Posts about Links
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)Have a tip for the links? Submit it here.
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)Have a tip for the links? Submit it here.
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)Have a tip for the links? Submit it here.
Loudoun's Silver Line plan: Loudoun's special tax district to pay for the Silver Line isn't bringing in money quickly enough. What will boost the fund? Some say forgetting data centers and suburban office parks for walkable, mixed-use development is the key, but others worry that won't be enough. (LoudounNow)
Sold in NoVa: There aren't enough houses for sale in Northern Virginia to meet demand. The most in-demand homes are under $500,000 in walkable areas. (Post)
Hope for Memorial Bridge: Just under the deadline, the National Park Service joined with DC to apply for a federal grant to repair the rapidly decaying Memorial Bridge. (Post)
Metro sound bites: WMATA Board member Mort Downey says without a medium-term plan in place Metro will "just be lurching along forever." ... General Manager Paul Wiedefeld says he's looking for "other ways to serve" passengers outside of rush hour so track work can happen. ... Metro currently has to mail in paper invoices to get FTA funding approved. (WTOP)
School funds: DC schools get extra money to support at-risk students, but a recent analysis shows most of that money goes toward general purposes like arts and athletics, instead of programs like afterschool assistance or reading specialists. (WAMU)
Build the Bay: To fix the Bay Area's affordable housing crisis, a local activist is fighting to ease zoning and environmental rules that would help housing supply grow more rapidly. She's often at odds with the area's progressive elite who tend to oppose all new development, unless it's subsidized. (NYT)
The problem with office parks: Large companies' ongoing preference for corporate campuses means employees are more likely to care about road and highways projects and less likely to push for better urban infrastructure. (Co.Design)
Better, cheaper bike lanes: Building and creating bikes lanes doesn't have to be expensive. Community-driven, temporary "quick-build" bike lanes are much more affordable and are popular with cyclists and public officials. (WIRED)Have a tip for the links? Submit it here.
SmarTrip stays: Metro has cancelled plans to install new fare gates that would accept payment via credit card or smart phone after the pilot failed to get enough users. Metro still plans to modernize its fare gates without the technology. (Post)
DC declares independence: In a push for fiscal independence, DC will spend its budget using local tax dollars without waiting for Congressional approval. Congress is weighing legislative action against the District. (Post)
Shelter sums: Mayor Bowser revealed that the total cost to run the homeless shelter sites will be about $10 million more per year than DC General. The Council won't vote on the plan until May at the earliest. (WAMU, City Paper)
No new Circulator routes: DC Circulator won't add new, promised routes anytime soon. DDOT head Leif Dormsjo says the existing maintenance facility is too small for more buses, and funding for a new facility went to Metro instead. (Post)
Solar support: All of ANC 2B's commissioners voted to support adding solar panels to a historic building in Dupont Circle, and are urging the skeptical historic preservation board to do the same. (Borderstan)
What's in a station name?: The Foggy Bottom and Smithsonian Metro stations now have new, longer names. Metro will add "Kennedy Center" and "National Mall" to the station names, respectively, despite limited public support for the former. (WAMU)
HOT and the Pentagon: Traffic around the Pentagon could change significantly with the I-395 HOT lanes. VDOT is weighing four options for improved access to the area as part of the HOT lanes project. (Post)
And...: DDOT's Jim Sebastian shared his thoughts on getting around DC by bike. (Post) ... WABA needs donations to build a bike skills course under the Wilson Bridge in Alexandria. (WashCycle) ... Metro had to evacuate nearly 200 passengers yesterday after a train lost power outside of Rosslyn. (Post)Have a tip for the links? Submit it here.
Congress vs. WMATA: Congress grilled WMATA on safety and finances at a hearing yesterday. WMATA Board Chairman Jack Evans urged the federal government to pay their "fair share" for operating expenses. In response, a Florida Congressman accused WMATA of sitting on unspent capital funds and said he won't bail out DC. (Post, WAMU)
Watch the region grow: These satellite-based maps show how rapidly the DC area has grown since 1984. By tracking paved surfaces, researchers from the University of Maryland found the area built 9 to 11 new square kilometers of development per year. (Post)
Stadium parking: More details on Dan Snyder's concept for a new football stadium reveal plans for a 25,000 space parking garage covered in green space for tailgating. (WBJ)
No Metro, slower travel: The Metro shutdown didn't result in a traffic meltdown but travel times were 12% worse inside the Beltway, and some roads, like northbound I-395 and I-295, saw travel times double or triple. (TPB)
In the crosshairs of the crosswalk: A driver hit and killed a 10-year-old on a bike in Waldorf, Maryland as he rode in a well-marked crosswalk with his mother and two friends. Police are checking cell phone records to determine if the driver was distracted. (NBC4)
Chevy Chase, aka Snobsville?: Chevy Chase is the number one snobbiest small town in the US according to a website that factored in income, home prices, and private schools, theaters, and art galleries per capita. (Post)
Go green to fight crime: Adding green space in urban areas could reduce crime by encouraging more community activities outdoors, according to a new study. (CityLab)
And...: The Transportation Planning Board has a new website for news, data, and analysis. ... Vote on changes to improve the area around the Tenleytown Metro. ... Check out (and vote for) this video on safe driving from two local teens. (TeenDrive365)Have a tip for the links? Submit it here.
