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Breakfast links: Thanks for not driving


Photo by Rich Renomeron on Flickr.
War on cars begins at college: Universities are leading the way to reduce automobile dependence by providing transit subsidies, promoting car-share and biking, and offering distance learning classes. (Streetsblog)

Car sharing's big impact on auto sales: Every car in the Zipcar or Car2Go fleet replaces 32 cars in consumer vehicle sales, according to a new report. Since 2006, nearly half a million sales were lost because of car-sharing services. (TTAC, jimble)

Mixed-use to replace urban farm: The Walker-Jones Farm at K Street and New Jersey Avenue, NW will become a mixed-use development as part of DC's redevelopment plan for Northwest One. The city will relocate the farm after community input. (DCist)

Fare hikes greatly impact disabled: WMATA's proposed fare hikes will disproportionately impact individuals with disabilities who rely on MetroAccess paratransit. Many customers think it's time to change the formula used to calculate paratransit rides. (Post)

Marijuana bill called discriminatory: Tommy Wells called the DC Council's move to decriminalize marijuana smoking in the home, but not outside, discriminatory. Individuals in public housing lose their home whether caught smoking outside or in. (Post)

Battle against development sprawl: Farmers and developers in Charles County are trying to dodge O'Malley's anti-sprawl policies. After drastically reducing land zoned for conservation, the county is rewriting its zoning and comprehensive plan. (Post)

Envision public spaces with snow: What can snow teach us about opportunities for public space? Post-snowfall pictures of Philadelphia provide ideas for curb expansion and traffic safety improvements. (This Old City, Steve G.)

Mind the strike: To protest staffing cuts, strikers have shut down several London Underground lines. The strike is causing long lines at bus stops and increased congestion for drivers. (NYT)

Big trouble in little China?: The changing demographics in our cities could be affecting Chinatowns. Is gentrification at play and will traditional Chinatowns survive? (BBC)

And...: A few DC taxis are still using Square to process payments. (WAMU) ... A $1.4 million San Francisco home has its own private funicular. (SF Gate) ... CapitolHop, a new phone application for Washington area transit, uses Twitter to track delays. (WBJ)

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Kayla Gail Anthony is a project analyst in DC. She has a Masters in Community Planning from the University of Maryland and a BA in Communications from The University of Alabama. She lives in Mt. Pleasant. Posts are her own viewpoint and do not represent her employer. 

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Most telling question from W4 Strawpoll last night:

What would you do with the 321 million dollar surplus and the 1.7billion fund balance:

Paraphrasing all..

Evans: Sorry, we can't really do anything, that money is encumbered, and had to go into reserve to increase bond rating and make sure we can keep city govt running if fed govt shuts down.

Gray: Much of the same as Evans.

Wells: Much of the same as Evans.

Bowser: We don't have a surplus when we have homeless people. We don't have a surplus when we have people who can't afford their rent. We need to spend this surplus on cutting taxes further for senior citizens etc.

Crowd goes wild.... Sigh.

Just outright, blatant pandering. Even if she is in office, I am not certain she can do that. What a joke, I was happy to vote against her, and will happily cast my ballot in April for Gray, if it means keeping her out of the mayors office.

by Kyle-w on Feb 6, 2014 9:14 am • linkreport

Universities are leading the way to reduce automobile dependence

Surprised to see DC missing from the listed schools. Due to the insane demands from the ANCs surrounding DC's schools, many students are carfree.

Also, missing from the article is the very fact that some universities to not provide parking for students. Seems to be the most efficient way to make students use other forms of transportation.

Every car in the Zipcar or Car2Go fleet replaces 32 cars

Foxnews translation: Obama-subsidized car-sharing companies destroying car industry!

by Jasper on Feb 6, 2014 9:17 am • linkreport

The article from Philly on how snow continues to illustrate space that could be given back to pedestrians is beautiful.

Part of me thinks the chinatown article protests a little too much. Another reason we can see a decline in chinatown is the fact that there's less incentives to emigrate from China these days as well. Same reasons, we aren't seeing boatloads of italian immigrants anymore.

Ethnic neighborhoods are just moving out of inner cities into the suburbs as we're seeing the switch of what real estate we see as valuable.

Quibble about the charles county story. They say the biggest enemey farmers have right now is Martin O'Malley, but if you're a "farmer" who plans on selling land and then having someone put houses there, you're no longer a farmer and now you're a developer.

