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


Breakfast links: Safety, please!

Photo by katmere.
Aargh, another one!: Another elderly pedestrian has died, this time in Silver Spring, on 16th near Colesville. That's three in a week. When are leaders going to speak up? (Post, Pat O)

Would transit "safety zones" create safety?: Councilmembers Harry Thomas, Jr. and Michael Brown introduced a bill to increase criminal penalties around transit stops. A certainty vs. severity analysis suggests just cranking up penalties doesn't really help; the crime problem around transit is the failure to actually catch people, not the ability to put them in jail for longer time periods. (Examiner)

You can walk to school, even in Fairfax: Fairfax is considering having more kids walk to school to save money on buses. The article quotes many leaders including Supervisor (and alternate Metro Board member) Jeff McKay on the health and social benefits of walking. But can the Post please fire their Fairfax headline writer? Despite the article balancing pro and anti walking, the headline, "Students may face an uphill climb," is the most slanted part of the whole piece. (Post, Joshua D)

A great new Metro vision: Yonah Freemark offers his own fantasy system for the DC region. This one combines the separated Blue Line with a variant of Steve Offutt's Gold Line to create a Route 7-Columbia Pike-Rosslyn-M Street service. He even creates maps overlaying the new stations on population density and income maps, and describes potential development around Bailey's Crossroads. (Alex B)

The right wing and hating bikes: Bill and Hillary Clinton weren't the only targets of R. Emmett Tyrell, whose Richard Mellon Scaife-funded Arkansas Project tried to dig up dirt on the former President and First Lady. Tyrell also vehemently loathes bicycles, and published an amazing anti-bike screed in 1980. (, cminus)

Dog parking and barking: Neighbors around Dupont's 17th and S dog park have been trying to make the park work. The park is not getting locked at night, as it's supposed to, and some dog owners are using it very late into the night, and some fights have even broken out between dogs and then their owners. (Borderstan)

Bag fee coming January 1: The 5 cent fee for disposable bags will go into effect January 1. DC has launched an awareness campaign and is distributing free reusable bags at CVSes and to community organizations.

And...: H Street, NE may become a historic district (Voice of the Hill) ... Low-power radio is moving ahead in Congress (Prometheus Radio, Lynda) ... One Seattle drive-thru-only Starbucks right near light rail refused to serve a pedestrian. (hugeasscity)

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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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Fantasy metro lines are fun to talk about, but shoudn't we focus on lines that may actualy be built? For example some of the proposed pink and blue line could be replaced with DC's planned street car line.

I do like the idea of a light rail beltway however and I think its something we coudl focus on.

by Matt R on Nov 19, 2009 9:11 am • linkreport

as for enhancing safety around transit- why doesn't Metro install Metro Police kiosks at all Metro train stations- kind of like the Tokyo police have?

I see ZERO Metro Polic in the subways or near the stations. The only times I have ever seen them is in cars.
They need to ramp up their visibility.

As for H street becoming an "historic district"- well- if the old fogies south of H street get their way- you can kiss goodbye to any new business vitality for that area. I recently talked with a new H street merchant and he is vehemently oppossed to historic designation- not because of the protection for structures- but because of all of the other NIMBY nonsense that goes along w/ these people that has nothing to do w/ historic preservation.

by w on Nov 19, 2009 9:24 am • linkreport

Yes I think that headline about walking to school reflects a bias, but I think it mostly is a reference to the old "I used to walk 10 miles uphill both ways to and from school" joke.

by Reid on Nov 19, 2009 9:31 am • linkreport

While I like the idea of the pink line, and would certainly make lots of use of it seems it would cause a lot of disruptions to Metro service. West Falls would have to be shutdown during construction, and I'm pretty sure the Silver Line planners didn't plan for a pink line, and thus working this into the Silver Line interchange would require shutting down the line.

