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Afternoon links: Announcements and non-announcements

Photo by andrew.deci.
Metro gets 2nd highest ridership: Metrorail recorded its 2nd-highest ever ridership day yesterday, thanks to the Cherry Blossom Festival, a Caps game, and good weather. Maybe Metro should charge a premium fare at Smithsonian during the festival?

WMATA doesn't announce rapes: I missed getting this earlier, but it's a big deal: WMATA waited months before announcing two rapes that happened in the Largo Town Center Metro parking garage. (Post)

Trolley tunnel RFP released: DMPED has released the RFP for developing the trolley tunnels under Dupont Circle. Any development would be a lease rather than a sale so the District could potentially restore their use for streetcars one day. Arts groups will bid on the space; will any retailers or other private uses also make a bid? (DCmud)

East and green?: UMD of Clean Energy is hosting a panel on making the delayed East Campus redevelopment more sustainable. (Rethink College Park)

No minimums in downtown Frederick?: The City of Frederick may repeal parking minimums for development in their historic downtown area. (WTOP)

Donuts and death: A driver killed a pedestrian in the Dunkin' Donuts parking lot at Viers Mill and Randolph Roads in Montgomery County. (Crime Scene)

Some drivers don't yield even to bunnies: A Glendale, CA officer wore a bunny costume to be extra visible, crossed the street, and issued 27 tickets to drivers for not yielding. Then a city councilman complained that it was a stunt designed to trick drivers, so he did it again not in the costume, and issued even more tickets. (DailyNews LA)

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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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Astounding EPIC FAIL by Metro on the rapes.

It's simply mind-boggling in its stupidity. Essentially, Metro didn't want to tell people two rapes occurred either because it would impede their investigation or it just fell between the cracks.

I've said it before and I'll keep saying it: Metro needs to keep firing a whole lot of executives, managers, supervisors, and front-line employees until its bureaucratic culture changes. Until then, it has no credibility on just about any issue.

by Fritz on Apr 2, 2010 3:05 pm • linkreport

There's a limit to congestion-based pricing and that's consumer goodwill. If you charge some sort of extra fee to enter/exit at Smithsonian for three days a year (and, say at Nats games, and perhaps at other places), you're going to so antagonize casual/occasional customers, not to mention regular ones, that you're going to reduce ridership in the long run.

by ah on Apr 2, 2010 3:07 pm • linkreport

@David and ah

Just charge less for Smartrip users. It basically does the same thing as an extra fee on tourists.

by Adam L on Apr 2, 2010 3:16 pm • linkreport

What percentage of "tourists" are local, though? I strongly suspect that a large percentage of the cherry blossom folks are DC area residents who happen to be coming into town specifically for that event, not out-of-towners (judging by license plates parked nearby, picnic blankets and baskets, and so forth). So, they're people who vote and whose support metro needs.

by ah on Apr 2, 2010 4:16 pm • linkreport

Re: the bunny skit. MPD could learn a lot from those guys. The number of times I've seen like a dozen officers just hanging out and watching cars blow through crosswalks with peds on either side. I mean, if the city is expecting to raise like 80 million dollars from 'fees' (i.e., tickets) in its budget, this is a great way to do it and calm the streets.

by JTS on Apr 2, 2010 4:34 pm • linkreport

i'm not down with firing Metro employees and police, i want them jailed.

in particular, i'd like to know when the second rape occurred, and if either of the victims will be suing Metro or the police for negligence -- particularly the second victim, who _should_ have had fair warning, but for Metro and the police trying to save face.

it's a question that needs to be discussed publicly, how many rapes is it ok to put up with as long as the police claim to be 'keeping it on the low so they can follow-up on leads'? one rape? five? more?

or might it be better to, you know, warn people?

by Peter Smith on Apr 2, 2010 4:34 pm • linkreport

Re: drivers yielding to police-bunny pedestrian - they had cones set up for some distance coming into the intersection AND a group of motocycle cops on the side of the street and drivers still didn't stop for the cop when he entered the crosswalk. I think this speaks volumes about the attitude of drivers vis-a-vis paying attention to/respecting the rights of pedestrians. I mean there were cops right there. The drivers either expected to be able to get away with breaking the law or weren't paying attention to what was happening right in front of them, i.e "crosswalk coming up with pedestrian stepping off". (is that the same as negligent?)

