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Weekend links: Be thankful


Photo by BikePortland.org on Flickr.
DC becoming bike-friendlier: As Fenty prepares to leave office, he and his predecessor Anthony Williams can take credit for vastly improved bike facilities across the district that have led to significantly increased numbers of residents commuting by bike. In particular, the success of Capital Bikeshare has been "stunning." (Post, Joey)

A lot to be thankful for in DC neighborhoods: We Love DC explains why they love DC neighborhoods: festivals, proximity to action, restaurants, parks, and front porches. Social interaction is the common thread that ties them all together. (Eric Fidler)

Breakthroughs in 2010: Volvo's new pedestrian detection system, which can spot people 160 feet away and begin braking if the driver doesn't respond to an audible alert, and Arena Stage's new acoustically pure stage, were listed in Popular Science's Best of What's New in 2010.

Bike hit-and-run in Mt. Vernon Triangle: A man on a bicycle struck an elderly couple walking in an alley, injuring them both, the man critically. The Post acknowledges that Police are "seeking a bicyclist." Now if only they'd acknowledge that cars, too, don't drive themselves. (Joshua D.)

Gray's slow transition irks some: Vince Gray is taking his time making decisions about his transition into the Mayor's office, particularly in comparison to the current mayor. Some officials say this is a problem, others say it's just a manifestation of his different leadership style. (Post)

Full body scanners on the Metro?: DHS is looking at expanding the controversial full-body scanners to other modes of transportation, including transit, boats and more. Also, the TSA's head defended not telling the public about the scanners ahead of time since terrorists might have found out, but doesn't seem to realize they found out anyway once they went into effect. (The Hill)

BWI rail platforms reopen: After months of work, the northbound platform at the Thurgood Marshall BWI rail station reopened on Wednesday, marking the end of the major rebuilding and lengthening project. (Progressive Railroading)

Is there a subtext to parking debates?: Many people who complain about a lack of parking seem to be complaining about something else, either a lack of free parking or a lack of parking extremely close to their destinations. In downtown Roanoke, which has recently been subject to this debate, most parking is closer to main destinations than the parking lots at a regional mall are to the stores. (RIDE Solutions)

And...: Wired takes a look at the design elements that make the Bixi bike great for bike sharing. (Wired Magazine) ... Hertz launched a one-way car-sharing service in New York City that allows customers to pick up a car at the region's three airports and drop it off at downtown locations. Will Zipcar follow suit? (Transportation Nation) ... Sure they're locally-owned franchises, but why is it Columbia Heights' development non-profit can only attract and support national chains? (Housing Complex)

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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. 

Comments

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"Some officials say this is a problem, others say it's just a manifestation of his different leadership style."

Those are not mutually exclusive observations.

by TM on Nov 27, 2010 4:33 pm • linkreport

Some people are thinking he's deliberately delaying decisions that he knows will be unpopular with a significant number of people who voted for him.

by David desJardins on Nov 27, 2010 5:45 pm • linkreport

"A man on a bicycle struck an elderly couple walking in an alley, injuring them both, the man critically. The Post acknowledges that Police are "seeking a bicyclist." Now if only they'd acknowledge that cars, too, don't drive themselves."

Eric, an elderly man is in critical condition because some damned fool on a bicycle hit him and his partner and then fled the scene. And the only comment you have is some vapid observation about the Washington Post. You can do better, and can start by showing either maturity or compassion. Maybe even both.

by Mike Silverstein on Nov 27, 2010 7:53 pm • linkreport

So is it just me or is Jay's comment wildly inappropriate?

by David C on Nov 27, 2010 11:00 pm • linkreport

@David C:
Jay's comment has already been deleted.

by Matt Johnson on Nov 27, 2010 11:01 pm • linkreport

@Mike: My comment was in no way intended to make light of a very serious situation. Quite the opposite, I'm very glad to see that the Post is willing to recognize the culpability of an individual who was steering a vehicle, and only wish they would do the same with individuals steering significantly larger, more deadly vehicles.

by Erik Weber on Nov 27, 2010 11:20 pm • linkreport

@Erik, Mike is right . And your standing by your earlier flippant and childish statement just shows you really don't get it. What part of 'critically injured' don't you get as you flippant and childishly try to continue to paint the irresponsible operation of a bicycle as 'benign' and not in dire need of being addressed?

by Lance on Nov 28, 2010 2:00 am • linkreport

you flippant and childishly try to continue to paint the irresponsible operation of a bicycle as 'benign' and not in dire need of being addressed?

