Greater Greater Washington

Posts by Steven Yates

Steven Yates grew up in Indiana before moving to DC in 2002 to attend college at American University. He currently lives in Southwest DC.  


Breakfast links: Ward 8 winners

Photo by Bob Simmons on Flickr.
Bike lanes in all 8 wards: Ward 8 should get its first bike lanes soon. The 3 lanes totaling about 1.5 miles will eventually connect to a planned off-road South Capitol Street bike trail. Or maybe they aren't the first after all? (City Paper, Twitter)

Wait, there's an election?: You probably don't know there's an election Tuesday for the Ward 8 State Board of Education seat. The DC Council could have moved it to November and saved about $300,000, but didn't. (City Paper)

Housing the homeless: DC will most likely replace its 1350-bed homeless shelter downtown near its current spot, but will there be room for everything? (DCist) ... Silver Spring will get a replacement homeless shelter in a land swap deal. (WBJ)

A small moratorium lift: New restaurants in Adams Morgan can now apply for a liquor license, though many other aspects of the 14-year moratorium remain in place. The move comes with the support of the local ANC. (DCist)

FBI to... AFRH?: Springfield and Poplar Point are probably out for the FBI headquarters, since GSA now wants even bigger security setbacks than before. The federal government also is apparently considering the Armed Forces Retirement Home on North Capitol Street and the Walter Reed campus. (Post)

Facelift for Upper Marlboro?: Upper Marlboro's business district could get a sprucing up if it wins a grant to improve storefront facades. Business owners would have to partially match any funds that would improve their stores. (Gazette)

Where are the stores?: Manassas Park hopes a recently-built mixed-use building near the VRE station will revitalize downtown, but that will only work if retail stores actually open up there. (Potomac Local)

Filmed in DC?: Can DC's new movie and TV office head woo more films and shows to shoot in the District? Do overlapping federal and local rules make it too daunting? And is it worth it to get into an incentives arms race with other states? (City Paper)

And...: Montgomery County is thinking about a 24 hour snow removal law. (WAMU)... What can you do with a shipping pallet and some wheels? Ride streetcar rails. (Pulptastic) ... A man says an Uber driver took him on a high-speed chase. (Post)

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Breakfast links: Adjust your plans

Photo by dpbirds on Flickr.
Leave your car at home: Driving and parking will be difficult near the Mall for July 4th. You could try a different spot to view the fireworks, or bike or take Metro. (Post)

Everything longer on the Blue Line: WMATA will add more 8-car trains to the Blue Line. This will make up just a bit for the fact that when the Silver Line opens there will be fewer Blue Line trains. (Post)

Housing beats offices: Most early buildings in the Capitol Riverfront/Navy Yard area were offices, but residential now dominates in more recent buildings as the market has shifted. (City Paper)

How to make housing affordable: A new report identifies six strategies for dealing with the housing affordability crisis, including: Build more subsidized housing, build housing on vacant lots, exempt fewer properties from inclusionary zoning, and "granny flats" or accessory apartments. Which DC's Office of Planning just backed down on. (Post)

What happens in Tenleytown: Why were the Fort Reno concerts canceled, and then reinstated? The Park Police wanted officers at the events, but organizers balked; however, other events in NPS parks do require police. Who's right? (City Paper)

Trashy work: Gray administration officials said they "look[ed] like idiots" after the botched new trash can rollout. (City Paper) ... Arlington's former trash pickup contractor claims cronyism was behind losing the contract to another. (ArlNow)

Senator leaves big shoes to fill: Chuck Colgan, president pro tempore of the Virginia Senate, will retire. He pushed hard to get transportation funds (usually for big road projects) in Prince William County, and its clout may now decline. (Potomac Local)

Crosswalk enforcement: Chicago police are doing crosswalk enforcement, but not just to ticket pedestrians like many such stings: they are chasing down and ticketing drivers who don't stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk. (Chicago Tribune)

Bike in a skirt: With just a penny and rubber band, women wearing (loose and flowing enough) skirts can ride a bicycle without flashing anyone. (Slate)

