Latest Comments

  • Sean on September 23, 2018 at 2:21pm (No, Reston is not going to be denser than Manhattan)
    Let’s just take this to it’s logical conclusion...”more dense THAN THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE!!!”
  • Another special remembrance is the volunteering of several fine men. Bob McKeon and Bill Breedlove would pick up milk from the farm and deliver it to local schools and churches! The laborers were few (@ LCAC) but the harvest is plentiful! Matthew 9:37 can I get a witness??
  • I made regular deliveries of lumber and plywood beginning in 1976 to the woodshop at the prison's maximum security! At one time was "held-up" there for hours until staff counted every inmate! With no phone or way to reach dispatch! Trust me, I got payed more than the inmates. It was a nice place to visit but glad I didn't live there! Lol!
  • Great article. I live in Lorton and remember when the facility was still operating. The area has changed so much. 
  • JB from Utah on September 23, 2018 at 12:22am (8W? 30N? U7? How Metrobus numbers came to be)
    According to the 1958 DC Transit map, the bus routes that replaced the 10/12 east of Downtown started with X. I'll look to see if there were other X lines per Sharon's comment.
  • Frank IBC on September 22, 2018 at 8:42pm (8W? 30N? U7? How Metrobus numbers came to be)
    Good question. I don't know what the route designation was between 1949 and 1973. I hadn't thought about X = 10 - good catch!
  • David Alpert on September 22, 2018 at 4:40pm (8W? 30N? U7? How Metrobus numbers came to be)
    Were the buses post 1949 the 10/12 or the X? I wonder when it got changed to X. One time I was told that they used X because X=10 in Roman numerals. But you and DW are the historical experts, not me.
  • Frank IBC on September 22, 2018 at 3:32pm (8W? 30N? U7? How Metrobus numbers came to be)
    Through all these decades I had never noticed the pattern that Metrobus routes ending in "1" served "Potomac Park". Thanks! :)
  • Frank IBC on September 22, 2018 at 2:05pm (8W? 30N? U7? How Metrobus numbers came to be)

    The primary reason given for the closure of the 10/12 lines was the poor terminal facilities on either end. The terminal at 15th Street and New York Avenue NW was in a congested area, and both that terminal and those in Kenilworth and Seat Pleasant were stub tracks rather than track loops, requiring the use of old double-ended cars. PCC cars were single-ended and required track loops to turn around.

    Unfortunately the demographics of the Far Northeast neighborhoods the lines served also probably had a role in the closure.

  • With the amount of empty land (67 acres in Reservation 13 alone), and surface parking lots (including a large one on H Street, NE) available for building additional apartment houses, it makes little sense to tear down  dwellings that already exist.  
  • “People who live on residential streets with homes don't want apartment buildings.”

    That’s a mighty assumption. Apartment buildings bring density to neighborhoods that allow for grocery stores and other retail within walking distance. People like those, right?

  • cpterp on September 22, 2018 at 10:55am (No, Reston is not going to be denser than Manhattan)
    "The idea of thousands of people per square mile can certainly sound intimidating, especially if the only context is the largest city in the country" Friendship Heights Village, MD has a population density of roughly 78,000/sq.mi.--the highest of any CDP or incorporated place in the nation--because every single building (besides a handful of retail structures) is a high-rise. Despite being entirely urbanized, Friendship Heights is far from intimidating, and the negative issues stereotypically associated with urban areas are totally absent. There are plenty of trees and large open spaces, violent crime is almost non-existent, and per-capita income $71,000 (Reston is $61,000). Ironically, as with the other "Chevy Chases," NIMBYism in Friendship Heights is just as prevalent as it is in Reston. Case-in-point: A developer recently proposed a new high-rise on the last remaining development sites, and a vocal cadre of neighbors strongly opposed it, even though it would have been shorter than their 17-21 story buildings.
  • Canaan on September 22, 2018 at 9:22am (No, Reston is not going to be denser than Manhattan)

    The TSAs might be more dense than other boroughs as a whole but that's the same problem as Manhattan. It's a whole borough (which is the same as a county) being compared to a couple neighborhoods. 

