Greater Greater Washington

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Gray promises transit and bicycle funding at first town hall

At the first of eight town hall meetings, held Tuesday evening in Ward 5's Truxton Circle neighborhood, presumptive Mayor-elect Vincent Gray began to flesh out his plans for taking on the District's challenges and reemphasized his support for transit, bicycling, and affordable housing.


Clip from a video of Tuesday's town hall (Washington Post)

The enthusiastically supportive crowd harshly criticized the Fenty Administration's decisions in the areas of education, job creation, housing, and care for the neediest. Gray answered all questions in a straightforward and even-keeled manner, demonstrating his encyclopedic knowledge of the city's workings.

I was given the opportunity to ask Gray a question about his transportation plans (a Post video contains my question, but not Gray's answer). I asked him how he would make sure that every DC resident can live a high-quality life either without a car or with minimal use of a car, and asked him to commit to building out the streetcar network and improving Metro rail and bus service and bicycle infrastructure.

"I support streetcars; let me make that clear," Gray began his answer. He expressed his concern that "we still don't have a plan" to make sure that the streetcar network interconnects with existing transit nodes (naming Union Station specifically), but declared that "we have a commitment" to build out a 37-mile system.

"There's no way to sustain ourselves with increasing auto use," Gray proclaimed, citing worsening traffic congestion and the negative environmental effects associated with car dependence. "One of the ways to get people out of their cars is to have a multimodal transportation system," he explained.

Gray touted the city's commitment to maintain a higher level of Metro funding than Maryland and Virginia. He expressed a desire to expand the Circulator bus network, specifically citing service to Anacostia as an improvement. He pointed to express buses as a "great idea."

He said we need more bike lanes, but that they should be planned in concert with affected residents. The crowd hardly reacted to Gray's transportation plans, but it erupted in applause when he said that people shouldn't wake up to find parking spaces on their street replaced by a bike lane without prior knowledge. Examples of situations where the construction of a bike lane has removed many parking spaces are scarce, so it seems to be the specter of such a change in the streetscape, rather than an actual occurrence, that drove the crowd's reaction.

Answering another attendee's question on the displacement of poorer residents, Gray said he wants to see new communities developed rapidly in the District, but that the city should use "a number of tools," inclusionary zoning being one, to make sure that working people--firefighters, police and first responders in particular--are included in newly-built communities. He decried the attitude of NIMBYs who want to see more housing for the homeless, but not in their neighborhoods.

I came to the forum as a new DC resident who, after spending considerable time weighing my choice before the Democratic primary, voted for Fenty. But I never harbored the intensely negative feelings towards Gray that many Fenty supporters did. I came away from last night's event with increased confidence in Gray's capability to lead and with hope that the divisions displayed on September 14th can begin to be reconciled.

As Gray said in his opening remarks, "Fixing our budget [shortfall] won't be easy and it won't be pleasant. .. We'll have to reduce budgets [he later declared his openness to tax increases], but we're going to do it together. The only reason we won't do it together is if you don't participate."

Malcolm Kenton lives in the DC neighborhood of Bloomingdale. Hailing from Greensboro, NC and a graduate of Guilford College, he is a passionate advocate for world-class passenger rail and other forms of sustainable transportation, and for incorporating nature and low-impact design into the urban fabric. The views he expresses on GGW are his own. 

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How do you square an "increased confidence in Gray's capability to lead" with his inability to make a decision. If all you do is plan and ask for opinions, nothing gets done.

"Optimism without data is really just an emotion."

by Josh on Oct 6, 2010 3:45 pm • linkreport

There's no way Gray can keep all his campaign promises - there's simply no money for it.

We're going to see furloughs, significant layoffs, and likely some tax hikes. There's just no way to avoid it.

by Fritz on Oct 6, 2010 3:58 pm • linkreport

@Josh,

That's pretty cynical, dude.

