Greater Greater Washington

Breakfast links: Full of contradictions


Photo by Stéfan on Flickr.
VA wants cheap Dulles station: State and county officials want the MWAA to choose the cheapest alternative for the Dulles Airport station. The financiers will not operate the line so they have little incentive to balance cost with operational effectiveness. (Examiner)

Robbery footage released: Metro released the security camera footage of a December robbery which contradicts both the anonymous reports from Unsuck DC Metro as well as the official report from Metro Transit Police. (City Paper)

Manufactured bike lane opposition: ANC Commissioner Tom Smith opposes a bike lane on New Mexico Avenue because people might back out of driveways through the lane. A skeptical cyclist took a ride along the stretch and found there's not a single driveway from which a driver would ever back out. (Tales from the Sharrows)

Health impact of SE bike lane: A Johns Hopkins public health professor will conduct a Health Impact Assessment of a planned Ward 8 bike lane, which will connect several groceries, healthcare facilities, schools and rec centers with community. (WABA)

Metro to lengthen some trains: WMATA will lengthen 5 trains to 8-cars on the Red and Orange Lines, just in time for the Cherry Blossom Festival. The new 8-car trains will remain in service even after the peak tourist weeks. (DCist)

Liberal NIMBYism in our back yard: After the NY Times wrote about the hypocrisy of liberals who support environmental protection and sustainability in theory but oppose it vehemently in practice, Ryan Avent expounds on the logical disconnect and says the Brookland redevelopment fight is a prime example in DC. (The Bellows)

NFL owners forget public financing: Entitled NFL team owners shut down the league, then complain about "their" expensive new stadiums going unused, forgetting that the public on average pays for more than 50% of stadium costs. (Post)

Landover Redskins?: Redskins owner Dan Snyder has told the Washington Post it cannot use the name "Redskins" in the title of its local NFL blog, claiming he wants to protect and control the brand. (Post) ... Greg Otto says DC should do the same and ask Snyder to stop calling the suburban team the Washington Redskins. (WTOP)

And...: The Examiner talks with Hillcrest blogger, Greater Greater Washington contributor and transportation advocate Veronica Davis. ... DC DPW apparently takes a "do as I say, not as I do" attitude toward traffic and parking laws. (WAMU) ... Some extra color has appeared on the vault of the Eastern Market Metro station. (BeyondDC)

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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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I really hate to defend Dan Snyder, but he is right. Protecting team identification is rule #1 in team ownership. Every pro and college teams have their names and symbols copyrighted. Outside of the product on the field (Redskins noted exception), the name and symbol is the most important investment you have.

by RJ on Mar 16, 2011 9:05 am • linkreport

What's amazing to me is that DPW does not give "professional courtesy" to each other's vehicles. Good for the ticket writers.

by ah on Mar 16, 2011 9:07 am • linkreport

And Sally Jenkins is full of it. "Repay what they owe us". LOL. Show me the contract.

by Lou on Mar 16, 2011 9:08 am • linkreport

@RJ - Is it "protecting" the investment the case when you're basically telling a newspaper not to use the team's name in reporting about it? (And the IP at issue here is mainly trademark, not a copyright)

by ah on Mar 16, 2011 9:09 am • linkreport

@RJ

No, Snyder is not right. He can protect the use of the team logo, but the very name of the team (being used for a news organization blog about the team) is not subject to trademark.

Sorry, I don't see any way that this would pass muster.

by Alex B. on Mar 16, 2011 9:15 am • linkreport

Um, does Danny Snyder hate himself as much as he hates Redskins fans? The Post gives the Skins more free advertising than any other organization/paper/site. Why would Snyder want to jeopardize that? Maybe the Post should agree, and retaliate by not publishing anything about the Skins for a while. Wait, what blog am I commenting on? This is the sports bog right? Up with Cheese Boy!

by DAJ on Mar 16, 2011 9:20 am • linkreport

Snyder is probably legally right; courts have upheld this kind of thing before.

But I don't believe that he is right. Is the Post profiting from using the R**skins name? Probably, because it's a way of accurately portraying what the blog is about: the Washington R**skins. Calling it anything but "R**skins Insider" would be inaccurate and misleading.

IANAL, but I believe this would fall under nominative use, which basically means that you can use someone's trademark to reference the product or service.

by Tim on Mar 16, 2011 9:24 am • linkreport

DAJ: the Redskins's advertising is not free, Danny finances the WaPo sports section and they know it. He's bought their silence on his latest lawsuit. Nothing is free, especially not in NEWS reporting. Sorry to be cynical, but there are exactly zero reporters that aren't financed by who they cover one way or another. Everyone plays professional ethics, but everyone's ethics are fungible.

