Greater Greater Washington

Weekend links: Friction over lanes


Photo from Gabe Klein.
Gabe Klein busts illegal parkers: After seeing Twitter reports of illegal parking in the 15th Street bike lane, including a police cruiser, former DDOT Director Gabe Klein sent DDOT and DPW a photo. By the afternoon, DPW had written 15 tickets. No word whether the police cruiser got one. (TBD On Foot)

Real economists get bike lanes: New Yorker economic blogger John Cassidy skewers New York's bike lanes. Economist economist Ryan Avent teaches him a thing or two about externalities. So does Felix Salmon, twice. Aaron Naparstek calls it "a seminal document of New York City's bike lane backlash era." Adam Sternbergh compares the rhetoric to the tea party's. (Reuters, NYT, Jaime)

NYC BRT "creeps" downward: Here's a great example of the "BRT creep" Dan warned about: Following some opposition pushback, New York is redesigning its 34th Street BRT as mere painted bus lanes, unseparated from other lanes, instead of the separated center-running lanes originally proposed. (NYT, Mike Epstein)

John Galt had a high-speed train: Tom Vanderbilt tries to answer the question many are asking: why do most conservatives hate trains, especially libertarians? After all, in Atlas Shrugged, which they revere, the protagonists build high-speed rail! (Slate)

Idaho and New Mexico Stop?: The New Mexico House has approved an "Idaho Stop" law, with at least one Republican supporting as well. (TheWashCycle)

DC's heliport may reopen: Did you know DC used to have a commercial heliport? It's just south of the ballpark, used now for police and medevac, and could reopen to commercial traffic which was banned in 2005. (AINonline, Geoff Hatchard)

FTC HQ Mica's only priority: Rep. John Mica (R-FL) says he has "no other priority" than transferring the FTC headquarters on Pennsylvania Avenue to the National Gallery. That's odd since he chairs the Transportation Committee, which has reauthorizing transportation funding as a key priority. (WBJ)

And...: There are several oft-overlooked monuments and markers among the major attractions on the Mall (WAMU) ... DC Top Chef Carla Hall wants to open a cafe in the Stevens School at 21st and L once it's redeveloped (Young & Hungry) ... DPW might have broken another law in procuring the infamous Lincoln Navigators. (Loose Lips)

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David Alpert is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Greater Greater Washington and Greater Greater Education. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He loves the area which is, in many ways, greater than those others, and wants to see it become even greater. 

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Caribou has doughnuts?

by Bob See on Mar 12, 2011 12:31 pm • linkreport

DC might want to think about taking down the old signs on 15th Street that say parking is still allowed. They're still standing.

by anon on Mar 12, 2011 12:51 pm • linkreport

I think the answer is right there in the article "Libertarians, of course, have no problem with trains (see, e.g., Atlas Shrugged). They do have a problem with federal spending on transportation, as do many Republicans"

The real problem is that it seems some conservatives have lost sight of the idea that the government can spend money to "invest" in things that will give a public good with a benefit that exceeds cost. But one which private providers would have trouble capturing enough of that benefit for it to be worth it to them. Education is a great example. The benefits of education far exceed the costs. But it would be hard to run a business of educating the poor, because they don't have the money. So the government offers free education to all. And society reaps the benefits.

High speed rail is similar. It may be hard to turn a profit on high-speed rail (although it may not). But if we taxed gasoline at something that captured all the true costs, and if we forced airlines to pay all of the FAA's costs - user fees pay about half - the chances would be a lot better. The answer to why we subsidize rail is that we subsidize about everything else. I'd love it if we quit subsidizing everything and let them duke it out, but that doesn't seem to be politically viable.

by David C on Mar 12, 2011 12:53 pm • linkreport

Ticketing cars in the bike lane is well and good, but active towing is the only way to really get the attention of would-be parkers. Too many drivers are willing to risk getting a ticket (or are somehow just unaware that it is illegal to park in a bike lane with bollards). This morning (Saturday) there were three cars parked in the bike lane including one that was there for over two hours. None had been ticketed. The safety risk of forcing northbound cyclists into oncoming traffic is justification for a towing crackdown.

