: Caught on tape


Photo by Andé Gustavo Stumpf Filho on Flickr.
Police ticket U turns on Penn: Bill Walsh caught a cab driver on video making an illegal U-turn across the Pennsylvania Avenue bike lanes... and then an FBI police officer put on his siren and pulled over the driver for the violation.

School buildings to charters: A new DC government website will help charter schools use vacant DCPS buuildings after 16 schools close this fall. All will go to charters, as the law requires, rather than some to city agencies. (City Paper)

Outer Beltway opposition grows: A former member of Virginia's Commonwealth Transportation Board speaks out against the Outer Beltway. The board delayed its vote at Rep. Frank Wolf's request amid opposition in Prince William County. (Post)

Suburban versus urban poverty: Poverty in America is increasingly moving to the suburbs, especially in places with poor transit. Thanks to isolation and lack of services, that poverty is also far less visible and solutions more difficult. (Atlantic Cities)

Fragile Northeast corridor: A commuter train derailement in Connecticut injured 70 and shut down Amtrak and Metro-North service for days. Crowding on limited bus alernatives shows how much people rely on the Northeast Corridor with little alternative to handle the demand if something goes wrong. (Streetsblog)

Uber still hates regulations: Uber is fighting against another round of regulations, which require using one of several specific payment providers while Uber already has its own. It also doesn't want to send GPS data to the Taxicab Commission. (Post, DCist)

And...: Glover Park residents don't want a strip club on Wisconsin Avenue. (Post) ... Here's where the vacant property is in Ward 1. (New Columbia Heights) ... Pedestrian crashes rise in Montgomery County. (WAMU)

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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 and Editor-in-Chief of Greater Greater Washington and Greater Greater Education. 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 loves the area which is, in many ways, greater than those others, and wants to see it become even greater. 

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I kinda-sorta get the argument that DCPS has too large fixed costs in buildings. However, if you transfer said (aging) building to a charter, how is that going to help -- the charter is going to have to pay for the same fixed costs.

(granted, I see if a charter rennovates a building they can get a rent discount)

by charlie on May 21, 2013 8:54 am • linkreport

Regarding that last link: How are pedestrians crashing? Are they really drunk, and therefore failing to notice objects in front of them?

by Gray on May 21, 2013 8:58 am • linkreport

School buildings to be released to charters (25-year leases): Langston, Sharpe Health, Benning, Hamilton, Ron Brown, Shaed and Young, Ferebee-Hope, M.C. Terrell-McGogney, Shadd, Wilkinson, and Winston.

For short-term lease: Gibbs, Kenilworth, Mamie D. Lee, and Marshall.

From the Washington Post article.

by goldfish on May 21, 2013 9:00 am • linkreport

@charlie

If the charter has the student population to fill up the building, then they should be using it. The issue with DCPS buildings and closing schools isn't that they have high fixed costs because the buildings are old, it's that they have high fixed costs because the school is only using 25% of the building's capacity. You then have to pay heating costs for a building 4X the size of the one you need, you have to pay janitors to clean it, etc. Beyond that there are the fixed costs of the admin staff for the school (principal/AP/office) and you gain savings there when you can combine two schools and not have so many admin staff.

by MLD on May 21, 2013 9:05 am • linkreport

The admin staff is where most of the money goes. The overhead on a principal, assistant principal, receptionist, security, food service, etc. costs at least 10x more than heat and light bill in an old leaky building.

by goldfish on May 21, 2013 9:09 am • linkreport

Glad to hear the FBI ticketed that guy. Now, what about that FPS cop parked on the lanes this morning?

by RDHD on May 21, 2013 9:15 am • linkreport

RE: Uber
I can see their complaint on the payment systems - there should be some kind of way to get their payment system certified.

But the complaint about having to share location data is completely bogus. "Do you trust the taxi commission with your whereabouts?" - gotta laugh at that considering Uber has all that data in a black box already and uses it. That location data has had a thousand and one uses for the DOT in New York City and will be extremely important for DDOT as well for measuring not just things like changes in taxi demand and taxi locations, but also for measuring traffic speeds along streets in the city. I am fairly certain that nothing in the data connects a person to a trip, just a cab to a trip.

by MLD on May 21, 2013 9:15 am • linkreport

@Gray
Yeah, bad wording. It's about pedestrian-vehicle collisions. I don't understand how that's "pedestrian crashes" either. What's interesting about that article is that a lot of these collisions are occurring in parking lots and garages.

by dc denizen on May 21, 2013 9:16 am • linkreport

The CTB is rife with corruption, conflicts of interest, and overall ineptitude when it comes to transportation mitigation. There are only 2 members with any transportation backgrounds, one of which used to simply work on transportation construction projects with his family business when he was younger.

