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Breakfast links: Hate-based policy arguments

Photo by Seabamirum.
Kornheiser for manslaughter: Radio shock jock Tony Kornheiser responds to Pennsylvania Avenue bike lane plans by recommending people hit them with cars"pop them a little bit." He also says, "last time I looked the roads were made for automobiles," a remarkably ignorant but unsurprising belief. (WashCycle)

Big government sprawl: Yet another "libertarian" argues that sprawl is actually good and the result of a free market. Liberals and conservatives debunk, citing again the many government restrictions that force suburban land use patterns. Why don't libertarian leaders argue for removing all restrictions on density in single-family neighborhoods? Heather Horn thinks these guys actually hate liberals more than they hate government. (Matthew Yglesias, The American Conservative, The Atlantic Wire)

Intermediate offense for deadly driving: Even AAA supports a Maryland bill to create an intermediate offense, "negligent homicide by motor vehicle," that's more serious than negligent driving (a traffic ticket) but less than vehicular manslaughter (very hard to prove). (Baltimore Sun)

No TOD for the House: Matt Yglesias is persistently irritated that the Architect of the Capitol continues to use the block immediately next to Capitol South Metro for massive surface parking. (Gavin)

Walker is a rider: New Washington Capitals right wing Scott Walker rode the Metro to Monday's game. (D.C. Sports Bog) ... Since Walker rides, does Boston Bruin right wing Michael Ryder walk to games?

Annandale could get a "sense of place": A Fairfax County plan would help Annandale become more of an "urban village", using form-based codes to encourage street-facing buildings with rear or underground parking and incentives for affordable housing, community space, or transit facilities. (Around Annandale, mooniker)

VDOT: Offramp or bust: Even Froggie, a self-described "road geek," is exasperated with VDOT which is resisting studying alternative sites for an offramp except right through Alexandria's Winkler Preserve. As with I-66, their strategy seems to be to focus on one idea and try to ram it through unless local officials force them to do otherwise.

No to vampire bill: The Herndon Connection editorializes against the Virginia "vampire bill" that would let VDOT estimate all future revenues from a road project, then give all that money to private contractors and leave the state on the hook if VDOT is wrong.

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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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Hate based argument is on the money, David. Cyclists hogging the roads? Cyclists have to be aggressive because the drivers are, and if they aren't, they'll acquiesce to jackasses like this guy who will run them down. Put him on a bicycle and see how he likes being on the receiving end of a gas guzzling hummer driving in the bike lanes in DC. Pathetic.

by Matt Glazewski on Mar 12, 2010 11:11 am • linkreport

Jerks in cars. Jerks on bikes. Jerks on motorcycles. Jerks walking. Jerks on the radio. It's pretty independent of your mode of transportation or profession. I've heard similarly ridiculous rants from cycling advocates about how every "cager" is out to kill them while they are on the road.

You see people do stupidly dangerous and potentially deadly things every day in the name of getting home in 85 minutes instead of 90 after their 12 hour work day. It's insane. I will never understand people that get this angry about minor inconveniences like this.

by Brian S. on Mar 12, 2010 11:22 am • linkreport

@Brian S - let's also not forget those few jerk cyclist advocates who label those who don't agree with them as "fat and at risk of diabetes". They know nothing of others health based on the keystrokes they type yet they are quick to ridicule. I've even witnessed GGW's own David C engage in this behavior...

by Jason on Mar 12, 2010 11:29 am • linkreport

Kornheiser's show is a comedy show. It's not meant to be taken seriously, regardless of whether you personally find it amusing. That should be clear to anyone even if it doesn't fit your personal tastes.

by Nathan on Mar 12, 2010 11:36 am • linkreport

any plan on linking to this supposedly representative "libertarian" viewpoint?

by NAB on Mar 12, 2010 11:38 am • linkreport

The posting about the surface parking lot next to the Capitol South metro station is very interesting. The Metro system is a multi-billion dollar transportation investment yet several stations in the District are completely underutilized.

1) Union Station. Much like Capitol South, there are large surface parking lots between Union Station and Constitution Avenue.

2) L'Enfant Plaza. This station has four metro lines and a VRE station yet directly above the station there is a large open space next to 7th and Maryland that serves very little purpose as open space.