    You could include all of Reston rather than just the TSAs but then the comparison really falls flat as the low density parts of Reston (which aren't set to change much) really drags down the numbers. 

    I'm willing to listen to an argument that Reston is slated to be too dense but I find the comparisons to any part of NYC insufficient to misleading. It's just way too blunt a comparison. 

  • SharonElaine on September 21, 2018 at 10:38pm (8W? 30N? U7? How Metrobus numbers came to be)
    Thanks Frank IBC for the correction on the designation of the cross town Maryland/Ivy City Line.  It was the "T" line, that went the full distance between Ivy City and Bethesda/Rockville.  The "E" line is the current designation with intermediate termini at the Ft. Totten and Friendship Heights Metrorail stations. 
  • How could a non-profit historic preservation charity better use the money they've raised by tearing down historic houses and doing the opposite of their mission?
  • [This comment has been deleted for violating the comment policy.]

  • There is a big difference between evidence and proof.  Evidence is any fact that makes a theory even slightly more probable.  Proof means the facts make the theory established at a high level of confidence:  100% in math. 95% in statistics, >50% in tort law, beyond a reasonable doubt in criminal law  and enough to make me lose the next election in a Senate Committee.

  • Frank IBC on September 21, 2018 at 8:23pm (8W? 30N? U7? How Metrobus numbers came to be)
    Prior to the major changes to Metrobus routes in the spring of 1978, the T4 and T6 used to run all the way from Ivy City to Azalea and Aster Streets in Rockville. After that, the routes were split at Friendship Heights, with service between Friendship Heights and Ivy City on the E buses.
  • Sharon Elaine on September 21, 2018 at 7:14pm (8W? 30N? U7? How Metrobus numbers came to be)

    I grew up in the 1950s riding the D2/D4 cross-town (east-west) line between Trinidad/Ivy City on the east and Glover Park/MacArthur Blvd on the west via downtown DC. Variations of these lines remain, with one now terminating at Sibley Hospital.  Many of the east-west lines were designed to transport domestic workers between home (east DC) and work (west DC) with minimal transfers.  There was also the E line between Ivy City (east) and Bethesda (e.g., Alta Vista, Naval Medical); these routes ran along Kennedy ST and Military RD through Friendship Heights.

    The "X" lines ran to downtown, contrary to the author's statement, usually terminating at Lafayette Square on the west, and traveling along H ST/Benning RD in the east.  Connecticut Avenue was served by the "L" bus line between downtown and Chevy Chase/Wheaton.  

    Major downtown termini, served by several lines, were Federal Triangle (Pennsylvania AV at 12th and 13th STS NW) and the Bureau of Engraving (14th ST at D STS SW); the Navy Yard was also a major terminus.  In a combined letter and number route using the number "1", the downtown terminus was generally Potomac Park, e.g., L1, S1, X1, etc.; the State Department was served by those routes.

    DC Transit routes for express buses serving Maryland suburbs often did not correspond to the city line designation, e.g., Q9 and Q6 were along 16th ST which is still the "S" line.

    Most DC students were dependent on transit service to get to school not within walking distance, primarily in junior and senior high school, as there was no school bus system, except for special needs students.  If you lived beyond the trunk line, you knew the bus schedule very well because of lengthy times (20 - 30 minutes) between route runs.  Growing up in DC, you knew the primary travelways of bus lines, and they made sense -- at least until there was Metrorail!

  • MDTSS on September 21, 2018 at 5:37pm (Breakfast links: Happy PARK(ing) Day!)

    There are a number of sites where the land being built on is sufficiently contaminated that residents suffer some pretty extreme health consequences.

    Basically being a brownfield means that a site doesn't reach the high bar of qualifying for a superfund site. Some sites miss that bar by a lot. Some by not much.