All of the rest of them are bankers or home builders.

Does that not shock people that the ones who make billion dollar decisions about whether a project is needed or not are also the ones that obviously directly benefit?

If GGW wants to run a cross post or re-run of my breakdown of each members background I am fine with that. It barely attained any notice on my site sadly, but I think people should know that these aren't transportation experts, they are individuals who are looking for pet projects.

http://thetysonscorner.com/commonwealth-transportation-board-who-are-they/

by Tysons Engineer on May 21, 2013 9:18 am • linkreport

and then an FBI police officer put on his siren and pulled over the driver for the violation.

Since when can the FBI ticket U-turns? Are traffic violations a federal crime? I feel a 4th amendment case coming up.

@ Gray:How are pedestrians crashing?

+1 It should say: Drivers still run over more pedestrians. Pedestrians are the object of the action, not the subject.

by Jasper on May 21, 2013 9:35 am • linkreport

Tysons, I love your site keep up the hard work.

by m2fc on May 21, 2013 9:40 am • linkreport

@MLD +1 The main issue with many DCPS facilities is under-used buildings. Many charter operators do what DCPS can't: fill seats.

by Ward 1 Guy on May 21, 2013 9:55 am • linkreport

@Jasper Eleanor pushed through a bill a few years back that gives all the "other" police forces in town the ability to ticket/arrest for violations of DC law.

by Moose on May 21, 2013 9:56 am • linkreport

@Jasper:

I used to work at a tourist site at the intersection by the FBI building, and I know FBI police were, even then (early in '08), granted some powers in policing the surrounding area. My company paid for two parking spots by the tourist site; I know that if you parked in one of them, it was a ticket-able offense, and FBI police officers were willing to write the ticket if requested so to do. Saw it happen once or twice.

What this means for jurisdiction I don't know, but I used to tell tourists as a matter of interest that that particular block (10th between E and F) was covered by three police agencies. (MPDC, FBI police, and US Park Police, if you're counting.) Another peculiarly DC institution, that...

by Ser Amantio di Nicolao on May 21, 2013 9:57 am • linkreport

@Moose: Ah, that would explain it, thanks.

by Ser Amantio di Nicolao on May 21, 2013 9:58 am • linkreport

I realize I'm kind of a prude but I'm with Glover Park on this one. Sounds like the strip club is crossing a line and will not attract a wholesome crowd to a pretty residential area.

by Alan B. on May 21, 2013 10:01 am • linkreport

Since when can the FBI ticket U-turns? Are traffic violations a federal crime? I feel a 4th amendment case coming up.

@Jasper-
Haven't seen anything that indicates a citation was actually issued- I'd guess he just tried to install some fear of enforcement before ultimately letting him go with a warning. Or he could have also called in an MPD officer.

Or... worth questioning: do the Feds have formal jurisdiction over the roadways core (w/ MOU with DC for MPD, DDOT, etc)? Or since DC is technically a federal entity under Congress... in either case: a traffic offense on the core streets might indeed be a federal offense. Can't say I know our fed/local laws & jurisdiction well enough to say for sure!

by Bossi on May 21, 2013 10:08 am • linkreport

I'm a bike commuter and I used to use that section of PA Ave every day and had lots of complaints about it. But I also recognize how hard it is to get from here to there in a car in that section of town.

I think a good compromise would be to allow u-turns, but require motorists to yield to cyclists and other cars (nobody approaching within 2,000 feet or something) and enforce the hell out of it. A driver u-turning anywhere near a cyclist should get points and risk losing his license. Need to severely punish some cab drivers to set an example.

by Ward 1 Guy on May 21, 2013 10:09 am • linkreport

I realize I'm kind of a prude but I'm with Glover Park on this one

Agreed. But at the same time, Glover Park residents don't even want a renovated grocery store, so it isn't as if their opposition to the strip club is based on some brave moral stance against public vice. They regard grocery shopping as an equally pornographic vice.

by Tyro on May 21, 2013 10:11 am • linkreport

@Bossi, will vary from with different agencies but usually you sign an agreement with local jurisdiction to allow that agency to enforce traffic laws.

