Latest Comments

  • Yes. The whole thing is a bubble. There is no real infrastructure to incorporate that type of currency into the global economy. Especially when physical money has been digitized already. Cryptocurrency takes more processing power rather than just sending account values of real money. In other words, it's easier to encrypt an amount than to transact cryptocurrency. 

    This whole idea was started by someone who was fed up with the status quo. Made himself a billionaire in the process. Cryptocurrency will be around, but it will only exist in the dark shadows of terrorists and hackers because it is untraceable. Therefore it will still hold some value. But if you can't use it in the mainstream economy, what's the point? It's like playing a game where you have to enter your credit card number to buy special coins to purchase weapons, etc. 

  • make it illegal to camp out overnight on public property citywide 

    That goes against the thinking here at GGW

  • Another Nick on January 19, 2018 at 9:43am (Washington gets a hat trick on Amazon's HQ2 short list)

    convince up to 50,000 educated people to relocate to Michigan

    Ann Arbor is one of the most educated places around.

  • Re: A new art installation in NoMa displaces homeless people

    It's sad that these people have no place to live, but why should the homeowners of NoMa have to shoulder the entire burden of hosting tent cities in their neighborhood?  The art installation fencing compelled the homeless to move from under M and L Sts. to a new location under K St. (which is hardly a huge displacement).  And some of the tents are big enough to take up the entire sidewalk on K St., rendering it useless to people trying to use the public right of way in a wheelchair... are disabled people to be displaced from the sidewalks they helped pay for in taxes, all because the homeless need a place to pitch their tents? 

    DC should do the right thing: build enough facilities for the homeless across the entire city (so that it isn't just one neighborhood who has to bear the cost of hosting their tent cities), and then make it illegal to camp out overnight on public property citywide whenever there is space available in city-owned shelters.  If they do the former, there should be no arguments over the latter.

  • AHA conspiracy theories. A story about bitcoin. Is this turning into a libertarian blog? All you need is a post about net-neutrality and you are there.
  • Bitcoin is too volatile for even the most routine transactions, which is why many retail operations are backing off of accepting it. Also, transactions can take hours or days to confirm. This seems especially ill suited to real estate transactions that normally require precision financial agreement and confirmed transfers at time of closing. Also, there's that whole bubble risk, so that maybe your bitcoins will tank and become worthless before you can cash them out. If the value changes dramatically during closing, expect one or both parties to alter the deal or try to back out. Nope, not a good idea in my mind.
  • Sean Robertson on January 19, 2018 at 9:35am (Here's how we can improve bus service east of the Anacostia River)

    Speaking of fare integration in an entirely different context... Does anybody know what the plan is for Purple Line transfers? My fastest commute will be bus -> Purple Line -> metro, but if I’m paying three fares or getting 50 cent discounts, that’s not going to work for me.

    I wouldn’t want to saddle bus riders with significantly higher fares but it does seem like more generous transfers would result in more efficient use of our region’s transit infrastructure. It would also encourage more people to use transit for their entire commute vs parking at metro. Taking the bus to Metro vs parking at the station only saves about $3 roundtrip. That’s not enough of an incentive to keep many middle class suburbanites out of their cars...

  • Brett Young on January 19, 2018 at 9:31am (Breakfast links: Is transit the next realm of the #MeToo movement?)

    "Food deserts alone are not to blame for poor nutrition""They also consume less of two of the four unhealthy food groups, saturated fat and sugar "

    There is NOTHING wrong with saturated fat.  It's a myth.   It keep getting perpetuated by the AHA but there is little evidence supporting this.And, as someone who lost 87 pounds in calendar year 2017, as long as there is any grocery store reasonably near that person, they can eat healthy.   Just avoid simple carbs.  Make your own meals.  Weigh your food.   Only eat 3 meals a day and avoid snacking all day long.  Learn to eat to live.I didn't say it was easy.  I said it was necessary. 

