Greater Greater Washington

Breakfast links: Democracy in action and inaction


Photo by teakwood on Flickr.
Speed cameras all the time: In the wake of yet another pedestrian death on Route 1, the College Park city council has opted to allow its speed cameras to operate 24 hours a day. (Post)

No democracy at Eastern Market: Eastern Market officers stopped people from circulating political candidate petitions last weekend. Mayor Gray overruled that, but market officials said they may require a fee to petition. They later dropped that idea. (NBC4)

Slow down Maryland Ave: To make a safer Maryland Avenue NE, DDOT has installed temporary traffic calming like flex posts and extended curbs. But historic preservation concerns are slowing more permanent fixes like removing lanes. (WAMU)

Gas delays green street: A $2.3 million "green street" project for Flower Avenue in Takoma Park has been in the planning stages for two years, but may now take until 2016 as Washington Gas wants replace a gas line first. (Gazette)

Hillandale yellin' over Yellen guards: The security detail for Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen, who lives in the gated community of Hillandale in Burleith, is upsetting neighbors by dripping oil from vehicles, having "doughnut bellies," and wearing "ridiculous blue uniforms." (WSJ)

Georgetown could lose gas stations: Besides the station at the end of the Key Bridge which will become condos, development may replace two other gas stations, at Pennsylvania and M and Wisconsin and Q. They could fill in pedestrian-hostile spots, but also will make getting gas more difficult. (Georgetown Dish)

Where do the embassies go?: In neighborhoods with a lot of chanceries, residents don't want more, but the government doesn't want to restrict embassies much and possiblyinvite retribution abroad. DC wants to steer many to the Walter Reed complex, which will have a chancery cluster. (City Paper)

More tickets in bike lanes: DC police handed out 4,200 tickets for parking in a bike lane last year, and are on track to give out about 17% more this year. (Post)

Crashes are deadlier than war: Traffic crashes cause over twice the number of deaths worldwide than murder and war combined. (Progressive Economy, Rich 'n Alexandria)

And...: You can check out the bike station and parking garage in the Wiehle-Reston East Silver Line station on Saturday. (Post) ... The DC Library will digitize several of its old maps. (DCist) ... Where can you walk to in 7 minutes? For one Greenbelt blogger, it's quite a few places. (Greenbelt Live) ... Marijiana is a little less criminal in DC. (Post)

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Nick Finio is a second year student in UMD College Park's Masters in Community Planning Program, where he focuses on transportation and equity issues. He has lived and worked in the region since 2010, and currently resides in Takoma Park with his wife and son. 

Comments

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| "But historic preservation concerns are slowing more permanent fixes like removing lanes."

That's the weirdest sentence I've read all day. What is historical about a road lane?

by jyindc on Jul 17, 2014 9:19 am • linkreport

Haha, a ridiculous over-the-top security detail for a federal official vs. ridiculous over-the-top gated-community snobs. One of those situations where you hope they can both lose.

by iaom on Jul 17, 2014 9:19 am • linkreport

Hmm, let's see.

In DC, 14 traffic fatalities so far this year, 60+ homicides.

by charlie on Jul 17, 2014 9:24 am • linkreport

It's seriously time to rein in security details and motorcades.

As to disappearing gas stations, I don't have a lot of sympathy for the idea that we have to preserve access to gasoline in a particular neighborhood, give how low-value a use a station often is on extremely high value property. People use cars to, you know, drive somewhere else -- a use that inevitably will take them past a gas station.

by FHE on Jul 17, 2014 9:27 am • linkreport

Jyindc,

It gets weirder, FTA:

For instance, historic preservationists are raising objections to permanent curb extensions along Maryland Avenue, Branyan said.

“When you start changing the number of lanes impacting a historic L'Enfant street that brings up a lot of other questions,” Branyan added.

I mean, did Pierre L'Enfant mean for there to be 4 lanes of car traffic or 2? Why didn't he say so in any of his writings?

by drumz on Jul 17, 2014 9:30 am • linkreport

I have 7 diplomatic residences (not chanceries) within a block. Most are fine, though one unnamed country seems to insist that its drivers and workers not park in front of the residence, and instead in front of other houses. I don't particularly care other than it's kind of obnoxious to think that it's unsightly for you, but fine to impose on your neighbors.

by Crickey7 on Jul 17, 2014 9:33 am • linkreport

Pierre L'Enfant hated Lance Armstrong-wannabe Lycra-clad bike bullies more than anything. That's why he designed the L'Enfant Promenade to be too bumpy to bike down comfortably.

by iaom on Jul 17, 2014 9:36 am • linkreport

Also, Andrew Ellicott had a five-SUV, 548-motorcycle motorcade he traveled around the District in. You can look it up on the Internet.

by iaom on Jul 17, 2014 9:38 am • linkreport

I'm not sure if it's a good idea to take Maryland down to two travel lanes. Maryland Ave, like H Street, is one of the main routes downtown for large portions of NE that aren't served by any Metro line. There's already serious congestion on that street.

