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National Links: From Florida to California

Miami is moving forward with big transit plans, Connecticut towns have a unique model for building affordable housing, and many have trouble seeing LA as urban because of how car-centric its past is. Check out what's happening around the world in transportation, land use, and other related areas!


Photo by Humberto Moreno on Flickr.

Sunshine State expansion: Six rapid transit projects are now part of Miami's Metropolitan Planning Organization's long range plan. Many of these lines have been in previous plans, but they're now being made top priorities, which bodes well for their future completion. (Miami New Times)

New Affordability, CT: Cities in Connecticut are required to have 10% of their homes be affordable. If that isn't the case, developers can effectively ignore the zoning code as long as they build 30% affordable. This has led wealthier communities pushing for affordable housing. (New York Times)

Dirge for dingbats: The "dingbat," an infamous Los Angeles architecture form that's basically just a box-like apartment stuck on top of an open carport, is slowly disappearing for more aesthetically pleasing, dense, and safe structures. Are they worth restoring and preserving? (LA Weekly)

Edge City redux: Outside of Miami, the Atlantic Ocean and the Everglades make it so there isn't space to keep sprawling out, so buildings are going upward. Translation: Urban city centers are going up in the suburbs. (The Economist)

LA through #nofilter: Many still see Los Angeles as an ugly ode to cars and endless concrete, even as the city shifts toward becoming more traditionally urban, dense, and walkable. Why? It's hard for people to see beyond LA's built origins as a car-centric city. (Colin Marshall)

Uber exit: Uber is threatening to leave Houston if the city does not repeal regulations that require drivers get fingerprints taken and go through a licensing process. The company has already left three cities in Texas and is threatening to leave Austin as well. (Texas Tribune)

Tashkent trams: The capital of Uzbekistan, Tashkent, is shutting down its tram system. Opened in 1912, it is one of the oldest in central Asia. A lot of locals say the city is losing both a convenient and green form of transport, and a piece of its charm. (BBC)

Quote of the Week

"The idea is that by using a cryptographically secured and totally decentralized authority that can work at the speed of a computer, we should be able to keep power distribution, water treatment, self-driving transportation, and much more from ballooning beyond all practical limits as cities continue to grow." Graham Templeton on using Bitcoin Blockchain to run smart cities. (Extreme Tech)

Links


Breakfast links: Metro on message


Photo by Steve Fernie on Flickr.
New on the WMATA Board: US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx replaced 3 of 4 federal WMATA Board appointees with top safety officials from federal transportation groups. (WAMU)

Red rapid repairs: Metro will conduct a "maintenance surge" to repair the water leaks that caused last week's smoke incident. Trains will single track between Van Ness and Medical Center midday, evenings, and all weekend. (WAMU)

Metro's empty chair: Metro's Paul Wiedefeld has been a very accessible General Manager. So why did Fox 5 leave an empty chair for him, suggesting his unwillingness to do an interview, during their morning show? (Washingtonian)

Cemetery land swap: The Army wants to add 38 acres to Arlington Cemetery as soon as 2018 through a land swap with Arlington County. In return, the county would get land for transit and traffic improvements on Columbia Pike. (WTOP)

Prince George's future: Many Prince George's residents have resisted dense, walkable urban renewal, perhaps because it looks too much like the cities they fled from. But without change, the county's success and prosperity could become just another source of nostalgia. (Washingtonian)

OurRFP in Ivy City: DC wants to lease an old, historic school with a huge parking lot in Ivy City. Under the "OurRFP" pilot program, DC will seek developers based on what the community wants: space for recreation, job training, small business, or mixed income housing. (WBJ)

The lead feet of Metrobus: Metrobus operators have picked up 2,300 traffic tickets since 2010. Overall, violations for speeding and running red lights and stop signs have gone down after increased driver training and monitoring. (Post)

