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Breakfast links: Back to normal

Photo by daveynin on Flickr
Mounds of trash on the Mall: After Cherry Blossom Festival revelers left heaps of trash on the National Mall, the National Park Service admits it wasn't prepared for the crowds. Not enough staff and no overnight workers plagued clean-up. (Post)

Metro hits a high note: With hundreds of thousands of visitors, Metro clocked 638,474 trips on Saturday, the highest the most for a Saturday since 2010's Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear. (DCist)

Back to disruptions for Metro: Metro will resume track work now that Cherry Blossom crowds are gone. Crews will test new cars on the Green Line and shuttle service will replace trains on sections of the Orange and Blue Lines. (Post)

Not just one Bethesda: Where are the neighborhoods in Bethesda? To customize development to different areas, planners try to identify distinct neighborhoods such as Woodmont Triangle, Bethesda Row, and the area around the Metro station. (Gazette)

Underpass art: NoMa's dark and uninviting underpasses will become "art parks" with contemporary installations. With a budget of $1.75 million, the NoMa Parks Foundation is looking for submissions, to be installed by 2015. (DCist, WBJ)

Clarendon tops for Gen Y: With its rents, income, and well-educated young population, a new ranking names Clarendon Washington's best neighborhood for millenials. It placed the Washington area third nationally after New York City and Austin, Texas. (ArlNow)

'Tis a silly crosswalk: In Norway, artists replaced a crosswalk sign with a Monty Python-inspired one that encourages pedestrians to cross in a silly way. (Fast Company)

They want you: Alexandria is looking for people to serve on its Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan Advisory Committee. Meanwhile, WMATA still wants input on its late night bus service survey. (TheWashCycle, PlanItMetro)

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Breakfast links: Migration

Photo by ashokboghani on Flickr.
Fewer move to Washington: With fewer high-wage jobs, the DC area is no longer drawing as many people to move here from elsewhere in the country. The area remains a magnet for international immigrants, however. (Post)

Act with autonomy, or not?: Chairman Mendelson plans to approve DC's budget using the process set up by DC's recently-passed budget autonomy referendum, instead of the traditional process. But Mayor Gray says doing that would risk Congress' ire and even a return of the control board and criminal penalties, and promises to veto a budget passed under that process. (City Paper, WAMU)

Sprawl continues amid transit: In 4 of the 5 metro areas that pioneered light rail in the US, the percentage of transit ridership and urban population declined. The investment was not enough to counteract sprawl. (Atlantic Cities, Chuck Coleman)

Purple Line property purchases coming: Maryland is starting the process of buying over 600 properties along the future Purple Line to make way for station platforms and power substations. Construction could start by 2015. (Post)

Bold ideas to improve Rosslyn: A Realize Rosslyn plan outlines the area's challenges and how to overcome them. Improving the pedestrian experience through more welcoming buildings, streets, and even an outdoor escalator will be key. (WBJ)

Peak tourism follows peak bloom: Capital Bikeshare and MARC set ridership records, and trash cans overflowed, as huge crowds of people came to DC for the Cherry Blossom parade. (WTOP, Post)

And...: How much does a parking spot cost? (UrbanTurf) ... Gondolas, hanging trains, and toboggans, oh my! (Guardian Cities) ... WMATA's new test facility in Greenbelt is coming along, and is there an extra 7000-series car up there? (Sand Box John)

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Breakfast links: Peaks and valleys

Photo by Bex on Flickr.
Blossoms blooming: The National Park Service says the Tidal Basin's cherry blossoms are officially at peak bloom. This is the second latest peak in DC since 1992. (Post)

Not the best velodrome time: People who use Ohio Drive and Hains Point for long-distance, high-speed bicycle exercise probably should go elsewhere while the roads there are thronged with people enjoying the blossoms. (WTOP)

With spring, new bike lanes: The first curb-protected cycle track, on First Street NE, nears completion. Meahwile, the G and I Street NE contraflow bike lanes make progress. (WashCycle, WABA)

Don't blame bike lanes: As long as you put bike lanes on streets that aren't congested in the first place, then they don't cause congestion to the point of a traffic jam, even if you take away a travel lane. (FiveThirtyEight, Ed B.)

