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Afternoon links: Nauseating news


Photo from New Jersey Transit.
ARC tunnel dead, NJ will get even more roads: Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) has decided to cancel the ARC tunnel, which would have increased commuter rail capacity to Penn Station, and instead redirect all the money to road projects. (Transportation Nation) Update: Christie says he hasn't made up his mind.

Hurling out of service: Vomiting drunk students have taken GWU's Vern Express shuttle buses out of service three times so far this semester. The $200 fine pays for bus cleaning and cab vouchers for the stranded passengers. (GW Hatchet via TBD)

She thought it was a tree branch: A Singapore driver struck a cyclist but kept driving home for 2 km with the bicycle stuck under her car. She says she thought it was a tree branch, thanks to the soundproofing in the Lexus. Her right to drive was suspended for one year. (Asia One, Michael P.)

An indictment of Las Vegas' City Center: Las Vegas' newest development, CityCenter, it turns out, isn't much of a city and provides little in the way of a center. (New Yorker)

Le Capital Bikeshare: A Lincoln Park neighbor explains the opposition to a station in the small triangle originally planned ... Each year in France, bikesharing replaces 700,000 car trips in Lyon and 2,160,000 car trips in Paris. Can CaBi similarly reduce car traffic pressure in L'Enfant's city? (TheWashCycle)

And...: Arlington will install 15 bike counters to measure bike traffic on trails and bike lanes. (TBD) ... A neighborhood in Queens, NY closed a street adjoining a park for July and August and created a great community asset. (Streetfilms, Steve Offutt) ... After decades of decline, enrollment in DCPS is up, mostly in the lower grades. (Post)

Don't forget: GGW happy hour Thursday: This is just a friendly reminder that we're having a happy hour this Thursday in downtown DC. We'll be starting at 6 pm at Laughing Man, located at 1306 G Street NW near Metro Center. We'll be there for a few hours, so drop by whenever you get a chance.

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David Alpert is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Greater Greater Washington and Greater Greater Education. 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 loves the area which is, in many ways, greater than those others, and wants to see it become even greater. 
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. 

Comments

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Good response by the neighbor, too bad the blogger just proved that he's an asshole w/ his obnoxious comments. People like that do more harm than good.

by m on Oct 5, 2010 3:53 pm • linkreport

As with governor Christie it's with Erlich. In all the years I've worked with home builders and developers, I've never met any that seemed to vote democratic. Is there a connection between subsidizing single family sprawl and voting republican? Since Eisenhower began the highway building program to flee nuclear attacks and move troops (sounds like Baron Von Hausman), builders have seen fit to piggyback on the government dime to subsidize their buisness model. Makes sense for thier bottom line, not so much for everyone else's long term economic viability.

by Thayer-D on Oct 5, 2010 3:56 pm • linkreport

Chris Christie's brother financed the vast majority of his campaign. This is his house.

Just in case you were wondering if he's beholden to sprawl-y interests.... (Christie himself lives about a mile away in a 1.5M hovel)

by andrew on Oct 5, 2010 4:09 pm • linkreport

The responses to the letter were snarky, but I don't think the letter was that great. The letter writer I think has some legitimate grievances with the traffic situation and city action, but I don't see how taking it out on a CaBi location is helpful.

Also, most of the letter's information on what the expectations were of that location begin with "we were told" without any indication as to who told them this.

The oddest argument is that people are going to drive their cars, park in the neighborhood, and then take a bike. I have a hard time fathoming anyone ever doing this, but the letter writer compares this to opening a park and ride Metro stop.

And while the alternative locations seem fairly reasonable (assuming they are equally doable, which I doubt), they don't seem to really solve most of the problems the writer brings up.

by Steven Yates on Oct 5, 2010 4:19 pm • linkreport

I visited CityCenter soon after it opened, last January.

It was striking how different the website and the actual place were.

The website was all about being LEED certified, pedestrian friendly, having an aerial tram etc etc.

