The Washington, DC region is great >> and it can be greater.


Breakfast links: Hitting a wall

Photo by dave_mcmt.
Free transit if you develop an app: Not from WMATA. The Boston MBTA is offering a free year's worth of transit on their subway and bus for the best applications that help riders navigate the system (using schedule and stop location data) or visualize information (using anonymized rider entrance and exit data they've released). (transit-developers, Michael P)

Put the jobs near the people: A great Post article discusses the imbalance of jobs and housing in the region. Instead of recommending more freeways to help commuters, the article quotes several advocates for putting more jobs in Prince George's County, eastern Montgomery County, and southern Fairfax so fewer people have to drive long distances to the Favored Quarter in the north and west. (Post, Cavan)

Why-Mart?: Marion Barry is interested in wooing Wal-Mart to DC, probably for the big box site south of Poplar Point. But DC Council colleagues like Phil Mendelson aren't so enthusiastic about bringing Wal-Mart's labor practices to DC.

At the end, the two News 8 reporters talk about how DC would have to make substantial zoning changes and even help Wal-Mart acquire more land for all its parking. Why should it? The purpose of zoning is to define what kind of development we want for an area. If Wal-Mart wants to build a store that fits with the vision for the area, they can. If not, DC should spend its economic development dollars on someone who wants to contribute to building a neighborhood instead of turning it into a parking-lot wasteland. (News 8, Congress Heights on the Rise)

Distracted reporter driving: A NYC reporter films a report on distracted driving ... while driving. As he talks about the high level of danger associated with looking away from the road, he looks away from the road and into the camera. (Streetsblog NYC)

Don't be chicken: Tommy Wells introduced a bill to legalize owning chickens in DC, as long as neighbors agree. Chickens are a good source of eggs, of course, but those who want to supplement their rooftop vegetable gardens with chickens have formerly had to do so in secret and against the law. (DCist)

Klingle all the way: Remember Klingle Road, the controversial right-of-way that the DC Council voted to make into a hiker-biker trail instead of a highway across Rock Creek? The study to create a is moving forward, and holding a public meeting on on Wednesday. (TheWashCycle)

Two mayors on parking: Mayor Bloomberg proposed better multispace meters that offer pay-by-phone, as well as an amnesty program to collect some of the $700 million in outstanding tickets. On the other coast, Mayor Gavin Newsom of San Francisco opposes extending meter hours past the existing early end time of 6 pm. (Daily News, Streetsblog SF, Michael P)

Have a tip for the links? Submit it here.
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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Wow, free transit for a year. That would be so easy for metro to do, have a similar contest. Someone should ask that question to John Catoe on his 1pm web chat today:

by Matt Glazewski on Oct 2, 2009 7:44 am • linkreport

I support Gavin Newsom, and apparently so do most Arlington businesses, who are, according to the Arlington Sun-Gazette, coming out strongly against proposals from the Arlington county board to extend meter hours in Arlington's commercial sectors.

by ksu499 on Oct 2, 2009 8:10 am • linkreport

@KSU: I have data from Clarendon that shows the parking spaces filling up starting at 4pm and staying full until the meters stop operating at 6pm (and the data stops, unfortunately). The other peak for meter demand is 12 noonish.

Is that what Clarendon businesses want? All the on-street spaces 100% full of cars, many of which are there at 4pm and will be there throughout the evening? What about their customer that gets there at 6pm? Where should they park?

Other reports have shown that in a high-traffic commercial area with free or cheap on-street parking, the business owners and employees take up a lot of the convenient spaces, leaving the customers to search.

Businesses should read the latest report including a survey of San Francisco patrons. They valued available and convenient parking more than they valued cheap parking. A majority stated they would be willing to pay extra for available and convenient parking. In high-demand areas, most stated they did not expect to park for free.

I've drafted an article on the report. Hopefully I'll be able to edit and clean it up for publication. That's right, reading 80-page reports on parking so you don't have to.

by Michael Perkins on Oct 2, 2009 8:51 am • linkreport

I think the fact that MBTA is willing to pay someone (albeit a very small amount) to develop an app for their riders refutes Mr. LintonÂ’s point that no agency has considered the value of their data. Apparently MBTA has, and has come to the conclusion that no only is the data not worth selling, but it is worth paying to have it distributed.

by James on Oct 2, 2009 9:53 am • linkreport

@James: That's a very good point. The great part is not only does MBTA get the benefit of having the winning entry produced and distributed, they get the knowledge of what's possible with the current technology (including all the other submitted but nonwinning entries), and the intelligence value of knowing who's out there and capable of doing interesting things with their data. I smell job opportunity for the winner.