But, a solution is there. If you want a big pay day. You've got to build a connecting sewer.

by drumz on Feb 6, 2014 9:18 am • linkreport

I am with Kyle on this. Next to Orange, Bowser would be the worst thing to happen to the District.

by William on Feb 6, 2014 9:23 am • linkreport

Jasper,

Are Car2Go and/or Zipcar federally subsidized? I did not see that in the article.

by mull on Feb 6, 2014 9:28 am • linkreport

Foxnews translation: Obama-subsidized car-sharing companies destroying car industry!

Agreed. There are better ways to sell the car reduction than "every carshare vehicle means 32 fewer cars sold!!!!" Talk about a message a lot of people aren't going to get behind.

by MLD on Feb 6, 2014 9:32 am • linkreport

Re: San Francisco home

I grew up near a large mountain lake and quite a few of the homes on the lake had funiculars because the houses were built on steep hills above the shore, so residents used funiculars instead of long, winding stairways down to their docks.

by MM on Feb 6, 2014 9:32 am • linkreport

Interesting report from USPIRG about Universities, but the dataset they used for transit ignores informal programs that provide discounts for students. Many transit agencies simply sell passes to colleges at a discount and then the college sells them to students. So students get a reduced price for transit, but it isn't exactly branded like these "U-Pass" programs.

by MLD on Feb 6, 2014 9:36 am • linkreport

That greater greater Philly article about the snow quickly jumps to the same false conclusion that because there is snow on a section of road, that section is unused. Tire tracks are obviously visible on many snow areas. Most of the photos show people are more likely to go straight on a primary road than turn. It's almost as though people want to take a direct route to their destination or something crazy like that. The post also doesn't take into account many users of the road including fire and rescue, larger trucks, and cyclist.

by selxic on Feb 6, 2014 9:44 am • linkreport

I doubt anyone would advocate that any place snow covered should automatically be turned into sidewalk no questions ask. It just asks people to think about the priorities on our streets. We have engineers to figure out whether emergency vehicles can navigate turns when it comes to it. We just need to first make the decision that streets are for people.

A lot of the pictures just tighten up curb radii which helps discourage speeding and taking corners to fast. That's a good thing.

It's not meant to be a manifesto, just an opportunity to reveal some things that are normally hidden in plain sight.

by drumz on Feb 6, 2014 9:48 am • linkreport

iow, snow is a great real-life visualization of what a tool like Street Mix tries to accomplish.

by drumz on Feb 6, 2014 9:55 am • linkreport

"Is gentrification in play and will traditional Chinatowns survive?"

Just remember what old Jack Burton does when the earth quakes and the poison arrows fall from the sky and the pillars of Heaven shake. Yeah, Jack Burton just looks that big old storm right square in the eye and he says, "Give me your best shot, pal. I can take it."

by Christian on Feb 6, 2014 10:07 am • linkreport

Universities are leading the way to reduce automobile dependence by providing transit subsidies, promoting car-share and biking, and offering distance learning classes.

That's why it's so important to reign in them and their wild, shuttle bus running ways. Isn't that right, Citizens Association of Georgetown & ANC2E?

by Dizzy on Feb 6, 2014 10:09 am • linkreport

Are Germantowns losing their heritage?
The disappearing Irish neighborhoods.
Will Little Italies make it?
Ukrainian mining communities losing their roots.
Will traditional Chinatowns survive?

Next up: What will come of America's Mexican, Honduran, Salvadoran, Ethiopian, etc. neighborhoods?

by Bossi on Feb 6, 2014 10:21 am • linkreport

Comrade Wells needs to get a grip. Public housing is a privilege, not a right. Is it too much to ask that public housing residents keep their noses clean (quite literally) for getting a taxpayer subsidy? Not to mention, the pathology of crime in public housing complexes is well documented nationally, and I support incentives and other measures to reduce criminal activity.

Finally with CVS taking a huge step to stop selling cigarettes and as smoking becomes more socially unacceptable, I fail to see why we should move in the other direction, and make it easier for people to put harmful, burning substances into their bodies. Who pays ultimately for the health care?

by Alf on Feb 6, 2014 10:31 am • linkreport

What is the penalty for drinking alcohol in public? Why should weed usage in public be treated any differently?

by ksu499 on Feb 6, 2014 10:32 am • linkreport

chinatown hasn't been the same since they shut down the opium dens.

by charlie on Feb 6, 2014 10:33 am • linkreport

Nice reference with "Big Trouble in Little China." Once knew a guy who had that nickname oddly enough.

