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Breakfast links: A different track

Photo by stantontcady on Flickr.
ICYMI: FTA has demanded that Metro rearrange the SafeTrack schedule to focus on three specific sections of track first. Metro says they'll make the changes, but it's going to take a little longer to finalize the plan. (GGWash, City Paper)

Bring on the buses: The Downtown BID president is calling for robust late-night bus service if Metro must close by midnight during SafeTrack rebuilding. (Post)

Homeless families on the rise: DC has 31% more homeless families than last year. A combination of rent increases, low housing availability, and stagnant wages have contributed to the increase. (WAMU)

Car2go2more places: Car2go users in DC and Arlington can pick up or drop off cars in either jurisdiction starting on May 26. Car2go hopes the move will boost lagging sign-ups and trips in Arlington. (UrbanTurf)

From retail to residence: Two friends are cataloguing pictures of Capitol Hill homes that used to be retail, before a 1958 zoning law slowly drove most retail out of the neighborhood. (Citylab)

Tall Oaks short on retail: A developer will transform the Tall Oaks Shopping Center in Reston into mostly residential units. Area residents really want a grocery store, but the developer and Fairfax County say the shopping center can't support it. (RestonNow)

Make the grade: Montgomery County will use a new grading system that generously rounds up students' average grade to the next letter grade. School officials say the system is better for college admissions, but some teachers are concerned about grade inflation. (Post)

Gaithersburg, the most diverse city: Gaithersburg is the most diverse city in America according to one study that considered social class, racial, economic, and household diversity. (DCist)

Traffic nightmare or hidden art?: An artist tried to simplify some of the world's most complicated traffic interchanges by assigning a different color to each individual road. He wound up with some surprisingly beautiful images. (Co.Design)

And...: The future of a 1,000 bed homeless shelter in DC is unclear as a federal requirement to use the space for the homeless ends this year. (Street Sense) ... Congress will question DC Home Rule and budget autonomy in a hearing today. (City Paper) ... University of Maryland students wish College Park had closer grocery stores. (The Diamondback)

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Breakfast links: Be safe or shut down

Photo by Samferdselsdepartementet on Flickr.
Shutdown threats: Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx says he "seriously" considered shutting down Metro when he learned that, after an explosion at Federal Center SW, inspectors couldn't get to the tracks and trains kept running. He says he won't hesitate to order a future shutdown if Metro's approach to safety doesn't improve. (WAMU)

The great Metro meetup: Metro GM Paul Wiedefeld met with more than 650 of WMATA's managers to discuss his vision for the agency's future, with a special focus on safety and accountability. (WTOP)

Uncomfortably loud and moderately close: DC Attorney General Karl Racine says flights out of National Airport are too loud. He sent a letter to the FAA asking it to reconsider flight paths that planes started using last year. (City Paper)

City for sale: More than half the real estate in Crystal City could be up for sale as Vornado Realty Trust considers "spinning off" some 26 buildings in the neighborhood, including apartments, restaurants, and the future site of a Whole Foods. (Post)

Home prices going up: Houses in the region are selling for more than any other time in the last decade. There were also 10% more closed sales last month than April 2015. (UrbanTurf)

Dog fight: Logan Circle residents, the National Park Service, and dog owners are locked in a heated debate about a law banning dogs from the park's inner circle. NPS has ticketed owners while residents have twice stolen signs stating the ban. (Borderstan)

Running late? Blame Metro: More than one in four Metro trains were late in the first quarter of 2016, with 5% off all trips more than 10 minutes late. According to Metro's own reports, the system's reliability has hit a three-year low. (WAMU)

New ID indentity: Maryland unveiled its new, oriole-and-crab-emblazoned driver licence designs They're more durable and tamper-resistant, which should cut down on identity theft and fraud. (WTOP)

Child-driven segregation: Neighborhoods that are segregated by income are becoming more common in the US. One big reason is that people with children want to live in places with more wealth. (Post)

