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Breakfast links: Pass the popcorn


Photo by Joakim Wahlander on Flickr.
Big screen trend: Movie theaters are heading back to DC. After a decade of watching theaters disappear, recent development trends indicate the big screen is coming back. (UrbanTurf)

Are traditional downtowns over?: Downtowns are re-emerging as exciting places, but the "traditional" downtown may be a thing of the past. Were baby boomers the last to experience a healthy, exciting downtown? (Switchboard)

Will Metropolitan Branch ever be finished?: The Metropolitan Branch Trail remains uncompleted 21 years after its conception. Property conflicts are still unresolved and DDOT has not begun design plans. (WAMU)

Older transit networks yield more growth: Cities with older rail networks saw greater gains in transit commuting than cities with recently expanded networks. In 2012, 37.8% of workers in DC took transit compared to 33.2% in 2000. (NextCity)

Churches everywhere dislike bike lanes: Another church pastor wants to protect his on-street parking from cyclists. Dr. Mertyl Bowen wants bike lanes moved from 6th to 9th street, claiming 9th is closer to the "bike stands" and Metro. (TheWashCycle)

Makers and takers: With an average income higher than the nation, DC is a city of makers. But stark inequalities also mean many residents must rely on Medicaid and unemployment. Will a minimum wage hike counter that inequality? (City Paper)

DC's changing demographics: DC's college-educated residents are spreading throughout the city, while foreign-born residents gather along the 16th Street corridor, according to demographic analysis using the Census' new mapping tool. (City Paper)

And...: A woman was killed by an SUV driver as she walked her dog near 7th and G Streets SW. (Post) ... Maryland plans to auction 80,000 acres of land near Ocean City to harness offshore wind power. (WAMU) ... Tolls on the Dulles Toll Road will increase to $2.50 beginning in 2014. (Post)

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Kayla Gail Anthony is a current graduate student in Community Planning at the University of Maryland. She holds a BS in Communications from The University of Alabama. Kayla is an avid Geocacher and spends her weekends watching Alabama football games. She lives in Mt. Pleasant. 

Comments

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Note: Bike lanes aren't a special thing. They should be a very normal thing. Therefore, a suggestion of "just take a different street" shouldn't apply.

The burden of proof should be why a street shouldn't have bike lanes. Not why it should. Streets are for moving, not sitting and that's why parking for cars should be less of a priority than moving for bikes.

Besides, if you can get 15 or so cyclists who are around age 30 then voila, you have 450 years of experience which is apparently the metric we use around here for planning.

And whatever happened to dropping people off at the door (like the elderly for example) and then going to find a parking spot?

by drumz on Dec 19, 2013 9:06 am • linkreport

@Twenty Years On, Metropolitan Branch Trail Remains Unfinished

Blame Takoma Park, MD. Also there is a few miles between the capitol crescent trail eastern terminus and downtown silver spring. In addition Sligo creek trail hasn't been appropriately connected to Fort Totten via the Fort Circle Parks. That alone would connect three long distance bike trails and downtown Bethesda, downtown silver spring, downtown Takoma Park, college Park, hell Sligo creek trail and rock creek park trails stretch far into Montogmery county, all the way to downtown Rockville even.

by Bill the Wanderer on Dec 19, 2013 9:06 am • linkreport

Theaters should sell more spiced nuts and seeds and healthy snacks. I'm surprised Michelle Obama hasn't made the pitch to the liberal donors in Hollywood and NYC.

by @ShawingtonTimes on Dec 19, 2013 9:08 am • linkreport

+1 ShawingtonTimes - I love movie popcorn once and awhile, but some mixed nuts or spiced almonds would be great. My bet is that nuts are expensive, and thus they would have to charge a higher price which many patrons would not pay, and then they would sit there and go bad before sold. Supply/demand. Since I do not go to the movies more than 5-6 times a year, I don't mind if it's unhealthy, but it would be a nice change if they did have something like nuts.

by JDC Esq on Dec 19, 2013 9:12 am • linkreport

Interesting counterpoint to previous articles discussing the great strides made by SLC. I guess if you build it they will come doesn't always apply to transit. That said, my very rough estimate is that it takes about 10 years for a rail line to start to mature and 2-3 years for a bus line. In the case of cities with a transit past, arguably it could take much longer for the right development to happen organically.

by BTA on Dec 19, 2013 9:19 am • linkreport

@Bill the Wanderer:
@Twenty Years On, Metropolitan Branch Trail Remains Unfinished
Blame Takoma Park, MD.
I'm not sure how this is predominantly TP's fault. Most of the stretch in TP has actually been built. The main problem is that the northern end doesn't get you anywhere useful, because the SS historical society has held that up for so long so that they can keep using public property for private events.

