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Breakfast links: Yuuuge wall

Photo by Jeremy Brooks on Flickr.
"Trump's [Purple] wall": Riverdale Park residents and businesses are upset that cost-cutting changed their Purple Line station to be on top of a concrete wall, which could reduce visibility, harm businesses, and increase the risk of crime. (Post)

Make buses great again: Bus ridership is down in DC and many other cities. A New York campaign thinks it can buck the trend by rethinking routes, offering well-spaced stops, and improving urban design with dedicated bus lanes. (Slate)

SafeTrack's challenge: The scope and magnitude of SafeTrack couldn't be more complicated, with workers enduring 12-hour hour shifts, trains running on adjacent tracks, and especially this past weekend, extreme heat. (Post)

When Metro was cool: During heat waves in the 1980s, people would ride Metro around for hours just to take advantage of the air conditioning. Now the AC (and the trains themselves) is much less reliable. (Post)

Bethesdensity: Bethesda has a new downtown plan. It doesn't add density, but developers (except near the neighborhoods at the edges) can get bonus density by paying to help create parks and adding affordable housing. (Bethesda Beat)

Protesting a bad offer: Residents of a Congress Heights apartment complex protested in front of a developer's house on Saturday after they received overvalued TOPA offers. They'd have to come up with $12 million to buy the ailing buildings. (City Paper)

Solution for vacant office space?: While the number of office jobs in the region is up, the demand for office space is flat. Conrad Cafrtiz is testing a solution: flexible units that can be configured as home or work space, depending on the tenant's wishes. (Post)

Uneven job growth: Although it's true the DC area is adding more jobs than anywhere else in the country, most of these jobs are low-wage positions in the retail and hospitality industries that tend to be located in the suburbs. (Post)

And...: Volunteer cartographers are using apps to track changes in DC neighborhoods. (Post) ... Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker runs for more than office. (The Undefeated) ... Manassas tries its first road diet. (Active PW)

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Breakfast links: Build that housing

Photo by Jay on Flickr.
Permit effects on housing: Permitting delays could be a big factor in how much new housing gets built in cities, and therefore how affordable that housing is. Long delays make building new housing more risky for developers. (Post)

H Street's newest connection: In the 1980s, developers built the suburban-style H Street Connection strip mall as a response to crime in the neighborhood. Now the strip mall will give way to a mixed-use development with ground-floor retail and over 400 apartment units as the neighborhood again changes shape. (Post)

Mixed income with a community pool: Plans for a multigenerational mixed-income housing development in Silver Spring will include a community pool to help promote interaction between the general public and residents. (Bethesda Beat)

Development east of the Anacostia: There is a lot of development planned for east of the Anacostia River, with office space, ground floor retail, and a big mix of affordable and market rate housing. (UrbanTurf)

Maryland Ave NE road diet: The long-awaited plans for a road diet for Maryland Ave NE are inching forward. The project will likely begin construction in mid-2017. (TheWashCycle)

Fight over Metro firing: After the fatal January 2015 smoke incident, Metro fired an employee who had lied about performing maintenance on a nonfunctioning tunnel fan involved in the event. Metro's biggest union fought and won a case to reinstate the employee, but Metro is fighting back. (WTOP)

Uber surges and SafeTrack: Uber is subsidizing how much it pays its drivers to keep up with demand during SafeTrack without high surge prices for customers. (WAMU)

Open gangways for NYC's subway: MTA will purchase new railcars with open gangways for the New York City subway system. The railcars increase capacity by making it easy for riders to walk between cars on the train. (MTA, Richard B)

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Breakfast links: Headlines, bread-lines blow my mind

Photo by NCinDC on Flickr.
Rent is outpacing income: Rents in our region are rising much faster than incomes, more than any other US city. Demand has outpaced supply in popular coastal cities while many incomes nationwide have remained stagnant. (Post)

Rent is lower than SF, NY: Washington area rents may be high, but they still aren't at San Francisco or New York levels. The average rent here is $1,715, while in the Bay Area it's $3,226 and in the NY area it's $2,893. Washington also has more vacant rentals than its competitors. (Washingtonian)

