Greater Greater Washington

Breakfast links and media: Final decisions


Photo courtesy DDOT.
Capital Bikeshare: The new bike sharing program will be called Capital Bikeshare. "George" got more 1st place votes, but Capital Bikeshare got more 2nd and 3rd. This is safe and a bit boring but also clear and descriptive. (WashCycle)

Bad bus drivers back: A bus driver who hit a taxi and killed a passenger, and the bus driver who punched McGruff the Crime Dog, got their jobs back after an arbitration panel ruled in their favor. WMATA doesn't want to put the first driver back on the road. (Examiner)

Follies rejected: The BZA rejected the special exception application for the N Street Follies hotel. I hope this is a temporary denial while they address the historic issues; there should be a hotel here, just a slightly modified one. (Housing Complex)

Riders > spaces on MARC: Demand for MARC service in upcounty Montgomery County is exceeding parking capacity, including at Germantown and Boyds (one of the stations MTA tried to close in 2006). Montgomery's current contract with the MTA does not allow charging for parking at MARC-only stations. (Gazette)

Great map visualizations: Eric Fischer maps the sites of photos from locals vs. tourists ... Doug McCune converts SF crime data into elevation maps. (Steve S)

"The Tourist Lane": Recently, a funny photo was going around showing a New York sidewalk partitioned into a lane for New Yorkers and a lane for tourists. It turns out this was the latest Improve Improv Everywhere prank. (Bossi)

IE members even pose as NYC DOT workers directing pedestrians and taking a "survey" of people's reactions to the pilot, with an eye toward expanding it to the entire city.

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David Alpert is the founder and editor-in-chief of Greater Greater Washington. 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 daughter in Dupont Circle. 

Comments

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Fire Jeter!

by Redline SOS on Jun 9, 2010 9:38 am • linkreport

George is so much better than Capital Bikeshare.

by Vik on Jun 9, 2010 9:50 am • linkreport

I don't think George would be better. Nobody would have known what it was. There's value in branding something in a way that makes it clear from the name what it is. It could have been "George Bikeshare", though that sounds kind of dumb.

by David Alpert on Jun 9, 2010 10:04 am • linkreport

"He failed to use his defensive driving techniques," Farbstein said. "We believe he ran a red light and we define that as a major preventable accident. Unfortunately, the arbitrator saw it differently."

---

This is unclear, did the taxi driver or the bus drive run the red light?

And the Bus driver who punched the cop was brought back? He should be rotting in jail.

by DCbureaucrat on Jun 9, 2010 10:05 am • linkreport

That Improv (without an "e") video is hilarious. I'm tempted to try it here.

by Matthias on Jun 9, 2010 10:06 am • linkreport

Too fast on reading the article -- next paragraph

--

Taylor was not charged with any crimes or citations, and the arbitration panel did not find enough evidence that he ran the red light. The arbitrators awarded him full back pay.
---

There are cameras on the buses. Did he run it or not? Either way, if they believe he ran it, what sort of defensive tactics do they teach drivers who run lights? That's pretty crazy.

Fire both.

by DCbureaucrat on Jun 9, 2010 10:06 am • linkreport

After seeing ATU 689 bring people who should be inmates back to work with back pay, it's no wonder why people are so down on labour unions in this day and age.

If there were only a way to bust ATU 689 and still pay a living wage to workers and not be destroyed. America made beds of labour unions, now we sadly have to sleep in it and we can't buy a new one.

by Jason on Jun 9, 2010 10:22 am • linkreport

I don't think Capital Bikeshare is a horrible name. It is clear, and at the end of the day, it's a bike sharing system and it's not likely to become a major form of transportation for wide swaths of people in this city. But I prefer short names for major transportation. Metro is better than "Metrorail System" or "DC Heavy Rail" or something like that. Catchy acronyms are necessary for many of the mass transit systems we see all over the place.

by Vik on Jun 9, 2010 10:23 am • linkreport

I would have liked George's Bikeshare. I prefer names that are descriptive.

by Bianchi on Jun 9, 2010 10:50 am • linkreport

Can we please put some of those chalk lines on the escalators on Metro?

by andrew on Jun 9, 2010 11:34 am • linkreport

Can we clone Michelle Rhee and send her to WMATA? Someone needs to take on the transit workers union, big time. It shows how messed up the system is, that an arbitration panel awards these two bus drivers their jobs back. They should be behind bars, not behind the wheel of a bus.

by Bob24 on Jun 9, 2010 12:17 pm • linkreport

The kneejerk anti-unionism here always surprises me. It's the union's fault that the neutral arbitrator determined the employees were wrongly fired?

The union represents its members. It argued their case, but it didn't make the final decision - the arbitrators did. They had access to all the facts of the cases, and sided with the union.

by jcm on Jun 9, 2010 1:00 pm • linkreport

JCM: It's the union's fault that even with these types of clear-cut, egregious behaviors, they have to go to aribtration. Can you imagine if someone at a private company did something like this? Fired, no appeal, see ya later. If you believe you were fired for a discriminatory reason, you could sue--but otherwise, you're SOL.