Promises on the Old Post Office: Donald Trump won the bid to renovate and lease the Old Post Office Building on Pennsylvania Avenue with lofty promises on historic preservation. But now it seems a lot of that was just talk. (BuzzFeed News)

Arlington on the ped beat: The Arlington Police Department cracked down on drivers ignoring pedestrians in crosswalks and pedestrians crossing outside of crosswalks in Clarendon and Crystal City this week as part of an annual safety campaign. (ArlNow)

And...: DDOT will repair 64 alleys in all eight wards as part of its third annual AlleyPalooza campaign. (City Paper) ... Boston's City Council voted unanimously to lower speed limits to 20 mph across the city as part of Vision Zero. (Boston.com) ... DC Police will remind drivers not to leave valuables in their cars with educational "tickets." (PoPville)

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Breakfast links: Stay safe and share


Photo by Mr.TinDC on Flickr.
Vision Zero comes to Alexandria: The Alexandria City Council voted unanimously to develop a Vision Zero policy, make extensive sidewalk improvements, and build a more comprehensive bike network, including 44 miles of bike lanes, as part of its master plan update. (Alexandria Times)

Bikeshare for College Park: College Park's bikeshare system, mBike, will open May 4 with 125 bikes (and a few accessible tricycles) at 14 stations. The system is not part of Capital Bikeshare. (Zagster)

Suggested shelter changes: A coalition of nearly 60 DC-based social justice groups is calling for Mayor Bowser to revise her homeless shelter plan with a different site for the Ward 5 shelter, use of city-owned land for all shelters, and private bathrooms for every unit. But the Mayor isn't budging. (WAMU)

Expert expectations: Congressman John Delaney will introduce a bill to shake up the WMATA Board, calling for all future appointees to be experts in either transit, management, or finance. (DCist)

Downtown's ups and downs: Downtown DC has more workers, increased museum/theater attendance, and way less blight than before, but office rents are down, homelessness is up, and residential growth has been stagnant. (WBJ)

SelectPass going strong: Metro's new monthly payment plan for commuters outsold the standard 28-day pass by 40% in April. Metro may add a wider variety of SelectPass options in the coming months. (Post)

Firearms in Ward 5: DC's first gun range could come to Ward 5 next year, right next to one of the homeless shelter plan sites. (City Paper)

Bikes that grow: Bikes that grow with your child are becoming more popular. One modular kit can transform all the way from a wagon for a toddler to a recumbent trike for a teen. (BBC)

And...: The Secret Service plans to build a taller, stronger fence around the White House. (NBC4) ... An official Washington Nationals pint glass suggests the team plays in Southern Maryland rather than DC. (City Paper) ... National Airport is holding an emergency drill on Saturday. (Post)

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Breakfast links: The votes are in


Photo by Edward Kimmel on Flickr.
Maryland primary results: State Senator Catherine Pugh won Baltimore's Democratic mayoral primary, while Rep. Chris Van Hollen won the Democratic nod for Senate. In congressional seats, state senator Jamie Raskin and former Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown won their primaries. (Post, Baltimore Sun)

Abandoned to affordable: A new program in Baltimore aims to increase access to affordable housing by paying local residents to help refurbish the many abandoned properties throughout the city. (NPR)

Parents behind bars: Nearly 10,000 children in DC have at least one parent who has been incarcerated. The best next steps: Programs that keep kids in touch with jailed parents, and employment opportunities for when people get out. (City Paper)

More people, same movement: While the DC region's population region continues to grow, the amount of car and transit trips has remained steady. An aging population and an increase and teleworking could be the reasons for no growth. (TPB News)

Taxed enough already?: Few Reston residents support a homeowner tax increase to help cover the estimated $2.6 billion needed for transportation improvements throughout the area. (Reston Now)

A tunnel to NoMa: A pedestrian tunnel connecting Union Market and Gallaudet University to the NoMa Metro Station could be part of a new development, though it's unclear who would pay for it. (WBJ)

