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


Breakfast links: Up and down

Photo by tracktwentynine on Flickr.
Power line problems: A power line fell on a Red Line train yesterday north of Silver Spring, trapping passengers for 2½ hours and blocking Red Line, MARC and Amtrak service. Nobody was injured but the storm also added 15,000 customers to Pepco's platoon without power. (Post)

"Home Rule 2.0"?: Congressman Jose Serrano (D-NY) attached language to a spending bill in a budget markup to end Congress's review of the DC budget, which would be a major step forward for home rule. (Post)

No bus here: UMD has gone ahead with its 4-week trial of closing Campus Drive to all vehicles, including buses, despite strong opposition from students and the community. But inadequate signage meant many students were still waiting at Stamp Student Union for a bus that would never arrive. (The Diamondback)

New ZCer already siding with feds: The Zoning Commission seems a bit skeptical of Big Bear's desire to change its zoning to commercial, led primarily by federal reps Peter May and Peter Turnbull but also with the support of new member Greg Selfridge. This is exactly what I was worried about when Selfridge was nominated. (Housing Complex)

Watch a church evolve: The architects for St. Thomas' Parish are chronicling their experiences in a blog, illuminating elements of the development process like DC's public space regulations and how to design nice handrails. (Creating Sanctuary)

Costco doesn't need gas after all: After insisting for months it would pull out entirely from Wheaton if it couldn't get its proposed gas station to bypass normal review processes, Costco will move forward with a store in Westfield Wheaton with or without the gas station. (Gazette)

Who's the boss? (in Rockville?): Who is the chief executive of Rockville? The Mayor or the City Manager? And should Rockville switch to a "strong Mayor" system of government? (Rockville Central)

Money for electric cars, none for transit?: The Senate may pass some kind of energy bill, but it probably won't do a thing for transit, but might put more money into electric and natural gas cars. (Streetsblog Capitol Hill)

And...: Free Tysons lunchtime shuttles haven't taken off (Examiner) ... The Purple Line is officially on the Montgomery County master plan (Post) ... Taxi drivers are appealing to Congress about Fenty gutting the Taxicab Commission (Examiner) ... Is our region getting the nickname "the DMV" (for the District, Maryland, and Virginia)? Please, no. (Post)

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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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Correction: those Metro passengers were safely trapped for 2 and a half hours. Had they been driving, they might have been in an accident or had an electric power line land on their car or even gotten home on time.

by monkeyrotica on Jul 30, 2010 8:49 am • linkreport

This DMV thing is not new at all. It's really specifically a name for the hip-hop community. The best part is, I have seen this nickname used in Post writing over the past year. Definitely an idea from some stuffy old editor who wants it explained to the 50+ demo.

by B-Money on Jul 30, 2010 9:14 am • linkreport

I got home two and a half hours late yesterday because of the power line, so it is possible that I am irrationally grumpy about the issue. Nonetheless, I would like to know why it took Pepco two and a half hours to turn off a power line.

by Miriam on Jul 30, 2010 9:18 am • linkreport

The senate energy bill have provisions for incentives to buy natural gas vehicles -- but they are trucks, not cars. Actually not a bad plan at all. Moving interstate trucking to natural gas is a great move, and getting more natural gas trucks -- that don't pollute - into cities would improve air quality.

I can't help but think that incentives for electrically powered bicycles would also be a winner.

by charlie on Jul 30, 2010 9:28 am • linkreport

Yeaaaah Purple Line!

by MikeS on Jul 30, 2010 9:29 am • linkreport

"Moving interstate trucking to natural gas is a great move, and getting more natural gas trucks -- that don't pollute"

Natural Gas combustion does pollute just not as much...

"According to the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, in 2004, natural gas produced about 5.3 billion tons a year of CO2 emissions, while coal and oil produced 10.6 and 10.2 billion tons respectively. According to an updated version of the SRES B2 emissions scenario, however, by the year 2030, natural gas would be the source of 11 billion tons a year, with coal and oil now 8.4 and 17.2 billion respectively (Total global emissions for 2004 were estimated at over 27,200 million tons).

