Greater Greater Washington

Breakfast links: It's not really a big college town


Photo by NCinDC on Flickr.
Howard Town Center lawsuit tossed: A federal judge has squashed the $100 million suit brought against Howard University by a former development partner. Will the long-planned town center project finally move ahead? (WBJ)

Gallaudet growth: The western edge of the Gallaudet campus (across from Union Market) is planned for mixed-use development that would help connect the school and the neighborhood. The university is close to picking a development partner. (Post)

More residential to Capitol Riverfront: The site directly atop the Navy Yard Metro, originally planned for office, will instead be developed as a 13-story apartment building. Meanwhile, a site to the northwest that was still on Lehman Brothers' books has been sold to JBG, who are also expected to build apartments. (WBJ)

Needed: a lot more housing: Job growth projections suggest the region will need almost 550,000 new housing units over the next 20 years. Aaron Weiner explores the daunting task of creating that much supply, especially in DC. (City Paper)

Bus ridership beats rail in most cities: The dominance of rail over bus among Washington commuting is an anomaly on the national level. In every other city except New York and Boston, buses service the lion's share of transit users. (Next City)

Can our shoulders carry buses?: Planners are studying two highway corridors to evaluate the feasibility of turning shoulders into bus lanes. The first finding: there's little to no documentation of the current condition of the shoulders. (WAMU)

Pedestrian tunnel gets a hearing: A proposed tunnel under Rockville Pike would improve both pedestrian safety and traffic flow near the Medical Center Metro. The Montgomery Planning Board will take it up at their next meeting. (BethesdaNow)

And...: Are very small apartments bad for your health? (Atlantic Cities) ... MARTA is installing high-tech urine sensors in the Atlanta transit system's elevators. (WSBTV) ... In an unfortunate trend reversal, DC's homicide rate is up this year. (WAMU) ... Worker advocates lost the Walmart wage battle, but won the war. (City Paper)

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Sam Sherwood moved to DC in 2007, and has lived on the same block of T Street NW (albeit in two different apartments) ever since. He is a commercial real estate appraiser with Integra Realty Resources, and spends his evenings playing guitar for Mittenfields

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Re: bus ridership

WMATA's done a good job keeping its bus fleet spiffy, and the talk in the region about buses has been positive (even if not enough has been done to move buses faster on the roads). Both tell bus riders they're "a priority." People like to feel good about their ride. Talking nice about buses and backing that up with vehicles makes riders want to associate with the mode. Plus a bunch of other reasons...

by jnb on Dec 20, 2013 9:01 am • linkreport

The MARTA urine detection system is a huge waste of money. Urine-soaked elevators are a feature of any US big city transit system (unfortunately). Unless they plan to have an officer standing by ready to immediately effect an arrest, what's the point? The pee perp will be gone amongst the crowd within seconds. And if they are willing to have the officers standing by, just skip the detector and put the cop directly on the elevator. I don't get it.

by dcmike on Dec 20, 2013 9:06 am • linkreport

Buses make more sense for less dense areas. It is also complementary to rail often serving as a feeder. And especially if they are given priority improvements buses do a great job in the ~1-5 mile or so range.

by BTA on Dec 20, 2013 9:09 am • linkreport

Bus ridership beating train ridership correlates to places where there aren't that many trains; it's not like most people prefer to take the bus over a train.

by DE on Dec 20, 2013 9:10 am • linkreport

These links turn things up to 11.

The challenge with buses is the frequency and how unknowable they are.

Money can solve a lot of the first problem (while creating a whole set of new ones!). Technology can help with the second. I wasn't really around in an area before real time arrival technology but now that it's here I find it to be a great boon that has helped me a lot more than its disappointed me.

by drumz on Dec 20, 2013 9:11 am • linkreport

re the article on health and micro units

I dont think that makes the case for banning them - if you ban them (or severely limit them by zoning) people will make their own de facto micro units, by sharing slightly larger units (very common in NYC, and not uncommon here and elsewhere.