Become a block parent: At an event in Petworth, Mayor Bowser relaunched the Adopt-a-Block program, encouraging residents, businesses, and non-profits to organize clean-up days and litter pick-up for a given two-block area. (DCist)

Closed for repairs: The National Park Service will most likely close the Memorial Bridge for substantial stretches of time during its three year rehabilitation project, which won't change the road design. (TheWashCycle)

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Breakfast links: Fits and starts


Photo by Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious on Flickr.
Not so safe accommodations: A 2014 DC law was supposed to ensure that safe paths for pedestrians and cyclists stayed open during construction, but DDOT often isn't enforcing that rule. (WAMU)

Taxation without representation: DC residents paid more in federal taxes in 2014 than 21 states. If DC had been a state in 2014, each resident would have paid $8.81 per congressional seat, the fourth highest in the nation. (District, Measured)

Foreign object, not arcing: Metro's Saturday smoke incident wasn't caused by an arcing insulator like most recent incidents, but instead occurred after a broken, metal railcar piece came into contact with the third rail. (City Paper)

Vote in Maryland!: Today is Maryland's primary. Besides the presidential nomination, there are hotly-contested races for the Democratic nomination for US Senate and the 8th congressional district, which covers many people in Montgomery County. (Post)

"Uber of parking" falters: A startup offering to park your car for you for a low price is closing up shop in DC. Why did the "Uber of parking" fail? It didn't really make sense from the start. (Post)

Soccer starts: The DC United stadium site is now officially under construction after Mayor Bowser, Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen, and a DC United representative ceremonially knocked down a shed at the Buzzard Point site. (DCist)

DCHA goes solar: The DC Housing Authority will install solar panels on a handful of buildings, and its solar vendor will offer job training as well. (City Paper)

Bikeshare equity counts: How can bikeshare systems fairly serve low-income areas? Good bike lanes and connections to transit, dense stations and monthly pricing, and other strategies can make the difference. (Next City)

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Breakfast links: Metro issues old and new


Photo by Gary Burke on Flickr.
Tragedy averted: On Saturday, Metro had another arcing-related smoke scare on the Red Line near Friendship Heights. This time, the train was able to move away from the smoke and was evacuated without any serious injuries to riders. (WAMU)

Automation issues: Some sounded alarms about Metro's growing problems nearly as soon as the system opened, but to no heed. One factor: from when it first opened, Metro trusted its automation too much. (Post)

WMATARU's fatal flaw: There seem to be many reasons the WMATA Riders' Union failed, including infighting and communication problems. But the bottom line seems to be that its all-volunteer leaders didn't have enough time. (WAMU)

Make Van Ness great again: Van Ness hasn't changed much over the past decades, especially compared to other DC neighborhoods. A new "Action Plan" aims to spur revitalization by encouraging walkability and economic development. (UrbanTurf)

Delivery's race factor: 82% of DC's white residents live in areas with Amazon same-day delivery, but only 43% of black residents are. While Amazon is probably not intentionally discriminating, this effect exacerbates existing residential segregation patterns in DC and other cities. (Bloomberg, Vox)

More pavement, more problems: The region adds roughly 3.8 million square miles of pavement annually, which has some tough environmental consequences. Better planning can help reduce the amount of pavement. (WAMU)

HOV in BRT: Planned BRT lanes on Route 29 may now also allow HOV traffic. Some Montgomery County councilmembers are frustrated with the way transportation officials haven't communicated on this issue. (The Sentinel, Ben Ross)

Hold up at White Oak: A spat between Montgomery County and a local developer over legal and environmental issues could ruin plans for Viva White Oak, a proposed life sciences town center near the FDA campus. (Post)

Coming soon in NoMa: NoMa has developed rapidly west of the railroad tracks, but a lot's about to happen on the east side, including an REI at the Uline Arena and a lot of housing. (Washingtonian)