Additional deductions: Congressional representatives are pushing a bill that would make homeowner association fees tax deductible. The idea is that these levies are similar to local property taxes, which are deductible on the federal level. (Post)

And...: In New York, Uber reached an agreement that would allow drivers to form a guild but stops short of full unionization. (NYT) ... Take a peek inside the Capitol Heights facility that processes the hundreds of tons of recycling the region produces each day. (Post) ... A small restaurant building in Dupont Circle sold for over $6 million, more than double what it went for in 2014. (WBJ)

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Breakfast links: Stuck on track work

Photo by Metropolitan Transportation Authority of the State of New York on Flickr.
Troubled track work: After weekend track work near Stadium Armory, a train making a test run got stuck on the tracks for nearly eight hours, causing significant delays on the Orange, Blue, and Silver Lines yesterday. Metro says it's investigating the track work contractor's quality control processes. (Post)

People are riding less: Metro ridership is down on all fronts. Compared to last year, there have been 4.8% fewer trips on Metrorail and 3% fewer on Metrobus. Weekends are worse, with a 9% decrease on Metrorail. (WTOP)

School daze in DC: The ACLU has come out against DCPS' plan to open an all-boys school this year. They say that the school, and the Empowering Males of Color initiative behind it, is unfair to girls. (DCist)

A MARC alternative to Metro?: Could MARC supplement Metro service between Deanwood and L'Enfant with a temporary route during SafeTrack? The existing CSX tracks have been used for passenger service before. (Prince George's Urbanist)

A tragic crash and its day in court: In 2013, a spontaneous road race on Georgia Ave killed three people in another car. Yesterday, the two racing drivers were each sentenced to 20 years in prison for vehicular manslaughter. (Post)

The bikeway goes green: DDOT has painted the protected bikeway next to Union Station green to try to communicate to pedestrians on the busy sidewalk that it's a bike lane. (BeyondDC)

Across the river, the Red House: During the Red Scare, this community of Modernist homes outside of Mount Vernon was viewed suspiciously due to its minimalist style and setting. Frank Lloyd Wright described the style as "not wholesome." (Atlas Obscura)

Highlights of NYC's Lowline: New York City's first underground park, the Lowline, will transform a former trolley terminal. The park will have lots of natural light, thanks to advanced optical techniques. (BBC)

SafeTrack hack: This tool shows you exactly how SafeTrack will impact your Metro ride. (MetroHero)

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Breakfast links: The long road to safety

Photo by Thomas Hawk on Flickr.
"Tough medicine": Local officials say Metro's major rebuilding plan will be hard on riders but necessary "painful medicine ... from decades of neglect, said Gerry Connolly. ... President Obama blamed anti-spending sentiments in Congress. (GGWash, WTOP, Washingtonian)

Another safety lapse: After an electrical insulator exploded at Federal Center SW last week, Metro's control center wouldn't let inspectors shut down the track, says a scathing FTA report which called for "daily inspections" and threatened to shut down the system entirely. (WAMU, Post)

Left behind in Loudoun: Many people bought huge houses on big lots in Loudoun County with very long commutes. Now people want to live closer to work, and some who bought at the top of the market can't even sell their homes. (Post)

McLean's density dispute: Farifax County may increase the amount of density allowed near transit stations and in some other "community business centers." McLean leaders oppose the change, saying it's not the right place for urbanization. (Inside Nova)

DC's new constitution?: DC leaders wrote a draft constitution for the proposed state of "New Columbia." But not everyone agrees with the name, the size of the proposed legislature, or the timeline for public input. (WAMU)

Seattle's fight for growth: As in several other cities, Seattle's "yes in my backyard" community is organizing to build more housing, but faces obstacles, including those who think they're too incremental. Activists nationwide will convene at an upcoming conference in Boulder. (Citylab, The Stranger)

