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Breakfast links: Woodley Park hotel plans falter


Photo by Justin Ennis on Flickr.
Whining wins on Wardman Park: The developer who was planning to transform a Woodley Park hotel into 1,300 residential units will instead scale back its plans and put the hotel up for sale. Neighbors complained that the original plans eliminated too much open space. (WBJ)

Slow down, SafeTrack?: WMATA is bragging that it's ahead of schedule on surge #9 but some Board members question if the quick pace is actually a good thing, or if critical repairs are being rushed. (Post)

Lyttonsville's plan for walkability: Residents are pushing back on the land-use plan that would would make a Silver Spring neighborhood more walkable and dense. They say it would cause traffic congestion and make homes unaffordable. (Bethesda Beat)

Brookland Manor still on the move: A developer is still moving forward with plans to redevelop the subsidized Brookland Manor housing complex even though residents are currently suing the developer because they won't include four- or five-bedroom apartments for families in the new development. (City Paper)

14th St changes, as seen through food: Two Chinese restaurants owned by the same family give a glimpse into how 14 St has changed over the years. The first restaurant, a cheap, gritty take-out joint, opened in 1988 in the city's red-light district. Its neighbor, an upscale dim sum restaurant, opened this year. (Post)

Our automated future is coming ... slowly: Despite media hype, automated vehicles that can really drive themselves are still several years out. (WSJ) ... On the bright side, sidewalk robots will start delivering groceries in DC this year. (Recode)

And...: Where exactly is North Bethesda? Opinions vary, but well-defined boundaries do exist. (Bethesda Beat) ... Here's Yelp's ode to Dupont Circle's rat problem: reviews of its "Rat Sanctuary." (Post) ... Maryland's State Board of Education is working fast to make sure schools can get waivers to open before Labor Day. (Post)

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Breakfast links: Slow ride, take it easy


Photo by Carl Raether on Flickr.
Fire culprit: Last Friday's rush hour fire at Metro Center was caused by debris catching fire and causing electrical arcing. The Federal Transit Administration will review the incident as part of their Metro oversight. (WAMU)

A safe trip: While Metro tries to expand transit services for people with disabilities by using ride hailing services, DDOT questions whether safety and background checks are stringent enough to protect riders. (WAMU)

Split rides off: One of the area's many ride-hailing options, the home-grown, low-cost Split, announced it will discontinue service October 3rd. The company will not shut down, but plans to pursue other business ventures. (WBJ)

Homers, not rides home: DC Mayor Bowser, and Councilmember Jack Evans want Metro to offer late night service to get Nationals fans home from playoff games. Metro has previously refused to make exceptions for games or events. (NBC4)

Free ridesharing: There's a new ridesharing service called CarpoolNow. The app matches riders and drivers to form carpools for free. It's primarily for commuting but could also help after the Nationals playoff games. (TPB)

Sick leave in MoCo: Montgomery County's paid sick leave law goes into effect this Saturday. The new rules require an hour of leave for every 30 hours worked and apply to all non-seasonal, non-commission based employees in the county. (Bethesda Beat)

Statehood push continues: The DC Council is holding public hearings on the proposed constitution for the 51st state. Voters will get to weigh in on the November ballot, before it heads to Congress in January. (Post)

Virginia's budget: Virginia's projected $1.5 billion budget shortfall will likely hit transportation and infrastructure projects. Governor McAuliffe has already vowed that cuts will not affect any works that have already been announced. (WTOP)

Washington Gas avoidance: Washington Gas didn't attend a meeting with Montgomery County officials and the National Transportation Safety Bureau to review August's deadly gas explosion in Silver Spring. The NTSB plans to release its findings on the blast within two weeks. (WJLA, WTOP)

And...: DC's mayor wants the community to track broken streetlights. (WTOP) ... The London Tube is piloting a program for riders to request priority seating. (TfL) ... An ANC commissioner in Ward 8 was arrested for throwing a brick at a political rival. (WCP) ... The smallest home on the market in DC is 209 square feet. (UrbanTurf)

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Breakfast links: Make taxicabs great again


Photo by BeyondDC on Flickr.
Overhaul of the taxicab overhaul: Three years after an expensive effort to modernize DC's taxi fleet, the Department of For-Hire Vehicles is once again trying to push cabs to keep up with the times by deregulating and moving to meters that integrate with apps. (WAMU)

Apartments are shrinking: The average square footage of Washington area apartments has shrunk by about 90 square feet over the last 6 years. One reason could be the increase in studio and one bedroom units in new developments. (UrbanTurf)

New proposal for paid leave: DC universities and the Chamber of Commerce are on-board for paid family leave, but they want it limited to eight weeks instead of the 16 the original DC Council bill proposed. (WAMU)