Numbers up and down: The region's February unemployment rate was 5.1%, up from 5% in January. (WBJ) ... Home sales fell in March for the 3rd month in a row. (Post) ... Vacancies in Class A and Class B apartments are rising in Northern Virginia and the District, which could lead to falling rents. (UrbanTurf)

Who will plan Montgomery?: Applicants for Montgomery County planning board chair include smart growth supporter and current board member Casey Anderson, Republican board member and developer Norman Dreyfuss, former councilmember Mike Knapp, deputy planning director Rose Krasnow, and many more. (Post)

Parking saps vitality (and tax revenue): Surface lots downtown result in an up to 29% loss of the tax base, finds a study that tracked the development of six cities over 50 years. Cities can either be vibrant or easy to drive to, but not both. (Streetsblog)

10,000 map maniacs: The "You Are Here" study, a new project from MIT Media Lab's Social Computing Group aims to develop 100 new maps revealing details of 100 different cities. (NextCity)

And...: Montgomery's Ride On plans a fare hike. (Post) ... McKinney and El Paso, TX, join DC in the ranks of cities with the fastest growing rents. (NerdWallet) ... The DC area has the second-most Energy Star-certified green buildings in the country. (DCist)

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Breakfast links: Boundary line

Photo by Kate Elliott on Flickr.
Next mayor dislikes boundary plan: Mayoral candidates David Catania and Muriel Bowser object to many of the school assignment proposals and may not move forward with any of the options if elected. (City Paper)

School boundaries and housing: Plan to overhaul school boundaries may affect DC's real estate market as many homebuyers look to buy in areas inside the boundary for the best schools. (WTOP)

DCHD eyes Anacostia Metro: Affordable housing is heading to the Anacostia Metro if WMATA approves the sale of a vacant piece of land nearby. DCHD is seeking to purchase the land for $1.5 million. (WBJ)

Scattered shelters not supported: The homeless shelter at DC General Hospital will be forced to remain open if city residents will not support locating smaller shelters throughout neighborhoods in the city, Mayor Gray said. (Post)

Silver Line as public art: The Silver Line's concrete trestles could be transformed with paint if Fairfax County can agree on a design and find funding for the art. (Post)

Closer to passenger service?: The Silver Line's contractor filed paperwork Wednesday saying Phase 1 is complete. MWAA has 15 days to review before handing the project to WMATA, which aims to start service no more than 90 days later. (Post)

Potholepalooza is back: DC will vigorously fill potholes through May 9 with its annual potholepalooza repair program. In 2013, 3,899 potholes were filled during the month. You can let DDOT know of any damaged roads. (Post)

Fund the fund: The federal transportation trust fund, which funds projects ranging from road repair to passenger rail, will run out of money in a few months. The Obama administration hopes to replenish it with a corporate tax, since higher gas tax isn't possible. (WAMU)

Standardizing subway maps: What if all the world's subway maps looked alike? One designer has set out to redesign maps for famous transportation systems. (Slate)

Do you love the Breakfast Links? Think you would be good at them? Want to help them keep going? Chad Maddox is starting a new job and can't keep doing links once a week. If you can, let us know at Thanks so much!

And as always, help us fill the links with your tips!


Breakfast links: Musical chairs

Photo by David on Flickr.
Vihstadt wins: John Vihstadt, a Republican who ran as an independent, won the special election to replace Chris Zimmerman on the Arlington County Board, 57%-41%. Vihstadt will face Howze again in November. (ARLnow)

Tommy may run: Tommy Wells may run as an independent for DC Council at-large. If he did, he would be competing against at least 4 others, including Elissa Silverman, who resigned from DCFPI to plan a run. (City Paper)

And Yvette may run: Yvette Alexander surprised political observers by saying she also is considering a run for the independent at large seat, which she can try without giving up her Ward 7 seat. She wants to focus less on constituent service. Perhaps then Vincent Gray would get his old seat back? (Twitter)

Holder defends investigation: Attorney General Eric Holder defended Ron Machen's decision to cut a plea deal with Jeff Thompson and release documents just weeks before the primary election. That may have cost Gray a second term, but he said keeping the information under seal also wouldn't serve the public interest. (Post)

