Greater Greater Washington

Government


Enough broken promises from DDOT

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) promised to complete a number of important projects by now or by the end of this year. Quick quiz: Can you identify which of these have met or will meet the promised deadline?


Photo by Len Matthews on Flickr.

  • Start streetcar service on H Street NE-Benning Road by the end of the year.
  • Devise a better system for handling visitor parking passes and residential permit parking.
  • Start building a separated bike lane (or "cycletrack") on M Street NW.
  • Expand Capital Bikeshare to twice its original size.
  • Make pedestrian safety improvements to Maryland Avenue NE.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of a new median on Wisconsin Avenue NW in Glover Park.

The answer: None of the above. DDOT has delayed or given up on all of these promises.

Continue reading my latest op-ed in the Washington Post.

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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Nice op-ed. Glad someone is finally calling out DDOT's incompetence under Bellamy's "leadership". It's gotten so bad that I may vote for someone other than Gray based solely on the hope that there are changes to that agency.

In addition to the more visible (and important) projects you listed, there's at least one more illustrative, albeit small, example: it took DDOT 3 months to paint the bars on the Duke Ellington bridge this summer, inconveniencing pedestrians on the bridge throughout. This was finished a month over their allotted time, when it should have taken a couple weeks at most. No accountability.

by dno on Nov 16, 2013 2:51 pm • linkreport

Keep up the heat.

by NE John on Nov 16, 2013 3:47 pm • linkreport

Contraflow bike lanes on G St NE and I St NW.

by Biker on Nov 16, 2013 4:15 pm • linkreport

Don't forget the 15th Street Cycletrack resurfacing....months late in starting and finishing.

by Ryan Sigworth on Nov 16, 2013 4:26 pm • linkreport

Am i remembering wrong, or didnt this website endorse the current leadership during the last election? And didn't many raise red flags that if the current leadership got elected, transportation would severely suffer?

by JJJJ on Nov 16, 2013 7:16 pm • linkreport

I gotta admit, I laugh out loud every time Alpert decides to complain about this administration, its DDOT, it Planning/Zoning decisions and its mayor considering he put the full court press on in supporting Gray, despite the countless warnings of what would happen to the contrary.

DDOT isn't meeting your expectations because Klein isn't there anymore, a clear and predictable consequence of a Gray administration. Then again, Klein just got canned in Chicago too, so maybe you can have him write in to run against Gray :)

by ButUEndorsedGray on Nov 16, 2013 7:34 pm • linkreport

Nice column. (For most readers, the fact that D. Alpert was supportive of Gray, and now criticizes his administration, adds a little weight to his argument).

However, I have trouble getting that discouraged about DDOT, which still seems to me to be heading in the right direction (if extremely slowly) at least compared to WMATA.

by DavidDuck on Nov 16, 2013 8:52 pm • linkreport

I want to elaborate on my previous criticism.

The sad fact is, it's extremely rare to get a progressive transportation administration in this country. It takes a strong mayor who cares, the ability to hire a strong staff that will be allowed to do their work AND the ability to hold the course when the opposition arrives.

NYC had that with Janette.
DC had that with Klein.
Chicago currently has that with Klein.
Boston sort of has that with Nicole.

...and that's pretty much it for major cities.

Now look at the other top 50 cities. Miami? Absolutely nothing. Philadelphia? Eh, something, but not much. They painted some great bike lanes, hit some opposition, pulled some out. Portland? Their whole system is in a serious stall. SF? Its a lot like DC today, many big idea, many big delays. LA? Trains, yes, roads, not really.

The list goes on.

The point is, DC had something very, very rare. In my opinion it was very foolish to endorse a change because the odds that the status quo (or better) would continue were minimal.

IE: If you have a 5% chance of voting in a progressive administration that will hire a progressive transportation staff AND allow them to do their thing AND not blink....

If you already have that, you don't gamble that you will catch lightning again. Theres a 95% chance you wont.