The reality? Crowded sidewalks outside on the street, having to take a lengthy detour because they dont want people to cross the main car entrance, an aerial tram that is useless and has been placed in a location so hard to reach it is insulting to use it, and of course, a 6,000 car garage.

by JJJ on Oct 5, 2010 4:20 pm • linkreport

Anti-rail is the Republican's latest flavor of anti-Obama. The idea is to obstruct, destroy, and reverse any program, whether useful or not, that may reflect favorably on the current administration and its policies.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/05/us/05rail.html

by aaa on Oct 5, 2010 4:26 pm • linkreport

@JJJ

I was there in March, and made a specific trip with camera in hand to document the site. Meh, you nailed it. A whole lot of nothing more than what is already on the strip. A wasted opportunity.

by Andrew on Oct 5, 2010 4:31 pm • linkreport

If the Lincoln Park station goes away, can they put one in front of my house instead?

by rg on Oct 5, 2010 4:55 pm • linkreport

@rg

Hah, Yeah! We'll take another station up in 6C. Doubt we'll hear any complaints about it!

by andrew on Oct 5, 2010 5:09 pm • linkreport

The reasoning in the Lincoln Park letter seemed thin. Wouldn't the bike station force drivers to slow down, with so many pedestrians in one place?

by Thomas on Oct 5, 2010 5:34 pm • linkreport

@Thomas-

Not to weigh in on whether or not the station would calm traffic, I just want to highlight that a pedestrian presence probably won't be too comparatively higher as far as drivers' perspective is concerned. They certainly won't be overflowing with large congregations of pedestrians, barring any tour groups going station hopping.

by Bossi on Oct 5, 2010 5:43 pm • linkreport

>> "Each year in France, bikesharing replaces 700,000 car trips in Lyon and 2,160,000 car trips in Paris. Can CaBi similarly reduce car traffic pressure in L'Enfant's city?"

I may not be the typical case but I think my CaBi membership is primarily going to replace walking and transit trips rather than car trips. For instance I would never drive from my condo to Union Station for lunch. I occasionally make the 30 minute round trip walk to Union station but a 10 minute round trip Bike ride is much more attractive. Similarly the walk from my condo to Warner Theater is a tad long and definitely a candidate for a CaBi trip. I believe most of my CaBi trips will be trips from home to a destination that's between 0.5 and 1.0 miles away (and also near another CaBi station).

by Paul on Oct 5, 2010 10:14 pm • linkreport

@Andrew

Jon Corzine lives in a pretty nice house himself. He also outspent the Christie campaign in his failed bid to keep his position. So what's the point?

Most states are dire economic straits right now. We can't keep borrowing and spending forever. Christie is doing the responsible thing by waiting to find out the cost of something before he commits to spending the money on it. These are decisions all new Governors have to make.

K

by Kaleel on Oct 5, 2010 11:05 pm • linkreport

@Paul: I'd usually agree with you but it's hard to think of anyone as viciously tied to their cars when it comes to inner city driving as the French, so I'd give it some credence. They'd park up a tree if they could figure out how to get the spindly branches to support the car.

I can't say I'm a factor in the whole CaBi nexus: I haven't owned a car in almost 10 years, and biking and bikers in DC scares me.

by copperred on Oct 6, 2010 12:51 am • linkreport

@aaa
The pro-rail crowd isn't helping itself with absurd statements like the following:
“The bottom line is that high-speed rail is a national program that will connect the country, spur economic development and bring manufacturing jobs to the U.S.,”

This is just boneheaded. We will never have a national high-speed rail system. At most we will have regional systems. The question is what regional systems are worth building or expanding. If the benefits (and I use that term as broadly as possible) of the systems are not worth the costs, they should not be built. That's why I laugh when I see the 12 figure estimates for the Northeast Corridor and the 11 figure estimates for California. There is no way projects that large will be worth it.

Maybe folks like the Republicans in Ohio are being obstinate. I don't know. But as long as the pro-rail crowd aren't presenting sensible goals and plans, it is going to be easy for the opposition to derail them.

by movement on Oct 6, 2010 9:26 am • linkreport

@Paul
The studies that I've seen mentioned (I haven't seen any of the studies themselves) say that about 6-10 percent of CaBi rides will replace personal car us (and another 5% will replace taxi rides), so I think your experience may be more typical than you think.

My sense, and my experience so far, is that in addition to giving me an occasional quicker commute and exercise, CaBi will serve to open up parts of the city to me that I would not necessarily have visited before, just as a result of seeing them on my evening ride home.

by Jacques on Oct 6, 2010 9:29 am • linkreport

@Kaleel

The ARC tunnel isn't some kind of rinky-dink project about which you can just say "oh yeah let's redirect that money." Cancelling it would basically be burning the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on:

- Studies done for this specific project (environmental impact etc.)
- The actual construction work already done on the project
- The studies done for basically every other future transportation infrastructure project in the NY/NJ Metro area (these would have to be completely redone as they all take the ARC tunnel into account when analyzing what future capacity is needed for the region)

So yeah, there's all that money that would basically just be wasted, and then there's the fact that this project NEEDS to be done - it isn't a "maybe we should do this" kind of project, it's a project that absolutely has to happen at some point in the near future in order to have the transportation infrastructure meet future demand.

