Greater Greater Washington

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Breakfast links: Future transit options?

Photo by Doug Kerr on Flickr.
Time to fix I-66: Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe wants to spend $2-3 billion to ease congestion along I-66 between the Beltway and Haymarket. State Options include a Metro extension, light rail, BRT, more lanes for cars, and other options. (Post)

Columbia Pike to roll forward: The Arlington County Board will authorize building the Columbia Pike streetcar faster and without federal funding tomorrow, thanks to the state's contribution. The two streetcar opponents remain opposed despite state funding. (ArlNow)

Gondola funding hits roadblock: The idea for a gondola from Georgetown to Rosslyn won't get funded for a study from the Council of Governments, but the Georgetown BID still hopes to get the money elsewhere for a study by the end of 2015. (InTheCapital)

Marijuana in public housing?: The DC Housing Authority is funded primarily by the federal government, which considers marijuana possession to be illegal. Now that marijuana is decriminalized in DC, how will DCHA adjust? (City Paper)

No new CaBi bikes: New bikes and docks are not likely this year for any Bixi-based bikesharing systems. This will halt Capital Bikeshare's expansion and move Charm City Bikeshare's launch into next year. (Streetsblog)

DC's Scooby-Doo Ghost Town: L'Enfant Plaza and the cluster of concrete federal buildings around it seem quite ugly. Buzzfeed mocks the area, which it calls "DC's Scooby-Doo Ghost Town," and its architecture.

Will driverless cars encourage sprawl?: A Toyota scientist thinks that if driverless cars making driving easier, people will just live farther away. Tolling could help, but will face political opposition. (Streetsblog)

Schools or transit, not both: A bill in North Carolina would ban counties from adding local sales taxes for both education and transit. This would likely make education advocates oppose any transit funding proposal and vice versa. (NewsObserver)

And...: Can Arlington and Alexandria agree on the future of their transitway? (WAMU) ... How is it "privatization" to set aside spaces for Zipcar-like services while parking your private car on the street is not? (Streetsblog) ... It's legal, and increasingly popular nationwide, to build apartments out of shipping containers. (WBJ)

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Breakfast links: Democracy in action and inaction

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Speed cameras all the time: In the wake of yet another pedestrian death on Route 1, the College Park city council has opted to allow its speed cameras to operate 24 hours a day. (Post)

No democracy at Eastern Market: Eastern Market officers stopped people from circulating political candidate petitions last weekend. Mayor Gray overruled that, but market officials said they may require a fee to petition. They later dropped that idea. (NBC4)

Slow down Maryland Ave: To make a safer Maryland Avenue NE, DDOT has installed temporary traffic calming like flex posts and extended curbs. But historic preservation concerns are slowing more permanent fixes like removing lanes. (WAMU)

Gas delays green street: A $2.3 million "green street" project for Flower Avenue in Takoma Park has been in the planning stages for two years, but may now take until 2016 as Washington Gas wants replace a gas line first. (Gazette)

Hillandale yellin' over Yellen guards: The security detail for Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen, who lives in the gated community of Hillandale in Burleith, is upsetting neighbors by dripping oil from vehicles, having "doughnut bellies," and wearing "ridiculous blue uniforms." (WSJ)

Georgetown could lose gas stations: Besides the station at the end of the Key Bridge which will become condos, development may replace two other gas stations, at Pennsylvania and M and Wisconsin and Q. They could fill in pedestrian-hostile spots, but also will make getting gas more difficult. (Georgetown Dish)

Where do the embassies go?: In neighborhoods with a lot of chanceries, residents don't want more, but the government doesn't want to restrict embassies much and possiblyinvite retribution abroad. DC wants to steer many to the Walter Reed complex, which will have a chancery cluster. (City Paper)

More tickets in bike lanes: DC police handed out 4,200 tickets for parking in a bike lane last year, and are on track to give out about 17% more this year. (Post)

Crashes are deadlier than war: Traffic crashes cause over twice the number of deaths worldwide than murder and war combined. (Progressive Economy, Rich 'n Alexandria)

And...: You can check out the bike station and parking garage in the Wiehle-Reston East Silver Line station on Saturday. (Post) ... The DC Library will digitize several of its old maps. (DCist) ... Where can you walk to in 7 minutes? For one Greenbelt blogger, it's quite a few places. (Greenbelt Live) ... Marijiana is a little less criminal in DC. (Post)

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Breakfast links: Home sweet home no more?