    So at the end of the day, it's very, very different from the effects of "exhaustively-discussed negative impacts of suburban sprawl and car-centric development"

  • Vramin on September 21, 2018 at 5:30pm (No, Reston is not going to be denser than Manhattan)
    That's an absurd way to characterize the way Reston was planned. The high-character areas that exist in Reston (like Lake Anne) were made by putting onerous restrictions and requirements on developers. Developers have free reign in Herndon and Sterling right now and they're not producing a lot of character.

    You are conflating three issues. 

    1. Developers will not have "free reign" under the new plan. They will be allowed to build taller and denser developments in some areas than others, but that's hardly a Houston-style free-for-all.  

    2. You bet your caboose that Bob Simon had a passel of lawyers and lobbyists, and he definitely made a profit on Reston. However, my tone was sarcastic. Unlike some commentators here, I don't think it's actually evil for developers to make a profit. We need people to build our cities, and the private sector does a good job with that. The fact is, outside of housing projects and military bases, everyone in this country is probably living in a building that was built by a developer. That's neither good nor bad.

    3. You're confusing "community character" and "architectural character". @John Heithaus seemed to be bemoaning the fact that Reston would change it's "character" because there would be some dense pockets. You're talking about whether you think the buildings in Herndon and Sterling have "character". The problem with that is a) no one ever thinks that new construction has character (cityobservatory.org/the-immaculate-co...). b) the lack of "character" is going to be a problem whether they're putting up dense apartment blocks or sprawly McMansions, it's got nothing to do with the zoning issue. Unless, again, you want to completely freeze construction so no one can move in to Reston. In which case, we go back to my original point: You can't stay still. Either accommodate growth, or become an expensive museum.

  • This report is bogus. Fare evaders are largely low-income or homeless people.

    In this city, the cross-section of that population is people of color.

    So, are you surprised that the data came out the way it did?

    Fare evasion is always going to happen, for one reason or another. Is policing it a good use of resources?

    I'd rather see transit police patrolling Metro cars and stations, and subsidized fare rates for the low-income. The trains and buses are going to run anyway, so why take more from people of lesser means.

  • I think one other piece of the Lorton and Occoquan Railroad remains. A couple stretches of the ROW were used to build the Cross County Trail and I think the bridge over Giles Run was built on the old RR abutments. 

  • MLD on September 21, 2018 at 4:44pm (No, Reston is not going to be denser than Manhattan)
    The new Reston TSAs will be as dense as the dense parts of DC. Like the area around Dupont Circle Metro. Seems appropriate for the area around a Metro station.
  • Reston Resident on September 21, 2018 at 4:18pm (No, Reston is not going to be denser than Manhattan)

    Please note that Maynard has issued a correction to his op-ed included in the comments section of the article linked above.  It accepts the density data that Merchant uses here. 

    Maynard's key points:  "In short, Reston’s TSAs could be as densely populated as Manhattan overall is now, not a multiple of Manhattan’s density. Still, whether at 55K pers/SM or 75K pers/SM as I calculated, Reston’s TSAs will be substantially more dense than all the other boroughs in NYC. . . I attribute my error to sloppy research—taking the first report I found (which was Wikipedia, now updated). I apologize if my error misled you. I will try to do better in the future."

    Still, Merchant is happy to leave it at that. 

    He says, "Fairfax County planners didn't come up with their estimates because they're fans of tall buildings or have some vision of cramming people into apartment blocks."  No, they did so because they were told to by a tax-starved Board of Supervisors.  Moreover, they did the latest TSA density changes in the middle of the night, increasing DUs from 29K to 44K without public knowledge, much less involvement.

    He adds, "Plus, these are the maximum figures that assume every parcel is built out to be as dense as allowed."  No, they're not.  They don't include a variety of housing--bonus, affordable, etc.--nor do they include the variety of waivers developers ask for and get almost without exception.  Number could easily be 20% higher.