The sort of bogus short-term thinking is what has allowed the condition our infrastructure to languish for decades and caused the financial meltdown two years ago. It's not "responsible" to cut something off in the name of saving money NOW when you'll just have to do it anyway later and end up spending even more. Yeah it's "over budget," because estimates always cut things down to the absolute perfect situation - if we actually wised up to what things really cost then there wouldn't be worrying about being over budget.

You're right though that we can't keep spending borrowed money forever. Too bad the American people have bought hook, line, and sinker the GOP BS that we can have lower lower lower taxes and still actually get something out of the government.

by MLD on Oct 6, 2010 9:35 am • linkreport

Given the much lower density of CaBi stations, I'd expect them to mostly replace bus and metro rides. The european studies on replacing walking trips are based on much higher densities.

by charlie on Oct 6, 2010 10:06 am • linkreport

@MLD

Some of the states that have the highest taxes have biggest budget problems. We don't have a taxing problem we have a spending problem.

Chris Christie doesn't want NJ to end up like California. Progressives have devastated that place. You want a tunnel to be built? Pay for it by cutting spending elsewhere. You can also increase tax revenue to the state by growing the economy. But punitive taxation doesn't accomplish that.

K

by Kaleel on Oct 6, 2010 10:40 am • linkreport

People actually fell for the marketing hype of the City Center? A fool and his money are lucky to come together in the first place! Welcome to Vegas!

The City Center was never going to be anything more than a new mega-resort on the strip (which isn't even in the City of Las Vegas, by the way). The only difference between the City Center and Caesar's Palace is the replacement of faux-Roman architecture with faux-urbanism. Its all fake. Did you expect "New York New York" to be at all like New York? I hope not.

There were some real attempts at building some urban communities in the City of Las Vegas in the last decade. There was talk of building an arts district with lofts (some were built, including the old Holsum Bread building), and talk of a downtown core around Fremont Street. But then the bottom fell out of the housing market.

Plus, while Las Vegas has a city government that is trying to do some things, the real power will always be the Clark County government, which can't think beyond the next mega-project on the strip.

by urbaner on Oct 6, 2010 11:25 am • linkreport

Chris Christie doesn't want NJ to end up like California. Progressives have devastated that place.

Great stuff! California is doomed because anti-tax know-nothings have destroyed any ability to actually manage the state's finances. And of course, here they come to work their magic at the national level, "balancing the budget" by eliminating taxes, and cutting non-defense, non-entitlement spending--the equivalent of saying you're going to pay this month's mortgage with change you're hoping to find in your couch.

Your complete misunderstanding of the problem sheds some light on how things have managed to fall so far, and why they'll probably continue to do so.

by oboe on Oct 6, 2010 11:56 am • linkreport

She thought it was a tree branch:

So what happened to the guy on the bike? Did he survive the crash? This article dismisses his fate, as if he were ... well, a tree branch ...

by Lance on Oct 6, 2010 12:02 pm • linkreport

Oboe, you forgot the referendum industry in California, which is the biggest Law of Unintended Consequences in politics I can think of, a big reason that the state is ungovernable.

by ThresherK on Oct 6, 2010 12:06 pm • linkreport

m, thank you for your thoughtful evaluation of my writing. I shall take a lesson from your comment on how I can be less obnoxious in mine.

by washcycle on Oct 6, 2010 3:56 pm • linkreport

I don't hear anyone from the other side of the river offering to fund the cost overruns.

in fact, other than the shared PANYNJ contribution, I can't find where New York is contributing a dime to the tunnel. instead, they are busy pushing for this tunnel's construction so city and state officials can further justify the need for Moynihan Station.

New York demands income tax from all these crowded New Jersey-based commuters -- further strapping New Jersey's ability to cover any overruns -- but won't cough up money to help those commuters get to their jobs in the first place?

by P-Mac on Oct 7, 2010 12:19 pm • linkreport

> cancel the ARC tunnel, which would have increased commuter rail capacity to Penn Station, [sic]

Um, I think you mean "increased commuter rail capacity to New York"... there being no way to connect the deep ARC station with the surface Penn Station nearby.

by Turnip on Oct 8, 2010 5:46 pm • linkreport

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