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


Breakfast links: Green and urban

Image from RG Architecture.
Bulb-out in a box: San Francisco is installing trial bulb-outs, 7'x40' durable wood platforms with bike racks, planter boxes, tables and chairs. If successful, they can build permanent bulb-outs, but this lets them try it out at low cost. (Streetsblog SF, Michael P)

Work for CSG: The Coalition for Smarter Growth wants to hire someone to manage online communications, the website, and social media, and work on volunteer programs and the walking tours and forums.

Current debates: There are a few interesting articles in last week's Current. First, load the huge PDF. ...

(On page 1) Foxhall neighbors are opposing the extent of GW's planned Mount Vernon Campus expansion, saying it's "urbanizing a piece of my neighborhood."

(On page 1) A Brightwood church wants to expand onto its empty land and DC's preservation office okayed plans, but the National Park Service is now opposing the plan because it could block the view from Fort Stevens.

(On page 6) NPS is planning to rehabilitate McPherson Square, and the Logan Circle ANC would like benches with middle arms to prevent people from sleeping on them. However, NPS says CFA, NCPC, and preservation groups don't let them use anything but the design they've used since 1934.

Compartir las bicicletas: There's a new largest North American bike sharing program: Mexico City's Ecobici, with 1,110 bikes in 82 stations. It's managed by Clear Channel, which runs DC's current SmartBike system but which DC is rumored to be dropping. (The Bike-Sharing Blog)

Cell phone bans best in cities?: Researchers are still trying to gauge the effectiveness of cell phone bans on driving. One new study suggests that they work best in urban areas, but the article notes that everything is still inconclusive. (Ars Technica, Cavan)

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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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These are the same Foxhall residents who opposed the conversion of the Casey Mansion to a mayoral residence, which instead became a massive McMansion farm?

by Andrew on Feb 17, 2010 9:17 am • linkreport

Cellphone bans for drivers are only as good as their enforcement. Has anyone actually ever been cited by the DC police for not using a hands-free device while driving?

If the law was merely meant as a deterrent, it isn't working. Step outside your office and count the number of drivers gabbing away on their cellphones in the District. You'll run out of fingers and toes to count with in about five minutes.

by Matt on Feb 17, 2010 9:51 am • linkreport

Matt - MPDC has published statistics about the number of citations, and MPDC clearly does ticket for use of cell phones. I've also seen cops standing at corners and picking out people on phones for tickets. Is it enough? Of course not--lots of people still do it. But they have been enforcing the law at least somewhat.

by ah on Feb 17, 2010 9:57 am • linkreport

It makes intuitive sense that cell phones in cars are more dangerous in an urban environment than, say, on long stretches of desolate interstates. There are simply more things coming at you from more directions than when you're buzzing along through Nebraska on a limited access highway. You just don't have to process as much information there as on the streets of NYC, DC, etc.

by ah on Feb 17, 2010 9:59 am • linkreport

MPD had issued over 42,000 tickets for violating the cell phone ban as of September '09:

They've issued an increasing number each year since the ban went into effect in '05. I believe around 12,000 of those citations are from '08 alone.

by ontarioroader on Feb 17, 2010 10:01 am • linkreport

Count the number of MPD officers you see driving while using cell phones. It will add up very quickly. Of course, MPD will tell you that every single one of these calls is for official police business that, for some reason, can not be handled over the police radio system.

by urbaner on Feb 17, 2010 11:11 am • linkreport

Reading from that issue of the Current is hilarious. Really is a suburban newspaper; felt as if I was reading the Gazette in Gaithersburg:
-Buildings that would 'tower over the neighbourhood'.
-Precious sunlight blocked.
-Blinding lights destroying Astronomy.

Oh, but ggw coverage of the rezoning and height issues of the Union Station air rights project would be welcome.

by shy on Feb 17, 2010 11:18 am • linkreport

6 months. It took 6 months from the mayor of Mexico announcing the bike share program to it being available to use. Amazing. The Boston process took/is taking exactly 2 years. DC has been stuck for even longer.

by J on Feb 18, 2010 1:02 am • linkreport

"Count the number of MPD officers you see driving while using cell phones. It will add up very quickly."

The MPD is specifically exempted from the cell phone ban. I know, not good policy or law since 'by example' is how laws should be. BUT that is the law.

Personally, I think a hands-free device makes all the difference in the world as to attentiveness to traffic. I know a recent study came out whose conclusions seem to be being interpreted in 2 almost diametrically opposing ways. The first intrepretation I heard was that cell phone bans (and hands free legislation) was having absolutely no effect on the accident rate. Then, apparently based off the same study, I heard an interpretation that no apparent difference existed between driving with a hand held or not ... and that cell phones were therefore not any more dangerous than any of the multitude of other things we do while driving. Same sets of 'facts', two very different interpretations.

by Lance on Feb 21, 2010 10:35 pm • linkreport

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