And it only cost MBTA about $2000 (or less?) for the transit ticket.

by Michael Perkins on Oct 2, 2009 10:05 am • linkreport

You need only look at the vacant echo chamber that is the Columbia Heights Target parking garage to see that big box stores in urban environments don't need freaking sprawling parking lots.

That said, I predict the council will provide millions in incentives to do just that.

by monkeyrotica on Oct 2, 2009 10:05 am • linkreport

Wasn't there talk a while back about Costco locating in DC? I'd rather have them; they've got great prices, you buy in bulk, and they have better labor practices than Walmart.

by Fritz on Oct 2, 2009 10:31 am • linkreport

I thought Walmart had reformed it's practices after so much bad publicity. Well apparently they havn'e reformed that everything if they're still envisioning huge parking lots as the business model.

by Bianchi on Oct 2, 2009 10:36 am • linkreport

Walmart does have a two-story supercenter design that they originally used in China and introduced to the US in, of all metropolises, Albany NY (it combined a regular Walmart and a former Sam's Club below it). Even though Albany is "the new Peoria" in terms of testing new ideas, such a thing could work in DC.

If Walmart wants in DC, I think they'd bend their plans far enough. Heck, even the notoriously anti-urban Wegmans at least has something resembling garages in their VA locations, Walmart could surely do it to help some underserved area in SE/NE.

(Dream repurposing of mine: the old Uline Arena as a Wegmans)

by Jason on Oct 2, 2009 11:13 am • linkreport

Some parking at an urban Walmart is legitimate, because lugging a microwave on the bus can be a pain in the a$$. But these bigbox stores go overboard. Ever been to the Wegmans near Dulles? It's like you need a freaking shuttle bus to get from the far end of the lot to the store. It's like a couple square miles of asphault that NEVER gets to capacity. WTF?

by monkeyrotica on Oct 2, 2009 1:38 pm • linkreport

"If not, DC should spend its economic development dollars on someone who wants to contribute to building a neighborhood instead of turning it into a parking-lot wasteland."

Here's the problem. NO business is interested in opening up in Southeast. NONE, not a single one. Zero, etc etc etc. The greatest economic development project of the last 10 years in SE was the opening of an IHOP.

By the way, go the Wal Mart on Route 1, or the one in Kingstowne and count the DC plates. DC money flooding out to Fairfax County every single weekend. But hey, at least we don't have a big parking lot in our city! Fairfax thanks you.

So there is demand for a Wal Mart among DC residents. There are no other business looking to open up in the poorest section of the city. But we should say no to Wal Mart because they will turn SE into a parking lot "wasteland?"

So urban planning now trumps the very wishes of the urban residents?

by metronic on Oct 2, 2009 6:06 pm • linkreport

Wal-Mart would just bring low paying, mostly part-time jobs. The rest of us subsidize their low prices (which aren't lower than other stores for the majority of their items) through tax breaks (which is what they really want) and the social insurance benefits for which their low poaid employees qualify. they've helpd offshore lots of US jobs. Let them stay in the 'burbs and suck money of PG and other jurisdictions that are "developer freindly". A Wal-Mart would help redevelop Southeast.

by Rich on Oct 2, 2009 7:36 pm • linkreport

Klingle Road is still "a highway across Rock Creek". They need to tear that bridge down.

by D. Murphy on Oct 2, 2009 7:43 pm • linkreport

@ D. Murphy

Teardown Klingle Rd and which way would the metrobuses take across there Calvert St?

You would get so much s**t from anyone using transit or trying to get anywhere east and west of the park, the park is already a barrier for travel and you would make it worst.

by Kk on Oct 2, 2009 7:53 pm • linkreport

Klingle which is an extension of Klingle, not Klingle which is an extension of Porter. The one that is basically an on-ramp to the park cut-through to Piney Branch.

Whose bright idea was it to have two segments of road both named Klingle cross the park on adjacent bridges?

by D. Murphy on Oct 3, 2009 11:54 pm • linkreport

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