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Breakfast links: The word from the top


Allen Lew. Photo by D.Clow on Flickr.
Baker has the right priorities: New Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker wants to work more closely with the District and sees Metro stations like New Carrollton, Branch Avenue and Naylor Road as key to bringing in businesses. Finally, a County Executive who thinks the part of the county inside the Beltway is important! (Informer)

Good news in Gray personnel: Gabe Klein won't be sticking around, but fellow Fenty official and future City Administrator Allen Lew looks to be pretty great, having a "constructive level of impatience," being "driven by results," and liking "thin bureaucracies," in Lew's words. (Examiner)

Gabe not so radical?: Dr. Gridlock thinks Gabe Klein will "wind up being remembered as an administrator who pushed the District toward the mainstream of urban transportation policy. ... What looked to us here like cutting-edge programs would seem like catch-up to people in other big cities." (Post) ... Klein himself made similar comments to WAMU in an excellent exit interview. ... Meanwhile, Elevating Chicago encourages Klein to consider running that city's DOT ... once they know who the mayor will be.

On tenterhooks over committee assignments: There a lot of speculation about whom Kwame Brown will pick for committees, including whether Jim Graham or Tommy Wells will control transportation. Loose Lips quotes Ken Archer, and gets a new Marion Barry classic quote: "What the shit is this?" (City Paper)

Harassment on the metro: A group of female teens harassed a female passenger on Metro, then broke the phone of a journalist trying to record them. The reporter got off at the next station and asked the manager to call Metro police. Police arrived 30 minutes later, saying the woman was "no longer in danger." (WUSA9)

Bay cleanup could prevent smart growth: Planners and developers in Maryland are expressing concerns about unintended consequences of an EPA Chesapeake Bay protection plan, saying it could actually make infill more difficult. (New Urban Network)

Affordable housing and 2 projects: A development in Gaithersburg will be able to skip affordable housing and make a payment to the city's housing fund instead, while another developer says affordable housing zoning works in Tysons Corner. (Gazette, Sun Gazette)

More pedestrians hit in PG: 3 pedestrians were struck by drivers in separate incidents in Prince George's county. At Walker Mill Road and County Road, a man and a woman were critically injured in a hit-and-run and the woman later died. In the Michelville Plaza parking lot, a 70 year old man was struck by a driver in an SUV, though according to WUSA, the vehicle had "gone out of control." (Post)

New signage at Federal Triangle?: The GSA wants to update its building signage in the Federal Triangle. While they're at it they could add better wayfinding directions to the signs, helping people find their way from building to building and better pointing the way to the otherwise hidden Metro entrance. (City Paper)

And...: A man struck by a BMX bike rider in a hit-and-run has died from his injuries. Police are still seeking the rider. (WUSA) ... Amtrak set a Thanksgiving ridership record this year, with more than 700,000 passenger during the holiday week. (Dr. Gridlock) ... The Maryland MTA thinks some bus operators are turning off their fareboxes in order to improve their on-time records. (Baltimore Sun)

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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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I've been said a long time ago PG county needs better development around its metro station. Not saying that it should high end or Arlington or Bethesda but on the same level as Silver Spring and Wheaton.

by Shadow Inc. on Dec 9, 2010 9:46 am • linkreport

How about putting QR codes on those signs?

by andrew on Dec 9, 2010 9:55 am • linkreport

The teenage gang stories really scare suburban transplants who live in this city and want to treat DC as an extension of the suburbs. Maybe it's best not to report on it.

by aaa on Dec 9, 2010 10:12 am • linkreport

Mr. Baker also knows that the DC government is a meal ticket for many of his county's residents. When Vince Gray complains about so many DC government workers living (and paying taxes) outside the city, he's not talking about folks in Arlington.

by Adam L on Dec 9, 2010 10:16 am • linkreport

As long as we're making changes to the Federal Triangle Metro station... what are the odds of adding an entrance that goes directly into the Old Post Office? Like how Pentagon City goes into the mall there.

by M.V. Jantzen on Dec 9, 2010 10:43 am • linkreport

I love passenger rail, but Amtrak's record numbers just put in perspective how weak it is. I did a quick Google search and found: "Airlines expect 24 million people to fly during the Thanksgiving holiday". So Amtrak is not quite 3% of the air-rail market during one of the biggest travel seasons of the year. And that's not even counting people who drove!

If we want more urban cities (not to mention greener travel), we need more people arriving by train.

by Gavin on Dec 9, 2010 10:47 am • linkreport

@Gavin

That's not an apples to apples comparison, however. You're not going to take the train from DC to LA for thanksgiving, for example. Likewise, you're not going to take the train where there isn't a train you can take.

If you want to know about rail's effectiveness, you need to look at the routes and corridors where rail actually competes head to head.

by Alex B. on Dec 9, 2010 10:49 am • linkreport

@aaa: Are you kidding or being serious?

The crime and harassment on metro is real. Females have a reason to be nervous around groups of teenagers while on the train.

by Peter on Dec 9, 2010 11:14 am • linkreport

you're not going to take the train where there isn't a train you can take. amen to that.

by Tina on Dec 9, 2010 11:18 am • linkreport

@ Alex B; so a train system running through the most densely populated part of the country -- and one that we know captures of huge share of the traffic there --- still is only 3% of the air traffic for the holiday season.

Says a lot more about high BIG the US is than anything, but the potential benefits of HSR are going to a small number of Americans.

Perhaps there is a mechanism where the US treasury can sell the bonds, feds can put some sort of guarantee, but the money goes directly to and from the states. I.e. the Northeast corridor and California can tax themselves to pay for the rail.

by charlie on Dec 9, 2010 11:25 am • linkreport

@charlie

I suspect Amtrak's numbers in the NE corridor are substantially higher than 3%. Likewise, if you took out airline passengers that are only transversing the NE corridor to connect to a different flight (i.e. look at actual origins and destinations, rather than flight segments), the Amtrak numbers would be higher still.

Point being, that 3% number doesn't tell us much at all.

by Alex B. on Dec 9, 2010 11:31 am • linkreport

@AlexB; you misread my point. We know Amtrak gets something like 30% DC-NYC. Taking the entire eastern Bos-Was area -- the most dense and populous part of the country -- it might be in the 5-6%. Amtrak is arguably a success story here.

But the entire Bos-Was corridor is what -- less than 1/5 of the US population? At best, maybe 30% of the US population lives in potential HSR corridors. You might be able to get that 3% nationwide number up to 6 or 7, but it is always going to small.

by charlie on Dec 9, 2010 11:37 am • linkreport

That's the whole point - that number, whether it's 3% or 6% isn't a good comparison to start with.

I'd also argue that far more people live in potential HSR corridors than you lead on.

Judge rail trips based on trips rail can make. That 35 number will always include cross-continent travel. It's not even clear from the note if that number includes international travel - I certainly won't hold it against a train that it can't cross an ocean all that effectively.

Maybe that number always will be small - that's not the point, since the number isn't an effective measurement of anything.

by Alex B. on Dec 9, 2010 11:42 am • linkreport

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