Weekend links: Off and on the Hill
Real-time displays, displayed: Gabe Klein Tweeted a picture of the multimodal screens DDOT is unveiling, with upcoming transit arrivals, a map of nearby amenities, weather and more.
Bye bye SmartBike: SmartBike is shutting down on January 2, and SmartBike locations that don't already have a CaBi station will get one. (Dr. Gridlock) ... DDOT's contract with Clear Channel gives them bus shelter revenue in exchange for running SmartBike, and DDOT was trying to get Clear Channel to pay something for the right to get out of their responsibility. We'll try to find out if they succeeded.
Transit benefit passes, but a little late?: The $230/month transit benefit passed Congress as part of the tax bill. Many workers can continue deducting that pretax, and federal workers will get it for free. But some employers might take a month or two to switch back if they already reduced the benefit to $120 as expected, and also the extension will be up for renewal or expiration next year. (Examiner)
It's Bilbray, not Chaffetz: Jason Chaffetz won't be heading the DC oversight subcommitteee in the House after all, instead taking oversight of TSA and DHS (and he opposes the full body scanners). Instead, DC's House overlord will be San Diego Republican Brian Bilbray, who attended a WMATA oversight hearing where I testified but seemed to have a mysterious irritation with automatic train control. (Slate)
You get what you pay for: Metro's real problem is that it's chronically underfunded, Chris Zimmerman argued in his speech announcing his resignation from the WMATA Board. If we want a transit system like Paris's or escalators like Moscow's, we have to pay for it like they do. (TBD, Eric Fidler) ... Zimmerman also talks about making Arlington more livable in an interview on TheCityFix.
Height story focused on poor black areas?: Responding to Lydia DePillis's cover story on repealing the Height Act, Stephen Smith says she mostly recommends greater heights in poorer or minority areas, possibly because it's more politically feasible. Lydia responds that some wealthy areas were on the map, some really don't make sense, and yeah, maybe feasibility should factor into it. (City Paper, Market Urbanism)
As you an "autoist"?: Someone who rides a cycle is a cyclist. Why not call a car driver an "autoist"? Turns out, that up until the late 1970s, that term was fairly commonplace in some newspapers. (headsup, Matt')
Save on insurance as you don't drive: California has approved a pay-as-you-drive insurance program through State Farm. Drivers who drive very little could save 45% on their premiums. (Streetsblog SF)
And...: Bob McDonnell agrees to "look at" encouraging biking and walking in Virginia (VA Bicycling Federation) ... BART will look at 24-hour weekend service (Streetsblog SF, Matt') ... Dulles and National Airport will soon offer free Wi-Fi (Examiner) ... And in national news, gays will soon be able to serve in the military but undocumented kids brought to the United States will still be shunned. (CNN)Have a tip for the links? Submit it here.
- The Dutch government is trolling DC over marijuana, bike lanes, and streetcars
- Terrorism fear takes over security at the Library of Congress
- 2.5 minutes of extra walking is not nothing
- How two families dealt with Metro problems and other transportation options in the snow
- Cities worldwide are building beautiful, landmark pedestrian and bicycle bridges. Could Georgetown be next?
- 33% of Metro rail trips stay within one city or county. Where are they?
- DC like Amsterdam? We can only hope