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Breakfast links: Political shake-up

Photo by new1mproved on Flickr.
Beyer wins in the 8th: Don Beyer, a former lieutenant governor of Virginia, won the Democratic primary to succeed retiring Rep. Jim Moran in the 8th Congressional district. Beyer got 45% out of seven candidates, though turnout was low. (Post)

Cantor's swan song: In a stunning upset, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost his bid for renomination in the GOP primary for Virginia's 7th district. Voters in the southern Virginia district felt he wasn't conservative enough. (NYT) ... Cantor was an implacable foe of bicycle programs (and much more); do we know the views of nominee David Brat?

Carol Schwartz returns: Former Republican DC councilmember Carol Schwartz is shaking up the mayoral race by declaring her candidacy as an independent. But is she just trying to help Muriel Bowser and split David Catania's voters? (WAMU)

Bowser would keep Henderson: Muriel Bowser said last night she would keep Kaya Henderson as DC schools chancellor if elected mayor. Previously, she'd been unwilling to promise one way or the other. (Post)

When will Maryland Avenue get safer?: A DC head librarian was badly injured when a cab driver hit her in an intersection on Maryland Avenue on Capitol Hill. Residents say the area is dangerous and DDOT is taking too long to fix it. (WAMU)

Four alternatives for North-South streetcar: DDOT has narrowed the options to four for the north-south streetcar. All use Georgia Avenue, but vary below U Street and in Southwest. Some go toward Silver Spring. Will any of them get built? (City Paper)

Traffic? What traffic?: Developers say traffic in Tysons has improved, thanks to new HOT lanes and the removal of some traffic lights. But VDOT doesn't agree. (Post)

CaBi helped bike businesses: Though some New York bike shops complain Citibike has cut into their business, research, plus experience in DC, suggests it's good in the long run as a system draws people to bike more in general. In Georgetown, anyway, there are now more bike shops than before CaBi opened. (Post, Georgetown Metropolitan)

And...: Amtrak wants to upgrade its WiFi. (Railway Age) ... The House rejected proposals to cut Amtrak's funding. (TheHill) ... The National Mall is getting new turf. (WAMU)

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David Koch is a native of Silver Spring. He first discovered his love of transportation and planning through Greater Greater Washington and Just Up The Pike. He has a planning degree from Rutgers University. You might see him on his bike around Mount Pleasant. 


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The Virginia Department of Transportation does not yet have statistics demonstrating how traffic in Tysons has changed since the HOT lanes opened. Fare increases on the Dulles Toll Road, with many drivers now paying $3.50, have prompted some commuters to use other routes. By 2043, it may cost $11.25 per trip to drive on the toll road, according to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.

Transportation department spokeswoman Joan Morris said it was unlikely Tysons traffic had waned. “Anyone who has been out there I think would tell you that it’s terrible,” she said. “I don’t see how it could have improved. Where would have the cars have gone?”

Excellent analysis VDOT!

by drumz on Jun 11, 2014 9:06 am • linkreport

Re: Brat

The guy's 'issues' website is boilerplate right-wing positions. No reason to expect any surprises from down there.

by politicalanalyst on Jun 11, 2014 9:07 am • linkreport

Obviously Brat is going to be scary almost regardless of his positions if he thinks Cantor is too liberal. The major question is will the tea party rift filter out to a weaker Republican showing in the election leading to Democratic control or solidification of tea party control of the Republican party and an even more divisive national political discourse?

by BTA on Jun 11, 2014 9:19 am • linkreport

Amtrak wants to upgrade its WiFi.

Welcome in the 00s, Amtrak.


VA has open primaries. Many dems went out and voted for the Tea Party dude in order to give their uncontested dude a real shot in the actual elections. Note that the turn-out was 65k votes vs 50k in previous elections.

You may remember that Rush Limbaugh had his 'operation chaos' to keep the democratic primary between Obama and Hillary going. Well, Cantor has been served the same treatment, but successfully.

VA's 7th is a weird district, running from the Richmond suburbs to the Shenandoah via Culpepper. We'll have to see if the Dems can get the Richmond suburbs to vote for them and if Culpepper is NoVa or not. Dems have conquered Fairfax and PW counties convincingly in the last few elections. How much further can they push?

by Jasper on Jun 11, 2014 9:28 am • linkreport

Didn't cantor help get a bike trail built in Richmond?