The article about snow in Philly is interesting, but still assumes to much about how people drive and commute around a city in the snow.

by DonkeyKong on Feb 6, 2014 10:34 am • linkreport

It might be a good idea to first address abuse and waste in Metro Access before changing the formula to make it even more costly for WMATA. Metro Access should only be available to people who genuinely need it.

by aaa on Feb 6, 2014 10:35 am • linkreport

The article about snow in Philly is interesting, but still assumes to much about how people drive and commute around a city in the snow.

I think it challenges many assumptions. Mainly about how much space is "needed" for day to day automobility. Less people may be traveling the day or day after a storm but when that stuff sticks around then its probably pretty clear that drivers would be ok with that bit of pavement.

Again, it's meant to be illustrative not definitive (yet).

by drumz on Feb 6, 2014 10:42 am • linkreport

Ethnic neighborhoods are just moving out of inner cities into the suburbs as we're seeing the switch of what real estate we see as valuable.

That's correct. I have a feeling BBC News hasn't been to the Eden Center in Falls Church, Korea Town in Annandale, or Oak Tree Rd (India Town) in Edison NJ. Otherwise, they wouldn't be declaring the death of ethnic enclaves.

Langley Park should try encouraging the creation of a Salvador Town with an ethnic main street/square. They have the largest percentage of Salvadorans of any place in the US.

by Falls Church on Feb 6, 2014 10:44 am • linkreport

I'd guess a huge chunk of the Metroaccess problem is that people don't/can't live anywhere with decent access to services locally. I'm impressed with the number of blind people I see on the Metro for example but that only works if you live and work near a station. Same thing with the bus, if you're in a wheelchair it can work but only if there is a navigable surface between the routes and your end points.

by BTA on Feb 6, 2014 10:45 am • linkreport

Isn't marijuana just about equivalent to smoking? We don't arrest people for smoking. They should both be banned in public places but you shouldn't be arrested for having them on your person and it should be a fine ($200?) for lighting up in public. We waste literally billions of dollars a year keeping people in jail and then create an army of unemployable people because why?

by BTA on Feb 6, 2014 10:49 am • linkreport

The other thing about ethnic enclaves is it was originally partially a result of segregation, that was the only place people were allowed to live. I think it might have even been official policy in some places. I definitely think they add a great aspect to cities but I am really against trying to dictate where you think other people should live.

by BTA on Feb 6, 2014 10:52 am • linkreport

The Philly article was OK, but too aggressive in my opinion. Prime point: one of the suggested conversions included the entirety of Morris Street between 12th and Passyunk, which then takes the direct path of Morris out of the equation for all traffic, making for a particularly inconvenient detour for the riders of the 29 bus line.

by A. P. on Feb 6, 2014 11:03 am • linkreport

@alf
I fail to see why we should move in the other direction, and make it easier for people to put harmful, burning substances into their bodies.
Can you please elaborate on "harmful"? Marijuana can, and often is, vaporized or taken orally, thus avoiding the harmful effects associated with inhaling smoke.

by dcmike on Feb 6, 2014 11:12 am • linkreport

@alf

I agree with your whole first paragraph, but your using an unnecessary and ridiculous "comrade" pretty much invalidates it.

Much like when someone calls Obama a socialist. Regardless of whether they have a good point, they are pretty much ignored.

by Kyle-w on Feb 6, 2014 11:31 am • linkreport

@ mull:Are Car2Go and/or Zipcar federally subsidized?

Since when does Foxnews care about facts?

Also, I am sure that somewhere some federal dollars trickled down to them. Both deal get RPPs from DC, which is - like it or not - part of the Federal Government. Since the cars do not have residents attached to them, you could see this as a subsidy. There. QED.

by Jasper on Feb 6, 2014 11:37 am • linkreport

@alf

If you believe housing subsidies should be contingent on lawfulness, that's fine, but it should be extended to the mortgage interest deduction, which is nothing but a housing subsidy. Speeding ticket? So long mortgage interest deduction.

by TM on Feb 6, 2014 11:50 am • linkreport

I'm not sure if the immigrant move to the suburbs is all about the (recent)real estate value flip. Eden Center has been there since the early 80s, and I believe the Korean area of Annandale is the same. It’s never been true but has always been the stereotype that immigrants are necessarily and will remain poor—and it is even less true now, particularly from South and East Asia.

