Greater Greater Washington

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Breakfast links: Let the debates begin

Debate image from Shutterstock.
Mayoral candidates spar in debate: The first of 4 scheduled DC mayoral debates took place last night. The debate quickly became nasty as the candidates took jabs over ethics, campaign finance reform, and education. (Post)

Pot legalization likely: A new poll shows DC voters support Initiative 71 to legalize marijuana by a 2-to-1 margin. Full legalization will put DC in direct conflict with federal drug laws on the doorstep of the federal government. (Post)

More bike commuters: Thanks to new bike lanes and Capital Bikeshare, the number of bike commuters in DC has more than doubled since 2009. At 4.5%, DC is second only to Portland for the percentage of people commuting by bike. (Streetsblog)

Income inequality is high: In 2013, the Washington region had the highest median household income among the top 25 largest US metro areas. However, 115,000 DC residents, nearly 19%, were living below the poverty line in 2013. (WBJ, DCist)

Support for school boundaries: A majority of DC residents support Mayor Gray's new school boundaries plan. Both Muriel Bowser and David Catania oppose the plan, but the school lottery opens in December before a new mayor will take office. (City Paper)

Bethesda blues: Montgomery County could not reach a development deal around the Purple Line station in Bethesda. The county hoped a development could make room for a larger station, but the deal fell through. (Post)

No Silver Line payment runoff: After stating that the second phase of the Silver Line will comply with stormwater runoff regulations, the MWAA said the decision will not impact taxpayers or Dulles Toll Road drivers. (WAMU)

Long Bridge replacement: The USDOT will provide funding to help to replace the 100-year-old Long Bridge. A new bridge could handle more trains, including high-speed rail, along with bikes and pedestrians. (Post)

Fully automated transit coming to Hawaii: To alleviate terrible congestion, Honolulu is constructing a 20-mile rapid transit system. The rail line will be the first in the country to be completely autonomous. (CityLab)

And...: More millennials are moving to Alexandria and Arlington than anywhere else in the country. (WBJ) ... A new Instagram account exposes city council members who park illegally. (City Paper) ... DC won't get an extended stay on a ruling that overturned its handgun ban. (WAMU)

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Breakfast links: Bowser ahead early

Photo by crystalndavis on Flickr.
Bowser ahead in early poll: With 43% of the vote in a new poll, Muriel Bowser is clearly ahead of David Catania at 26% and Carol Schwartz at 16%. (Post)

Area economy not faring well: The Washington metro area was the only one of the top 15 by employment to see a decline in gross regional product between 2012 and 2013. (City Paper)

Olympics march builds up: Local sports business leaders are increasing their efforts to encourage the US Olympic Committee to choose Washington as the US host candidate for the 2024 games. The other finalists are Boston, LA, and San Francisco. (Post)

Metro to the playoffs: The Nationals still haven't agreed to pay to keep Metro open late for playoff games, but Tommy Wells says elected officials will make sure of it even if they have to twist arms with the owners, the Lerner family, personally. (WTOP)

Art needed for Purple Line: Maryland is looking for artists to design projects for the Purple Line. The winning applicants will be paid a stipend to design work for the 16 stations. (Post)

Arlington streetcar moves forward: Arlington County staff are recommending that the same company that planned and helped build the H Street streetcar line also do the early design work on the Columbia Pike streetcar. (ArlNow)

Redevelopment starts in Glenmont: Plans have called for transit-oriented development in Glenmont since 1998, but none had happened until his week. A 1960s-era apartment complex is being replaced with denser development. (TPSS Voice)

Non-retail retail?: There isn't enough foot traffic on Rhode Island Ave. for most retail businesses, but people want walk-in retail. The solution? Businesses which serve both walk-ins but also a wholesale or manufacturing part of the business. (City Paper)

Where the US is like Scotland: Scotland will vote today on whether to become independent as part of a general trend toward more local control in the UK. The US could use more local control devolved to metro areas and cities, too. (Brookings)

And...: Hyattsville Library's flying saucer will survive planned renovations after all. (Gazette) ... The Mayor of Chevy Chase wrote a vitriolic letter to the editor denouncing the Purple Line. ... The Urban Institue has released a new mapping tool that shows the racial impact of the housing boom and bust.