The cop/pedestrian really put his life on the line. The article describes several instances where drivers screeched to a halt before hitting him as he crossed the street. Brave and, for pedestrains everywhere, Heroic!

by Bianchi on Apr 2, 2010 4:57 pm • linkreport

Good to see Metro ridership back up, after the big Red Line crash. Looks like people still have faith in the system's safety. Time to dream about more ways to expand the system's capacity!

Re the Dupont Trolley Station - the delay for the ANC's input was wasted; I didn't see any value added by their letter. This is an exciting project. Proposals are due May 31; can't wait to see what gets submitted!

Re the bunny/crosswalk - if they can catch so many violators in a single day, then something is wrong with the design of the street. It's better to have passive solutions like narrows streets and textured surfaces than just relying on enforcement and education.

by M.V. Jantzen on Apr 2, 2010 5:36 pm • linkreport

If they can catch so many violators in a single day, then something is wrong with the design of the street. It's better to have passive solutions like narrows streets and textured surfaces than just relying on enforcement and education.

This just discards the whole cultural component. There are areas in California where the if a pedestrian *looks* as though he's going to enter the crosswalk, traffic comes to a halt. Aggressive enforcement can go a long way towards instilling this level of awareness in drivers.

In this area, 99% of drivers don't give a damn about pedestrian right-of-way. Enforcement campaigns like the one above can serve to remind drivers what the law says, but most drivers *know* what the laws says, see pedestrians, and simply don't give a fuck.

There's actually an MPD operation that sets up at the crosswalk just north of Lincoln Park in Capitol Hill, but the police officers don't cross, they just observe the pedestrians. So inevitably there's stream of cars with Maryland plates blithely ignoring the families waiting to cross the street, but the MPD can't do anything because the pedestrian has to be *in* the crosswalk to have right-of-way.

So I always make it a point to step into the crosswalk whenever I see a cop waiting there. So I think I've personally been responsible for about a half dozen tickets. Always one of the highlights of my day.

by oboe on Apr 2, 2010 6:12 pm • linkreport

@M.V.Jantzen, I agree road design is important and can make a difference. However in the situation decribed in the article the police set up cones for 132 feet in both directions to give drivers ample time to stop, (he stepped into the crosswalk when drivers were outside the cones) and the speed limit was only 30mph. plus 9 police on motocycles waited next to the intersection on each side of it. There was plenty of notice in this case. Road design wasn't at issue here because of all the cones and police. Because of all the warning I think in this case the cultural attitude toward both pedestrians and (not)paying full attention while driving were the major factors rather then road design. Thats not to say road design is not important - it is.
@oboe thanks for helping to educate the public!

by Bianchi on Apr 2, 2010 6:41 pm • linkreport

Yeah, street design can go a long way.

But remember the video posted here back in January of Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia? Dozens of cars blew through the intersection without stopping, many even when there was a pedestrian in the crosswalk or on the curb. And that was a narrow one-lane street within a dense urban setting.

Street design alone does not stop scofflaws. Enforcement is key.

by ogden on Apr 3, 2010 2:40 am • linkreport

Blaming is fun!

by TXSteve on Apr 3, 2010 3:16 pm • linkreport

(above comment in response to first post)

this thing needs an edit option

by TXSteve on Apr 3, 2010 3:18 pm • linkreport

I only wish such a traffic sting would be set up downtown on 19th or 18th street. It has become standard practice to wait fully 10 seconds after the crosswalk light has come on and started counting down because of all the cars zooming through the red lights at 40 to 50 miles an hour. These cars are invariably from Virginia. DC could make a ton of money from these tickets.

by Xopher on Apr 3, 2010 5:41 pm • linkreport

Nobody respects the crosswalk law. The other day I was biking up 14th and stopped for a guy crossing at Swann, but he still could not proceed because half a dozen cars AND two cyclists (one on either side) blew past me until there was finally a break in traffic. No one felt like stopping.

by Scott F on Apr 3, 2010 6:36 pm • linkreport

WMATA waited months before announcing two rapes! What? How does that even happen? That just blows my mind.

by Halloween Costumes on Apr 3, 2010 6:39 pm • linkreport

The marked crosswalk (unsignaled) at Wisconsin Ave and Commerce Lane in Bethesda would also be a perfect spot to ticket dozens of bad drivers.

by James on Apr 5, 2010 10:03 am • linkreport

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