Well, if our somewhat useless US Attorney can ever stop "investigating" the mayor he should be looking pretty hard at Carol Schwartz.

by charlie on Jun 11, 2014 9:29 am • linkreport


GOP plan in redistricting was to create concentrated party majorities in house districts, so the GOP primary is the only real election. It would give the GOP more control over the candidates and promote more right leaning candidates. It is working, except for that control part. Expect this to continue until more Dems win state houses and at least 2022.

by RJ on Jun 11, 2014 9:33 am • linkreport

Re: Maryland Ave - I live within a few blocks of this intersection, pass through it multiple times a day, and have been attending meetings about the proposed safety project for years. The project manager at DDOT, George Branyan, is in my opinion doing an excellent job and has been fighting hard to get something, anything installed. The problem has been that DC has a ridiculous number of hoops to jump through in order to do anything. I forget the exact names of boards and the dates proposed, but basically because Maryland Ave is part of the L'Enfant plan street grid, preservation boards and such need to give their approval. In the meantime, dozens of accidents a year and pedestrians have to literally run for their life. But you know, what's a few lives sacrificed for an aesthetically pleasing streetscape (conducive to driving 55 mph)?

by Ampersand on Jun 11, 2014 9:37 am • linkreport

Sorry, Ampersand, we all know L'Enfant thought people driving 55 mph was an integral part of the plan. Our hands are tied!

by BTA on Jun 11, 2014 9:44 am • linkreport

Re: the four streetcar alignments, do any of them rule in or out dedicated lanes? I.e., are they possible on 11th but not 14th? This is, obviously, very important. And if some of them rule it out but not others, those should be eliminated immediately.

by LowHeadways on Jun 11, 2014 9:58 am • linkreport

"Didn't cantor help get a bike trail built in Richmond?"

Wouldn't surprise me. It's completely routine for Congressmen to oppose all "pork", except for the spending which happens to fall within their district. In fact, until recently, most Congressmen, of both parties, would tout how much spending they brought home. It's only recently where it's considered taboo, which is odd since the spending is largely zero-sum...if your district doesn't get the dough, someone else's does.

by politicalanalyst on Jun 11, 2014 9:58 am • linkreport

From what I'm reading, Cantor ran hard for speaker, yet at the same neglected his district and constituent services, which is what several voters stated when leaving the polls. This isn't the first time...remember Tom Daschle? More proof that all politics is truly local.

by DaveG on Jun 11, 2014 10:00 am • linkreport

Many dems went out and voted for the Tea Party dude in order to give their uncontested dude a real shot in the actual elections.

Is there polling that shows this, or is this speculation?

Didn't cantor help get a bike trail built in Richmond?

I don't know. Did he?

if our somewhat useless US Attorney

Hasn't he convicted something like 5 people in that investigation already, including "Uncle Earl". I wouldn't call that useless.

Re: Cantor. You live by the gerrymandered district and conservative leanings of non-presidential elections, you die by the gerrymandered district and conservative leanings of non-presidential elections

I ran into him at the airport the Friday before the Super Bowl going to NYC (where the Super Bowl was happening). Maybe he should have been campaigning instead.

by David C on Jun 11, 2014 10:10 am • linkreport

re: Maryland Ave and other places, I've always thought that raised crosswalks would be a good solution, in that they slow drivers, but also remind them that that space is for peds. Is this hard to implement? Is it even a viable solution to speeding problems? Because I'd love to have one at the bottom of the hill I live at. That would slow drivers far more than the camera they just installed at the top.

by RDHD on Jun 11, 2014 10:35 am • linkreport

re: streetcar

Number one and four are the best, only becasue you must get this line to link up with the Silver Spring Metro. Besides that, number 4 seems the best becasue of development potential and reducing traffic congestion, but either one.

by Thayer-D on Jun 11, 2014 10:40 am • linkreport

I'm confused at which group of voters Carol Schwartz thinks she'll win. Won't she be competing for the same group of anti-Bowser votes that David Catania is likely to win?

by 202_Cyclist on Jun 11, 2014 10:45 am • linkreport

202_cyclist, one theory is that the answer to that question is yes. And that this is why she's entering the race, that she holds a grudge against Catania for his endorsement of Patrick Mara and only wants to cost him the election. That she's not running to win. Another reason we need run-offs.