Mikulski questions Metro: Sen. Barbara Mikulski is asking how WMATA plans to fix issues with bad contracting practices that surfaced in a recent federal oversight report. She said federal funding for Metro repairs is in jeopardy. (Post)

Rock Creek repairs soon?: Repairs of the Rock Creek Park trail could begin in 2015, according to the National Park Service. The project has taken years already, frustrating local bicycle advocates. (DCist)

M is for Mostly finished: The M Street cycletrack is "another week or two" from being done, says DDOT's Jim Sebastian. It includes a very short segment at Rhode Island Avenue where a physical curb separates the lane from traffic. (WAMU)

Purple Line Holocaust bill stalls: A bill that would have disqualified one company from winning the Purple Line contract because of Holocaust ties stalled before the Maryland General Assembly session ended Monday. (Post)

And...: Six developers are each proposing a mixed-use building with ground-floor retail and residential for a DC-owned lot in Shaw. (UrbanTurf) ... DDOT finally opened the 8th Street SE freeway ramp to 295, the latest piece of the 11th Street bridge project to be completed. (Post) ... Streetsblog's annual Golden Crater competition places Jacksonville against Rochester for the title of worst parking crater.

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Breakfast links: The future of getting a ride

Image from Uber.
Cab surge pricing for all: New legislation from Mary Cheh and David Grosso would let DC taxis charge Uber-like surge prices, adjusting prices in real-time, but only for people who hail the cabs using a mobile device. (Post)

"A" is for autonomous cars: DC's DMV has proposed regulations to allow self-driving cars. The operator would have to get a special endorsement on his or her license and acknowledge liability for tickets or crashes. (DCist)

Silver Line by July 4? Maybe, maybe not: Some reports said the Silver Line could open by July 4, but WMATA head Richard Sarles can't confirm anything until the Airports Authority turns over the line to WMATA. After that, they have committed to open the line within 90 days. (WTOP)

Vote today in Arlington: Today is Arlington's special election for county board. We've endorsed Alan Howze. The hot-button streetcar issue may boost turnout; there already are high numbers of absentee ballots for a special election. (WAMU)

A less federal L'Enfant?: GSA wants a developer to renovate three historic buildings on the St. Elizabeths campus for the Department of Homeland Security. In exchange, GSA would give up two federally-owned sites at 7th and D SW. (WBJ)

Relief for epileptics and others: Doctors would be able to decide what conditions warrant medical marijuana rather than having a set (and narrow) list of conditions, under a bill by Yvette Alexander and David Grosso. DC's medical marijuana program would still be one of the nation's most restrictive. (WAMU)

Pushed out to the exurbs: High housing prices are pushing middle class families to the exurbs, research shows. The city centers of several major US cities and close-in suburbs, most likely to have transit options, are the least affordable. (Atlantic Cities)

Ukraine's revolutionary design: Did the design of Kiev's Independence Square help overthrow Viktor Yanukovych? Once used to support the Soviet system, Kiev's wide boulevards and immense center square may have helped stoke revolution. (Guardian)

And...: Vandals have started flipping Smart cars in San Francisco. (Patch) ... How about a suitcase sink for your tiny apartment? (Atlantic Cities) ... Virginia Governor McAuliffe vetoes a bill that would allow appeals for red-light tickets in court. (WTOP)

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Breakfast links: Comments welcome

Photo by Andrea Williams on Flickr.
Riders rate Metro: Undercover "mystery riders" review all aspects of the Metro system's operation, providing 5,000 reports annually. You can provide feedback too, if you ride the buses late at night. (Post)

Missing the riders' voice: Except for MetroAccess riders, few riders gave feedback during recent budget hearings. Could an independent riders' group have swayed the outcome? (Post)

Independence from delays: The Silver Line could open by July 4. MWAA hopes to hand the project over to WMATA by the end of the month, and WMATA hopes to have its review done 60 days after that. (WTOP)

Ellen McCarthy, planning director: Mayor Gray has appointed Ellen McCarthy to head the DC Office of Planning for the rest of his term. (bloomingdale) ... McCarthy held the post under Mayor Williams and is a strong proponent of smart growth.

