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


Dinner links: High to the sky

Image courtesy of Adam Reed Tucker.
Lego buildings at NBM: The National Building Museum is hosting a cool-sounding exhibit showing off LEGO models of buildings by artist Adam Reed Tucker, who will create a new model of the White House. It opens Saturday and costs $5 except the first Tuesday of the month.

Teens jaywalk because bridge is inconvenient: Teens boast about how often they "jaywalk" at an intersection near a Seattle high school. They don't want to take the time to use a pedestrian bridge. It doesn't seem to occur to anyone that perhaps they should design the intersection to be safe for pedestrians to cross at grade. (Seattle Times, Matthias)

Airport insecurity: In a new documentary, Please Remove Your Shoes, current and former air security employees explain their concerns about the way TSA is handling its job of making flying safe. It opens today at Landmark E Street. (Ed O'Keefe/Post)

VA legislators try transit: 18 state legislators from across Virginia rode Metro, VRE and buses today to see what transit in Northern Virginia is like. Organizers hope riding the "Orange Crush" and seeing the Pentagon at rush hour will give them a new appreciation for the value of transit. (Patrick Madden/WAMU, Erik W.)

Use Metro passes?: WMATA is looking for people who use passes to try out the new systems that integrate those passes with SmarTrip cards. You have to use passes not through SmartBenefits and plan to take at least 8-10 trips a week in August.

Costs going up in Arlington: ART fares and parking fines in Arlington will both increase on Thursday. (ARLnow, Gavin)

$175/month for bike parking?: A year-old NYC law requires commercial garages to provide bicycle parking, but most have made it ridiculously expensive. Commenters speculate they're trying to make it appear there's no demand so the law can be repealed. (How We Drive)

Bait bikes: police tool or entrapment?: UK police are deploying bait bikes to catch bike thieves, but people working in drug treatment say it entices addicts who are finally getting clean to go back to a life of crime. (The Guardian, charlie)

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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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Teens jaywalk because bridge is inconvenient...

You don't have to go to Seattle to witness this phenomenon. Drive out Pennsylvania Ave into PG County sometime. On the south side of the highway, you've got massive apartment complexes. On the north side of the highway, you've got massive shopping complexes. An 8-lane divided highway in between. Groups of kids walking down the grassy median; families walking on the shoulder.

On some weekends, it's like driving down the highway to the airport in any third-world country. Shameful.

by oboe on Jun 30, 2010 4:43 pm • linkreport

That last item is absurd. Drug addicts are not the victims in bike thefts. Those people having their bikes stolen are. Nobody's allowed to have nice things because they may provide incentive to drug addicts to steal for their fix?

Would these drug treatment advocates blame a woman for not holding her purse tightly enough if an addict stole it to try to get money for drugs? After all, holding that purse and not locking it firmly to her person was just a way of begging those addicts to rob her. Treatment advocates need to stick to treating addicts and not lecturing people trying to prevent petty theft.

by TBDem on Jun 30, 2010 4:46 pm • linkreport

People forced to take route that is out of way and jaywalk to the better path sounds fimilar.

Wheaton station/Veirs Mill RD
Rhode Island Ave station/train tracks
Columbia Pike
All streets more than 250 feet between crosswalks.
Georgia Ave
Rockville Pike
NY Ave
Florida Ave
North, East & South Capitol streets.

by kk on Jun 30, 2010 8:26 pm • linkreport

The fact that it takes place in Seattle is notable because it's one of the few cities to actively enforce its jaywalking laws. People get ticketed for it all the time.

by andrew on Jun 30, 2010 9:02 pm • linkreport

RE the bike parking fee...

The same article shows that same garage is charging $750/month for car parking. Each parking space is 9x18 (162 sq/ft)or 4.60 per square foot.

The article goes on that the same law requires regulated garages to set aside a space measuring 6x3 (18 sq/ft) for each bike, and to protect each bike parking space meeting these specs with some form of barrier that will prevent cars from hitting them. So between the space lost by the regulated sq/footage requirement, and the additional space lost by the barriers between the bikes and the cars, the cost per sq/ft is pretty equivalent between bikes and cars.