(Numbers made up obviously).

Many people expect the NYC progressive street movement to go into a serious stall, because their new mayor, as left as he may be, doesn't see it as a priority. Even if Janette stays, she'll be crippled (so shell probably give up and leave).

Chicago? Whoever replaces Klein may not be so bold as to want to mess with Chicago politics.

Boston? No idea what will happen come January.

Elections have consequences.

by JJJJ on Nov 16, 2013 11:17 pm • linkreport

JJJJ,

You're remembering wrong. This website did not endorse anyone. David endorsed Gray. Maybe he regrets that, maybe he doesn't. Certainly one could support a candidate even while they oppose some of the policies they plan to institute or the way they end up governing.

But even if he does regret supporting Gray, if you've never voted for someone and regretted it, then by all means cast stones. But if you recognize that people are, y'know, human then it comes off kind of petty and small to be constantly coming back to this. You think he was wrong, but since we don't have access to a parallel universe in which Fenty has been Mayor, we'll never really know. But if you want to be the guy who constantly shouts "I told you so" then I guess I can't stop you. Just remember what you usually think of that guy.

by David C on Nov 16, 2013 11:34 pm • linkreport

On the subject of DDOT. Let's be clear what is going on here. They have to:

1. Plan a project
2. Accurately predict when a project will be complete
2. Institute that project

I'm not that upset if they're bad at #2 (or if I have to pick one that they suck at, that's what I'd choose). And there are a lot of times that is the case.

by David C on Nov 16, 2013 11:37 pm • linkreport

There is no such thing as “an effective median” unless it is a jersey barrier.

by AndrewJ on Nov 17, 2013 7:48 am • linkreport

Add DCStreetcar to DDOT's list of non-starters. Why is DDOT even thinking about investing in street cars citywide? They are capital intensive, costly to operate, inflexible once constructed, present hazards to bikers, and require unsightly overhead lines. And they don't reduce travel time very much if at all, particularly compared with Bus Rapid Transit. A collosal waste of taxpayer's money.

by G. Bateman on Nov 17, 2013 7:54 am • linkreport

What is sorely lacking at DDOT, and many other government agencies, is accountability. The writer bemoans the unexplained delays implementing needed transportation improvements, but at the end of the day who is accountable for meeting deadlines and getting the job done? Do missed deadlines and budget overruns have consequences for anyone in the District government? District taxpayers pay a huge price for this lack of accountability - delays often equal added costs that are born by every citizen in the District.
The DC Streetcar is a particularly egregious example to consider in this regard. After ten years we still have no operating streetcar, and DDOT cannot even guess when the initial segment will be operating. District tax payers will end up footing the bill, paying far more to build the streetcar than they would if the organization in charge of the project was accountable.

by Where Is My Streetcar? on Nov 17, 2013 8:42 am • linkreport

In defense of DDOT, consider what happened when DDOT tried to implement a citywide visitor parking pass program (better described as a "household employee parking" program). Residents protested at what was perceived to be a threat to their parking, and District Council cut the program down.

City bureaucracies can, in the end, do only what the District Council permits and authorizes them to do. If the political groundwork isn't laid before DDOT undertakes a new program, our elected representatives may quickly stop DDOT in its tracks.

This GGW community has become an echo chamber for the already convinced, and it's easy to think that anything favored here will perforce be popular with the District at large. The attitude seems to be that we're right, so all the nay-sayers, those old folks in love with their cars, should step aside and get out of the way.