I don't know the story behind the interim stretch going down Eastern in TP, which clearly needs to be fixed. But a far bigger problem is that long stretch without a path in Takoma DC and Fort Totten.

by Gray on Dec 19, 2013 9:19 am • linkreport

Re: MBT

I started commuting on the MBT in its entirety this fall. The interim route is not easy or particularly safe in some parts, particularly the portion on Fort Totten Drive NE by the transfer station. It's a two-lane road with parking on one side and it has a lot of truck traffic from the cement plant nearby. The lanes are too narrow for cars to pass me safely, so the safest thing for me to do would probably be to take the lane. However, traffic is bumper to bumper in the opposite lane so cars cannot pass me by going into the oncoming traffic lane (which they shouldn't, since it's a double yellow line anyway), and the hill is quite steep, so I'm often moving slowly. I end up riding in riding in the door zone of the parked cars to avoid holding up traffic, and grit my teeth and hope that the cars, school buses, cement trucks, dump trucks, and garbage trucks that frequent this route leave me enough room and refrain from shouting or honking at me to get out of the way.

There is no good way to get around this section. The sidewalk is too narrow. There is no signage letting drivers know that bikes will be present. It's the most unpleasant and dangerous part of my commute, and it's the best DDOT can come up with right now. It would be one thing if this was a route of my own invention, but this is supposed to be an official bike route. DDOT needs to get it together.

by MetMet on Dec 19, 2013 9:31 am • linkreport

"Churches Don't Like Bike Lanes" is unfair and needlessly divisive. Some churches don't like bike lanes. Look around some churches and you will find bike parking and bike helmets next to people on the pews with jackets and stuff. Those churches like bike lanes. That's the case at my church.

The churches that want to be able to parking anywhere any time, freak out about bike lanes and are generally lousy neighbors deserve to be called out. But they aren't all churches.

by Kate W. on Dec 19, 2013 9:44 am • linkreport

BTA,

I don't know enough about the new cities to comment but I wonder if its a case of development failing to catch up to the transit that's been built, particularly in SLC. I'm willing to listen to someone with a little more knowledge of the area to share.

The rest of the article said that the results of the ACS may have an impact as well. It can be harder to figure out who is using transit in a city with overall low usage. Compared to here where you have roughly a 50/50 chance of finding someone who drives to work vs. some other way.

by drumz on Dec 19, 2013 9:44 am • linkreport

Kate W,

I feel you (I go to church too, but actually further out in the suburbs) but at the same time we're living in a city where churches who don't want a bike lane are able to somehow convince the city to deviate from it's plans and reduce or eliminate bike lanes on the street. Maybe it wouldn't sting so bad if pastors and bishops were making calls to the city council asking them to get DDOT to hurry up on bike lanes outside their doors.

by drumz on Dec 19, 2013 9:48 am • linkreport

The part of the MBT on Ft Totten Drive is the worst. Too much of a hill with too much damn car traffic; drivers get impatient and pass dangerously. Building the segment between the transfer station and the Ft Totten Metro should be priority #1.

by MLD on Dec 19, 2013 9:51 am • linkreport

The article referred to transit share not rail share. AFAIK most of the systems that recently got their first new RAIL line have significant (and old) bus systems. I haven't examined the data, but I would bet that those bus systems (which likely mostly serve the poor) are losing ridership, and the new rail systems are not big enough to offset that.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 19, 2013 9:58 am • linkreport

FYI, Mertyl Bowen is female, so it's more accurate to say she wants to protect her on-street parking from cyclists. (I expect she'll get it, too, despite the extent to which her argument depends upon bearing false witness.)

by cminus on Dec 19, 2013 9:58 am • linkreport

@drumz, but it is SOME CHURCHES not ALL CHURCHES. And it certainly wasn't news when we got bike racks installed on the street at my church. Not that it should have been news because it's pretty basic infrastructure, but stuff like that does happen. Church members excited about bike lanes is not a news story even when it happens.

by Kate W. on Dec 19, 2013 10:00 am • linkreport

RIP to the woman walking her dog. I hope the driver/murderer does at least 20 years in prison.

by h st ll on Dec 19, 2013 10:04 am • linkreport

Then all I can tell you is start writing press releases or submit something to here. Still, it's a problem that a number of churches are doing what they can to protect free street parking no matter what.