Alexandria water taxi route debuts: Just in time for the cherry blossoms, there's a new water taxi route linking Alexandria and West Potomac Park. The taxi will run several times a day with a one-way fare of $14. (WTOP)

The Alexandria waterfront, illustrated: New drawings illustrate various parts of the proposed waterfront redesign, which aims to connect the many public spaces and increase activity, especially near the end of King Street. (WBJ)

Under the crossing: How do you build 3 blocks of mixed-use buildings on top of a freeway? Washingtonian has an interactive diagram of what will go into the construction of the Capitol Crossing project over I-395 east of Judiciary Square.

Waste into power: By processing wastewater through pressure-cookers and digesters, DC Water hopes to generate enough power to cut its electricity consumption by a third, while also generating fertilizer to sell to farmers. (Post, Jim)

Ryan rejects Amtrak: Rep. Paul Ryan's proposed budget makes large cuts to transportation funding, including the complete elimination of the subsidy for Amtrak. The budget, however, has little chance of becoming law anytime soon. (Streetsblog)

Peak suburban office park?: Will fortress-like suburban office parks survive a growing desire for more collaboration and walkability? Or will they go the way of the shopping mall? (Streetsblog, Buzzfeed, thm)

And...: A San Francisco man modifies his Prius to run off trolleybus wires [April Fools']. (Bold Italic, Ken A) ... A new app crowdsources information about Metro breakdowns. (John B) ... As telecommuting increases, what are its impacts on productivity? (Post) ... The Montgomery County Council considers public financing for elections. (Post)

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Breakfast links: It's unaffordable

Photo by Images Money on Flickr.
Gray wants more affordable housing: Mayor Gray's proposed budget for 2015 includes an additional $100 million for affordable housing. The budget would also add $116 million to education. (DCist)

Will the next mayor agree?: Despite a divisive primary, the Petula Dvorak says we can all agree on one thing: DC housing costs too much. Should affordable housing be the first priority for DC's next mayor? (Post)

Condo supply low in DC area: The Washington region has too many apartments and not enough condos, a recent report says. Converting apartments to condos won't solve the problem because the overall supply is simply too low. (Urban Turf)

Streetcar yard under construction: DDOT is building a temporary yard for the streetcars at Spingarn High School to get service going soon. After that, the agency will build a larger, permanent facility. (WBJ)

Driver disobeys, then challenges law: A Rockville driver is challenging red-light camera laws after he received a ticket for coming to a stop completely past the stop line. He says the laws are more concerned with revenue than safe driving. (WTOP)

Maryland stalls marijuana decriminalization: Maryland won't decriminalize marijuana this year. A House committee voted to form a task force to study the issue instead of proceeding with a bill which had passed the Senate with bipartisan support. (WAMU)

AP disses DC on capitalization: The AP Stylebook says not to capitalize "district" when talking about DC after the first time it appears in an article. Martin Austermuhle argues that the associated press is wrong and this disrespects DC.

Do you Ride On?: Montgomery County is looking for people to serve on its volunteer Transit Advisory Group for the Ride On bus system. Want to help ensure Ride On officials hear rider concerns?

Why's CaBi's healthier than CiBi: While New York's Citibike system faces financial struggles, Capital Bikeshare has no such problems. Why? Part of the reason: nobody expects it to be 100% privately funded and break even from day one. (Post)

The science of 400 meters: Cities that developed before the rise of the automobile have main streets rarely exceeding 400 meters (about 437 yards), says a recent study. How can this human-scale pattern impact how we design our cities? (Huffington Post)

Thanks for the fooling: We want to thank Matt Johnson, Brian McEntee, Canaan Merchant, Ben Ross, Myles Smith, and Natalie Wexler for writing or collaborating on our April Fool posts this Tuesday. Thanks also to Stacy Cloyd, Neil Flanagan, Dennis Jaffe, Dan Malouff, Jim Titus, and Abigail Zenner for brainstorming Breakfast Links!

