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


Breakfast links: Governors versus transit

Photo by Chris Campbell on Flickr.
Purple Line money's there, just not there: When Maryland gubernatorial candidate Bob Ehrlich says "the dollars aren't there" for the Purple Line, what he really means is that he doesn't want the money to be there. Erlich aides said halting the project along with Baltimore's Red Line would save money that could instead be spent on roads. (Post, ACT)

Christie cancels ARC, again: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has re-canceled the ARC tunnel for good, citing cost overruns. (WNYC) ... Senator Frank Lautenberg blasts the decision, and Friends of the Earth observes that Christie had no problem saddling the state with debt for NJ Turnpike improvements. Yonah Freemark says it's time to consider what else will improve transit in New Jersey and the NEC.

Another near miss on Metro uncovered: In September, WMATA track inspectors experienced a "near-miss" on the tracks south of National Airport. Workers reported the incident and Metro is blaming a communication breakdown. (WTOP)

Where will Ward 8 go?: When the 2010 Census numbers roll in, DC will redraw ward boundaries, and Ward 8 will have to get larger. Marion Barry may seek to add the Southwest Waterfront to his ward. (City Paper, Eric Fidler)

What to do with Bruce Monroe?: The former site of Bruce Monroe Elementary School continues to spark controversy over whether to restore a school at the site and more. Construction on a new school, if the site gets one, likely won't start until 2018. (DCist)

How to make ANCs lean less anti: Matt Yglesias suggests giving ANCs a stake in retail success in their areas. That might remove the incentives to just oppose or to hold up support for new cafes to squeeze out financial or other benefits.

Old Town Alexandria meters get cheaper: The Alexandria City Council voted to lower the parking rate at Old Town meters by 50 cents, ostensibly to make payment easier, until new multi-space meters can be installed. (

Use a car tire to inflate a bike tire: Lifehacker provides instructions on how to jimmy a hose that will take air pressure from a car tire and reroute to a bike tire. This tip can be used for good or evil. A lively discussion ensues of the ethics of air theft.

And...: Anti-terrorist plate scanners found the Jeep belonging to a murdered professor. (Jalopnik, charlie) ... Someone in New York has posted their own service announcements on the G train. (Oddly Specific, Gavin) ... 14th Street will get another new condo building, but it will at least incorporate the abandoned historic building on the block. (DCmud)

Have a tip for the links? Submit it here.
Erik Weber has been living car-free in the District since 2009. Hailing from the home of the nation's first Urban Growth Boundary, Erik has been interested in transit since spending summers in Germany as a kid where he rode as many buses, trains and streetcars as he could find. Views expressed here are Erik's alone. 


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Unless you run your bike tires at really low pressures, you're going to need some sort of pressure booster (like a mechanical device with two pistons of different sizes) to use car tire pressure to inflate bike tires.

My car uses 34 psig, my bike uses 85 psig. At 34 psig, my bike tires are nearly flat.

by Michael Perkins on Oct 28, 2010 9:32 am • linkreport

RE: The 14th Street condo project
It's a little unfair to refer to the historic building being incorporated into the development as 'abandoned'. It is vacant but that is a result of the redvelopement project. Previously it was home to the Whitman Walker Clinic, which sold the building and vacated voluntarily. The site has remained vacant as the developers have worked their way through the permitting and financing process, but that is not the same as 'abandoned'.

by ZZinDC on Oct 28, 2010 9:34 am • linkreport

A correction: Alexandria city council didn't actually vote to reduce Old Town meter rates. What they did is put it on the docket so that the required public hearing on the change can take place. The plan is to hold the hearing, then have the actual vote on November 13.

by Froggie on Oct 28, 2010 9:35 am • linkreport

@Michael Perkins

I was about to say the same thing - somebody doesn't understand physics.

by MLD on Oct 28, 2010 9:54 am • linkreport

Oh how I don't want Marion Barry to my council member (partially since I really like Tommy Wells). It would, however, give me a chance to vote against Barry, so there is that.

The article also suggests the redistricting could go the other way. It's possible that Ward 6 could take over historic Anacostia, which is an intriguing thought.

by Steven Yates on Oct 28, 2010 10:04 am • linkreport

@Purple Line

Erlich knows that now is the best time to build the Purple Line, he is just hopeing that people from the rest of the state will vote aginst O'Malley becasue of they do not want money spend on PG and MoCo.

Whats also great about building now is not only that it will be cheep, but it will create jobs (in theory anyway, more likly is it will keep jobs that are currently part of the ICC). Something we can use aginst the NIMBY's when they try and fight the purple line.

by Matt R on Oct 28, 2010 10:21 am • linkreport

More of a question is what happens to wards 1 & 2? They have grown the fastest (or at least they've had to add electoral precincts) and they share a boundary. Every census count since home rule, the boundaries had to be redrawn to reflect a shrinking population: dealing with growth in the city's wards could throw a big curve ball.

by Adam L on Oct 28, 2010 10:25 am • linkreport

Historic Anacostia was in Ward 6 until the 2000 Census, after which ward boundaries generally shifted west.

by rg on Oct 28, 2010 10:57 am • linkreport

@MLD: but did you design such a pressure booster on a napkin while you were thinking about it?