And...: DC voting rights leaders suggest spending the holiday weekend somewhere other than Maryland's Eastern Shore to protest Rep. Andy Harris' meddling. (Post) ... Montgomery County will put solar panels on its garages. (Gazette) ... Were Ft. Myer Constructions' political connections behind a suspiciously lucrative deal? (City Paper)

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Breakfast links: Build for bikes

Photo by neilfein on Flickr.
Trail rebuild gets OK: Plans to rehabilitate the Rock Creek Park Trail passed a major hurdle after clearing environmental review. DDOT now has to finish the design and engineering, both of which are funded. (WABA)

Bike lanes mean more space: Drivers give cyclists more room when passing if there is a bike lane painted on the street. This may help explain why cyclists feel safer with dedicated infrastructure. (Streetsblog)

Bikes are the real menace!: The Georgetown ANC finally supports traffic calming... for bikes. The ANC and Jack Evans want raised crosswalks on K Street to slow bike traffic. Yet 4 pedestrians died in collisions with drivers in the past 10 years. (GM)

Support for stadium?: Will the DC Council support a new stadium for DC United? It's not really clear after a hearing. Many expressed concern over whether DC was getting the best deal in the land swap, but few opposed it outright. Tommy Wells says he'll only support it if there is better transit. (City Paper)

No liquor delivery?: A service that offered deliver liquor to people in DC is breaking the law by taking money for alcoholic products without a license, say regulators, and will stop immediately. Could services like LivingSocial also be breaking the law? (WBJ)

A bigger Circulator?: The Bethesda Circulator might expand from its current 19-stop route. While many have called for expansion, funding and maintaining frequency remain obstacles. (BethesdaNow)

Check out affordable housing: Libraries can often serve as de facto homeless shelters, so now librarians are taking up the cause of affordable housing. Libraries are also hiring social workers and sometimes hiring the homeless outright. (Post)

And...: Virginia is starting to ticket Uber and Lyft drivers. (Post) ... Chinatown will get a women's shelter instead of high-end condos. (WBJ) ... To celebrate the National Zoo's 125th anniversary, Metro will offer 4 animal-themed SmarTrip cards. (DCist)

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Breakfast links: All the colors

Photo by @Doug88888 on Flickr.
Finance buildings for green cards: A lot of the financing behind DC's biggest new developments, like the Marriott Marquis, comes from foreign investors who get green cards in exchange for their investments. (City Paper)

Purple Line draws suit: Some Chevy Chase groups will bring a lawsuit to try to block the Purple Line, ostensibly over some endangered shrimp. Even if they lose, they might be able to delay the project and make it cost more. (Post)

Yellow cabs vs. black sedans: Hundreds of taxi drivers tangled up traffic in DC yesterday by effectively shutting down Pennsylvania Ave. The cabbies were protesting services like Uber and Lyft. (WAMU)

Riders needn't be blue over Silver: People who ride the Blue Line between Pentagon and Rosslyn will have fewer trains once the Silver Line opens, but new bus service should ease some of the pain. (PlanItMetro)

(Not) seeing red: A signal problem at Silver Spring and a train malfunction at NoMA snarled the Red Line yesterday. (Post)

Dulles losing out?: Dulles' domestic traffic has dropped as more people use DCA. Officials in Loudoun worry this activity moving east will hurt their economy, but MWAA wants to keep Dulles growing. (WBJ)

Riemer defends Met Branch: Among all the elected officials who weighed in on the EYA project at Takoma Metro, Hans Riemer is the only one who mentioned making sure the Metropolitan Branch Trail can continue through the site. (TheWashCycle)

Harris legalized marijuana?: The House voted to block funding for DC to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana. But if it's no longer a crime, and DC can't write regulations for a lesser offense, did Andy Harris accidentally legalize it entirely? (Post)

Detroit loses its grid: In 1949, Detroit had a nice street grid. But a series of photographs shows how over time it got hollowed out for expressways, stadiums, and parking. (Streetsblog)

And...: Baltimore is using a trash-skimming machine powered by runoff to clean the Inner Harbor. (NPR) ... Eleanor Holmes Norton stops her driverless car ride before it even starts. (Post) ... Why did so few voters turn out in Montgomery County for Tuesday's primary election? (Post)

