Greater Greater Washington

Breakfast links: Still out


Photo by diskychick on Flickr.
Pepco's blunders: About 31,000 Pepco customers are still without power, and the utility admits they handled things "poorly." They called in aid from nearby states, but those people didn't arrive until Tuesday. (Post, Examiner)

Smart Growth couple to Columbia Heights: Harriet Tregoning and her husband, SGA head Geoff Anderson, are moving to Columbia Heights from Adams Morgan. Naturally, they prioritized transit in their search. (Examiner)

Why some golfers fear bike trail: An Army Navy Country Club member who's suing club management to block the bike trail along their property's edge speaks up, unconvincingly arguing it's all about legal liability. (TheWashCycle)

In bikes: The first Capital Bikeshare bike has arrived in DC (BeyondDC) ... The Golden Triangle BID has new paper clip bike racks (WashCycle) ... A bike activist was killed in Sunday's storm, not by traffic but by lightning felling a tree, but at least one news outlet manages to blame it on him not having a car anyway. (WashCycle)

Peak of one peak: The peak of the peak Metrorail fare will go into effect Monday, but only in the afternoon rush, while Metro tries to get morning and evening to both fit in the limited memory of the faregates. Riders can avoid paying by entering the system before 4:30 or after 6. (Dr. Gridlock)

To th Examiner, it's all Graham's fault, no matter what: An Examiner editorial lists lots of people who deserve blame for the Metro crash, but chooses to specifically attack the Board in the headline and name Jim Graham alone for no particular reason other than we know they hate him. (Examiner)

Gray: Too much process or just right?: Michael Grass profiles Vince Gray in the City Paper and is fairly suspicious of the amount of process Gray would bring to decisionmaking. On the other hand, he's much more well versed in issues and still moves forward resolutely, only after listening to everyone. (City Paper)

And...: Marion Barry won't block DDOT's move to a new HQ (Housing Complex) ... The McMillan site has an architect (Housing Complex) ... More restrictive zoning creates worse housing bubbles (Matt Yglesias) ... Want to run for ANC? (We Love DC)

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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. 

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Graham was chair. Graham doesn't ride Metro. Graham is largely to blame. Catoe too. Charge them both with negligence.

by Redline SOS on Jul 29, 2010 9:18 am • linkreport

Graham is an elected official and hack member of the Board. Why shouldn't he be held accountable?

I really don't get the kid gloves treatment of Metro by this blog. The NTSB report was about as damning an indictment as possible of WMATA's general incompetence and near-criminal negligence. Yet we're supposed to act like it's no big deal and Metro's just doing the best they can.

I'm sorry, but that's a load of bunk. WMATA needs a total overhaul, starting with an either ineffective, inattentive, or incompetent Board. Until it does, it has no credibility on much of anything. And no amount of apologia or kid gloves treatment will change that.

by Fritz on Jul 29, 2010 9:32 am • linkreport

RE: Peak of the peak

When Singapore implemented their version of road pricing back in the 70s/80s, they had an issue with people pulling over to the shoulder and waiting for the time to hit, say, 6pm so the price would drop (almost by a dollar if I remember my research paper correctly).
Are we going to start seeing a similar phenomenon on Metro where there'll be crowds standing just outside the faregates at 5:55pm just waiting for the clock to hit six?
I wouldn't think $0.20 would be a big enough deal, but Dr. Gridlock's telling people how to avoid the charge, and over a week that's $2 extra for commuting solely during the peak peak (PotP? Extra peak? Top Peak? What do we call it?)

[reCaptcha: "stealin' placket"

by kidincredible on Jul 29, 2010 10:08 am • linkreport

I'm surprised that DA didn't point out that if everyone just lived in TOD communitities, there would be underground powerline, and this regular summer storm power outage would be a thing of the past....

And thank god for the wisdom of the founders who insisted on underground lines in the district....

by charlie on Jul 29, 2010 10:09 am • linkreport

kidincredible- I think that's the point. A small upcharge may be enough incentive for a small number of people to slightly shift their commute times, thus lessening overcrowding during the busiest times.