Metro's book of revelations: The consulting firm McKinsey & Company released an 89-page report charting a course for Metro's recovery. The report contains recommendations on everything from safety to real estate management. (WAMU)
A safe bet for Metro: There's a new chief safety officer at Metro. Patrick Lavin, a top subway inspector, worked with the National Transportation Safety Board when New York City's subway system was facing maintenance issues. (WTOP)
Better safe than shiny: The Federal Transit Administration denied Metro $20 million in grant funding for station renovations and streamlining fare collection. Both projects, the FTA said, aren't "safety-critical." (City Paper)
Frack-free county: Prince George's County became the first Maryland jurisdiction to ban hydraulic fracking. Activists hope the law stymies efforts of fracking supporters like Governor Hogan, who has called fracking an "economic gold mine." (Post)
Unwanted and under-reported: Nearly a quarter of riders have experienced sexual harassment on public transportation, and the vast majority never report it. Unsurprisingly, women are three times as likely to to be victims. (DCist)
BRT for NOVA: Route 7 could get dedicated bus lanes, with a BRT system that would carry more than 10,000 daily riders between Tysons Corner and Alexandria. Officials want public input on the proposal. (WAMU)
A bridge too far: The National Parks Service will most likely miss the deadline to apply for federal grants to fund repairs of Memorial Bridge. NPS has previously stated it cannot afford the quarter-billion-dollar repair project on its own. (Post)
Disappointment for Independence Ave: Independence Avenue SE, where commuters frequently speed beyond the 25mph limit, won't see any traffic calming measures until at least 2018. (Hill Rag)
More parking in Brookland: A massive parking garage is going up next to the Brookland Metro, mostly to serve the Children's National Medical Center (meanwhile DC does little to make the hospital more accessible by transit). (Curbed)
And...: Take a look at Hive, DC's first micro hotel coming to Foggy Bottom. (Washingtonian) ... Should DC's new $15 minimum wage apply to tipped workers? (City Paper) ... An automobile-centric lifestyle remains widespread and popular for Americans despite its many failings and downsides. (CityLab)Have a tip for the links? Submit it here.
SunTrust bust?: The newest proposal to redevelop the SunTrust in Adams Morgan has more outdoor space than before. At least one member of ANC 1C believes that it is still too little. (Borderstan)
Hot debate over the Haupt: A petition seeks to preserve the Smithsonian's Haupt Garden, a small space south of the Castle. The Smithsonian hopes to rebuild it with upward-sweeping corners that let more light into exhibit spaces below; opponents want to keep the current "contemplative" design. (Curbed)
What's in a (station) name?: The WMATA Board will decide this week whether to append "National Mall" to the Smithsonian Metro stop. An online poll found 54% supporting the change, while just 26% support adding "Kennedy Center" to the Foggy Bottom-GWU stop. (City Paper)
Deanwood stabbing: An 18-year-old has been arrested for the stabbing death of an eighth grader at Deanwood Metro Monday morning. It is the second homicide in less than a month at the station. (Post)
Now that's dedication: Buses traveling on Georgia Avenue enjoy a dedicated lane between Florida Ave and Barry Place. Anyone transgressing the sanctity of the demarcated lanes will risk a $200 fine. (DCist)
Car2goFarther?: Users of car2go may be able to rent a vehicle on one side of the Potomac and leave it on the other. Arlington and DC are considering an agreement to allow this, which is currently prohibited. (UrbanTurf)
Long wait for TSA: TSA's headquarters won't move until 2018. Last fall, Victory Center was announced as the new HQ. A judge voided the lease because the space was 40,000 square feet larger than Congress authorized. (Alexandria Times)
Paint amid the parking: Artists are seeing their spaces gradually sold for condos. Where can they continue creating cheaply? How about abandoned office parks in the suburbs? (Washingtonian)
There's more housing: It's been tough to find a home to buy, but availabhle listings are rising. DC had the biggest rise; Fairfax City, the smallest. (UrbanTurf)
AND...: THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE ... WILL STOP USING ALL CAPS. (CITYLAB) ... A "female-only" Uber: Good idea? Legal or illegal? (Post) ... Transit agencies grow to love Uber and Lyft. (Citylab) ... The latest on plans for a rail tunnel in Baltimore. (RT&S)Welcome Arego: Please welcome our newest member of our links team, Arego Mitchell! Have a tip to help out Arego and our other curators? Submit it here.