At an absolute minimum, DDOT needs to provide indisputable signage indicating the legality (well, illegality) of parking in the lane. As it is right now, the previous parking signs and meters are still in place along the corridor which sends a very confusing message to drivers. DDOT could even consider legalizing parking NEXT TO the lane on weekends in light of the light vehicular traffic, but until the parking situation is clarified with signage we're going to continue to have to deal with parked cars endangering cyclists in the lane.

One of the drivers standing in the lane at 15th & H this morning told me that Georgia Brown's employees said it was legal to park in the metered spaces in the lane on weekends. (I told her that DPW was writing tickets yesterday and asked her whether she'd rather risk a ticket or take the word of Georgia Brown's and she was quite indifferent).

by KG on Mar 12, 2011 1:03 pm • linkreport

I just took the 15th street bike lane for the first time today. There were many cars in the bike lane parking. I confronted one lady and she said, "The sign says I can park here". I looked up at the sign, You know what? That's what the sign does say! If you can't park there, they really need to take down the signs and meters!

by ErikD on Mar 12, 2011 1:52 pm • linkreport

^Huh, your right. I just noticed the meters in the article photo.

by Bob See on Mar 12, 2011 2:14 pm • linkreport

Thanks Gabe! Where the F*#k is the new Gray administration on this? Can we start impeachment hearings after 70 days of the Gray train wreck?

by JH on Mar 12, 2011 2:31 pm • linkreport

It is a real problem that current transportation funding policy encourages lying about ridership projections. Every proposed high-speed rail project includes vastly overstated projections of ridership, because that's how they demonstrate cost-effectiveness and compete for dollars. Everyone else is doing it, so people think they have to do it too, and there's no real cost or disincentive to inflate your numbers. It offends and upsets me, and I think a lot of other people too.

It is a shame, because many of these would be good projects even with honest numbers, if externalities and other factors were taken into account. But rail, in particular, has gained a well-earned reputation for dishonesty.

by David desJardins on Mar 12, 2011 3:11 pm • linkreport

I happened to drive up 15th the other day. What a confusing mess there with signs permitting parking AND a bike park next to it. You gotta luv the irony of the guy who created the mess calling in to complain about the inevitable results of his creation.

Also, I can't see how they're going to fit both the lanes and the parking. And obviously no one with a luck if sense us going to remove all that parking to create another bike path. We've lots of paths already in and around Washington. Yeah, it can be nice to peddle down 15th to get to the Mall and Penn. Ave. But you can do that on a Sunday or Saturday. That'd what I do. During the week, drive, walk, Metro, or bus it. People who are working and doing business downtown need places to park.

by Lance on Mar 12, 2011 6:16 pm • linkreport

For the love of god, would cycling critics please learn the difference between peddling and pedaling? Peddling is a derogatory term for selling or promoting something - like the worn out ideas about transportation that Lance and others try to pass off on this blog. "Pedaling" is how I - and thousands of other DC workers - get to work every day. And pedaling down the 15th Street lane is one of the best parts of that commute until thoughtless drivers put the safety of cyclists at risk by parking in a bike lane that is clear as day and demarcated by 3-foot tall bollards.

by KG on Mar 12, 2011 7:08 pm • linkreport

@Lance

I don't see how you "can't see" how they're going to fit both lanes and parking in, since they already have that configuration set up on the rest of 15th.

by MLD on Mar 12, 2011 9:08 pm • linkreport

KG, not to defend Lance, but homophone replacement errors are pretty common. I have trouble with it's and its; there, their and they're; principal and principle; capitol and capital etc...Generally people replace the primary version (principle, for example) with the secondary ones, so that is probably what's happening.

On a related note...I'm not sure Lance knows what irony is. And I have no idea what a "bike park" is.

People who are working and doing business downtown need places to park.