Swing set drama: A grandparent built a swing set in his Chevy Chase (MD) home, but that violates a property covenant to keep 25 feet near the street clear of things like play structures. The town's board is standing firm. (Post)

How the shelters look: DC's proposed homeless shelters have drawn controversy over the locations and the price tag, but are they good architecture? (City Paper)

And...: For the first time in years, Union Station's great hall is completely clear of scaffolding. (Flickr) ... Woody Allen couldn't stop bike lanes on New York's Upper East Side. (dnainfo) ... Fairfax police cited drivers around Wiehle for failing to yield to pedestrians and other infractions. (RestonNow)

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National Links: The housing market

Not everyone has recovered from the US housing market's collapse, you're most likely to try a new way of getting around when you move to a new place, and traffic studies usually mean faster roads, not necessarily better planning. Check out what's happening around the world in transportation, land use, and other related areas!

Photo by Images Money on Flickr.

Winning the housing game: The US housing market has recovered from the recession, but not everyone is on solid ground. Housing prices have increased dramatically in cities, but not so much in sprawling and rural areas. Maps in this feature show the stark differences. (Washington Post)

Moving moves us: People are most open to considering new modes of transportation right after they move into a new place, according to research out of Cardiff University. (CityLab)

Traffic studies make things worse: Virtually no development goes up without a traffic study, but are traffic studies bad for cities? When the results are plans that focus on moving the most cars quickly, pedestrians and other modes usually get the short end of the stick. (Fast Company Co-Exist)

LA, it is a changin: Los Angeles has long been known as the domain of the car. But before it was, LA had a huge transit system that connected far off parts of a large region. Writer David Ulin believes things are shifting back, and the region will be a nicer place because of it. (New York Times)

No more surging: With autonomous vehicles around the corner, Uber considering ending surge pricing. It won't happen right away, but the company expects that at some point, as its systems get smarter, surge pricing won't be needed. (Minnesota Public Radio)

Walk this way: Science fiction writer Isaac Asimov predicted moving sidewalks would be everywhere in our cities—by 2014, he said, New York would be covered with them. But the realities of wear and tear have slowed the technology down. (Inverse)

Quote of the Week

"We all, of course, have our own notions of what real America looks like. If your image of the real America is a small town, you might be thinking of an America that no longer exists." Economist Jed Kolko on the demographics of America today versus 1950. (Five Thirty Eight)


Breakfast links: Pulling out the stops

Photo by Elvert Barnes on Flickr.
A massive maintenance plan: Metro General Manager Wiedefeld will announce the details of his comprehensive rehabilitation program today. The plan, which could take up to a year, will call for 24/7 single tracking or station closures at 2-3 stations at a time. (WAMU)

Shaw says yes to housing: ANC 6E voted to support a proposal to redevelop Parcel 42, the hotly-contested vacant lot by the Shaw Library. The proposal would include 30% affordable housing units, family-sized units, and a public park. (UrbanTurf)

A new branch for the MBT: The Met Branch Trail will add 1.1 miles into Silver Spring, with a wide bridge over Georgia Ave. Construction begins this summer. (WABA)

Art pops up in DC: In DC, temporary art installations will pop up in all eight wards as part of an Office of Planning initiative to encourage community-building and placemaking. The first debuts this weekend at U Street's Funk Parade. (DCist)

NPS paves the way: The National Parks Service is exploring ways to improve regional trails through targeted paving and infrastructure improvements. The study includes plans for the Capital Crescent Trail and C&O Canal. (WashCycle)

New housing for Chinatown: Mount Vernon Triangle and Chinatown will gain almost 2000 apartment and condo units. Most of the planned developments are mixed used buildings that incorporate hotels, retail, and in one case, a church. (UrbanTurf)

Hot in here: Air conditioning at Dupont and Farragut North stations still isn't working, but should be by July 1, after Metro crews excavate a portion of Connecticut Ave to repair a leaking cooling line. (City Paper)

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Breakfast links: Track and trail work

