Posts about Cary Silverman
Cary Silverman is sending a postcard to voters in Foggy Bottom and Georgetown promoting misguided notions about traffic. Many people believe that more roads = less traffic and fewer roads = more traffic, but that's not true; converting a freeway to a boulevard usually makes about half the traffic disappear, with the boulevard usually able to handle the rest. But Silverman is playing to the cheap seats for votes:
Jack Evans wants to demolish the Whitehurst! Dump 42,000 more cars each day onto residential streets in Georgetown and Foggy Bottom and get rid of a key emergency evacuation route? That's what happens when you put developers before neighborhoods.Converting the Whitehurst to a boulevard wouldn't "dump" cars onto residential streets. If there's any spillover, it would be on M and Pennsylvania, which aren't so residential, but if properly designed like Octavia Boulevard, spillover should be minimal.
Cary is the only candidate who will
- Keep the Whitehurst intact and working
- Enhance its appearance and functionality
- Make better use of the area underneath the structure
- Improve traffic and pedestrian conditions at either end of the Whitehurst
The "key evacuation route" argument is one we hear a lot about freeways, but is fairly silly. The Whitehurst doesn't go much of anywhere; at the western end, you have to go through a traffic light to the Key Bridge or Canal Road. Canal is no wider than M, so if cars are evacuating on the Whitehurst onto Canal, then they'll just block cars evacuating from M, and the boulevard plus roads like 31st would easily fill the bridge. Quite simply, the Whitehurst isn't the bottleneck; the Key Bridge and Canal Road are. And the Whitehurst already jams up constantly at rush hour; how would an evacuation be any different?
The pedestrian connections at either end could indeed be much better, but what does Silverman mean by "improving traffic conditions"? The east end is already a tangle of ramps to and from Rock Creek Parkway. It's about as "improved" for car speed as possible. And I doubt Silverman means removing some ramps to make traffic movements more straightforward and easy to understand at the cost of some speed.
Boulevardizing the Whitehurst isn't "putting developers before neighborhoods," it's putting neighborhoods before traffic. Championing the freeway is like McCain and Clinton's gas tax scam from back in May.
In 2004, DC closed the the Watha T. Daniel library in Shaw and several other libraries, to replace the aging buildings with new, modern facilities. Though the interior drew some criticism, neighbors widely praised the open, airy glass design as a huge improvement over the prison-like, concrete, Brutalist original library.
Then, neighbors found out that the cost of the glass forced the library to cut back, replacing the glass facade with a concrete one that even replicated the vertical slit architecture of the original:
Left: The old library. Photo by Rob Goodspeed on Flickr. Center: Plan as of January 2008
with glass facade. Right: Plan as of June 2008 with concrete facade.
There's good news, though: Councilmember Jack Evans got involved and has convinced DCPL to return to a transparent design. (I'm sure the upcoming primary and strong challenge by Cary Silverman had something to do with it, especially given Silverman's strong advocacy on the library.) ANC 2C Commissioner Alex Padro met with Evans, DCPL director Ginnie Cooper, and the architect, Peter Cook. Cooper and Cook have reworked the plan to use a less expensive frosted glass in place of the originally-planned channel glass, enabling them to return to an all-glass design.underground power lines on 12th Street. The Washington Post had a good article on the issue, and neighbors have a Web site of their own.
According to the Post article, DDOT continues to argue that it's not their job to bury power lines, and Councilmember Harry Thomas, Jr. argues that it is. Thomas better be working hard to break this logjam, possibly enlisting Jim Graham with his DDOT oversight power, or else it'll soon be too late to do anything, if it isn't already.
reviews the Pedestrian Master Plan and comes out pleased. Some of the best solutions are cheap, like "stop for pedestrians" signs in the middle of the street.
Barry late for debate, bloggers endorse Wilson: Yesterday I neglected to include great summaries of the Ward 2 debate from Penn Quarter Living and (pro-Silverman) Off Seventh. Last night, Ward 8 candidates debated, with Marion Barry showing up over an hour late. The Barry Stops Here has a summary, and was most impressed with Charles Wilson, followed by Yavocka Young. And Now, Anacostia has endorsed Wilson as well.
Railroads blocking MARC expansion: Amtrak and CSX won't let MARC add weekend trains on its Penn Line (which is shared with Amtrak trains to Baltimore via New Carrollton) or weekday service on the Camden Line (to Baltimore via College Park and Camden Yards, owned by CSX and shared with freight), reports the Baltimore Sun (via reader John). Amtrak lacks the staff to maintain the trains (which it operates), and CSX often does track maintenance middays. Even this small expansion only gets us a little bit of where we need to be: full transit-frequency service on all lines.
Lots of new coverage of the Council races.
The City Paper reports fundraising totals; all the ward incumbents handily beat every challenger in dollars raised.
Ward 2 (Evans v. Silverman): The candidates appeared on Kojo's The Politics Hour this past Friday. Here's a summary of the race in the DC North community paper. And yesterday I linked to debate coverage and my opinion.
Ward 7 (Alexander v. Johnson, Campbell, and Marlin): The East of the River community paper tried to interview the candidates but could only get in touch with one, Villareal Johnson. Alexander is way ahead in money, too.
Ward 8 (Barry v. Wilson, Seegars, Braxton-Jones, Brown, but not Young, Gaston, or McMahan): The East of the River article leads with candidate Sandra Seegars' desire to replace liquor stores in Ward 8 with gun stores. Charles Wilson is a more sensible candidate and one of And Now, Anacostia's two favorites; the other, Yavocka Young, was tossed off the ballot along with one and probably two others thanks to challenges by Seegars.
