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We could have killed 29,000 fewer people: A study estimates that the U.S. could have saved 29,000 lives if it had followed the same aggressive road safety measures as France, Great Britain, and Australia. That would require more extensive traffic cameras, tougher blood-alcohol maximums, sobriety checkpoints, and motorcycle helmet laws, all of which face political obstacles. (Post)

Mall to get flood levee: FEMA will build an emergency levee at 17th Street NW south of Constitution, to avoid adding a large swath of downtown DC to the 100-year flood plan. According to the map at least two Metro stations as well as the I-395 tunnel are within the hypothetical larger flood zone. (Post, Xavier)

Answers about CaBi: DDOT's Chris Holben answers questions about the operation and future of Capital Bikeshare. DDOT is looking to add 20 more stations in the spring, and Holben acknowledges that SmartBike will end in "in the next couple months," which means it may still be a while before seeing more downtown stations. (SmartPlanet)

Arlington approves TJ's: The Arlington County Board approved site plan amendments which will bring a Trader Joe's to downtown Clarendon. (ARLnow, @perkinsms)

Megabus expands service from DC: Discount motor coach Megabus plans to make DC its fifth travel hub, adding 10 new routes from the District starting next month. The company is seeking a new pick-up/drop-off space since the lot they currently use will close in March to make way for construction on the City Center project. (Post, Cavan)

Use it or lose it on HSR: Secretary LaHood has warned rail-wary incoming governors that USDOT will quickly reallocate foot-dragging states' high speed rail funding to other, more willing states. A Republican congressman introduced a bill to let states to return their money to the Fed to pay down the deficit. (BizTimes)

Feds buying EVs: The General Services Administration has a solicitation for 100 electric vehicles out and could make a selection before the end of December. Other agencies, including the Department of Energy, the USPS, and the TVA are buying EV infrastructure. (Federal Times, Gavin)

Baltimore Grand Prix goes green: The Labor Day Weekend auto race is developing a traffic management plan including the use of circulators and encouraging the use of mass transit to get to and from the event, though its unclear whether this will include any regional measures like weekend MARC service or other links from DC. (Steven Yates)

And...: In a new feature called The Curve, TBD will rate the performance of local governments on various policies. ... DCmud has declared the announcement of a full-service grocery at 3rd and H NE the tipping point for the until-now-ever-so-slowly gentrifying neighborhood. ... Verizon is seeking permission to stop publishing the white pages phone book. (Post, Eric Fidler)

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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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Just for context, that figure for more aggressive traffic laws -- otherwise known as full employment for fat cops -- come to 3000 deaths a year.

by charlie on Nov 17, 2010 8:49 am • linkreport

Megabus' claims that it stops in Baltimore is misleading. I'm not familiar with this area, but I'm fairly certain that a huge mall in White Marsh is not Baltimore. Can you even get to downtown Baltimore from White Marsh stop via mass transit?

by Jess on Nov 17, 2010 9:00 am • linkreport

The legal blood alcohol level in MD is .07 for a DWI. I don't know why everyone is stuck on the .08 number.

K

by Kaleel on Nov 17, 2010 9:05 am • linkreport

@ Jess

Yes there are local and express buses that go from White Marsh to downtown Baltimore.

I mean I guess you can still count White Marsh as Baltimore, even though its in Baltimore County.......

by Johnny Cocker on Nov 17, 2010 9:08 am • linkreport

Downtown Clarendon? Really? Can a neighborhood have a downtown?

by Chris S on Nov 17, 2010 9:14 am • linkreport

That levee on 17th Street and Constitution Avenue is going to be incredibly ugly, tall, and ruining the vistas of the Mall around the Wash Monument and WWII Memorial.

by Fritz on Nov 17, 2010 9:46 am • linkreport

@ Fritz: ruining the vistas

Yeah, but this one's for safety, and then it's allowed. Obviously, streetcars are the devil's incarnate, and accompanying powerlines destroy vistas are way worse.