Why not add bus lanes instead?

by IMBYdc on Jul 17, 2014 9:44 am • linkreport

silly rabbit roads are evil in DC

lets get rid of all of them

by thanks but on Jul 17, 2014 9:53 am • linkreport

IMBYdc, because car drivers have proven themselves unworthy of 4 lanes total, by not yielding to pedestrians and by driving at unsafe speeds.

by JR on Jul 17, 2014 10:00 am • linkreport

No we need roads - where else will we put the bicycle escalators?

by Planner on Jul 17, 2014 10:00 am • linkreport

@JR,

Drivers aren't allowed to drive in bus lanes. They'd still have to slow down, but transit users would be able to avoid the gridlock.

by IMBYdc on Jul 17, 2014 10:13 am • linkreport

@charlie

I know this may come as a surprise, but the world is larger than 69 square miles.

by hlinak on Jul 17, 2014 10:13 am • linkreport

People use cars to, you know, drive somewhere else -- a use that inevitably will take them past a gas station.

It's not so inevitable if they're replaced because the property is valuable.

by Another Nick on Jul 17, 2014 10:17 am • linkreport

As fascinating as all the new ideas and smart comebacks in the comment conversation about pedestrians versus drivers are ....

Here's a different question from today's links - why did they build the last station on the Silver line where they did rather than have it travel a short distance off the toll road to stop at Reston Town Center? I just went there last week for the first time and was stunned to see how close it is to the Silver Line but not connected in any way - but clearly too far to walk for all but the most dedicated. Certainly would have cost more, but the Town Center already has lots of businesses and parking garages that seem to have lots of extra capacity, so the cost-benefit could have worked out.

I'm sure this has been discussed previously, but anyone care to enlighten us by reliving the past?

by Paul H on Jul 17, 2014 10:25 am • linkreport

There will be a Reston Town Center Station that is still in the median of the DTR. Not quite as helpful as if it veered off but hopefully good planning can ensure that the reach of RTC is extended all the way to the station.

I wrote about it for GGW a while back.

http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/21551/the-silver-line-could-mean-a-big-expansion-for-reston-town-center/

by Canaan on Jul 17, 2014 10:36 am • linkreport

NYT round table discussion on subsidizing rents as we do mortgages:

http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2014/07/15/should-housing-policy-support-renters-more

by Tom Coumaris on Jul 17, 2014 10:37 am • linkreport

Yeah I think the upshot is that everyone would have loved to have the Silver Line right at RTC but (1) the existing office-park landowners prevented an above-ground connection, and (2) an underground connection was off the table because it would have cost a million billion jillion gazillion dollars and the existing landowners would have found some reason to fight it anyway.

by iaom on Jul 17, 2014 10:39 am • linkreport

Paul H:

There is a Reston Town Center station planned for Phase 2 of the Silver Line.

by Andrew on Jul 17, 2014 10:41 am • linkreport

In DC, 14 traffic fatalities so far this year, 60+ homicides.

I agree, traffic fatalities are not a problem and there is no longer a need to worry about them.

by David C on Jul 17, 2014 10:44 am • linkreport

I think we should limit security details to the President*. That's the only office where we can point to a legitimate national interest. If anyone else wants one, they can pay for it. Who's going to try to kill the head of the Fed? How many people can even identify Yellen?

*Maybe an argument can be made for VP.

by David C on Jul 17, 2014 10:52 am • linkreport

@ David C ; in DC, yes.

The embassy/chancery thing is tough. No question that having well over 40K workers in DC not taxed (WB+IMF+International institutions+embassy) and huge chunks of real estate also not taxed is a problem.

(And I don't know what DC charges, if anything, for embassy street parking but that is one I was subject to a fee)

On the other hand, that is the core of the international community in DC. Although our beard wearing, craft beer drinking hipster overlords don't acknowledge it, having a huge international community is a tremendous asset. I can't think of another place in the county like it. DC is a regular stop on the NYC-Geneva-DC circuit.

