Greater Greater Washington

Breakfast links: Back in the east


Photo by Heather Elias.
Live to teach: A new building in Baltimore provides affordable housing for teachers. The article quotes one couple who lived in DC but taught in Baltimore until the program enticed them to move. (WBAL, Ward 1 Guy)

Still the only way on WTOP: WTOP uncritically parrots the "more highways = less congestion" canard while covering VDOT's new Battlefield Parkway extension in Leesburg. VDOT head Pierce Homer says the state has no money to do any more of these highway extensions, and reporter Hank Silverberg writes that "Many local leaders say that without an attitude change in Richmond, more highway projects won't get built, and traffic will only get worse." The word "transit" appears nowhere in the article. (Stephen Miller)

Is it working?: Maybe some reporters are noticing the linguistic bias issue. This ABC7 article leads with the text, "Police are investigating whether a medical emergency caused a man to crash into a Ride On bus Tuesday afternoon." Sadly, the driver died in the crash near Damascus. (Dustin)

Social pressure another weapon against distracted driving: Armed with statistics and media coverage, many people are pressuring friends and family to stop distracted driving. Some drivers make amazing rationalizations for why they continue. "Even if I'm going 60 miles an hour, I feel the need to check it. It might be spam, a wrong number, whatever. But who cares? My cell vibrates. I respond." (New York Times, Stephen Miller)

"Ghost bike" intersection gets a sign: DDOT has followed up on one of WABA's four recommendations for the intersection of 20th and R, where Alice Swanson was killed last year. There's now a "yield to bikes" sign. (why.i.hate.dc, Stephen Miller) ... Still no word on whether they're also considering a bike box or a no right turn on red restriction.

Not loving the heart sculptures: Ruth Samuelson is asking questions about a Colombian advertising campaign that involved placing 14 heart sculptures in public space around DC. Total cost: $750. And is it really a tourism campaign or actually lobbying for a trade agreement? (Housing Complex, Stephen Miller)

Meccarail: A new monorail will connect some of the most popular tourist destinations in the world: Mecca's holy sites. Saudi Arabia is building the line, which will take 53,000 buses off the roads during the annual Hajj pilgrimage. (Wired, JTS)

The really conservative position: Governing compares the late Paul Weyrich's writings to the so-called free-market anti-transit arguments that Cato so actively pushes. (Stanton Park) ... Cato, by the way, is having another Randal O'Toole forum next week, presumably, as usual, featuring only libertarians who favor big government road building.

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David Alpert is the founder and editor-in-chief of Greater Greater Washington. 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 daughter in Dupont Circle. 

Comments

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As usual, Dave closed the comment on the "funeral goers in bike lanes thread" as soon as they turned negative. They are continuing on dcist, however. http://dcist.com/2009/09/go_home_already_i_want_to_go_there.php#comments

Dave, why do you do that? It really hurts the credibility of this blog.

by beatbox on Sep 9, 2009 9:50 am • linkreport

"As usual"? I've closed comments on a total of SIX posts over the entire life of the blog. And "as soon as"? These comments had been continuing without any real change for about two days. Nobody was posting anything new, just the same comment over and over phrased differently.

I don't close comments when they're negative, I close them when they've gotten mired in an infinite loop of uninteresting. I hadn't seen the DCist post; that now explains why all of a sudden the same comment was getting parroted by a lot of people without any actual contribution to a discussion.

by David Alpert on Sep 9, 2009 9:59 am • linkreport

With all due respect (and I am serious here) When you start to see a lot of negative comments it just means that most readers don't agree with you. By closing them off it just seems like you are trying to hide that fact. If a lot of people are posting the same thing, it usually means that a lot of people are ticked off by the same issue/angle.

The point it, it is not a BAD thing for a blogger to take a controversial position and let the comments fly-good or bad. It is up to you to as to whether you want to respond or not. I am just saying that while its your blog and you can do what you want with it, it is not the best policy for building a sustainable readership.

by beatbox on Sep 9, 2009 10:07 am • linkreport

I live a block away from Miller's Court. It's a truly gorgeous renovation. (And no, I do not work for the developer.) http://www.millerscourt.com/

by Chris on Sep 9, 2009 10:07 am • linkreport

Of course, i meant closing comments is not a good policy. Controversial positions are in fact, very good.

by beatbox on Sep 9, 2009 10:08 am • linkreport

beatbox: There's no need to lecture me on blog controversies. There have been plenty of controversial threads in the past. Lots. I obejct to your assumption that I always close threads that are controversial, when that's completely untrue. You are just projecting your expectations onto reality.

I closed comments because for about two days there had been nothing but a bunch of "me too" type things. I close comments when a thread is going around and around without any new points being made. I assumed that everyone had had a chance to have their say and participate in the discussion. I hadn't realized that DCist just linked to it yesterday; if I had, I wouldn't have done that. Even though now the thread may continue to just consist of a bunch of DCist people coming over to echo the same point in identical ways, I've reopened it so they can have their say.

by David Alpert on Sep 9, 2009 10:13 am • linkreport

The lede on the ABC story makes sense. The first sentence does not. "A man crashes into a bus"? Sounds like what happened Friday in Dupont Circle/Florida Ave, at least from one perspective.

by ah on Sep 9, 2009 10:29 am • linkreport

I'm kind of shocked to learn that Mecca didn't have any rail transit already. The Saudis love big public works projects, and it's my understanding that virtually all pilgrims arrive by either plane or bus.

by tom veil on Sep 9, 2009 10:32 am • linkreport

The word "transit" appears nowhere in the article.

Neither do the words 'walk' or 'bike'. If it's important enough to get upset over a lack of transit talk, it's important enough to get upset over a lack of bike/walk talk.

Just sayin.

Any 'Complete Streets' legislation/ordinances should mandate appropriate bicycle facilities along all roads/streets/highways, just like in the Netherlands, and sometimes even in Arlington.

If we're going to get burned by highway dollars, we can at least get something good out of it -- allow people to get around on bike or foot if they want.

Or maybe we just have to wait for Greater Greater Copenhagen to hit 50% bike mode share before we can take walking and biking seriously...

by Peter Smith on Sep 9, 2009 4:10 pm • linkreport

Yield to bikes"? What happens if you fail to yield? And kill someone? So far, not much.

Without enforcement, a "yield to bikes" sign is about as absurd as a sign reminding drivers to "please don't run over people"

I fear that the sign is just an attempt by the DOT to sweep the whole issue under the rug, instead of actually doing something to make the roads safer.

by SJE on Sep 9, 2009 4:27 pm • linkreport

As a follow up, Mr. Washcycle reminded me that the sign is an appropriate response for DDOT. The real issues remain ones of policy and enforcement.

by SJE on Sep 9, 2009 5:22 pm • linkreport

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