I doubt you will see lines of people from 5:55 to 6:00 waiting at the faregates. More likely a few people will leave their offices 5 minutes earlier or later than they already would have. But taking 2 or 3 percent off the top of the peak ridership can make a big difference in reducing crowding.

by Ed on Jul 29, 2010 10:14 am • linkreport

Man I'd like to have a price range of $650,000 to $800,000 for househunting these days like planny lady there.

by neff on Jul 29, 2010 10:20 am • linkreport

"They risked their lives in Iraq and can't even get a vote at their own country club," one supporter said.

People that say things like this deserve a good knock in the head.

by Brian S. on Jul 29, 2010 10:23 am • linkreport

Pepco did not do what BGE did in the wake of the 02 1994 ice storm in Southern Maryland that left thousands without power for weeks. I lived through that disaster. BGE went on a blitz trimming trees in close proximity to their lines. They also upgraded redundancy path capacity and load monitoring so they could quickly find faults.

One of the thing I found striking when I moved to DC from Kansas City in the early 1970s was how often power and phones would go out. Extrema weather events had little effect on the power and phone infrastructure out there.

by Sand Box John on Jul 29, 2010 10:23 am • linkreport

@kidincredible; yeah, that is sort of the point.

Of course, it is a good opportunity to offer "peak of peak" HH prices at bars near metro stations. Stay in till 6 and pay $3 for a beer.

And WMATA is losing a lot of revenue by not offering a bar car on the orange line. I could probably get in 2-3 drinks on a short commute because of delays.

by charlie on Jul 29, 2010 10:30 am • linkreport

The relocation block by Barry was about the only relatively "smart" thing than man has done since the late 70's.

DC is getting ripped the hell off, paying nearly 60% more per sq/ft to rent the space down there then they are currently paying.

There is some utility to consolidating your entire office under one roof, but not at these costs.

There are hundreds of thousands of sq/ft currently available in NOMA for a heck of a lot less.

Considering the City has basically underwritten that entire project, complete with financial and leasing guarantees they have already fulfilled, Monument Realty should be cutting DC a deal, not charging above market rents. DC held all the cards in that negotiation and completely failed. This is just another ridiculous "gimme" that will now be paid for by the rest of us.

by nookie on Jul 29, 2010 10:42 am • linkreport

kidincredible-

You can already witness this at a station that gets a lot of tourists. Check out a station like Shady Grove during the summer just prior to 9:30 AM. The tourists are all sitting immediately outside the gates just staring at the clock waiting for it to change and their passes to become active.

This is kind of an extreme situation but like others said most people will most likely just shift their commutes a few minutes in either direction if that's the case. I'm certainly not going to sit outside a station for a couple minutes to save 20 cents if it will mean missing a train.

by Craig on Jul 29, 2010 11:11 am • linkreport

+1 for nookie.

How does the DDOT lease math make sense? It's great their new digs will be right by the baseball stadium. But are taxpayers getting any value out of those higher rents? And does it make sense for the city to rent gov't office space, rather than just constructing its own building?

by Fritz on Jul 29, 2010 11:22 am • linkreport

Why do corporations lease fancy office space? Surely, some of it is to provide a nice space and attract good talent - a place where people actually want to work.

Is there a reason a government agency should be different?

by hmmmm on Jul 29, 2010 12:08 pm • linkreport

On the office space issue, we also don't know the full picture. DDOT is in city-owned space now, mostly. If they vacate, someone else will move in. What are those other agencies paying at their locations? Maybe DC saves as much in other agencies' office leases as it spends on DDOT. Or maybe not. I don't know, but it'd be nice to find out.

by David Alpert on Jul 29, 2010 12:09 pm • linkreport

@Alpert,

A small fraction of DDOT is currently in City owned space. They already rent out 125K sq/ft spread around DC at $25 buck sq/ft. They are now paying Monument ~$43 sq/ft in a city chock full of new, cheaper, available space.

http://www.bizjournals.com/washington/blog/2010/07/ddots_move_to_se_nears_completion.html