As far as I know, there is no federal law against U-turns. FBI police may have concurrent jurisdiction for traffic offenses in the District (Cap police does, I think, as well as park police)

@MLD, ok, fair enough explanation, thanks.

by charlie on May 21, 2013 10:17 am • linkreport

Re: Strip Club in Glover Park

Don't they already have one, I.e. the Good Guys Club? (Www.goodguysclub.com). I've never been inside, but the site is discreet and looks well-tended. I don't see how a strip bar is inherently less worthy than a regular bar for approval, especially considering the clientele will be of a different "caliber" than if it were located in SE DC, for instance.

Re: school closing

I think it's a great dea to rent the schools out whenever possible. It keeps the property occupied, landscaped, and avoids blight/non-use of all-too-limited District space. For schools that do not get rented, perhaps the DCPS could rent them out to community groups? For example, the DC LGBT Community Center has been without a permanent home for years, and may soon get booted from the Reeves Center if the proposed DC United Stadium land-swap goes through. Why not let them access a closed school for a period of time?

Although we may not have the money, this might also be a good opportunity for DCPS to tear down some of the truly outdated schools and replace them with up-to-date schools (handicapped accessible, safer playgrounds, energy efficiency, etc), and the. "Swap" with one of the other schools that remains open in the interim. Given DC's land limitations, these opportunities will not likely come again as the city continues to grow in population and land gets more and more limited/expensive.

by Adam on May 21, 2013 10:23 am • linkreport

Not the greatest most recent experience w/Uber.

Driver picked me (well a friend) up from the southsyde @5am headed to DCA. He ended up charging me 46bucks for a Monday trip that cost way more than the $33 I paid for the same trip to DCA even though it was at 10am (Monday) during last year's snow storm. The same storm that saw our entire transit system shut down and cabs were operating on emergency status and could charge double (I believe) the price.

Fortunately they refunded 10dollars w/o question but it did made me think much less about the service considering how easy it was to be overcharged. Imagine if other drivers do the same things..especially to those traveling to/from EOTR. Not a good look at all Uber and I've since thought twice about reserving another one. Yet, they're complaining about regs. Yeah ok.

by HogWash on May 21, 2013 10:24 am • linkreport

Given that taxi drivers are supposed to be professional drivers, shouldn't the penalties be stiffer for breaking the law? Perhaps a suspension of their taxi licence for a week? After all, they should have no excuse for not knowing the laws. I keep up on the laws regarding my profession.

by guest1 on May 21, 2013 10:30 am • linkreport

Yet, they're complaining about regs.

Basically, their strategy is to complain about all regulations, good and bad, in order to get their way. Sometimes I really did feel they were getting screwed by the taxicab commission. But they react with histrionics to everything, so just because they're against something doesn't mean that they're being mistreated.

(I have had universally good experiences with Uber)

by JustMe on May 21, 2013 10:33 am • linkreport

I think I passing by the area when the FBI police officer had pulled over the motorist.

Yesterday afternoon they had some sort of protest around Penn Ave and Consitution which was only clearing up around 5, and was causing a rather large snarl in traffic on Penn and the cross streets. It was good for the FBI to ticket that motorist, but there were a metric ton of police vehicles still in the bike lanes and nobody was ticketing the busses that were just running through intersections and blocking intersections. (which I have seen a lot of since tourist season started esp at 15th and Penn)

by Kolohe on May 21, 2013 10:36 am • linkreport

FBI authority: From the FBI FAQ site:
Where is the FBI’s authority written down?

The FBI has a range of legal authorities that enable it to investigate federal crimes and threats to national security, as well as to gather intelligence and assist other law enforcement agencies.

Federal law gives the FBI authority to investigate all federal crime not assigned exclusively to another federal agency (28, Section 533 of the U.S. Code.) Title 28, U.S. Code, Section 533, authorizes the attorney general to appoint officials to detect and prosecute crimes against the United States. Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 3052, specifically authorizes special agents and officials of the FBI to make arrests, carry firearms, and serve warrants. Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 3107, empowers special agents and officials to make seizures under warrant for violation of federal statutes. The FBI’s authority to investigate specific criminal violations is conferred by numerous other congressional statutes—such as the Congressional Assassination, Kidnapping, and Assault Act (Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 351). The FBI has special investigative jurisdiction to investigate violations of state law in limited circumstances, specifically felony killings of state law enforcement officers (28 U.S.C. § 540), violent crimes against interstate travelers (28 U.S.C. § 540A0, and serial killers (28 U.S.C. §540B). A request by an appropriate state official is required before the FBI has authority to investigate these matters. In addition, Title 28, Code of Federal Regulations, Section 0.85, outlines the investigative and other responsibilities of the FBI, including the collection of fingerprint cards and identification records; the training of state and local law enforcement officials at the FBI National Academy; and the operation of the National Crime Information Center and the FBI Laboratory.

