Greater Greater Washington

Afternoon links: Bridge over political waters

Ervin flip-flops on bridge: Montgomery Councilmember Valerie Ervin has reversed her position and now supports a million-dollar bridge to connect a parking garage to the new, over-budget Silver Spring library. Residents rightly worry the bridge will decrease street activity. (TBD)

Feel the power of local cyclists: Months after getting into trouble with local cyclists for statements against bike infrastructure, Rep. Steven LaTourette (R-OH) has become the first Republican cosponsor of a complete streets bill. (Bike League)

Crowdsourcing Metro station names: Playing on Metro's notorious station name logorrhoea, TBD asked readers to submit their own station name alternatives. Take the Green Line to "Waterfront/DDOT/1950s Urban Renewal/M St/Ft McNair/Arena Stage/Marinas/Titanic Memorial/kthxbai".

TBD editor has frustrating pedestrian experience: A driver nearly hit a jogger while the jogger had the right of way. The jogger yelled at the driver. Metro-Venture saw the incident. It turns out the jogger was TBD editor Erik Wemple. (TBD)

Artists too rich or too poor: One developer is having trouble selling live-work units dedicated to artists because HUD's income limits are too narrow. (Housing Complex)

Affordable on Columbia Pike: A citizen group along Columbia Pike in Arlington wants to preserve 4,900 affordable rental apartments through 2040. Arlington currently lacks to tools to meet this goal and development along Columbia Pike is picking up. (TBD)

Parking 18% more people in the same space: NYC changed two streets in Park Slope, Brooklyn from fixed-rate to variable-rate parking with a $1.50/hour price ceiling (still a bargain). Parking times decreased 17% and 23%, the total number of unique vehicles parked increased 17% and 18%, and the overall space occupancy stayed the same. With less hunting for parking, traffic volumes decreased 5% and 9% percent. (Streetsblog)

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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. 
Eric Fidler has lived in DC and suburban Maryland his entire life. He likes long walks along the Potomac and considers the L'Enfant Plan an elegant work of art. He also blogs at Left for LeDroit, LeDroit Park's (only) blog of record. 

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Second breakfast!

by Michael on Sep 28, 2010 4:00 pm • linkreport

Title fixed, thanks.

by David Alpert on Sep 28, 2010 4:08 pm • linkreport

DC seems like the kind of place where it's an especially bad idea to get into a quarrel with somebody you don't know out in public. You never know who that person might be...

by Rob on Sep 28, 2010 4:22 pm • linkreport

The issue on Columbia Pike highlights one of the key differences between NoVA and DC. Both local governments are very liberal, however Arlington is restrained by Virginia state law, which is very conservative on property issues. With instruments like rent control unavailable, Arlington will have little control over how affordable units are distributed. The most likely scenario is low income units will be pushed to the outer edges of the area. In this case, the area beyond Four Mile Run will absorb more of the low income families. Meanwhile the opposite end (near Courthouse Rd) will fill in with middle to mid-upper income families from NoVA beyond the beltway.

by Smoke_Jaguar4 on Sep 28, 2010 5:02 pm • linkreport

It doesn't sound like Mr. Wemple stopped and checked to see if the coast was clear before entering the cross walk. If that is actually the case, then I have no sympathy for him. Had he gotten hit, it would have been his own self-entitlement that would have been at fault for what happened. Even if a pedestrian has a right of way in a crosswalk, that doesn't change the physics of having a multi-ton vehicle not being able to 'suddenly stopp' because some pedestrian comes running out of nowhere to suddenly claim their 'right of way'. Expecting that to happen is like a expecting a cyclist to suddenly stop because a car in a cross street asserts its 'right of way' at a four way stop sign. There are some laws of physics that simply can't be overridden by laws of man ... no matter how hard we'd all like them to be ...

by Lance on Sep 28, 2010 5:02 pm • linkreport

From what I remember, the "artist" units in the Loree Grand run around $1200 to $1800, which is a %*#&ton of money if your gross income is between $36,000 and $44,000)

No big surprise that they're not being leased.

by andrew on Sep 28, 2010 5:07 pm • linkreport

@Lance

The "coast is clear" argument goes both ways. People in the crosswalk have the right of way. This means that drivers turning left shouldn't make risky choices like deciding to turn in front of oncoming traffic so they have to gun it and risk hitting someone in the crosswalk.