I think what he's objecting to is not the use of the term Redskins in print, it's having a title with the name Redskins. That's effectively using his brand in their brand and would not be kosher.

by ahk on Mar 16, 2011 9:26 am • linkreport

Dear Dan Snyder,

You are hereby ordered to cease and desist using the name "Redskins". As a Native American, I, my tribe and my fellow tribes want to control and protect the slur from the use of white men for profit.

Sincerely,

An Ojibwe

by Redline SOS on Mar 16, 2011 9:28 am • linkreport

Alex and ah,

Ah correct trademark, but Dan has spent millions protecting the name in court.

"The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted a formal trademark in 1967, and it has been renewed several times since. The team has said it has spent "millions of dollars ... promoting, advertising, and protecting its mark."

A Patent Office appeals board in 1999 canceled the trademarks, but the Redskins successfully appealed in federal court.”

Reporting and using the name redskins is one thing. Promoting a blog with the name Redskins is another. It’s journalism vrs marketing. The blog title is marketing; at least that is how Dan sees it.

by RJ on Mar 16, 2011 9:29 am • linkreport

Projects like the Silver Line are why "mass transit spending" has become such a 4 letter word in the US.

Sold to the public in 2003 with a 4 billion dollar price tag, we've now almost doubled it by going to 7 billion, and lets not kid ourselves, we have years to go before it is done. The cost will continue to climb.

While I think its typical Bechtel BS to say building next to the terminal will cost an ADDITIONAL 600 million, the real blame goes right back to the MWAA.

We just went through a 2.5 year mega recession where the cost of all commodities, materials (steel etc) and labor were at 20 year lows. Companies with money were dumping it into capital projects because it was cheaper to do it then and the money went further. MWAA is one of those inept agencies that not only didn't see any savings, but actually are being taken for more.

Projects like these always get started with the bare minimum in design or due diligence, hence the enormous price creep.

Where was the station originally designed? If it was orginally slated to be next to the terminal, then tell Bechtel to go pound sand with their price increase. If the station wasn't placed or was elsewhere, well....then thats our fault.

Public officials need to follow the axion "measure twice, cut once". Everyone is always in a frenzy to "break ground"...(when can we break ground, when can we start?) but if the entities running these bloated public albatrosses would simply institute a 12 month detailed review period AFTER they have their permits and funding in hand and prior to putting a shovel into the ground, billions would be saved.

by freely on Mar 16, 2011 9:34 am • linkreport

@RJ

Yes, that's how he sees it. And he's wrong.

Can the Post reference the Redskins by name in a headline? If it appears on the front page and helps sell papers, is that a violation?

Sorry, I don't buy it. The nature of professional sports involves some level of the public interest, and that means exposing the team's brand to a certain degree of fair use. This kind of stuff isn't even close to the line, as far as I'm concerned.

I'm not a lawyer, but Snyder's long pattern of behavior on issues like this show he has no real conception of where the line is. He tried to ban pedestrians from walking to FedEx Field, for crying out loud.

by Alex B. on Mar 16, 2011 9:35 am • linkreport

@Alex B - It's called fair use. Reporting on it and using it in a headline is ok. Branding the blog...more of a gray area but would likely be ok if the Post were willing to spend on a lawsuit to defend it's use, but it's cost-benefit is not likely worth it.

by Redline SOS on Mar 16, 2011 9:44 am • linkreport

The Post should comply with Snyder's demands immediately, and rename the blog Snyder's Folly, or Dan's Debacle. That has the triple advantages of being (accurately) descriptive, not offending any group's racial sensibilities, and not infringing on trademark protections. Problem solved.

by dcd on Mar 16, 2011 10:03 am • linkreport

Wait, the NFL and MLB are basically branches of two shitty, monopolistic, hyper-conservative organization that embody the worst of corporate excesses. I'm simply *shocked* that they would behave in such a way!

GO BofA! BEAT JP MORGAN CHASE!

God, our "culture" can be depressing at times.

by oboe on Mar 16, 2011 10:30 am • linkreport

Although Tom Smith probably doesn't deserve fairness, my understanding of his expressed concern was not cars *backing* out of driveways, but rather cars driving out of driveways at all. He claimed that it would require drivers to cross not only the parking lane but also the bike lane to proceed into the driving lane, and that reduced visibility from parking already made this difficult.

It seemed to me to be a pretty incoherent argument anyway, and that the problem (if there is one) is parked cars, not bicyclists (who are there with or without a bike lane). But as the blog post shows, there are very few driveways anyway, two of which have stop lights and others that already are pretty wide.

by ah on Mar 16, 2011 10:46 am • linkreport

@freely
You claim "Projects like these always get started with the bare minimum in design or due diligence, hence the enormous price creep."