That's not realistic. David Alpert, and his followers, have to do their political homework first, figuring out how to sell their programs to the public, including those stodgy oldsters who complain bitterly about the "war on cars". As our District Councilmembers will tell you, they are not to be ignored. Somehow you've got to persuade them -- many of them, anyway -- why what you're proposing is, in the long run, right for the District.

by Jack on Nov 17, 2013 9:57 am • linkreport

Why not send DDOT Director Terry Bellamy a list of questions and ask him to explain what's going on. That will be a great follow-up column.

by kob on Nov 17, 2013 10:51 am • linkreport

To this list, let me add one. DC bought a small CAT vehicle for trail maintenance. They want to use it to maintain the Capital Crescent Trail. For this they need the NPS to agree to allow them to do this. NPS signed this agreement months ago, but DDOT has not. This is an agreement DDOT asked for. Why have they not signed it and started maintaining it? Only Bellamy knows.

by David C on Nov 17, 2013 11:44 am • linkreport

I think its a good idea to have Bellamy answer to these questions. I can understand that its a tough job, and estimates are an art, but there is no excuse for not being open about it.

by SJE on Nov 17, 2013 4:02 pm • linkreport

Let me add my extreme disappointment with DDOT under Bellamy:

We've waited 2.5 years to get one block of a buckling, temporary asphalt sidewalk-an obvious pedestrian hazard-replaced in Michigan Park. By comparison, it took only 4 months to have THREE full blocks of sidewalks installed under Gabe Klein after we moved here from Adams Morgan.

DDOT put us through the arduous process of collecting signatures simply to get "Slow Zone" signs and new lane markings in a failed attempt to slow the horrific vehicular speeding on South Dakota. Fortunately, MPD has been far more responsive-and effective-with our speed cameras.

We've waited almost six months to simply get DDOT to paint new crosswalk markings that are completely faded-another obvious pedestrian hazard-at two intersections.

Now that Gabe is available, let's get him back! DDOT under Bellamy has been far less responsive, which is entirely unacceptable.

by Tom in Michigan Park on Nov 17, 2013 4:26 pm • linkreport

David C, yes, I have regretted my vote, only because there was no one better to vote for. Difference was, I didn't endorse the person I didnt want to to vote, or/and use such a powerful platform as this website to do so.

I think "I told you so" is very valid when it comes to elections, because its important that those errors be recognized.

by JJJJ on Nov 17, 2013 5:17 pm • linkreport

@DavidC
"You're remembering wrong. This website did not endorse anyone. David endorsed Gray"

That distinction you are trying to make doesn't exist. According to GGW itself, "David Alpert is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Greater Greater Washington and Greater Greater Education.

He started it, he pays the bills, he finds and approves of all the contributors, and he is the editor in chief. His opinion "is" GGW's opinion, and it is viewed that way publically.

Your endorsements, or any of the other contributor endorsements don't matter from an overall standpoint. GGW is rightfully or not, viewed as the David Alpert blog by the local media. Exhibit one, the weekly space the Post gives him to write these things. Exhibit two LL's and Debonis's updates that quotes David's endorsement and completeed ignored the two opposing it.

by Francois on Nov 17, 2013 5:49 pm • linkreport

Jjjj, fine, would you like to tell us where you told us so? When did you express these concerns before the election?

Francois, that distinction may not matter to you, but it does exist. And believe me, as one who eas in on the conversations about who endorse, it mattered a great deal to the contributors Of GGW.

by David C on Nov 17, 2013 7:22 pm • linkreport

@David Alpert - Where did you get this list of projects from? The links in the Washington Post article were taking me straight back to the editorial article you wrote.

And just to clarify, "Devise a better system for handling visitor parking passes and residential permit parking" wasn't accomplished because they just reverted back to the old system?

@JJJJ - what sources do you follow to keep up with the transportation news in all of the cities you were mentioning? (not aware of a good one or two sources, but it sounds like you might know!)

by CityGal26 on Nov 17, 2013 7:44 pm • linkreport

@DavidC,
If it doesn't exist in the local media, then it doesn't exist. Debonis, the Post, Wash City Paper, the radio and TV show that Alpert does have no idea who you are, nor the other contributors. The other endorsements made weren't covered by any other outlet, hence they were immaterial so while it may have been an important distinction for you to make, no one outside of GGW ever acknowledges the distinction between Alpert and GGW.

by Francois on Nov 17, 2013 8:00 pm • linkreport

The fact that the media can't make the distinction says more about their own laziness, and doesn't change the fact that DA made his vote for Gray separate from GGW, and that many GGW people endorsed Fenty. That said, DA could do GGW a service by pointing out this distinction.

by SJE on Nov 17, 2013 9:18 pm • linkreport

If it doesn't exist in the local media, then it doesn't exist.