However to me it raises very important questions about the idea of using microunits as a substute for substantially increased square footage - if we are going to have more people we need to built the space to accommodate them, not expect everyone to live in 250 sq ft per person.

by AWalkerInTheCIty on Dec 20, 2013 9:19 am • linkreport

With buses frequency and overcrowding remains a challenge, especially during offpeak hours. The region needs to realize that people want to and will use transit outside of their commutes, but that 15+ minute waits are a huge deterrent to that.

Also, seriously, bus lanes everywhere already. DDOT has been painfully slow to start moving on this.

by Low Headways (frmly MetroDerp) on Dec 20, 2013 9:23 am • linkreport

Real time arrival is huge. I've previously waited half an hour for a bus before (D2). Now I can open up an app and compare arrival times on a couple of different bus routes to figure out which stop to head to. Arguably less useful for rail commuters who probably dont have an alternative for most trips.

by BTA on Dec 20, 2013 9:23 am • linkreport

Yes, I'm lucky to live close to a bus stop where there's like 5 routes beginning to converge on their way to the metro station so it can create a de-facto 10-15 minute frequency or less, especially if I'm transferring to metro.

by drumz on Dec 20, 2013 9:28 am • linkreport

What the Gray Administration and some other candidates (and snews media) conveniently and consistently fail to mention is that as the District grows by ~1k residents, that's simply a net value; Honest Tommy Wells acknowledges that as new primarily younger well heeled residents move into the city, ~3k residents, primarily the poor, older, ethnic minorities, singles/LGBTs move out of the city — making a fair amount of housing available (for landlords to jack up the rents for the unsuspecting newbies!).

via: ‏@TommyWells
@ShawingtonTimes @TommyWells2014 @Dizzyluv25 @maustermuhle I assume those leaving are African American, middle to lower income.
2:25 PM - 28 Oct 13

by @ShawingtonTimes on Dec 20, 2013 9:31 am • linkreport

Hopefully MARTA is really just putting the signs up in all their elevators and just telling the media they're installing fancy piss-detectors. Probably would have the same effect for a lot less money.

by MLD on Dec 20, 2013 9:34 am • linkreport

Real time tracking is huge.
Too Bad
MTA hasn't moved forward with it, despite a
promise to have it in place by fall,
announced a year ago.

by scratchy on Dec 20, 2013 9:38 am • linkreport

At first I was kind of shocked that a shallow pedestrian tunnel could cost 68 million dollars. Now I see there are 5 elevators and a emergency staircase going down to the metro station. Still $68 million...

by Richard on Dec 20, 2013 9:38 am • linkreport

The City Paper article on the need to build more housing is interesting in how segregated DC is portrayed from the region. I know that reflects the political reality, but it also argues for that reality to change. While DC's diamond shape is iconic, it shouldn't stand in the way of sound planning and policy decisions. Like New York 100+ years ago and Paris recently, DC should think about some kind of administrative annexing of neighboring jurisdictions to plan coherently for how the region should handle growth.

Based on George Mason's Center for Regional Analysis, it states that over the next 20 years, there will be 857,334 net new jobs in the D.C. region, and 148,507 in the District proper. The job market is fluid so it should stand to reason that while these job numbers might be fixed, the employees who would take these jobs aren't for obvious reasons. You could come here for a job in Arlington and end oup in DC for the next one or Montgomery County. So I don't think DC will ever get Arlington County back, but if Maryland got DC back, it could kill many birds with one stone. First of all, we could finally give DC representation in Congress, which is a travesty that it's not done and secondly, we could plan as a region rather than always complaining that DC should capture every red tax cent they can. Afterall, many of these inbound commuters come into DC to drop dollars on DC's ammenities, so this constant bickering over who should hoard all the tax base is counter productive.

Also, the article says that our transit infrastructure will be overwhelmed if DC dosen't absorbe the lions share of future jobs. This is a bit of a strawman since the transit infrastructure is already overwhealmed and should be increased asap regardless. Our transit system will be used by people moving thorough out DC anyways unless we expect all growth be absorbed into one walkable neighborhood.