That's what parking garages are for.

by David C on Mar 12, 2011 11:56 pm • linkreport

@David C, that was supposed to be bike path ... but I must have fat fingered it and my phone 'corrected' it to bike park. Though given what we have there now, that might be an appropriate description indeed ....

by Lance on Mar 13, 2011 7:40 am • linkreport

I have deleted a comment by Fritz which made some definite good points but also wrapped these in mean-spirited ad hominem namecalling.

Fritz, please feel free to re-post your comment without the namecalling if you wish. I'll note that I've repeatedly asked you to be more respectful toward others in your comments but you seem uninterested in doing so. I hope you will change your mind since you make valuable points when you're not also being rude and nasty.

by David Alpert on Mar 13, 2011 9:11 am • linkreport

So... pointing out that the former DDOT director's policies led to situations like 15th street where the parking lane is the bike lane, the signage is poor, and there are still parking meters is considered a "personal attack"? Or was it my pointing out the irony of Gabe complaining to his former agency for them to rectify the mistakes he approved?

I don't recall the rest of my censored post, but I do recall saying people should FOIA to see how many unpaid meter tickets DC's meter maids issued to cars parked in the bike lane on 15th Street and that any recipients of such tickets should ask Gabe to pay for them since it was his inchoate policies that led to the confusion.

by Fritz on Mar 13, 2011 1:45 pm • linkreport

No, Fritz, namecalling constitutes a personal attack. If you can make your points, which are often good ones, without attaching names like "No Self-Control Fritz" to the officials you're criticizing, then I'm going to keep deleting your comments.

by David Alpert on Mar 13, 2011 1:59 pm • linkreport

@David Alpert: If you can make your points, which are often good ones, without attaching names like "No Self-Control Fritz" to the officials you're criticizing, then I'm going to keep deleting your comments.

If he can? Or can't? Or does? Or doesn't?

The comment culture is active enough here, it sure would be nice to implement a more robust system that lets people edit their comments, quote other users directly, etc.

by David desJardins on Mar 13, 2011 2:08 pm • linkreport

In the bike lane photo, it looks like the left-hand meter is actually paid. Is the problem here that they installed the bike lane but didn't even bother to disable the meters? I can (barely) understand if it takes time to remove them, but normally what I see when meters are (temporarily) disabled is a bag locked over them so that they are clearly unavailable and inaccessible. Surely that can't be hard.

by David desJardins on Mar 13, 2011 2:42 pm • linkreport

Oops, right, I meant can't. Or won't.

I'm open to replacing my homegrown commenting system with another one. Which one do folks like the most? Disqus seems to be very prevalent.

I would want one that makes it possible to frequently and automatically download comments into my own database via an API, so that I can run my own analytics and compute things like the "most active posts" box. Plus, I want to have a copy of everything besides one on a company's server. From a quick glance it looks like Disqus does have this.

by David Alpert on Mar 13, 2011 2:47 pm • linkreport

So, let me understand the rules:

If I say "Gridlock Gabe" to refer to the former DDOT director and now-regular Twitter/blog commentator on the Gray administration, that qualifies as a "personal attack"?

What about "Tommy 'Tax' Wells"?

Or "Tommy 'Tommy' Thomas"?

Or "Vincent 'Crony' Gray"?

Do all now qualify as "personal attacks"?

If I say the Committee of 100 is a bunch of reactionary old biddies, does that qualify as a personal attack as well? Or is there an exception for groups, rather than persons? So, for example, I could say both the Committee of 100 and the DC Council is composed of nincompoops, but I can't use the same term for any single, individual member of a group?

I'm trying to figure out where the goal posts are now, since I've referred frequently to "Gridlock Gabe" with nary a word of reproach. In my mind, there's a huge difference in mocking an elected/appointed/public official who has significant impact over people's lives versus mocking a private citizen.

But it's your blog and I'll abide by your rules. But it would be helpful to know where the goal posts are, rather than discovering that they've been moved on a lovely Sunday morning.