:)

by oboe on Oct 6, 2010 4:06 pm • linkreport

Sorry, but government will never make it possible to truly live a "high-quality" life without owning, or at least having ready and reliable access to, a car. In fact, for those with limited job skills and options, owning a car is necessary for any degree of economic independence.

Nearly all of the major job growth in the DC area occurs in the suburbs. That is a fact that will not change. In fact, once the economy gets going again, the gap between jobs available in places like Loudon County and DC will only grow. Retail, construction, service jobs. They are all in the suburbs. Thousands of low-skilled jobs exist a few miles from DC at National Harbor. But if you don't own a car, those jobs might as well be a thousand miles away.

If low-income residents of DC are to compete for these jobs, they will need cars. Not buses or streetcars or trains, but cars. The immigrants in Northern Virginia and Montgomery County have cars, and they get these jobs.

So if you truly want to improve the lives of DC's chronically poor and unemployed, take the streetcar money, and buy each person a car, then offer free basic auto repair courses so these cars can stay on the road.

by urbaner on Oct 6, 2010 4:22 pm • linkreport

So if you truly want to improve the lives of DC's chronically poor and unemployed, take the streetcar money, and buy each person a car, then offer free basic auto repair courses so these cars can stay on the road.

Genius!

Of course, if gentrification continues unabated, and DC's chronically poor and unemployed can keep moving out to the suburbs, then *you* guys can buy them cars.

by oboe on Oct 6, 2010 4:33 pm • linkreport

@urbaner:

While your idea may do some good in the short run, it will only worsen the region's problems in the long run. Imagine how much worse traffic would become if every low-income DC resident were given a car, and the havoc that will ensue once gas prices climb above $5 per gallon. The boom in car-dependent suburban job creation is going to hit a wall at some point, and everything will start to retrench back towards the center city.

Never underestimate the amount of economic development (i.e. job creation) that an expanded region-wide transit network would generate within walking distance of transit stations. We need more frequent and direct buses in the short term, and some form of rail in the long term, to connect places like National Harbor and the job centers in Loudoun County to the District and the rest of the region.

As the article @Tina links to points out, European countries have lower unemployment and a higher quality of life than the US, and also are less car-dependent.

Making a high-quality car-free life possible for everyone is a matter of economic and environmental necessity.

by Malcolm Kenton on Oct 6, 2010 4:55 pm • linkreport

"The boom in car-dependent suburban job creation is going to hit a wall at some point, and everything will start to retrench back towards the center city."

Really?

Given that GGW has laid out a very good case that our transit system is overstressed, and near critical breakdown without a very large infusion of money, I'm not sure brining more commuters into the central city via transit is even a good idea.

I don't think jobs will be shifting. $4 or $5 gasoline proves a few things:

1) the model of living 50+ miles away and commuting by car is broken
2) There are real limits to how expensive can be in the US w/o our system breaking. I'd say $5. After that the costs means inflation and ultimately another crash.

As long as public transit is buses for poor people, it will be a tar baby.

by charlie on Oct 6, 2010 5:27 pm • linkreport

Word from reliable sources in the Wilson Building is that Mayor elect Gray is looking hard at cutting or pushing off large capital projects to bridge the budget gap. The Streetcar and some schools and other construction projects utilizing local funds would be prime targets. He will announce the budget cuts after November 2nd. This keeps him in good standing with the unions.

by JD Spunkmeyer on Oct 6, 2010 5:38 pm • linkreport

If that's true (and I suspect it is), it will be entertaining to see David have to eat claim chowder after all of his statements that Gray loves streetcars.

by Phil on Oct 6, 2010 7:12 pm • linkreport

Affordable housing for "firefighters, police and first responders"? What do you do when gangs, thugs, and societal parasites move in instead? Gray, please focus on improving the city services like police, transit, and schools. Stop increasing the cities problems by building large affordable housing projects. Anything that tips the scales of more than 30% low (affordable) housing on a city block only results in another failed community.

by Reality on Oct 6, 2010 9:08 pm • linkreport

Malcolm: Thanks for including more substance than the Post's write-up, which had only two sentences of content. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/05/AR2010100505679.html (indicating that Gray would refrain from micromanaging the schools; look into creating police and fire academies; and enforce the first source law.)