In addition, natural gas itself is a greenhouse gas far more potent than carbon dioxide when released into the atmosphere, although natural gas is released in much smaller quantities. Natural gas is mainly composed of methane, which has a radiative forcing twenty times greater than carbon dioxide. Based on such composition, a ton of methane in the atmosphere traps in as much radiation as 20 tons of carbon dioxide."

by RJ on Jul 30, 2010 9:40 am • linkreport

Wait. Aren't airplanes larger emitters than the sum of all autos?

by James on Jul 30, 2010 9:41 am • linkreport

Yeah, budget autonomy!! Yeah, Congressman Serrano!!

by Ward 1 Guy on Jul 30, 2010 9:42 am • linkreport

Well, you know what they say.... there's no such thing as a free lunch (shuttle)!

(And, also, why was it being paid for out of metrorail funds? WTF?)

by andrew on Jul 30, 2010 9:45 am • linkreport

When I say pollution, I mean the nasty stuff that you can see -- particulate matter.

And while releasing natural gas into the air might not be good idea for global warming, you tend to BURN in an engine.

You're more than welcome to carry heavy goods on your back, but moving form diesel engines to something cleaner is a win in my book.

by charlie on Jul 30, 2010 9:47 am • linkreport


Motor gasoline accounts for 58.7 percent of the transportation CO2 emissions. Jet fuel much much smaller percentage.

by RJ on Jul 30, 2010 9:49 am • linkreport

@Ward 1 Guy -

Not necessarily. A full Boeing or Airbus flying from New York to Boston will burn less gas than if all of those people decided to drive individually or in pairs.


by Max D. on Jul 30, 2010 9:59 am • linkreport


Sorry Ward 1 guy, that was actually meant for James.

by Max D. on Jul 30, 2010 10:00 am • linkreport

yea, hate to say it but DMV is already widely-used. btw that post article was awful

by JessMan on Jul 30, 2010 10:00 am • linkreport

@RJ and Max D.

Thanks for the info. I had heard something about the relationship between the 2 but couldn't remember it exactly so reversed the relationship.

by James on Jul 30, 2010 10:13 am • linkreport

Might as well take the D out of DMV because who from the District would prefer such a generic term like that? It'd be like living in Manhattan and saying you're from the Tri-state area. Leave the broad term to those trying to glom on to the awesomeness that is the District.

by Reid on Jul 30, 2010 10:15 am • linkreport

Leave the broad term to those trying to glom on to the awesomeness that is the District.

Once you (DC residents) stop shopping at our stores and supermarkets, then you can start claiming regional superiority.

Until, we in the M+V welcome your sales tax dollars and patronage in our evidently superior shopping centers (as evidenced through the fact that DC people don't like to do shopping close-to-home).

Maybe your Wal-Mart will change that.

by MPC on Jul 30, 2010 10:22 am • linkreport

Oh, and seriously if Serrano's bill passes we really need to put a statue up somewhere for him. Maybe a street rename, like Abe Pollin Way.

Because when the Republicans retake the House this fall, and that dick Jason Chaffetz becomes the chair of the District Affairs subcommittee, if the budget control is still in his hands, kiss goodbye to gay marriage and med pot. It would offend Mayor Chaffetz's delicate faith to see loving gay people allowed their full civil rights.

by Reid on Jul 30, 2010 10:24 am • linkreport

I think the last time I bought something in the suburbs it was a Christmas tree.

by Reid on Jul 30, 2010 10:26 am • linkreport


Fine, then make the argument that NGVs are cleaner than diesel, or say that they produce less particulate matter, but don't say that they don't pollute. That's completely incorrect.

You know CO2 is a pollutant able to be regulated by the EPA right?

by MLD on Jul 30, 2010 10:27 am • linkreport

The stance of the Zoning Commission is simultaneously puzzling and troubling. The property itself is recommended for conversion to full commercial status in the Comprehensive Plan for god sakes! I worry that the Zoning Commission is actually too NIMBY and too anti-progress, quite the opposite of what many feared they would be. Perhaps the NIMBY pressure worked in pressuring them to be (overly) responsive to loud community members without regard to the great good.

by SG on Jul 30, 2010 10:42 am • linkreport

@MLD, gosh, if CO2 is going to be regulated a lot of GGW commentators are in trouble because of hot air they produce.

Exactly what do trucks run on now? The only other option is some sort of diesel-electric hybrid, which might make some sense for city-trucks. But you're still stuck with a diesel.