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Breakfast links: Cross safely

Photo by thisisbossi on Flickr.
75 years of pedestrian signals: DC got its first pedestrian signal 75 years ago at 13th and Pennsylvania NW. Since then, pedestrian signals have seen innovations like countdown timers, leading pedestrian intervals, and HAWK signals. (Express)

Mostly pedestrian's fault?: Baltimore County police say that pedestrians are at fault 80% of the time when they get hit. Police are now running an awareness campaign after a high number of pedestrian fatalities, but will the county reexamine its road designs? (WBAL)

Fast track for Bi-County?: Governor McAuliffe is apparently likely to push forward with the Bi-County Parkway from Prince William to Loudoun. McAuliffe says it's important to boost demand at Dulles, but is cargo at Dulles really the top priority for transportation? Is McAuliffe making a big mistake? (Leesburg Today, Post, Bacon's Rebellion)

More roads not the answer: Why do building bigger roads just make traffic worse? Induced demand, where as more roads get built, more people want to drive on them. But congestion pricing could be the solution to packed roads. (Wired, JK)

Preservation threatens deal: A plan by the GSA to swap a building at 7th and C SW for work at St. Elizabeths hit a roadblock: the DC Preservation League nominated the building for landmark status. Is it worth protecting? What if that imperils St. E's? (WBJ)

More transit to museum: Ever wanted to visit the Air and Space Museum's Udvar-Hazy Center near Dulles but don't have a car (or don't want to pay to park)? Once the Silver Line opens, Fairfax Connector Route 983 will run there from Wiehle. (Post)

And...: Bars and restaurants in DC are getting bigger. (WBJ) ... 14 new speed cameras will start giving out tickets in DC today. (Post) ... Jet Blue will start offering service to West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale in December from DCA. (WBJ)

Help us with the links!: Our new link curators Kelli Lafferty, David Koch, and Melissa Lindsjo have been putting together great sets once a week, but we need one more curator to replace Sam Sherwood on Fridays. Can it be you? Email!

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The MIT solution to small-space living

One way to increase density in our cities is to make living units smaller. But this can present problems when you have to fit bathroom, kitchen, sleeping, and living areas in a small space. But a group at MIT has come up with an innovative solution:

The CityHome puts sleeping, bathing, cooking, and living facilities all in one cube that you use gestures to operate. The set up allows you to condense all these in one compact area, freeing up precious floor space in a small apartment.


Compare the area's rail and bus systems

Washington area is lucky to have so many transit options. But how they differ? Metro created an infographic that compares the area's current (and some future) rail systems as well as several levels of bus service:

Click on the image for a full-size version. What surprises you about this information?


Breakfast links: Who needs a license?

Photo by Via Tsuji on Flickr.
Taxis vs. the future: DC's taxi industry came under a lot of criticism at a hearing on a bill to permanently legalize services like UberX, Sidecar, and Lyft. David Grosso accused Taxicab Commission Chairman Ron Linton of having "a fear of the future." (Post)

License to tour: Giving tours in DC without a license can get someone potentially jailed for 90 days. Do we need to have licenses at all? Tim Krepp said almost 4 years ago that this is probably unnecessary and the test isn't very good. (Economist)

Not too high: The FAA may impose stricter height limits near airports, which could seriously impact growth in areas like Rosslyn and Crystal City. (ArlNow)

Get ready to bike to work: It's Bike to Work Day on Friday. There will be pit stops across the area to pick up t-shirts and snacks in the morning, and 4 set up for the evening commute. (DCist)

No place to park: DC has installed over 2,000 bike racks in 10 years, but it's not nearly enough, especially in busy areas like 14th Street and the Golden Triangle. (Post)

Bus flips: An Arlington Transit bus flipped over yesterday while attempting to climb a hill. The driver had let passengers off the bus after a check engine light came on, so there were no injuries. (ArlNow)

From students to Shakespeare: The former Southeastern University campus will be converted into housing for actors and the Shakespeare Theatre Company. The campus has been vacant since 2009. (STLQTC)

Solar pavement: What if we paved our roads with solar panels? There is now a working prototype that would allow us to do just that. In theory, they could generate 3 times the amount of electricity the US uses today. (Atlantic Cities)

And...: Baltimore and Washington have some of the country's least courteous drivers. (WTOP) ... Is DC going to house homeless women in a morgue? (City Paper) ... Montgomery Council candidate Tom Hucker is sorry for driving drunk in 2009. (Post)

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Ask GGW: Why is there no Silver Line station at Wolf Trap?