Photo by brownpau on Flickr.
Primetime for the track work plan: Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld will share his big plan for overhauling track maintenance with the WMATA Board this Friday. Exact details are still unknown, but he has said that the 33 hours per week currently devoted to track work is not enough. (WAMU)

From A to Z-turn: A developer and the NoMa BID will partner to transform empty land into NoMa's largest park and 300-400 apartment units with ground floor retail. The BID will use some of the park space to straighten the Metropolitan Branch Trail's dangerous Z-turn. (WBJ)

A tale of two states: Both Virginia and Maryland have passed laws to use a scoring system to decide on funding for transportation projects. But differences in the political climate have driven success in Virginia and controversy in Maryland. (Post)

SelectPass selections: Based on a customer interest survey and actual travel patterns, Metro picked just two fare levels for its SelectPass pilot, to make sure the system's aging fare collection technology could handle the new product. (PlanItMetro)

No neighborhood left behind: The USDOT will select and work with four communities across the US to mend neighborhood isolation caused by existing transportation infrastructure, like highways, through design. (CityLab)

New pedestrian bridge: A new pedestrian bridge opened yesterday in Alexandria. The bridge should provide a safer crossing over I-395 at busy Seminary Road. (VDOT)

Crash map for Fairfax: Fairfax County Police mapped the locations and causes of the county's 1,874 car crashes involving young drivers in 2015. (Fairfax County)

A game of chicken: Is it legal to keep chickens in your backyard in DC? The law is fuzzy, but the DC Department of Health is telling one family that their urban agriculture needs to go. (WAMU)

Where's my dam train?: DC residents, Metro police, and animal control worked together to help a lost baby beaver that had found its way into the fountain at the Van Ness Metro station yesterday. (WTOP)

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Breakfast links: Hijackings and low points

Photo by Chad Kainz on Flickr.
Metrobus hijacking: A man hijacked a Metrobus near Minnesota Avenue NE and proceeded to jump the curb at a gas station, ultimately striking and killing a pedestrian. Neither the suspect or the victim have been identified. (Post)

Metro's bad report: The NTSB released its report on Metro, pointing to a "prolonged short circuit" as the cause of last year's fatal smoke incident. It also cited the agency's entrenched lax safety culture as major contributing factor. (DCist, Post)

Fear of trains: Sunday's CSX derailment rekindled simmering concerns about hazardous material being transported through the city. Many residents along the rail line are expressing worry about potential future incidents. (City Paper)

Dethroning slumlords: Councilmember Anita Bonds introduced a bill making it easier to hold landlords accountable for neglecting properties. Under the new law, outside groups will be able to file an action on behalf of tenants. (City Paper)

Make way for the Purple Line: Only one in seven residents have responded to official requests to remove their fences from the county-owned land along the Purple Line. More than 70 residents received notice in January about clearing the route. (Post)

Defeating displacement: A non-profit is putting $50 million toward an effort to ensure the 11th Street Bridge Park doesn't displace Anacostia residents. That's more than the cost of the bridge park itself. (Post)

No urge to surge: In a move that will delight riders but possibly alienate drivers, Uber is looking to phase out the use of its controversial surge pricing model. The company reportedly sees the model as a "marketing failure." (WAMU)

Testing, testing: The Department of General Services announced plans to retest all water sources at DC Public Schools for elevated levels of lead. Previously, 17 water sources at 12 public schools around the Distric tested positive for lead. (Post)

The new group house: A new space in Crystal City, WeLive, aims to do for living what coworking did for office space: Provide a place to live where facilities like recreation spaces and larger kitchens are shared space. Great idea or terrible? (UrbanTurf)

And...: Check out the Global Subway Spectrum, a tool that explores the colors that organize transit systems across the globe. (CityMetric)... The Chevy Chase Land Co. released renderings that would make an area once touted the "Rodeo Drive of the East Coast" less luxury-focused. (BethesdaMag)... More tourists visited DC in 2015 than ever, and they spent a lot of money here too. (DCist)

