Greater Greater Washington

Breakfast links: Moving earth


Photo by thecourtyard on Flickr.
Did you feel it?: There was a 3.6 magnitude earthquake in Gaithersburg at 5:04 am (City Paper) ... In other seismic news, reporters dug up more on Kwame Brown's unpaid Maryland traffic fines, and the Court of Appeals affirmed DC's decision not to hold a referendum on overturning same-sex marriage.

The line on Purple: Maryland MTA officials announced that maintaining the Capital Crescent Trail alongside the future Purple Line will cost $40 million more than predicted (Post) ... Roger Berliner is no longer pushing the single-tracking idea (Examiner) ... And five houses may lose part of their yards in Silver Spring, but the state hadn't told homeowners about it. (Newschannel 8 via DCist)

Politically in PG: A Prince George's independent delegate candidate is running solely to stop the Purple Line, while a Republican candidate focused in his interview on his support for transit, including the Purple Line through UMD's campus and MARC. (Gazette)

An urban Wal-Mart?: Small businesses worried about a likely future Wal-Mart in Ward 5 probably can't do anything to stop it, but DC might be able to push for better urbanism on the site, though even there it has little leverage. (Housing Complex)

Obama vs. sprawl: Under Obama, HUD, DOT, and EPA are working together to retool federal programs to stop creating incentives for sprawl, but trillions of dollars pushing sprawl over 70 years has created a lot of inertia that will take time to reverse. (The American Prospect via Matt Yglesias)

Oregon to bag the bags?: Portland's mayor, Sam Adams (really) has pledged to ban plastic bags, while Oregon is close to a state law to ban them and charge a fee for paper bags. I prefer fees to bans, myself. (OregonLive via @TommyWells)

And...: In the Post's Local Opinions section, I talk about frequent calls for underground parking on the Mall, maybe like Budapest's garage (Smilla) ... Fairfax Village (a neighborhood in River East) is getting speed bumps (Life in the Village) ... Montgomery's best blogger on pedestrian safety is legally blind. (Post)

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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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The TAP article was good.

Is integrating affordable housing and T-o-D a good idea? I understand it may be the only way to unlock federal money, but as a policy choice I'm not sure sure. Isn't the better way to put density up as an aspirational goal?

Also, when I do get out in the real suburbs, what always amazes me isn't the driving commute -- which albeit long, is pretty easy. It is the 3 mile drive to the drug store, or the grocery store, or any retail. Given, the car commute is rather mandatory but I find more miles are racked up doing shopping runs.

by charlie on Jul 16, 2010 9:27 am • linkreport

Last week Bob Jenner was campaigning outside College Park Metro station, and he was very rude and irate when I explained to him that I wasn't going to support a candidate who opposed the Purple Line... I have to wonder about standing outside a Metro station to convince train riders why they shouldn't have more service.

by Dave Murphy on Jul 16, 2010 9:42 am • linkreport

@Dave, you should have made a sign that says Bob Jenner would have veto'd this metro station and stood behind him

by m on Jul 16, 2010 10:16 am • linkreport

I used to have a job in downtown Silver Spring. I remember those early-morning crawls on the Beltway (or winding my way on side roads). On some days, an average speed of 15 mph would have been a welcome relief.

by Greenbelt Gal on Jul 16, 2010 10:26 am • linkreport

Re: WalMart coming to DC - Since there's no gov't money involved or zoning changes required, there's no opportunity for our shameless opportunists on the city council to extort all sorts of freebies from the company.

The real key is what WalMart's building plans will look like. They have a real opportunity to showcase themselves by putting up a LEED unobtainium-level building and trying out innovative things that may not work in their more usual suburban/rural store locations. Just like the Social Safeway is now a model for the company's commitment to sustainable building design and operation, WalMart has the same opportunity for its planned store.

by Fritz on Jul 16, 2010 10:36 am • linkreport

...there's no opportunity for our shameless opportunists on the city council to extort all sorts of freebies from the company.

You mean like with Target and the DCUSA garage?

by Bianchi on Jul 16, 2010 11:13 am • linkreport

Also, when I do get out in the real suburbs, what always amazes me isn't the driving commute -- which albeit long, is pretty easy. It is the 3 mile drive to the drug store, or the grocery store, or any retail. Given, the car commute is rather mandatory but I find more miles are racked up doing shopping runs.

by charlie on Jul 16, 2010 9:27 am

Charlie, so true! Living in the burbs on and off and temporarily now, I like to say that you can have it all set up perfectly in your house. Everything's working fine, car is gassed up, got food, no leaks, and then you start preparing a dish following a recipe, and you see you are missing one key ingredient. The whole system breaks down, and it's off in the car you go.