Lastly, some parts of Route 7 are right now only covered by the 28A and 28B, both of which are once on the hour bus services. Can we justify putting in heavy rail were transit is not that much in demand? Of course I realize this would spur all sorts of TOD like Wilson Blvd, however I just wonder if this should be light rail. Maybe even make the Blue Line follow the Yellow Line the entire route, and make this new Blue/Pink Line route entirely light rail.

by Joshua Davis on Nov 19, 2009 9:34 am • linkreport

Should have read the article... didn't realize Metro was upgrading capacity along the 28 line. Defiantly a much needed improvement.

by Joshua Davis on Nov 19, 2009 9:36 am • linkreport


I wonder which Metro stations you frequent? I frequently see Metro police at West Falls, Federal Center SW, and riding on the Green line. Do they need more visibility, yes. Are they at the wrong stations, maybe, certainly West Falls doesn't need an officer that frequently.

by Joshua Davis on Nov 19, 2009 9:37 am • linkreport

I would think the few truly exceptional old buildings on H Street NE can be protected on a case by case basis. The push for a historic district is likely motivated CHRS members who want to squash proposed density and transit improvements. They want the status quo in their residential rowhouse neighborhood and feel threatened by any growth that's even on the edges of their neighborhood.

by Paul S on Nov 19, 2009 9:38 am • linkreport

Looking at this fantasy system, which I like, I was reminded of something I noticed driving by the I66/Dulles road interchange.

The West Falls Church metro stop is right by this area but yet the Silver line as being built, and as I see from the Metro Maps, goes right past this stop but doesn't stop there.

Was there ever any consideration for the Silver Line stopping at WEST Falls Church? Or was the alignment fought or just too much?

by Boots on Nov 19, 2009 9:43 am • linkreport

Oh and I've wondered why the Purple Line can't be extended down through the railroad ROW down to Georgetown.

by Boots on Nov 19, 2009 9:46 am • linkreport

Boots - to get the Silver Line to stop at WFC, you'd have no easy ROW to get up to Tysons. You'd have to go up Route 7 - and while it would be nice to have a straight-up subway there, I don't think that was ever in the cards. That portion of Route 7 between Tysons Corner Center and WFC isn't all that much in demand for that level of transit investment, and using the Toll Road ROW gives you both quick access to Tysons and routes you through the eastern part of Tysons Corner - a part with a lot of redevelopment opportunities.

I think the most realistic option for the Silver line stopping at WFC would be to add another platform there, somewhere, after the Silver line tracks separate from the Orange line tracks. Not sure how that would work with the track geometry, or for ped circulation (as that platform would essentially be located in the middle of a freeway interchange).

by Alex B. on Nov 19, 2009 10:01 am • linkreport

Boots - Re: Purple line to Georgetown - I've also thought about that as an idea. That raises some interesting ideas about interoperability between streetcars and LRT, as you could theoretically have that ROW connect to the end of the K street line in Georgetown - but you've got some serious interoperability concerns. The advantages that streetcars have is that they're light and can be built fast, but I don't know if DC's plans can (or should) be able to support the weight of full LRT trains. Interesting idea, though.

If you were doing it with streetcars and not LRVs, I would consider deviating from that ROW and go up, say, MacArthur Blvd instead.

by Alex B. on Nov 19, 2009 10:06 am • linkreport

Is there really a whole lot b/t Bethesda and Gtown that would warrant a purple line extension down that way? I can only think of a few places (like the NGA/military facility, which is getting BRAC'ed to god knows where in the exurbs) that would benefit. I think it would be cool to have LRT extend from Benning Road all the way to bethesda by way of K street and Gtown, but feasible? no.

by JTS on Nov 19, 2009 10:27 am • linkreport


Yes. There were 3 alternatives that served the West Falls Church Station.
Alternative B1:
Y junction at Capitol Beltway interchange with VA I-66, Silver line then followed Beltway to Leesburg Pike, One seat ride from all Orange line station to Silver line stations. No Tyson East station.
Alternative O2:
Y junction west of the existing West Falls Church Station. New station platform on the west leg of the Y. One seat ride from all Orange line station to Silver line stations.
Alternative T7:
Junction west of the West Falls Church Station. Route followed Leesburg Pike to Tysons Corner. No Tyson East station.

by Sand Box John on Nov 19, 2009 10:33 am • linkreport


at the Eastern Market station I never see WMATA Police unless they are in cars. Point taken- they absolutely are manning the wrong stations- and they are not visible during the hours that the schools let out- so the rampaging youth can go as crazy as they wish w/o consequences. Another friend says that she sees WMATA cops maybe once a week on the orange blue line. To be fair- I only use the Metro maybe twice a week and mostly bicycle for all errands and commuting purposes.