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Breakfast links: Short on safety

DC Under Water by Zach Stern on Flickr
The NTSB on Metro safety: The NTSB will release a report today that outlines Metro's ongoing safety failures since NTSB's first review in 1982, and will reveal the likely cause of last January's fatal smoke incident. Problems include failed emergency communications, nonfunctioning ventilation fans, and faulty power cables. (Post)

Slumlord in Congress Heights: Low-income tenants of a building in Congress Heights say they're being intentionally pushed out by the conditions in their building. One man had to use his heart pills to kill rats. (City Paper)

Taxi tricks: The DC Taxicab Commission has shut down six cab companies for driving vehicles that had way more miles on them than their odometers showed. (WAMU)

Full time fire liasion: Metro will now staff a fire department liasion 24/7 at its rail operations center, instead of just on weekdays. The position, created after last year's fatal smoke incident, supports Metro's emergency response and training. (DCist)

Motivate moves production to Detroit: The bike share operator and supplier responsible for Capital Bikeshare and Citi Bike has moved bike manufacturing to Detroit, to produce higher quality bikes more quickly. (FastCo)

Rack up art: A public art initiative is looking for designs for new bike racks in Reston with an aim to build more bike parking and to integrate art into infrastructure. (Reston Now)

Parking meter mythos: In 1996, DC lost over 3,000 parking meters to vandalism. A gang was smashing the parking meter heads to retrieve quarters. Arrests and more robust, multi-space meters have curbed the problem. (Post)

Not in my restaurant: Local chef José Andrés pulled out of a restaurant at the Old Post Office building last year after Donald Trump, the building's renovator, made several negative remarks about Mexican immigrants. It doesn't look like the subsequent lawsuits will be resolved any time soon. (Post)

Subsidized housing can invigorate poorer areas: Data suggests property values rise and crime rates actually fall when subsidized housing is allowed to be built in poor neighborhoods. (Vox)

Housing recovery by race: In Atlanta, suburban neighborhoods that were mostly white recovered quickly from the recession, with housing prices now climbing above pre-bust highs. In similar black neighborhoods prices are still below 2004 levels. (Post)

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Breakfast links: Derailed

Photo by JRE313 on Flickr.
A bad derailment: A 14-car 14 cars of a CSX train derailed in Northeast DC, disrupting some Red Line service and leaking hazardous chemicals. Although the leak was contained, MARC service on the Brunswick Line remains delayed. (WTOP)

The battle over Westbard: The debate over a proposed mixed-use town center at Westbard in Montgomery County has assumed an angrier tone. The plan calls for over 1,200 new housing units and can better serve the next generation of residents. (Post)

Transit for Tobytown: Historically African-American Tobytown, MD is poorer than many neighboring communities and lacks bus transit. Montgomery officials want to fix this by starting a shuttle bus service, which is less expensive than a regular bus line. (Post)

Office oversupply: Developers are looking beyond downtown and into emerging neighborhoods like the Navy Yard to construct new office buildings. But this has created an oversupply of office space, with older buildings most likely to be vacant. (Post)

Reconsidering DC's 'burbs: Many home buyers in search of a walkable, transit-friendly neighborhood that find themselves priced out of the District are now considering more affordable communities in the inner-suburbs like Mount Rainer and Hyattsville. (Post)

Keeping the space in AdMo: The developer turning Adams Morgan's Sun Trust Bank into a mixed-use development defended the plans in a letter, noting that the plaza design changed to leave more space than initially planned. (Borderstan)

Sidwell friends or enemies?: A tenants' group protested the Sidwell Friends School which purchased a nursing home to accommodate its lower school. The change would displace over 100 seniors. (Washingtonian)

Young and ready to build: Bay Area residents in their 20s and 30s are more likely to support measures to increase the housing supply. That's probably because they are more likely to struggle with finding affordable housing. (SF Business Times)

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