This is near the top of the list of the saddest things I've read in 2013.

by David C on Nov 17, 2013 9:50 pm • linkreport

It's not worth rehashing the endorsement again. Gray has generally been a steady hand, anyway. He probably thought turning the DDOT helm over to Klein's deputy would continue the competence of Klein's directorship without the in-your-face style that did Fenty in. That strategy mostly worked for DCPS, but has failed completely at DDOT. The agency seems to have taken a huge step back, both in vision and in basic competence.

by dno on Nov 17, 2013 10:18 pm • linkreport

DDOT pretty consistently missed deadlines under Klein (and before that too all the way back to DannyT), we've just forgotten about that with time. But I think we could put together a pretty good list. The streetcar, for example, pre-dates Klein.

by David C on Nov 17, 2013 10:39 pm • linkreport

That said, DA could do GGW a service by pointing out this distinction.

No point in that, because there's no point in rehashing this crap from three years ago. David's endorsement didn't throw the election to Gray; judging by the reaction on this website it seems unlikely that many people were convinced to switch their vote one way or another.

David's endorsement of Gray is completely off-topic to the discussion of whether DDOT is doing a piss-poor job or not.

by MLD on Nov 18, 2013 8:32 am • linkreport

About a year ago, there were serious commnetors here saying H Street street car would not be done by June 2014. In fact saying there was zero chance it would be done by that.

Given all the battles it had to overcome - the non-cooperation from Amtrak, the problems with the vehicles, and the extended battle over Spingarn - if it really opens in March I will say hats off to DDOT.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Nov 18, 2013 8:53 am • linkreport

DDOT pretty consistently missed deadlines under Klein (and before that too all the way back to DannyT), we've just forgotten about that with time. But I think we could put together a pretty good list. The streetcar, for example, pre-dates Klein. retty consistently missed deadlines under Klein (and before that too all the way back to DannyT), we've just forgotten about that with time. But I think we could put together a pretty good list. The streetcar, for example, pre-dates Klein.

In Nova land of competence (if reactionary competence) the Silver line will be late opening as well. Rail transit projects are complicated. Coming in a few months late really is not that big a deal.

You might counter that the bike infra should be easy. OTOH considering how long its taking FFX county just to approve a friggin' bike PLAN, DC doesn't look so bad from this side of the river.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Nov 18, 2013 8:56 am • linkreport

While I'm not really a fan of Bellamy or Gray, the problems with establishing and sticking to project timelines, accountability and quality control for project completion and overall communication of their day-to-day work, as well as long-term goals, have long plagued the agency. The issues were prevalent during Klein's tenure as well.

Overcoming the general apathy of an overly bureaucratic agency will be JSK's real legacy in NYC after she cleaned house. No one has done that at DDOT yet.

by Jeff on Nov 18, 2013 9:01 am • linkreport

Perhaps a problem comparing DDOT to the transportation agencies in New York City, Chicago, Boston, et al is that those are city departments of transportation while DDOT is, I think, technically a state department of transportation. That might mean that DDOT is subject to federal rules and regs while the city DOTs (which get no money directly from the feds) have more freedom and flexibility. I am not trying to let DDOT off the hook, just wondering if its apples/apples and a better comparison for DDOT is e.g., VDOT?

by City vs state DOT? on Nov 18, 2013 9:22 am • linkreport

@David C;

"I'm not that upset if they're bad at #2 (or if I have to pick one that they suck at, that's what I'd choose)."