And lets not forget this garage is 24 hr valet service. As is evident by the cost of anything in NYC, it costs a fortune to live there, regardless of your transportation preferences.

by nookie on Jun 30, 2010 11:00 pm • linkreport

it seems Lego is blowing up lately. wonder what's up with that? i know the lego world cup stuff is helping. MIT just released another open courseware course that uses LEGO programming as a case study. SFist highlighted a LEGO printer. Laughing Squid found a working gun made of LEGO. TED just released their LEGO talk. i only remember the Monocle interview of Denmark-based LEGO's chief designer or something (not sure it's worth watching).

SF Curbed has talked about LEGO-looking mini-condos -- makes me think we actually could very much use the ability to build modular housing -- so, we can start with two-story buildings, then scale up to 4, then six.

On some weekends, it's like driving down the highway to the airport in any third-world country. Shameful.

word to this. just as it's shameful to see folks forced to ride on sidewalks (when they exist).

SF is about to do the whole bike theft/entrapment thing, too. stupid.

the Seattle jaywalking stuff is interesting because it's just the latest example of policy brutality. having completely stamped out rape, robbery, murder, speeding, and drunk driving, Seattle police have now, apparently, set themselves to the task of stopping black kids from jaywalking. their efforts made national news when one white cop got busted punching a black girl in the face.

so, no -- humans should not be relegated to gerbil runs in the sky -- not even black kids.

by Peter Smith on Jun 30, 2010 11:59 pm • linkreport

Wait this is a new one - I can't leave my bicycle poorly locked up or forget to lock it because this would be forcing drug addicts back into a life of crime. They would be forced to steal my bike and thus I'm guilty of entrapment should they be caught. So it's all MY FAULT for not preventing them from committing criminal acts.

EXCUSE ME??? As someone who just had my (to quote the cops) "poorly locked up" bicycle stolen by drug addicts from the treatment center down the street - a 100 pound broken bicycle that was dragged over a 6 foot cinder block wall with locked steel barrier, and removed the whole section of the fence it was chained to which was attacked to my house.
They even broke part of the brick wall to remove the fence. This is around the same time that both the Bush twins and Mayor Fenty had their bicycles stolen - from inside their own houses.

Last time I checked, entrapment is when a law enforcement agent induces a person to commit an offense which the person would otherwise have been unlikely to commit. Meaning it's would have to be completely out of the ordinary or nearly impossible for drug addicts or the young and impulsive to steal bicycles under more ordinary circumstances. What a load of crap. Drug addicts and impulsive kids steal bikes every day of the week - brazenly. In fact they feel ENTITLED to take bikes as they please. And around my house, if they don't succeed in stealing the bike they just slash the tires and cut the brake cables to mark their displeasure. This happens on probably a monthly basis.


by Lee on Jul 1, 2010 8:25 am • linkreport

I would interpret entrapment to mean presenting people with opportunities or ideas that are not a part of daily life.

Poorly locked bicycles are a normal part of daily life.

Entrapment is more like an undercover cop gets into a group of former addicts and starts discussing how they could solve their money problems by forming a bicycle theft ring.

Placing bait bikes where bikes are frequently stolen is an effective crime prevention tool and I hope they deploy it around the region.

by Michael Perkins on Jul 1, 2010 8:46 am • linkreport

"Gerbil runs in the sky"???

It's a pedestrian bridge. Designed to make everyone's life easier and safer. By ignoring it, the kids are being selfish. This is, of course, typical for teenagers, but still - their unwillingness to cooperate in the construction and maintenance of civil society means they should be punished. Or maybe a wall should be erected on the side of the road to further discourage the jaywalking.

by Josh S on Jul 1, 2010 8:51 am • linkreport

I think the London model is a bit flawed because it sounds as if they going after casual theft, rather than "crime rings". They need the frame to be taken b/c that is where the GPS is -- and even a weak cable lock is enough to deter casual theft.

That all being said, it does seem as if a little police work could go a long way to combatting bike theft rings. After all, those components end up somewhere....

by charlie on Jul 1, 2010 8:55 am • linkreport

My wife lost dropped her keys a few years ago on our block. The next day, our car was gone - apparently, the upstanding citizen tho found the keys used to remote to find the car, and off he went. Did I entrap him?