By your logic cars traveling through a green light should also slow down lest some moron decide to make a left in front of them and cause an accident.

by MLD on Sep 28, 2010 5:12 pm • linkreport

I agree with Lance. Lets all stop at green lights to confirm the right of way is clear.

by JJJ on Sep 28, 2010 5:27 pm • linkreport

Ugh Valerie Ervin needs to take a course in urban sociology. Just wrote her a long letter. I suggest others do the same to let her know we don't support this pedestrian bridge. Councilmember.ervin@montgomerycountymd.gov

by Eric on Sep 28, 2010 5:32 pm • linkreport

By your logic cars traveling through a green light should also slow down lest some moron decide to make a left in front of them and cause an accident.

B-b-but...that's just silly! It would pose a minor inconvenience to driver--you know, regular people!

Thanks Lance, for providing our myopic "Windshield Perspective of The Day"! Bonus points for accusing the pedestrian trying to cross the street, with the light, as some asshole in a car comes blazing through the crosswalk of "self-entitlement".

Classic.

by oboe on Sep 28, 2010 5:42 pm • linkreport

@Lance Keeping in mind that failing to stop for a pedestrian is a crime (see DC Code 50-2201.28(c)), do you also think that a driver who takes their car out in public and gets carjacked also is only a victim of their "own self-entitlement," because, after all, they failed to anticipate that there are criminals out there on the street? Being aware of our surroundings and on the watch for the illegal acts of others may be an important part of our everyday lives, but that doesn't change the fact that what the *driver* did here was illegal and wrong.

by Eileen on Sep 28, 2010 6:22 pm • linkreport

+1 Lance

by mch on Sep 28, 2010 6:31 pm • linkreport

oboe, should drivers stop at every crosswalk regardless of whether the light is green to anticipate any possible pedestrians that may or may not exist?

Wait, of course, yes. This is a site that just moments before, castigated an official for changing her mind (how dare anyone do that!) about setting up a walkway to mitigate problems for pedestrians, whose only real value in this context are human shields to frustrate motorists rather than people who have their own needs and agendas.

by J.D. Hammond on Sep 28, 2010 6:41 pm • linkreport

@MLD, "By your logic cars traveling through a green light should also slow down...", you may be amused to hear about the time I was in a taxi at 2AM or 3AM near Cleveland Park. At a certain point, the cabbie slowed way down for no apparent reason. I complained, "Hey, the light is gree-", and at precisely that second, a car came out of nowhere and shot across our bow at about 50 MPH.

by Turnip on Sep 28, 2010 6:53 pm • linkreport

"I have no sympathy for him"

wow.

by jj on Sep 28, 2010 7:36 pm • linkreport

Had he gotten hit, it would have been his own self-entitlement that would have been at fault for what happened.

I really hope this is just hyperbole for effect on "the internets".

The guy was half way across the street in the cross-walk with a greenlight/walklight before the car came into the intersection - even the witness admits that, and he was more sympathetic to the driver then the pedestrian.

So now even pedestrians who are in the crosswalk with the light are "at fault for what happened" if they should be crashed into by a car its driver.

Who needs careful plans and hard to trace poison! This is the way to murder someone and get away with it-hit them with your car while they're in the crosswalk! They're at fault! You're off the hook!

by Tina on Sep 28, 2010 8:09 pm • linkreport

@Tina The guy was half way across the street in the cross-walk with a greenlight/walklight before the car came into the intersection - even the witness admits that,

No ... did you read the link?