While I'm not completly disagreeing with your analysis, what you are describing is essentialyc contract management. And I'd agree that DDOT is doing a piss poor job -- typical of a lot of DC agencies -- on that.

by charlie on Nov 18, 2013 9:37 am • linkreport

@ AWalker:You might counter that the bike infra should be easy. OTOH considering how long its taking FFX county just to approve a friggin' bike PLAN

The difference being that Fairfax is actually moving in the right direction and that it is generally managed pretty well. Budget works, and a balance is found between both sides of the isle. Compromise takes time. I am fairly sure that once the plan is approved, it will be implemented. That's not something you can say of DC.

by Jasper on Nov 18, 2013 10:11 am • linkreport

"The difference being that Fairfax is actually moving in the right direction and that it is generally managed pretty well. Budget works, and a balance is found between both sides of the isle. Compromise takes time. I am fairly sure that once the plan is approved, it will be implemented. That's not something you can say of DC."

Fairfax is moving in the same direction as DC, from a much less advanced place - and at no faster a pace.

How the budget works we will see, since FCPS has a $140 million deficit.

IM not sure what you mean by both sides of the aisle (not isle). FFX GOP is pretty much NIMBYIST (at least on affordable housing, and I think on the Silver line, though they do support development, at the urging of the Chamber of Commerce) but they are outvoted lately. Are you referring to DC Council?

In the last three years, on biking alone, DC has built the L Street Cycle Track, has added to the MBT and Anacostia RiverWalk trail, and striped more bike lanes. I do not understand what you mean by not being able to say that of DC.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Nov 18, 2013 10:20 am • linkreport

While I agree that some DDOT projects haven't happened, things HAVE happened. The reconstruction of the 11th street bridges, Bikeshare, the trails over and along the Anacostia, and streetcar aren't peanuts. Those successes notwithstanding, there have been serious bobbles in policy that extend beyond DDOT. Projects like L street for example, are indicative of a larger communication problem - both with the public and internally within DDOT.

That said, when we meet in forums like this and discuss how things aren't happening the way we'd like, I realize that part of DDOT's problem is centered squarely on us.

DDOT should work better for bicyclists, pedestrians and even motorists. They should be accountable, attentive and focused on delivering a safe and comprehensive transportation system. However, I've gone to many meetings on infrastructure and many times the voices heard here are not represented. I see the usual handful of suspects who always attend meetings but in many cases, they are overwhelmed by the vocal minority / majority who say "no". Come election time, many voices here don't press candidates and vote accordingly (although they say they do). Instead of contacting members of Council about how we want a complete and safe transportation system, we come here and hurl bombs from the safety of the interwebs(throwing bombs are fun but ultimately unproductive).

For every one of you who doesn't like how DDOT operates, go to a WeMoveDC meeting, a DDOT planning meeting, or a Council hearing and bring 5 friends. Tell DDOT what you want and don't stop until you get it. Listen to what others have to say and be willing to compromise if the greater transportation good is served. We aren't going to get everything we want but we still can may incremental progress. If you want a safer Pennsylvania Avenue don't just join WABA and call it done. When Council has its DDOT oversight meeting in February / March, provide 3 minutes of testimony. When we fill a hearing rooms asking for a comprehensive bike infrastructure regularly, I bet things will start happening.

by Randall M. on Nov 18, 2013 10:52 am • linkreport

In Nova land of competence (if reactionary competence) the Silver line will be late opening as well. Rail transit projects are complicated.

You can't compare the scope and complexity of the multi-billion dollar Silver Line project with a 2.4 mile streetcar segment. Furthomre, the Silver Line will be completed a few months late while the streetcar will come in at least two years late.

by Falls Church on Nov 18, 2013 11:50 am • linkreport

Is it really fair to blame the current DDOT leadership for the street car not being done in 2011? Wasnt that the fault of the previous leadership, which folks here are praising?

DA in his post specifically mentioned DDOTs promise to complete the street car by the end of the year. Clearly he was addressing the recent activities, by the current admin.