And having that international community also has long stabilized rental values and the urban feel.

by charlie on Jul 17, 2014 10:57 am • linkreport

I'm confused; the Yellen news is several weeks old.

by Gregory O. on Jul 17, 2014 10:59 am • linkreport

@David C

How many people can even identify Yellen?

In this town? Quite a few.

Regardless, much of the point of security details is less 'life protection' and more 'keeping them on schedule.' Absent a security detail with police powers, it's not unlikely that Code Pink and ANSWER would just link arms outside Hagel's house and prevent him from ever leaving for work (I'm being facetious, but you get what I mean).

by Dizzy on Jul 17, 2014 11:01 am • linkreport

A DC grand jury I served on refused to indict a young man for possession of marijuana. I forget the amount he had, but it wasn't much.

Grand jury duty is a major pain. It's a five week stretch, Monday through Friday. The vast majority of cases are extremely serious and very ugly and the reasons for indictment clear. But because the threshold for indictment is low you feel like a rubber stamp. The marijuana charge was anomaly.

Two things bothered us about the marijuana case. The first was how they caught the guy. The police stopped him under the pretense that "he was known to us." We had heard this before in other cases, but because the suspects were usually caught with firearms we didn't think too hard about probable cause. A possible third reason for not indicting, unstated but one that I suspected was in the mix, was how we as a group were sick of indicting everyone.

The marijuana case was different. There was a contingent on the grand jury who felt hypocritical about voting to indict someone on possession, even if there was intent to sell charge thrown in. There was a lot of sympathy for this position. Others wondered about probable cause, so we voted not to indict. The prosecutor was steamed but we made it clear that it was a waste of our time. This all happened some years ago, and it is my history with decriminalization.

by kob on Jul 17, 2014 11:01 am • linkreport

@ Andrew

The Reston Town Center stations is still far from Reston Town Center. Its the same magnitude as some of these stations names after colleges and towns that are no where near the damn stations suchas Shaw-Howard U Station the station is damn near a 1/2 mile away up a hill or College Park-UMD which is what 2 or more miles from the University buildings.

Reston Town Center should just be named Reston West its is not near the Town Center and borderline false advertisement.

by kk on Jul 17, 2014 11:07 am • linkreport

Bernake lives(d?) about 2 blocks from me on the Hill and I can honestly say the only comments about security were that there was a driver - I didn't even know for the longest time that he lived in the neighborhood. I guess they may have changed Yellen's detail but if it is anything like Bernake's (who didn't live in a gated community/enclave) than it can't be as much of a problem as they are complaining about. I am sorry but I just don't buy that the detail is as much of a problem as those in her neighborhood would have people believe.

by ET on Jul 17, 2014 11:14 am • linkreport

A homeowners association trying to tell the Feds what to do. Let me know how that works out :-))

by DaveG on Jul 17, 2014 11:20 am • linkreport

Hillandale yellin' over Yellen guards

These people are a perfect illustration of what is wrong with political discourse in America these days. They are trying to make a very legitimate point - too much security theater - but formulate it in such hyperbolic language that you can't but laugh at their idiocy. On the other hand, nobody would listen to them if they just made a polite request to tone it down a bit.

by Jasper on Jul 17, 2014 11:29 am • linkreport

@charlie, I'm pretty sure that "hipsters" aren't the basis of the NEMBY movement. Unless Kalorama has changed a whole lot in the past day or two, we're mostly dealing with Committee of 100 types -- older professionals with scads of money. This is a neighborhood where Donald Rumsfeld lives in a $4.5 million dollar mansion, not a neighborhood with a corner bar, let alone a corner bar that serves DC Brau.

by cminus on Jul 17, 2014 11:39 am • linkreport

Yellen is the most powerful woman in the world (ranked higher than Angela Merkel in the rankings I saw). Significant security is warranted but I don't doubt there's an element of security theater involved as well.

by Falls Church on Jul 17, 2014 11:46 am • linkreport

Give the security personnel tuxedos and girdles to wear, California rolls to eat, and Teslas to drive. Any more complaints?

by The Truth™ on Jul 17, 2014 12:40 pm • linkreport

I used to live across from the Commandant's house at the Marine Barracks. It was great. I had two full time, armed Marines out there at all time. I could have left an open box of money in my front yard and no one would have touched it. Which is me saying that I would love to live next to someone with a full time security detail. [Of course, Jimmy Carter has secret service protection and he still had his bike stolen. Some things can't be stopped].

by David C on Jul 17, 2014 1:23 pm • linkreport

kk said: The Reston Town Center station is still far from Reston Town Center."