Funny, the pressure booster device I designed looks almost like a foot pump, except it uses the car tire pressure instead of your foot.

by Michael Perkins on Oct 28, 2010 11:00 am • linkreport

Matt R, the Purple Line is also twinned with the Baltimore Red Line. Mr. Ehrlich also opposes that project. It has a similar dynamic with broad support, connecting many activity centers and residential places. It also has wide support in the Baltimore region.

He's trying to throw red meat to his base, that's all.

by Cavan on Oct 28, 2010 11:01 am • linkreport

I'm genuinely intrigued by Barry's motives here. Including the Southwest Waterfront as part of Ward 8 would be generally good for the ward (albeit perhaps a minor negative for the waterfront itself).

However, it would almost certainly be a bad thing for Marion Barry's future prospects as a politician. (Election results might remain unaffected, but he'd lose votes for certain). Despite my general distaste for the guy, he seemed to have a number of thoughtful things to say in that article.

Losing Historic Anacostia would be bad for Ward 8, but could help that neighborhood to develop. I'm guessing it'll be the next trendy neighborhood in about 10 years time, especially once the streetcars start running across the river.

by andrew on Oct 28, 2010 11:06 am • linkreport

Yglesias jumps the shark again. Give the ANCs another slush fund to play with? Sounds like a winner to me.

by Paul on Oct 28, 2010 12:12 pm • linkreport

Best option for Anacostia is being put into Ward 6. Worst option for SW Waterfront is going into Ward 8. Consider which councilmember has done more for his ward. Which would you prefer representing you? I've criticized Tommy Tax Wells repeatedly for some of his dumb ideas. But as dumb as some of his ideas are, at least he's actually thinking of how to improve his ward. Marion Tax Cheat Barry thinks mainly of how he can claim more victories for his constituents without actually doing anything.

And Matt Yglesias' proposal is just plain dumb. Giving ANCs a pot of sales tax money to do with what they please? In addition to the thousands of dollars they get every year to spend - with minimal accounting standards enforcement? That's a recipe for disaster as the ANCs would have more money to hire attorneys and "experts" to stymie any neighborhood changes, as well as more money for "work expenses."

by Fritz on Oct 28, 2010 12:45 pm • linkreport

I agree with Fritz's fear of the waste that most ANC's would produce if given money. Too many of them already treat their budget as a personal resource. But what Yglesias describes is actually not so different than a BID, just with democratic representation. Wouldn't it make more sense just to make the BIDs more democratic by giving the ANC some say in the way the BID spends it's money? If not the ANC, maybe make some BID positions elected positions? By keeping it within the structure of the BID, I think you'll have more oversight, while at the same time allowing the ANC to experience the benefits of increased business revenues.

by Reid on Oct 28, 2010 2:24 pm • linkreport

Purple Line

I regularly enjoy the treasure that is the 3 mile stretch the Georgetown Branch of the Capital Crescent Trail, as a runner, biker and dog walker. I find it offensive and very upsetting that everyone so callously disregards this treasure.

I am not against the Purple Line. But, I know we donÂ’t need to permanently destroy 20 precious acres inside the beltway to build it. Once those 20 acres of trees, wildlife habitat and protected watershed are gone, we will NEVER get it back. These 20 acres of nature is scheduled under the current plan to be bulldozed to create the Purple Line between Silver Spring and Bethesda.

The Trail is for everyone – thousands enjoy it every week that are not homeowners on the trail. By dismissing the opposition to the current plan by labeling them NIMBY’s makes it easy to promote a light rail system that could be done more safely, and environmentally and economically sound. This isn’t 1985 anymore - we know better and we deserve better.

Also, I donÂ’t think $2 billion in capital costs plus the subsequent endless subsidizing of 70% of operating and maintenance costs is cheap. If weÂ’re going to spend that kind of money, we deserve better.

Who will benefit? One clear winner and one of most ardent financial backers of this Purple Line push would be the developer who is planning a new Friendship Heights on Connecticut Avenue inside the Beltway. Imagine how much more traffic that will cause.

We need to push for a real transportation solution – one whose purpose is to reduce traffic. Ask Mike Madden, the Purple Line project manager, “Is the Purple Line designed to reduce traffic?” He will respond “No, that’s not what it’s designed to do.”

Once OÂ’Malley is relieved of his political game face, please letÂ’s let him know, we know better and we deserve better than the Purple Line as it is planned today.

The Washington DC area is great. But it could be greater with a better Purple Line, one that doesn't destroy the treasure that is the Capital Crescent Trail.

by Demand Efficient Transportation on Oct 28, 2010 8:32 pm • linkreport

Sorry, but I need to correct the misinformation that 10 years ago the challenge with redistricting was dealing with declining population. I was involved in this then (on a Ward 2 ANC restricting committee), and the problem was exactly the opposite one. For the first time in many decades some parts of the city (ie Wards 1 and 2) had started to gain population. That is the same trend which has continued this past decade. The challenge will be the same one as last time... How to shed parts of these two warrs without losing core constuents who either donate time or money WHILE AT THE SAME TIME transferring political rivals and 'pains in the rear' constituents across a Ward boundary. The CMs will horse trade up until the last minute .

by Lance on Oct 29, 2010 12:08 am • linkreport

Is the purple and red line money really available for other uses or is this like the federal money for the Hudson River tunnel that Gov. Christie of New Jersey will lose if he reprograms NJ's portion of that rail project?

by Jacob on Oct 29, 2010 8:25 am • linkreport

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