I definatly agree that DC should capture as many residents as it can for obvious reasons, but to think this is the only way to grow seems unnecessarily constrained by political boundaries that the region has long outgrown.

by Thayer-D on Dec 20, 2013 9:43 am • linkreport

MTA is moving forward with Real Time as I understand it. Not sure when it will be out but I think they might even be in the testing phase already for some services.

by BTA on Dec 20, 2013 9:43 am • linkreport

I find it entertaining that the projections from the City Paper say 150k jobs to come to the district out of a total of 850k... so 700k jobs will be in the burbs, where the real increase in housing closer in is easier to accomplish & easier to plan for.

by Navid Roshan on Dec 20, 2013 9:46 am • linkreport

The black population in DC has gone down in every census since 1970. We need to stop pretending this is some crazy trend that started with millenials.

by BTA on Dec 20, 2013 9:47 am • linkreport

It's not just a pedestrian tunnel it's a second Metro entrance on the other side of the road as well.

by BTA on Dec 20, 2013 9:54 am • linkreport

"Also, the article says that our transit infrastructure will be overwhelmed if DC dosen't absorbe the lions share of future jobs. This is a bit of a strawman since the transit infrastructure is already overwhealmed and should be increased asap regardless. Our transit system will be used by people moving thorough out DC anyways unless we expect all growth be absorbed into one walkable neighborhood."

The issue is overall transportation infrastructure.

Take Tysons, for example. Right now 5% of commuters to Tysons go by transit, per MWCOG. Its forecast that at the 2030 level of growth it will be 22% (though some forecasts out there say 19%). To increase to 31% as Tysons reaches buildout under the current comprehensive plan, circa 2050. That is still lower than the CURRENT transit share for downtown DC (which should increase over time). That means lots and lots of people trying to get into Tysons by car. And AFAICT that includes substantial further transit investment (including an Orange Line extension)

And its the same or worse at other employment centers in the middle burbs.

The only suburban locations that are close to comparable to downtown DC in terms of transit access, ability to utilize the third mode (walking/biking), a general layout favorable to transit, etc are in Arlington. And Arlington pretty much faces the same issues of impending buildout, limited locations for densification, etc that DC does. And unlike DC, there are no longer any parts of Arlington held back by crime and poverty. The only two advantages Arlington currently has in absorbing growth, vs DC, is a taller height limit, and a very aggressively pro-smart growth majority on the BoS. Though there is one member (Supervisor Garvey) at variance with the board majority, and she may well win an ally in the next special election to fill retiring Supervisor Zimmerman's seat.

by AWalkerInTheCIty on Dec 20, 2013 9:55 am • linkreport

Urine sensors in the subway are just a revenue generation tool.

by Crickey7 on Dec 20, 2013 9:57 am • linkreport

And they violate our right to privacy.

by Crickey7 on Dec 20, 2013 9:57 am • linkreport

"where the real increase in housing closer in is easier to accomplish & easier to plan for. "

Nuh uh. Downtown DC is surrounded by neighborhoods that one can walk from, and that are built to pedestrian oriented (and transit supportive) densities.

Tysons is surrounded by Pimmit Hills, Dunn Loring (the part north of the 66 and the Merrifield district) McLean, Great Falls and Vienna (which at least wants 4 story mixed use on Maple Ave, but not elsewhere). Housing for Tysons will have to be in the Tysons urban district - any additional high density housing will have to leap frog over the iron ring of "stable low density suburbia" which means it will not be walkable, will be far less bikeable, and transit will be problematic and costly (operationas and capital for transit are proportional to mileage - so feeding Tysons with rail to Annandale or Centerville or Bethesday will be costlier than extending high quality transit to a few more places in DC a few miles out from downtown)

As you know I am a STRONG supporter of the Tysons project, beleive its Fairfax's future, and believe it can lead to real and important changes. But I think the challenges in making it successful will be at least as great as those involved in accommodating growth in DC. There simply are no easy answers.

by AWalkerInTheCIty on Dec 20, 2013 10:01 am • linkreport

@AWITC - IIUC the issue with the transit share to Tysons is more a problem of overall suburban connectivity than Tysons infrastructure itself in the models. IE people can get to Tysons if they could only get to a transit location that goes to Tysons.

In Arlington the geography and size was beneficial in connecting the whole county to the commercial downtown (to a great extent atleast). In Fairfax/outers the problem is simply a massive land area.