Adjacent states worlds apart in business: Virginia is the ninth best state to start a business in, while Maryland comes in at number 45. Why the disparity? The study cites Virginia's high education levels and Maryland's high cost of living. (WBJ)

TOPA-turvy in Chinatown: In 2013, a developer in Chinatown overestimated the value of its public housing property in order to keep tenants from purchasing their homes. The tenants sued, and the DC Courts have now ruled twice that the developer didn't make a good faith effort to sell to tenants. (WAMU)

Elevator downer: No one is making it to the top of the Washington Monument anytime soon. After persistent elevator mechanical issues, the National Park Service has closed the interior indefinitely as they modernize the system. (WAMU)

The cool down begins: We've (probably) seen the last of the summer weather. The Capital Weather Gang thinks we hit 90 for the last time in 2016 last Friday. (Post)

Peds on the Seine: Over two miles of roadway along the Seine River in Paris will now be car free. Opponents say the move will increase traffic and pollution. (Next City)

London's housing solution: The mayor of London has an ambitious plan to create more affordable housing in the notoriously expensive city: tie prices to income, rather than market value. But who will create the supply for the demand? (CityLab)

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Breakfast links: Fire alarm


Photo by Ginger Dewey on Flickr.
Friday's tough commute: Metro suspended service between McPherson Square and Federal Center SW stations on the Blue, Orange, and Silver lines after an arching insulator caused a fire near Metro Center. (WTOP)

What started the fire?: An independent review found that stray currents are the number one cause of smoke and fire incidents. Metro used to do system-wide tests for such currents but now only does so at interlockings due to funding cuts. (WTOP)

WMATA's board woes: WMATA Board Chairman Jack Evans thinks the board he leads is the reason why change is so hard. He thinks its members are too tied to their local jurisdictions to make hard decisions, especially on funding issues. (Post)

Ride-hailing's late night future?: If Metro has to scale back late-night service, some board members and riders see subsidizing ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft as more cost efficient than buses which have few riders. (Post)

New public housing: The District is seeking someone to redevelop a 3.5 acre site that was formerly subsidized housing into new public housing. Residents from the original site will be first in line for the new units. (City Paper)

DC's commune scene: This video provides a glimpse into a small DC commune of seven who think their ability to pool together unpaid labor and rejection of capitalism will make for a more enjoyable and less stressful standard of living. (The Atlantic)

Tough church transformations: Redeveloping a church into a condo presents a lot of architectural and design challenges. Developers also have to be respectful of a church's place in a community to ensure a smooth transition. (Post)

Frederick's urban future?: Frederick, MD has changed by leaps and bounds over the years. It's home to a growing number of young professionals and families who are taking advantage of the urban amenities and lower cost of living. (Washingtonian)

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Breakfast links: Metro screaming, Metro silence


Image from lau on Flickr.
You make me wanna shout: Metro conductors will soon have bullhorns in their cabs, which they'll use to talk to riders if the public announcement system isn't working. On Sept. 13, a train sat in a tunnel for nearly 40 minutes and passengers received nearly no word about what was happening. (Post).

Speak up, Metro: A Red Line train sat in the tunnel for nearly 40 minutes last Tuesday. The conductor thinking they were supposed to wait there, riders having no idea what was happening, and the third rail remaining electrified were all the result of communication breakdowns. (WAMU)

Make way for museum: Starting Friday, roads around downtown DC will close to prepare for the National Museum of African-American History's grand opening. Officials are encouraging visitors to use public transportation. (WTOP)

Contractor controversy: DC Council Chair Phil Mendelson says the Department of General Services should no longer choose developers for government projects. Critics of the agency have said it bases too many decisions on politics. (WAMU)

Toning down the Confederacy: Alexandria is renaming Jefferson Davis Highway and may remove a statue of a Confederate soldier in Old Town, both because the city council no longer wants public works to serve as Confederate memorials.(WAMU)

Cute little problems: DC has a number of small properties with huge buildings on both sides, where owners refused to sell so developers just built around them. Owners holding out is somewhat of a romantic notion, but it can hold a city back. (Post)

New home for bookworms: The newly-rebuilt Woodridge Library off Rhode Island Avenue has lots of natural light, study spaces, curved bookcases, stadium seating for kids, and two outdoor terraces. The library will open next week. (DCist)

Walking in the rain: NoMa's M Street underpass will soon double as an art installation called "Rain". Pedestrians will only be able to use a sidewalk on one side of the street while workers install hundreds of LED tubes. (Borderstan)

Point taken (literally): Joan of Arc lost her sword... again. National Park Service workers noticed the Meridian Hill Park statue was missing its sword on Wednesday. It was last taken in 1978, and wasn't replaced until 2011. (Post)

No permits for pop-up stands: In DC, lemonade stands, Girl Scout cookie sales, and other very small pop-up businesses are actually supposed to get a business permit. The law may be out the door, though. (CityPaper)