Followups.

1. Isn't DC required by law to spend no more on Metro than either VA or MD? Is Gray planning to introduce legislation to change that? Is he planning to renegotiate the new Metro funding agreement?

2. Is Gray planning to change the current zoning law to require more low-income units? Would he try to make this retroactive to apply to the recently built buildings? Is there sufficient new housing construction to substantially affect the availability of low-income housing?

by Anonynormous on Oct 6, 2010 9:18 pm • linkreport

@urbaner, You put it so well ... Maybe in terms that everyone can understand. It frustrates me so when I hear/read people with a very limited/priviledged lifestyle saying 'just give us bike lanes and better transit within the city ... and everything will be okay'. It kinda of makes me ashamed to be a Democrat when I hear such myopic views thrown out. People who'd rather spend billions on a transit system for the priviledged than the limited funds it takes to provide a good road infrastructure that everyone can use to get anywhere and at a choice of costs (CIVIC? Mercedes?) that is appropriate to them. We already have already the great equalizer/ opportunity opener (i.e., the car) out there ... and all these folks with limited experience can think is Jeez, I luv riding a bus from my 'urban-chic' place in Adams-Morgan down to K Street ... Why can't we make sure everyone else can too ... on the taxpayer's nickel ... ?"

by Lance on Oct 6, 2010 9:50 pm • linkreport

@Lance

How do you think roads are paid for? Private enterprise? Road infrastructure and maintenance is by far the most expensive and inefficient way to allow large amounts of people to move around. Every real estate developer in the country will tell you the future is in higher density, transit oriented development. That is where they are all placing their money

by Mike on Oct 6, 2010 10:22 pm • linkreport

Just so you all don't get a mistaken impression of how "privileged" I am: I make less than $25,000 a year at an entry-level nonprofit job. I am privileged in the sense that my family (my parents and grandparents are by no means rich) helps me out with my expenses, without which I would struggle to afford life in DC.

I consider myself someone who is sensitive to the needs of lower-income folks. I support robust affordable housing laws and a strong social safety net. But I also realize that continuing to promote auto dependence, even if it makes certain jobs more accessible to unemployed folks in the short term, is simply not sustainable. Nationally, we spend more than $40 on roads and highways for every $1 we spend on transit and rail. Something's wrong with that picture.

by Malcolm K. on Oct 6, 2010 10:44 pm • linkreport

@Malcom Nationally, we spend more than $40 on roads and highways for every $1 we spend on transit and rail. Something's wrong with that picture.

We had this discussion on this blog several months ago. It was proved ... and accepted ... that what we spend on roads is almost entirely paid for by their users with only minimal subsidization occuring only during the recent past ... and which could be reversed by raising the gas tax by something very minimal. It was also discussed and noted that mass transit is highly inefficient and only exists because it is in the interests of car owners to get at least some of their own off of the roads and into highly subsidized mass transit on at least some of the traffic clogged roads ... to make those road more accessible to those remaining ... I.e., you're assumptions are way false.

by Lance on Oct 6, 2010 10:57 pm • linkreport

@Lance - Yes, drivers pay for most of highways' costs through gas taxes, but driving is still highly subsidized, primarily through the heavy subsidization of the petroleum industry and auto manufacturers. Here are some examples.

The highways we have now required huge general fund outlays at the onset, as does any major component of public infrastructure.

Though I could afford one, I don't own a car by choice (and save a lot of money in the process). Do you suggest that those who choose not to drive, or cannot drive because of a disability or inability to afford a car, ought to accept a lower quality of life?

by Malcolm K. on Oct 6, 2010 11:21 pm • linkreport

Just so you all don't get a mistaken impression of how "privileged" I am: I make less than $25,000 a year at an entry-level nonprofit job. I am privileged in the sense that my family (my parents and grandparents are by no means rich) helps me out with my expenses, without which I would struggle to afford life in DC.