The price creep is the result of low balling the original price to sell it to the public

What is being built now is bare minimum.

If Dulles Transit Partners was building what was proposed in the DEIS the price tag when all was said and done would have been a third higher then highest cost estimate with the station in subway at the airport.

All of the access facilities at all of the station were based on 2020 passenger boarding.

All the access facilities at all of the stations have been scaled back to reduce costs. The three elevated station in Tysons Corner were relocated to lower the cost of the access facilities. The one station in subway in Tysons Corner was changed to surface to reduce costs. Provision for a future Wolf Trap station was deleted. Both of the pocket track on either side of Tysons Corner were deleted and replaced with double corssovers. Changes were made to the traction power distribution system to reduce cost (lower kilowatt output capacity). Changes were made to the train control system to reduce costs (fewer track circuits, lowering the maximum number of trains per hour).

This is just a few of the big ticket items on a long list of changes that were made to reduce the overall cost of the project.

by Sand Box John on Mar 16, 2011 10:55 am • linkreport

Why, why, why do jurisdictions spend money on stadiums? It doesn't make sense to me.

The only thing I can come up with is that they provide advertising for the metro area. The DC area is already prominent enough that it doesn't need advertising (same as LA, which has no NFL team).

I would think PG / Landover would want the team to be called the Landover Redskins that would add the advertising component. (Think of the Anaheim Angels). Of course the team wants to be associated with the maximum population possible and hence chooses Washington in its title (referring to the Metro area, not the District).

by MW on Mar 16, 2011 11:20 am • linkreport

Did Landover put any money towards FedEx field? I thought JKC built it with his own money.

by ah on Mar 16, 2011 11:42 am • linkreport

@Sandbox,

Of COURSE, Bechtel lowballed MWAA. Thats to be expected and isn't the problem. The problem is that MWAA didn't KNOW they were being lowballed and didn't have their requirements or scope documents in place to the point where they knew they were being lowballed.

I think Bechtel is satans spawn, but do you really blame them? MWAA comes to them with some scribbly lines on a piece of paper that starts in Falls Church and ends past the airport. There were no engineering plans, no structural designs or site plans done for stations complete. Bechtel gaev them a price that reflected the cheapest, easiest alignment and price with the fewest requirements because no one told them otherwise. This is how a 4 billion dollar project goes to 7 billion in 5 years.

This is exactly why Bechtel is eating MWAA's lunch. None of that crap was done and their price and contract was smart enough to reflect those unknowns. Had MWAA known these things they could have entered into a more of a "fixed price" arrangement, but no.

This isn't the contractors fault. This is the fault of the MWAA and the so called infrasture experts (fresh out of school mba's that haven't built a dog house, let alone a complicated 4 billion dollar transit program).

The entire goal of contracts management is to have a contract solid enough that it doesn't fall easy prey to each and every change that comes down the street. MWAA dropped the ball on this big time and its the local taxpayers who have to eat it.

by freely on Mar 16, 2011 11:54 am • linkreport

Yay for more 8-car trains on Orange and Red!

by Nick on Mar 16, 2011 1:53 pm • linkreport

Tip for the Post: Completely eliminate the term Redskins from the paper. Consistently refer to the Redskins as Washington's Team of Football (WTF). Go back in your online archives and replace all references to the Redskins. Check whether advertisers using the word Redskins have a signed license agreement with Snyder.

Tip for Fairfax and Loudoun: Stop being so cheap and built a decent station at Dulles. You are making gazillions in tax revenue, now get us a decent metro station.

by Jasper on Mar 16, 2011 3:13 pm • linkreport

If the NFL season is scrapped, the CFL will be available on espn3.com. Since the CFL gets most of its revenue from the gate, its owners can't behave arrogantly for fear of reducing attendance. Plus, the 20 second clock does not give players time to celebrate any play. I'm tired of showboating players.

by Chuck Coleman on Mar 16, 2011 7:20 pm • linkreport

Left this message to the chairwoman and my district supervisor of Fairfax County:

Dear Chair(wo)man,

Via GGW, I found your quote in the Examiner regarding the new Dulles metro station: "In a perfect world, it would be nice to have the rail pull up and then you step off and get on your airplane, but we know it's not a perfect world"

http://washingtonexaminer.com/local/dc/2011/03/va-officials-push-above-ground-metro-station-dulles

I am disappointed at this statement. We have one chance to get it right. Fairfax is getting an infinite tax stream from Dulles' presence in the county (on the county border), because Dulles will not go away. The metro station will be there forever. So, the cost write off can be spread out infinitely, making the cost pretty much zero.