I have some real concerns about the EPA's action. We have very imperfect understandings of where co2 is being produced. Take other pollution controls, which have have 30+ years to work themselves out. Still highly imperfect. How many times have you seen a truck belching black smoke? How many times have you had to refill your AC because of a leak? How many short drives haven't given the cat in your car time to warm up and work its magic. My car gets passed based on how a computer measures 02 before and after a cat converter -- not on how much pollution is actually may or may not make.

by charlie on Jul 30, 2010 10:45 am • linkreport

CNG is suitable for localized fleets (like buses or utilities) but not for interstate travel because there is not a fueling infrastructure. I also believe there is a storage issue on the vehicles themselves, it takes up a lot more space to carry the fuel supply, and IIRC the fuel consumption per mile is worse. Have seen various calls on this blog for requiring CNG for tour buses. because the technology is just not suitable.

by spookiness on Jul 30, 2010 11:25 am • linkreport

@ spookiness; a major part of t.boone's plan (which the senate is going with) is by subsidizing CNG trucks an infrastructure will be created. I'd agree it is NOT an easy question as that might involve pipelines or something else, and the low hanging fruit is buses/delivery vehicles.

I was reading a API study yesterday. 8M b/d of gasoline produced in the US, but 5m b/d of distillates. Granted we do export a lot of diesel to Europe, but give you an idea of the scale of diesel use and how much we need to bring that down.

by charlie on Jul 30, 2010 11:36 am • linkreport

On CNG -

I'm not completely positive, but if I remember my orgo well enough CNG is MUCH more flammable than the more common sources of fuel. It's safe on city streets since vehicles powered by CNG rarely travel at a high enough speed to cause an explosion, but at 75 MPH you might as well kiss that highway goodbye.

That being said, I'm sure an appropriate tank could be built or something could be done to control it. We are, after all, talking about building cars powered off of hydrogen.

by Max D. on Jul 30, 2010 11:44 am • linkreport

"DMV" is just so suburban ... Not hip in the least and definitely not chic or urban or any of the things that define Washington. I'm okay with referring to the entire area simply as "Washington" as people have done for decades. The "Washington" in DMV is after all what makes this region this region ... But wait ... where's the "W" in DMV ... or at least the "C" (for Columbia).

For starters, the use of a "D" shows the illiteracy of the "DMV" term users. If you want to make an acronym for the region, at least be consistent. "D" for District is like "S" for state. We don't get defined by the type of jurdiction we are anymore than does Maryland or does Virginia. I don't see anyone saying "DSS", or worse yet "DS1S2" ... As you can see, it gets kinda confusing when you start referring to the region by the types of juridictions it makes up.

The correct letter to use would be "C" for Columbia. Yeah, it might be harder to remember "CMV" than "DMV" ... but that would at least be logical.

Nah, I think we need to just keep calling it "Washington". For too many years we suffered from a "Washington", "Northern Virginia", "Suburban Maryland" dichotomy that even the regions 3 phone books made use of of. The term "Washington" was only used by people from outside the region ... usually in a political sense ... Or by Northern Virginians and Suburban Marylanders when traveling since few people understood this homegrown distinction.

I like the fact that the suburbanites are now okay with assoicating with Washington again ... But let's not do it at the expense of Washington itself. Let's not reduce "Washington" to a the "D" that stands for the kind of jurisdiction it happens to be today.

by Lance on Jul 30, 2010 11:52 am • linkreport

Virginia is a Commonwealth, so it could be DSC: District (of Columbia), State (of Maryland), Commonwealth (of Virginia).

Or, yeah, just call it Washington. Or Greater Washington. This blog isn't called Greater DMV for a reason.

by David Alpert on Jul 30, 2010 11:55 am • linkreport

Do I think the the DMV acronym is hip, clever or cool? No. But those of you devoting the time to write 5 paragraphs that hyperanalyzing the acronym clearly don't have enough going on in your lives.

by Jason on Jul 30, 2010 11:59 am • linkreport

Yep, Reid (Napoleon?). The District is exactly like Manhattan. Always. Anything that applies up there applies down here because we're just as hip, urban and superior as they are. If we compare DC favorably to Manhattan enough times, it *just might* work!

