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Breakfast links: Bigger selection for SelectPass


Photo by Mr.TinDC on Flickr.
More SelectPass options: Metro's SelectPass program just got better for everyone. Riders can now select a variety of fare price points between $2.25 and $5.90 for the flexible monthly passes. (Post)

You're still fired: Metro and its biggest union are fighting over the firing of a tunnel inspector who allegedly falsified a report related to last January's fatal smoke incident. Metro says it would be incredibly dangerous to reinstate the employee, but the union says Metro is using the employee as a scapegoat. (Post)

California housing plan crumbles: The California governor's plan to allow more housing construction without community veto has failed to get support in the state legislature. This also puts $400 million in housing funding, which was part of the proposed deal, in jeopardy. (SFist)

Bikeshare comes to Baltimore: Baltimore's long-awaited bike share system is set to open in October, with over 400 bikes at 50 stations by spring. 40% of the bikes will include electric pedal assist. (Baltimore Business Journal)

Bethesda Metro's brand new mural: The Bethesda Metro station is getting a huge mural. DC artist Juan Pineda was selected from a pool of more than 50 artists to create his Mayan-inspired piece. (Bethesda Magazine)

The ethics of rent-to-own homes: Rent-to-own homes make home ownership possible for a lot of lower-income folks, but are they a good deal? Predatory loan terms and undisclosed issues mean a lot of people lose a lot of money. (NYT)

And...: A special bike bridge will connect a key bike route over a 6-lane interstate in Portland. (Streetsblog) ... Uber's CEO says self-driving cars won't take away jobs. (Vox) ... DC's Department of For-Hire Vehicles is preparing for a future with automated vehicles. (DCist)

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Links


Breakfast links: A dream of affordable housing


Photo by Lindsay Buckley on Flickr.
Hard road to affordability: The supply of affordable housing in DC is so low that any serious efforts to tackle the problem would likely require billions in spending; low-cost solutions like inclusionary zoning aren't certain. (The Atlantic)

City prices outpace outside: Housing prices in DC are jumping way ahead of those in Maryland or Virginia. DC homes now cost 27% more than ones within the Beltway but outside District lines, and are 44% pricier than outside the Beltway. (WAMU)

More jobs for the 'burbs: The DC area is home to some of the fastest-paced job growth in the nation, and it's mostly concentrated outside the District. Northern Virginia saw the most new jobs, but Maryland is starting to catch up. (Post)

Green light for practice facility: Events DC selected construction companies Smoot and Gilbane to build the planned Wizards practice facility in Ward 8. But there's still a lot of controversy out there regarding the project's $65 million price tag. (City Paper)

More transparency, please: Organizations in favor of open government are worried that the current bill to create a new Metro Safety Commission would allow the group to keep information secret instead of sharing it with the public. (WTOP)

Transit center's birthday wishes: A lot of hard work went into making the Silver Spring Transit Center possible, and as long as the space immediately around it remains unused, its value to residents and commuters will be limited. (Post)

Designs to beat the heat: Architecture might be a more efficient way to beat the summer heat than air conditioning, and other elements like shade trees, solar collectors and better ventilation systems can make a difference. (Post)

Bikes on the hill: Maryland Avenue NE in Capitol Hill will get bike lanes and a "road diet." Some urbanists say the bike lanes aren't enough, but other neighbors don't want anything to change at all. (WABA) ... Bike lanes are also in the works for New Jersey Avenue SE and E Street/South Carolina Avenue SE. (WashCycle)

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Links


Breakfast links: Derailment could be a crime


Photo by Chris Potter on Flickr.
Criminal charges for going off the rails?: Metro police are investigating employees involved in last month's derailment and could file criminal charges. "The public has a right to know that the tracks on which their trains run are being properly inspected" said General Manager Wiedefeld. (Post)

Another pedestrian fatality: Armin Amin-Toomaji was hit and killed by a driver while crossing the street in Shaw on Thursday. He co-owned a DC restaurant and raised money for poor DC residents. (NBC4)