I think one thing those analyses don't properly gauge for is the change in land use itself, more development internal, slower development in exurbs, and how that might change the percentages far more.

Ie, you don't have to built the transportation to the people if instead you build more availability to the people along the transportation.

Either way I have some serious reservations towards any studies that project habits, lifestyle choices, and commuting patterns for a generation who are currently learning their ABCs :P

by Navid Roshan on Dec 20, 2013 10:02 am • linkreport

@AWITC, Tysons can grow 100K people with just the open parcels (parcels with less than a 0.2 FAR) currently available. I don't think the same can be said for the urban core (Golden Triangle etc) in DC.

Tysons is also just one urban growth district for Fairfax. There is of course Reston, Falls Church, Seven Corners, Fair Lakes, and Huntington all of which are anticipated to grow vertically (though not the same extent as Tysons perhaps).

Then there is also Arlington, Bethesda, Rockville, etc as well.

That was the only point I meant by the majority of the growth will remain in the burbs and will be easier accomplished.

by Navid Roshan on Dec 20, 2013 10:06 am • linkreport

@BTA The black population in DC has gone down in every census since 1970. We need to stop pretending this is some crazy trend that started with millenials.

+1 (http://datatools.urban.org/features/changingcities/#history)

by 7r3y3r on Dec 20, 2013 10:08 am • linkreport

"@AWITC - IIUC the issue with the transit share to Tysons is more a problem of overall suburban connectivity than Tysons infrastructure itself in the models. IE people can get to Tysons if they could only get to a transit location that goes to Tysons"

I guess. But thats a real problem. The silver line on completion will have 6 stations west of Tysons (excluding the airport). There's only so much land in the 1/4 to 1/2 mile walksheds around each station. Building density outside those walksheds will elicit substantial resistance (see the debate over Lake Anne in Reston) plus will likely have lower transit mode share.

Or suppose you added a heavy rail line north south from Tysons to Annandale (why that will be easier than building a heavy rail line north the non metro served corner of DC, I do not know) You get to Annandale, which under the proposed form based code, will have 6 story buildings in the commercial center only. The vast majority of the acreage will remain low density suburban - small townhouses, SFHs on quarter acre lots, and Mcmansions on acre lots.

Im not saying change won't come in Fairfax. I just find the notion that the challenges will be significantally less than in DC to be questionable.

by AWalkerInTheCIty on Dec 20, 2013 10:10 am • linkreport

@AWITC - "You get to Annandale, which under the proposed form based code, will have 6 story buildings in the commercial center only."

So the same height as most of DC? :P

I think in the short term increased BRT on the HOT Lanes especially to Seven Corners/Annandale/Alexandria/Huntington will help with the growth.

But as many in DC will tell me in response to me argument against height restrictions, You'd be surprised how many people can live in residential parcels that are properly designed (anti-corbusier) with 6-story heights.

100K in tysons, 30k in annandale, 15k in seven corners, 50k in Reston, etc in merrifield and you start seeing that a lot of that future growth can be accomodated in the urban districts with transit available.

I do agree that it will put a strain on transit, but then again what really puts a strain on transit is systems that stretch out too far into too lowly dense regions, so on those terms an increase of population in areas that already have transit may help improve farebox recovery instead.

by Navid Roshan on Dec 20, 2013 10:14 am • linkreport

"@AWITC, Tysons can grow 100K people with just the open parcels (parcels with less than a 0.2 FAR) currently available. I don't think the same can be said for the urban core (Golden Triangle etc) in DC. "

The current comp plan calls for a total of 100k in 2050. There are already 17k in tyson now I beleive, to thats growth of only 83k.

As for the other locations, some like Huntingon, are not significantly closer to Tysons than they are to DC. They are further from Tysons than many buildable parts of DC that are NOT currently experiencing high growth. In particular areas EOTR that already have metro stations.

Now is it likely that between ALL the suburban areas - inner suburban places like Arlington and bethesday - neo urbanist places in the middle burbs like tysons and White Flint - and the outer suburban sprawl job locations, which while currently weak in the market, are likely to grow in the future - they will have far more job growth than DC - well yes - and thats what the study said.