And, to be clear, my "personal attack" on the ex-DDOT director wasn't attacking his person, his personal life, or anything anywhere close to that area (which I believe should be off-limits). I was pointing out that it was his own decisions as DDOT Director that led to the mess on 15th Street & the irony that he's complaining to his former Department to fix the confusion created by his own policies.

by Fritz on Mar 13, 2011 3:11 pm • linkreport

Fritz: If your goal is to try to probe every detailed nook and cranny of what is and isn't okay in order to get within millimeters of the line at every opportunity, then we're not going to have a productive conversation.

All of the examples you listed are over the line. I don't delete every single comment that's even a millimeter over the line because I don't want to constantly be the word police and get discussions derailed by minutiae like this, but you have long since exhausted all your leeway.

I'm fed up with you trying to be as nasty as you can get away with all the time. Each time I warn you, you post 2-3 less nasty comments, then gradually get nasty again until I warn you again.

Most people I would have long since banned without any questions asked. However, you do seem to be trying to say something useful not infrequently, and occasionally seem to be trying not to be a jerk, but it's rare.

This isn't Capture the Flag where you want to toe the line and hope to pull other people over. Get the f***k away from the damn line already.

I've been on the fence about banning you for some time. Given that I like having your non-obnoxious thoughts on here, I hope you will take this warning more to heart than you have the last few, because this will probably be the last.

by David Alpert on Mar 13, 2011 3:23 pm • linkreport

I don't know if it's a "personal attack" or not, but calling elected officials or staff by childish, derogatory nicknames certainly detracts from whatever points you think you are making.

by David desJardins on Mar 13, 2011 3:32 pm • linkreport

I missed the part where Fritz says "I'll abide by your rules" in his comment above. If this was meant to be more constructive than combative, I'm happy to try to help elucidate what is and isn't okay. I'm a bit skeptical from past experience, though.

When talking about another person, you should be respectful. If saying something negative, say it about their ideas, not about their person.

"Childish, derogatory nicknames," as David DesJ so effectively put it, do not advance the discussion. Neither . Any sentence of the form " is..." or "You are..." where the rest of the sentence is negative is likely not okay unless it's something like "making good points but missing one critical element."

The fact is that if you think someone is wrong, you can easily say "I disagree, and think that instead of the sky being cyan, it's more an azure" instead of "You are wrong, the sky is not cyan, it's azure."

And as I said, I do try to give people leeway, until they get to the point of repeatedly crossing the line, at which point I say something. It's then sort of annoying when, not infrequently, the response is, "well, you didn't delete those other people's comments."

There's really a gradation. If a comment is particularly bad, I delete it right away. If it's over but not far over, like Fritz's (which repeated its taunting term multiple times, by the way), I'll more often delete it when it's the latest in a longer series or the person has gotten warnings before.

by David Alpert on Mar 13, 2011 4:23 pm • linkreport

@David Alpert: The fact is that if you think someone is wrong, you can easily say "I disagree, and think that instead of the sky being cyan, it's more an azure" instead of "You are wrong, the sky is not cyan, it's azure."

I respectfully disagree with David on this one. There's a difference between, "I disagree," (we have different opinions) and, "You're wrong," (when the facts contradict your position). Either can be appropriate and correct.

I've generally become convinced to try to stay away from saying, "You're lying", although often I still think that. But it's an example of imputing motives that you can't really know.

by David desJardins on Mar 13, 2011 4:26 pm • linkreport

That's fair and perhaps this wasn't the best example. I was picking one that is fairly far on the side of respectful.

Comments are not going to be getting deleted for saying "you're wrong." And it's true that there is a difference between "I disagree," which implies a matter of opinion, versus "you're wrong."

I would just say that in many cases it's just as easy to say "Scientists have actually conclusively proven that 'azure' is a more apt term" and leave out the "you."