What's the White House worth?: The White House would be worth about $250 million if it sold on the private market. Estimators said the land the residence is on isn't worth any money because there is no zoning and too many other rules that would make it nearly impossible for anyone to build. (Post)

ANC on SunTrust: ANC member JonMarc Buffa claims opposition to the redevelopment of the SunTrust building and its plaza is about "history" and "scale" ... not anti-development sentiment ... (Borderstan)

Another delay for Barry Farm: DC's Housing Authority board has again postponed the long-delayed decision on redeveloping the Barry Farm project into mixed-income housing until next month. Several commissioners were absent and there was new testimony from activists who want to keep the current residents in place. (City Paper)

From cutters to condos: The former Coast Guard headquarters at Buzzard Point will become a mixed-use retail and residential building including 425 apartments and 110 condos. (WBJ)

Deliveries in a flash for Virginians: Residents across Fairfax, Arlington, and Alexandria can now get one-hour delivery through Amazon's Prime Now service. (RestonNow, ArlNow)

More housing morsels...: Do Columbia Heights residents really pay 62% of their income on rent? (New Columbia Heights) ... Check out the 20 smallest condos on the market in DC. The smallest clocks in at 264 sq ft. (Washingtonian) ... DC home prices have been growing at double the rate of surrounding counties since 2013. (UrbanTurf)

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Links


Breakfast links: Getting housing regulation right


Photo by Payton Chung on Flickr.
Regulating DCRA: DCRA, the DC agency that issues construction permits, is under scrutiny as Mayor Bowser undertakes a week-long review of the agency's operations. DCRA has had ongoing problems with poor management and corruption. (WAMU)

Where there's smoke?: The Silver Spring apartment complex that exploded and caught fire last week had received over 1600 citations during building inspections since 2010. (WUSA9)

How you gonna pay the rent?: A comparison of the median one-bedroom apartment price with median household income shows that renters in and around Columbia Heights are paying 62% of their income on rent on average. Several other DC zip codes don't fare much better. (UrbanTurf)

The Tide turns 5: Norfolk's light rail line turns five on Friday. The Tide has been mostly successful, with ridership dropping but continuing to exceed predictions and the cost to operate significantly lower than expected. (Virginian Pilot, Arrgh Street)

Wait for it ... in an Uber room: A new apartment in Mount Pleasant will have a special room where residents can wait for an Uber. The room is basically a lobby with a view of the street and a TransitScreen. (Post)

More housing for Michigan Park: Michigan Park could get 82 new townhouses by 2019, with at least 12% of the 3- to 4-bedroom homes designated as affordable housing. (City Paper)

Baltimore's new boats: Baltimore's Water Taxi service will get new bike-friendly boats and tracking via Uber. The CEO of Under Armour recently bought the water taxi company and plans to expand service to his new, massive development in South Baltimore. (Baltimore Business Journal)

EmergencyBnB: AirBnB is trying to serve as a hub for free and discounted emergency housing for those affected by flooding in Louisiana, even though the service is illegal in New Orleans. (4WWL)

And...: DC comes in 7th in the nation for constructing new homes in walkable areas. (Redfin) ... More people are renting across the US than ever before. (Construction Dive) ... Hundreds of dead fish are stinking up a pond on the National Mall. Authorities suspected the extreme heat is the culprit. (Post)

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Links


Breakfast links: From a squad car to the gridiron


Photo by Women_in_Uniform on Flickr.
Goodbye, Chief: DC Chief of Police Cathy Lanier announced her retirement after 26 years on the force and 10 of those years as chief. DC's first female chief, and one of the country's longest-tenured, Lanier will now head up security for the NFL. (Post)

Changes to SafeTrack plans: Metro has modified its SafeTrack plan to account for new safety recommendations and the impact of the recent extreme heat. The new plan, which starts by extending the current Red Line work surge, will include more weekend station shutdowns and longer surges. (DCist)

No shelter (end) in sight: DC General was supposed to be a temporary homeless shelter. Now, it direly needs replacement, but plans keep facing delays thanks to resistance from people who don't want shelters near their homes. (NYT, Alex S.)