I just have trouble with the note of triumphalism. I live (and advocate) in Fairfax County. There are some issues that DC advocates have to deal with I don't (height limits, racial polarization). There are issues I have to deal with they don't (a population that approaches transport issues with a massive windshield perspective, that is leary of even modest density, an educational system struggling to finance the high standards that are among the County's principle sellling points)

by AWalkerInTheCIty on Dec 20, 2013 10:18 am • linkreport

"So the same height as most of DC? :P"

IN THE COMMERCIAL CENTER.

Do you realize how few acres out of all Annandale that actually is? And its not just that the number of acres limits total density. Its that the gappiness of development means (at best) little islands of potential walkablitity. You walk a few blocks out of this future urbanist central Annandale, and you will be in the midst of houses on half acre lots. In contrast to DC where you can walk from neighborhood to neighborhood, each one reinforcing the other with amenities and liveliness. And even to RB where you can't walk north or south very far and have that, but you will be able to walk east west all the way from Ballston to Georgetown and beyond.

That will make Annandale less desirable for those wanting a WUP lifestyle, which will in turn slow that growth.

by AWalkerInTheCIty on Dec 20, 2013 10:23 am • linkreport

The Atlantic piece on the potential health risks of small or micro apartments is classic FUD. (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt).

Seriously, I have a Murphy bed and a small apartment. Every night I slide back my book cases, where it is hidden, and bring it down. I feel no anxiety, floating or otherwise, over this routine. It does not an cause existential crisis whatsoever, or prompt me to reach for the bottle and wail at the moon to ask why life has left me shortchanged me in square footage. Nor have I rushed to a therapist for comfort. I do not feel crowded, trapped or caged, but am so glad I did not write that idiotic, unbalanced piece in the Atlantic.

by kob on Dec 20, 2013 10:29 am • linkreport

@ShawingtonTimes

You may want to check that math. A net gain means that if 3,000 people move out, then 4,000 people are moving in. So those available units are being filled (at least partially) by newcomers. However, an even more likely scenario, as the Census data indicates, is that people are moving out of poorer areas at a net population loss but other neighborhoods have grown so much that they make up for the shortfall.

by Adam Lewis on Dec 20, 2013 10:38 am • linkreport

and all of those new Virginians will still have to come into DC (or Rosslyn) to get anywhere else in NOVA by Metro transfer??

by Tom Coumaris on Dec 20, 2013 10:42 am • linkreport

kob, I think it comes down to choice too. The alternative for most people who be living somewhere else or having roommates to stay affordable. Some people will select one of those two options, but I don't see how a third choice hurts them.

by BTA on Dec 20, 2013 10:44 am • linkreport

@AWITC - I am not anti-DC. I know I get that alot in these comment threads from my stance against really stupid decisions made in DC, but the reason I point out those decisions is because they fly in the face of the issues that are empirically true in DC.

DC has seen an increase in homicides this year. Yes its not by much, and yes each of those occurrences are real events and not statistics resultant of some aggregate causality but the fact is I continue to advocate for more police/fire/ems spending in DC and less on stupid wasteful spending like on the soccer stadium.

DC will see insane amounts of growth in housing and jobs in the next 20 years, and an already over-pressed and high priced housing market in the city is driving existing residents out. One reason that is happening is because existing lower (though still urban) density parcels of housing are being developed into higher density parcels of housing that are no where near the old pricing because they are shiny and new.

One way to avoid gentrification that dislocates existing residents is to develop parking areas/commercial only areas/office areas. The problem with that is there aren't enough of those in DC's urban core to even come close to the housing needs for the growing city, and the city refuses to build vertically to get the most out of their availability, so you are left with this "shocking" indictment that there is simply not enough housing for future growth (not to mention that the housing that there is will skyrocket in price).

To reiterate I am extremely pro-DC, I am just really anti the dumb things it does sometimes; just as I am anti many of the dumb transpo and land use things that Fairfax/otherburbs does sometimes (see my numerous rants against highway projects, lack of intx improvements, lack of trails).

by Navid Roshan on Dec 20, 2013 11:27 am • linkreport

I think its a matter of tone. Though I will admit it adds diversity. There are lots of anti-urbanist voices, and lots of pro-DC voices, and maybe even a couple of Arlington triumphalist voices, but I don't know of anyone else who combines pro-urbanism, Tysons triumphalism, and a negative tone towards DC as you do. Keep it up.