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Breakfast links: Represent


Photo by Mr.TinDC on Flickr.
Next stop, statehood: Mayor Bowser wants to submit a comprehensive statehood plan to Congress this year, including a citywide vote in November. Tennessee took similar action to become a state in 1795. (WAMU) ... Presidential hopeful John Kasich says he's opposed because it's "just more votes in the Democratic Party." (The Hill)

WMATARU, Where R U?: The WMATA Riders Union, a rider's advocacy group formed last fall, has been inexplicably quiet and absent for some time now, and no one seems to be sure what happened. (Post)

Hogan, the hero?: On the Eastern Shore, people praise Governor Hogan for pushing forward rural road improvement projects. But the state's new scoring program, meant to improve transparency, will likely cut similar projects. (Post)

Same day for some: Amazon's same-day delivery service covers the entire city and some surrounding suburbs in most major US cities. But for a handful of cities, including DC, predominantly black ZIP codes don't make the cut. (Bloomberg, JJJ)

Farm first: ANC 1C doesn't want the developer of a new building in Adams Morgan to revamp an underutilized neighborhood plaza because it would leave less space for the local farmer's market. (Borderstan)

What's in a name?: DC United will name its new 20,000 seat stadium the DC United Stadium, at least until a sponsor comes along. (WBJ) ... Some Congressmen really don't want President J. Edgar Hoover's name associated with FBI headquarters any longer, since he championed a lot of illegal surveillance. (Post)

Equal opportunity, except for housing: Cognitive dissonance between liberal aspirations and anti-growth housing policy is killing US cities, argues Shane Phillips. Liberals cannot continue to claim they're pro-environment but anti-density, or pro-immigration but anti-new neighbors. (Better Institutions)

Winter dream bike: A Swedish man built a recumbent, electric bicycle with a heater and an outer shell that resembles a car so he can keep riding even during his country's chilly winters. (Post)

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Breakfast links: Rights on the road


Photo by Elvert Barnes on Flickr.
Contributory negligence back on the table: The DC Council is again working on a bill that would let cyclists and pedestrians receive compensation for medical care or bike repairs in a crash if they are deemed less than 50% at fault. The existing law makes it nearly impossible for cyclists to recover losses. (WAMU)

Just phoning it in: Metrorail ridership is down, but per person vehicle travel has stayed steady in the region. Where has everyone gone? Many people have turned to telecommuting, with 27% of commuters teleworking at least occasionally. (Post)

Buses and buses only: Metro is studying how to keep other traffic out of bus lanes now that several bus lanes are popping up across the region. (PlanItMetro)

Motion on minimum wage: Mayor Bowser has proposed to increase the minimum wage to $15 by 2020, and increase wages for tipped workers to $7.50 by 2022. Others are still pushing to put the issue to a citywide vote on November's ballot. (WAMU)

NoMa mixes it up: A huge new mixed-use project will replace industrial space in NoMa. The development will include 50 affordable housing units among 650, a 200 room hotel, and a ton of retail. (WBJ)

Cool down on Crystal City: After a major DC office space owner compared Crystal City to Brooklyn, people took to social media to say "not quite." Crystal City is remaking itself, but is still best known for underground shopping and aging office buildings. (Post)

New bills: The US Treasury will put Harriet Tubman on the front of the $20 bill, and will add images from historic events at the Lincoln Memorial and the women's suffrage movement to the back of the $5 and $10 bills. (DCist)

San Francisco goes solar: San Francisco will require solar panels and "solar ready" space on all new buildings under 10 stories starting next year. (SFBT)

And...: DC has installed 8 bike repair stations across the city, with more to come. (DC DGS) ... An altercation over a burrito led to delays on the Orange, Blue, and Silver Lines yesterday. (City Paper) ... DC, Baltimore, and Chicago made up more than half of the increase in murders in major US cities last year. (DCist)

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Breakfast links: Blitzes and bans