Home values are on the up: The DC region's home prices continue to rise, recovering since the recession in 2007 and 2008. The average house now sells for around $435,000, which is the same as before the recession. (WTOP)

Thank this man for our parks: Before Frederick Law Olmsted, people ran in graveyards, landscape architecture wasn't even a profession, and cities didn't plan for public parks. Learn about the man who transformed our vision of the urban environment. (The Atlantic)

Shipping the freight fantastic: New emissions standards for the trucking industry in 2021 may remove 1 billion tons of pollution, save $170 billion in costs, and save 84 billion gallons of oil. Consumers may also save some money as shipping gets cheaper. (Post)

Enraged by E. coli: Conservation groups are suing the Environmental Protection Agency, saying that the agency violates the Clean Water Act by allowing too much E.coli bacteria into the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers. (DCist)

New leader in Fairfax: The Fairfax City Council elected Steven Stombres as its interim mayor. He'll lead until a special election in February 2017. Fairfax City's former mayor resigned last week after being arrested on drug charges. (WTOP)

No power on L Street: Many buildings near Farragut Square (including GGWash's office!) are without power after a huge transformer fire underneath L Street on Monday night. The fire also affected 911 service for Sprint customers in Arlington, Fairfax, Prince William, and Montgomery counties. (WTOP)

And...: Here's how to bike through DC's traffic circles (City Paper)... Take free online courses on architecture, civic ecology, and sustainable development (CityLab)... A new law requires DC schools to have at least one automated external defibrillator on site, and for teachers and students to know how to use it (DCist)

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Links


Breakfast links: Red means stop, Metro


Photo by Sarah Joy on Flickr.
Why does Metro run reds?: Operator training, inattentiveness, and poor communication were among the issues the FTA says Metro needs to fix after recent red signal overruns. (WAMU)

Arlington swaps ART for Uber: Arlington County wants to supplement, and ultimately replace bus service on the ART 53 route with on-demand rides through Uber or Lyft. Arlington is still studying a plan, but wants to start service within a few years. (Post)

More lanes, same congestion: Adding more lanes to a highway like I-270 hasn't fixed congestion elsewhere in the US and won't here either, says Rollin Stanley, Montgomery County's former planning director. (Post)

Shadow campaign conclusion: Jeffrey Thompson, the man who ran a shadow campaign to help elect Mayor Vincent Gray in 2010, has been sentenced to three months in jail. (WBJ)

Orange exits the council: Vincent Orange officially resigned from the DC Council yesterday after weeks of controversy surrounding his new position as head of the DC Chamber of Commerce. (DCist)

Pedestrian improvements, please?: A resident convinced Montgomery County to study and improve a pedestrian crosswalk in Bethesda. The county opted not to add a Barnes Dance, as requested, but did reduce pedestrian wait times. (Bethesda Magazine)

Off the grid in SW: One family in Southwest DC has been living almost totally off the grid for seven years. Since giving Pepco the boot, they've installed solar panels and efficient amenities to live on their own terms. (The Atlantic)

Wall Street to walk street: For five hours this past weekend, 60 blocks surrounding New York's financial district became a walker's paradise. The city reduced speed limits to 5 mph and encouraged pedestrians to take over the streets. (The Guardian)

And...: A Metrobus crashed into a wall on 16th St NW yesterday after colliding with another vehicle. (Post) ... How is East Los Angeles handling "gentefication," gentrification by upwardly mobile people of the same race? (CityLab) ... A new DC Streetcar guide tells you everything you need to know to explore H Street and Benning Road. (Technical.ly)

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Links


Breakfast links: Can you park here?