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Breakfast links: Life's a Beach


Photo by TrailVoice on Flickr.
Bye bye Beach Drive: Starting today, busy Beach Drive will be closed to vehicle traffic as part of a three-year road and trail rehabilitation project. Pedestrians and cyclists can still access the road. (Post)

Still oppose SunTrust: After reviewing its redesign, the Adams Morgan ANC voted once again to oppose the SunTrust Bank redevelopment. They say it's still not compatible with the surrounding historic district. (UrbanTurf)

The state of the commute: Since 2001, commutes have gotten longer, fewer people are driving alone, and more are teleworking in the DC region. The most satisfied commuters? Cyclists and pedestrians. (TPB)

Making the rent less damn high: A new DC Council bill would make rent control more restrictive by decreasing the amount landlords can increase rents and eliminating vacancy rate increases. (City Paper)

Salary history a thing of the past: A majority of the DC Council supports a bill that would bar employers from asking job applicants about how much money they make in their current job. (DCist)

A new shape for Fairfax: Fairfax County has updated its zoning in an effort to combat strangely-shaped lots. The county had allowed irregularly-shaped lots in rural areas so owners could more easily place wells, but now the lots are making it hard for developers to build as Fairfax becomes more dense. (FairfaxCounty)

It's Car-Free Day: Today is Car-Free Day. Paris is celebrating on Sunday by closing 400 miles of road to vehicle traffic. (The Guardian)

Test the waters: Amsterdam is joining in the self-driving hype with self-driving boats. The first self-driving prototypes are expected to hit the canals in 2017. (The Verge)

And...: How well do you know DC's real estate and development market? (DC Curbed) ... Google Maps will use population and event data to tell you how hard it will be to find a parking spot. (NationalLawReview) ... An Uber-alternative, Rally, uses bus and trucks to get people to and from special events. (Upstart)

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Breakfast links: Work work work work work


Photo by Robert on Flickr.
Employeepalooza: The DC Council declined to act on a bill aimed at giving food and retail workers more predictable schedules. Meanwhile, advocates are pushing the Council to pass the family leave bill, which would give DC workers 16 weeks of paid time off when they have a child. (WCP, WTOP)

New taxi routes: Taxis are hard to come by in parts of Wards 4, 7, and 8, many of which have mostly black residents. A new DC pilot program will run vans along fixed routes in each ward, charging customers a flat $5 fee or less. (WAMU)

End of the line no more: For the first time, Montgomery County's Ride On bus service will run through Tobytown, linking residents to Metro and other transit. Route 301 will offer daily service and free rides during October. (Bethesda Beat)

Disclose your purchase: When people who buy foreclosed homes in Mongtgomery County don't register their purchases, it's hard to tax the properties. One council member wants big fines for anyone who doesn't register within 30 days. (Post)

No driver? Green light: Federal safety guidelines for driverless cars just came out. Along with an approving (but cautioning) op-ed from President Obama, the rules are a green light for the technology to grow. (CityLab)

Judging gun control: DC has strict laws about who can get a permit to carry a concealed weapon, requiring residents to demonstrate a "good reason" to have a gun. Federal judges are currently weighing whether those laws are constitutional. (Post)

Our economy is slacking: Among the nation's 15 biggest metro areas, Washington ranked last in economic growth for 2015, growing by only 1.3%. When it comes to the size of the economy, our region ranked 6th overall. (BizJournal)

Baltimore bus problems: A number of bus routes in Baltimore recently underwent schedule changes that mean fewer buses with longer waits in between. Riders say the changes are harmful and weren't publicized enough in advance. (Baltimore Sun)

And...: Amazon's probable store location in DC means residents will have to pay sales tax on purchases (DCist)... A dozen bars in DC have TransitScreens that display real time Uber, train, bus and bike share info (Washingtonian)... DC isn't in the top 10 when it comes to metro areas that need more single-family housing. (NAR)

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Breakfast links: Too much security for Cemetery?


Photo by Norman Maddeaux on Flickr.
Monumental security enhancements: Arlington Cemetery is going to start screening anyone who comes to visit. It's an example of how "enhanced security" is destroying our national monuments by making them symbols of fear and exclusion instead of freedom. (Post)

Late fee limits for renters: A new bill expected to pass the DC Council today would limit the fee landlords can charge tenants for late payments to 5% of the rent. (City Paper)

Fix270Now: Local business and political leaders have joined together to lobby lawmakers to "Fix270Now" by adding express toll lanes, bus rapid transit, and other pedestrian, cycling, and transit improvements along I-270. (WTOP)

An ominous extension: Congress has reintroduced a bill that would allow federal transit benefits to be used on bike sharing and ride hailing services during SafeTrack. But the benefits would last until December 2018, well after SafeTrack is scheduled to end. (Post)