by Jazzy on Jul 16, 2010 11:17 am • linkreport

@Jazzy, I'm not sure if it's fair to blame the suburbs for this particular, specific problem. :-)

by Miriam on Jul 16, 2010 11:24 am • linkreport

Miriam, why not?

by Jazzy on Jul 16, 2010 11:28 am • linkreport

I agree w/ Jazzy. That's the design of the suburbs (the ones <100 years old). The zoning, street designs, etc. all contrive to keep "walking to the corner store" a quaint convenience of city living.

by Bianchi on Jul 16, 2010 11:34 am • linkreport

This particular, specific problem, for me, is caused by starting on a recipe without first making sure that you have all of the key ingredients. Which it's a good idea to do, if you're going to follow a recipe, regardless of where you live. Also, if this does happen, even in the suburbs there are ways to deal with this problem that do not involve getting in your car to drive to the grocery store.

I'm not arguing that you don't have to drive around a lot in the suburbs to get your errands accomplished! But good planning (and a milkman) can cut down a lot on the driving around.

by Miriam on Jul 16, 2010 11:57 am • linkreport

Maryland MTA officials announced that maintaining the Capital Crescent Trail alongside the future Purple Line will cost $40 million more than predicted

This is pretty misleading. The link actually says that the total project cost is the same, it is just that more of the cost is associated with the trail than previously stated. A more accurate statement would be "not replacing the Capital Crescent Trail would save $40 million more than previously stated".

by David desJardins on Jul 16, 2010 12:39 pm • linkreport

I prefer fees to bans, myself.

I am surprised by that. Fees are pretty discriminatory in their effect. If we really think that bags are bad for the environment then they are bad whether the users are rich or poor. Fees are an acceptable compromise, but I don't see them as the first choice.

by David desJardins on Jul 16, 2010 12:41 pm • linkreport

I hope you will join in our support of the victims of the 2010 DC Earthquake. Many lives were affected by this tragedy. Much sleep was lost. Please join our facebook group to show your support.

by Kevin on Jul 16, 2010 12:42 pm • linkreport

Oops, I stand corrected. Reading more carefully, about half of the $40 million is additional project costs, while the other half is reclassifying costs.

by David desJardins on Jul 16, 2010 12:42 pm • linkreport

Funny you could replace every instance of "Purple line" with "ICC" in that article on Jenner and it would make just as much sense.

Anyone who's driven during rush hour on the beltway knows that 15 mph is pretty fast sometimes!

by Boots on Jul 16, 2010 12:53 pm • linkreport

Completing the CCT into Silver Spring is essential for regional mobility. Related trail projects: the Met Branch, SS Green Trail, Bethesda Trolley Trail, MacArthur Blvd Bikeway, and Bradley Blvd Bikeway will interconnect nearly all of lower Montgomery County's excellent off road bikeway network and significantly reduce the necessity of automobilie usage for local residents. Together with the Purple Line, this unfounded new mobility will drive further development in Bethesda and Silver Spring. Building the CCT is integral regardless of cost. We cannot let it go the way of the ICC trail which was opposed by Sierra Club and other agenda-based "environmental activists."

by Cyrus on Jul 16, 2010 1:28 pm • linkreport

I'm just curious as to why the cost of preserving the CCT is so exorbitant. And I agree it's a necessary condition for the construction of the purple line. The CCT is a fantastic asset to the greater DC area, and the replacement trail needs to be just as heavily-wooded and shaded. As much as love the idea of the MBT, the current execution leaves a bit to be desired, as the lack of shade makes it a somewhat less-than-pleasant experience to use.

by andrew on Jul 16, 2010 2:28 pm • linkreport

I'm just curious as to why the cost of preserving the CCT is so exorbitant.

The article does give an example, there is a $20 million cost to excavate a section of trackbed to make room for a trail tunnel at a particular chokepoint. It's easy to see how if the cost of the trail includes changes that have to be made to the rail line itself in order to make room for the trail, it could be pretty high.

by David desJardins on Jul 16, 2010 2:40 pm • linkreport

I grew up in a very rural area that is currently fighting against putting up a wal-mart in their town. In my town you had to drive everywhere, but that was expected because it was rural except when people moved out to their new house in the country after living in Richmond or Chesterfield and then complaining that it took 20 minutes just to get to the grocery store and that it was so dark at night. Its funny to here a lot of the same arguments that we have here about modern suburbs but in reverse. In Fairfax I get pissed off if it takes me more than 20 minutes to get to anywhere I need in the county (eating/grocery/personal needs wise) but at home having to drive that much for something really basic doesn't phase me.

by Canaan on Jul 16, 2010 5:59 pm • linkreport

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