Obviously, it wasn't entrapment, because I'm not a law enforcement official. But the same principle applies. If a pedestrian sees an unlocked bike (or car) and thinks, "Hmm, that's unlocked, I think I'll take it," I have no problem nailing that person for theft, whether they're part of an international bike theft ring, an addict who just saw an easy way to pay for his next fix, or an honor roll student who was caught up in the moment.

by dcd on Jul 1, 2010 9:23 am • linkreport

Keep doing the math. 18 square feet is 11% of 162 square feet. 11% of 750 is only 83 bucks. Charging 175 is clearly gouging.

by Reid on Jul 1, 2010 9:37 am • linkreport

Did you read what I actually wrote?

Car parking space = 162 sq/ft. They are charging $4.60 per sq/ft to park a car.

Bike Parking space = 18 sq/ft or 9.70 a sq/ft, twice the charge for cars (per sq/ft)

HOWEVER...and this is apparently where you stopped reading, the same law specs some form of barrier that will prevent cars from hitting them. Car barriers on all sides of the bike parking space take up additional square footage that can't be used for parking, hence is included in the bike numbers.

How much space is lost to bike barriers? I dunno, but by the time you add it in, it clearly reduces the square footage price difference.

by nookie on Jul 1, 2010 10:16 am • linkreport

An adult taking an unlocked bait bike deserves what he gets. My only conflict is there was probably a 10% chance I would have taken an unlocked bike when I was 11. Not to sell it. Just to ride it to the 7-11 and return it to the spot I found it. I think putting a very cheap lock on the bike helps focus the on the genuine thieves.

by Paul on Jul 1, 2010 10:34 am • linkreport

RE: bike parking in NYC:

I think the fact that the guidelines require a 6′x3′x3′ space for each bike is also a part of the problem. That’s terribly inefficient, especially when you are talking about replacing highly lucrative NYC parking garage spaces. And the idea of charging by the square foot goes out the window anyway when you are dealing with valet - because they want to establish a minimum charge-per-customer. Garages are not cheap to build - they do have to pay back their loan costs somehow, and assume the number of people using the garage will remain fairly steady even if the mode of transportation may change.

That being said - in the rest of the world itÂ’s not unusual to see on average eighteen bikes parked in the equivalent of one parking space. Whereas in the US we typically design for more than 8 or 9 bikes per parking space - often far less than that.

The most efficient way to deal with bikes in a valet/security situation would probably be hanging them all on a wall by a hook to the front rim. You can also build rows of hangars. In some countries I have even seen vertical bike hangars in alleyways, by the rear loading docks of buildings, the basements of office buildings, on trains, etc.

I don't seee what the point is of legislating that each bike has to have a 6′x3′x3′ horizontal parking spot in expensive NYC downtown garages, when clearly the bikes could be stored far more efficiently.

by Lee on Jul 1, 2010 10:49 am • linkreport

Yes I read that. But I'm sorry, but there is no way the buffering takes up so much space as to reduce the disparity to a reasonable amount. You're talking about a twice as expensive rate. The buffer would have to take up 100% more space per bike to justify that. That's ridiculous.

by Reid on Jul 1, 2010 10:50 am • linkreport

Re: Bait bikes

I echo the sentiment of those above. The drug addicts are not the victims here - the actual hardworking people who contribute to society and senselessly have their bikes stolen are the victims.

There is absolutely ZERO justification in stealing a bicycle (or anything else for that matter) - drug habit or not. If you're going to steal bicycles, you should pay a fine and go to jail, period.

I say kudos to the British cops employing this program. I hope it spreads to this side of 'the pond' sooner rather than later.

by Josh C. on Jul 1, 2010 12:52 pm • linkreport

Looking at the size and barrier requirements I think it would be reasonable to assume that they could fit 4 bike spaces in each car space. Four bikes at $175 each is $700 or $50 less than they would get for putting a car in the same space. The $175 isn't discrimination against cyclists it is the result of a poorly written law which prevents the storage of bikes in a space efficient manner combined with the extremely high cost of parking a vehicle of any kind in a NYC garage.

by Jacob on Jul 1, 2010 2:43 pm • linkreport

It's a pedestrian bridge. Designed to make everyone's life easier and safer.

No, it's designed to make drivers' lives easier. Anyone who walks on a regular basis can testify to the fact that pedestrian bridges are generally inconvenient, circuitous routes built for the sole purpose of getting pedestrians out of the way of drivers.

by throcko on Jul 2, 2010 2:58 pm • linkreport

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