But really, there's a continuum, as with most things:
"I think you are incorrect here"
"You're wrong"
"You don't know what you are talking about"
"You're ignorant"
"You're a moron"

The line between acceptable and unacceptable is somewhere between the 2nd and 4th, but it depends a lot on the context, how generally nasty and mean-spirited the rest of the comment, and so forth.

by David Alpert on Mar 13, 2011 4:34 pm • linkreport

@David Alpert: But really, there's a continuum, as with most things: ....

It's well worth reviewing How to Disagree, from time to time. And try to stay up at DH4.

by David desJardins on Mar 13, 2011 4:36 pm • linkreport

David, if you go to a third party commenting system, please do not opt for threaded comments.

Also, I've noticed that other sites that use Disqus or other third-party comment systems are extremely slow. DCist, Market Urbanism are two that come to mind. (DCist is always slow, but still).

by Alex B. on Mar 13, 2011 5:05 pm • linkreport

I guess the other option would be just to try to add a way for people to edit their own comments for a period of time, and which has a button for people to click to quote part of another comment.

That might be less work than installing Disqus. This is why I keep using my homegrown blog system -- it's always easier to add some feature than to switch to another system and customize it.

What's a site that does a good job with the UI for people to quote others' comments? Disqus does not actually seem to do that, at least not on DCist or ThinkProgress.

by David Alpert on Mar 13, 2011 5:11 pm • linkreport

It seems like there's an easy solution to the parking in the bike lane situation -- remove the parking meters. That's confusing.

by Justin on Mar 13, 2011 7:24 pm • linkreport

Better than removing the parking meters would be to cover them with green bags emblazoned with a bike symbol. Then they can continue to serve as bike parking.

by David C on Mar 13, 2011 9:54 pm • linkreport

@Fritz, Funny ... The first thing that jumped out at me too was the irony of the guy who was responsible for the planning and design and implementation of this lane complaining about the results of his own efforts. And you you correctly took it one step further. He's complaining about it to the people who now need to try to repair the damage done. The fact he doesn't apparently recognize he is responsible for that mess (as well as a slew of others) is even more troublesome because it has me wondering how many more land mines have been left behind.

Btw, what makes you say that Klein is 'a regular poster' here? Do you know something I don't?

by Lance on Mar 14, 2011 12:42 am • linkreport

He just said that Klein is a frequent commentator. Not that he posts comments here.

by David desJardins on Mar 14, 2011 12:54 am • linkreport

@Lance: People who are working and doing business downtown need places to park.

Really?!?

Nobody told me that. I have been working and doing business downtown for 16 years and have the whole time missed out on the fact that I need a place to park.............

by rg on Mar 14, 2011 8:27 am • linkreport

I think the folks who keep pointing to the irony of Klein asking DDOT to "fix his mess" have got it 180 degrees backwards. Klein's asking DDOT to not drop the ball on projects that are 90% complete. Which seems perfectly reasonable; but beyond the capacity of the Gray transition crew.

There are some potholes around town that need filling. If the current DDOT never bothers filling those, I suppose we'll have to blame Klein for leaving us with "a mess". H Street construction? Pull the plug, leave it as it is, and blame Klein.

by oboe on Mar 14, 2011 8:42 am • linkreport

@Lance: People who are working and doing business downtown need places to park.

Ah, that's not a problem, though. "During the week, [bike], walk, Metro, or bus it." And there's plenty of garage parking for those few who truly need to take a private automobile.

Problem solved.

by oboe on Mar 14, 2011 8:50 am • linkreport

@Lance: I was referring to Klein's own personal blog and his postings there. I have no idea if he posts here, but I'd imagine he lurks.

by Fritz on Mar 14, 2011 9:12 am • linkreport

@oboe Klein's asking DDOT to not drop the ball on projects that are 90% complete. Which seems perfectly reasonable; but beyond the capacity of the Gray transition crew.

It seems he managed to get tickets issued for people that were parked legally. Are the signs and meters in the process of being removed or modified? It seems that should have happened concurrent with the bollard installation and surface painting. It is a mess, simple as that.