"Sue the suburbs" gets a win: Pro-housing activists are suing a SF Bay Area city for rejecting denser housing, under a little-used California law. Their lawsuit just cleared a key hurdle about whether the plaintiffs have standing to sue. (SFBT)

New Metro has released the beta for its new website design. The new layout should work better on mobile devices and has more and bigger images in place of dense text. (Post)

"Privatize" Metro?: A mysterious group held a protest advocating for Metro privatization. No word on what organization they were connected to or if they had any idea what privatizing Metro would even mean. (City Paper)

Bidding for paratransit: Metro is looking for a new contractor to run part of its paratransit service. The goal is reliable and equitable service for the elderly and disabled, but at a lower cost than the current very expensive contractor. (Post)

Car2go, the car killer: For every Car2go on DC's streets, there are as many as 7 fewer personal cars. That's according to a recent study, which also looked at how Car2go has cut how often people drive and impacted public transit. (CityLab)

Meals on wheels: Uber has extended its UberEats food delivery service to include deliveries by bike. The app errs on the side of employing a bike courier rather than a driver in dense areas, and the fees are the same. (Post)

Automation and safety: A self-driving bus in the Netherlands successfully navigated a 12-mile route along city streets. (TechCrunch) ... A (human) taxi driver hit a cyclist outside Union Station on Tuesday. (DCist) ... A Tesla's autopilot stopped the car from hitting a pedestrian on New York Avenue. (@elonmusk)

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Breakfast links: Demand is hot for VRE and housing

Photo by Adam Moss on Flickr.
Stay cool during surge #5: Starting today through July 31, there is continuous single-tracking between East Falls Church and Ballston on the Orange and Silver Lines. Meanwhile, Metro says high temperatures waylaid plans to finish work during the third SafeTrack surge. (DCist)

Roads and VRE use up: Traffic was 10-15% worse during SafeTrack's first surge, but effects were smaller in subsequent surges. (TPB) ... VRE saw record ridership during SafeTrack's third surge, about a 30% increase. (WAMU)

Enough housing?: Over the past three years, the number of apartments in DC has grown more rapidly than the population. But that doesn't necessarily mean the region is building enough housing for demand. (District Measured, UrbanTurf)

Cabbie fortunes flip: DC's taxi industry has lost a significant share of customers to ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft, and needs a major regulatory overhaul if it wants to remain competitive, according to a new study. (WAMU)

Potomac Yard gets a boost: A $66 million grant from NVTA will help Alexandria build the Potomac Yard Metro station. NVTA also funded a VRE parking lot, a better pedestrian connection at I-66 and Route 28, and Metro power upgrades. (Post)

SafeTrack work woes: Signals and switches near Stadium Armory have malfunctioned eight times following SafeTrack maintenance. (NBC4) ... Construction dust from SafeTrack work clouded the Crystal City and Pentagon City stations yesterday. (Fox5)

Trainspotting gets easier: Metro's new data feed will help third party app developers give riders more detailed and accurate information on where trains are in the system. (Post)

Baltimore housing is in distress: The Baltimore area housing market is the most distressed in the nation, with nearly 20% of all homes sold in April foreclosures or short sales. (WTOP)

And...: The Arlington County Board voted "no" to moving a historic fire station. (Post) ... Hot? Here's a list of every indoor and outdoor public pool and sprayground in DC. (Washingtonian) ... Pokemon Go is harder to play in black neighborhoods because there are fewer gameplay locations. (Belleville News-Democrat)

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Breakfast links: Dollars and deaths in Maryland

Photo by Mega Anorak on Flickr.
I-270 spending: Maryland is set to spend $229.6 million to combat traffic congestion along I-270. The funds will cover an "innovative" project seeking to improve travel times, and construction of a new interchange at Watkins Mill. (WBJ)