Photo by Meghan Hess on Flickr.
Residents could lose homes: A landslide in May forced residents to evacuate the Piscataway Hills neighborhood in Prince George's. It would cost $22 million to stabilize the hillside, and the county may choose to dismantle the neighborhood instead. (Post)

Shotgun housing: Is a more than 150 year old "shotgun house" on Capitol Hill a historic treasure or an eyesore? The house's owner wants to tear it down and build a bigger house, and he says that it is structurally unsound. (Post)

Unaffordable housing: More than half of DC's households that rent their homes are paying more than they can afford. 51% pay more than 30% of their income, and 28% pay more than half of their income. (City Paper)

NoRamp for NoMA?: There's an easement so that the Metropolitan Branch Trail can get a ramp to L Street, but the NoMa BID's public space plans would use some of that space and imperil the ramp; the city seems to be going along. (TheWashCycle)

Need more human enforcement: Pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers alike say that police should enforce laws for all road users. They say police should put more officers on the street enforcing laws and not just rely on traffic cameras. (Post)

Parking problems in the future?: Plans to build a no-parking building on H Street, whose residents won't be eligible for residential parking stickers, gets the go-ahead, but Muriel Bowser worries residents will just lobby for RPP stickers later. (District Source)

Living up to his name: Prominent early Facebook backer Sean Parker is bankrolling a ballot initiative in San Francisco to prohibit Sunday parking meters, limit new meters, and expand parking garages. (Streetsblog)

Fund is temporarily trusty again: The House approved a temporary fix for the Highway Trust Fund, adding $11 billion that will string it along until next May. Democrats criticized Congress' inability to pass a longer-term bill; conservatives and liberals criticized the accounting gimmicks involved. (NYT)

And...: Pedro Ribeiro, Mayor Gray's spokesman, is stepping down. (Post) ... Baltimore has a housing voucher system that actually works. (Next City) ... Montgomery County is coming for your illegal signs. (Gazette) ... This parking sign makes sense. (Wired)

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Breakfast links: Transportation equipment that doesn't move

Photo by Angel Schatz on Flickr.
Boxy units: Brookland will get apartments made from shipping containers. The containers will be recycled into individual apartment units where a single-family home currently stands. (WBJ)

Streetcar in November?: A DDOT source says that the H Street streetcar line won't open until November at the earliest. Is even that overly optimistic? (WAMU)

Council votes yes to say no: In the final DC Council session before recess, the council voted to override Mayor Gray's budget veto; ban polystyrene containers; and ban asking about criminal history in hiring until after an employment offer is made. (DCist)

Bike bits: Arlington is considering a bike park with a "learner's loop," repair station, and other amenities where Columbia Pike meets the W&OD Trail. (ArlNow) ... The first of the Ward 8 bike lanes comes to Malcolm X Ave SE. (CHOTR)

Copenhagen's cycle snake: Copenhagen recently opened an elevated cycle track that improves bicycle connections between the highway and a bridge. The Cykelslangen, or Cycle Snake, is completely separated from vehicular and pedestrian traffic. (Guardian) ... Maybe we should have one here? (Just kidding, Courtland Milloy).