It's really too bad that unions support these bad apples. If they didn't, then there would be more public support for unions--because most people do not take issue with the idea of guaranteeing *fair* pay and *fair* benefits.

by JB on Jun 9, 2010 1:21 pm • linkreport

Umm , JB the arbitration board didn't think it was a clear cut case against the employees did it? So do you think the arbitration process is biased against you too?

Normally anti-union types like arbitration since it lessens the cost of fighting an employee's grievance and thus diminishes the incentive to just settle.

No capitalists get angry when people with money organize in order to form corporate shells to engage in profit making with limited liability, but the second the workers organize to demand higher pay, that is all of the sudden an inefficient and unnecessarily costly act that needs to be wiped from the earth.

by Reid on Jun 9, 2010 2:29 pm • linkreport

JB, the driver who got in the accident was not charged by police, and the neutral arbitrators decided he was wrongly fired. By what basis do you claim his behavior was clear cut and egregious? Do you have some evidence the police and neutral arbitrators didn't see?

The case guy that punched the crime dog while working is harder for me to understand, but then, I haven't seen the evidence brought before the arbitration panel, or the contract metro agreed to with its workers.

At any rate, the union's job is to defend its members. If you really believe the cases were clear cut and egregious, you should direct your anger at the Metro managers who screwed up an easy termination, or the Metro lawyers who screwed up an easy arbitration hearing.

by jcm on Jun 9, 2010 2:29 pm • linkreport

Arbitration is known to anyone who handles these matters as being strongly pro-labor; it's routine for an arbitrator to rule in favor of an employee who has done something egregious.

With stories like this, no one should be surprised (disappointed, maybe, but not surprised) that many non-Metro-reliant locals have such contempt for mass transit. I don't include myself in that group, but it sure is difficult to argue that we should throw more money at an organization that so publicly cuts a paycheck to criminals and incompetents. Very discouraging.

by CP on Jun 9, 2010 4:11 pm • linkreport

Arbitration is known to anyone who handles these matters as being strongly pro-labor; it's routine for an arbitrator to rule in favor of an employee who has done something egregious. [citation needed]

by jcm on Jun 9, 2010 4:38 pm • linkreport

the second the workers organize to demand higher pay, that is all of the sudden an inefficient and unnecessarily costly act that needs to be wiped from the earth.

Right. Except this isn't about higher pay, it's about useless lumps of humanity who are dangerous, but can't be fired unless there's guilt proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. It's fucking idiotic.

The same dynamic applies to teachers: I know many public school teachers across the country. *They* all know useless "teachers" that shouldn't even be allowed in the building to clean up, much less to teach children.

The starting point for some of these more entrenched unions is that there's no such thing as a valid firing offense. In any case, because of that's the de facto position unions like WTU and WMATA's employee union take, they've pretty much lost the political support of everyone except their members. That's why Rhee can come in an beat WTU like a pinata, and have 90% of DC's population cheer her on.

by oboe on Jun 9, 2010 6:16 pm • linkreport

Regarding this: "Arbitration is known to anyone who handles these matters as being strongly pro-labor; it's routine for an arbitrator to rule in favor of an employee who has done something egregious," ask anyone you know in labor law.

Admittedly, I'm rather new to this, but every colleague of mine -- along with a gleeful union counsel or three -- is quick to say that arbitration has been a very pro-labor process for decades. In my brief time in this field, I've seen this play out in employees' favor at least four-fifths of the time. I'm sorry that I can't give more specifics than that, but it is my experience that it's not uncommon for union members who have committed crimes on the job to win arbitration and get reinstated with back pay.

by CP on Jun 10, 2010 9:31 am • linkreport

I'm shocked to find out that a management labor lawyer thinks the arbitration system is biased towards unions. Here's an article written by a union lawyer who claims that a review of Arbsearch.com found an average win rate for unions of 36.3% between 1993 and 2002.

Here's a paper from a PSU professor who found that employee win rates in arbitration cases are lower than the win rate in litigation, and are below 50% - and below 30% in personnel handbook cases.

Sometimes what "everyone knows" is wrong. I don't know if that's the case here, but I find those studies much more compelling than your anecdote.

by jcm on Jun 10, 2010 1:33 pm • linkreport

Capital Bikeshare is fine, users will just en up calling it CaBi for short anyway.

Anyone know if they'll hold any sneak-peek events before the launch so some of us can test drive the bikes? Seems like other cities have been doing that to create buzz.

by Raoul on Jun 13, 2010 6:27 pm • linkreport


"George" is the name of Falls Church City's bus system! That would have been very confusing. Capital Bikeshare is boring, but at least you know what it is.

by Novanglus on Jun 15, 2010 1:10 pm • linkreport

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