I'm not the site's editor and I'm not going to argue the word choice.

by drumz on Dec 19, 2013 10:05 am • linkreport

@AWalkerInTheCity
The article referred to transit share not rail share. AFAIK most of the systems that recently got their first new RAIL line have significant (and old) bus systems. I haven't examined the data, but I would bet that those bus systems (which likely mostly serve the poor) are losing ridership, and the new rail systems are not big enough to offset that.

The article also compares the rail transit ridership to rail transit commuters in the ACS. I suspect the ACS data just isn't good enough to go that granular. Most of these places have seen ridership increases since 2000. In Houston ridership is down significantly (over 10%) since 2000, but in Dallas, DART ridership is up 20% since 2000, and in Salt Lake, ridership is up 70% since 2000. Now, some of that may be transfer growth, but it can't all be.

by MLD on Dec 19, 2013 10:08 am • linkreport

Polarizing bigoted hyperbolized headline here and @Wash_cycle.

United House of Prayer, First Rising Mt Zion Baptist Church, Springfield Baptist Church are also on 6th St NW btwn Fla and PennAve, neither they or the MCC, Third Baptist Church, Hemingway AME (on 5th St NW, just east of 6th St) have fought expanding bike facilities.

Most of these churches, work in and with the community on a number of fronts. They don't hate cyclists because they realize pedalers are people and most churches, synagogues, mosques and temples exist to serve the diverse needs of God's people.

Picking on one person, a person of faith, and a black person to create some controversy that only exists in the minds of a few is intellectually dishonest and exaggerating it to the ridiculous isn't even good blogging, much less good journalism.

Shiloh Baptist Church on 9th St NW, just had more bike racks installed in front of its church to accommodate pedalers:
https://twitter.com/ShawingtonTimes/status/381777491519496192

First Rising Mt Zion on 6th & N St NW, which owns Gibson Plaza Apartments, had secure indoor and outdoor bike racks installed in front of that residential building realizing that its lower income and market rate residents are cyclists:
https://twitter.com/ShawingtonTimes/status/402813062702329856

The church on NY Ave NW and Asbury United Methodist Church didn't block the bike lanes on the streets adjacent to their streets. But Asbury worked with DDOT to ensure that the bike lane was relaxed on Sundays so that everyone could be accommodated fairly well.
https://twitter.com/ShawingtonTimes/status/413684391676637184

The @Wash_cycle headline should have read:

"Dr. Mertyl Bowen doesn't like bike lanes"

@Wash_cycle should correct it unless he wants to perpetuate idiotic division and burn bridges instead of supporting diverse coalitions to build bridges (and bike lanes). "Dr" Bowen has probably already done an admirable job of poisoning the minds of her followers with equally divisive demagogic hogwash, without realizing that many pedalers are also parishoners. Us v Them arguments are the folly of fools.

You'd be better off targeting the elected officials of ANC6E, and its triathlete Chairman Rachelle Nigro, which has done little to nothing to expend bike facilities for its residents on 6th St when its ANC members aren't stoking the flames of division themselves.

The problem with a bike lane on 7th St NW (one block from the largest grocery store in the city at CityMarket at O) is that 7th St narrows between N St NW and NY Ave, making biking hazardous for most pedalers who must compete with big buses and trucks and cars motorists that regularly cross the double yellow lines:
https://twitter.com/ShawingtonTimes/status/380350371236806656

(DDOT still needs to hand out more $100 fines for automobilists blocking NYAve Bike lanes: https://twitter.com/ShawingtonTimes/status/377118590740480000)

Thanks,
MRM
http://www.thewashcycle.com/2007/08/bike-theft-e-ba.html

by @ShawingtonTimes on Dec 19, 2013 10:08 am • linkreport

In Fairfax, churches have worked with FABB on outreach to poor (mostly hispanic) cyclists.