    And I agree with this to a point:  "Density close to transit, careful planning, and comprimise (sic) are all elements of a healthy community, and that's exactly what's happening in Reston."  The issue is HOW MUCH density.  Too much and too little are both bad, and right now the county is aiming at way too much density for the planned community of Reston.

  • Canaan on September 21, 2018 at 3:42pm (No, Reston is not going to be denser than Manhattan)

    Right, my problem was that the op-ed compared only the TSA area to all of Manhattan. Either compare a borough to all of Reston or a particular census tract to the ones found in the TSA. 

    The issue there being once you do that, the numbers in question aren't really close to each other anymore. Moreover, there are plenty of places closer to home that you can compare to as well. Clarendon, for example. 

  • MLD on September 21, 2018 at 3:31pm (No, Reston is not going to be denser than Manhattan)

    What's funny is saying something like "more dense than ALL of NYC!" makes it sound more impressive to the ear but what you've actually done is reduce the value you're comparing against.

    Oh wow this Reston plan is gonna make the areas near the metro stations MORE DENSE THAN THE WHOLE OF THE UNITED STATES.

  • michelle r on September 21, 2018 at 3:10pm (Breakfast links: Happy PARK(ing) Day!)

    I don't know. I think we're probably going to have to pick a poison though. People have to live somewhere, and if we are saying that people shouldn't be able to live in cities because of restrictive zoning and they shouldn't be able to live far away from cities because of sprawl, where is the surplus population supposed to go?

    I'm not 100% convinced that there's actually such a thing as 'undiscussed pollution from a suburban greenfield lifestyle' anyway. What does that even mean?  How is it different from the very exhaustively-discussed negative impacts of suburban sprawl and car-centric development?

  • CrossingBrooklynFerry on September 21, 2018 at 2:24pm (No, Reston is not going to be denser than Manhattan)

    will be 2 to 3 times as dense as all NYC

    You highlight ALL as if that made it more dramatic.  But all NYC includes parts of Staten Island like this www.google.com/maps/@40.5984759,-74.1...

    and parts of Queens like this www.google.com/maps/@40.7203089,-73.7...

  • CrossingBrooklynFerry on September 21, 2018 at 2:21pm (No, Reston is not going to be denser than Manhattan)

    I am pretty sure that all the new development in Herndon is subject to FFX county zoning, and is not free reign.   It won't have the character of Reston in large part because of the distrance between Herndon's historic town center and the new TOD - with post war sprawl in between.   As for Sterling, that is in Loudoun and subject to different zoning.

    The TOD will be denser than Lake Anne and that is appropriate, as Lake Anne is immediately next to rail transit. 

  • Alan on September 21, 2018 at 2:11pm (No, Reston is not going to be denser than Manhattan)

    > the current town was built by greedy developers. The "character" you're so fond of was produced by greedy developers and their armies of lawyers and lobbyists.

    That's an absurd way to characterize the way Reston was planned.  The high-character areas that exist in Reston (like Lake Anne) were made by putting onerous restrictions and requirements on developers.  Developers have free reign in Herndon and Sterling right now and they're not producing a lot of character.

  • I live right above the Gallery Place/Chinatown Metro station.  For starters, this is not a traditional neighborhood...it is mostly office buildings and hotels.  We have a few high rise apartment buildings and condos.  The population is mostly white followed by Asian with a small percentage of citizens of color. 

    Second, during the past four years living here, I have witnessed  frequent incidents of gate jumping.  Almost all the fare evaders are young men of color.  I believe they are riding the Green Line up from Anacostia--that explains why the Anacostia station has the second highest incidence of fare evasion. Third, Metro recently has placed large signs at fare gates warning that fare evasion is illegal--I believe these signs have been helpful in deterring fare evasion, except for young boys that see jumping gates as a cheap thrill. 

    Fourth, decriminalizing this act of theft will likely lead to even higher levels of fare evasion.  Does anyone seriously believe these young men will voluntarily pay fines or show up in court?   I doubt it.  I salute Metro Police for the restraint they show in arresting these criminals.  Keep the law as it is. 