Photo by Elvert Barnes on Flickr.
No more parking fraud (downtown)?: DC plans to tackle disabled parking fraud with new rules requiring people with placards to pay but giving more time. A 2012 plan for red top meters met opposition and was blocked; the new plan will just focus on the downtown area and reduce the number of red top meters. (Post)

Clues for Purple Line in Charlotte: Marylanders curious about the impact of Purple Line construction can look to Charlotte, NC, where an extension of its light-rail line caused construction disruptions and made rents rise near new stations. (Post)

Monday morning problems: Red Line trains are still sharing a track after the weekend's extreme heat delayed cleanup from SafeTrack-related maintenance. (Post) ... A car hit a bus on 16th Street; the bus ended up atop a wall. (Post) ... A motorcycle crash closed the Roosevelt Bridge to DC. (WTOP)

Vulnerability in Ellicott City?: Although nothing could have prevented the deadly flood, development on formerly tree-covered hillsides above downtown Ellicott City may have made it more prone to flood damage from runoff. (Post)

Changes for Watergate lookout spot: A former hotel across the street from the Watergate where some members of the Watergate break-in team posted watch will be redeveloped into 250 apartments. (Washingtonian)

Late-night for London: At a time when people are debating late-night Metro service in DC, London recently launched 24-hour service on two tube lines to boost the nighttime economy and provide low-income workers with better transit options. (The Guardian)

Future residents unite: Why are the people who sleep in a town the only ones with any say over its land use policy? Current residents of towns often oppose new residents coming in, but the latter have no vote. (Post)

Housing: a Presidential issue: Housing discrimination is one of this Presidential election's least salient issues, but Tim Kaine criticized Donald Trump for his history of not renting to minorities. Before politics, Kaine sued discriminatory landlords. (Post)

RIP: Marion Christopher Barry, the late former mayor' son and once a DC Council cabdidate, died of an apparent drug overdose. (City Paper) ... Robert Kiley, former head of Boston's, New York's, and London's transit systems, died from Alzheimer's. He introduced NYC's MetroCard and implemented London's congestion pricing. (NYT)

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Breakfast links: Deadly fire in Silver Spring


Photo by Triratna_Photos on Flickr.
Silver Spring up in flames: An apartment building in Silver Spring exploded late Wednesday night, leaving two dead and more missing or injured. Residents frequently complained about the smell of natural gas, and police suspect a leak is to blame. (Post)

Bike lanes? ANC says no thanks: The Petworth ANC voted down recommendations from a DDOT study that calls for reducing the number of lanes and adding a bike lane to New Hampshire Ave NW. The commissioners took the vote before they had even read the study itself. (PetworthNews)

How to make office parks work: A new, free shuttle takes workers from the the Grosvenor Metro to an office park with no other transit options in Bethesda. Montgomery County is running the shuttle in part to convince businesses that traditional office parks are still viable. (Bethesda Beat)

Purple still pushing along: Some limited Purple Line construction work is still moving forward, even after last week's federal ruling that the project needs a new environmental study. (Bethesda Beat)

Columbia Heights on crime: Is crime in Columbia Heights getting worse even as housing prices continue to rise? Year-over-year statistics say no, but increases in racial tension and brazen violent crime make residents feel otherwise. (City Paper)

Another MetroAccess assault: Another MetroAccess driver has been charged with sexually assaulting a passenger in her home, this time in Fairfax County. This is the second driver to be charged with sexual assault this week. (WTOP)

No PAC bump: Super PACs that receive national funding poured huge sums into the DC Council primary races this election cycle. Despite the influx of campaign spending, not all the chosen candidates won their races. (WAMU)

Can't contain shipping container homes: Another development constructed from shipping containers is coming to DC. The condos will make their way to Shaw in late 2017. (UrbanTurf)