In addition, you have a significant amount of social capital, which gave you the opportunity to do that in the first place. And you can certainly make it on that amount in this city (especially living in a group house, which you certainly probably do) if you're thoughtful and careful. Many people do it here on far less.

by AA on Oct 7, 2010 12:34 am • linkreport

@Malcom Do you suggest that those who choose not to drive, or cannot drive because of a disability or inability to afford a car, ought to accept a lower quality of life?

We all make choices in life. I wouldn't call it a lower quality of life. I mean if that is what you want, how could it be lower quality of life. For you it is obviously higher quality of life. No one can (or should) tell you how to spend your money.

by Lance on Oct 7, 2010 1:43 am • linkreport

"[B]ut [the crowd] erupted in applause when [Gray] said that people shouldn't wake up to find parking spaces on their street replaced by a bike lane without prior knowledge."

Would Gray say that people shouldn't wake up one morning to find increased motorists and automobiles making their city's at best unevenly walkable, bikeable, transit-oriented streets more inefficient and dangerous without prior knowledge--and that such walkable, bikeable, transit-oriented streets are the way toward greater social justice?

I hold out hope that he would--that perhaps he has--and that the above quote was really just pandering, for which the Mayor-Elect can be forgiven.

We'll see.

by Tony on Oct 7, 2010 7:15 am • linkreport

When you inherit a $175M deficit, you need to cut and put off capital expenses. It doesn't mean you don't support a particular program, it means you're governing within your means. If people really want a particular program, people should advocate for higher taxes. Or articulate why some other program should be cut instead.

by crin on Oct 7, 2010 8:07 am • linkreport

@Lance:

It frustrates me so when I hear/read people with a very limited/priviledged lifestyle saying 'just give us bike lanes and better transit within the city ... and everything will be okay'. It kinda of makes me ashamed to be a Democrat when I hear such myopic views thrown out. People who'd rather spend billions on a transit system for the priviledged than the limited funds it takes to provide a good road infrastructure that everyone can use to get anywhere and at a choice of costs (CIVIC? Mercedes?) that is appropriate to them.

Ladies and Gentlemen! Your Committee of 100 at work!

by oboe on Oct 7, 2010 9:19 am • linkreport

We had this discussion on this blog several months ago. It was proved ... and accepted ... that what we spend on roads is almost entirely paid for by their users with only minimal subsidization occuring only during the recent past...

Lance with Passive Tense, FTW!

Actually, if *my* memory serves me correctly we had this discussion, and it was proved proved--and unless I'm completely misremembering, you were in complete agreement--that "user fees" are not nearly enough to pay for what we spend on roads (especially of the local surface roads in question).

Ha ha ha! Jesus, Lance, sometimes you really are too much!

by oboe on Oct 7, 2010 9:28 am • linkreport

Yeah, Lance, your memory is seriously foggy if you think that "it was proved" that what we spend on roads in total is almost entirely covered by user fees. It doesn't even come close. Try 60%.

I also love how you spin public transportation as something for the "privileged" like it's some kind of rich-people plaything. Of course you don't mention the fact that riding public transportation is actually cheaper than buying and operating a car.

Then you completely ignore the fact that this everyone drives utopia that you espouse is completely unsustainable in the long run - and I'm not just talking about environmentally unsustainable. We absolutely cannot build enough road capacity to avoid massive congestion if everyone drove in single-occupancy vehicles. I don't think it takes a rocket scientist to figure out that 40 people in a bus takes up less space than 40 people each driving their own car.

by MLD on Oct 7, 2010 10:06 am • linkreport

a good road infrastructure that everyone can use to get anywhere and at a choice of costs (CIVIC? Mercedes?) that is appropriate to them.

