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Afternoon links: Getting it done


Photo by jdcohen.
Teenager gets hometown onto Google Transit: Two years ago, a 15-year-old transit aficionado wanted his hometown of Lexington, Massachusetts to join Google Transit. So he joined the town's transit advisory board, persuaded officials to go along, and helped out himself. According to the article, Boston's much larger MBTA will be joining Google Transit in July. (The Boston Globe, Jaime)

What happens when you park in a bike lane: A bus took the turn a little too tight at Thomas Circle, hitting a utility truck that looks to have been illegally parked in the bike lane. The Circulator drivers are going to have to get used to their routes, and maybe utility employees can get used to not blocking bike lanes.

Smart Growth bill passes Maryland house: "The measure, which was approved Monday on a 95-42 vote, is designed to encourage local governments to steer development to areas that already have infrastructure." It will take effect in 2012. You can read the bill here. Will it work? Maryland seems to have a history of passing Smart Growth laws that accomplish little. (ABC7, Jaime)

The wheels on the bus go... away: To fight obesity, pollution, and traffic, an Italian town has replaced its school buses with volunteers and paid staff leading groups of schoolchildren along the old bus routes. Could this program even work here in the States, what with the abysmal pedestrian conditions along many school bus routes? (New York Times, Adam S.)

BRAC getting more expensive, governments can't afford to keep widening roads: BRAC's massive shift of defense jobs to auto-dependent exurban locations is moving quickly, despite rising costs. Meanwhile, local governments' tight road budgets mean they can't afford all the intersection widenings they'd planned, deepening fears of a traffic apocalypse thanks to poor transit to Forts Meade, Belvoir, and the other regional BRAC sites. (Post, Jess H.)

Why all you can do at a Virginia rest stop is rest: Marc Fisher writes more about the reasons Virginia rest stops can't sell food, which would make back their costs and much more. As several commenters noted, a federal law prohibits this outside toll facilities, with Maryland using some creative loopholes. The best solution would be to just make Virginia's main freeways toll roads and market price them.

Suburban mansions going up in Foxhall: DCmud profiles a new development of "'estate homes' with sprawling 9,000 to 17,000 square foot lots" starting at $1.5 million in the Palisades. Ryan Avent wishes we could better utilize the scarce land so close to downtown.

You've totally wished you could do this: Today's xkcd draws out a fantasy that's flashed through many parkers' minds:

It'd have been an even better comic if Hat Guy had been on a bus or bike that was stuck behind a double parker.

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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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Does anyone have any suggestions on how to talk to people who are parked in a bike lane? Or if to talk to them? Surely there's a punchy sentence or two that we can utter that conveys a message without being obnoxious. In the moment, it's always difficult for me to find that equilibrium.

As far as the rest stops go, I don't mind that there's no food there. In fact, I kind of like it. They're not messy and it kind of keeps the journey tranquil and free of the rampant commercialism that is so much a part of our lives. I'm used to not seeing vendors. Plus, they emphasize the history of the place (usually) or its natural environment, and I can learn a thing or two.

K Street today was the worst I've ever seen it. A standing still parking lot. There were a huge amount of tourist buses. I'm not sure if they were what was slowing anything down or not. The thought occurred to me that the city was abandoning its responsibilities to get out there and direct traffic.

Lastly, I read someone saying on the Adams Morgan list that the new S9 only goes to McPherson Square.

by Jazzy on Mar 31, 2009 10:53 pm • linkreport

You left out the hover part of the comic that the author of xkcd always includes.

Go to the original at http://xkcd.com/562/ and hold your mouse over the comic. It says "Police reported three dozen cheerful bystanders, yet no one claims to have seen who did it."

by Doug on Mar 31, 2009 11:41 pm • linkreport

The funny thing about the Circulator bus is that the entire time it sat there waiting for the police to arrive, it kept displaying "have a safe day"

http://dcmetrocentric.com/2009/03/31/great-shots-isnt-it-ironic/

by Safety First on Apr 1, 2009 9:24 am • linkreport

Walk to school program: There is something similar in the US that is 3 years old. The Safe Routes to School program helps communities create conditions that enable kids to walk and bike to school. The impetus was the same as in Italy: intervention on the obesity/diabetes/inactivity epidemic. After successfully getting kids to walk/bike some communities have found they have been able to eliminate some busses and save money too ! http://www.saferoutesinfo.org/

by Bianchi on Apr 1, 2009 12:01 pm • linkreport

Ah mentioned this: Fisher also mentions an exception to the rule that the state can apply for . . . (or install a tollbooth to collect 25c at each end of Virginia)

That is correct. However, Congress authorized only three pilot projects for adding tolls to existing Interstates. Only one request per state. And VDOT has already applied for tolls on I-81.

So unless VDOT pulls the plug on their I-81 request, or Congress changes the rules, they can't ask to add tolls to I-95.

by Froggie on Apr 1, 2009 4:12 pm • linkreport

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