This churches vs bike lanes thing is basically a DC issue, and mostly a central city DC thing. And, not to put too fine a point on it, its a black church in DC thing. That has to do with many factors - churches with relatively elderly congregations, many of whom have moved (either to Md or further out in DC) and use autos to get to church both on Sundays and for other activities during the week, and which often are influenced by the wider range of resentments about change that older working class and lower middle class african americans in DC often have.

by BikeAdvocate on Dec 19, 2013 10:08 am • linkreport

In other news, 7006 is in Greenbelt yard:
Smiley face

by Sand Box John on Dec 19, 2013 10:11 am • linkreport

Shawington

Thank you for the valuable info on inner city churches (including I gather several mostly black churches) that are supporting cycling.

I agree that WashCycle should not have headlined it that way. In fairness, I believe he was frustrated by the M Street issues, and saw this in that context.

by BikeAdvocate on Dec 19, 2013 10:12 am • linkreport

So sad about the person killed by an SUV just before the holidays :( I live right there! Be careful everyone. One Love!

by SW, DC on Dec 19, 2013 10:17 am • linkreport

Luther Place on Thomas Circle has newish (last year or so) bike racks outside and bike parking inside. I can't say if there was active support of the nearby bike lanes, but there certainly wasn't opposition since lots of the people who work in the church building bike to work.

by Kate W. on Dec 19, 2013 10:19 am • linkreport

https://twitter.com/ShawingtonTimes/status/413684391676637184

I don't see how that is accommodation. That is a bike lane being blocked by cars.

by CyclistinAlexandria on Dec 19, 2013 10:38 am • linkreport

I think DC needs a few small/medium municipal parking garages on the fringe of downtown. One thing I've seen recently is to build rooftop fields on top of parking garages to combine parking and green space. Or potentially negotiate with a big developer to include some municipal space (preference for local residents/businesses/churches) within their required parking?

by BTA on Dec 19, 2013 10:42 am • linkreport

@Shawington, if United House of Prayer, First Rising Mt Zion Baptist Church, and Springfield Baptist Church aren't against the proposed bike lanes on 6th then they really need to say something -- because Rev. Bowen testified at the hearing that she was there to communicate the opposition of those three churches as well.

by cminus on Dec 19, 2013 10:48 am • linkreport

Churches everywhere dislike bike lanes

This is like saying that muslims everywhere dislike America because there are several anti-american terrorists who are muslim.

by Falls Church on Dec 19, 2013 11:23 am • linkreport

NextCity is a good blog. In DC we try to re-invent the wheel way too much and stories on other cities help.

Was just in SLC for the first time since their almost overnight rollout of a rail transit system. It's really nice and attractive and plenty of U students at least use it. SLC's problem may be that most of their streets are like 12 lanes wide and the population isn't very big. But it leaves plenty of room for dedicated lanes and SLC's system was very cheap to build.

OTOH the Phoenix system on Central is just bad and ugly as hell. Like DC's new line on Benning Road. It has hundreds of giant black crucifixes in the middle of the street.

by Tom Coumaris on Dec 19, 2013 11:29 am • linkreport

Being indelicate in a description doesn't mean there isn't a problem.

And its not like these churches (and the christians that comprise them) are being persecuted in any way. There is just a plan that might take away some parking spaces that weren't theirs to begin with.

People describe neighborhoods in a broad brush and that's not always fair but the crux of the matter is still the fact that complete streets are being ignored in favor of preserving parking. If we get the bike lanes then we won't worry about painting all churches with a broad brush anymore as well.

by drumz on Dec 19, 2013 11:32 am • linkreport

One thing I appreciate with bike planning is splitting up directions on different streets as long as they are parallel and next to each other. That said it makes a lot of sense to put bike lanes as close to 5th and 6th as possible because of the way 395 and NJ ave break up the continuity until you get to 1st or so (which also seems like a good candidate for a bike lane).

by BTA on Dec 19, 2013 11:40 am • linkreport

FWIW, the original idea for what became the MBT dates to 1989. See:

- http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/washingtonpost/doc/307188020.html?FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&date=Sep+24%2C+1989&author=&desc=Geared+to+Everyone%27s+Interests-A+Brookland+Bike+Trail

2. I don't think that Fort Totten Drive is absolutely terrible to ride on, albeit not great, especially where the road is torn up by cement trucks, but I have suggested that a cycletrack could be built on the park side from Gallatin to Hawaii, and even on the east side of Hawaii up to Taylor Street NE.