Seriously? Are we going to go down this road?

Car ownership is %##*ing expensive. Owning, fueling, maintaining, and insuring a car usually costs far more than it does to ride the bus and the rails, unless you're cramming your car full with 5 people on every single trip you make.

Also, if people lived in the city, near their jobs, schools, and basic shopping needs, most people could get by without a car (or with very minimal use of a car). This is why the suburbs will be doomed in the long-run,

by andrew on Oct 7, 2010 10:13 am • linkreport

JD Spunkmeyer: your Wilson Building sources appear not to understand the difference between capital and operational money. Putting off a capital project won't do a thing to close the FY budget gap.

by Adam Rubinson on Oct 7, 2010 10:20 am • linkreport

@Adam, while capital and operating budgets are separate, once the capital project is complete the costs of maintaining and operating it on an ongoing basis are part of the operating budget. In the case of streetcars, these costs are quite substantial.

by Phil on Oct 7, 2010 10:44 am • linkreport

Lance, I mean this sincerely when I tell you to get the hell out of the city so you can stop wasting your time and everyone else's. You drone on and on about how you want everyone to drive everywhere and then act as a NIMBY troll glorifying the ability of anyone and everyone to shut down any business on a block they don't approve of. Stop contributing here. If you want to drive everywhere and don't want commercial establishments near you, then you should move to Germantown.

As for Gray, he was elected to make sure that no city employees lose their jobs. The stuff about supporting good transit policies was just to make sure he didn't scare off too many pro-infrastructure/quality-of-life voters in the primary. That was all to tell people what they wanted to hear. The city is going to head back to a minimal infrastructure kind of city.

by Tyro on Oct 7, 2010 11:53 am • linkreport

@Tyro,

"Gray was elected to make sure that no city employees lose their jobs." Where exactly did you get that idea from and how does his election signal a return to whatever? The city will continue to do what is has done since I moved here 10 years ago - grow. If you are one of those who thinks Fenty's loss signals the death and destruction of the nation's capital, please just move to the 'burbs.

I support transit initiatives and use it daily but I'm not fully digesting how this benefits those of us "across the river." Access to transit is not our issue. Save for a select few, I don't see how bike lanes will benefit us either.

But I also like cars, trucks to be exact with a preference for the larger ones - more muscle.

by HogWash on Oct 7, 2010 12:35 pm • linkreport

Tyro wrote:
Lance, I mean this sincerely when I tell you to get the hell out of the city...

HogWash wrote:

If you are one of those who thinks Fenty's loss signals the death and destruction of the nation's capital, please just move to the 'burbs.

If you can't tolerate and accept different opinions, you need to move to the suburbs.

And before you respond calling me a hypocrite, save it--I'm packing the last of my belongings onto the truck as we speak.

by oboe on Oct 7, 2010 1:15 pm • linkreport

Hogwash and oboe, I think it was clear that I was pointing out that Lance's preferred lifestyle is essentially incompatible with city life. He has a set of policy and lifestyle preferences that the suburbs were designed to accommodate. So it would be nice if he'd stick to that rather than try to advocate that DC turn into the sleepy, car-based suburb of his choice.

Access to transit is not our issue

Um, it should be everyone's issue. Especially for those who lack the resources to pour thousands of dollars into a car. But ultimately this issue was not why Gray was elected: if anything he was elected because of resentment about transit and infrastructure initiatives being favored over boosting up the city payroll in the wake of the recession, so ultimately I find the pro-transit/smart-growth GGW crowd who gets captivated by Gray to be people who just like someone who tells them what they want to hear.

by Tyro on Oct 7, 2010 1:30 pm • linkreport

Lance: I do not agree with the statement that car owners pay for their use of the roads except for the limited qualification that roads are payed for by everyone and most people have cars. Road use is heavily subsidized from general revenues.

by SJE on Oct 7, 2010 2:14 pm • linkreport

@Oboe,

Tolerating and accepting a different opinion is not an issue that I have. What I do not tolerate or appreicate is someone presenting their own emotionally charged, irrational opinions as a substitute for the truth or even a intellectual argument for that matter. Birthers have the opinion that Obama wasn't born in Kenya. Some also have the opinion that he is a socialist witchdoctor.