Ah, that's not a problem, though. "During the week, [bike], walk, Metro, or bus it." And there's plenty of garage parking for those few who truly need to take a private automobile.

Problem solved.

Nice that you know what everyone "truly needs". I'm curious what this means for getting occupancy permits for construction staging areas. I sure hope bicyclists don't snap into a slim-jim if there's a dumpster and construction vehicles parked in a bike lane, as allowed by a public space permit. I guess they should use a parking garage too...

by Bob See on Mar 14, 2011 9:57 am • linkreport

Clarification: assuming it's allowed by a public space permit as it is currently allowed for parking lanes.

Edit functions would be a real plus :)

by Bob See on Mar 14, 2011 10:03 am • linkreport

Nice that you know what everyone "truly needs".

Sorry, that was a paraphrase of Lance's comment. You know who *really* gets the short end of the stick here? Folks who commute by helicopter. You can have bikes or helicopter pads on 15th street. After all:

I can't see how they're going to fit both the lanes and the [helicopter] parking. And obviously no one with a luck if sense us going to remove all those [heli-pads] to create another bike path. We've lots of paths already in and around Washington. Yeah, it can be nice to peddle down 15th to get to the Mall and Penn. Ave. But you can do that on a Sunday or Saturday. That'd what I do. During the week walk, Metro, [*cough* takeyerhelicopter *cough*], or bus it. People who are working and doing business downtown need places to [land].

by oboe on Mar 14, 2011 10:03 am • linkreport

It seems he managed to get tickets issued for people that were parked legally. Are the signs and meters in the process of being removed or modified? It seems that should have happened concurrent with the bollard installation and surface painting. It is a mess, simple as that.

Oh, and as far as what I've seen on 15th street, there are still meters, but the signage clearly states no parking or standing. At least along the worst stretch between and L and M Streets.

by oboe on Mar 14, 2011 10:05 am • linkreport

Thought this quote from DDOT (via WaPo) was interesting over at thewashcycle.com:

"The bike lanes are new and people are still getting used to them. We don't want to ask DPW to give out tickets,' said Lisle. 'There are certainly some people who are not thrilled with the bike lanes and who don't understand them. We want to make our streets more balanced for all of our users."

Looks like there's a battle for the soul of the Vince Gray DDOT, with Lance on one shoulder, and David A on the other. And David A's losing.

by oboe on Mar 14, 2011 10:12 am • linkreport

It seems he managed to get tickets issued for people that were parked legally.

Here's the timeline:

1. Many people tweeted about all the cars in the bike lane
2. Gabe Klein read those tweets
3. Klein went to 15th, took a picture and sent it to DDOT and DPW via twitter.
4. 30 minutes later, DDOT replied that DPW had already written 15 tickets. So it wasn't Klein that got the tickets written - though that is how it was portrayed in the MSM - it was everyone else who complained to DPW. If Klein, as former director of DDOT, can make DPW dance to his tune, that would be a sign that something is wrong with the Gray administration, no?

by David C on Mar 14, 2011 11:13 am • linkreport

Isn't this dandy! Klein now gets to play "people police."

I really would prefer a former Cabinet head to find something a tad bit more constructive to do with his/her time.

As of now, it looks like Klein will be the hemorrhoid to Gray's anal anxieties.

What's next? Klein performs a citizens arrest over malfunctioning meters!!!

by HogWash on Mar 14, 2011 11:35 am • linkreport

@HogWash,

I'm not quite sure you grasp what happened here. Many tweets were sent complaining about illegal parking (including from me). Klein noticed them. He joined the chorus of folks complaining.

Klein was playing "people police" (whatever that means) to the same extent *I* was playing "people police". Of course, I call DPW when I see illegally parked tour buses, commercial vehicles speeding through residential neighborhoods, dangerous potholes, etc, etc....

It's called being a decent member of a community.

by oboe on Mar 14, 2011 11:47 am • linkreport

Oboe, I believe it's "ok" for me to have the opinion that former Cabinet heads should not be in the business of playing "the people's police." That's "my" opinion. Obviously, you disagree. And that's ok.