Shuttle buses for MoCo: The state of Maryland will fund shuttle bus service for Montgomery County during SafeTrack work on the Red Line this year, after a state senator petitioned for it. (Bethesda Magazine)

Second cyclist killed: A driver hit and killed a cyclist in the crosswalk where the Matthew Henson Trail crosses Viers Mill Road in Rockville, the second cyclist fatality at this location in less than six months. (TheWashCycle)

Farewell for a historic fire station?: Residents are pushing back as Arlington plans to close a historic fire station founded by black volunteers nearly a century ago. The county says it's moving operations north to improve response times, but many are skeptical it will help. (Post)

SafeTrack shuttle SNAFU: A bus shuttling passengers around SafeTrack work missed its exit and let off passengers at Smithsonian, instead of the Pentagon Metro. (WTOP)

1600 Pennsylvania Ave ... SE: A new apartment building in DC bears the same address as the White House, except a different quadrant. It's been the source of some interesting mail mix-ups, and some online retailers refuse to deliver to the address. (WTOP)

LA's newest Metro line: Los Angeles Metro's Expo Line extension, which opened in May, hasn't ended car culture, but it has presented a solid new option for many commuters in the notoriously congested region. (NYT)

Road rage on the rise: Aggressive driving is becoming more common, according to a new study. Beyond honking and yelling, tailgating is also up. Could lower gas prices be a contributing factor? (Post)

And (where to find cars)...: A new Zipcar competitor, GM's Maven, launched in DC with 10 locations in downtown, NoMa, Dupont, Georgetown, and Adams Morgan. (Post) ... The Hirshhorn will feature a car crushed by a boulder. (City Paper)

Drink with us!: Greater Greater Washington's next happy hour is tonight (Tuesday)! Come to Maven Trade, 1410 14th St NW, between 6 and 8 pm for drinks and discussion with your favorite contributors, editors, commenters, and readers.

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Breakfast links: Beating the heat

Photo by Irene2005 on Flickr.
It's getting hot in here: It looks like DC's brutal summers are only going to get worse. A new report says the number of hot and humid days will increase until the region's climate in 2100 looks like present-day South Texas. (Post)

Had it with hot cars: Metro riders are understandably upset when they encounter a railcar with broken air conditioning in the dead of summer. Even though it's not part of SafeTrack, WMATA is working to address the hot car problem. (Post)

Metro's bad budget news: With operating costs far outpacing revenue growth, WMATA is on track to face a $1.1 billion operating deficit by 2020. Local jurisdictions will likely have to contribute millions more in subsidies. (WAMU)

Can you hear me now?: Poor communication was a major factor in last year's fatal smoke incident near L'Enfant Plaza, and a recent drill found Metro still needs to get better at communicating with riders and first responders during emergencies. (WTOP)

Abandoned home angst: Residents of the Anacostia Historic District want DC to take action on this city-owned vacant home, but the city says it has a full plate with the 150 vacant properties it owns. (WAMU)

Hardly a plan in Arlington: Columbia Pike residents want the Arlington County Board to create a transit development plan that provides premium bus service, and say that expanding off-peak and weekend service doesn't go far enough. (Post)

Fuzzy math on robberies: MPD Chief Cathy Lanier says robberies in the District area down 20%, but the math just doesn't add up. Year-over-year, robberies are up 3% and those at gunpoint are up over 20%. (Post)

More bus bays for King Street: This is the last year for public parking at the King Street Metro station. Starting in 2017, the area designated for parking and buses will be shut down for 12-15 months for the construction of 10 bus bays. (WTOP)

This week in approvals: Federal officials approve new pavilions and a footbridge for the Kennedy Center. (WAMU) ... Commissioners are really excited about getting rid of the "Darth Vader building." (WBJ) ... A Reston village center will be redeveloped with more residential and less retail, but is there enough recreation space? (Reston Now)

Big sales in the suburbs: While the District dominates the region for the actual dollar amount of commercial office space sales, 85% of the sales volume this year came from Maryland or Virginia. (WBJ)

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Worldwide links: France

Today, we mourn for France, which was again the target of a horrific terrorist attack.