  • drumz on September 21, 2018 at 2:09pm (Breakfast links: Happy PARK(ing) Day!)

    Yeah on the MoveDC plans that I recall you basically get some major bike/bus/pedestrian improvement on every major street and it just seems pretty obvious that the space comes from doing away with the rush hour parking lane. 

    Why not make it explicit? The hard political work of convincing others that parking isn't always the best use of a roadway has already been done because we don't allow the parking in the morning/afternoons. 

  • Paul H on September 21, 2018 at 1:36pm (Breakfast links: Happy PARK(ing) Day!)
    Regarding legacy brownfield pollution, what's worse, that or current toxics from air pollution, plastics, etc. You know, the kind of undiscussed pollution from a suburban "greenfield" lifestyle. The kind of lifestyle pollution that's leading to America's overweight kids and little girls reaching puberty at 8 or 9 years old. Honestly, anyone know?
  • David C on September 21, 2018 at 1:35pm (Breakfast links: Happy PARK(ing) Day!)
    The frustrating thing is that we've basically committed to this. VisionZero, SustainableDC, MoveDC... All the goals in these plans can only be achieved if we repurpose space currently for cars to something else. 
  • So you're right - more families could be housed if they could tear down the buildings. But they can't, it's a historic district. I also think there's something to be said for helping families move into actual homes, especially homes that fit the neighborhood. The sense of belonging and the creation of communities of homeowners is important! People who live on residential streets with homes don't want apartment buildings. 
  • Frank IBC on September 21, 2018 at 1:18pm (8W? 30N? U7? How Metrobus numbers came to be)

    I remember before the western Red line opened in the 1980s, the L bus routes went all the way from 1 through 9, even with several permutations of the same number. Most started in the parking lot in Federal Triangle at the south end of 13th Street (where the Reagan building is now) although the L1 and possibly one other started in "Potomac Park".

    The L4 could either go to Chevy Chase Circle or to Wheaton (corner of University Boulevard and Elkin Street) - you had to read the destination sign to be sure. The L6 went to Garrett Park. The L8 was labeled "Glenmont" for years even though it went to the current terminus in Aspen Hill. There were several limited-stop/express options within the District. Some buses had a diagonal slash through the number indicating a truncated route.

    During the changes following the opening of the Silver Spring station in 1978, the L6 was eliminated and the part of the route west of Kensington became part of the Ride-On 5. Following the opening of the western Red Line in Montgomery County in 1984, the L4, with service along Kensington Parkway to Wheaton, was dropped, and the route between Kensington and Wheaton shifted to Ride-On, and the inbound terminus of the L8 cut back and shifted to Friendship Heights.

    The downtown terminus shifted from Federal Triangle, to McPherson Square, to Farragut Square. More recently, the L4 within the District was eliminated and the L2 route shifted northward to Columbia Road, leaving just the L1, originating in Potomac Park, running on Connecticut Avenue between Columbia Road and Calvert Street.

    The L2 was recently extended to Bethesda during the overnight hours.

  • Jeffb on September 21, 2018 at 1:12pm (Breakfast links: Happy PARK(ing) Day!)
    Someday, I hope, the philosophy of DOTs will change to moving people not self-contained mobile living rooms. 
  • Great! This helps out the neighborhood in two ways - removing blight while keeping character, and helping families move in! Especially that four-bedroom house, they can be hard to find. Looking at the street view, these new renovations will fit right in. Anacostia gets such a bad rap, but we love our homes and take pride in our yards. Blight hurts us. 
  • "understanding of statistical probability would indicate that it is highly improbable that this arrest rate actually correlated with the actual commission of fare evasion throughout an entire regional transit system."

    Sorry that's not how probability works. That would only work if you believed (and had data!) that all people are likely to commit all types of crime regardless of gender, race, age or socioeconomic status. However, we know that's not true.

