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Breakfast links: Objection!


Photo by KeithBurtis on Flickr.
The Green Mile: Maryland is planning a new sidewalk along Wisconsin Avenue, from Friendship Heights to Bethesda. Some Chevy Chase residents have objected to the project, which also includes three new crossings, because it would take some trees. (BethesdaNow)

Access issues: The first of six public meetings on the proposed Metro fare hike featured a strong showing from MetroAccess users, who asserted that the increased costs would fall too heavily on disabled riders who rely on the system to get around. (WTOP)

Northern Virginia drives statewide growth: More than half of population growth in Virginia since 2010 has taken place in four northern counties (plus Alexandria). Will this reality be reflected in state politics? (WAMU)

Plan Orange for Walmart site: The proposed Walmart-anchored development on New York Avenue NE appears to be dead, and Vincent Orange says that's a good thing. He's introduced a bill to study buying the site for an "entertainment-type center." (WBJ)

Local news coverage takes a hit: Hundreds of Patch editors were laid off as part of a corporate restructuring. The layoff includes the editors of the Arlington, Del Ray, and Georgetown sites. (WBJ)

Get your hands off your money: The budget autonomy referendum passed by DC voters last April "has no legal effect," according to an opinion from the GAO. (CBS)

Death of a mall: White Flint Mall was the hot spot to shop when it opened in 1977, but a redevelopment of the property into a town center is coming soon. In the meantime, the Post offers a photo tour of the still-open but mostly empty shopping mecca.

Police blame bikes: Baltimore police initially partially blamed a bicyclist for a collision that was clearly not his fault. However, advocacy springing from a blog post caused police to change the report. (Bikemore)

Can you get to DHS HQ?: DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson is a "huge, huge fan of public transportation." Will he make sure his facilities have good transit access? (Fierce Homeland Security)

And...: Dan Snyder says it makes "all the sense in the world" for Washington to host the Super Bowl. (CBS) ... A huge sinkhole closed a stretch of Massachusetts Ave. by Fort Dupont. (Post) ... The Purple Line's Riverdale Park stop will be elevated. (Hyattsville Wire)

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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

Comments

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A sidewalk?! Don't you know THOSE people use sidewalks? There goes the neighborhood.

by BTA on Jan 31, 2014 9:22 am • linkreport

does anyone have an actual copy of the actual GAO memo?

by charlie on Jan 31, 2014 9:27 am • linkreport

@Plan Orange for Walmart site:

Surprising. Not. Retail is DEAD AS EVER. Take that Urbanists!

by Bill the Wanderer on Jan 31, 2014 9:30 am • linkreport

Can I smack Chevy Chase right now? Please?

by Crickey7 on Jan 31, 2014 9:31 am • linkreport

I don't think Oranges general idea is terrible but no way should DC get involved buying the land for that purpose... that's just crazy.

by BTA on Jan 31, 2014 9:34 am • linkreport

Serious question: Is there any proposed change to which Chevy Chase residents would not object?

by Gray on Jan 31, 2014 9:34 am • linkreport

They probably wouldn't mind a gate so they could control who goes in and out of the town.

by BTA on Jan 31, 2014 9:36 am • linkreport

I just experienced an epic eye roll when I read the comment at the linked article calling it the "sidewalk to nowhere." I guess some CC residents want to set some sort of record for their obliviousness to the existence of non-CC residents.

by Gray on Jan 31, 2014 9:38 am • linkreport

What Dan Snyder means is that it would make him even richer if Washington hosted the superbowl

by Richard on Jan 31, 2014 9:39 am • linkreport

@Bill

Anything, anything at all in which Vincent Orange is involved in any way shouldn't been seen as indicative of anything else. At all. The guy is a one-man common sense-destroying alien from some other planet.

by LowHeadways on Jan 31, 2014 9:39 am • linkreport

Ok, don't cut down the trees for the sidewalk. Just take a lane from Wisconsin Avenue and give 5 feet to the pedestrians and the the other 5 feet for a bike lane.

by drumz on Jan 31, 2014 9:40 am • linkreport

@charlie

http://www.gao.gov/products/D06683

by dcmike on Jan 31, 2014 9:43 am • linkreport

Chevy Chase is fighting sidewalks while the neighborhoods around downtown Silver Spring can't get them if we begged.

