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Breakfast links: Communication needs work

Photo by mollybob.
Secret? Vehicular? Both?: Montgomery County officials didn't like how I called their confidential underpass proposal a "secret vehicular tunnel" in Dr. Gridlock last week. But as Ben Ross told the Doctor, how isn't it a "secret vehicular tunnel" if it carries vehicles and the details are hidden? (Post)

Fenty, Rhee approval down: Approval ratings of Mayor Fenty and Michelle Rhee have plummeted, especially among blacks. (Post) ... The Examiner puts it politely: The Mayor "needs to work on outreach."

Redo L'Enfant Plaza: NCPC is kicking off a study to try to transform the L'Enfant Promenade area into a green place with some real street activity. It'll coincide with a rehab of the underground mall. (DCmud)

Andrews fighting Gaithersbungle: Recent Montgomery County Council President Phil Andrews is pushing hard to reduce the size of the sprawling Gaithersburg West development. (Examiner)

3-foot in Maryland: Like Virginia, Maryland is considering a 3-foot law for passing bicyclists. That might have helped save Jack Yates, who was killed in a right hook by a turning truck driver and the police blamed the victim. (Baltimore City Paper)

Hands-free is also distracting: A study found that where laws prohibit non-hands-free cell phone use while driving, crash rates aren't lower. Articles spin this two ways: laws don't reduce crashes (with an obligatory quote from a driver who doesn't think anything he does could be dangerous), or hands-free driving is just as distracting (and proponents of laws against all phone use). (Mercury News, Post)

How Fannie and Freddie inhibit mixed-use: As Congress looks to overhaul Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, urbanists are pointing out how their rules against guaranteeing loans for most mixed-use developments discourage good urbanism. (Streetsblog Capitol Hill)

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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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"What is the difference between my having a conversation with my passenger and holding a burger in one hand as opposed to talking on speakerphone or holding the phone up to my ear?"


by Neil Flanagan on Feb 1, 2010 10:29 am • linkreport

The difference is not the fact that you have something in your hand - it's the conversation.

Studies have shown that conversations between passengers in a car and the driver are not as dangerous because the conversation flow changes depending on the driving conditions. Subconsciously, passengers/drivers alter their conversation behavior when traffic gets heavy, etc. The person on the other end of your cell phone conversation doesn't do this because they can't see what's going on around the car.

by MLD on Feb 1, 2010 10:46 am • linkreport

another anti-density problem w/fredie-fannie is something I ran into last summer when trying to refinance a loan. Its incredibly anit affordable housing and anti dense housing. The loan was rejected even though I have >50% equity on the property, >=800 credit rate and just wanted to lower the intereste rate, go from 30 yr fixed to 15 yr fixed and thus lower my monthly payment. The reason given for the rejection, and blamed on fannie, is that the sq footage was too low. This was for a condo in an FHA approved building that I originally purchased with an FHA loan 10 years ago. I didn't follow-up but was left with the question -does that mean no one can get a loan for a property below the min. sq footage in this "climate"? Incredibly anti afforadable housing. Anyone know anything about this?

by rejected on Feb 1, 2010 11:06 am • linkreport

@ Neil: Just search the old post on this blog for th complete fact, but here they come:
1) The passenger functions as an extra pair of eyes. Any less attention of the driver gets compensated by a passenger.
2) When on the phone, the visual attention of drivers is actually diminished because part of the visual brain is used to imagine the person on the phone.
3) Nobody is saying that driving with a burger in your hand is safe. For starters, it's unsafe for your health.

On the whole, I do not understand the fixation of outlawing specific devices in detail. we have reckless driving for that. It suffices to leave it to the officer to determine if someone is driving recklessly. In driver's ed, the point is already being made that distracted driving is bad. You only need to point out that texting is rather distracting. as if people don't know.

by Jasper on Feb 1, 2010 1:12 pm • linkreport

3) Nobody is saying that driving with a burger in your hand is safe. For starters, it's unsafe for your health.

This is what I was saying. I just wanted to point out the preposterous comparison, and underlying cluelessness.

by Neil Flanagan on Feb 1, 2010 1:16 pm • linkreport

Concerning L'Enfant Plaza, I remember Beyond DC, in his annotation of the Framing the Mall plan from the NCPC, suggested creating a "L'Enfant Station" like Union Station. I always thought it was a good idea.

by Steve S on Feb 1, 2010 1:57 pm • linkreport

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