In that context, a few months is basically what Dave C says it is - a failure to realistically estimate completion - and not a large one at that.

Clearly the Silver Line had plenty of complexity. But even a small project can have complexities of its own - and this one had the change to early assumptions about the western terminus, about the placement of the mtnce facility, and issues with rolling stock.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Nov 18, 2013 12:10 pm • linkreport

@David C, Ive been commenting on this blog for many years. Im sure youll find my comments on Fenty and Gray in previous article comment sections.

@CityGal26
Theres not one website (except streetsblog which covers nyc, sf, la and chicago).
I can suggest http://bikeportland.org/ for Portland stuff - mostly bike but they do look at streetcars and peds

Boston has http://www.universalhub.com/ which focuses on general news but does get into transportation stuff. IE, the headline right now is about train station bathrooms. http://www.archboston.org/community/ is where you want to go for deeper discussion, in their transportation forum.

http://secondavenuesagas.com/ is good for NYC area transit stuff.

...and many more. As I said, theres not one stop, but a series of excellent bookmarks.

by JJJJ on Nov 18, 2013 1:17 pm • linkreport

While it's important to keep the pressure on, DDOT is getting a bit of a raw deal here. Transportation in this city has improved a lot over the past 10 years or so. Besides the ongoing WMATA saga I can't think of any issue I'd want to turn back the clock on. Yes it could all be done better and it's important to keep pushing, but really progress might be slow but at least it's still progress.

by BTA on Nov 18, 2013 1:31 pm • linkreport

in my own blog, charlie and I think spookiness have criticized me for pushing forward a planner-centric agenda (when I push forward those "progressive era" type ideals about how things should work) at the expense of more involvement by elected officials.

I think of it more as trying to "bake into the structure, system, and process" "doing the right thing" and "having the right vision." The truth is probably somewhere in the middle.

David's piece I would argue is an argument for baking into the system (ideally through a robust master transportation plan and vision process) a consensus and robust vision, rather than to focus on the "hail mary" aspects of "great people". I didn't think that there was great vision necessarily with the previous administration, but there is no question that there was a "bias for action" (in the Peters and Waterman sense) and that meant a lot got done.

Now there isn't much of a transportation vision and sadly thus far I am disappointed with the approach of the MoveDC transportation planning process thus far in terms of building a robust vision and then robust frameworks for dealing with each functional element.

Hopefully, I'll be able to knock out a position paper on this in January, in time for the February plan draft unveiling. Thus far, I would approach how to do the plan a lot differently than it appears they are doing.

Then again, I haven't gone to any advisory committee meetings, and maybe those meetings are super awesome and scintillating and show vision going forward.

by Richard Layman on Nov 18, 2013 1:33 pm • linkreport

JJJJ, I looked but I can't find the comment from before the election where you warned us all of what would happen to DDOT and project timeliness if Fenty were not re-elected. I mean, if you're going to say "I told you so" you really should have actually told us so.

by David C on Nov 18, 2013 1:36 pm • linkreport

City vs. State DOT -- actually, you have it reversed. DC has way more flexibility than a typical city DOT, not only because it has more control over policy and practice, but has more money (the equivalent of a State DOT). The sick thing is that we don't use this capacity, and the DC DOT is often somewhat timid in dealing with USDOT.

Plus as a "state" DC has a seat at the table at WMATA, which is way different than how cities are able to deal with regional transit authorities, which in the case of Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, and NYC, are regional-state entities.

SF is more comparable, actually the best example in the US, of how a city transportation agency could be set up to be integrated and robust, because they control the MUNI system but also deal with BART and CalTrain and ferries.

by Richard Layman on Nov 18, 2013 1:40 pm • linkreport

@RichardL: I get that DDOT has more responsibility but I don't see how it is more flexible if it’s under the thumb of the federal rules vs other cities that only report to their city leaders and have a smaller scope. Nor do I see how there's an advantage vis-a-vis the major transit agency. Philly has more than one seat on SEPTA’s board and the Chicago mayor appoints 4 of the 7 seats to the CTA’s.