I guess "far" is relative, but the distance is roughly one third of a mile to Jackson's which is the first restaurant on the south side of the Town Center. And I expect a good deal of re-development of the properties immediately surrounding the station in the coming years that will shift the balance of development to be more around the station. Reston Heights, for example, is slated for a large development on the south side of the toll road. Unfortunately, there are also large buildings approved to the north of RTC.

I would add that RTC is private property. It's owned by Boston Properties. All of the parking garages are owned by them. It's more like a shopping mall than a town.

by Reston on Jul 17, 2014 1:26 pm • linkreport

Yesterday, I noticed that the speed limit through downtown College Park has already been reduced to 25MPH, and new "PHOTO ENFORCED" placards have also been mounted. How long has it been since the new speed limit has been announced...less than a week? This is the fastest that I've ever seen the SHA move.

I always thought it was weird that the speed limit through College Park used to be higher than the speed limit near the DC line, even though many more pedestrians use that stretch. I guess that now enough have died to actually start fixing the issues.

by jms on Jul 17, 2014 2:03 pm • linkreport

@Reston

Name something else that is of similar distance from a transit station that has the exact same name! That preferably is a mall or shopping center

RTC being a private property leads to another question. Why is the station name after a private property ? In that case why not name Mclean Station Capital One Station.

by kk on Jul 17, 2014 2:55 pm • linkreport

@ Reston

I also count the distance from the center of the property or wherever most of the shops are not the first shop

by kk on Jul 17, 2014 2:58 pm • linkreport

It's the center of Reston Town, like Largo Town Center. When you say Pentagon City, everyone thinks of the mall. The Rhode Island and Minnesota stations are no where near those states. :)

by The Truth™ on Jul 17, 2014 3:12 pm • linkreport

@ The Truth

Isnt Pentagon City Fashion Centre next to the station ?

Rhode Island & Minnesota Ave stations are near those Avenues so stop trying to compare apples and oranges.

BTW it can not be the center of Reston Town or Largo Town Center as neither of them are towns, or cities !

by kk on Jul 17, 2014 3:25 pm • linkreport

Pentagon City was an example of a seeming commercial station name.

I was kidding about the states, and being a devil's advocate about Reston Town "Center."

However, I do belive Largo really is an unincorporated town.

by The Truth™ on Jul 17, 2014 3:29 pm • linkreport

Wow, my eyes and keyboard fingers are failing me today. Please excuse my obvious typos.

by The Truth™ on Jul 17, 2014 3:30 pm • linkreport

The Virginia Square Metro station was named after a shopping center that was knocked down in 1986. So there is a history of naming stations after commercial entities.

by Brian on Jul 17, 2014 4:57 pm • linkreport

White Flint Mall is even farther from the White Flint Metro.

by Reston on Jul 17, 2014 8:24 pm • linkreport

At least Reston Town Center is relatively close to the center of Reston. The same can't be said of such ludicrosities as Annapolis Towne Centre at Parole®.

Also, P.G. Plaza Metro was named after the titular private mall—but the mall was later renamed, leaving the Metro stop named after nothing in particular.

by Fran on Jul 17, 2014 8:55 pm • linkreport

I really wish Phase 1 of the Silver Line would have been extended to the Herndon-Monroe stop, beyond Reston Town Center. Herndon-Monroe ALREADY has direct ramp connections to and from the Toll Road and a large bus plaza and parking garage. The direct ramp connections would have helped avoid the congestion that will occur at Wiehle Ave and the Toll Rd.

by Transport. on Jul 17, 2014 11:34 pm • linkreport

Georgetown could lose gas stations:
It is would make sense if DDOT purchased the gas station at Penn and M st for the street car turnaround. This way is could bring the street car to the front door of Georgetown. Or the city could turn it into a park. We are lacking in small city parks.

by Eddie on Jul 18, 2014 6:07 am • linkreport

The Vienna- G.M.U. metro station, is also several miles from G.M.U.

by slowlane on Jul 18, 2014 1:56 pm • linkreport

I'm puzzled - Please explain what is "silk topiary" which one of Janet Yellen's neighbors is described as having in his living room. My dictionary defines "topiary" ONLY as trimmed green plants, and nothing else.

by slowlane on Jul 18, 2014 2:05 pm • linkreport

Fake plants?

by The Truth™ on Jul 18, 2014 2:54 pm • linkreport

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