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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.

Links


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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Links


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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Links


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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Links


Breakfast links: Abodes well?


Photo by GarberDC on Flickr.
Historic house flipping: In Anacostia, a nonprofit is buying up blighted properties, and restoring and flipping them at a loss in an effort to preserve the neighborhood's historic character. (Post)

Data for desegregation: New federal rules will force cities to do more to end segregation. Building on the Fair Housing Act, the new rules require cities to track, report, and set goals based on a variety of data that reflect integration. (Post)

Here comes surge #4: Through next Monday, buses replace trains between Pentagon City and National Airport. Many of the transportation alternatives from SafeTrack surge 3 will continue. (ArlNow)

Mic on Metro: In the latest episode of the Metropocalypse podcast, Martin Di Caro talks to GGWash founder David Alpert about our MetroGreater contest and other Metro matters. (WAMU)

Ride hail by the numbers: Over the past year, 117,000 drivers have registered to carry Uber and Lyft passengers in Virginia. More than 12,000 are Fairfax County residents, while over 60,000 come from out-of-state. (Post)

Rosslyn's newest high rises: A huge mixed-use project will likely bring a new fire station, park, office building, and two high-rise residential buildings to Rosslyn. Arlington's overall plans for Rosslyn call for building a more walkable community with 5,000 new residential units. (WBJ)

Catch 'em all on the Mall: As Pokemon GO sweeps the nation, the National Park Service says its Park Rangers will lead Pokemon hunts on the Mall, but continues to urge visitors to be respectful of memorials. (DCist)

A new symbol for the FBI site: The massive Brutalist FBI building reflected American power when it was built. What would be an appropriate symbol today for a replacement one? How about a skyscraper, suggests Dan Reed? (Washingtonian)

And...: Is it bad to start a sentence with And? (Washingtonian) ... Frederick Kunkle makes some sense on highways (Post) ... An app reminds people to look at the city around them instead of being engrossed in phones. (Citylab)

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Links


Breakfast links: Who gets the blame


Photo by Mark Daniels on Flickr.
You're fired: Metro GM Paul Wiedefeld didn't mince words as he gave the pink slip to an operator who ran a red signal and created the risk of a collision last week. Two track inspectors were also in the train's path. (WAMU)

Silver Line scapegoat?: People are quick to blame Metro's woes on the Silver Line, saying it diverts resources from the rest of Metro. But the reality is far more complicated, and many present-day problems would still exist regardless. (Post)

Metro's disability dilemma: Everything from faulty elevators to less confidence in emergency responders means riders with disabilities feel more unsafe than ever. Many are switching to MetroAccess, which is expensive for WMATA to operate. (Post)

Is standing on escalators better?: Asking escalator riders to stand, not walk, may be the most efficient way to get people in and out of subway systems, and the London Underground has taken note. (Wonderful Engineering)

Big plans for Grosvenor: The parking lot near the Grosvenor Metro station is an eyesore and waste of space. One developer's mini-master plan could transform the area and introduce five mixed-use buildings. (Bethesda Beat)

Big garage, big impact: Fairfax County says the now-$63.8 million price tag for a new commuter garage will be worth it because bus bays, slugging areas, bike storage and other amenities will encourage folks to ditch their cars for daily commutes. (WBJ)

Flexible transit benefits?: A new proposal in Congress would let federal workers use their transit benefits on bikeshare and ride-hailing services during SafeTrack. Is it a good idea? (Washingtonian)

Victims' struggle: Increasing housing costs and less funding for nonprofits means victims of domestic violence in the District have a really hard time finding space in a shrinking number of shelters and apartments. (Post)

VA expands road & rail: Virginia will use a $165 million federal congestion-fighting grant to extend the I-95 Express Lanes and add an extra track along the CSX railroad to aid Amtrak and VRE service. (WTOP)

Go home when?: Tenants had to leave an unsafe building in Brightwood; since then, they've had to live in motel rooms with no real promise of when they can return, as the owner wants to sell it but might not be able to. (City Paper)

And...: A serious bike crash east of the Anacostia comes on the heels of a hit-and-run driver killing a cyclist last month; neighbors held a vigil for the victim. (@roznews, DCist, @shawingtontimes) ... Bills to expand paid family leave and give hourly workers more advance notice of their schedules are both on hold for now. (City Paper)

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Public Spaces


National links: Hockey as a harbinger

What does outlawing street hockey in Canada say about public space? Germany is building super highways for bikes, and Oakland is getting its first Department of Transportation. Check out what's happening around the country (and beyond) in transportation, land use, and other related areas!