I think the bottom line is that DDOT is a different kind of animal - both in terms of other state DOTs as well as city DOTs.

by City vs state DOT? on Nov 18, 2013 2:37 pm • linkreport

@ButUEndorsedGray
Then again, Klein just got canned in Chicago too, so maybe you can have him write in to run against Gray :)
Do you have a link to something supporting him being canned versus just resigning to come back to DC?

by Walter on Nov 18, 2013 3:00 pm • linkreport

City vs. State--the point you're missing is that the city dots are subservient to the state dots for the most part, based on state law, except for the possibility of having a complete streets policy that could go beyond a state policy. City DOTs for the most part have to follow all the relevant state laws and policies, including the state version of the MUTCD, in order to spend money, get reimbursements, etc.

Because in DC the city and the state dot are the same, you don't have that same level of subservience or disconnect between what a city would want to do and the often more rurally-driven road policy baked into the state MUTCD manual.

I don't know enough about California to know why the SFMTA gets to be pretty innovative, whereas if they were in another state, they wouldn't have the flexibility.

Note that except on certain things, US DOT is probably willing to allow more innovation than most states take up. (cf. the Smart Transportation Guide which is the state manual for Pennsylvania and guidance in NJ).

Where the problem is really is at the intra-state level, because State DOTs tend to be rurally dominated policy-wise and for a variety of reasons city mobility issues are discounted and not treated to the extent that pro urbanists like us would want. (Oregon is an exception to this. There is great strife in Washington State over how rural legislators think that Seattle needs overdominate the state, etc.)

by Richard Layman on Nov 18, 2013 3:07 pm • linkreport

city v. state -- the dif. between Chicago, Philly and DC is that DC is the payer to WMATA ("the one who brings the money calls the tune") and that isn't the case in Chicago and Philly, at least I don't think so, not to the same extent anyway.

E.g., in NYC, the State calls the shots not the city except on ferries. WRT WMATA and Maryland and VA, the State in Maryland has more stake than the localities, because they are putting in the money and similarly, in the last couple years the State of VA has asserted more control over the state's participation in WMATA, taking some governance participation away from the VA localities.

by Richard Layman on Nov 18, 2013 3:12 pm • linkreport

@David C, I looked through a few older posts from the time period and youre right, I cant find any comments I left. Maybe I was posting under a different name? Maybe I posted about it in a different forum? I dont know honestly.

by JJJJ on Nov 18, 2013 6:18 pm • linkreport

city v. state -- e.g., even DC has this problem a bit because of Federal DOT requirements. e.g., based on more rural and suburban configurations, you are not supposed to use federal transpo funds to pay for a new traffic signal that is within 1,000 feet of another one. That's only 3 blocks in a city and it is normal to have 2 signals, even 3, at that distance, whereas on a suburban arterial, it's more normal to have traffic signals every 1/2 mile.

But this is only one rule that has unequal negative impacts for cities.

by Richard Layman on Nov 19, 2013 9:21 am • linkreport

I am just going to break a few things down for people here as a ddot employee. Yes, things have slowed down and there is a lack of accountability from the prior administration. We dont have bold plans like Chicago and we are not grading ourselves like they are http://chicagocompletestreets.org/

However you should know that Terry Bellamy wants to do more. The problem is simply that Mayor Gray has made it clear that he wants his cake and eat it too. What I mean is that he wants progressive policies, but through Allan Lew is clear that he does not wanta lot of action on the ground. This particularly applies to bike lanes and not so much the Streetcar which he does want running. Vince thinks he needs to stay true to the AA voters who supported him as the anti-Fenty and is already facing backlash over gentrification and not stopping it with his base. This is just the reality of politics and while it's disappointing I would not say it is surprising. I hope this helps clarify some of the issues.

by DDOT Person on Nov 21, 2013 10:46 am • linkreport

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