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Morning links: Rebutting stereotypes and arguments

Photo by cliff1066™ on Flickr.
End tired bicycle stereotypes: Ann Scott Tyson summarizes Metro's efforts to encourage biking to stations, but Lydia DePillis takes exception to the characterization of bicycling as only for the intrepid or ideologically dedicated. (Post, City Paper)

"Cheap shot" on BRAC: Richard Layman says an Examiner editorial criticizing local governments for not just building roads around BRAC installations is a "cheap shot," since local governments don't have that money, Congress could have stepped up, and since when is the Examiner a fan of unfunded mandates? (RPUS)

Floreen vs. the bag fee: Montgomery Councilmember Nancy Floreen comes out against a 5¢ bag fee, saying it's a "nickel and diming" waste of time if it won't clean up the Chesapeake all on its own; Keith Berner says it'll make a positive impact and the Council spends plenty of time on more frivolous topics. (Post)

Talking buses hot topic in Portland: Portland spent $46,000 on audible turn warning systems for their buses. A female engineer duplicated the talking bus technology for $10 on YouTube, which prompted the CTO of the company that sold it to make a sexist remark in the comments. (The Oregonian, Ken Archer)

Metro morsels: No Board members and only 2 members of the public attended a hearing on WMATA's capital budget ... After eliminating closely-placed bus stops along 4 lines in the fall, Metro has backtracked on some of the changes in wards 4 and 5 following some resident pushback. (Examiner)

How to win a contest: Robert Solorzano, winner of the Capital Bikeshare "Winter Weather Warrior" contest, rode to every one of the 104 stations in one bad weather day, including east of the river and Crystal City. (TBD)

TJ parents argue over ESL: Fairfax County's most elite public high school, Thomas Jefferson, will offer English as a Second Language instruction, raising some questions about whether the school emphasizes math and science too much in admissions and angering others who resent the numbers of immigrants at the school. (Post)

Tell residents, not commuters, about program: To advertise a HUD-financed program to encourage home ownership among long-time residents of Ivy City and Trinidad to encourage home ownership, a sign was placed along a commuter highway that the residents don't use. (District Curmudgeon)

Lessons from New York: The Bloomberg administration defended New York's new bike lanes, noting that most New Yorkers support them including local community boards (like DC's ANCs). (Streetsblog, NYT) ... New York's grid is now 200 years old, an urban form that gets newfound respect (like in Tysons and White Flint) after a period of scorn during suburban development. (NYT, Post)

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David Alpert is the founder of Greater Greater Washington and its board president. 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 now lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle. 


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interesting movie for GGW-types:

It was lefties who wanted us to move to the suburbs....

by charlie on Mar 22, 2011 10:10 am • linkreport

Metro eliminated 67 bus stops, then restored 7 stops and moved 6 others.

Things are working as they should. Detailed ridership studies cost lots of money. It makes sense to spend that kind of money before building an expensive rail line. But it's too expensive to do before adjusting a bus route, or even before starting a new bus route. You need to try things, see how they work, and adjust.

by Ben Ross on Mar 22, 2011 10:45 am • linkreport

I'm not impressed by the $10 Portland thing. Yeah, it cost her $10 in parts, but parts aren't the main driver of cost. Staff time, testing, certification, etc. The engineer goes out of her way to exaggerate the costs associated with Tri-Mets version every way she can, and then mentions only the most limited, stripped-down version of the costs for her own project. And even then it's still not as good as Tri-Met's, because you can't understand what hers is saying.

I hate these turning announcements, and certainly don't think sexism is called for, but I'm not impressed by the intellectual dishonesty in this claim.

by BeyondDC on Mar 22, 2011 10:49 am • linkreport

TJHS issue is tricky. TJ is a minority majority school and I think their concern about recent immigrants is valid. Its reputation has attracted a flurry of recent immigrants from South Korea, China and India, some of whom learn about TJ long before landing in the United States. It appears to many parents that many recent immigrants are manly gamming the system to get into an elite High School and taking up spots from students who grew up in the district. The question for Fairfax is TJHS for Fairfax County or the World. Of course gaming the system to get into a better school is as american as apple pie.

by RJ on Mar 22, 2011 10:53 am • linkreport

I've already emailed Montgomery Councilmember Nancy Floreen and encourage others to do the same. It's sad the MoCo lags behind on so many issues for electing a supposedly progressive council.

by jag on Mar 22, 2011 11:01 am • linkreport

It is not clear to me why a HUD program would want to focus on current residents. It is funded by the federal government and intended for low-income people. If the sign was seen by people on a bus during their commute and encourages them to live in close-in Trinadad that is great! GGW sounds like it is advocating parochial interests.

by MW on Mar 22, 2011 11:52 am • linkreport

What if one of those bus commuters that saw the sign used to live in Trinadad and had to leave because of cost. Do their interests matter less because they are no longer DC voters?
All local governments are going to be biased towards their voters, GGW should be fighting this bias.

by MW on Mar 22, 2011 11:56 am • linkreport

The Portland article glosses over the cause of the problem: bus drivers turning corners and running over pedestrians who are crossing with the lights. Telling pedestrians the driver is turning basically means that the peds should get out of the way, instead of getting the driver to act responsibly. Perhaps a few traffic tickets and manslaughter charges would have done the job a lot faster.

by SJE on Mar 22, 2011 12:45 pm • linkreport

Sounds like those of us who favor eliminating excessive bus stops need to praise WMATA loudly the next time it does so.

by Liz_B on Mar 23, 2011 3:24 pm • linkreport

@jag I emailed Nancy as well, telling her that I support her non-support of the bag tax. She brings up some excellent points, it is a regressive tax, won't make much of an impact, is unhealthy/unsanitary, doesn't encourage people to reuse bags that most people are already reusing. Since moving to DC, I have never bought trash bags, because I reuse clean bags for use as trash bags, transport items, etc. This tax would also be a big drain on all the wasted effort of asking how many bags do you want? Oh, they are five cents a piece, oh well I guess I will take 5 then, it is crazyness.

by anon on Mar 24, 2011 1:38 am • linkreport

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