BTW: What about the vista of a flooded downtown DC. Should we not protect that rare sight?

by Jasper on Nov 17, 2010 9:54 am • linkreport

Fritz, did you see the rendering on the WaPo article. I would hardly say that ruins the vista. The wall is 8 foot tall at it's highest point. So unless you're right up next to it, it won't ruin your view of anything.

by David C on Nov 17, 2010 10:13 am • linkreport

Well, y'all wanted something to fill up all that ugly empty space in front of the Washington Monument. Now you'll have a fence. In reality, it doesn't seem like a big deal, but it does have the certain reek of Army Corps of Engineers busy work.

by aaa on Nov 17, 2010 10:16 am • linkreport

The wall be being developed by the same Landscape Architecture company, The Olin Studio, that did the Washington Monument, you don't see the 3.5 wall that surrounds that do you?

by Doug Davies on Nov 17, 2010 10:17 am • linkreport

The larger flood zone is not hypothetical, it exists now. FEMA updated the District's flood map which became effective in September. This map now includes the portions of downtown and Southwest that will be protected by the Levee. Affected private property owners in SW now have to buy flood insurance until the Levee is completed. The feds are self-insured. Once the Levee is finished FEMA has to certify it and update and reissue the flood map. The areas downtown and SW protected by the Levee will then come off the map.

by Moni on Nov 17, 2010 10:43 am • linkreport

That Baltimore Grand Prix green press release touting people arriving by mass transit is kind of ironic, since they'll be shutting down or at least severely disrupting the light rail line the weekend of the race. The race's route actually passes over the light rail tracks at some point, and they're experimenting with some kind of cover over the tracks that won't blow off when cars going 200 mph pass over it. The best case scenario for light rail transit over the race weekend is that trains come both from the north and the south, get to downtown, and turn around and go back, but since there isn't any full-fledged yard south of downtown I'm not sure how many trains they can have down there.

As for White Marsh Megabus location, it's a quite exurban location, and it's not particularly well served by transit. There are a couple of local buses that run between there are downtown, but it's a long and circuitous route. I believe there might be some faster rush-hour commuter bus service as well. At least at one point Megabus was also stopping at the Cherry Hill Light Rail station, which is in kind of a dodgy neighborhood but conveninet to light rail (if not much else transit). Honestly, I think most people who are taking transit to the bus in Baltimore would be using BoltBus, which stops at the much more centrally located Penn Station.

by jfruh on Nov 17, 2010 10:44 am • linkreport

@David C: An 8-foot wall crossing 17th Street isn't going to be seen? What sort of Jedi mind tricks will make that happen? That rendering in the Wash Post is utter b.s. -- of course the designers are going to make it look as unintrusive as possible. You can barely make out the image of a person who's standing next to the wall and is dwarfed by it.

I'm not saying protection of downtown DC from the 100-year flood isn't necessary. But I'm shocked at how little attention - and especially how little visualization of the project - has been given by the media to what this will look like. Given how much extensive discussion streetcar wires and buildings near the Mall gets, I would have expected at least as much for this project.

by Fritz on Nov 17, 2010 10:48 am • linkreport

The wall only crosses 17th street when flooding is imminent. It's only 8 foot at the ends. On average it is less than that height.

While the wall will be seen it will rarely, if ever, obstruct anyone's view of anything. And, since letting DC flood is not an option you prefer, what alternative do you suggest?

by David C on Nov 17, 2010 10:52 am • linkreport

Call it the "George W Bush memorial to the victims of Hurricane Katrina." Seems like a fitting tribute to that complete FEMA failure.

I can't even imagine how hideous this thing is going to look. The renderings are totally bogus and don't actually show you what it would look like walking down 17th towards this thing.

by MLD on Nov 17, 2010 11:17 am • linkreport

if it had followed the same aggressive road safety measures as France, Great Britain, and Australia.