I think A. The relationship of the study results to the height limit is complex. While I support relaxing the height limit(with a scheme to auction the new development rights, the funds to go towards the heavy rail transit downtown DC will need) I do realize that at least for the time period in the study, there will still be many other approaches to increasing DC's population B. The discussion has been of DC - as the study called out the DC share, and City Paper focused on that. I think the study has significant implications for housing demand in the other core jurisdictions as well, and I believe those implications include substantial challenges. I'm not sure how to quantify the challenges, but I think in many respects they are quite as significant in FFX county as in DC (though of course they are far worse in PG County than in either of the above, and arguably slightly worse in MoCo than in FFX)

I also think the rise in DC's homicide rate is an anomaly. DC boosters may well hope the increase in DC school test scores is NOT an anomaly.

by AWalkerInTheCIty on Dec 20, 2013 11:39 am • linkreport

"other core and also the suburban jurisdictions"

by AWalkerInTheCIty on Dec 20, 2013 11:40 am • linkreport

Housing for Tysons will have to be in the Tysons urban district - any additional high density housing will have to leap frog over the iron ring of "stable low density suburbia"

High density development exists along 7 pretty much from Tysons all the way to Baileys. While Pimmit doesn't want more density on their side of 7, Idylwood has no such objections. In fact, a new townhouse community was just built on their side of 7 and another one is planned. There are already a number of high rise and garden style apartments and condos in Idylwood.

Also, Falls Church city is open to further density on their portion of 7.

That said, you can't add much more density on 7 until transit is improved which is why a streetcar from Baileys to Tysons is needed asap.

by Falls Church on Dec 20, 2013 11:43 am • linkreport

I actually wrote to Gov-elect McAuliffe asking him to prioritize both the metro loop and a more ambitious vision for Route 7 (read: metro) in addition to the current study.

It is refreshing that most in the City of Falls Church are open to densifying along Broad Street. That's evident with what's there currently and what's in the pipe.

by drumz on Dec 20, 2013 11:53 am • linkreport

Falls Church

How much real potential for new units is there in Idylwood? Looks like the southern half of the triangle between the beltway, 66, and rte 7 is SFHs, I presume off limits to densification. And I guess Marshall High is not going to be altered. Leaves what, one shopping center and one big low rise apt complex? Hmmm.

I would suggest that means, substantially, a leap to City of Falls Church. Within City of FC, from I66 to just past Washington Street there will be substantial growth, but even there I believe several neighborhoods will be off limits - at least half the total acreage? That will limit the total average density of the area. And then the section of route 7 from just past Washington Street to the Fairfax line represents another pocket of low density that will need to be leaped over.

Seven Corners to Baileys will likely be more open to density - but street car from Baileys to Tysons, even with dedicated access the whole way, and with the most direct possible route, is going to be a relatively long trip I imagine, compared to a heavy rail ride to an employment center.

As I said earlier, the challenges are significant.

by AWalkerInTheCIty on Dec 20, 2013 11:54 am • linkreport

"In fact, a new townhouse community was just built on their side of 7 and another one is planned. "

I would guess the units per acre and the FAR are what folks call LOW density in the DC context ;)

by AWalkerInTheCIty on Dec 20, 2013 12:01 pm • linkreport

@Navid "DC has seen an increase in homicides this year." That's...pretty disingenuous. I'm sure Newtown, CT saw their homicide numbers jump last year too. Should they be hiring more police/fire/EMS?

If you want DC to make smart choices, you probably shouldn't advocate for them to make those choices based on a single statistic with a big asterisk next to it.

by Kelli on Dec 20, 2013 12:27 pm • linkreport

"Yes its not by much, and yes each of those occurrences are real events and not statistics resultant of some aggregate causality but the fact is I continue to advocate for more police/fire/ems spending in DC and less on stupid wasteful spending like on the soccer stadium."

First, I would say that DC can do both.