Parking space living: Students at the Savannah College of Art and Design created micro-units the size of a parking space to model sustainable options. The installation has hosted several overnight guests since its opening in April. (Streetsblog)

Take the kids on Uber: Uber launched a new service where you can order a vehicle with a car seat for a $10 extra charge. Drivers have been trained to install the seats, which can accommodate children over one year old. (Post)

Lyft launch postponed: Lyft planned to open in New York City today but will hold off amid a legal battle with the state. Lyft says it will work with city regulators to find a compromise between their business model and government regulations. (WBJ)

WiFi for safety: One group is working on a program that will warn pedestrians (via their smartphone's WiFi) if they are in danger of getting hit by a driver. (IEEE Spectrum)

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Breakfast links: By the numbers

Photo by formulanone on Flickr.
Gray vetoes budget: Mayor Gray vetoed the 2015 DC budget because of its funding cut to the streetcar, the sales tax on exercise, and other factors. Gray says under the DC Council's budget, the 22-mile streetcar system won't be built until 2045. The original budget passed 12-1, and the council could override the veto with 9 votes. (WAMU, City Paper)

Pedestrian barrier for Route 1: Spurred by recent pedestrian deaths along Route 1 in downtown College Park, the Maryland State Highway Administration will install a barrier in the median to prevent pedestrians from crossing mid block. (WTOP)

How to pay for Phase Two?: After Dulles Toll Road drivers complained they were shouldering too much of the Silver Line's costs, MWAA capped the s tolls. But with no more federal money for Phase Two, will there be enough funding? (Post)

Region falls behind in job growth: The DC area lost the fewest jobs during the recession, but now the area has fallen to 14th place out of the 15 largest metropolitan areas. Office leasing and housing sales are falling as a result. (Post)

Buy DC land, build affordable housing: A new bill before the DC council will require that new residential buildings on former public land include 30% affordable units. This will help create mixed-income communities around the city. (DCFPI)

Housing trouble in Chinatown: The owner of a Section 8 building in Chinatown, whose contract is expiring, demanded an exorbitant price from existing residents to avoid tearing down the building. David Catania wants to fix the loophole on an emergency basis, but Phil Mendelson won't take action until the fall. (City Paper)

Milloy doesn't back down: Courtland Milloy stands by what he wrote in his column. He's not advocating violence, but is just warning cyclists about what might happen. He'll also meet with David Alpert and go on a ride with Veronica Davis. (City Paper)

Like riding a bike: Tirana, the capital of Albania, used to forbid private cars. Now, over twenty years after the fall of communism, the streets are clogged with them, and pollution is the worst in Europe. Can cycling make a comeback? (Guardian Cities)

Can't buy booze in New Hampshire: According to the letter of New Hampshire law, an ID from one of the 50 US states or a Canadian province is enough to buy alcohol, but not an ID from the District of Columbia or the US territories. (Concord Monitor)

And...: Denmark and Sweden consider connecting with an 8-mile bike-bridge-tunnel. (Citylab, Ryan S) ... Negative perceptions of cyclists are similar to those of other "out-groups." (Citylab) ... Residents of a public housing complex in SE DC struggle against an allegedly corrupt but very-well-connected building manager. (Post)

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Breakfast links: Better buses

Photo by Wilson Hum on Flickr.
More buses on 16th Street: Starting August 25, Metro will replace five buses serving the S line on 16th Street with articulated buses during rush hour. The buses will come from the Y line on Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring, which will get more frequent service to make up the difference. (DCist)

An electric Circulator?: DC's Circulator buses are reaching the end of their life span. A possible replacement is an all-electric bus that could save around $500,000 in fuel costs during each vehicle's life. (City Paper)

Less parking, more business: More construction cranes are likely coming to NoMa. The Government Printing Office, a mere two blocks from Union Station, is looking to tear up its parking lot for possible private development. (WBJ)

More bikes, fewer tickets: Even though there are more bicyclists than ever before in DC, the number of citations issued is at an all time low. Through May, only 63 citations had been issued. In 2012, there were 446 citations all year. (Post)

Housing for the homeless: DC's initiative to locate 500 apartments in 100 days for homeless families hits its deadline today. The city is expected to announce that it's fulfilled 92% of its goal. (City Paper)

Theater for Union Market?: A new proposal for the Union Market area includes a theater on top of the existing market building, and four stories of offices. Later buildings would add more retail, office, maybe residential, two plazas, and parking. (WBJ)