  • all publicity is good publicity.
  • mcs on January 19, 2018 at 9:30am (Washington gets a hat trick on Amazon's HQ2 short list)

    Crystal City/Potomac Yard is by far the best location for HQ2 with regards to a diversified transportation infrastructure.  

    Two Subway Lines, New Metrorail Station, BRT Line (still expanding), Regional Bike Trail, Commuter Rail (VRE and maybe MARC), Interstate Access (I-395 and I-395 Express Lanes), Commuter Bus Terminal (Pentagon),  Airport (With potential walkable link), Amtrak (Potential new stop with access to DCA).

    The Long Bridge w/ ped/bike crossing is the missing link that will be built in the coming years regardless of Amazon.   VRE could double its peak service between Union Station and Springfield if needed.  

    New Rosslyn Station could enable 26 Metrorail Trains per hour between King St and the Pentagon.  

    This is the only site with regional (DC, Maryland and Virginia) collaboration potential  

  • Yes. Calling these routes a good idea in theory is wrong. 

    I'd like to know what theory is behind this? There's literally no theory I know about what makes for good transit ridership that also describes these routes. The destinations aren't dense, walkable, or centrally located. There's no major constraint or market for the service. 

    Instead, we ought to frame this differently: these routes were set up to fail - why did they get the political support for something we know won't work efficiently? 

  • Do I have to link the European transit agency mocking the MTA (both hard and soft costs) per the NYT also?

    It's telling that mockery seems to be more important than actually understanding the issues and working to fix them. 

  • RFPs are just a way for the requester to emulate fairness while sales and business development teams who respond can tell their management that they did everything they could to win the deal. AMZN already made its decision long ago - the whole thing is a farce. Ask anyone who works on preparing proposals - I'll bet their loss rates are over 80% - so why does anyone perpetuate this unproductive process? It has the appearance of due diligence on both sides.
  • More info about the express routes can be found in this piece - specifically how much they cost MTA to run: $15 per passenger trip for the 102, $31 (!) for the 107.
  • Chester B. on January 19, 2018 at 9:04am (Washington gets a hat trick on Amazon's HQ2 short list)

    How did you make that so large?

  • oboe on January 19, 2018 at 8:59am (Washington gets a hat trick on Amazon's HQ2 short list)

    Some good points here: Capitalism is a desperately under siege in this country as evidenced by the S&P 500, and punitive tax rates on the top 1%, and there's a total unanimity of opinion at GGW, particularly in the comments section.


  • oboe on January 19, 2018 at 8:56am (Washington gets a hat trick on Amazon's HQ2 short list)

    Since no one else has drawn this parallel yet, I thought I'd throw this out there:

    With Nevada kicking in $750 million to build the Raiders a new stadium, NFL teams have now received nearly $7 billion in tax money to build stadiums over the last two decades.

    Obviously it'd be nice if Amazon didn't require incentives, but given the other things that municipalities have thrown money at, this is far from the dumbest use of cash.

  • Yes, but people don't *like* congestion charges!
  • Chester B. on January 19, 2018 at 8:44am (Washington gets a hat trick on Amazon's HQ2 short list)
    I thought Apple just announced plans for a second headquarters?
  • FoggyBottom on January 19, 2018 at 8:43am (Washington gets a hat trick on Amazon's HQ2 short list)

    The assumption that companies make relocation decisions solely on incentive packages is laughable, even more so considering the size and scope of this second campus.  There is a reason why Detroit didn't make the cut, no amount of money to Amazon would help convince up to 50,000 educated people to relocate to Michigan.  Why are there doctor shortages all over the midwest despite paying much more than the east and west coast?  Because where you live matters. 

    Amazon isn't going to build a brand new campus--recruit, hire and relocate--thousands of people and then leave in five years for another city that offers a slightly better package.  That time and effort simply makes no sense.  There is incredible value to be placed where employees want to live.  That isn't to say that Amazon may not leave in 20 years, but by then employees have roots in that particular city and the payoff has been successful many times over. 