Photo by Dave Kuehn on Flickr.

Game Off!!: Fewer people are playing street hockey in Canada. People playing have received tickets for doing so on neighborhood streets, and some kids say a lot of the hockey they play these days has so much supervision and structure that it's boring. Hockey is one thing, but the bigger issue is that kids feel less welcome in public spaces, like streets, than they used to. (Guardian Cities)

Bike super highways: Germany is building a series of bicycle super highways that will soon connect ten cities and is predicted to take 50,000 drivers off the road. The paths are 13 feet wide and fully separated from car traffic, even at intersections. There's a hope that this kind of infrastructure will usher in alternatives to crowded road and transit systems. (Guardian Cities)

New department in town: Oakland, California doesn't have a Department of Transportation, but it's starting one up this month. The interim director says the new agency will lead the way in answering questions about how to design transportation equitably and inclusively and how to design bike infrastructure without putting drivers on the defensive. (Next City)

Urban growth measures: We often compare cities by their population growth over time. Houston has overtaken Chicago as the third largest city in the US, but that's because counts include suburban growth and annexation, not just central city infill. Analysis by Yonah Freemark shows how central cities have changed since 1960, and that we should consider differences in how cities have grown when we talk about transportation policy. (Transport Politic)

A dense definition: The word "density" makes different people think of different things, and it's pretty unclear what it means relative to cities Are we talking about the density of buildings? People? Another quantifiable statistic? Perhaps the best kind of density is when the result is places where people want to go out and be around one another. (City Metric)

Quote of the week

"These are public streets, and navigation apps take advantage of them. Waze didn't invent cut-through traffic, it just propagates it."

Aarian Marshall in Wired Magazine discussing the neighborhood animosity towards the Waze App.

Links


Breakfast links: Metro's making an effort


Photo by Elvert Barnes on Flickr.
SafeTrack doesn't fix it all: Despite the substantial progress Metro has made on repairs via SafeTrack, the system is still plagued by delays that riders have, unfortunately, come to expect. It is clear that there is still much more to fix at Metro than the track hardware that SafeTrack is focused on. (WAMU)

Metro's back-breaking backlog: Metro's maintenance backlog reached a staggering 80,000 work orders earlier this year. Open orders have been cut in half but electeds have criticized Metro's comparatively high labor costs and union contract. (Post)

Metro money land: Metro is looking to sell land right next to the Largo Town Center Metro for a cool $8 million. This is the latest in a string of Metro-accessible land sales rolled out since Paul Wiedefeld took over as general manager. (WBJ)

Uber for the commute: Uber launched a feature called Driver Destinations, which lets drivers pick up people along a set route. The hope is to get typical car commuters to drive for Uber, not just those who treat it as a full-time job. (NBC4)

Co-working works: Co-working office space accounts for nearly half the leases signed in DC over the last 1.5 years. DC is on pace to have an oversupply of commercial space due to new construction and organizations downsizing leases. (WTOP)

AirBnB argument: A new law in Montgomery County could legalize and limit short-term rentals via services like Airbnb. Confused civic associations think the law would increase short-term rentals and take away street parking space. (Bethesda BEAT)

Chicago's conundrum: The people moving into cities are mostly white, affluent, and educated. A study of Chicago found minority and less-educated families to be much more likely to live outside the city than they were two decades ago. (CityLab)

Stadium parking racket: The Atlanta Braves want to outlaw private parking lots near their new stadium so only the team can charge for parking. Oh, and there's no public transportation to the stadium. The move is straight out of the Dan Snyder playbook. (Deadspin)