And what to my wondering eyes should appear but a jogger, dressed in dark clothes, running – very fast might I add – into the crosswalk. Which is normally no big deal; happens all the time. And a car making a left turn came kind of close to said pedestrian which, again, happens all the time at this intersection.

The jogger 'ran into the crosswalk' ... 'very fast' ... Whenever a pedestrian finds themselves in a roadway, they really should be doing a little 'thinking' and 'looking'. My point is that legally they might be right, but it's not worth it to be deadright. But I guess for some folks 'asserting their rights' is the important thing ... the consequences ... well ... not so ...

by Lance on Sep 28, 2010 8:49 pm • linkreport

@MLD By your logic cars traveling through a green light should also slow down lest some moron decide to make a left in front of them and cause an accident.

actually, yes I do. that was probably one of the first things I learned at Drivers' Ed. 'Always anticipate that the unanticipated will occur.'

by Lance on Sep 28, 2010 8:51 pm • linkreport

Remember folks, Lance is a board member of the Committee of 100. Just in case you were wondering what the members of that organization really think of you..

by Phil on Sep 28, 2010 8:53 pm • linkreport

That's right Phil. I'm saying 'stay alive and uninjured ... use your common sense'. I guess you'd rather I'd be saying 'assert your rights and get yourselves killed for the cause'. I think we know what you think of others health and well-being, huh?

by Lance on Sep 28, 2010 9:07 pm • linkreport

Great points all around - obviously this is a hot-button topic where pedestrians, cyclists, drivers, and others find themselves elbow to handlebar to steering wheel, so to speak.

@Lisa - just a note: the "eye witness" to this incident is a she. Minor point, I know, but since so much of the online discussions regarding transportation are dominated by men in this city (please don't read too much into that statement or consider it an insult!), I wanted to point that out. Thanks!

by EmilyHaHa on Sep 28, 2010 9:47 pm • linkreport

That's why it's "witness" and not "witne". Suffixes tell all.

by Bossi on Sep 28, 2010 10:03 pm • linkreport

But Bossi, to be PC, shouldn't it be 'witnor'? as in 'Best Witnor' award? ;)

by Lance on Sep 28, 2010 10:30 pm • linkreport

By Lance's logic, I would have been at-fault in my own near-incident this past weekend (as described in another thread)...

by Froggie on Sep 29, 2010 8:35 am • linkreport

@Froggie If not for my anticipating her turning, the pedestrians on the corner screaming (as was I), and a quick swerve on my part (thankfully nobody was on Independence next to me), I'd have been yet another statistic...

No, you did EXACTLY what I'm saying any reasonable and responsible person is responsible for doing for themselves. i.e. 'anticipate' that the unanticipated will happen. From the TBD article, it doesn't sound like the jogger did that. He just assumed that having the right of way would keep him completely safe and acted shocked when his assumption fell flat on its face. And that's plain dumb.

by Lance on Sep 29, 2010 9:03 am • linkreport

So basically, we have a a situation where someone was operating a multi-ton machine in violation of the law and endangered a pedestrian's life, and we're supposed to be angry at the pedestrian? Ridiculous.

by Phil on Sep 29, 2010 9:17 am • linkreport

@Lance

This is exactly what I'm saying. The pedestrian is supposed to anticipate the unexpected and be ready to jump out of the way of cars careening through crosswalks. This doesn't apply to the driver though - we all know the DEFAULT behavior for left turns is just to gun it so you can beat the cars coming the other way. People do it all the time and there's no expectation that people won't just "be careful" so you don't get hit by 1500lbs of metal.

by MLD on Sep 29, 2010 9:25 am • linkreport

As always I seem to find myself in agreement with both sides here... which on the internet tends to mean that both sides subsequently disagree with me; but here it goes...

Yes, the driver was absolutely at fault for failing to give way to a pedestrian legally crossing a crosswalk, particularly given the circumstances it sounds like an attentive driver would have had plenty of time to react... that is; to not even intiate the turning maneuver in the first place.

