Greater Greater Washington

Breakfast links: Taking charge


Photo by karola riegler photography on Flickr.
Sarles officially announced as GM, CEO: On Friday the WMATA Board announced that Richard Sarles would remain at the agency to become permanent General Manager and take on the title of Chief Executive Officer, which will come with more authority and autonomy. (Post)

Can PG focus on Metro stations?: Rushern Baker is trying to convince Prince George's County councilmembers to focus development around Metro stations like New Carrollton and Branch Avenue instead of trying to get something for their districts. It'll reduce corruption but will be a tough sell. (Post)

Watergate residents don't want trees: Watergate residents are objecting to trees planted along Rock Creek Parkway because when they grow they could obstruct residents' views of the river. The residents also say Eleanor Holmes Norton and Jack Evans agree with them. NCPC will discuss the issue Thursday. (DCist)

ANC opposes bike lane, says bikes complicate driving: ANC 3D voted to oppose a planned bike lane (PDF) on New Mexico Ave NW. Commissioners are already concerned about "pedestrian and car conflicts" and don't want to complicate things more with bicycles. The lone dissenting commissioner said bicycling shouldn't be discouraged. (Northwest Current, ah)

Missed opportunities in Fairfax City?: A reader wonders why Fairfax City didn't follow DC's lead and use construction of several new municipal buildings, including a library, to support creative and interesting architecture that could better spur revitalization of the historic downtown. (The Internationalist, Jeff)

More people shouldn't mean more highways: Just because the US population has grown and is expected to continue growing, doesn't mean the infrastructure we build to accommodate them should be the exact same kind we've built in the last half-century. (Cap'n Transit, Alex B)

Green house, not so green location: A developer created a net-zero energy house, that boasts all the amenities of a normal suburban home. While the house is "green," its location in a circuitous subdivision in exurban Orlando is not. The Post reports without irony that its dominant feature is a big garage door. (Post)

Take transit or bikeshare to visit Miami Beach's new parking garage: Miami Beach has a $65 million parking garage that's so architecturally distinctive that people are visiting it just to see it and someone had a wedding there. The main complaints? Some people gripe about the price of parking. (NYT)

And...: A pedestrian was "struck by a vehicle" in Fairfax this morning. The "striking vehicle" stayed at the crash scene but it's unclear whether the driver did. (TBD) ... Ever wondered what the Union Station concourse looked like before Victoria's Secret, Godiva and The Art of Shaving? (Shorpy) ... The new Congress may consider reinstating a federally funded voucher program that would allow DC children to attend private schools in the District. (WAMU)

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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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WMATA wants the public's input on designing the new 7000 series rail cars, heres the link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/interactivity/redesigning-metro.html?hpid=talkbox1

by Shadow Inc. on Jan 24, 2011 8:24 am • linkreport

If the hideous Watergate complex blocks my view of the river (and trees) can I advocate for removing it? I'll help pay to relocate it to Virginia.

by Ward 1 Guy on Jan 24, 2011 9:21 am • linkreport

That vote by ANC 3D makes me very angry. New Mex, Neb, and Cathedral all right there in that area are dangerous because drivers speed through with wreckless abandon. People also choose to park illegally all over the place (especially in front of Starbucks). There is also no marking on NM to tell you how many lanes there are, so people going south pass on the right all the time. It's just ridiculous.

by rdhd on Jan 24, 2011 9:35 am • linkreport

New Mexico bike lane...absolutely no need for as there is ample sidewalk and road space for cyclists. A few speed bumps and/or stop lights should slow down speeders.

by Snowpeas on Jan 24, 2011 9:54 am • linkreport

Shadow -- a lot of great ideas in that link. Bench seats are a no brainer for increased capacity. Brightness and less carpet are good too. Bike rack = waste.

by aaa on Jan 24, 2011 10:32 am • linkreport

@Snowpeas and rdhd

1) There are already 3 stoplights on New Mexico between Nebraska and Cathedral (as well as ones at each of those intersections. Speed bumps really wouldn't be appropriate along there as well.

2) The bike lane is intended for the uphill side only, as part of the Glover Park Transportation Study/Plan, in order to allow bikes some room on the slower uphill effort.

3) I asked my ANC commissioner about it and he told me that it was a preliminary discussion and ties in with the traffic problems relating to the AU expansion. No explanation why the need for a vote at the outset of a discussion.

by ah on Jan 24, 2011 11:00 am • linkreport

Drivers treat Tunlaw Road/New Mexico Avenue like a superhighway and it is in desperate need of traffic calming. A speed camera would also be a great addition.