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Links


Breakfast links: On track, sort of


Photo by woodleywonderworks on Flickr.
SafeTrack not so smooth: The first day of SafeTrack surge 3 didn't go so smoothly, with long lines, packed platforms, and at least one lost bus driver despite a 70% decrease in ridership on the affected portion of the system. (Post, WAMU)

Surge 2 report: Metro was able to complete all scheduled work during its second SafeTrack surge. But ongoing signal problems, which Metro says are temporary and minor, are making some skeptical. (City Paper)

Changes brew for ANCs: Rules surrounding ANCs would change under a bill introduced by DC Councilmember Anita Bonds. The bill would push government agencies to work more closely with ANCs, put regulations on how ANCs manage their bank accounts, and exempt ANCs from FOIA requests. (DCist)

Rents rise, and too damn high: DC has the sixth highest rents in the nation, with median rent at $2,190 for a one-bedroom apartment. (Washingtonian) ... Rents in DC are up 3.6% from last year. (UrbanTurf)

Shops shift to homes in Reston: Reston's Tall Oaks shopping center is only 15% leased. One developer has plans to save the struggling shopping center by converting it into 156 townhomes and condos. (WBJ)

Bigger apartments, less fewer units for Georgetown: Plans for a Georgetown apartment complex went from 26 to 7 units after the ANC asked for seemingly unrelated revisions to the design of the structure's facade. (UrbanTurf)

MetroAccess fraud: A MetroAccess contractor charged Metro for picking up customers who were known to be dead and using pricier wheelchair-accessible vans when they weren't needed. The company must now pay Metro $184 thousand for "billing errors." (Post)

DC's 1909 subway plans: DC had very different plans for a subway system in 1909. The plan called for a loop with 29 stops between the Capitol and the White House, mostly for government use but open to the public. (AoC)

And...: A Montgomery County state senator is asking Maryland to foot the bill for shuttle bus service during SafeTrack. (Bethesda Magazine) ... These two senators take Metro to work every day. (Roll Call) ... A defect in some of Philadelphia's regional rail cars will leave a third of the fleet out of service indefinitely, and likely through the Democratic National Convention. (RailwayAge)

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Links


Breakfast links: Building bridges


Photo by Joseph Gruber on Flickr.
SafeTrack surge #3: Metro's third SafeTrack surge started last night, shutting down rail service between Braddock Road and National Airport for the next seven days. Extra (and in some cases, free) buses, VRE, a new Capital Bikeshare station, and a new slugline are available to help people get around. (Post)

Riders say sayonara after SafeTrack: As Metro's SafeTrack rolls onward, some commuters have found other ways to get around and are sticking to them, even after the SafeTrack surge affecting their travel ends. (WAMU)

Arlington Memorial bridge isn't falling down: A $90 million grant will partially cover the cost to repair the Arlington Memorial Bridge. Without the grant, the National Park Service said the bridge would have had to close within five years. (DCist)

AU students get a Metro pass: American University students will now get a pass for unlimited Metro rail and bus rides as part of their mandatory student fees. The pilot program, dubbed U-Pass, aims to increase ridership and public transit loyalty. (DCist)

Plans for the Bethesda plaza: A construction company is pushing back on a developers's plans to build a high-rise in the Bethesda Metro station plaza, ostensibly because it would take away park space. (Bethesda Magazine)

DC schools lack accessibility: 40% of DC public schools are not accessible for those with disabilities. While schools wait on modernization funds, they do the best they can by building ramps and rearranging spaces. (City Paper)

Books in barbershops: A Prince George's library program is putting books in barbershops to try to bridge the achievement gap between black and white boys. The library system says the program is a hit and will expand next year. (WTOP)

Mourning for murals in Annapolis: Annapolis residents held a "funeral" for a popular mural in the historic district in protest of the city's Historic Preservation Commission's claim that it can regulate art on private buildings in the district. (WTOP)

Lamont Street Collective gone: A 41-year-old artist and activist group, the Lamont Street Collective, were evicted from their Mount Pleasant home yesterday after a year of legal disputes with their new landlord. (DCist)

Subsidized artist abodes: Subsidized housing specifically set aside for artists is gaining traction across the country. But one Minnesota study shows that such housing tends to go disproportionately to young whites with relatively higher incomes. (NYT)

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