3) Tenley. In addition to the single-family homes right next to the metro station, there is a cemetery next behind the CityLine condos and Fort Reno limits development near the metro station. This is not to say that Fort Reno isn't a great public asset but the DC region could have captured more benefit from the Tenley metro station if it was a few blocks either to the north or south on Wisconsin Avenue.

by Ben on Mar 12, 2010 11:41 am • linkreport

NAB: Oops, added.

by David Alpert on Mar 12, 2010 11:44 am • linkreport

Yeah, I'm with @Nathan on this (Nates unite!) Kornheiser is not meant to be taken seriously, and when you treat him like he is seriously arguing that drivers should run down cyclists, you make yourself look pretty humorless. Besides, my working assumption as a cyclist is that drivers are in fact trying to run me down at all times. That's the correct attitude for urban cycling I think -- I've never been hit (knock on wood).

by Nate on Mar 12, 2010 11:50 am • linkreport

love the artwork.

by Bianchi on Mar 12, 2010 11:56 am • linkreport

I agree that hyperbolic paranoia about "cagers" level of awareness is *exactly* the same as a major local media figure making jokes about killing cyclists. Kudos Brian and Jason on winning this week's false equivalence award...

by oboe on Mar 12, 2010 12:08 pm • linkreport

BTW, here's the equivalent. "Man, those drivers really think they own the road. Next time one passes me too closely, I'm going to swing a U-lock through their windshield. Even if I don't kill them outright, it'll sure get their attention! Ha ha!"

Just to recalibrate your sense equivalence. You're welcome.

by oboe on Mar 12, 2010 12:11 pm • linkreport

Red Sox pitcher Greg Harris used to take the MBTA Green Line regularly to games at Fenway Park.

by ah on Mar 12, 2010 12:19 pm • linkreport

there is a cemetery next behind the CityLine condos

That's nothing. In Arlington the have a cemetery surrounding the metro station!

by Dee Creighs on Mar 12, 2010 12:29 pm • linkreport

@Jason, really? when?

by David C on Mar 12, 2010 12:39 pm • linkreport

What if instead of joking about running down cyclists, he had joked about how people should rape 5 year olds. Would that still be OK? Would you say "he's just joking. Lighten up."? What if he had made a joke about beating a black guy and setting them on fire for fun? Still OK because it's a joke? Is this funny? Is it OK? My point is not to equate these with his comments, but to point out that there is a line. Now, we're just arguing about whether this joke was on the OK side or the not OK side of that line.

by David C on Mar 12, 2010 12:46 pm • linkreport

Well, ESPN suspended him two weeks merely for bashing Hannah Storm's dress.

by ah on Mar 12, 2010 12:51 pm • linkreport

@ oboe-that's one of my favorite biking fantasies! It's a hilarious vision, isn't it? Maybe we can get some radio DJ and guests to joke about it for several minutes during a prime listening time. OMG I'm LOL right now thinking about how FUNNY it would be to actually do that! In fact I have a couple extra U-locks that i've kept even though I lost the keys years ago...perfect! Oh yeah. It is a very different mental state then just being afraid that someone else is going to hurt you (by hitting you with his auto). This is SO EMPOWERING! Watch out negligent drivers-you're getting a U-lock in the face! Hilarious!!!

by Bianchi on Mar 12, 2010 1:05 pm • linkreport

@ oboe: Slapping a car on the top with your flat hand if they come too close works well enough.

by Jasper on Mar 12, 2010 1:11 pm • linkreport

My previous "fat people with diabetes" comment was not to be putting down the overweight (you should see me and my family). It was, instead, meant to be an observation that many who "blame" cyclists seem to be projecting their own frustrations.

by SJE on Mar 12, 2010 1:15 pm • linkreport

@ Jasper, but that's not funny. It's funny if you advocate seriously injuring someone.

by Bianchi on Mar 12, 2010 1:22 pm • linkreport

To elaborate, what bothered me the most about the VDOT meeting was two things. First, though they supposedly studied "19 different alternatives", with virtually all of them rejected by the advisory group, the impression I got is they're hesitant to study any more alternatives unless "officially requested by the city". Second, pretty much EVERY VDOT representative at the meeting was a consultant and not part of VDOT itself.

by Froggie on Mar 12, 2010 1:22 pm • linkreport

The fundamental problem with Kornheiser's comments is that people actually do drive into bikers and kill them simply because the driver wanted to teach them a lesson, etc. So when Kornheiser pollutes people's minds with the idea, even in jest, that it's ok to do so, in that split second when the decision is made to kill the biker, Kornheiser's nasally voice will pass through their head and say "it'll be funny, do it."

by Reid on Mar 12, 2010 2:30 pm • linkreport

Yep, people actually do that. And those people actually are criminals. It's sort of like when you are annoyed by somebody and you say "I'd love to punch them in the mouth." But then, you don't actually go punch them in the mouth. Because that would be assault.