However, I do agree that there is a need for pedestrians to remain attentive. This isn't from a legality, ethical, moral, etc. standpoint; it's just simply in the interest of the pedestrian. The sad truth is that when it's man vs. machine, the machine tends to win. It doesn't matter how much we disagree with that outcome; it's just the way it is.

People are absolutely welcome to wear dark clothes and go running -- I do that all the time; my wardrobe is often one of the last things on my mind (anyone who knows me can confirm that fashion, in any manner, is not my strong point). However, people should be aware that their visibility toward others may be impacted, and while they still have the legal rights within legal crossings: it's in their own self-interest to be mindful of all that is around them -- even the bad drivers.

Though to give a potential small glimpse of sympathy to the driver (as much of a faux pas as it tends to be here on GGW), without actually witnessing the situation myself I can only assume a chance that the driver sincerely didn't see the pedestrian; potentially a result of the dark clothes.

Even the best drivers don't have eagle-eye perception, and I'd wager the driver in this case didn't intend to go out & try to run anyone over. Just as Erik certainly didn't go out with the intention of trying to be run over. At least both driver & jogger hopefully came out of this with a bit of a lesson attentiveness on both sides.

by Bossi on Sep 29, 2010 9:46 am • linkreport

@Lance -did YOU read it? I stepped into the crosswalk, there were no cars even close to it. But by the time I was halfway across the intersection, I caught a fast-moving object out of my right eye. It was a car, and it was accelerating toward me.

This is the comment made by the pedestrian on the witnesses blog and she did not dispute it.

You're in a position where you're defending a driver as completely faultless for driving into a crosswalk that had pedestrians in it who were crossing with the light. You are making the argument the pedestrian would be 100% responsible for a crash had it occurred, because... he crossed in a crosswalk with the light and didn't give way to the car...?

Again, I really hope this expression is just hyperbole on your part because if its not then no pedestrian is safe when you're driving.

by Tina on Sep 29, 2010 10:21 am • linkreport

I've removed a comment that was inappropriate. Or at least, it was making inappropriate personal attacks that also made absolutely no sense because they mistook the gender of the person they were attacking, and would have been inappropriate in any case.

by David Alpert on Sep 29, 2010 10:25 am • linkreport

@Bossi, Well said!

@Tina, like I said ... I'm just going by what was in the first link (I think it's the TBD one) where the jogger's actions are described as 'running into the intersection' in such a manner that they literally came out of nowhere into the intersection. If the jogger really did take the time to really look in all directions (which would be a hard thing to do if he was actually running through the intersection), then he would have acted prudently. Maybe he wasn't really running through the intersection? Maybe he slowed down?

Incidentally, I wonder what the law says about how pedestrians are supposed to cross intersections. Do they say anything about 'looking' first? Maybe about 'proceeding carefully'? If anyone has access to the DC code here, it would be interesting to read it.

by Lance on Sep 29, 2010 12:03 pm • linkreport

you think there should be a LAW requiring pedestrians to 'look'? And how shall blind pedestrians obey this law?

If this had happened to a blind pedestrian would you still be defending this driver for carrying 0% responsibility had there been a crash and holding the pedestrian (or his/her dog) to 100% responsibility for the crash?

by Tina on Sep 29, 2010 12:46 pm • linkreport

Hey folks: Thanks for chewing over all of this. I think there are lots of good points here. The main point I would like to make is this: The whole notion of being "careful" and "attentive" and "anticipating" things, I'm afraid, doesn't particularly apply here. As I recall, I jogged into the intersection and saw no threats. My guess is that when I was at the threshold of the street, that the car hadn't even begun his left turn yet. Which means he must have been going really, really fast. That's the conclusion I reached, anyway, when he screeched his brakes as he nearly pummeled me. So being careful, I agree, is important. But the question is sometimes as to whether it's even possible, given that some motorists are just driving so fast and being so heedless.