When is M.C. going to act like they actually mean what they say about smart growth? I mean if pedestrian life is such a boon to civic life, to say nothing about a communitie's health, safety, and economy, why does building a simple simple sidewalk have to wither on the vine of the public process? I know it's anathema to decry "public" input, but there comes a point of paralysis where the perfect becomes the enemy of the good. Afterall, they think nothing of building new roads, but when it comes to sidewalks, it becomes this huge drama, yet both are in the public right of way. It's like we're scared of our own shadow.

by Thayer-D on Jan 31, 2014 9:47 am • linkreport

Can I smack Chevy Chase right now? Please?

I am thinking with harsher words

by Richard on Jan 31, 2014 9:49 am • linkreport

@DC mike, thanks.

A very quick read (trying to listen to a conference call at same time) suggests that it the very skewed interepration of the ADA that is the issue.

(I voted against the budget autonoy as a first time DC voter)

by charlie on Jan 31, 2014 9:51 am • linkreport

@LowHeadways

Who paid for all that site clearing and demolition of that site then? Sorry I don't claim to know local DC politics, and almost prefer an outsiders opinion and will cherish that as long as I can. I'm sure DC rivals New Orleans for corruption, but that goes without saying. I met Vincent Gray a couple of weeks ago at the Georgia Ave. Walmart grand opening, shook his hand and told him he would lose his re-election, he didn't seem to pleased, glassy eyed in fact, his usual look.

by Bill the Wanderer on Jan 31, 2014 9:55 am • linkreport

And man, that WAMU study buries the lede.

1. of the fastest growing Va. localities, the top 6 are all in Northern va. not just the top four.

2. This is looking at the fastest growth rates. Which means that Falls Church grew 8% (by adding 938 people) which tied them with Alexandria's 8% growth (which added 11,000) people.

3. Naturally, someone will use this as a justfication to build some random highway out Loudoun or Prince William but will ignore the fact that Arlington/Alexandria/Fairfax combined is about 1.5M people currently (same pop. as Philly) and has a rough density of about 3200 people/sq mile (roughly equal to Atlanta). That's a need to keep adding projects in those three counties as well. Especially since they have huge populations and are the likely work places of people in the surrounding counties as well.

by drumz on Jan 31, 2014 9:58 am • linkreport

RE: Chevy Chase sidewalks

More bigotry and ignorance from the supposedly "well-educated" residents of Chevy Chase. This quote pretty much sums in up: "Others said they don’t want it simply because it would mean more cyclists"

RE: NoVa growth

This has been reflected in state politics since 2008. Although Fairfax and Loudoun County went for McDonnell (R) in 2009, and Cuccinelli would have stood a very fair chance of losing last year if it wasn't for the scandal.

by King Terrapin on Jan 31, 2014 10:04 am • linkreport

WRT to the Green Mile I thought it was going to get all the way to Friendship Heights but I see in the linked article that it does not and only starts at Grafton Street which still leaves a gap to Western Avenue.

So while I doubt the folks screaming that this is a sidewalk to nowhere are doing so because they are concerned about it they are raising a valid concern about its utility.

And it is an important connection - there really is no direct or even particularly indirect way to ride a bike between FH and Bethesda except on the sidewalk on the west side of Wisconsin Avenue and that sidewalk gets decent pedestrian usage and there are also a lot of cars turning at fairly high rates of speed so for a couple of reasons it is really not a good place to have folks on bikes which is why I've preferred to think of the proposed sidewalk as more optimal infrastructure for bikes.

And since there are no homes on the east side of Wisconsin north of Grafton I'm not sure why Montgomery County could not just label it a bike lane as it is more likely to be used by cyclists anyhow and for whatever it matters the CABI station in FH is on the east side of Wisconsin.

But the folks or at least the organized leaders of the folks living in the mishmash of villages like Somerset and Chevy Chase that fill much of the space between the DC line and Bethesda really are their own class of isolationist elitist NIMBY's.

by TomQ on Jan 31, 2014 10:10 am • linkreport

DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson is a "huge, huge fan of public transportation." Will he make sure his facilities have good transit access?

I'm more concerned about DHS and TSA screwing up the kinds of transportation that already work pretty well without airline-level security theater.