Photo by Thomas Hawk on Flickr.
Metro's got more than 99 problems: Federal inspectors have told Metro to immediately start resolving more than 200 "critical concerns regarding fire/life safety" uncovered during the safety blitz inspections that concluded this week. (WAMU)

Now ban the other box: DC Councilmembers McDuffie and Bonds introduced new legislation to prohibit landlords from asking about applicants' prior convictions. The bill comes on the heels of previous "ban the box" employment laws. (DCist)

Co-op opt out: Lots of new condo buildings are coming to DC, but there aren't nearly as many new co-ops. Are the challenges of cooperative governing structures for homeownership turning people away? (Urban Turf)

Energy bills, bills, bills: Pepco has filed a request to increase rates for Maryland customers, amounting to about 10 percent on the average monthly bill. DC customers could potentially see a rate increase later this year. (WBJ)

Fire on the mountain: A wildfire in Shenandoah National Park has spread to more than 3000 acres. Lots of roads and trails have closed, including Skyline Drive. (Post)

Fighting words (on license plates): Lawmakers want to update DC's famous protest license plates by changing the their language to "End Taxation without Representation," in an attempt to make the slogan more of a demand. (Post)

(Development) stop requested: DC police clashed with activists protesting developer-affiliated bus tours of Anacostia. The tours, meant to highlight economic growth opportunities, have been dubbed "gentrification safaris" by protesters. (City Paper)

Cycling at a crossroads: Researchers in Portland are beginning an extensive global study to identity the best way to design an intersection for bicycle use. The goal is to produce a set of best practices that can be implemented in any city. (CityLab)

Sounds like progress: Uber launched a new initiative to hire more drivers who are deaf or hard of hearing through online recruiting in American Sign Language and outreach in areas with large deaf populations. (Post)

And...: Two photographers got a rare peak into the hidden Pyongyang metro system. (Gizmodo) ... Fairfax debuted a new hotline to report potential construction violations. (Fairfax County) ... A former Metro board member is "amazed" people are still riding Metro given all it's problems. (WTOP) ... A Danish design firm targets the Pennsylvania Avenue bike lane for its poorly-conceived design. (Copenhagenize)

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Breakfast links: Skeptic city


Photo by jGregor on Flickr.
Shelter doubts: Skepticism around pricey leasing agreements threaten Mayor Bowser's plan to replace DC General with smaller homeless shelters in each ward. Unfortunately, many questions on the plan's finances remain unanswered. (Post)

Safety blitz findings: The Federal Transit Administration found non-working lights, discharged fire extinguishers, and workers ignoring speed restrictions around work zones in Metro's tunnels as part of its safety blitz. (NBC4)

On the up in Ivy City: 50% of apartments in Ivy City's Hecht Warehouse have been leased, and retail and restaurants are quickly following. Many feared the area would have trouble attracting tenants because it's far from Metro. (UrbanTurf)

Weekend cuts?: WMATA General Manager Paul Wiedefeld hinted that he might cut Metro's weekend operating hours to aid track repairs. He said many riders have already found workarounds like Uber. (Washingtonian)

Car2go Arlington and DC: Arlington is on board to let car2go members pick up and drop off cars in Arlington and DC. Now it's up to DDOT to give the final OK. (DCist)

Wilson is fine: Traffic on Wilson Blvd in Arlington has slowed by about 15 seconds after a road diet, well below the 20 minutes some complained about. (ArlNow)

Smoked out in DC: The DC Council will likely vote to ban "cannabis clubs" today. Councilmember Nadeau is not pleased that the vote is taking place before the issue's task force even met. (City Paper)

Consolation fee: Arlington residents displaced by redevelopment or renovations will get more money to move after the County Board approved an increase in tenant relocation payments. (ArlNow)

And...: A downtown church will host the first-ever bike blessing in the District in an attempt to repair the rift between cyclists and churches. (Borderstan) ... Pepco customers will get a credit on their next bill, thanks to the recently approved Exelon merger. (DCist)

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