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Breakfast links: The blind spot

By Tom Toles. See the entire cartoon.
Found it: Tom Toles highlights the root of Metro's problems. (Post)

Turns out it was unsafe after all: An Asheville firefighter passed a mom and dad biking down the road, with a child in a bike seat behind the dad. He thought it was unsafe, so he spoke his mind to the couple. When they didn't comply, he SHOT THE DAD. (Asheville Citizen-Times, Jeff Peel)

Against big government, except at VDOT?: The Arlington GOP attacks the County's plan to take over Columbia Pike, calling it a "power grab" to "silence criticism" of the "questionable proposal for a Pike streetcar" that would "add to gridlock on the Pike." For some reason the item only appears on their RSS feed. Don't Republicans oppose big, centralized government? Now VDOT's bureaucracy and one-size-fits-all approach to planning is a bastion of conservative values? (Joshua D)

Sun says "lose the lanes": Following its news story and blog posts questioning the I-270 widening, the Baltimore Sun editorializes against the project, saying it would "also run counter to virtually all of Maryland's goals for environmental protection, community preservation and planned growth" and "serve little purpose other than turning Frederick into a bedroom community of Washington, a trend that eats up farmland and puts more pollution into the air and water."

Now the traffic and megachurch reserve?: Frederick County officials delayed approval of a giant megachurch on the Frederick-Montgomery line. Montgomery Executive Ike Leggett endorsed the plan, even though it puts the entrance inside Montgomery County and therefore will create lots of traffic in and around the Agricultural Reserve. The church is currently located in Silver Spring. (Post)

Tidbits from a secret meeting: At yesterday's budget discussion, Jim Graham suggested raising the parking tax, Marion Barry added that it hasn't risen in years, and Jack Evans said "shhh." (@SegravesWTOP) Unfortunately, we don't know more, as the Council banned everyone except a few reporters and Tommy Wells tried to convince the reporters not to Twitter.

One intersection "repaired," more to go: After a medical student was killed crossing a well-known dangerous intersection on foot in New Haven, neighbors turned out to paint a mural on the ground in the middle of the intersection, a traffic calming technique. Neighbors still have a long list of other instersections that could use this "repair." Where's the city's traffic engineering department, by the way? (New Haven Independent, Stephen Miller)

Your childhood neighborhood affects your income: If kids of middle class parents grow up in a poor neighborhood, they're much more likely to "slip down the income ladder" and make less than their parents than kids of similarly middle-class parents in middle-income neighborhoods, says a Pew study. The good news: policies that invest in those neighborhoods and reduce the poverty rate also significantly cut down on this effect. (Post, Lynda)

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David Alpert is the founder of Greater Greater Washington and its board president. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He now lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle. 


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Read the comments on the Asheville shooting. There are actually people defending the firefighter in that thread.

by Corey on Jul 28, 2009 8:47 am • linkreport

Yeah, from the comments on the Asheville shooting, it seems like a lot of people think biking is a willfully frivolous activity.

I don't understand why this fireman had a gun to begin with. Sure, it was probably legal, but was he just driving around with a gun holstered to waist?

by Daniel on Jul 28, 2009 9:10 am • linkreport

How being right or wrong in telling the dad not to bike with child has anything to do with justifying shooting the dad is beyond me.

The merits of the argument re biking are totally irrelevant--I hope the firefighter is imprisoned for the rest of his life. Having someone willing to pull a gun and shoot another person over an extremely minor issue is simply not someone who should be on the street anywhere.

by ah on Jul 28, 2009 9:16 am • linkreport

Those Asheville comments are classic!! I especially love the one about Europeans trampling one another to live in Asheville. I've been to Asheville -- it's a great city. But I gurantee you that the residents of Paris, Berlin and Zurich (and also the residents of smaller western European cities) are not eager to move there. Indeed, they would likley trample over one another to avoid having to move there..........

by rg on Jul 28, 2009 9:25 am • linkreport

Yeah, half of the Asheville commenters were saying to buy the guy another box of ammo.