The FBI has authority to investigate threats to the national security pursuant to presidential executive orders, attorney general authorities, and various statutory sources. Title II of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, Public Law 108-458, 118 Stat. 3638, outlines FBI intelligence authorities, as does Executive Order 12333; 50 U.S.C. 401 et seq.; 50 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

This combination of authorities gives the FBI the unique ability to address national security and criminal threats that are increasingly intertwined and to shift between the use of intelligence tools such as surveillance or recruiting sources and law enforcement tools of arrest and prosecution. Unlike many domestic intelligence agencies around the world, the FBI can shift seamlessly between intelligence collection and action. This allows the FBI to continue gathering intelligence on a subject to learn more about his social and financial network, but shift gears quickly to arrest him if harm to an innocent person appears imminent. The threat of prosecution, in turn, can be used to encourage cooperation to support further intelligence gathering.

@ Moose:Eleanor pushed through a bill a few years back that gives all the "other" police forces in town the ability to ticket/arrest for violations of DC law.

This would be very unpractical, because how would they know exactly what the law is without being trained?

by Jasper on May 21, 2013 10:42 am • linkreport

I know that Capitol Police (learned the hard way), Secret Service, and Park Police can all write citations for DC violations. I assume that Bureau of Engraving and Printing can as well since I see them regularly pull over cars. I don't know specifically about the FBI but assume they fall into the same category as the other federal agencies. I don't think that the military police, like the ones at the Navy Yard, have jurisdiction outside of the base though.

Somewhat related, the Post had an interesting story a while back on the DUI cases handled by the Pentagon Police which technically occur on federal property and thus are handled by the federal court in Alexandria.

by dcdriver on May 21, 2013 10:46 am • linkreport

"Don't they already have one, I.e. the Good Guys Club? (Www.goodguysclub.com). I've never been inside, but the site is discreet and looks well-tended. I don't see how a strip bar is inherently less worthy than a regular bar for approval, especially considering the clientele will be of a different "caliber" than if it were located in SE DC, for instance."

If you read the article, JP's is set to have "private cubicles" so it will almost certainly be a front for prostitution. I mean the company running it is called "BJ Enterprises." It doesn't get more blatant than that.

The place was seedy before it burned down and it will be even more seedy now.

by Phil on May 21, 2013 10:46 am • linkreport

Also, it's next door to a frat bar that is a constant source of police issues and (legitimate) ABRA complaints.

by Phil on May 21, 2013 10:47 am • linkreport

Re the strip club: (i) the picture of the ANC Commissioner in the article is priceless; and (ii) the name of the business operating the planned establishment is BJ Enterprises? Really?

by dcd on May 21, 2013 10:50 am • linkreport

@ dcdriver; federal court -- but virginia or Maryland law. Again, no federal law against driving drunk.

So you sign a compact with the state to enforce the laws.

Pretty suspect, and I've always though you could launch the consitutional challenge to Arlington retrocession. And basically, although I don't think DC should get a congressional vote, it would add to the statehood arguments.

by charlie on May 21, 2013 10:50 am • linkreport

Wouldn't it just be similar to how college campuses have police forces that have full jurisdiction? I know that my college police *could* pull you over even if you were off campus.

by drumz on May 21, 2013 10:53 am • linkreport

@Jasper
This would be very unpractical, because how would they know exactly what the law is without being trained?

Presumably they are trained about some of it. And we're talking specifically about the different police forces that operate in the district, not FBI agents in general. They are there to police the area around FBI facilities, that includes violations of DC law they encounter there.

by MLD on May 21, 2013 10:59 am • linkreport

@charlie-

will vary from with different agencies but usually you sign an agreement with local jurisdiction to allow that agency to enforce traffic laws.

Pretty much what I'm guessing at for the DC core... or possibly all of DC... not familiar enough to know for sure how DC's establishment or how homerule affect that, or whether DC's local agencies are formally federal agencies in this fashion.