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Breakfast links: Public apathy

Photo by Kenn Wilson on Flickr.
Voter turnout hits a new low: Of the 370,000 people eligible to vote in Tuesday's contest, only 23% did so, for the lowest turnout in more than 30 years. (Post)

See results on a map: A map of DC's primary results reveals a city divided. Mayor Gray won in DC's mostly black precincts and in lower-income areas, but lost much of Ward 4 and areas like Southwest and North Capitol which he won in 2010. (Post)

Bowser won't "hold anything up": Between now and her possible term as mayor, Muriel Bowser says she has no plans to hold up any development project that "makes sense for the residents" of DC. She did not give specifics, but DC will likely face decisions on a soccer stadium and the McMillan site. (WBJ)

Bowser chummy with developers : Many developers in DC support Bowser, as some major development projects lie in her Ward 4 home turf. Even before her run for mayor, Bowser received more developer donations than other councilmembers. (City Paper)

Speak up on Courthouse Square: If you weren't able to go to last week's meeting about Arlington's Courthouse Square, you can weigh in with your views on an online survey.

Will DC enforce carless projects?: Several residential projects have little or no parking, with a promise to limit or prohibit residents from getting residential parking permits. The city's RPP program, however, can't enforce bans. (Urban Turf)

Sprawl could be worse: When it comes to sprawl, the Washington region isn't the best or the worst, but falls in the middle of the pack. People who live in less sprawling regions live an average of 3 years longer than in the sprawliest. (WBJ)

Who knew?: DC regulations require all single-stall public bathrooms to be gender-neutral, but many businesses are unaware of the law. The city hopes to increase the number of gender-neutral bathrooms with an awareness campaign. (DCist)

Anti-transit Tennessee: The Tennessee Senate passed a bill prohibiting any city from building transit which uses a dedicated lane. The bill, backed by the Koch-funded libertarian Americans for Prosperity, was specifically aimed at Nashville's proposed "The Amp" BRT line. (The Tennessean)

And...: The number of people biking has surged in DC's cycle tracks along 15th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue. (Streetsblog) ... Free Wi-Fi comes to NoMa. (City Paper) ... Bikeshare expenses may become tax deductible. (Streetsblog)

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Breakfast links: Bowser, Nadeau beat incumbents

Photo by crystalndavis on Flickr.
Bowser is the nominee: Muriel Bowser won the Democratic nomination for mayor, beating out incumbent Vincent Gray by almost 12 points. Gray's campaign said Ron Machen is the reason for his loss. (Post, City Paper)

Nadeau beats Graham: Brianne Nadeau unseated 4-term councilmember Jim Graham, and it wasn't close: she got almost 59% of the vote to Graham's 41%. (City Paper) ... Charles Allen also beat Darrel Thompson in the open seat in Ward 6, while Anita Bonds won over 50% of the vote for the at-large seat against 3 challengers.

What took so long?: Election watchers wonder at the Board of Elections' slow counting speed every election, but this year it was far worse. Elections officials said that some poll workers didn't shut down new electronic voting machines properly. (Post)

Transit center in 2014?: Despite uncertainty around what repairs are needed, the star-crossed Silver Spring Transit Center could open as in late summer or early fall. (Post)

Circulator extends hours: Starting April 1, the Circulator will extend hours and offer Saturday service on the Union Station-Navy Yard and Potomac Ave-Skyland routes until September 30. Those routes had shorter hours than other routes. (Post)

Transit partnership will save money: Howard and Anne Arundel counties will create a new transit agency, called RTA, mainly to save money (around $2 million). Howard, at least, will use its share to add service. (Baltimore Sun)

Congress discussing transit benefit again: Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced a package of tax extenders, including a provision to raise the maximum transit benefit back to to $250, the same as with the driving benefit. The finance committee will consider the package Thursday. (Streetsblog)

Too many tickets amid blossoms?: AAA decries the parking tickets some get during the Cherry Blossom Festival, and says there should be municipal garages. Ben Freed notes that people could park at Metro lots and ride to the Mall. (Washingtonian)

DC region is a flop for investors: The Washington region was recently named one of the worst areas for return on rental property investments, due to the high cost of residential property and the relatively low amount investors can collect in rent. (WBJ)

No snow day exception: Montgomery County Public Schools got turned down for a waiver from the requirement to make up snow days. There were 10 this year, and they may need to add 6, though they can still re-apply for the waiver. (WTOP)

And...: Is Walk Score's food desert map lacking? (NextCity) ... An Arlington County board candidate calls affordable housing sinful. (ArlNow) ... The 11th Street Bridge Park competition has raised $800,000 of its $1 million pre-campaign goal. (ElevationDC)

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