This is a lie. Erik never said any such thing. It is grossly dishonest to put the word 'benign' in quotes, as if you are referring to what he said, when in fact he said no such thing.

by David desJardins on Nov 28, 2010 5:02 am • linkreport

@David d, Single quotes denote emphasis. Double quotes mean verbatim quoting. I'm constantly amazed at how some of the folks on here who think they know what is best for the rest of us - like their heros Fenty, Klein, and Training - don't know simple and basic stuff ... like this.

by Lance on Nov 28, 2010 8:10 am • linkreport

*Tregoning

by Lance on Nov 28, 2010 8:12 am • linkreport

From Wikipedia:

Irony
Main article: Scare quotes
Another common use of quotation marks is to indicate or call attention to ironic or apologetic words:
He shared his "wisdom" with me.The lunch lady plopped a glob of "food" onto my tray.The person used "intellect" to speak.To avoid the potential for confusion between ironic quotes and direct quotations, some style guides specify single quotation marks for this usage, and double quotation marks for verbatim speech. Quotes indicating irony, or other special use, are sometimes called scare, sneer, shock, distance, or horror quotes. They are sometimes gestured in oral speech using air quotes.

by Lance on Nov 28, 2010 8:29 am • linkreport

Eric, I agree that the Post has a hard time differentiating between cars and drivers.

But, more to the point of this incident, bikers in the Washington area (certainly not all of them) have a hard time respecting pedestrians. In fact, if I was going to overgeneralize, bikers treat pedestrians here the way drivers treat bikers.

I say here, as I just spent a week in London. It had been nearly ten years since I was last there, and I was impressed with the explosion of bike riders and bike infrastructure. I was also impressed with how often bicyclists and auto drivers routinely stopped for pedestrians.

This incident is a tragic reminder that this is not the case in Washington. That's a far more important and immediate issue than GGW's (quite legitimate) beef with the Post and other major media outlets persistent refusal to acknowledge cars don't drive themselves.

by TimK on Nov 28, 2010 9:56 am • linkreport

I might not know a lot of 'simple and basic stuff,' but I do know that the Washington Post article about bicycling taking off in the District and the popularity of DDOT's bicycle policies must have driven the "real stakeholders" nuts. After all ,if people keep giving up their cars, we are really going to have some serious motor vehicle congestion in this city! (I apologize if I used quotation marks incorrectly in this comment. But, if everyone were as the "real stakeholders," how would they gauge their brilliance?)

by rg on Nov 28, 2010 10:41 am • linkreport

@Lance

So do the single quotes indicate emphasis, or do they indicate irony? Which one? When you say:

What part of 'critically injured' don't you get as you flippant and childishly try to continue to paint the irresponsible operation of a bicycle as 'benign' and not in dire need of being addressed?
are you using the phrase "critically injured" in an ironical way?

In formal English, we do not use single quotes for emphasis. Those would be "Grocer's Quotes," and the usage is wrong. It's not supported by the MLA, Chicago, or APA. What style guide is it in, then? The house style guide for the American Association for the Gross Misuse of Punctuation Marks?

The Chicago Manual of Style does have this to say about quotes to indicate ironic intent:

6.63. Other devices, notably the use of italics and quotation marks to achieve special effects, are not outmoded but are used less and less as time goes on, especially by mature writers who prefer to obtain their effects structurally.
And if you'd followed that Wikipedia article on "scare quotes," instead of just dredging up the first piece of third-party documentation that vaguely excused your usage:
As political analyst Jonathan Chait writes in The New Republic, "The scare quote is the perfect device for making an insinuation without proving it, or even necessarily making clear what you're insinuating."
Don't try to wheedle your way out of your own words by flinging around comments about bad punctuation. Either you're being willfully ignorant or you're just making stuff up because you feel like it.

by David R. on Nov 28, 2010 11:02 am • linkreport

Quotation marks denote emphasis? Ha.