And yes, I understand what happened because I read both the article and the ensuing commentary.

Still, Klein needs to find something better to do with his time than play hemorrhoid. As you noted, he joined the chorus of many other active citizens. His voice just makes sure that this and other similar efforts will be seen through as convenient and possibly "partisan" lens as possible.

Gabe Klein go away and allow the city to heal on its own - absent your help.

Gracias!

by HogWash on Mar 14, 2011 11:55 am • linkreport

You'll have to define "the people's police" first if you want to advocate not being it. Because I have no idea what that means.

If I pick up someone's discarded pizza box, is that being the "people's police" too? As far as I know, Klein's a DC resident just like you and me. And I can't really see that there's anything to "heal" from. I mean, there may be some hyper-partisan folks out there for whom the losing side in the recent election should be banished to the wilderness forever, but I can't imagine that's more than a handful.

Certainly not anything like a mainstream opionion.

by oboe on Mar 14, 2011 11:59 am • linkreport

Uhm, no. But if you saw someone drop the box then you went to the authorities to report it, then by golly, that makes you the "people's police." Advocate/people's police. Both are used interchangeably.

And I'm not here to convince you (one way or the other) that that the city needs to heal. However, the responses of late prove my point.

As a DC resident, does Klein have the "right" to be the people's police. Absolutely. Whether or not he, as a former cabinet head, should be this is open to opinion. MY opinion is that he should save his voice for other things, if he uses it at all.

Banished to the wilderness? No! Just shut up over matters like such.

by HogWash on Mar 14, 2011 12:19 pm • linkreport

@HogWash:

Uhm, no. But if you saw someone drop the box then you went to the authorities to report it, then by golly, that makes you the "people's police." Advocate/people's police. Both are used interchangeably.

Ah, ok. Then I'm the "people's police" then. I'd do that in a heartbeat. Glad Klein's doing it, too.

When I was a bit younger, I watched a guy in an out-of-state Mercedes toss a half-empty bottle of soda out of his window into the gutter in my neighborhood. Thinking it was clearly an oversight, I picked it up, careful not to spill any of the remaining liquid, and tossed it back through the open window into his car for him. Then I casually rode off on my bike.

Would that be a "people's police" action? Or something different?

Anyway, I think one of the primary obligations of citizenship is to try to make the city we're living in a little less shitty. Obviously, people are free to disagree. I'm just glad to see there are countless thousands who are willing to be "people's police" nowadays.

by oboe on Mar 14, 2011 12:30 pm • linkreport

@HogWash: As a DC resident, does Klein have the "right" to be the people's police. Absolutely. Whether or not he, as a former cabinet head, should be this is open to opinion. MY opinion is that he should save his voice for other things, if he uses it at all.

Seriously, it's not. Some things are outside the scope of reasonable opinion. Having the opinion that former staff shouldn't comment on what happens in their city is like having the opinion that everyone should bounce around on pogo sticks as their main form of transportation. It's not an opinion that can be taken seriously.

by David desJardins on Mar 14, 2011 12:55 pm • linkreport

I was riding in the bike lane on Saturday afternoon and there were 3 or 4 cars parked in it between K and L. One of them was being written a ticket and the other 3 appeared to belong to people protesting that hotel for not being unionized.

by Nick on Mar 14, 2011 12:57 pm • linkreport

@David, I don't think there was any confusion that I posited "my" opinion. At no point in it, did I even attempt to convince you or conclude that my opinion should override all others.

You believe that former cabinet heads should involve themselves over the issuance of parking tickets. I do not nor believe that your "opinion" is unreasonable. It's your opinion. I just don't agree with it.

A more appropriate analogy is Condi Rice commenting on what the State Department should do in its actions against Libya. Sure, she's duly entitled to voice her opinion like the rest of us. Whether or not her voice should be given to that particular subject is up for discussion.