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Breakfast links: Metro delays

Photo by Kurt Raschke on Flickr.
Silver Spring money hole: The Silver Spring Transit Center needs more money for ongoing repair work, though it's not clear how much. Montgomery County plans to sue the contractors to recover the funds, and believes repair work will be complete by the end of 2014. (Post)

New Metro cars delayed: Metro's new 7000-series cars won't be ready until early 2015, because the test track is not yet complete. Metro had planned to deploy the cars in the system by the end of this year. (WNYC)

When the levee's built: The flood levee on the National Mall is almost ready for testing. The project is meant to keep flood water out of the Mall and downtown, and has seen a delay of 3 years. (Post)

Steetcars soon: Simulated streetcar service, where streetcars will run routes without passengers, will begin September 29 on H Street. DDOT hopes to open the line to passengers in early November. (WAMU)

Goodbye corner office: Workplaces in DC are focusing on wellness, allowing more natural light into buildings and encouraging employees to collaborate informally. Individual workspaces are also getting smaller. (WBJ)

DC residents come from, go to MD: Between 2010 and 2011, the largest number of new DC residents came from Maryland, with Virginia a distant second. But even more people left DC for Maryland. (WBJ)

Slow down: Most DC moving violations are issued for speeding 11-15 miles-per-hour over the limit, with red light running and speeding 16-20 mph over the limit a distant second and third. (Post)

Smart meter opt out: A Chevy Chase woman refused to let Pepco install a new smart meter in her home, and says she won't pay the utility's opt-out fees. Smart meters automatically track electricity usage and can save customers money. (Gazette)

And...: The House Amtrak bill isn't all bad. (Streetsblog) ... Mourners for the Corcoran Gallery of Art will hold a memorial service. (WBJ) ... Robert Caro's The Power Broker, the seminal work on Robert Moses, turns 40. (The Daily Beast)

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Breakfast links: Changes to and from Silver

Photo by Elvert Barnes on Flickr.
Bus Fairfax: After a major overhaul to accommodate the Silver Line, Fairfax will take another looks at its bus service. The county will be looking for input from the public at meetings and online. (Post)

Silver bows to stormwater : The MWAA voluntarily decided to make the second phase of the Silver Line comply with more stringent stormwater runoff regulations. The decision could increase costs and cause delays. (WAMU)

Rising waters: By 2100, rising sea levels from climate change could make big floods much more common in DC and surrounding areas. This could make building even more expensive. (Post)

Hearing DC statehood: The Senate held the first hearing on DC becoming a state in two decades yesterday, though only two senators showed up. While it likely won't go very far, would DC statehood be Constitutional? (Post)

Bikelash a good thing?: Could opposition to bikers, or "bikelash," actually be a sign of progress for cyclists? Opposition can be an indication that real change is being made in the streets. (CityLab)

Too many choices?: Could there be too much choice when it comes to schools in DC? Some students are going to 5 different schools in 6 years and schools that don't attract enough students risk losing funding. (Post)

Sidewalks everywhere: Sidewalks have come back into fashion. While building them with new development is easy, retrofitting them to existing streets can be difficult and expensive. (Bacon's Rebellion)

And...: Today is the first anniversary of the Navy Yard shooting. (WBJ) ... Metro picks a developer to bring housing and retail to Grosvenor-Strathmore. (WBJ) ... BART undergoes the long, detailed process of designing new rail cars. (CityLab)

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Breakfast links: Growth patterns

Photo by urbanfeel on Flickr.
Inner-ring suburbs lose residents: After decades of decline, the nation's downtowns are experiencing growth while areas 2-5 miles from the center lose population. How can these areas be brought back without gentrification? (Urbanophile)

Families avoid coastal metros: Families with children aged 5 to 14 overwhelmingly moved to metro areas in the South and Intermountain West, driven by cheaper housing and more jobs. Will new families help these regions sustain growth? (Newgeography)

Can't always get what you want: How did Capital Bikeshare manage to install 25 stations this summer even while the manufacturer is bankrupt and other orders are delayed? It bought used stations from Ottawa along with 250 bikes. (Post)

Cash crunch at Metro: WMATA will need to take out a loan to avoid running out of capital money for repair work. That's because the federal government won't give it funds until after the money has been spent, thanks to past contracting irregularities. (Post)

DC's Grand Central: The proposed Union Station expansion could double the number of passengers in 20 years and ignite a building boom, similar to Grand Central Terminal a century ago. But with demand for office space dropping, who will pay for it all? (Post)

It's too crowded: Residents in Manassas often drive an hour and 45 minutes to work, thanks to heavy traffic. Some say "no one wants to live" there because of it. (Post)

DC mayoral choices "uninspiring": Despite an impending election, few District residents are excited about the choices. Meanwhile, the candidates are working to distinguish themselves through their platforms. (Post)

