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Breakfast links: Senatorial outrage

Photo by KentonNgo.
Mikulski wants a change: Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) lambasted Metro management for safety and oversight problems at a Senate hearing yesterday. In response, Jim Graham announced that a management shake-up is coming soon. Can Mikulski next please get mad about all the seniors getting killed by cars and insist that regional DOTs do something? (Post)

Coburn "doesn't get bikes": In strongly-worded language, a blogger lambastes Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) for his constant diatribes against spending stimulus dollars on anything that makes biking and walking safer. That wouldn't be unusual, except that blogger is Ray LaHood, US Transportation Secretary. (Fast Lane)

Not enough time for peds and drivers: DDOT added a pedestrian crossing at New York Avenue and Bladensburg Road, but the change created big traffic jams. DDOT will tweak the timing to try to improve things. (Post, Joey) Any ideas? Some WTOP commenters suggest a button-actuated signal.

How about an app for that: Scientists derived the formula for exactly how long a parallel parking space needs to be for you to fit. Drivers probably can't do the multiple square roots in their heads, though. (Telegraph)

Ticket yourself: Ruth Samuelson is on the case of a parking enforcement officer caught parking in a bike lane. (Housing Complex)

Bike into the office: New York's bikes in buildings law goes into effect today. Any building with a freight elevator has to let employees bring bikes into the building. Let's bring the law to DC too. (NY Times)

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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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Hey ... If it's a big enough freight elevator, maybe we can bring cars up in it too! Why should bikers be the only ones getting free/secure parking!


by Lance on Dec 11, 2009 9:41 am • linkreport

The parking formula is pretty much a constant once you put in your own car's dimensions (turning radius, wheelbase and front hangover length). You can put in an estimate of an average car width and just remember that number.

Or you could just learn to parallel park.

by Michael Perkins on Dec 11, 2009 9:47 am • linkreport

I'm not surprised to see that parking enforcement vehicle blocking the bike lane. They are always parked illegally.

by Matthias on Dec 11, 2009 10:22 am • linkreport

Why should bikers be the only ones getting free/secure parking!

This could fall under the question "why should cyclists get preferential treatment over drivers?"

The answer is that every single jurisdiction from community groups to the federal government wants to encourage more people to bike/walk and fewer to drive. The reasons I'm sure you've heard listed before (health, pollution, AGW, space, safety, etc...). So one way to do that is to give cyclists advantages that you don't give drivers (free parking, subsidized public bicycles, no toll trails and bridge crossings, etc...).

So if you're argument is that it isn't fair, you're right. But we are not 8 year old boys, and "fair" is no longer the only thing that matters. As a cyclist, I don't want to be treated just like a driver. I want to be treated better. I want preferential treatment, and I see no shame in saying that.

[Although really what I'm saying is that driving is way too cheap. If all the negative externalities of driving were captured in the gas tax (pollution, AGW, health, safety, etc...) and if parking were priced at the actual cost of renting the land you're parking on, then I would have no problem paying rent for the smaller piece of land I park on. But the cost of driving would nearly triple and the cost of cycling would go up about 20%. So if you're argument is that it's not fair, you're right. Driving is way too subsidized, making it difficult for cycling to compete.]

by David C on Dec 11, 2009 10:26 am • linkreport

Also, cycling does not have the negative externalities that automobiles do. The subsidies that driving gets makes it even more expensive to society also. Any subsidy that cycling gets would never be as much as cars currently get because of the lack of negative externalities.

by Cavan on Dec 11, 2009 10:29 am • linkreport

Michael, the formula strikes me like the formulas showing the optimal angle, including differences in height, to throw a ball to maximize distance. Of course, folks also showed that reasonably skilled athletes can mentally calculate the optimal angle subconsciously with a high degree of accuracy.

by ah on Dec 11, 2009 12:04 pm • linkreport

Coburn is one of the more intellectually challenged Reps on the Hill.

by Betsy on Dec 11, 2009 12:51 pm • linkreport

Regarding New York Ave & Bladensburg:

I agree that grade-separated pedestrian crossings are usually a bad idea, but since New York Avenue is essentially a substitute for a freeway, this location might call for one.

by Josh B on Dec 11, 2009 2:08 pm • linkreport

Graham needs to be booted from the Metro Board. I never understood how a guy who readily admits to rarely using Metro can serve as its board chairman.

by Fritz on Dec 11, 2009 2:50 pm • linkreport

I don't know why people should be complaining about senators criticizing Metro managers' incompetence when Metro managers are, in fact, grossly incompetent.

by Phil on Dec 11, 2009 5:05 pm • linkreport

ya'll may enjoy this show about the loundon underground.,vepisode,1,0

by a on Dec 11, 2009 10:22 pm • linkreport

Wow! It's not something I say often, but way to go, Ray LaHood! If only others in the administration dismissed right-wing cranks like Coburn similarly.

by Matt on Dec 13, 2009 1:07 am • linkreport

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