  • FoggyBottom on January 19, 2018 at 8:30am (Washington gets a hat trick on Amazon's HQ2 short list)
    I will say that to make matters worse, we have gotten so much better at saving people from gunshot wounds.  So the fact that Baltimore saves so many more people than in decades past due to better medical technology, faster ambulance routing, and gun shock tracker, means the crime problem really is at worrying levels
  • DMW on January 19, 2018 at 7:58am (Washington gets a hat trick on Amazon's HQ2 short list)
    It is surprising that Baltimore's murder rate falls between Detroit and El Salvador but is closer to El Salvador. Maybe this should be considered more of a state than a local issue.
  • DMW on January 19, 2018 at 7:51am (Washington gets a hat trick on Amazon's HQ2 short list)

    It's a reflexive political knee-jerk rooted in a world view that is generally hostile to crony capitalism

    Fixed that for you.

  • Jesper:  I gather then you don't actually disagree with the proposal, you just don't like the Congresswoman proposing it.  

    It looks pretty tame to me because it leaves the union's negotiating leverage in place while scaling benefits back.  any other union would love to be able to get binding arbitration every time there was a disagreement over the wage rate, without even having to strike.

  • DavidC on January 19, 2018 at 6:54am (What's the matter with Pennsylvania Avenue?)

    I think you hit on why neither side of PA Ave doesn't always have to be dead.  What if we made one side into "parking day" every day? 

    1. Take out a lane of traffic and create a bunch of food truck/vendor/public spaces. 

    2. Move the trucks out of the road on south 15th to allow the bike lane to be extended south. 

    3. Each block on PA would have some place for food trucks and vendors in the middle and then blocked off seating on the ends (so that eaters have views), sort of like what one finds on Broadway in NYC. 

    4. You could also allow buskers there - and perhaps other arts and music later at night, as well as alcohol sales. 

    5. Allow some space that can be reserved by advocacy groups to interact with visitors and residents.  
  • i think it's basically impossible to "fix" bottlenecks across a road system as a whole.

    It can be done with a congestion charge. 

    Mr Livingstone said: "What was amazing was nothing went wrong. "We'd expected we'd have quite a few bits of congestion on the periphery, but we couldn't find a single point where the traffic didn't flow.
    "The only real problem we had were the buses were all running so ahead of schedule they had to wait at the bus stop for a couple minutes."
  • DMW on January 19, 2018 at 4:44am (Washington gets a hat trick on Amazon's HQ2 short list)
    Because all politicians are smart. Not even 1 out of a pool of 20 would make a bad long term deal for positive press in the short term. I guarantee you. 
  • Alon Levy the best person in transit planning/ intelligencia at the moment ... Easily
  • Norman Hauptman on January 18, 2018 at 11:51pm (The AP bans the term "ride-sharing" for Uber & Lyft)
    Downside to the proliferation of "rideshare", in NYC is it neutralizes the benefit of The Haas Act (a law to avoid too many taxis in NYC resulting in congestion.
  • City Council mocking DDOT(S) ... surely they shoulda gone to more meetings? Do I have to link the European transit agency mocking the MTA (both hard and soft costs) per the NYT also?
  • " not to start alleviating each individual bottleneck one by one."

    i'd love to see someone actually mathematically try to do this.  whether it's a grid where traffic constantly intersects or an interstate that can't be expanded indefinitely, i think it's basically impossible to "fix" bottlenecks across a road system as a whole.  is there a growing city anywhere in the world that has managed to do it?  i can't think of a single example, but i can think of cities that have tried which have experienced soul-crushing gridlock (moscow, beijing, jakarta, lagos, los angeles, and the list goes on and on)

  • I don't understand this comment at all.  Are you saying you would rather wait for your afternoon bus connection inside the Anacostia or Minnesota Avenue station than at the stop on 13th St or PA Ave downtown?

    Your experience with morning v. evening traffic is very different than my experience on Sourh Capitol Street.  My bus ride in the morning was generally 15-30 minutes faster.