    Using your version of statistical probability, you'd never believe that the majority of murders/rapes (nearly 90%) are committed by men. But in reality, it's true. No one is writing that there are "stark gender disparities" in how many men are arrested for murder.  

  • This is not to demean the work going into preserving these properties but it seems like it would be a better use of money and resources to tear down the properties and build more housing, such as a taller multi-family building. But I guess such is life in the Anacostia historic district... 
  • Thanks for the thorough and fascinating history. 

    In the 1980's I worked at a law firm that had sued the District on behalf of medium- and maximum-security prisoners at Lorton. The District was under consent decrees ordering major reforms, and one of my regular tasks as a paralegal was reviewing the compliance reports that the District had to file every month. I think there were people at the DC corrections department who honestly tried to improve conditions at Lorton but things were so badly out of control that it was a losing battle. 

    I visited Lorton Medium once and it looked unlike any prison I'd seen in the movies, particularly the open dormitories instead of separate cells. Those open dormitories were one of the major sources of problems at the prison, because they were so hard to secure. 

  • Reston's station areas (the op-ed never covered all of Reston) at a planned 55,000 to 75,000 per sq. mile will be 2 to 3 times as dense as all NYC and more dense than all of the boroughs except Manhattan by quite a bit. 

    A bit misleading to compare a very small portion of one area (Reston's station areas) to an average density of an entire city or a borough, no? 

    Try to find a Manhattan census tract that is less dense than 55,000 people per square mile. There are quite a few of them, but you'll note they're full of office buildings. Even the low-rise Greenwich Village tracts are still ~60,000 people per square mile: https://density.website/#36061006700

    In fact, plopping down a census tract of 55,000 people per sq mile in Manhattan would make it one of the least dense residential neighborhoods on the island. 

    When you make an apples to apples comparison (census tract to census tract), the level of density proposed for Reston is quite reasonable. 

  • Chester B. on September 21, 2018 at 12:45pm (Events: Be carefree by being car-free)
    I would like to use other methods of transportation instead of using my car but it is almost impossible where I live. My city doesn't have an efficient public transport system and the road is very dangerous for cyclists (people drive recklessly). 

    That's terrible!  Where do you live, if you don't mind me asking?

  • Lewis on September 21, 2018 at 12:35pm (Events: Be carefree by being car-free)
    I would like to use other methods of transportation instead of using my car but it is almost impossible where I live. My city doesn't have an efficient public transport system and the road is very dangerous for cyclists (people drive recklessly). 
  • Abe on September 21, 2018 at 12:32pm (No, Reston is not going to be denser than Manhattan)
    It seems to me that comparing the densest part of one town to the entirety of another is a really disingenuous way to compare things.  There are many, many detached single homes with yards in Reston.  There are apparently a handful of them in Manhattan. 
  • despite the fact that black people make up about half of the population of DC and there is no evidence that black people evade fares more than white people.

    Seems like sitting at a metro entrance and counting could provide such evidence.  

  • flimflam on September 21, 2018 at 12:11pm (No, Reston is not going to be denser than Manhattan)

    Grrr, hopefully this link works. If not, it's accessed from the PRC Zoning Amendment page under "fact sheets" for "development activity".

    Facts are important rather than fear-mongering. 

    www.fairfaxcounty.gov/planning-zoning...

  • On one hand, the entire site does have some fascinating history (more when the suffragette memorial is built) and is a good example of adaptive reuse for both the housing and the art spaces. 

    On the other, I can think of no better example of how messed up our housing plans are when we look at an actual prison and think "this is a good candidate for more housing". 

  • I'm doing nothing of the sort. I don't appreciate being misrepresented. We are all simply saying that the assumption by the author that fare violations are equally distributed among ethnicities isn't proven so she shouldn't have drawn conclusions based on that lack of evidence. Our observations of Metro behavior are only used to illustrate that the conclusion of this author is not a foregone conclusion, not to make a definitive claim of proof as to what percentage of any ethnicity are actually fare violators.

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