Check out the "Blog" of "Unnecessary” Quotation Marks for a good laugh (or for some fine examples of emphasis):

http://www.unnecessaryquotes.com/

by aaa on Nov 28, 2010 2:01 pm • linkreport

If one is emphasizing that Erik called hit-and-run bicyclists 'benign', when in fact he said nothing at all like that, does that make the writer emphatically wrong?

by David desJardins on Nov 28, 2010 3:52 pm • linkreport

How many times do cyclists hit and seriously injure pedestrians - compared to autos?

by Fred on Nov 28, 2010 5:36 pm • linkreport

According to Struck in DC, the last time a ped was hit by a cyclist was July. By a driver was Nov 11. And the EMT feed has been down for a little while.

by David C on Nov 28, 2010 6:08 pm • linkreport

@David des Jardin:

It is grossly dishonest to put the word 'benign' in quotes, as if you are referring to what he said, when in fact he said no such thing.

Welcome to the blog, David! I'd like you to meet Lance!

by oboe on Nov 28, 2010 9:06 pm • linkreport

@David d, Eric flippantly dismissed the subject of the story - an irresponsible cyclist critically injuring an elderly pedestrian - by attempting to make a comparison between what he considers a more dangerous vehicle and a bicycle which he apparently believes more of a benign nature. Do I really have to spell it out for you, or is it just more convenient for you to attempt to take the focus off of the subject at hand. The manner in which Eric dismissed the real story the Post was reporting was flippant and immature. Do you really want to put yourself in a position of defending his actions here? If you do, then please do so and stop pretending you didn't understand what I meant.

by Lance on Nov 28, 2010 9:25 pm • linkreport

The manner in which Eric dismissed the real story the Post was reporting was flippant and immature.

No, your trolling here is flippant and immature.

Of course I will defend what Erik wrote. He's right and you're wrong, it's as simple as that.

Did Erik imply that bicycles are less dangerous to pedestrians than cars? Not really, he didn't say anything about it one way or the other. Is it true that bicyclists are less dangerous to pedestrians than cars? Certainly it is.

Did Erik say or imply that bicyclists are 'benign' or imply that they shouldn't be responsible users of the roads? No, of course he didn't. At this point we are in the realm of pure figments of your imagination, where you attack people for something that never happened.

by David desJardins on Nov 28, 2010 9:35 pm • linkreport

@oboe: I'd like you to meet Lance!

Really? Why do you hate me?

by David desJardins on Nov 28, 2010 9:36 pm • linkreport

Just to add my own set of anecdotes:

I bike to work every day. I know which 4-way stop signs can be treated as "yield" signs, thanks to good visibility. You can debate this all you want, but coming to a complete stop at every intersection simply isn't practical on a bike, and does little to add to safety. (Note that I'm not advocating blowing through 4-way stops at 10+mph. That is legitimately dangerous). I don't encounter any stop lights that are safe to cross against a red in the course of my commute. (One could quite legitimately argue that the light probably shouldn't even be there if you can do that during rush hour)

I only occasionally have problems with drivers (usually failing to signal), but *frequently* see pedestrians look, acknowledge me, and then step into the crosswalk against a "Do not walk" signal, directly in my path! It's as if they don't understand momentum!

by andrew on Nov 28, 2010 11:44 pm • linkreport

When I ride a bike, I do stop at stop signs. It certainly is "practical". You just have to want to do it.

(I don't think a full stop requires putting a foot down. Just reducing your speed to zero before starting again.)

When I drive a car, I know which 4-way stop signs can be treated as "yield" signs, thanks to good visibility. But I still stop anyway.

by David desJardins on Nov 28, 2010 11:51 pm • linkreport

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