Nobody's saying Kornheiser is always funny in these segments. But the point is that people vent in a variety of ways about their annoyance with something, and when you take their comments at face value, you look ridiculous to everybody without a personal stake in the situation.

Also, I'm sure child rape victims and people of color would appreciate the comparison to molestation and lynching. Because we cyclists really are subject to an identical degree of victimization and all. Sigh.

by Nate on Mar 12, 2010 3:10 pm • linkreport

Also, I'm sure child rape victims and people of color would appreciate the comparison to molestation and lynching. Because we cyclists really are subject to an identical degree of victimization and all. Sigh.

Well Nate you missed my point. As I said,

My point is not to equate these with his comments, but to point out that there is a line.

To restate it, my point is that not every joke can be explained away with "it's just a joke." I think child rape victims and people of color would agree.

by David C on Mar 12, 2010 3:22 pm • linkreport

@Nate, I have . I have been nearly killed more then once -who knows if those near misses were intentional or not. I don't. Neither do you. I've been verbally assaulted and verablly threatened numerous times all because I rode my bike somewhere instead of driving my car. Who knows if those threats were meant to "blow off steam" or to well, make me feel like my life was threatened. I don't. Neither do you. It doesn't matter. The effect on me was the same. yeah i get that he was trying to be funny - do you get that I'm saying it's not fucking funny when it's my life he's joking about taking? It can't get more personal.

by Bianchi on Mar 12, 2010 4:01 pm • linkreport

"I have.. a personal stack in the situation".

by Bianchi on Mar 12, 2010 4:03 pm • linkreport

Last time I checked, roads predate the automobile by about 10,000 years.

by eleventh on Mar 12, 2010 4:07 pm • linkreport

I hereby apologize and retract any comments I have made about health, and biking, especially insofar as they were seen as a moral judgement of forms of transportation. The means you use to get from A-B should not be about morality: how you act on the way is a different story.

by SJE on Mar 12, 2010 4:15 pm • linkreport

I'm with Bianchi.

Tony Kornheiser sounds like a former friend of mine from elementary and middle school.

Its always a joke to TK. Well, look at Wikipedia: TK has a history of making jokes about other people, and that they don't seem to get the job. Funny thing is that TK is VERY sensistive to any criticism.

TK sounds like a former friend of mine. It was fun when you were in elementary school, playing pranks on other kids, especially the kids who were a little bit different. When you get a little older, you realize that they don't get the joke. They suffer. You realize that your friend seems to target people just because they are different. His jokes about people of color, disabled etc, don't sound funny. When you play a harmless joke on him and he sucker punches you, you realize it is he who cannot take a joke.

Thats what TK sounds like to me. A bully.

by SJE on Mar 12, 2010 4:28 pm • linkreport

Cyclists are sort of like the queers. The rest of us regular people are willing to throw them just enough bones to get them to shut up until we can then get on with normal life.

The problem is that both groups get uppity; nothing is ever good enough for them.

by MPC on Mar 12, 2010 4:48 pm • linkreport

"regular people" "shut up" "normal life" "uppity"...


by andy on Mar 12, 2010 5:25 pm • linkreport

Unfortunately, the Kornmeister was correct when he said, "Last time I looked the roads were made for automobiles." That is exactly the problem which is being addressed by the addition of bicycle lanes.


Hear, hear!

by Matthias on Mar 12, 2010 6:02 pm • linkreport

Excellent use of punctuation. From now on, I will always spell the word "libertarian."

by DavidDuck on Mar 12, 2010 9:53 pm • linkreport

Ben, you will never build on the Methodist Cemetery. It's inconveniently located, but it's one of the 6-7 things in Tenleytown that is genuinely historic.

Stossel is amazingly low-brow. I am impressed to see the critiques coming from AmCon; my conservative friends have quickly joined the sprawl-is-artificial crowd when challenged to think about it.

by Neil Flanagan on Mar 12, 2010 10:12 pm • linkreport

I've got a pretty committed Libertarian friend who lives in Arlington. For what it's worth, he has told me at least a couple times that people in Arlington ought to be able to build whatever density they feel like. Of course, that was before he bought a home there. I wonder how committed he would be to that principle if his neighbor were to propose a 100% FAR-coverage addition.

by Reid on Mar 13, 2010 1:46 pm • linkreport

Lance Armstrong is urging complaints about Kornheiser's comments: and

by G.O. on Mar 18, 2010 11:01 am • linkreport

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