And...: Activists will sing karaoke, poorly in front of the White House to protest the DEA's decision to keep marijuana a Schedule I drug. (DCist) ... Greer Gillis of DDOT is the new acting head for DC's Department of General Services. (City Paper) ... A DC homeless shelter got a donation of geese meat from the National Park Service's efforts protect the Anacostia wetlands from geese. (WTOP)

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Links


Breakfast links: More Metro closures coming


Photo by Craig on Flickr.
Shut down over single tracking: More weekend closures could come as part of SafeTrack as Metro tries to address the FTA's concerns. The closures, which would be in lieu of planned single-tracking, would allow for more thorough work. (WAMU)

The roots of racism in Baltimore: As part of the scathing report on Baltimore police force violations, the Justice Department identified an an 80 year-old housing map that illustrates the city's deep history of segregation and its ongoing effects. (Post)

Fast v. fast casual: In DC, any restaurant where you pay before you get your food is considered fast food, which has made it tough for fast-casual concepts to open. New zoning rules that change the definition of fast food will soon make it easier. (Post)

MetroAccess assault: A MetroAccess driver was charged with sexually assaulting one of his passengers aboard a MetroAccess vehicle. (Post)

Fatal Metrobus collision: The driver of a car that rear-ended a Metrobus as it serviced a bus stop died at the scene yesterday. Several others were injured. (Post)

Record high housing: The median cost of a home in the District hit a record high of $570,000 in July. The region's median cost was about 20% lower, at $435,000. (UrbanTurf)

The world's best walk: Where are the best places to "urban wander" by foot in the world? The Guardian highlights six amazing city walks, with two, in Detroit and Portland, Oregon, from the US.

And...: The President's chief of staff is a bike commuter. (Bicycling) ... Capitol Crossing, the development on top of the new deck over I-395, may not get a beloved restaurant/market concept or student housing as hoped. (Washingtonian) ... Plans to renovate Baltimore's Penn Station are finally moving forward. (Baltimore Sun)

Transportation job openings: Want to work on important transportation issues? The region's council of governments is hiring a program director to work on transportation data, and Montgomery County is looking for someone to coordinate Purple Line construction.

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Links


Breakfast links: "Arrest all the black hoodies"


Photo by Ted Van Pelt on Flickr.
Discrimination in Charm City: Baltimore police routinely target and retaliate against black residents, leading to mistrust and adversarial relations with the community, says a DOJ report. Over 5 years, about 44% of pedestrian stops happened in just 2 parts of the city, where most residents are African-American. (Baltimore Sun)

Unsafe space: A park and playground near the convention center were recently renovated, but crime, including a recent homicide, is keeping residents away. DC police says they are looking into security cameras and turnstiles to limit access. (NBC)

Poor performance, no penalties: DC doesn't always make sure it's getting what private developers promise, like affordable housing and public spaces, say DC auditors. The District may be leaving millions of dollars on the table. (WBJ)

Michigan Park housing moves forward: EYA, the developer behind a rowhouse project at Michigan Park's St. Joseph's Seminary, recently filed plans for 82 homes, including 12 affordable housing units. That's far fewer than the 150 that it had planned, but it does mean there will be more park space. (GGWash, UrbanTurf)

Not your average box: Four new condos in Shaw will be made from shipping containers, and will have balconies and a roof deck. The same architect previously built four similar condos in Brookland in 2014. (UrbanTurf)

Officials sound off on Metro: Local representatives say they're not surprised to read about Metro's safety and maintenance issues in an FTA report Tuesday. The board will hold a special meeting to investigate. (WTOP)

A year without a mayor?: Facing allegations that he traded meth for sex, Fairfax City's mayor is resigning. But a special election for a new mayor may not happen to 2017 thanks to the timing of the resignation and Virginia's election laws. (WTOP)

Swamp things: Many DC memorials are covered in an unidentified black scum that is spreading. The National Park Service first noticed the scum (a combination of bacteria, algae, and fungi) five years ago and says it has gotten worse. (Post)

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