Rail (and high speed rail) comes to mind.

by Alex B. on Jan 31, 2014 10:13 am • linkreport

@ TomQ:

There is a pretty good sidewalk that goes to Grafton. Also, that's where speeds pick up.

by Crickey7 on Jan 31, 2014 10:22 am • linkreport

Orange is crazy. Stick to making sure the garbage is picked up and bike lanes are installed.

by NE John on Jan 31, 2014 10:23 am • linkreport

The last knucklehead council member we had, Harry Thomas Jr., wanted to make the area a strip/sex club haven.

by NE John on Jan 31, 2014 10:25 am • linkreport

@Drumz, sorting the Weldon Cooper Center pop estimates by percentage change since 2010, Fredericksburg City has the top growth at 15.1%, then the next 5 localities are NoVA. Fredericksburg is not NoVA, but VRE may make it effectively part of NoVA for commuters.

The growth in NoVA will continue to change state politics in votes tilting Blue for state wide offices, but the power struggle in the state legislature between NoVA, the other urban centers, and the rural/ex-urban areas will also continue. However, if these population growth trends continue through 2020, the 2020 Census will force a power shift in the state legislature towards NoVA and put a Blue tinge on a Purple state.

PA has the same pop growth patterns through 2012 for Philly & Pittsburgh metro areas versus the rest of the state where the 2020 Census may do the same for PA in terms of Blue urban vs Red rural/exurban control of the state government.

by AlanF on Jan 31, 2014 10:26 am • linkreport

Alan F,

At the moment I'm not particularly interested in the discussion of whether Fredericksburg should count as NOVA or not but rather how this story once again places so much emphasis on the percentage change and ignores everything else.

Plus, there is a tendency for people to read this story and think that the fastest growing localities need the most attention when I think the bulk of attention should still be focused on the overall largest/densest places.

Fredericksburg growing 15% is notable but what's also notable is that Alexandria grew faster than Prince William and that defies a lot of conventional wisdom as well.

Plus, looking at the map they're projecting that Arlington will lose a lot of population by 2030 and I'm interested to hear why they think that.

by drumz on Jan 31, 2014 10:51 am • linkreport

Let's calm down on the Green Mile sidewalk - no-one from MOCO government has indicated this is not going to happen. The article is pandering to the base as it spent no time detailing any of the benefits the sidewalk will provide.

If you are interested, please show up at the meeting on Feb. 19 meeting is set for 7 p.m. at the Chevy Chase Village Hall (5906 Connecticut Ave) and/or send in comments.

At the last meeting the split was fairly half and half, with lot's of Chevy Chase residents recognizing there are other humans who want to use this block. Of course, one lady aggressively berated me to say "why don't you just take the Capital Crescent Trail instead? - it is already a bike lane."

by fongfong on Jan 31, 2014 10:54 am • linkreport

@fongdong: I do think it's going to happen, but it's still incredibly frustrating that half of the CC residents will oppose any change proposed near them, no matter how positive or benign it is.

by Gray on Jan 31, 2014 11:23 am • linkreport

@Walmart site; I've always thought that site would be good for a transit center where commuters coming in on BW Parkway and Rt 50 could park and grab light rail and buses to continue to their destinations. (I don't think there are plans for a line to cross there; it was just a thought.)

by RDHD on Jan 31, 2014 11:32 am • linkreport

I don't get Chevy Chase either. Are the cars and the golf course good for the watershed and the trees? But a sidewalk is not? Are you kidding me? If they cared so much about the trees and the watershed they would lobby to get rid of Wisconsin Ave and the golf course.

by dc denizen on Jan 31, 2014 11:46 am • linkreport

@Drumz, yes, going by population growth in numbers since 2010, then 5 of the top 6 localities are NoVA with VA Beach coming in at #5. Both percentage and numerical growth matters, but the reporter choose to emphasize percentage growth. What is remarkable in percentage and numbers is the growth in Arlington and Alexandria in the past 3 years compared to the previous 30-40 years.

On the Weldon Cooper population forecasts to 2040, the numbers are seriously whacked with regards to Arlington and Alexandria. That is probably due to a statistical model that weighs the pop numbers going back 40+ years for the prediction going forward to 2040. Arlington had a population decline in the 1970s, so that may be driving their 2020 to 2040 forecast to show pop declines. Says that they need to update their statistical model to give greater weight to recent trends. Randomly checking other cities, the city of Richmond has already exceeded their 2040 forecast for population. Not a very good forecast model.

by AlanF on Jan 31, 2014 11:49 am • linkreport

Re Metro fare hikes:

Sorry if it turns into a story about MetroAccess. There are many people on low/fixed incomes who don't qualify for MetroAccess who will be hurt by yet another round of across the board fare hikes.