Obviously, both you and oboe would naturally disagree.

by HogWash on Mar 14, 2011 2:21 pm • linkreport

You believe that former cabinet heads should involve themselves over the issuance of parking tickets.

This is just a misrepresentation of our position.

A more appropriate analogy is Condi Rice commenting on what the State Department should do in its actions against Libya. Sure, she's duly entitled to voice her opinion like the rest of us. Whether or not her voice should be given to that particular subject is up for discussion.

No, an appropriate analogy would be if the retired postmaster general were to write a letter to the Post Office, complaining that he hadn't had any mail delivered in several weeks. Should that simple act be blown up into "ex-postmaster meddling in Post Office affairs", it reflects poorly on those misrepresenting it, not on the ex-postmaster.

by oboe on Mar 14, 2011 2:27 pm • linkreport

Why all the hating on pogo sticks?

by SJE on Mar 14, 2011 2:30 pm • linkreport

@Oboe, then what the heck are you disagreeing with?

I've stated (several times now) that I don't think it's appropriate for a former head of DDOT to get involved with an issue as minute as parking tickets.

The two of you chimed in with a different point of view. Not sure what else there is to debate about that. The posts should speak for themselves for anyone needing clarity on how this dialogue has ensued.

No point in presenting another analogy that you will later deem inappropriate.

by HogWash on Mar 14, 2011 2:57 pm • linkreport

@HogWash: @Oboe, then what the heck are you disagreeing with?

I think he's disagreeing that unreasonable "opinions" like yours can or should be taken seriously. He's saying that your "opinions" are so wildly outside the bounds of reasonable thought that they make you look ridiculous.

by David desJardins on Mar 14, 2011 3:07 pm • linkreport

I was going to analogize this to Cathy Lanier losing her job, then finding herself calling 911 when she sees some guys in black masks, clutching giant bags of money, running out of a bank, guns a-blazin'.

Shame on her for inappropriately inserting herself into the process!

Just cause I like analogies.

But, anyway, @HogWash, this is a public forum, and it's analogous(!) to sitting in a barber shop, shooting the breeze. You can't join the conversation, then when someone responds, tell 'em to put a sock in it 'cause you're entitled to your opinion.

Well, okay, you can, but it won't be very effective.

:)

by oboe on Mar 14, 2011 3:40 pm • linkreport

David, maybe my position is ridiculous only to those who take pleasure at the feet of King Gabe Klein, JesusSuperStar

But for the rest of the thinking public, I don't believe many would disagree that a former cabinet official should refrain from commenting on such miniscule matters, especially considering the toxic environment those from his previous administration helped to create. That applies to anyone from Dick Cheney to Gabe Klein.

So if anyone looks ridiculous, I have to give the prize to the two of you, who've taken the liberty to tell me that my opinion (re what former cabinet heads should comment on) is unreasonable.

Geesh! If it's not silly people basically letting DAl know that he's no longer "one of them" it's other silly stuff like this.

by HogWash on Mar 14, 2011 3:43 pm • linkreport

@Hogwash looks like the next to have his comment deleted....

by David desJardins on Mar 14, 2011 4:19 pm • linkreport

Why is it that if you park illegally anywhere else in the city for even FIVE MINUTES, you'll likely end up with a parking ticket from DC's insanely effective/efficient parking enforcement. But, they can't seem to getting around to ticketing illegal parkers in bike lanes?

by Falls Church on Mar 14, 2011 5:00 pm • linkreport

@Falls Church:

Why is it that if you park illegally anywhere else in the city for even FIVE MINUTES, you'll likely end up with a parking ticket from DC's insanely effective/efficient parking enforcement. But, they can't seem to getting around to ticketing illegal parkers in bike lanes?

From the Washington Post interview w/ DDOT:

"The bike lanes are new and people are still getting used to them. We don't want to ask DPW to give out tickets," said Lisle. "There are certainly some people who are not thrilled with the bike lanes and who don't understand them. We want to make our streets more balanced for all of our users."

Yes, really.

by oboe on Mar 14, 2011 5:19 pm • linkreport

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