Photo by Kristoffer Trolle on Flickr.

Tragedy in France: A man killed over 80 people and injured at least 200 more when he drove a truck through a crowds celebrating Bastille Day in France's southern city of Nice. The attack on the pedestrian-filled promenade was the third major terrorist attack in France since January 2015.

Tramways of Paris: Light rail and streetcar lines continue to go up around the country, and while some have been successful others suffer from low ridership and poor design. Across the Atlantic, however, Paris built a system of "trams" that has a ridership in excess of 900,000. The Paris tram's successful integration with the city's existing network, along with its dedicated right of way, are things we should learn from. (TransitCenter)

Catch them all: The Pokemon Go phenomenon has urban thinkers excited about a new possibility for getting people out of the house and exploring their neighborhoods. People playing the game have been roaming the streets and complaining of tired legs while going places they normally might not in order to capture Pokemon for their collections. (Curbed)

Pre-fabulous: A new method for building prefabricated housing in England has cut construction time from eight weeks to three. Using timber construction, architects build self-supporting boxes and ship them to the site. At around 100,000, these homes could be a new source of affordable housing. (Wired UK)

Exhibits, but no musuem: Stadiums and museums cost a lot of money to build and keep running. But maybe the best place for what happens in those buildings, like concerts and exhibits, is festivals. While buildings require up keep and become a liability, festivals can use public spaces and temporary structures to fill their needs. It's an idea to ponder for places that don't have much budget to waste. (Des Moines Register)

Old burbs: As the generation known as the Baby Boomers ages, the structure of the suburbs will become more challenging: as people age, driving cars and climbing stairs will become more strenuous on both physical and mental health. But there are ways for people downsizing to prepare, and it's possible for them to move into more walkable neighborhoods. (The Herald)

Brew tube: To bring down the number of beer-filled tanker trucks driving through historic Bruges, Belgium, a local brewery decided to build a two-mile beer pipeline to its bottling plant on the outskirts of town. The pipeline allowed jobs to stay in the UNESCO historic district while upholding not just architectural heritage, but also continuing the tradition of brewing beer. (Guardian Cities)

Quote of the Week

"During multiple sessions, attendees have expressed concerns that the streetcar will speed up gentrification and displace long-time residents. Thus, the plan, these opponents say, should be discarded in the name of affordability... Over the years, studies have shown that transit access will be a factor in increased rents and gentrification, but transit access isn't the only factor. It is, then, possible and necessary to implement zoning and housing policies that can tamp down on the upward pressures transit access exerts on the affordability of a neighborhood and stave off displacement."

Ben Kabak of New York City transit blog Second Avenue Sagas on the link between transit and gentrification.


Breakfast links: Bus lanes in Virginia

Photo by Sippanont Samchai on Flickr.
Bus bridge blues: SafeTrack shuttle buses are not allowed to use Metroway bus lanes. Alexandria's transportation chief says the volume of buses and signal timing issues means they must take the more direct, but often congested, Route 1. (WAMU)

BRT for Route 7: Bus rapid transit could someday run between Tysons Corner and Alexandria along Route 7. The Northern Virginia Transportation Commission voted to move forward with the $250 million, 11-mile route as an alternative to light rail. (Inside NoVa)

MoCo's commitment to senior housing: Montgomery County built 149 units of subsidized senior housing in the heart of Silver Spring, but county Executive Leggett says the county must build more, especially near its urban centers, as its senior population grows. (Bethesda Magazine)

Pool party pushback: A bill that would have banned vacationers from backyard swimming pools in Rehoboth, Delaware pitted longtime residents, worried about "preserving Rehoboth's character," against politically savvy rental home owners from the DC area. (Washingtonian)

SafeTrack safe tally: After the first two SafeTrack surges, FTA inspectors found 109 problems with the maintenance work. (Post)

