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Breakfast links: Big votes on money

Image from Dave Stroup.
What's in the DC budget?: In: $1.5 million for Bruce-Monroe's temporary urbanism, and sales taxes on soda along with Healthy Schools. Out: a tax hike on the wealthy to pay for social services, raiding the bag fee fund and $3 meters. Also out, but not reported as far as I can see: money to replace coin meters with credit card meters. (Park View DC, Post, Examiner)

Fares hike may be approved today: WMATA Board members are close to a deal to raise fares about 15% with a 20¢ peak of the peak. They are also likely to start buying new railcars and enter into a new advertising contract worth about a third of the last one, which was negotiated at the height of the advertising market. (Post)

Motivated seller: By far the cleverest response to yesterday's streetcar cut (before its restoration) was this Craigslist ad by Frozen Tropics Dave Stroup offering "Barely used streetcar equipment for sale, LIKE NEW, $9000000 (Greenbelt, MD)." (Actually, the three existing cars are for the Anacostia line, but still.) (Frozen Tropics)

N Street eclipse: The Historic Preservation Review Board today will review the proposed "N Street Follies" hotel, which could plunge the adjacent Tabard Inn into darkness. (Post) ... I'm testifying for shaving off some of the rear addition that will cast the shadow.

How you talk about it matters: When gas tax hike supporters and media articles talk about "crumbling infrastructure" and "economic progress," proposals are more likely to pass than when coverage focuses on closing long-term budget gaps, a University of Vermont report found. (Streetsblog Capitol Hill)

And...: Consider volunteering for CSG to help the region's best smart growth organization! ... Neil Flanagan is going to Yale, but won't stop posting here entirely ... Fairfax's Planning Commission will vote on the Alcorn plan today. (Post)

Up in Maryland: The Maryland MTA has had over 800 meetings at UMD and in College Park about the Purple Line (Housing Complex) ... Baltimore's version of SmarTrip, the Charm Card, is still not ready after seven years (WBAL) ... Prince George's police have created a new unit to focus on traffic safety and enforcement. (Crime Scene, Stephen Miller)

In the west: San Jose, California's airport might get PRT (MercuryNews, David C) ... What would LA look like with no cars? (Michael P.) ... Can we improve on the simple stop sign? Maybe. (Slate)

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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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The terrible thing about the US is we don't like to invest in repairs. Always chasing the new. We're like a growth company that way. But it leads to an interesting dilemma for transit fans.

Repaving Rt 7 in Fairfax and fixing a few bridges ins't going to improve our productivity or wealth at all. Fixing it and throwing down a streetcar -- well, that does change things.

Buidling something new is always going to be sexier than repairs. To the extent transit fans can get in on that, great.

by charlie on May 27, 2010 9:31 am • linkreport

@David Alpert - You and other bloggers deserve much of the credit for Gray's astounding flip-flop yesterday on the streetcars funding debacle. It was a rather amazing display of the power of social media. It was quite entertaining to see Harry Thomas befuddled by the flood of instantaneous emails and calls he was getting on the issue; it's a brave new world for politicos and advocates.

Personally, I'm not convinced of the wisdom of the streetcar program, nor am I impressed with DDOT's "plans" for it. But congrats to you and others for a job well done in advocacy.

by Fritz on May 27, 2010 9:54 am • linkreport

I'm glad you liked the Craigslist post, hehe. I know it's not _technically_ correct as those were purchased for the Anacostia line, but I think it hammered home a few points.

I'm surprised it hasn't been flagged and removed by now. I had to select $9,000,000 because sadly CL doesn't let you put in more than 7 figures for a price.

by Dave Stroup on May 27, 2010 9:58 am • linkreport

I'm curious to hear more about the soda tax that wound up getting approved (particularly in light of the heated debate here).

I had previously not heard any proposal for a percentage-based tax, only the $.01/oz, which IMO was too steep to be acceptable. This seems like more of a compromise of sorts.

Does anyone have any more information about how this wound up getting included?

by nerdymobile on May 27, 2010 10:46 am • linkreport

I didn't write the Craigslist ad. I just took a screenshot so it wouldn't be lost when it got pulled. I think it might have been @DaveStroup who wrote it. But it was hilarious.

by inked on May 27, 2010 10:50 am • linkreport

basically they extended the sales tax to sodas, hence the move away from the per oz to a straight %. Certainly sounds a compromise to me. And a reasonable one at athat.

by Mike B on May 27, 2010 10:53 am • linkreport

@Mike B.

Agreed. I can't figure out why they were tax-exempt in the first place...

by Adam L on May 27, 2010 11:18 am • linkreport

Interesting article on stop signs. I actually, years ago, saw a yellow stop sign, with black lettering. It was obviously very old, but was still in use. As far as orange stop signs for two-way stops vs. red for 4-way stops, no. KISS. You don't want drivers to have to ponder what the sign is trying to tell them. I also remember a dispute in another city I lived in where there was a dangerous intersection with a two-way stop. Many accidents. The people living around it were agitating for a traffic light but according to the state DOT who controlled both roads, the traffic volume did not warrant it. The state DOT did, after much pleading from residents to do something, replace the stop signs with what they said were interstate highway-spec stop signs (they also made sure everyone knew they were bending the rules to do it). They were noticeably bigger. I don't know if they improved the situation.

by ksu499 on May 27, 2010 11:35 am • linkreport

Nice to see the LA Without Cars video posted here too. That one made the rounds in our office yesterday.

by Chris Loos on May 27, 2010 1:04 pm • linkreport

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