Paul- you are dead on target- as usual- you have a lot of insight in all of your comments. This is exactly what will happen to H street if the old fart NIMBYs south of H street manage to wrestle control- we'll have Dick Wolfe shutting down the new streetcars and no infill or new businesses.
Well also get parking lots or surface parking in place of real tax paying properties that benefit the city as a whole. If it were just historic preservation, that is not as big of an issue- H street is not as intact as other main streets and has a lot of growth potential. Interesting that the "arcade" they mention in the article is a 1960's creation and it is being deemed "historic". As for the Kennedy center- to me it is a very ugly car- centric style 1960's building that turns it's back on the city and opens it's arms to Northern Virginia. I would never classify that kind of building as particularly important and worthy of historic designation. It is basic Brutalism with a marble veneer.

by w on Nov 19, 2009 10:42 am • linkreport

You know, for a while there, I was fooled. I really thought H Street was going to get better; that it was going to become a healthy part of the city. But I should have known that some people look at a neighborhood still traumatized by race riots and say, 'I don't want the healing to begin.' Anti-development districts are self-mutilating enough in rich neighborhoods like Cleveland Park where people can afford to cope with stagnancy and backwardnes. In a poor neighborhood like H Street, creating an anti-development district would be downright cruel.

by tom veil on Nov 19, 2009 10:56 am • linkreport

As a card-carrying member of the National Trust, I oppose historic designation for H Street for all of the reasons outlined above. CHRS is more about parking preservation/expansion and opposition to any and all change than it is about healthy neighborhoods. Call me paranoid, but I view historic designation for H Street as a way of maintaining the status quo i.e. killing streetcars and quashing any new development or increased density along that corridor. (Remeber, it was not too long ago, perhaps 12-15 years now, that we saw articles in Hill Rag calling for rezoning 8th Street SE to exclusively residential. That point of view is where these people are coming from.)

by rg on Nov 19, 2009 11:14 am • linkreport

The biggest problems with CHRS revolve around the universality of their approach- by default, they have become the end all non-elected body in charge of all neighborhood affairs- and they seem to carry even more clout than the local ANCs.

There is an ossification of and exclusionary , reactionary membership in CHRS- they are both overtly hostile to the "new people" moving into the area, and their meetings make the AARP look like a kids summer camp. Not that older people are necessarily bad- and there are some great folks in the CHRS- but they seem to divert their interests far from the core mission of their charter.

They are all about parking preservation, anti-density, non growth, anti- transit, and they are at war with small businesses and mom & pop mixed usage that is really what the true "historic" Capitol Hill area was .

by w on Nov 19, 2009 11:23 am • linkreport


by w on Nov 19, 2009 11:36 am • linkreport

For the record, NGA, right off of MacArthur Bvld in Bethesda, is scheduled to be BRAC'd to Ft. Belvoir.

The move will be completed in full by Sept. 11 2011.

by MPC on Nov 19, 2009 11:40 am • linkreport

Boots -- is that the rail ROW that goes through a bunch of backyards in the Palisades, where the owners are now trying to prevent Pepco, which uses the ROW, from expanding the wires and removing trees to prevent blackouts? On the ground that the space has become a "virtual" backyard?

Yeah, good luck with that.

by ah on Nov 19, 2009 11:55 am • linkreport

The Red Line needs to be extended on both ends. On the west side through downtown Gaithersburg to Germantown. One the East at least to Muncaster Mill, perhaps farther.

Develop Shady Grove into a livable community, not a parking garage hell.

by Silver Spring on Nov 19, 2009 12:06 pm • linkreport

What a bunch of whiners...I can't believe the kids in Fairfax don't have to walk to school already. When I went to school in Anchorage, AK, we had to walk or ride bikes to school if we lived under 1.5 miles away--in the dark, through the snow, watching out for moose, etc. Remote neighborhoods (i.e. expensive areas in the mountains near town) actually had to pay extra for hauling their kids into town for school every morning.

by Chris on Nov 19, 2009 12:09 pm • linkreport

I agree w/ Chris- these kids need to be on bicycles- the parents need to get over the over-protective paranoia that they will automatically be kidnapped by Albert Fish / Dahmer / Hannibal Lechter if they do not drive them to school.