[I don't totally buy that theory, but it's interesting.]

by David C on Jun 11, 2014 11:11 am • linkreport

I'm confused as to why Schwartz is even running in the first place. Yeah yeah yeah, I read her reasons. This is nothing more than a vanity project and giving the big fat middle finger to Catania. Great, so instead of two uninspired choices, we get three!

by Birdie on Jun 11, 2014 11:11 am • linkreport

I agree with Birdie 100%. Carol Schwartz has to know that she has zero chance of winning and will only cost David Catania votes.

by 202_Cyclist on Jun 11, 2014 11:14 am • linkreport


Schwartz will be competing for the anti-Council crowd, including the anti-Catania votes.

by Brett on Jun 11, 2014 11:19 am • linkreport


The issue that gives me pause about David Catania is his potential conflict of interest (being a salaried employee for MC Dean while serving on the Council). The same goes for Jack Evans who advised on municipal finance issues at one of Washington's largest law firms.

by 202_Cyclist on Jun 11, 2014 11:28 am • linkreport

I'm confused as to why Schwartz is even running in the first place. ...This is nothing more than the big fat middle finger to Catania

And there may be the answer. Running to cost others elections has a long history in DC.

by David C on Jun 11, 2014 11:35 am • linkreport

I like option 3 because it avoids the bottlenecks and goes to Takoma. Takoma needs better access to the rest of DC. We have learned that the Red Line is not enough. The bus service is actually pretty underwhelming. Most north - south lines stop at Colorado Ave or go to Silver Spring. Option 3 would fix that by providing a good way to get to Petworth and Columbia Heights. It would also help spur needed development in Takoma. I don't think we should put Silver Spring ahead of Takoma just because they have different zoning that allows for taller buildings and more density. Access to Silver Spring should be improved by giving the 16th St bus lines a dedicated lane, not by taking the streetcar away from Takoma.

by TakomaNick on Jun 11, 2014 11:42 am • linkreport

Many dems went out and voted for the Tea Party dude in order to give their uncontested dude a real shot in the actual elections.

Is there polling that shows this, or is this speculation?

No. In fact, the Post makes a fairly convincing case that it didn't happen. And if it did, it almost certainly wasn't in sufficient numbers to make up the difference in what was a thorough drubbing.

Re: Cantor. You live by the gerrymandered district and conservative leanings of non-presidential elections, you die by the gerrymandered district and conservative leanings of non-presidential elections.


I ran into him at the airport the Friday before the Super Bowl going to NYC (where the Super Bowl was happening).

You should have sped up.

by dcd on Jun 11, 2014 11:58 am • linkreport

re: Streetcar Alignment

The longer term plan should include connections to both Silver Spring and Takoma, with a tie in under the soccer stadium at Buzzard Point (how about that for an amenity for the Stadium construction?).

I agree that it should complement Metro, so support the 14th Street alignment.

by Andrew on Jun 11, 2014 12:18 pm • linkreport

I cross that Maryland ave crossing regularly and I seek out an intersection with a light. even then we proceed with extreme caution. Part of the problem is having a broad avenue with no median and N/S crossing with no traffic light or stop signs. the "stop for pedestrians" aren't even worth the cost of fabricating the signs -- completely useless and widely ignored.

by anon_1 on Jun 11, 2014 12:18 pm • linkreport

7th Street already has Metrorail service and 9th is close by. Option two restores streetcar service to a vibrant portion of14th Street not served by Metrorail. This option should be extended to Silver Spring and link up with the development at Walter Reed, however.

by JC on Jun 11, 2014 12:30 pm • linkreport

Schwartz is running precisely to spite Catania. I don't know if they had personal history or if she was looking for a position and he snubber her or if Bowser made nice with her but the whole thing is pretty transparent.

by BTA on Jun 11, 2014 12:30 pm • linkreport

I dont hate any of the alignments but I lean slightly toward 1 as it avoids turning which I think is going to be necessary for competetive travel times and it goes to Silver Spring which is clearly a strong destination.

by BTA on Jun 11, 2014 12:35 pm • linkreport

The 14th Street alignment for the streetcar, by trying to serve everybody, would end up serving nobody because it is indirect and would get hopelessly stuck in traffic. I prefer the simplest, straightest alignment up 7th and Georgia (option 1), but there are arguments to be made for using 9th Street and Sherman Avenue to bypass some of the worst bottlenecks on that route (option 4).

by jimble on Jun 11, 2014 12:41 pm • linkreport

4 isn't bad but Sherman is mostly SFH townhouses so it seems more logical to put it on Georgia plus that is adjacent to Howard and has shorter walks to the Washington Hospital Center

by BTA on Jun 11, 2014 12:49 pm • linkreport

I really think the streetcar should cross the mall west of 4th or 7th so it can better serve the wharf. 9th or 12th allow it to go under the mall and reduce conflict with the Committee of 100 and the like. 10th would run it down L'Enfant Plaza as a highlight of the SW Ecodistrict. Any of these could allow more streetcar route on Maine (where the developers are currently tearing up the road for utilities, and adding a vault so a streetcar can be put in without too much hassle).

by sbc on Jun 12, 2014 10:25 am • linkreport

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