But, it is a major commute route for people in Spring Valley, so I'm not surprised by this move. These are the people who have nearly killed me multiple times by running stop signs in their luxury SUVs. MPD does do traffic enforcement in this area from time to time but a $50 fine is far too low to change behavior in this high income area.

by Phil on Jan 24, 2011 11:31 am • linkreport

Re: The watergate complex - I love how they care about trees blocking their views on their Western side, yet don't give a darn about the hideous roadways and cars on their Eastern side. Didn't NCPC once release plans to tunnel the roads between Virginia Avenue and the Memorial Bridge and create park space on top (to help people to walk to the Kennedy Center)? I know we're in a terrible political and budget climate, but doesn't that seem like something the Watergate residents could get their anger behind instead of cutting down some trees?

by Shipsa01 on Jan 24, 2011 11:34 am • linkreport

@ah Is the proposed bike lane only between Nebraska and Cathedral? If so, then yes we have enough traffic lights but what is the point of such a short bike lane. Between Cathedral and Calvert there isn't a single traffic light. I still think more traffic lights are needed and New Mexico Ave. needs to be significantly narrowed.

by Snowpeas on Jan 24, 2011 12:01 pm • linkreport

Ever wondered what the Union Station concourse looked like when a train feel through the floor?

http://www.steamlocomotive.com/GG1/prr4876-crash.jpg

Oops

by Jasper on Jan 24, 2011 1:34 pm • linkreport

@Jasper:
You can read about the wreck of the Federal Express here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Express_%28passenger_train%29#Notorious_wreck

by Matt Johnson on Jan 24, 2011 1:36 pm • linkreport

Development and urbanity in Fairfax City certainly leave very very much to be desired, but that analysis linked above is WAY off the mark. The redevelopment wasn't nearly dense enough, didn't have the right mix of uses, didn't create complete streets, and left far too many empty lots around town, but the architecture and the library are the two things they basically got right.

As for this: "Perish the thought of using contemporary design to lure people in."

Yes! Perish the thought! That's a terrible idea! How about using good urbanity and pleasant architecture to lure regular people in and keep them there for decades at a time, rather than fad architecture that will look cool to a tiny minority of architecture buffs and then become dated almost immediately.

There are so many things to complain about in Fairfax. To focus on (oh noez!) the fact that their architectural ambitions are different than yours is just absurd.

Phooey to that think.

by Fairfaxian on Jan 24, 2011 1:57 pm • linkreport

@Fairfaxian, +1

by Joey on Jan 24, 2011 2:06 pm • linkreport

@Snowpeas - No, the Glover Park plan proposes a bike lane along Tunlaw (both directions) and then a bike lane going uphill only on New Mexico to Nebraska.

There are no lights between Cathedral and Tunlaw, but there are also no 4-way intersections. In theory there is a speed camera that can be located there (according to MPD website).

What that entire stretch of New Mexico needs is better lane striping. There's parking, but it's intermittent, so lots of people turn it into an extra lane for passing. It needs either some left turn lanes with a right lane for straight traffic or more clearly marked-off parking so the road is only one lane wide.

by ah on Jan 24, 2011 2:21 pm • linkreport

That stretch needs a mini boulevard to narrow the lanes and eliminate the unused/excessive parking and slow down traffic. The speed of traffic on that stretch is dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists.

by Snowpeas on Jan 24, 2011 2:52 pm • linkreport

The Martha Stewart "GreenHouse" may be ok inside, but it truly does have a terrible street presence. Here's a photo that shows how the garage dominates the front door:

http://www.kbhome.com/Promo~PromoID~6735~home.aspx

I recently built a home with a front garage on a street that mostly has rear garages. I can't claim you can do this without making the garage door be more of the front of the house than one would like. But I sure did a hell of a lot better job, than this!

by David desJardins on Jan 25, 2011 12:11 am • linkreport

@New Mex bike lanes: There's def. not enough room on the sidewalks for riding a bike. Those sidewalks are very busy with pedestrians.

As for there being stop lights: these only slow traffic if they are red. And when they do turn red, too often drivers use that as chance to pull up on the ride and then gun it when the ligth turns green. People FLY down New Mex. (And there are none on Cathedral, which desperately needs speed humps.)

Lane striping is definitely needed. I would think that anything that makes it clearly a two-lane road (one each way) would slow the traffic. Of course, that won't stop rude drivers from failing to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalks.

by rdhd on Jan 25, 2011 9:25 am • linkreport

@rdhd - I think lane striping would address most of those problems. While traffic certainly does move fast at times, I don't think speeding there is as much a problem as a number of other roads (and would be further reduced by preventing jockying for position at lights).

What the striping needs to do is allow for four lanes near Nebraska--two NB for turns left and right--and two SB for straight and left into AU parking lot. After that SB N. NMex should be one lane with a parking lane except at the light at Macomb (in front of starbucks, etc.) where there could be a left turn lane into the parking area. There's ample room on the NB side to install a bike lane and leave one lane for traffic and one for parking.

by ah on Jan 25, 2011 1:15 pm • linkreport

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