These too are opinions and if those imbeciles think this about our country then they are free to move out of the US.

@Tyro
"Access to transit is not our issue"

"Um, it should be everyone's issue."

Uhm, well it's not. Nor was healthcare everyone's issue when many americans were out of work, poorer, feeling dejected etc. than they have in quite some time now.

I imagine that you won't find an area in the US, hard hit by this economy, that envisions "smart growth" as an answer to their problems. So no, that's not why Gray was elected nor why Fenty was ousted. You can continue to convince yourself that a vote for Gray was a vote for the "old days" (coded languange) or against transit improvements if you like. That's your opinion.

Glen Beck's opinion was that Obama hates white people.

by HogWash on Oct 7, 2010 2:15 pm • linkreport

@ HogWash:
Tolerating and accepting a different opinion is not an issue that I have.

These too are opinions and if those imbeciles think this about our country then they are free to move out of the US.

You have a funny definition of "tolerating and accepting".

by jcm on Oct 7, 2010 2:28 pm • linkreport

Sheesh, now I wish I'd used the implied tags.

@jcm, you need to move to the burbs if you're going to be all precise with language like that.

by oboe on Oct 7, 2010 2:35 pm • linkreport

grr... "[snark]" tags, that is.

by oboe on Oct 7, 2010 2:36 pm • linkreport

Anyone who travels in DC via any mode of transportation and does not consider transit "their issue" is hiding their head in the sand or just engaging in juvenile lashing out against a mayor who decided to make it a priority. But the fact that you point this out is really telling: Gray was elected to "stop paying attention to transit and smart development issues," so statements from Gray that these issues are still on his plate are just soothing words at best and disingenuous at worst.

by Tyro on Oct 7, 2010 2:38 pm • linkreport

@HogWash....I imagine that you won't find an area in the US, hard hit by this economy, that envisions "smart growth" as an answer to their problems.

yeah, like the person who can't accept a job b/c their car is broken down and there is no other way to get there.... those people couldn't benefit from a bus at all...

Public transportation: Its a facet of "smart growth"

by Tina on Oct 7, 2010 3:11 pm • linkreport

Anyone who travels in DC via any mode of transportation and does not consider transit "their issue" is hiding their head in the sand or just engaging in juvenile lashing out against a mayor who decided to make it a priority.

So because you think everyone should be concernec about transit issues, everyone should to and if they're not, they're somehow neglectful or anti-transit? Isn't this the same crap floated around by the anti-Gray crowd, that a vote for Gray was a vote against education reform?

Face it, transit growth, like global warming, is not an issue that most americans seem to care about. I know it upset people like you but no, most americans just don't care. They are too many other things going on in our lives.

"yeah, like the person who can't accept a job b/c their car is broken down and there is no other way to get there.... those people couldn't benefit from a bus at all..."

Um, did I say that no one can benefit from public transportation or that considering many americans current station in life, most do not see "transit" as the "answer" to their problems. Moreover, since we're talking about DC here, access to a bus isn't really a problem. Having the money needed to board one is and if the choice is between the two, having money wins each and every time.

by HogWash on Oct 7, 2010 4:22 pm • linkreport

The thing that confuses me about the comments are that they seem to be focused on America as a whole, when in fact the initial article was about DC. Smart growth might not work in Kansas where they are losing population and thus can't really worry about any type of growth. But the fact of the matter is that in DC we have a densely populated area that is becoming more dense and we also have road congestion and we can discuss public transportation. It doesn't even really matter what the suburbs are doing because that is not Gray's jurisdiction. He needs to focus on the residents of DC, and that includes options for moving them around within the city.