Socialism!

by Lush Rimbald on Nov 17, 2010 11:29 am • linkreport

Isn't the danger not so much from the Potomac -- sandbags would seem to work if the chokepoint is so narrow -- but from Tiber Creek?

by charlie on Nov 17, 2010 11:43 am • linkreport

FEMA didn't cause the levies to break. That was army corps of engineers. You can't imagine how hideous it will be, because it probably won't be.

by David C on Nov 17, 2010 11:52 am • linkreport

@jfruh: Excellent point, but I don't believe that you can take a Bolt bus from DC to Baltimore. I believe, from DC, NYC is Bolt Bus' only destination. I hope I'm wrong, though. It seems that Mega Bus's stops only serve those with cars who live in the 'burbs.

by Jess on Nov 17, 2010 12:07 pm • linkreport

@Jess -- While there isn't any direct DC-to-Balto Bolt Bus, I know the Bolt Bus I take from Baltimore to NYC originates at the Greenbelt Metro stop, and heads there after Baltimore on the return trip. So, it's out in the 'burbs, but at least you can take the Metro there.

Weirdly, I just checked BoltBus's Website and saw that you can't buy a Greenbelt-to-Baltimore ticket. Not sure why this would be.

by jfruh on Nov 17, 2010 12:18 pm • linkreport


I told myself in 2004 that I would never ride another “Greyhound” (or equivalent) bus line unless my city was undergoing a massive forced evacuation. $2 to go home and back tho? Might haft to rethink my policy……

by Illaim on Nov 17, 2010 12:23 pm • linkreport

@Illaim BoltBus and MegaBus are actually really, really nice. Comfortable seats and Wi-Fi. Not as nice or as fast as the train, and boarding can seem a little chaotic, especially in New York when you're just waiting on a busy sidewalk in Midtown, but it's much, much cheaper, even if you don't get one of those $2 fares.

by jfruh on Nov 17, 2010 12:27 pm • linkreport

After Megabus left me high and dry (and hot and sweaty) after making us wait 4 hours for our bus in the blazing heat and with no communication whatsoever, I have taken Bolt to NYC and have never looked back. I think Megabus has taken on far more than it can chew. I'm very skeptical of this new hub idea, but do recommend taking Bolt for trips to NYC. It's a little bit more $$, but the staff is far more pleasant, the seats are nicer and boarding is not the charlie foxtrot that Mega Bus' boarding is.

by Jess on Nov 17, 2010 12:46 pm • linkreport

Here is a direct link to the 17th St. Levee project.

http://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkID=427&projectID=22260&documentID=25382

by Doug Davies on Nov 17, 2010 12:58 pm • linkreport

I can't imagine the DC-to-TOR in 12 hours Megabus route is going to survive very long. They aren't even scheduling it for overnight either...

by Paul S on Nov 17, 2010 12:58 pm • linkreport

So Great Britain reduced its traffic fatalities by the second highest percentage of any country listed without lowering its BAC limit to .05 or lower, but we should lower ours further? I'd like to see some evidence that it would actually accomplish something before we start branding more people with DUIs that will follow them around for the rest of their lives, thanks.

by Nate on Nov 17, 2010 1:47 pm • linkreport

@David C: Have you actually seen the drawings NPS has put on its website? How on earth will no one's view of anything be obstructed?! There are only 2 images in the NPS slideshow that come close to showing what it will look like from someone standing nearby; all the other images are what it looks like from overhead or from a significant distance away.

I'm totally befuddled by how something this massive and at such a visually important location has gotten such minimal attention by preservationists.

by Fritz on Nov 17, 2010 2:24 pm • linkreport

@Fritz:
Well, they were going to use overhead wires as a less obtrusive method, but that was vetoed.

by Matt Johnson on Nov 17, 2010 2:27 pm • linkreport

Looking at these renderings there is one up-side: there's a least a little chance that the World War II memorial might be partially obscured.

It's been years, but I'm still holding my breath, fearing NPS will complete the memorial by installing a 500-foot-tall, shirtless Dwight Eisenhower holding a flaming sword and thrusting his chin in the direction of a Utopian Socialist future.

by oboe on Nov 17, 2010 2:39 pm • linkreport

I've taken megabus many, many times. Never had a complaint. I hope the new service works out for them, it seems risky to leave the eastern metropolis for more suburban (southern) ventures.

by JJJJJ on Nov 17, 2010 5:09 pm • linkreport

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