Look to Oregon's Trails: The Highway Trust Fund is set to run out of money in August. As Congress tries to find a short-term solution to the problem, Oregon is setting up a pay-per-mile program that could solve the fund's problems. (CityLab)

And...: DC will start ticketing cars that would impede the H Street streetcar. (District Source) ... Do Uber/Lyft type services help reduce drunk driving? (Post) ... Helsinki wants to make car ownership pointless in a decade. (Guardian)

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Breakfast links: Ward 8 winners

Photo by Bob Simmons on Flickr.
Bike lanes in all 8 wards: Ward 8 should get its first bike lanes soon. The 3 lanes totaling about 1.5 miles will eventually connect to a planned off-road South Capitol Street bike trail. Or maybe they aren't the first after all? (City Paper, Twitter)

Wait, there's an election?: You probably don't know there's an election Tuesday for the Ward 8 State Board of Education seat. The DC Council could have moved it to November and saved about $300,000, but didn't. (City Paper)

Housing the homeless: DC will most likely replace its 1350-bed homeless shelter downtown near its current spot, but will there be room for everything? (DCist) ... Silver Spring will get a replacement homeless shelter in a land swap deal. (WBJ)

A small moratorium lift: New restaurants in Adams Morgan can now apply for a liquor license, though many other aspects of the 14-year moratorium remain in place. The move comes with the support of the local ANC. (DCist)

FBI to... AFRH?: Springfield and Poplar Point are probably out for the FBI headquarters, since GSA now wants even bigger security setbacks than before. The federal government also is apparently considering the Armed Forces Retirement Home on North Capitol Street and the Walter Reed campus. (Post)

Facelift for Upper Marlboro?: Upper Marlboro's business district could get a sprucing up if it wins a grant to improve storefront facades. Business owners would have to partially match any funds that would improve their stores. (Gazette)

Where are the stores?: Manassas Park hopes a recently-built mixed-use building near the VRE station will revitalize downtown, but that will only work if retail stores actually open up there. (Potomac Local)

Filmed in DC?: Can DC's new movie and TV office head woo more films and shows to shoot in the District? Do overlapping federal and local rules make it too daunting? And is it worth it to get into an incentives arms race with other states? (City Paper)

And...: Montgomery County is thinking about a 24 hour snow removal law. (WAMU)... What can you do with a shipping pallet and some wheels? Ride streetcar rails. (Pulptastic) ... A man says an Uber driver took him on a high-speed chase. (Post)

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Breakfast links: Development past and future

Photo by dan reed! on Flickr.
A complete Clarksburg: Clarksburg's roads, sidewalks, and other infrastructure will be completed by 2015, according to an agreement between Montgomery County and the original developer. Work stalled in 2005 after building violations and a lawsuit. (Post)

Down to two: The four alternatives for the proposed Potomac Yard Metro station have been pared down to two. Federal officials determined that two options were too expensive, leaving an alternative next to Potomac Greens and another to the east of North Potomac Yard. (WBJ)

Permits for pub crawls: Arlington pub crawls may soon need a permit and have to pay for police at their events. Event organizers argue that crawls bring in enough tax revenue for the county to cover costs. (ArlNow)

Columbia Heights development leader dies: Bob Moore, a key figure in Columbia Heights' rebirth, died on Monday. Moore helped bring the Nehemiah Shopping Center and DC USA mall to the neighborhood. (City Paper)

So long, Baier: Alexandria's director of transportation and environmental services, Richard Baier, is leaving his post at the end of August. Baier led the department since 2000, and did much for transit and active transportation in the city. (Post)

Induced demand is real: Writers from Cato and the Weekly Standard have argued that "induced demand" doesn't exist on the roads, or isn't a reason to reexamine highway construction. Here are four myths that underlie most of the pushback. (

Replace the gas tax?: Singapore pays for its excellent infrastructure by constantly tracking and taxing its drivers. Could a vehicle mileage tax be implemented here, where people are more concerned about privacy? (ThinkProgress, Thad)