Yes, a place needs to be affordable for immigrants but given the state of affairs in DC in the 80s and early 90s, combined with the fact that the transportation-poor areas of Northern Virginia were significantly more affordable than they are today, it’s not unreasonable to see that it probably wasn’t a difficult choice. These areas still provided access to where the jobs were and provided access to a reasonably high density of potential customers for service-based businesses and shops, for those immigrating to be entrepreneurial. Also, there was at the time a buyer’s bias toward new construction (more than today, when that bias still exists) and in my anecdotal experience that bias continues to be fairly strong in immigrant communities today. It kind of makes sense that things shook out the way they did, and mirrors the establishment of the Little Italys and Chinatowns of the world, but just updated to modern realities.

In terms of today, yes, perhaps the high cost of living in DC and close-in suburbs is directing new immigrants to the outer ring suburbs and exurbs. But I don’t think that’s how existing communities got there. But also perhaps the existing communities are a draw in and of themselves. Or perhaps that standard of living (large houses, property) is what they want and is part of the reasons for immigration in the first place.

by Catherine on Feb 6, 2014 12:51 pm • linkreport

You're right Catherine about how the existing ethnic enclaves in Northern Va. started out. So I'll backtrack somewhat and say the real estate flip is partly responsible.

Which I think backs up my point that what's happening in NYC and other chinatowns isn't as nefarious as BBC news suggests.

Like you point to towards the end of your second paragraph. There are still plenty of ethnic enclaves in the United States. Their architecture just looks a little different these days and they're not always close to downtown.

by drumz on Feb 6, 2014 1:14 pm • linkreport

@catherine, drumz

You hit on a couple of reasons why ethnic enclaves form in the suburbs, but I think the preference for new construction isn't necessarily one of them. Places like Annandale and Eden Center (or Wheaton and Gaithersburg in Maryland) were not new when they became immigrant hubs. In fact, as Tyler Cowen points out, these areas had become more affordable due to aging and middle-class flight, which made them a cheap, low-risk place to open businesses, start families, etc.

And then there's the biggie: SCHOOLS! The schools in Annandale and Wheaton have usually lagged their more affluent counterparts elsewhere in Fairfax or Montgomery counties, but they're still dramatically better than any options inside the District. That more than anything may explain why most of the region's ethnic enclaves are in Maryland and Virginia (and specifically on the western side of the region).

by dan reed! on Feb 6, 2014 2:05 pm • linkreport

@ksu499 - Why is smoking marijuana in public different from drinking in public? Secondhand, intoxicating smoke. Reference the airplane flying Justin Bieber to the Super Bowl. The crew of three had to cram into the cockpit to avoid harassment from Bieber et. al., and to wear oxygen masks in order to avoid positive drug tests later on. Now, I think pot should be legal, but no one should be forced to breathe it second hand. Not a problem when others around you drink.

by DaveG on Feb 6, 2014 2:30 pm • linkreport

@Kyle-w -

'I agree with your whole first paragraph, but your using an unnecessary and ridiculous "comrade" pretty much invalidates it.

'Much like when someone calls Obama a socialist. Regardless of whether they have a good point, they are pretty much ignored.'

Yes...an expanded Godwin's Law, or reductio ad absurdum.

by DaveG on Feb 6, 2014 2:37 pm • linkreport

@ksu499 - What is the penalty for drinking alcohol in public? Why should weed usage in public be treated any differently?

Open container violations are misdemeanor offenses punishable up to 90 days in jail, though can be a "little" as a fine up to $500.

@BTA - Isn't marijuana just about equivalent to smoking? We don't arrest people for smoking.

No, in the public scenario, marijuana is more the equivalent of alcohol in that both make you impaired. Smoke all the tobacco you can and you'll be at best light headed. Marijuana and alcohol on the other hand will leave you drunk or high and impair your basic functions...which we don't want happening in public. So the penalties for open containers are harsher than those for smoking tobacco in public because society feels there needs to be an additional/steeper deterrent.

by 7r3y3r on Feb 6, 2014 4:09 pm • linkreport

I guess I'm kind of confused with the Northwest One development. In a city where people are constantly talking about the high price of rent and need for more housing, why is the city still building low density row houses? They are using very valuable space that they could use for high density, and putting low density in? It makes no sense.

by TyGr on Feb 6, 2014 4:37 pm • linkreport

@Dave G.

The difference is, the President is not a socialist. But Tommy Wells is quite a lefty. I would have the same reservations about him as I would DiBlasio in NY (who actually went to Nicaragua when he was younger because he admired Daniel Ortega).

by Alf on Feb 6, 2014 5:13 pm • linkreport

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