Oh, and Brooklyn, too. But only the cool parts of Brooklyn. Not the suburbany parts (perish the thought!). And that totally *does not* mean that we have to embrace the closer in, non suburbany parts of MD and VA. Totally different story. Even though we're exactly like Manhattan.

by Catherine on Jul 30, 2010 12:25 pm • linkreport

Catherine, I'm sure you have a point somewhere buried underneath the inconsistent and illogical sarcasm. Please take a breath and try again.

by Reid on Jul 30, 2010 12:45 pm • linkreport

C'mon people, it's not so hard to be nice and polite to each other. It's also entirely possible to not post a comment if you don't want to say anything in a polite way.

by David Alpert on Jul 30, 2010 12:47 pm • linkreport

Yea. Y'all should be more like me in your style.

But I can't type for too long. I get off work early today so I gotta make sure I catch my two trains and bus back to my place.

/Bet you never saw that one coming.

by MPC on Jul 30, 2010 12:53 pm • linkreport

I don't mind "DMV" - I know a lot of people who use "ATL" for Atlanta; DMV reminds me of that. I don't know how hip & cool it is - or how important that is - but I do know that my using it won't make me, or anyone, hip & cool. Otherwise, I think the D is perfectly appropriate - although I understand Lance's logic (above), I'd say that the D accurately reflects the fact that most/many/lotsa people never call DC "Washington" but always "The District" - unless they are taling to folks from outside the DMV.

(I am not sure how I feel about the obvious connection to Dept of Motor Vehicle jokes.... are we masochistic enough to use a nickname that represents disfunctionality? That's like the obese man who calls himself "Fatty".)

Just some last Friday thoughts.

by ZZinDC on Jul 30, 2010 4:26 pm • linkreport

Don't people already call DC the district. I recall news agencies(especially local news), Hollywood etc calling it that and there was a show called the District.

If we are going back logic how about everyone that says there from Washington or DC when asked where their from; but live in Bowie, Fairfax, Arlington, Alexandria, Rockville, Landover, Falls Church stop it. Did you fail geography.

The question was where are you from not where are you near or what large city is near you if your ID does not say DC you are not from DC. DC is what is inside Western, Eastern, Southern Avenues and the eastern portion of the Potomac River between those avenues.

by kk on Jul 30, 2010 6:23 pm • linkreport

People (mostly rappers, and DJs on radio stations that play rappers) are already using DMV extensively. Comments on a blog post on a transit and land-use blog are not going to change that. Is it hip or cool? One might ask: Are people who read a transit and land-use blog qualified to judge that?

Andrew Lindemann Malone
author of DMV Classical

by Lindemann on Jul 30, 2010 11:42 pm • linkreport

Andrew: whether it's "hip or cool" is one thing. But whether it should become common parlance for the region is completely different.

Personally, the acronym reminds me too much of either Department of Motor Vehicles, or the Delmarva (peninsula/region/etc etc). If anything, Delmarva has a bigger claim to the acronym than the DC area does. For one thing, this area is too political (for very obvious reasons), and politics is anything but "hip or cool"...

by Froggie on Jul 31, 2010 8:06 am • linkreport

It already is common parlance for a subset of the region's inhabitants. Basically the debate going on in this comment thread is "I don't like this name the rappers came up with."

For my part, obviously, I like it.

by Lindemann on Jul 31, 2010 11:32 am • linkreport

No one decides whether something should become common parlance, it just happens.

by Alex B. on Jul 31, 2010 11:44 am • linkreport

@Lindemann It already is common parlance for a subset of the region's inhabitants.

Good point. When I hear someone use this term the first thing that comes to mind is "He/she isn't from DC ... they're from Prince Georges County" ...

by Lance on Jul 31, 2010 3:54 pm • linkreport

It already is common parlance for a subset of the region's inhabitants

Unless you are referring to people who listen to hip-hop, it is not a common parlance. Those people are definitely not the majority.

by Zac on Jul 31, 2010 10:56 pm • linkreport

Heaven forbid that some of the hipsters in town take on some black culture beyond going to Ben's Chili Bowl on a Friday night.

"But I have black friends too!"

Funny how when little Johnny or Susie grow up, they don't get sent to a public high school not named Wilson.

by MPC on Jul 31, 2010 11:39 pm • linkreport

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