by Erik Wwemple on Sep 29, 2010 12:49 pm • linkreport

@Tina, whoever said the driver has 0% responsibility. Not I. I just said that pedestrians, like drivers and everyone else, need to assume some responsibility for themselves and shouldn't count on everything playing out 'according to the law'. I guess its just a difference in life views. If you want to go through life assuming everything will always play out exactly as provided for in the law, go ahead and do so. And may God keep you safe .... since you obviously won't be looking out for yourself ...

by Lance on Sep 29, 2010 12:52 pm • linkreport

@Erik, thanks for the explanation. It sounds like the original blogger didn't have the facts straight. It's interesting though how this discussion brought out a few folks who really think they should be able to rely solely on 'it's the law' rather than their own common sense. I will say though, that a couple days ago I did happen to see some guy running straight through an intersection (a four way stop intersection) via a crosswalk ... and that may have influenced my reaction when I read what the original blogger reported you had done. I think we'd all agree that running blindly into a crosswalk is needlessly reckless ... just as driving blindly into a intersection (or making a turn at one) is similarly needlessly reckless.

by Lance on Sep 29, 2010 12:59 pm • linkreport

@Tina,

To be fair, Lance didn't say the driver had 0% responsibility. He merely said any pedestrian who gets hit by a car--especially those crossing with the light, and in a crosswalk--is clearly suffused with an entitlement mentality, who deserves no sympathy.

Anyway, my guess is that Lance was indulging in a bit of therapeutic hyperbole with a poorly chosen choice of words, but that--and this seems to be a GGW thing--he's incapable of rolling back from such a position once he's staked it out.

by oboe on Sep 29, 2010 1:15 pm • linkreport

@Lance -no reason to get nasty. You said: Had he gotten hit, it would have been his own self-entitlement that would have been at fault for what happened.

I interpreted that as: had there been a crash in this case the pedestrian would hold all fault(100%), which implies- driver no fault (0%).

If thats not what you meant, if you do think the driver would have had responsibility in this case had there been a crash, that was not clear to me from the words you used.

pedestrians, like drivers and everyone else, need to assume some responsibility for themselves and shouldn't count on everything playing out 'according to the law'.

This was not your first statement. I did not and do not disbute this. In fact I took exception to what I interpreted as you ascribing no responisbility to the driver in this case.

You specifically said in this case the ped would have been at fault for what happened had there been a crash.

That's what I disputed; your ascribing all responsibility to the ped and none to the driver in this case.

And, you're the one who brought up 'the Law'. I didn't mention it until you suggested pedestrians may be bound by law to look; I wonder what the law says about 'looking' first?

@oboe - thanks for clarification

by Tina on Sep 29, 2010 3:26 pm • linkreport

@Tina, As I mentioned to Erik I was definitely thinking about the jogger I'd seen run straight through an a 4 way intersection the other day when I first posted ... Yes, the jogger had used the crosswalk, and as such had a 'right of way' ... but he didn't bother to slow down, look to either side of him ... or anything ... just ran right through the intersection in the same way some cyclists have been doing of late. And in my haste I did't pay much attention to where Erik was jogging ... I now realize that Erik was a 14th and P and I know that intersection has a walk light ... so, I guess it follows that he was crossing with a light. (Maybe it even says this in the link?) That's a slightly different situaion (from a practical standpoint at least) than crossing at a 4 way stop crosswalk without stopping. I.e., You can be more assured of a driver actually stopping at a stop light (and yielding at a cross street's cross walk) ... though not completely assured. As regards the jogger in the intersection (the one I'd seen) I'd still tend to think he'd be ultimately responsible for something bad happening to him ... And I think the law would see it the same way. And that's because had a car been crossing the intersection just at the point he ran into it without bothering to look it would not have been possible for the driver to stop. And I think even the law recognizes this. I.e., A pedestrian can't just fling themselves into the path of a speeding car and then expect the car to do the impossible ... and stop on a dime ... Yeah, maybe Erik's situation was different because of the light and all .... and different from the jogger I saw .... So, maybe we were talking about 2 different situations ... Sorry, my fault.

by Lance on Sep 30, 2010 12:24 am • linkreport

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