3. I think the biggest obstacle to the trail must come from NPS, because if the section of the trail from Riggs Road through Fort Totten and the greenway section from Oglethorpe to Riggs Road were constructed, that would provide a great deal of visibility and connection, driving demand and agitation to complete the trail.

Maybe it's time to take Delegate Norton on a walkthrough. She did get NPS to put lighting in at Sherman Circle (sadly, after a bicyclist was robbed and killed late at night).

by Richard Layman on Dec 19, 2013 12:03 pm • linkreport

"Churches everywhere dislike bike lanes!"

"The bike lobby wants to take over the streets!"

Anyone else see the similarity?

by ceefer66 on Dec 19, 2013 12:29 pm • linkreport

@ceefer66:

Um, both have an exclamation point? Except that you added that to the title above, so maybe that's not the similarity you're somehow seeing.

by Gray on Dec 19, 2013 12:33 pm • linkreport

Great now we can ignore similar instances in the future, instead choosing to focus on what's actually proposed. In this case free and available street parking vs. The need to add to DCs bike infrastructure.

by Drumz on Dec 19, 2013 12:34 pm • linkreport

The second one is true. The bike lobby does want to take over the streets. And we want to get your daughters hopelessly addicted to "Dr. Who" reruns.

by David C on Dec 19, 2013 12:34 pm • linkreport

*free and available diagonal street parking.

by Drumz on Dec 19, 2013 12:35 pm • linkreport

So, as a christian/church-attender and avid cyclist who thinks bike lanes make DC a better place I say: it's not worth it to be outraged over being painted with a broad brush. Direct that energy back into promoting your churches that do want to see more bike friendly streets. Then we'll solve many problems all at once.

by drumz on Dec 19, 2013 1:16 pm • linkreport

Wsahcycle did not say churches everywhere but "churches still" which due to the ambiguity of English grammar, can mean SOME churches OR ALL churches.

Im afraid Ms Anthony made the error - I can see how errors may creep in, when something is posted under deadline, by volunteers.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 19, 2013 1:20 pm • linkreport

@Gray,

"Um, both have an exclamation point? Except that you added that to the title above, so maybe that's not the similarity you're somehow seeing"
----

Ummmmmm, I added the exclamation point to point out that both statements are ridiculous hyperbole.

Sorry you missed it. Better luck next time.

by ceefer66 on Dec 19, 2013 1:49 pm • linkreport

@ceefer66: Oh, you make an excellent point. The best way to show that something is "ridiculous hyperbole" is to make it more hyperbolic.

Guess I wasn't lucky enough (or just too dumb) to see the brilliance at work.

by Gray on Dec 19, 2013 2:08 pm • linkreport

shouldnt we be talking about the percent by which they increased their ride share?

LA increased it's share from 10.2 to 11.1, a 9% increase
NY only 5%
DC 14%

by Richard on Dec 19, 2013 4:23 pm • linkreport

Pajama boy article was funny - wrong and obnoxiously transparent in its political pandering - but funny. If you can't laugh at yourself who can you laugh at!

by BTA on Dec 19, 2013 4:38 pm • linkreport

@gray,

"Guess I wasn't lucky enough (or just too dumb) to see the brilliance at work.
-----

You said it, I didn't.

Never mind. No problem.

by ceefer66 on Dec 19, 2013 5:44 pm • linkreport

While we're criticizing the pastor's testimony at Monday's hearing on the bicycle master plan, we should also remember that the most bizarre and troubling testimony from that hearing was actually presented by a bicycling advocate.

The witness stated in opening remarks: "Once upon a time, the colonists took a revolutionary action seeking a 'separate but equal' place in the new world order. Today, bicyclists seek that same place."

This statement, of course, is historically inaccurate. But it is also politically tone-deaf, obnoxious, and offensive to use the term "separate but equal" to promote separated bike infrastructure, and to favorably compare users of bike infrastructure in the District to colonists. Since advocates are ready to pounce on the illogical complaints by churches and others against bikes, it seems like we should be careful to make sure our allies don't make similarly shockingly ridiculous statements in public fora.