While some people may love there cars, if everyone in DC owned a car, and drove solo everywhere, none of us would be able to get anywhere. Also, at some point, no matter how often you drive, you need to get out of your car and walk to the store, work, restaurant you were heading to, and thus even if you are extremely focused on your vehicle, pedestrian safety is an issue for you to. Thus public transportation of all kinds needs to be a part of the discussion when you are talking about DC.

Final two points:
If we gave everyone cars to work in the suburbs wouldn't that take away DC's tax base because those people would then go live in the suburbs, or at least would be more likely to do their errands in the suburbs?
Also, as far as creating jobs, wouldn't projects like building the streetcars create construction jobs? And those jobs would not overload the DC payroll, and would end after a few years at which time hopefully the economy would pick up? To me jobs created by building infrastructure would be more beneficial in the long run to DC than more jobs on the payroll, though please feel free to correct me if I am wrong about this.

Sorry for the exceptionally long post, lots of thoughts on this topic.

by Ashley on Oct 7, 2010 11:21 pm • linkreport

Thank you, Ashley. I was just about to follow up with HogWash to explain to him that we're not talking about "Americans" in general, we are talking about DC in particular: congested DC where not everyone has a car and where not everyone should have a car. We're going to regret it in the future if we don't keep DC "up to code." Without that, what happens is that when people get jobs, they're just going to leave DC for the suburbs because, honestly, who wants to live in a crumbling, pre-modern city if you have enough money to avoid it?

by Tyro on Oct 7, 2010 11:44 pm • linkreport

My point has been to push back on the notion that those "across the river" here in DC "should" be concerned about transit issues and to explain why it is not a pressing issue in our minds. I used america as a backdrop to show how not just here in DC but across the country, those who are hit hard by the economy (and other issues within their communities) will likely never see transit as pressing issue, whether it's a good thing or not.

You can not and will not be able to push your vision of smart growth onto a person or group, especially in DC when as I mentioned, access to a bus line isn't a problem.

by HogWash on Oct 8, 2010 12:39 pm • linkreport

@Hogwash - Um, did I say that no one can benefit from public transportation or that considering many americans current station in life,

You implied it with this:I imagine that you won't find an area in the US, hard hit by this economy, that envisions "smart growth" as an answer to their problems.

I repeat: public transportation is an inextricable facet of 'smart growth' (which you keep using as if its a pejorative)

Moreover, since we're talking about DC here, access to a bus isn't really a problem.

You're the one who brought up other area(s) in the US, hard hit by this economy. I responded to what you wrote.

Regarding the importance of busses for getting to jobs Having the money needed to board one... is intertwined to being employed, isn't it? Sure having a job you can get to by bus isn't the "answer" to [all] their problems. But it does solve the problem of being able to accept a job that you can't walk or bike to if you don't have a car. See National Harbor.

by Tina on Oct 8, 2010 12:56 pm • linkreport

Face it, transit growth, like global warming, is not an issue that most americans seem to care about. I know it upset people like you but no, most americans just don't care. They are too many other things going on in our lives.

Not sure this is the best example if you're arguing that folks *should* ignore this stuff. Obviously, I agree with you, most people do. That's because most folks are incredibly short-sighted, and choose to remain willfully ignorant of what's in their long-term interests. We delegate to our elected officials, and to our various media outlets to "raise the red flag" on issues like that. And they've failed us.

99% of the folks who've made it their life's work to study this stuff believe we're in grave danger. And no one gives a shit because Dancing With the Stars is On, and John Boehner says there's nothing to worry about.

But, yeah, that's upsetting to "people like you". Great stuff.

by oboe on Oct 8, 2010 1:17 pm • linkreport

"Although every man believes that his decisions and resolutions involve the most multifarious factors, in reality they are mere oscillation between flight and longing." --- Herman Broch

by Lawson Wellington on Oct 8, 2010 1:20 pm • linkreport

@Tina, do you care to talk about what I said in full or are you content with cutting in pasting in order to make your point full. Please keep in mind that I am responding to several posters in my comments so it's quite easy for things to get lost in translation.