Second, and probably more importantly, is anytime there is a "Why are we wasting money X project when we should be spending it on teachers/police/firefighters?" shows a fundamental misunderstanding of municipal finances. Without going into too much detail, the money spent on infrastructure comes out of the capital budget; revenues largely derived from investors through the sale of municipal bonds. DC's bonds are (thankfully) high-quality and it are therefore cheap to issue (i.e. a great time to build streetcars, new schools, libraries, etc.)

What you cannot do (or, at the very least, is a very bad thing to do) is spend capital funds on expenses like salaries, which are paid out of our operating budget (i.e. general tax revenues). That money is, obviously, in far more demand.

One of the best things you can do to generate more operating revenue is to make the District an attractive place to live/work/play, and get people to spend money here. If capital projects help do that (and I believe they do) then the District comes out ahead.

by Adam Lewis on Dec 20, 2013 12:37 pm • linkreport

Great story and maps on how NYC and SF have become mostly for the rich since 1990. Surprised DC wasn't in there but I guess we're a work in progress.

by Tom Coumaris on Dec 20, 2013 12:44 pm • linkreport

sorry, that link:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/20/rich-people-cities_n_4467155.html?ref=topbar

by Tom Coumaris on Dec 20, 2013 12:44 pm • linkreport

*accidentally put this one yesterdays links.

MGM WINS MGM WINS!!!!!

MGM gets the nod to build Maryland’s sixth casino at National Harbor in Prince George’s

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 12:55 pm • linkreport

Given the direction the comments on this post have taken, this seems like an appropriate place to drop in my fantasy "Gold Line" idea: http://www.daftlogic.com/projects-advanced-google-maps-distance-calculator.htm?showroute=23303&verify=427f42074fcdd49e4ccbc0ec3587537a

Kill many birds with one very expensive stone.

by Dizzy on Dec 20, 2013 12:55 pm • linkreport

@Tom Coumaris: Don't worry. If we keep zoning and height restrictions at their current level and refuse to build anywhere near enough housing to meet demand, we'll be there soon!

by Gray on Dec 20, 2013 12:59 pm • linkreport

Nothing says even handed take on the effects of high housing prices like "now its just a disneyland for the rich!" for the after pictures.

Also, judging just from the colors (considering there is no key to tell me the differences between the colors) it doesn't look that bad. And somehow, rich people now live in parks in San Francisco.

by drumz on Dec 20, 2013 1:04 pm • linkreport

Interesting that a household income of 75K+ makes one rich. I would suggest thats not what most people mean by rich today.

Of course SF is a good example of how limiting development (both in SF itself, but even more so, in Silicon Valley) does NOT hold down real estate prices. It inflates them. In particular there are lots high paid tech employees reverse commuting from SF because the municipalities in the Valley won't adopt smart growth principles.

NY, is well NY. Though I would point out that Manhattan isn't really all of NYC by any means. NYC in particular would benefit from improved transit connections to NJ, which would make commuting from close in parts of NJ much more competitive than it now is (of course lots of folks do it, but the price gradient from Manhattan is relatively steep to compensate - I guess the only exceptions being places right on the PATH lines)

by AWalkerInTheCIty on Dec 20, 2013 1:18 pm • linkreport

@AWITC:

Not to mention expanding the subway in the boroughs outside Manhattan, especially in Queens. Manhattan's got all the trunk lines and Brooklyn is #2; it's no wonder that's what's driving demand.

by Low Headways (frmrly MetroDerp) on Dec 20, 2013 1:23 pm • linkreport

@Kelli

I said it was likely not causal and that each case is an independent event, but bringing newtown into it has nothing to do with it. The Navy Yard shooting is not included in those statistics, and there is no doubt that there was some increase in criminal activity in DC this year unfortunately for whatever reason (intrusion of gentrification, lack of jobs, whatever)

by Navid Roshan on Dec 20, 2013 1:33 pm • linkreport

AWITC

Tysons to Baileys is 7 miles along Rt. 7. While they're not going to have dedicated lanes all the way with VDOT's prohibition from converting general use lanes into transit-only lanes, they could have some dedicated lanes and signal prioritization. Maybe then they could achieve 12-15 mph average rush hour speed. That would make it a 30ish min commute from one end of the line to the other, similar to Vienna to Metro Center.