  • There's traffic in the morning, too. And there is no universe in which waiting for a bus on the street in the weather is nicer than waiting underground.
  • Out of curosity what else does Amazon own besides Whole Foods and where are they headquartered.

    The Washington Post is a seperate personal Bezzos purchase not connected to Amazon, so that shouldnt effect a choice by Amazon.

    What is the logic in having two headquarters in the same country ? I could understand different sides of the planet or different countries if there was a merger but that has not been the case. How many other companies have two Headquarters in the same country ?
  • "When Metrorail first extended the Green Line to Anacostia, the plan was to reroute the buses to serve the new station. This led to community protests over the higher fares charged to passengers transferring between the buses and the trains. Today, it is best to reroute buses to connect to Metrorail, a faster service with lower provision costs; however, workers east of the river will keep riding the buses alone if that option is cheaper, and would be disproportionately impacted by any proposal involving a large fare increase."

    This is why they had that special fare for years in certain areas that was much below the normal fare.

    They did reroute and split buses up actually the 90 and 94 use to be one route. The late night A42, A46 and A48 bus routes were the routes before Anacostia was built, and the P6 was longer also and had a different route. The part between Metro Center and Rhode Island Ave was apart of a B6 bus route at first.

    The bus routes East of the River had major changes  in 88 or 89, 93, 96 and the early 2000's and about 2 years ago

    With the mention of the buses East of the River you somehow forgot to mention the 96 & 97 which travel from the DC/Maryland line at Capital Heights to Tenleytown/Union Station along East Capitol Street east of the river.

    They had a V2 bus route about 20 years ago that traveled between Deanwood and the Bureau of Engraving, V4 between Benning Heights & Bureau of Engraving etc.

    There was an X1, X2, X3, X4, X5,X6 and X9. The X1 and X3 are basically the same as today whereas the X2 went to Capital Heights similar to how the X9 does now, the former X9 traveled from Capital Heights along East Capitol Street and then Constitution Ave to Federal Triangle, X4 almost the entirety of Benning Road from Benning Heights to Lafayette Square and the X6 from Capital Heights to Lafayette Sq via East Capitol Street & Benning Road.

    The 97 ran all day as a route called the 40

    The 96 operated between Stadium Armory & 14th and U Streets

    The D6 was the combination of the route 44 and the D6, the 44 went from Mt Pleasant to Stadium Armory except for late night and weekends when it was extended to Capital Heights and the D6 from Sibley Hospital to Ivy City

    The W4 went from Capital Plaza stopping at PG Hospital to Bolling AFB via most of its current routes except for about a 2 mile area in Congress Heights.

    If you plot all the bus routes over the past 20-25 years East of the River you would see that they have actually cut service over the years tremdiously and that some of the old routes have been brought back over the years with new names.

  • Amazing. We don't have to take proposals on their merits, if the proposer has a different motivation than our own? I guess I should have caught on sooner, since that explains a lot of the gridlock on capitol hill. I'm glad we've now embraced that philosophy in the GGW comments section.
  • Frank on January 18, 2018 at 8:46pm (Washington gets a hat trick on Amazon's HQ2 short list)

    And the incentives would be on a sliding scale. I guarantee you zero of the incentive packages cities offered were without benchmarks. It isn’t like DC is going to give Amazon a check for a billion dollars on day one “hoping” things work out. 

    The property tax incentives would take effect the day they move in and would scale as they took more space. The corporate tax incentives would be capitalized on a per head basis. Basically you don’t get the incentives unless you move here and create as many jobs as you say, spend as much as you promise and occupy as much space as indicated. That’s how it works. 

    And Amazon doesn’t spend 5 billion on a location, go through the massive undertaking of transferring and hiring employees etc to then pick up stakes 10 years later. 

    Apple just built a 5 billion dollar campus. They will be in it for at least 20 years unless they go out of business. 

    The ROI time frame on this is about 5 years for the lucky jurisdiction, everything after is gravy. 