As far as I know, there is no federal law against U-turns. FBI police may have concurrent jurisdiction for traffic offenses in the District (Cap police does, I think, as well as park police)

I'd guess that either in DDOT's authorisation or in an MOU from Congress or USDOT it is stipulated that they have authority to enact regulations via TCDs. It's standard language to any state/local agency, other than it possibly coming from the Feds. If it comes from the Feds or Fed-authorised delegate: TCDs may indeed be enforceable by federal police forces.

by Bossi on May 21, 2013 11:02 am • linkreport

You are all assuming a ticket was issued. No where does it say there was. What more likely happened was the guy pulled him over, gave him an earful and sent him on his way.

by Arlie on May 21, 2013 11:06 am • linkreport

So no one expressed any concern that the FBI cruiser also had to make a U-Turn to pull over the violator? I wonder if the agent/cop looked back into the cycle track before making his illegal U-ie.

by recyclist on May 21, 2013 11:34 am • linkreport

@recyclist +1

Not sure why all the "federal offense" banter is going on, that has nothing to do with it. When I lived in Ohio, I did some work for a very large hospital statem's police force. Basically they had mutual aid/jurisdictional agreements with all police departments they owned properly on. This gave them the right to enforce any and all laws governing the jurisdiction they were operating in - with a few notable exceptions (ie sexual assault). The agreement also contained language to the effect that any investigation can be taken over by the primary jurisdiction for any or no reason at all. This is also how the college police and transit police operated. I imagine its similar in the District.

Also we're talking about the FBI's uniformed police division, not special agents. FYI the Secret Service also has a uniformed division. This post is already lengthy enough but you can find the mission statement of both forces online if you're curious.

Re: Uber. Posted about this yesterday. Not gonna copy/paste.

by dcmike on May 21, 2013 11:41 am • linkreport

@Ward 1 Guy: Or, you know, only allow U-turns on the left-turn only signals. All of the "green lights" on Penn are green arrows, specifying either straight-ahead or left-turn, so in some sense any other movement other than the specified green is forbidden. However, a green straight arrow never implies that a U-turn is permitted.

And cutting someone off as blatantly as shown in the video is ALWAYS a bad idea.

by Payton on May 21, 2013 12:17 pm • linkreport

I am glad that the federal police agencies can (and do) write tickets for DC motor vehicle infractions. MPD over the years has not made traffic enforcement a priority. It's great that the other police forces recognize that enforcement is not only important to safety, but that traffic stops can lead to catching some bad guys along the way. (Just ask Timothy McVeigh.)

by Alf on May 21, 2013 12:22 pm • linkreport

"MPD over the years has not made traffic enforcement a priority"
----

Actually, MPD relies heavily on traffic cameras to "keep the streets safe" and "free police officers for more pressing duties" like napping while "monitoring" speed cameras on commuter routes.

"It's great that the other police forces recognize that enforcement is not only important to safety, but that traffic stops can lead to catching some bad guys along the way."

Doesn't look like a priority for MPD.

by ceefer on May 21, 2013 1:01 pm • linkreport

@charlie

federal court -- but virginia or Maryland law. Again, no federal law against driving drunk.

Motor vehicle offenses on the Pentagon "reservation" (which includes certain surrounding roads)are covered in the federal regulations at 32 CFR 234.17.

Subsection (a) generally applies all VA motor vehicle laws to the Pentagon. Subsection (c) covers operating under the influence including the BAC standard (0.8) and rules for testing the sobriety of drivers.

FYI, while you are looking at the motor vehicle regs, browse on up to 32 CFR 234.15 which generally prohibits the use of cameras on the Pentagon Reservation without permission and subsection (b) takes this even further:

It shall be unlawful to make any photograph, sketch, picture, drawing, map or graphical representation of the Pentagon Reservation without first obtaining permission of the Pentagon Force Protection Agency, Installation Commander, or the Office of the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs.

So don't take a picture of the Pentagon from your room at the Residence Inn across the street...

by dcdriver on May 21, 2013 1:09 pm • linkreport

So don't take a picture of the Pentagon from your room at the Residence Inn across the street...

Hell, looks like I might have to start emailing them every time I want to draw a pentagon!

by MLD on May 21, 2013 1:13 pm • linkreport

I hope that the dark chocolate Pentagons at the Costco bakery are constructed properly with the full power of the federal government behind them, because they are deeelicious.

by worthing on May 21, 2013 2:56 pm • linkreport

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