WMATA needs to stop trying to wring more money out of riders, period.

by Willow on Jan 31, 2014 11:55 am • linkreport

News of the future

Chevy Chase residents oppose removal of open-air drug market

"It's been here for so long. It's historic."

"It's just so nice to be able to get outside and buy some illicit drugs with your neighbors. And they want to take that away?"

"Closing it will only bring more cyclists"

by David C on Jan 31, 2014 11:56 am • linkreport

Alan,

Yes, those issues are the important ones but the story completely ignored those to point out a fact that doesn't really have any meaning beyond its novelty.

And reporters generally focus on only percentage growth whenever they report on population/demographics. To the detriment of all other analysis many times. When they don't focus on percentage growth its because some other number is more dramatic.

Surely the reporter wasn't under such a strict deadline that she couldn't include a line or two that mentioned overall growth as well. At least put it in the written story if it doesn't fit the airtime requirment. Then I would have just ranted about it out loud to myself.

by drumz on Jan 31, 2014 12:02 pm • linkreport

@ Bill Sorry I don't claim to know local DC politics, and almost prefer an outsiders opinion

So "not knowing" is "being an outsider?" I think it's willfull ignorance.

But more importantly: Vincent Orange is hardly an urbanist or a useful public official or even a decent human being. If he's involved, it doesn't reflect on anything grander than the fact that it'll turn to crap. A reverse Midas.

by Low Headways on Jan 31, 2014 12:18 pm • linkreport

When I first heard the controversy over the name of the Washington DC NFL team reemerge a few months ago, I felt sure it was a sneaky PR campaign by the team.

After sufficient outrage, Synder would agree to change the name in exchange for a brand new stadium in DC (taxpayer funded, of course, he's rich, not wealthy).

Then he's ready to host the superbowl.

by duncan on Jan 31, 2014 2:34 pm • linkreport

Re Green Mile: there are many of us in CC who favor the sidewalk, not just for pedestrians and cyclists - the sidewalk on the west side is barely 4' wide - but also for improved access to the bus stops on that side of the street. The MD State Highway Administration (it's their project, not the county's) is also going to put a crosswalk midway between Dorset and Bradley, a hugely important safety measure for those who live between those streets on the west side of Wisconsin. This will give many people easier, safer access to northbound bus stops. It will narrow at Grafton but will still connect with the sidewalk south of Grafton into Friendship Heights. At 8' wide, it's a better fit for cyclists. Yes, some trees will be lost, but SHA says they'll replant in the watershed (although it would be best if they replanted in the subwatershed). And BTW, the Chevy Chase Club is required to have a forest conservation plan, so there are some stringent requirements for tree cover on a fair amount of its acreage. There were many competing, important interests here - access to mass transit, pathways for walkers and cyclists, and maintaining tree cover - and advocates for all have been involved. Discussion has been heated but for the most part civil, with a few exceptions - not unlike comments here.

by Mocoer on Jan 31, 2014 5:07 pm • linkreport

Patch.com is circling the drain.

As of last fall, 23 of the 48 sites (47%) in Maryland were managed by a single editor, Deb Belt. Of the other 25 sites were covered by 12 editors with two sites each, with only one having its own editor.

The Georgetown site was the only one in DC, and it had shared its now-laid-off editor with two sites in Alexandria. The new editor's home site is Lake Ridge-Occoquan.

Patch.com had originally touted itself as "hyper-local". Now it is anything but that. Go to any Patch site and you'll find that post of the articles have nothing to do with the community of the given Patch site, and are typically quite old as well.

by Frank IBC on Feb 2, 2014 10:26 am • linkreport

"Post" should have been "most".

by Frank IBC on Feb 2, 2014 10:27 am • linkreport

Re White Flint Mall:

As of February 1, these were the businesses that were still open:

3 restaurants: P.F. Chang's, Dave & Busters, Jerry's;

Khoury Bros. jewelers, Robert Lewis hair salon;

The US Post Office, two professional offices, and...

...Lord & Taylor.

by Frank IBC on Feb 2, 2014 10:44 am • linkreport

Is there any hope to get Super Target store at NY Ave/Brandenburg? Sorry I don't agreed with Orange -- I think he has his own agenda.

But I do agree with need of transit center for commuter people to park and hop on Metro (we need to build extension out there) as well as Streetcar. Using Streetcar alone for the Transit Center will not work.

by Dave on Feb 3, 2014 3:12 pm • linkreport

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