Contributor Jason Levinn posed this question:

Has anyone else wondered why WMATA/MWAA/DTP chose not to put in a Wolf Trap stop on the Silver Line? There's such a large gap between Spring Hill and Reston, one would think it might make sense for several reasons.

Photo by A.Currell on Flickr.

Indeed, the distance between the Spring Hill and Wiehle-Reston East stations is about 6 miles. That would make it the longest gap between stations once Phase 1 of the Silver Line opens. And being able to get off the Metro and take a short walk to see an event at Wolf Trap would be much more convenient compared to what exists today. But some of our other contributors had some great explanations as to why there is no station currently planned there:

Michael Perkins: It would be a total waste of money. An inline stop would cost somewhere between $100-200 million, maybe more, and there is essentially no development potential around the site. There's a national park and single-family homes.

No one is going to agree to rezone that area to allow anything like transit-oriented development, and the road access isn't appropriate for a commuter lot. Wolf Trap has several dozen events a year, but it's not enough by itself to drive much transit use.

Matt Johnson: Originally, the Silver Line plans included a provision for a future station at Wolf Trap, but in the deal struck (by Ray LaHood) to make it cost effective, the planned provision was deleted.

Tony Goodman: The agreement between Fairfax County and MWAA includes a "Concurrent Non-Project Activity" (or CPNA) to allow for a future possible station. These CNPAs are items that MWAA is providing that are outside the scope of the FTA project agreement.

Although currently there are no plans to build a Wolf Trap station, the current project includes accommodations necessary to allow the addition of a future passenger station, including a vertical tangency (flat spot).


Breakfast links: Bridge and tunnel crowd

Image from Wikipedia.
Darkness at end of the tunnel: Amtrak might have to shut down one of the two rail tunnels from New Jersey to Manhattan within 20 years, and maybe much sooner. That would cut train capacity across the Hudson River by 75%. (Capital New York)

Build your own bridge: Developers want to build a multimodal bridge to connect to the nearby Van Dorn Street Metro and shorten what would be a 1.2 mile walk. (WBJ)

Rework track work: Metro track work will look different starting in July with weekend shutdowns starting midnight on Friday night with fewer major disruptions. Track work during the day may also make a comeback. (Post)

Metro for cars?: Many of the outer Metro stations have large parking lots that attract cars but encourage people to ride Metro. Is this a good strategy or can we do more to encourage alternative transportation to Metro? (Post)

Turn it on: 5 pedestrians were hit by drivers on Route 1 in College Park recently. There are speed cameras, but they don't operate at night. Should they? (Diamondback)

Lots of benefits: If it builds an 8-story building at 13th and U, JBG will rehab the fields at Garrison Elementary, Harrison Rec, and Westminster park; add a CaBi station at Garrison and bike racks on 13th Street; and more. (WBJ)

Don't tread on my transit: Should there be an urbanist version of the Tea Party, to push for local tax dollars to stay local and less federal meddling in planning and transportation? Some say yes, but would it help or hurt inequality? (Human Transit)

Not a bike mecca any more?: Portland was a leader in bicycling and got the moniker "America's bicycle capital," but has the city been "resting on its laurels" too much? It has no cycletracks and no bikeshare. (Spacing)

And...: DDOT will try for federal streetcar funding for the 3rd time. (WBJ) ... Maryland rose from #11 to #7 on the list of most bike-friendly states, but Virginia dropped from #16 to #18. (WashCycle) ... You can sign up for TSA PreCheck at DCA. (Post)

Do you enjoy the links?: Chad Maddox, our regular Tuesday link curator, has to step down, and we need someone to put together a set of links once a week. If you can help keep the links going and contribute to one of Greater Greater Washington's most popular elements, please let us know at Thanks!

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