I was actually surprised that the pastor did not condemn these remarks, since she testified on the next panel. I'm sure she took note of them and can now report back to her congregation and neighbors that bicycling advocates openly admit in public hearings that they view themselves as "colonists" from "suburbia" looking to establish a "new world order" of bicycle infrastructure in the District.

by 20712 on Dec 19, 2013 6:36 pm • linkreport

@CyclistinAlexandria

Churches, at least the Protestant churches (the Catholics have several masses during the week) primarily need extra parking only on Sundays between 9am and 2pm (even those longwinded Baptists when they get #theSpirit). Giving up the striped bike lane use for those hours isn't going to kill any pedalers, especially when the main street lanes are much less congested on Sundays during those hours and cyclists, as always, can legally use all lanes on city streets. Frankly, when the "car lanes" are empty, I prefer to use those and stay as far away as possible from parked cars.

Relaxing a cycle track bollards on the blocks where there are churches, and just putting in painted lanes, doesn't seem like a difficult infrastructure task.

@cminus

If UHOP was officially represented in the testimony by the pastor, she failed to represent the interests of UHOP's church cycling club which I have ridden with on several occasions — and they like bike lanes. I'll talk to Springfield and 1st Rising's pastors this weekend. I suspect they've been demagogued by the usual suspects into taking a polarizing position that doesn't represent their values or their demonstrated level of cooperation with the community.

@ BikeAdvocate

The MCC on 5th St is mostly LGBT in all of its colorful diversity.

by @ShawingtonTimes on Dec 19, 2013 10:03 pm • linkreport

Churches, at least the Protestant churches primarily need extra parking only on Sundays between 9am and 2pm . Giving up the striped bike lane use for those hours isn't going to kill any pedaler

Well, it might, but even so, that isn't what they're asking for. They're asking for no bike lane.

Relaxing a cycle track bollards on the blocks where there are churches, and just putting in painted lanes, doesn't seem like a difficult infrastructure task.

No. But it degrades the quality of the infrastructure at all times of the day every day, when - as you point out - parking is only "needed" for a few hours a week.

Frankly, when the "car lanes" are empty, I prefer to use those and stay as far away as possible from parked cars.

But, as it turns out, not everyone is you. Some people have other preferences - like being in bike lanes - and so this facility might be geared towards them, and not you.

by David C on Dec 19, 2013 10:14 pm • linkreport

@ David C,

We can't get everything we want in this life (and likely the next). I live on a street w/ a bike lane right outside my front steps. It would be great if it were a curb separated cycle track to avoid the conflicts that still happen, but that's not going to happen.

Safer streets are the goal; if (when) all drivers are safer, and all cyclists are more predictable, we won't even need bike lanes, or other traffic calming measures. But even simple bike lanes signal motorists that cyclists are on the street and have dedicated space on the road, so they are more mindful to our presence and none of us need to deal with unpleasant surprises.

by @ShawingtonTimes on Dec 19, 2013 11:12 pm • linkreport

if (when) all drivers are safer, and all cyclists are more predictable, we won't even need bike lanes, or other traffic calming measures.

Even Amsterdam still has separated bike facilities.

But even simple bike lanes signal motorists that cyclists are on the street and have dedicated space on the road, so they are more mindful to our presence and none of us need to deal with unpleasant surprises.

Right. Which is why the bike plan should be followed and bike lanes installed on 6th. I honestly don't know what you're responding to here.

by David C on Dec 19, 2013 11:25 pm • linkreport

'Giving up the striped bike lane use for those hours isn't going to kill any pedalers'

This is bad practice and against all safe cycling guidelines - aka, don't weave in and out of moving traffic lanes.

by CyclistinAlexandria on Dec 20, 2013 9:41 am • linkreport

MGM WINS MGM WINS!!!!!

MGM gets nod to build Md. casino
MGM gets nod to build Md. casino

By far and away the best proposal, will be a between visual addition to the southern part of the beltway! I hope to afford the hotel rooms and spa someday.

by Bill the Wanderer on Dec 20, 2013 12:46 pm • linkreport

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