And...: Is Arlington the suburb of the future? (Salon, Helen D.) ... A falcarius, narwhals, and others have appeared in Capitol Hill. (DCist) ... Can you name all the Metro stations? (Sporcle)

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Breakfast links: Bills, bills, bills

Photo by drpavloff on Flickr.
Marijuana bill blossoms: It looks like there are enough signatures to put a marijuana legalization bill on the DC ballot in November. One congressman vows to block it, citing safety of children above DC home rule. (WTOP)

Primary results: Democrat Richard Sullivan and Republican David Foster won a special primary on Sunday for the Virginia House. If elected, Foster vows to push for a referendum on the "impractical and unaffordable" Columbia Pike streetcar. (Post)

Dead zebras: The experiment with zebras meant to discourage u-turns across the Pennsylvania Avenue bike lanes is over. The zebras will be removed and replaced with park-its. (WAMU)

BIDs on roads: A new bill means BIDs could take over some road maintenance in DC, amidst poor 311 response to potholes. Mary Cheh believes that the BIDs can translate success with public spaces to roads. (DCist)

Charter school "cannibalism"?: Plans to open a charter across the street from a comparable public school have led Chancellor Kaya Henderson to call for better coordination in school planning to avoid "cannibalism". (Post)

Another blow: The US House proposed to cut all funding for St. Elizabeths in 2015, further fueling fears that the project will not be completed. But will the surrounding Congress Heights neighborhood actually miss the project if it doesn't happen? (WBJ, City Paper)

Spinning wheels: Are cyclists engaging in more dangerous activities than other road users or is this perception based in a lack of familiarity? Would getting more people on bikes help with this perception? (Gizmodo)

Maglev merits: Japan is looking to build a $90 billion maglev line between Tokyo and Osaka. But are 310 MPH speeds worth the price worth when both cities will be getting smaller when the line opens? (CityLab)

And...: Retail is already changing to meet new demand around Silver Line stations, kicking out some low density businesses. (Post) ... Did construction projects inconvenience drivers in Copenhagen so much that it led to a 5% increase in cycling? (Streetsblog) ... A primary race for the Prince George's County Council was decided by 6 votes. (Post)

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Breakfast links: Countdown to opening

Photo by Charles Atkeison on Flickr.
Blue Line frequency cuts cause frustration: On the eve of the Silver Line's opening, Blue Line riders are protesting service cuts. Metro officials cannot do much, but advise that taking a Yellow Line train and transferring at L'Enfant may be faster. (Post)

The story so far: For those who are just tuning in, here are some common questions and answers about the soon-to-open Silver Line. (Post)

Travel delays prevalent around the region: Drivers returning from the beach following the holiday weekend led to traffic jams along area highways. What did you do to avoid the congestion? (WTOP)

Dealing with the racial wealth gap: Differences in wealth rather than income cause greater inequality, and so it is with racial inequality. Housing is the leading cause of this, and eliminating the mortgage interest deduction would help. (New Republic, charlie)

Don't ban apps, price parking correctly: Apps that let people sell an on-street parking space have caused outrage. But they solve an inefficiency that cities could eliminate by pricing parking at market rates. (Market Urbanism)

Bike sharing for work and pleasure: About half of Capital Bikeshare trips are commutes, one study finds. Meanwhile, it is still far from seamless to use bike sharing as a tourist in another city. (CityLab)

Bikeshare deal in the works: An investment group is looking to buy a majority of Alta, which operates New York's CitiBike and Capital Bikeshare. The group wants to raise prices and expand in New York, so will we see the same here? (Mashable)

Congestion grows less quickly with rail: Residents of the St. Petersburg, FL, area are debating the merits of a proposed light rail line. One result: although light rail may not reduce congestion, it does keep it from increasing as quickly. (PolitiFact)

And...: Washington is the world's leading walking city. (Human, charlie) ... The National Park Service is the prime suspect for cutting down a popular tree. (M.V. Jantzen) ... Metropolitan growth and density help poor neighborhoods. (Strong Towns)

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