Again, complete failure on behalf of the DC taxpayer.

by nookie on Jul 29, 2010 12:16 pm • linkreport

@charlie,

The whole underground lines thing in the District is somewhat of a myth. While it's true that utilities are buried in many areas of the city, there are lines strung along the alleyways of lots of other neighborhoods.

by Jack on Jul 29, 2010 1:51 pm • linkreport

I think the lines in my alleyway are for phone/cable only. When the power went out this past weekend, there were Pepco guys scurrying in and out of the manholes on the street.

by andrew on Jul 29, 2010 2:04 pm • linkreport

Almost all of the power on Capitol Hill is underground, but there is an overhead power line on my street (A ST SE). I have no idea why it's there, as it does not provide power to my street.

Interestingly enough, neither CHRS nor the Committee of 100 seem very bothered about it. Wrong end of the Hill for them to care I guess.

by TimK on Jul 29, 2010 2:15 pm • linkreport

"at least one news outlet manages to blame it on him not having a car anyway"

Good grief. Is it possible for someone write something factual about a cyclist without it being interpreted as anti-cyclist?

The article quotes someone: "It was a microburst kind of situation, it was a tornado touchdown basically and we thought everyone had run to their cars."

The journalist adds: "But Henn had ridden his bike, and never made it to safety."

If it had been someone who had driven but didn't make it to their car, they could have said "But Joe was on the hiking trail, and never made it to safety." Would that be anti-hiking-trail?

There is absolutely nothing here other than a simple statement of fact. I don't read even the remotest subtext of saying "if he had a car he'd have been safe." All the reporter said was, he rode a bike and therefore, did not go to it like the person they interviewed had.

by Jamie on Jul 29, 2010 3:01 pm • linkreport

But Charlie, are you disagreeing that the author saw causation between not having a car to run to and his death? If you agree that the author thinks because A (no car to run to) B occurred (he died), then I don't see how you can argue against saying that the author is blaming it on him not having a car. If you don't think the author is trying to imply causation, then why even say it?

That he was a biking advocate only increases the likelihood that the author was trying to make his death out to be ironic.

by Reid on Jul 29, 2010 4:58 pm • linkreport

Sorry, that was directed to Jamie not Charlie.

by Reid on Jul 29, 2010 4:58 pm • linkreport

Yes. Entirely. The author said one thing and one thing only: the cyclist did not make it to safety.

Even if he had said "but because Henn had no car in which to seek shelter, he never made it to safety"-- which would actually have explicitly stated this attribution you seek, there still would be no color to his statement.

If when describing the circumstances of getting wet, I said,
"But I didn't have an umbrella, and didn't make it home in time to avoid the storm" would you construe that as being ironic, or anti-umbrella?

If I said "I didn't have a hammer, so was unable to pound the nail" is that anti-hammer?

It just is. Being in a car is safer than not in a storm. You can pound a nail better with a hammer than a rock. It is not a judgment against choosing to not drive. It's just a statement which explains his situation. It is only you that is reading color into it. Why you look for affront whenever the word "bicycle" is mentioned, I could not say, but it makes you look foolish at best.

If you dispute that a bike offers less protection from falling branches than a car, then the reporters statement makes no sense. But given how often cyclists say they should have far greater privileges on the road than cars exactly for this reason (because they are more vulnerable) I doubt anyone will dispute the obvious fact.

by Jamie on Jul 29, 2010 5:12 pm • linkreport

Well, since I am getting dragged into this, I don't think the writer was being ironic. There was another death during the storm when a tree hit a car. You are marginally safer in a car, and especially a newer one with better crush protection, but when a tree comes down on top of you, a house, car or anything is not going to help.

But, as Jamie said, very telling that bicycling commuting advocates are so narrow minded they only can see everything as attacking their favorite mode of transportation.

by charlie on Jul 29, 2010 6:07 pm • linkreport

@charlie, love the bar car idea! Let's take rail transportation back to its luxurious roots.

by Matthias on Aug 3, 2010 1:51 pm • linkreport

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