Regardless of what speed they can achieve, I'm guessing it will be competitive with driving time-wise if they have some dedicated lanes, signal prioritization, and space out the stops appropriately. Driving those 7 miles in rush hour takes forever.

I actually wrote to Gov-elect McAuliffe asking him to prioritize both the metro loop and a more ambitious vision for Route 7 (read: metro)

I'd love to see heavy rail on 7 but realistically, I don't know that there's enough of a densification opportunity to justify heavy rail. Plus, unless heavy rail is going all the way to King ST, where would it connect to? The advantage of streetcar from Tysons to Baileys is that it's the natural extension of Col. Pike Rail.

by Falls Church on Dec 20, 2013 1:56 pm • linkreport

@FC a light rail system (or a true BRT with dedicated lanes) both make plenty of sense along Route 7 between Tysons and Baileys (if not all the way to King St metro). I think the population today, and the opportunity for the wanted growth at 7corners warrant it. The question becomes

1) With the topo changes on Route 7 is it possible for light rail
2) If not LTR then we need to look at dedicated BRT or streetcar lanes. BRT would be just as good as streetcar lanes as long as EITHER ONE gets a dedicated lane with signal prioritization. The failure of both of those systems is the lack of dedicated lanes.

by Navid Roshan on Dec 20, 2013 2:20 pm • linkreport

I certainly support dedicated ROW transit on Rte 7.

Interesting comparison to Vienna to Metro Center (note Vienna to Farragut West is a tad shorter). While I wish Pulte (?) all good luck in selling the condos they are adding to Metrowest, I would tend to say Vienna metro is about the outer limit of TOD oriented to downtown DC. I certainly look forward to TOD in the Baileys area - I just suspect that a good portion of its residents will end up commuting to Arlington, if not all the way to DC, as well as to Tysons.

The gravitational pull of the larger employment center in DC is going to have an effect on any TOD locations that are as close to DC as to Tysons, or even that are almost as close to DC as to Tysons.

by AWalkerInTheCIty on Dec 20, 2013 2:27 pm • linkreport

I'm encouraging McAulffe to think (and talk) big.

We've got a pro-transit governor coming in, state level NOVA politicians who understand the value and necessity of transit and local boards that have a balance of power tilted towards a willingness to fund and build transit, and momentum from the silver line opening.

I think its a good time to be a transit advocate in northern va.

by Drumz on Dec 20, 2013 2:40 pm • linkreport

That is,

If a route 7 proposal started as heavy rail and went down to light rail I think I could handle it better than if it was light rail and went down to buses.

by drumz on Dec 20, 2013 2:43 pm • linkreport

@Drumz, if those buses had dedicated lanes and were proper BRT with signal priority then I wouldnt be that worried either (though tracks do provide a sense of real estate permanence which encourage economic investment as an additional benefit)

by Navid Roshan on Dec 20, 2013 4:04 pm • linkreport

It'll be tough through the city of falls church though since the road is only 4 lanes there and Fairfax has to listen to VDOT much more closely than arlington does wrt Columbia Pike.

Though if there was a section to have mixed traffic then it'd probably be there through the city anyway.

by drumz on Dec 20, 2013 4:15 pm • linkreport

@Drumz, through FC it might be difficult you are right, though they have a median lane through part of that as well right? Also, what about cutting off of Route 7 to Park Ave one road off parallel (less costly to buy right of way on open residential front lawns) and still has the effect of connecting DT Falls Church.

by Navid Roshan on Dec 20, 2013 4:24 pm • linkreport

Solution: Bus Tunnel

(Yes thats tongue and cheek)

Elevated bus road will clearly be the cheaper solution.

by Navid Roshan on Dec 20, 2013 4:26 pm • linkreport

PRT!

Anyway,

IF I had to choose. I'd keep the transit on 7 and work on making park the auto conduit. Then you could jog onto annandale and then Hillwood. Then you can link back up at 7 corners and continue on your merry way. Again, that's if preserving Auto throughput was a priority (it would be for VDOT for sure, I don't know how FC residents would feel).

by drumz on Dec 20, 2013 4:41 pm • linkreport

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