Please, do not chip on this one. Do not become the chair(wo)man that everybody will remember for being too cheap to build a decent station under Dulles. In twenty years, the current economic circumstances will be distant past, but a cheapo metro station will still be inconvenient to millions of travelers.

Please remember that getting of the plane is one of the first impressions that Fairfax County residents, Virginians, Washingtonians, and tourists, domestic and international have of the US, the capital region, the commonwealth and our county is at Dulles. It was for me. On my first trip from the Netherlands to Florida in 1999, I changed planes in Dulles. Now I live here with as a permanent resident.

Being Dutch, I am a unique position to speak out on having a good metro station under the airport. In the last decade, the Dutch government and railway system have invested a lot of money in expanding the railway station under Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. It is straight under the arrival hall, as shown in the image.

Schiphol

A ticket on the national airline KLM doubles as a free train ticket from any station in the nation to the airport. I have personally seen and used that underground station many times, while I lived in the Netherlands as well as on my travels back to my old home.

There is something magic about being able to catch a train before you walk out the door. It completely changes the dynamics of choosing to drive or take the train to the airport. And it shows, more and more people do choose to ride the train to the airport.

So again, please do not mess this up. I know we live in tough economic times [...]. But that is no reason to destroy the first impression millions of residents and visitors alike get from our county and metro system. Build a good metro system and a good station under Dulles.

Thank you for you attention.

Jasper

by Jasper on Mar 16, 2011 8:25 pm • linkreport

@Chuck Coleman

Hooray for three downs and no restrictions on backfield motion.

by Alex B. on Mar 16, 2011 10:15 pm • linkreport

@freely
The costs for the Silver line project was low balled long before WMAA even entered the picture.

As to your statement, "There were no engineering plans, no structural designs or site plans done for stations complete." is not totally true. There were some rough estimates for the various alignment schemes that were proposed and pretty detailed basic plans, sections and profile of the stations and alignments in both the DEIS and the FEIS. There were also thousand of pages of preliminary engineering drawings done before anything was submitted to the Federal Transit Administration for funding grant approval. Again those documents were prepared before WMAA even entered the picture.

One of the likely reason why the Federal Transit Administration balked at approving the funding grant money is the cost estimate didn't jive with what the preliminary engineering drawings were telling them. And for a third time this happened before WMAA even entered the picture.

WMAA had a pretty good idea what they were going to deal with when they finely entered the picture, they reran the number and came up with something closer to reality.

by Sand Box John on Mar 16, 2011 10:51 pm • linkreport

Regarding Dulles, one would assume that if you're spending great sums of money to build Metro to get there, you'd better find a way to put the stop less than a quarter of a mile from the terminal. And don't give me the moving sidewalks argument, so long as one third of Metro's escalators are broken at any moment. If you are going to build the system, spend the damned money and put the stop where it is convenient and where people - with lots of luggage - will use it. And where they will use it in all kinds of weather.

Regarding the football team that Daniel M. Snyder owns, perhaps we can take a lesson from the sainted Myron Cope, the late voice of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Mr Cope, a pugnacious but charitable chap, thought the term Redskins was racist. During the final game at Three Rivers Stadium, he kept referring to the badly outclassed Washington team as the Wash Redfaces.

Daniel M. Snyder, sitting in his box and obviously listening to Cope's on air screeching, sent one of his minions into the broadcast booth with a note demanding that Cope should refer to the team as the Redskins. Bad idea.

Coming back after a commercial break, Cope told his listeners of the note and
squawked, "if that boy billionaire thinks he can tell me what to say on the radio, he can go stick his head in a can of paint!" And Redfaces it was for the rest of the broadcast, as Cope's Steelers demolished Snyder's team.

The WTF's sounds good to me....but if not, Wash Redfaces will certainly suffice for Daniel M. Snyder's embarrassment of a football team.

by Mike Silverstein on Mar 17, 2011 3:02 am • linkreport

@Mike Silverstein
Maintaining the moving sidewalks will not be the responsibility of WMATA as they are presently being maintained by MWAA.

MWAA has a long term plan to build a land side people mover system between the main terminal and the parking facilities.

by Sand Box John on Mar 17, 2011 8:35 am • linkreport

Why, why, why do jurisdictions spend money on stadiums? It doesn't make sense to me.

Because if you don't there's a pretty good chance that your team will pick up and leave to another city.

by Falls Church on Mar 16, 2012 10:46 am • linkreport

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