Cleaner rivers not clean enough: A study tracking pollution in rivers found much lower risks to humans, as regulations cut the use of toxic pesticides. New generations of pesticides, especially for pets, continue to cause harm to fish. (NYT, charlie)

One stop for homeless help: Denver's new homeless shelter not only provides a place to stay, but also total healthcare and social services. Could such a novel complex work in DC? (Denver Post, Neil)

And...: A streetcar connection could make or break the 11th Street Bridge Park. (CityLab) ... District officials will argue for statehood today despite slim chances. (Washington Times) ... An active commute is a happy commute. (CityLab)

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Breakfast links: Four thousand problems

Photo by Elvert Barnes on Flickr.
4000-series drags down Metro: The 4000-series cars continue to break down at a much higher frequency than any other Metro car. With 7000-series cars not running until 2015, WMATA says it will do more to keep these reliable. (DCist)

Taxi discrimination: Last month, the DC Taxicab Commission and the DC Office of Human Rights made it easier to file discrimination complaints against taxi drivers. Since then, complaints have gone up, and outreach efforts have hardly begun. (WAMU)

Too big for Brookland: The DC Court of Appeals rejected a Zoning Commission-approved plan to build a mixed-use development near the Brookland Metro, citing concern that the project was too large for the community. (WBJ)

Contributing to change: DC is among a handful of jurisdictions that follow contributory negligence standard, which could prevent recovering damages from a crash if you do anything wrong. But proposed legislation could change that. (WABA)

Approaching a wrong-way cyclist?: What should you do if you're cycling in a bike lane and someone is riding the wrong way toward you? Brian McEntee tackles the issue in his latest "Gear Prudence" column. (City Paper)

Low-stress bike networks: Cities across America are successfully building bike lanes. For transportation planners, the next step is shifting focus from isolated bike lanes into creating "low-stress" bike networks. (Streetsblog)

And...: A DC group is planning a lawsuit to block the CSX Virginia Avenue Tunnel. (Post) ... Candidates for DC's at-large council seat oppose the DC United stadium swap. (City Paper) ... DC falls one spot in a tourist destination ranking. (WBJ)

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Breakfast links: DC gets pricier

Photo by Ian Freimuth on Flickr.
Million dollar sales boom: In DC in July, 108 of 395 single-family homes sold for over $1 million. Over the last twelve months, nearly one in five homes sold for over that price. (City Paper)

Top millenial zips in Arlington: Two Arlington County zip codes have the largest share of 25-34 year olds in the US, at 44%; these zip codes include most of the Ballston-Rosslyn corridor. (ArlNow)

Buses a boon for business: Econonomic development officials in Alexandria are excited about the new Metroway corridor, which they say has attracted new developers and business tenants to nearby locations. (Alexandria Times)

Frm fire station to mixed-use?: The Bethesda-Chevy Chase rescue squad wants to redevelop their property into a new station, apartments, and retail. That would require a zoning change, which some neighbors oppose. (BethesdaNow)

A few speeders are still bad: Mary Cheh will hold a hearing on allegations that DC's traffic camera program can be unfair. But she also thinks the Inspector General went too far in suggesting cameras are misplaced where relatively few speed; in many neighborhoods, 15% speeders is still too many. (Post)

Rockville is crucial for BRT: The city of Rockville could potentially host three BRT routes, making it a crucial junction in Montgomery's system. The city's plan for the Rockville Pike will need to mesh with the county plans for BRT. (Gazette)

And...: A mobile market brings fresh food market to food deserts in the area. (WTOP) ... Fairfax Times interviewed Navid Roshan about the future of Tysons Corner. ... The DC Council asked the the Senate to vote on statehood before the midterm elections. (DCist)

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Breakfast links: CaBi lives

Photo by thisisbossi on Flickr.
CaBi moving forward: The Capital Bikeshare system will continue to expand, despite issues with equipment suppliers. DDOT is planning locations for ten new stations, and the system's software manufacturer is producing a new station design that will work with the old ones. (d.ish)

Arlington soulless?: New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand called Arlington a "soulless suburb" in her new memoir. She and her husband moved to Capitol Hill and found it a better fit. Gillibrand has now apologized in response to criticism from Arlingtonians. (ArlNow)

Metro fares by phone: Metro will soon launch a pilot of a new fare and parking payment system at ten Metro stations. The new system will allow riders to pay using their smartphones and contactless credit cards. (City Paper)

Greenbelt redevelopment: Metro is planning to redevelop Greenbelt station, although the site could still host the new FBI headquarters. Metro is working with its development partner to build a parking garage with new bus bays and kiss-and-ride spaces. (WBJ)