There is a lot of un-necessary hysteria surrounding the walk/bike to school issue.

by w on Nov 19, 2009 12:20 pm • linkreport

re: fantasy line: Go build!

re: kids biking: Anybody closer than 4 miles from school should bike. Money saved can be used for building some serious bike paths.

by Jasper on Nov 19, 2009 1:04 pm • linkreport

I like this map and it makes me think about my neck of the woods (Brightwood, Silver Spring, etc). I think there could be a real benefit from sending the yellow line up Georgia, through Silver Spring and beyond (29?). Also, a east west line. As it is now the density is not that great, however there is the 62 acres of Walter Reed (which has not been discussed much at GGW) and 4 acres at Curtis that could be done at a higher density with a heavy rail line. The planned streetcar line is nice for what is there now and current Georgia bus traffic. However, heavy rail could really offer greater density and a better use of the land. Especially since Rock Creek/Fort Circle land can be used to provide green space for the increased population.

by leeindc on Nov 19, 2009 1:32 pm • linkreport

Walter Reed should be the location for the planned or envisaged Nation Museum for the American Army- we do not need to have another National Museum built out in the sprawl and DC should put in a bid for this.

We lost out on the Marine Corps National Museum which is now in the Sprawl- it belongs in DC where the oldest existing shore facility and the ceremonial Marine Headquarters is located and has been for 200 years- 8th & I streets SE.

There is plenty of land where this museum could have been built in SE- but absolutely ZERO will on the part of the DC government to even pay attention to this potential grand moneymaker for our city.

This is what happens when the majority of the DC city employees do not live in DC and have no interest in our community except to get as much money out of us as they possibly can.

There is also certainly a latent if not outright anti- military mentality among the many of our DC city employees- and also possibly - by far too many of our DC residents- despite the militray having made enourmous contributions to this city and it's long and colorful history in the making of the Nation's Capitol and our city,,, not to mention the stabilization of neighborhoods- like the U.S. Marines in S.E. - who volunteer to clean up the area, plant flowers, board up vacant / derelict properties, etc.

IMO- they are excellent and deserving neighbors.

by w on Nov 19, 2009 1:49 pm • linkreport

"There is an ossification of and exclusionary , reactionary membership in CHRS- they are both overtly hostile to the "new people" moving into the area, and their meetings make the AARP look like a kids summer camp."

Not to be morbid, but if the meetings really do "make the AARP look like a kids summer camp," won't the problem solve itself in a few years?

by Phil on Nov 19, 2009 2:53 pm • linkreport


there are actually two rail ROWs along the Pallisades- the old streetcar line and the Metropolitan Branch line that went into Georgetown- it was mainly a coal train to feed the old steam plant in Georgetown.

Both ROWs could potentially be re-used but would face major NIMBY whining/hurdles for anything to get approval.

by w on Nov 19, 2009 3:21 pm • linkreport

"For the record, NGA, right off of MacArthur Bvld in
Bethesda, is scheduled to be BRAC'd to Ft. Belvoir.
The move will be completed in full by Sept. 11 2011.

by MPC on Nov 19, 2009 11:40 am"

Well, it's actually 12:00 Noon, September 15, 2011.

And it is the Fort Belvoir North Area, which is located on the west side of 95 at the Fairfax County Parkway.

If metro were to ever extend south to Potomac Mills, it still would miss this building which will house 8500 people.

I'm ready to vote for any law that requires a building with more than 5,000 employees to be located within walking distance of transit. Obviously, a law like that would never see the light of day. It just illustrates the fact that we don't seem to care about transit.

by DM on Nov 20, 2009 9:39 am • linkreport

I don't think that is necessarily accurate.

Assuming it keeps following CSX tracks, It would be about a third of a mile from a the platform to the eastern side of the new campus, and a mile to the western side.

by Squalish on Nov 20, 2009 10:54 am • linkreport

Re: Drive-thru - I once walked through a Wendy's drive-thru because it was the only part of the restaurant that was open. They served me, but scolded me because it was "a drive-thru, not a walk-thru." What blatant discrimination.

Re: Walk/bike to school - What a revolutionary idea. Imagine children walking to school! School districts save money and cut down on air pollution, kids get exercise and learn that their legs are good for something. Amazing.

Re: H St NE - I can't believe the anti-business mentality in some neighborhoods. This single-use suburban mindset is what prevents healthy, vital, walkable neighborhoods. And under the guise of historic preservation, which I once thought was a good thing. For shame.

by Matthias on Nov 20, 2009 1:23 pm • linkreport

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