Cash photo from Shutterstock.
Dedicated funding now: WMATA board chair Jack Evans says Metro needs $1 billion in dedicated funding annually, of which $300 million should come from the federal government, if we're serious about fixing Metro. (Post)
No Metro sales tax: Virginia Senator Mark Warner supports creating a dedicated funding source for WMATA, but he's not so keen on implementing a regional sales tax after a nasty political fight in 2002 shot down his proposal for a similar measure. (Post)
A cause for celebration?: Metro's attempts to celebrate its 40th anniversary with a PR campaign may not make much sense on the surface, but they fit into an overarching agency goal of improving customer engagement. (Washingtonian)
Respect the bus driver: Metrobus operators aren't a happy bunch right now. 2015 saw an uptick in assaults on drivers, and many say that fare evasions continue despite new automated messages that announce a minimum $1.75 fare. (WTOP)
Architecture and aging: Many elderly people have to move to retirement communities and then to be near family, which takes away from their ability to form social bonds. Can architecture instead help people age without having to move? (WAMU)
Build at Braddock?: Could the entrance to Braddock Road Metro become a "vibrant neighborhood square"? Metro is studying options for development, but Alexandria has a lot of development already in the works that might mean lower demand here. (WBJ)
Mixed-use to retail: Gas station magnate Joe Mamo owns a property in Bloomingdale and has approvals for a 6-story mixed-use building with 85 housing units. But he can't get financing, so he's giving up and proposing retail with no housing. (WBJ)
The benefit of city colleges: Students that attend colleges in or near urban areas have access to many more opportunities than those in rural areas and generally have better job prospects post-graduation. (Post)
More wealthy babies: The District is in the midst of a baby boom, and households earning over $150,000 saw the biggest increase in the number of newborns. (Post)
Driver's ed for everyone: Starting May 1, every new driver in the District regardless of age will be required to take a course in order to get a DC license. The course will involve 30 hours of classroom instruction and 8 hours behind the wheel. (DCist)
And...: Rents for Class A apartments in the region rose at their fastest pace since 2010. (UrbanTurf) ... A Maryland state senator wants Paypal to consider the Free State after the company said no to North Carolina. (Bethesda Beat) ... Two Congressional subcommittees will hold a hearing this week to review Metro's shutdown. (WTOP)Have a tip for the links? Submit it here.
No Red Line water repairs: Metro has cancelled plans to repair a leaking tunnel on the Red Line because they can't find a contractor to do the work at the right price. Metro originally planned to close the Red Line between Friendship Heights and Grosvenor for 14 weekends this summer to complete the work. (Bethesda Magazine)
FTA in the tunnels: FTA safety inspectors began a "safety blitz" this week. They are scouring all six Metro lines to check for track integrity issues, red-light running, and to ensure rail cars stay attached to one another. (Post)
Circulator short on maintenance: A recent audit found 95% of DC Circulator's oldest buses have safety-critical problems due to neglected maintenance. DDOT and WMATA vow to do a better job overseeing the contractor who runs and maintains the service. (WTOP)
Bye bye bus shelter: The Logan Circle ANC voted to remove a bus shelter on 14th St NW because it attracts homeless residents and litter. The ANC tried to remove the bus stop entirely in 2010. (Borderstan)
Leggett lets up on taxes: Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett reduced planned property taxes increases by half, thanks to an extension on how long the county has to pay back income taxes that the state took unconstitutionally. (Bethesda Magazine)
Rally on dirt bikes: DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier is cracking down on illegal dirt bikes and ATVs. The city seized 400 bikes and ATVs and released pictures of nearly 250 riders the police are trying to identify. (City Paper)
Metro on customer accountability: Metro has released its latest Customer Accountability Report with improvements to make it more dynamic and timely so that riders can easily see how the rail system is doing with repairs, delivery of new rail cars, and other service goals. (Post)
Pothole hunters: VDOT is encouraging residents to "hunt for potholes" and report them with a silly ad campaign. (Post)Have a tip for the links? Submit it here.
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