Turncloak on tax breaks: DC agreed to millions in tax breaks if a developer hired workers who live in the city to construct its new hotel in Adams Morgan. Now it looks like the developer won't hold up their end of the deal. Will the city fight back? (Post)

Crystal clear urban plans: Crystal City's biggest landowner wants to transform the area into a "dynamic urban neighborhood" with a ton of new retail, a movie theater, and a more welcoming design. (WBJ)

A deadline for Anacostia restaurant: Anacostia's long-planned Busboys & Poets will open by next November at the latest, or it won't open at all. The landlord is still working to secure financing. (UrbanTurf)

And...: DC is the ninth most bike-friendly city in the US. (DCist) ... Lyft's founder says private car ownership will all but end by 2025. (CityLab) ... Which Metro line has the longest waits? (Washingtonian)

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Breakfast links: The hunt for affordable housing solutions


Photo by C40 Cities on Flickr.
$100M for affordable housing: DC Mayor Muriel Bowser is addressing the city's affordable housing crisis by adding $100 million annually to the Housing Protection Trust Fund. Some argue that the investment isn't enough, and that her administration should focus more on inclusionary zoning. (Post)

The affordability struggle is real: Rising rents and stagnant wages mean poor families stuggle more than ever to afford housing. Many receive no assistance from housing support programs due to high demand and long waiting lists. (FiveThirtyEight)

Old condo problems: Some Montgomery County condominiums and their residents are stuck in a difficult cycle. The condo associations need to raise fees to fix up aging buildings, but not all residents can afford higher fees, leaving a backlog of repairs that become more expensive over time. (Post)

What's in a neighborhood's name?: Can a new name really help a neighborhood turn around? It did with "NoMa" and could potentially with "North End of Shaw." But not all neighborhood branding efforts are successful, and some point to these names as another sign of gentrification. (Post)

Fewer red-light fatalities: DC's red-light cameras aren't popular among motorists, but at least they cut down on collisions and save lives. Critics argue they fail to catch cyclists and warrant higher fines than a police officer would write. (WAMU)

NIH will still call Bethesda home: It looks like the NIH is going to stay in Bethesda after all. It considered other locations before settling on a smaller, more consolidated space as a part of an initiative to reduce the amount of federal office space. (WBJ)

Changes for Confederate symbols: The Alexandria City Council has voted to rename the portion of the Jefferson Davis Highway that runs within the city's boundaries and move a seven-foot statue of a Confederate solider to a nearby museum. (Post)

MoCo's liquor showdown: The most recent debate over if and how to privatize liquor sales in Montgomery County is only getting hotter and there's pressure to maintain the $30 million in profits the DLC generates regardless of outcome. (Bethesda Beat)

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Breakfast links: Streetcar on Sundays


Photo by drum118 on Flickr.
Streetcar daily and more frequent: The DC Streetcar starts Sunday service this week, and will now run every 12 minutes. In other good news, it looks like August set a record for ridership with over 72,000 passengers for the month. (WTOP)

White is the new Orange: Robert White will take Vincent Orange's place on the DC Council today. The DC Democratic Party voted for the Democratic nominee for the at-large seat to finish out Orange's term. (WAMU)

When the train stops talking: Two Metro passengers self-evacuated from a train in a tunnel outside of Farragut North on Tuesday. The train's operator had stopped for a red signal, but didn't know what to do next because his radio wasn't working. (Post)

Poverty grows in DC: More black DC residents live in poverty now than before the recession. Poverty rates for black residents increased 4% from 2007 to 2015. (CityPaper)

Keep that suburban vibe?: Michigan Park residents disagree whether plans to build townhomes near St. Joseph's Seminary will push out longtime residents and change the suburban feel of the Northeast DC neighborhood. (CityPaper)

Pricey fix for Potomac sewage: Alexandria pours 70 million gallons of raw sewage into the Potomac River every year. The city plans to build a storage tunnel, but a permanent fix will cost between $80 and $120 million. (WUSA)

Homeless camps kicked out: Prince William County orders residents of homeless camps in Woodbridge to leave within 30 days. Across the county, there are more than 50 homeless camps and more than 500 homeless citizens. (WJLA)

September surge: The post-Labor Day traffic slog is still going strong as school and Congress are back in session and more drivers take to the road to avoid SafeTrack. (WTOP)

DC history on display: The new African-American History Museum has numerous artifacts from DC's history, including stone mined by slaves for the Capitol and a wood panel from Resurrection City, a protest colony on the Mall in 1968. (CityPaper)

And...: The Capitol scaffolding is finally down, and repairs will finish soon. (DCist) ... A group of Virginia Tech students will get to test out their Hyperloop prototype. (WTOP) ... Lose something on the Metro? Here's where it ends up. (WJLA)

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