If you followed, I clearly stated that most americans do not see smart growth as the answer to their problems. You do not have to like it. But I would guess that is how most americans, including those of us in DC, feel. I clarified what I meant by introducing the rest of the US in my comments so I'm not particularly sure why you revisited it or what you don't understand.

The National Harbor is in Maryland. Not sure your point about that either.

@Oboe, did you read anything from me suggesting that people "shouldn't" care? Whether people are short-sighted, reality-tv fans, ignorant or the like, they just don't care as much as you do. I understand that may get under your skin but dude, get over it.

Vegeterians don't eat meat. It does not mean that they need to insult "those people" who seem to not know what's in their best interest (banning food from their diet). The way you feel does not determine how anyone else should.

Maybe it's the mindset of many who post here. But welcome to the rest of america - at least the view from my room.

by HogWash on Oct 8, 2010 2:00 pm • linkreport

Lance, do you work at Heritage?

This white paper reads like the same nonsense you espouse.

http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2010/10/The-Lieberman-Kerry-Cap-and-Trade-Bill-Making-Housing-Less-Affordable

by Princess Vespa on Oct 8, 2010 2:22 pm • linkreport

@hogwash If you followed, I clearly stated that most americans do not see smart growth as the answer to their problems. You do not have to like it.

And if you followed, I clearly stated that having access to a bus is intergral to the definition of smart growth. You do not have to like it.

I clarified what I meant by introducing the rest of the US in my comments so I'm not particularly sure why you revisited it

Because YOU specifically ASKED ME! Once again, I simply responded to you.

...I'm not sure what you don't understand
I understand loud and clear this expression of superiority and ridicule on your part.

The National Harbor is in Maryland. Not sure your point about that either.

To the greater point that transit is important to those seeking jobs who can't get there any other way. You think no one who lives in DC works in MD?

...are you content with cutting in pasting in order to make your point full.

Its a method for responding directly to exactly what you wrote. In other words, a direct way to respond to what I[you] said in full

welcome to the rest of america - at least the view from my room.

You mean your expressed sense of superiority? Those aren't the Americans I know. You don't represent anyone but yourself. Get over it dude.

by Tina on Oct 8, 2010 2:47 pm • linkreport

Gray's decision to slam bike lanes like that doesn't give me much confidence in his ability to continue urbanist policies. If the space is available for a bike lane, it should be built. I can't imagine a situation where a parking space would have to be removed.

by Anonymous on Oct 8, 2010 2:56 pm • linkreport

You mean your expressed sense of superiority? Those aren't the Americans I know. You don't represent anyone but yourself. Get over it dude.

Let me get this straight. I'm responding to several posters apparent belief that EVERYONE should be concerned about smart growth by pointing out that even outside of dc, most americans are not, especially those who are at an economic disadvantage. I go further to say that whether they should be concerned or not - this does not top their list. I use global warming as an example of people's indifference.

Out of that you gathered that I think I'm superior to everyone else? When I've simply posted my opinions as to why this doesn't register with most people?

I'm new here and this has been a very strange exchange.

by HogWash on Oct 8, 2010 5:23 pm • linkreport

@hogwash - reread my comments. I did not once say anything like "everyone should be concerned with smart growth". I pointed out the weakness of your logic in disconnecting the traditional definition of smart growth from access to public transportation. The two cannot be disconnected.

I find your responses such as "...not sure what you don't understand", and "get over yourself dude", and "you don't have to like it", combined with your asserting that you represent any persons opinion besides your own (you speak for everyone across the country?) disrespectful, dismissive, arrogant and as if you think you and your opinions are superior. Maybe you aren't accustomed to having your logic challenged and that makes you think the exchange is "strange".

by Tina on Oct 19, 2010 10:32 am • linkreport

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