Republican At-Large primary (Schwartz v. Mara): This is the close one, with the two splitting endorsements and close fundraising. Fro the general, there hasn't been much noise from independent Michael Brown since Adam Clampitt dropped out and endorsed Brown.
debated last week but revealed few differences. Both instinctively oppose the reduction of parking minimums, according to reader A. If you missed it, here's my take on the race.
Meanwhile in Ward 8: The Barry Stops Here is a new blog devoted to electing someone other than Marion Barry for Ward 8 Council.
More Met Branch progress: The contract is signed for the NY Ave to Franklin Street portion of the trail, reports the WashCycle, among other positive developments.
Climate riding to DC: ClimateRide, a five day bike ride from New York to DC to raise money for (against) climate change, has a few spots left for riders on the entire trip or just for the last day coming into DC.
Interviewing Jack Evans and Cary Silverman, the candidates for the Ward 2 DC Council seat, one could think the two are running for completely different offices. Evans seems to be running for reelection as the Council version of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, devoting his energy to financing deals that will stimulate development throughout DC. Meanwhile, Silverman sounds like a candidate for a more powerful, larger Super-ANC, focusing on local neighborhood needs and problems.
They're both right. Every ward Councilmember is some blend of the two, a shaper of citywide policy and simultaneously steward of a ward. In Evans-Silverman, we have candidates who represent each end of that spectrum. But the Council job isn't just one or the other, and we need a Councilmember who will do both jobs.
Evans and Silverman don't just focus on different problems, they apply their own boxes of tools to the same ones. For example, I asked both whether the O Street Market (which both enthusiastically support) would finally revitalize Ninth Street. Both said it's a start, as well as the convention center hotel, but we need more. What else? Silverman wants a convention center exit near the neighborhood retail and wayfinding signs directing convention-goers to nearby businesses; Evans discussed the other projects underway in the area that will add more retail space and more residents. We need both types of tools in our toolbox, and our Councilmember should pursue all avenues for revitalizing that avenue.
Evans and Silverman even speak different languages. Coming out of the
Shaw Logan Circle ANC and, more recently, the Mount Vernon Square Neighborhood Association, Silverman speaks the language of the neighborhood activist, which explains why he is so popular among ANC and citizens' association members. That community's vocabulary centers around keeping the governmental ship sailing smoothly, enforcement of existing laws, quality of life issues, and often a cautious approach to change. Evans' vocabulary, meanwhile, is one of growth and fulfilling the potential of DC as a major city.
This dichotomy mirrors the debate we have on Greater Greater Washington. DC has many residents who moved here when DC was a small town and like it that way. They are (at the moment) more likely to belong to the local citizens/civic association or sit on the ANC. They are more likely to own cars and drive. On the other hand, we have a growing number of newer residents who are putting down roots here. They (or should I say we) see DC not as it was but as it could be, maintaining the beautiful houses, strong sense of community, and range of ages, races and creeds while also accommodating more people and enjoying more vitality.
Ironically, unlike in the mayoral race where energetic Adrian Fenty out-campaigned the more seasoned Linda Cropp, it's the younger (though long-time resident) Silverman who represents small-town DC, and Council veteran Evans who champions the cosmopolitan vision. Their policy prescriptions reflect that: Evans would like to make K Street more mixed-use, voted for the hiker-biker Klingle trail and supports boulevardizing the Whitehurst; Silverman would have voted for the road (though he is willing to let throughly-beaten sleeping dogs lie) and would keep the freeway. Yet Silverman bicycles to work, while Evans drives and enjoys the free parking in front of the Wilson Building. Evans cites the many events he has to get to each day, and the 45-minute public transit ride from Georgetown, as obstacles to transit (though not to bicycling).
At the moment, I plan to vote for Evans, if nothing else because of his reliable vote for transit infrastructure but against roadway expansion. His experience with economic development is also an asset to DC, and his power benefits the ward. But it's good that Silverman is running. We need his energy and dedication to improving the neighborhood. Many problems, like dealing with vacant properties, require the Councilmember to personally push city agencies for a resolution, which Evans doesn't do but Silverman promises to.
It's too bad Evans can't replace Carol Schwartz as Councilmember at-large, letting Cary represent the ward. Barring that, my ideal outcome would be for Evans to narrowly win reelection, preserving his good policy vote and his experience on economic development while also pushing him to devote more time to the ward over the next four years. And if he doesn't, he ought to lose in 2012, whether to someone new, or to a future version of Cary Silverman with a little more political experience and a policy sophistication to match his constituent-service energy.
The DC primary for local races is Tuesday, September 9. One of the most interesting races is the primary for Ward 2 Councilmember, where Cary Silverman, president of the Mount Vernon Square Neighborhood Association, is challenging 17-year incumbent Jack Evans. If you've been anywhere in Ward 2 (Georgetown, Foggy Bottom, Dupont, Logan Circle, Shaw, Mount Vernon Square, and downtown) you've noticed the many brightly colored signs for both candidates.
Here on Greater Greater Washington, we'll be making up our minds based on deeper issues than who has more signs or the platitudes on campaign Web sites. I've arranged to interview both candidates in the next week. I have some ideas for questions to ask them, but thousands of heads are better than one. So: what questions would you like to ask the Ward 2 Council candidates? Post your thoughts in the comments. I'll ask the best ones and a few of my own, and post the results here.
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