by Michael Perkins on Jul 28, 2009 9:27 am • linkreport

Well they don't call it bunkum for nothing.

by Reid on Jul 28, 2009 9:47 am • linkreport

That reporter really shouldn't be twittering at a closed meeting. Instead, he should be paying attention so that he can report on the meeting. That's why the word "report" is in his job title. A bunch of disjointed text messages sputtering, "this guy said that," does not even come close to matching the value of a coherent narrative.

by tom veil on Jul 28, 2009 9:57 am • linkreport

How Arlington expects to install a trolley without completely snarling Columbia Pike for years, and shoving lots of traffic off onto neighborhood streets during construction is beyond me. Saturday I was going from 5th Street down to Traders Joe's in Bailey's Crossroads and down Columbia Pike past George Mason there was a Metrobus broken down in the southbound curb lane and a few blocks past that a beater pickup broken down in the northbound curb lane. How does a trolley deal with that? BRT goes around it. Columbia Pike isn't a city street. It's an arterial connector and you don't run trolley cars on arterial connectors. The Toronto transit system is cited frequently on this site, and even Toronto does not run trolleys (trollies?) outside the urban center. Outside of the city center, they run light rail on dedicated rights-of-way. A trolley on Columbia Pike is a utopian daydream of too many members of the county council and unfortunately there isn't enough diversity of viewpoint on the council to cause a look at more rational alternatives. The "you have to build a trolley because I won't ride a bus" (a comment I have seen more than once on this site) crowd seems to be winning the day.

by ksu499 on Jul 28, 2009 10:12 am • linkreport

As a conservative myself, I get irritated at the nonsense that comes out of the Arlington Co. Republicans. I guess being on the losing end of so many battles the reaction is just to say NO to everything no matter what.

I was just in the planning office this last week and according to the planners there, transferring the ownership of Columbia Pike will significantly speed up the process of approvals and move the project forward. Taking less time can only mean less money for the taxpayers.

The planners stated to me Arlington's objective is to create places that people would want to go to. Arlington is not interested in only accommodating traffic passing through. The claims about creating gridlock are oversimplifications and claims about safety for bikes are both cynical considering their opposition to bike spending, and false considering the plan is to move bikes down flanking residential roads.

I would hope that with the facts the local Republicans might feel differently and support something that makes sense and is NOT opposed to conservative values.

by Boots on Jul 28, 2009 10:17 am • linkreport

I don't understand why this fireman had a gun to begin with. Sure, it was probably legal, but was he just driving around with a gun holstered to waist?

It only makes sense to be prepared to defend yourself at a moment's notice, when you consider how many violent criminals and/or lunatics there are out there. Why, just the other day I read about some guy in North Carolina who shot at another guy because of an argument over bicycle seats for children. With people like that on the street, wouldn't you rather be armed?

by cminus on Jul 28, 2009 12:07 pm • linkreport


Or maybe when you have people walking around armed (legaly too) you create an environment that fosters this sort of behavior.

by Joshua Davis on Jul 28, 2009 12:41 pm • linkreport

re: Asheville commenters

These comments don't surprise me; folks who post comments on the internet are pretty much brain-dead bottom feeders.

Oh, wait a second...

by ibc on Jul 28, 2009 1:07 pm • linkreport

ksu499, I'm guessing the goal is to convert the street away from being an arterial. There are a lot of streets that bisect neighborhoods and take away from a sense of place. They are great for people cutting through, but bad for the people that live there. Arlington does not want to build Columbia Pike so that Fairfax County residents can quickly get through Arlington, they want a street that makes people want to spend time in the community.

by Nick P on Jul 28, 2009 2:31 pm • linkreport

i think we can actually make a lot of headway with megachurches -- a little proactive lobbying might make these churches much less car-dependent. when i think of churches, i think of God, and the Devil (cars). we should try to fix that.

by Peter Smith on Jul 29, 2009 4:18 am • linkreport

Joshua Davis,

Well, yeah. Sorry, the "INTENTIONALLY SPECIOUS" tag didn't go through for some reason.

by cminus on Jul 29, 2009 5:59 pm • linkreport

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