Military needs transit too: The military base next to Arlington National Cemetery will open a long-closed pedestrian gate so that military personnel can more easily access nearby public transit, bike facilities, and ride hailing services. (Mobility Lab)

Speed kills: A young Bethesda man will plead guilty to vehicular manslaughter after he hit and killed three people in another car while driving at 115 mph. He could face up to 30 years in prison. (Post)

Free CaBi this weekend: Capital Bikeshare is free this weekend, thanks to an REI sponsorship. You can get an access code here. (TheWashCycle)

Gentrification comes to Denver: Denver is growing fast. But that growth is starting to displace longtime residents as previously undesirable parts of the city become the focus of redevelopment efforts. (The Guardian)

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Breakfast links: Statehood to a vote

Photo by Mr.TinDC on Flickr.
One step closer to statehood: DC residents will be able to cast a vote for statehood in the November election. The Council voted unanimously to include the ballot referendum, which they hope will pressure Congress to a vote. (Post)

Prince George's new perception: With upscale groceries, retail, hotels, and apartments coming to Prince George's, County Executive Rushern Baker says it's just the start of a shift in how businesses perceive the county. (Bisnow)

Grading the gondola: Many are skeptical of a gondola between Georgetown and Rosslyn, citing limited usefulness and the failure of other Arlington projects, like the streetcar. But supporters are looking to Portland's success. (ArlingtonConnection)

Taxi turn in Arlington: In Arlington, dispatched cab trips have dropped by a third since 2013, likely due to people switching to Uber and Lyft. Taxi companies say the shift makes it harder to provide wheelchair-accessible service. (ArlNow)

Give me a brake: Another Metro operator may have run a red signal during Wednesday morning's rush hour. A similar incident last week on the Red Line nearly resulted in a collision. (WAMU)

Originally office, now housing instead: A long planned office complex in Navy Yard will become 800 apartments instead as the area's development pattern has shifted from office to residential. (WBJ)

Rural gentrification: Gentrification isn't only for urban spaces. In rural Montgomery County, a new subdivision essentially erased the road that led to black-owned farmland, making it difficult for owners to sell their farms, which technically don't exist because they don't abut a legal road. (NCPH)

And...: Following Metro's lead, MTA is shutting down a section of Baltimore's subway for two weeks of repairs. ... Philadelphia will go car-free for five hours in September, as the city shuts down nine miles of roadway to car traffic. (NexyCity) ... Here are three big ways to improve pedestrian safety on the streets. (StrongTowns)

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Breakfast links: Victory in the bike lane

Photo by Elvert Barnes on Flickr.
Bicycle law advances: The DC Council voted unanimously to do away with contributory negligence, which made it nearly impossible for bicyclists who are hit by drivers to collect insurance benefits. The DC Council has to vote again in the fall before it becomes law. (Post)

Metrobus falls behind: Metrobus riders have a higher risk of injury and are much more likely to be in a collision and experience crime than bus riders in other metropolitan areas, according to a WMATA report. (Post)

Transit wish list: A nationwide survey of transit users reveals most people want their transit to be frequent, speedy, and easy to walk to, more than they want wi-fi and outlets for charging mobile devices. (CityLab)

Who's on the permit?: Some contractors put their names on permits, but don't do the actual work. If it turns out to be shoddy, there's no paper trail to follow. (WAMU)

A vehicle for change?: Self-driving cars might be a ways off, but the technology might reduce the kinds of traffic stops that too often lead to deaths. (Post)

ANC nominations begin: Residents interested in running for Advisory Neighborhood Commission can now pick up their nomination materials, and must collect 25 signatures by August 10 to be on the November 8 ballot. (Borderstan)

Violent crime up, overall crimes down: Crime in DC is down 3% this year compared to last, according to MPD. But assault with a dangerous weapon was up 8 percent, contributing to a 3% rise in violent crime. (DCist)

And...: Fairfax County will make sure underprivileged residents have a say in decisions and consider equity when making them. (WTOP) ... Please don't play Pokemon Go in the Holocaust Museum. Or while driving. (Post)

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