Children's National at Walter Reed?: Children's National Health System could get a chunk of land at Walter Reed. Thirteen acres would come out of land set aside for the State Department and would host a new research facility. (WBJ)

DC rail safety scrutinized: DC's first responders haven't conducted any rail emergency exercises recently, and DDOT doesn't have authority to oversee railroads in the city. DC Council members criticized city officials during a hearing about the Virginia Avenue Tunnel, focusing on rail safety. (Post)

New Communities needs overhaul: DC's New Communities program has largely failed to produce new affordable housing, according to a new report. It was not fully planned out, and building housing for displaced residents proved challenging. (City Paper)

No more polystyrene: Montgomery County could follow DC's lead and ban polystyrene food containers, as well as packing peanuts. Under a proposed law, county restaurants and cafeterias would have to use recyclable containers, trays, and cups. (Post)

Wheelchair-accessible cabs in Arlington?: A new taxi company will aim to have a have a completely wheelchair-accessible fleet. Located in Arlington, All Access Taxi still needs to obtain the necessary licenses, which the county may not issue. (ArlNow)

A better Memorial Circle: The Memorial Circle area could soon get safer for cyclists, pedestrians, and drivers as the Park Service kicks off a new study. (WABA)

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Breakfast links: More or less

Photo by Michael Galkovsky on Flickr.
Less crime on Metro: Serious crime has decreased on Metro bus and rail. More vigilant passengers, better deployment of police, and cold weather all helped. (Post)

More and less parking needed: There's lots of parking available at the new McLean Silver Line station, but only for cars. While 600 car parking spots sit empty almost everyday, the 72 bike parking spots fill up each weekday. (WAMU)

We're the most expensive! Or least!: Washington area residents spend the most on housing and related expenses like utilities and furniture. But if you count transportation costs, the area is actually more affordable than others. (City Paper, Post)

Scrutiny for traffic cameras: A new report finds problems with photo enforcement in DC, like not knowing which of several cars is speeding, or what to do when a car's license plate isn't on the car it's registered to. (Post)

Who killed Kirby: Alexandria police think they have the man who killed Transportation Planning Board director Ron Kirby last November and two others: Charles Severance, a 2-time candidate for mayor. A grand jury indicted Severance yesterday. (City Paper)

Hear, hear statehood: The US Senate will hold a hearing on DC statehood next week. While a victory for statehood activists, any statehood measure would have to pass the Republican-controlled House, which is unlikely. (City Paper)

A sign of the times: New York uses different street signs for its historic districts, so why not DC? In neighborhoods like Georgetown, they could also incorporate the historic names of the streets. (Georgetown Metropolitan)

And...: You can now use ParkMobile in Clarendon and Ballston. (ArlNow) ... DC doesn't plan much bike infrastructure in Buzzard Point. (WashCycle) ... Condos at Navy Yard Metro will include office space and parking for WMATA staff. (WBJ)

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Breakfast links: Taxi money

Photo by Monika Hoinkis on Flickr.
Driven out: Uber drivers are not making as much as they expected, causing some to protest or quit. Fare cuts, glitches, and fees are all cutting into the drivers' take-home pay. (Post)

Hailo for less-o: Hailo, an app which lets you request a regular taxi, is charging only half price for rides between 10 am and 4 pm. Drivers will presumably get less money, but will they make up for it in volume? (InTheCapital)

A freeway revolt in the making?: While DC officials are studying how to replace the closed segment of the Southeast Freeway, DDOT engineers still want to reopen it to traffic, at least temporarily. But will temporary become permanent? (City Paper)

Cycletracks can reduce car congestion: Although they take space away from cars, protected bike lanes can speed car travel when paired with dedicated turn lanes. New York has used this design on several avenues successfully. (CityLab)

Transportation is key to sustainability: Seattle has decreased household CO2 emissions, first by pioneering recycling, and recently by collecting food scraps. However, increases in transportation emissions threaten that progress. (Next City)

Will garden cities help housing costs?: A proposal to build new towns around Britain has won a prize for promoting affordable housing. Although the new towns would be compact and connected by transit, some are calling them sprawl. (The Guardian)

Memorial for freed slaves: After reading about an old gravesite near the Wilson bridge, two residents worked to preserve it. The effort uncovered 540 graves of former slaves and identified their ancestors, culminating in a new memorial. (Post)

And...: The median size of housing in American cities is similar to sizes in the suburbs, and is growing. (Citylab) ... DC and Prince George's police share data in real time to combat crimes near the border. (Post)

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