  • One correction the V2 does not travel the entirety of Minnesota Ave; Minnesota Ave goes to Eastern Ave. Deanwood Station is located on Minnesota Ave so that statement is false.

    When it comes to the Blue line the one question I would love to know is why was Benning Road and Minnesota Ave built so close together compared to other lines after they split, 3 bus routes stop near both stations. They are in walking distance of each other.

    Lets just say all of the stations East of the Anacostia River are built in the wrong places.

    Benning Road should have been further south and should have been a stop where buses terminate at. Would have opened up more options for bus routes.

    Minnesota Ave should have been located at Minnesota Ave & Benning Road

    Deanwood should have been near Sheireff Road

    Capital Heights should have been built on top of the hill instead of at the bottom of one and had entrances at the top of it in DC and at the bottom of it in Maryland.
  • DMW on January 18, 2018 at 7:50pm (Washington gets a hat trick on Amazon's HQ2 short list)
    And what they’re really offering is 3,000 jobs. But maybe in more than 10 years that will turn into 50,000. So you know, offer incentives as if it were 50,000. 
  • Nothing would revert to maryland in this proposal.
  • No, that is specifically isn't part of the proposal. That would also require the consent of VA, not just simple majorities in both House and Seante.
  • Amazons growth trajectory is also another reason to lock them in now. 

    That's the myth right there, that Amazon will be "locked in."  Assuming that Amazon or any employer is going to stick around for fifty or hundred years...or even ten years is not realistic.  Especially considering that this is a bidding process not based on intangibles like having a strong, historic connection to a city, but based purely on economic benefit.

    As much as I like Amazon's services (and their stock price), I recognize that Amazon is a private entity and can leave at any time.  Some cities have provided massive tax breaks, land, infrastructure, and all sorts of goodies to companies just to have them cut and run when they get acquired or some other place offers better incentives.

    Growing up in the Rust Belt, I've seen it time and time again. And when it happens to Cleveland or Detroit, it is often dismissed as the fault of those evil unions or the unforgiving winters.  But honestly, business relocation can happen...and does anyone.  Just ask anyone who worked at Discovery or MCI.

    Also, consider that Amazon won't always be a growth stock, and that one day its board will start demanding real cashflow and earnings (gasp!), perhaps even a dividend, and will see that having two multi-billion dollar headquarters locations is redundant and ultimately unsustainable.

  • It’s obvious on January 18, 2018 at 6:06pm (Washington gets a hat trick on Amazon's HQ2 short list)


    How anyone could say that basically floating a no interest loan to Amazon for 5 years to then have tens of thousands of new, educated, high earning employees with secure jobs is a bad idea mystifies me. 

    It’s a  reflexive political knee-jerk rooted in a world view that is generally hostile to capitalism and rooted in economic and financial ignorance (when one majors in Comparative Racial Theory or the like, one doesn’t bother with anything beyond the basic Econ requirement).  That every single contributor quoted offered the exact same response speaks to the lack of intellectual diversity on this blog, and it’s all the worse for it (but of course, they don’t think so).

  • Bodymore on January 18, 2018 at 5:49pm (Washington gets a hat trick on Amazon's HQ2 short list)

    [This comment has been deleted for violating the comment policy.]

  • While there is some logic to fare integration, that extra fare is not the only reason to prefer a bus that goes all the way.  In the early morning, a bus into down is a lot faster than having to change to Metrorail.  In the evening when buses are stuck in traffic, it is theoretically possible for rail-bus to be faster than bus-only, but not if you miss your connection.  And even a moderate wait time at a metrorail station is less pleasant than hanging out at the office or even outside your office waiting for a bus.
  • Theres nothing pleasent about driving the Baltimore Beltway

    It's much more pleasant than the Capital Beltway though :-)

  • Yeah - thats exactly it. Theres no reason this should have worked. People generally dont live near the bus stops (other than maybe in Towson), so they have to take long walks, or drive, or transfer local buses just to get from home to the bus stop. Almost all of them it would be shorter to do something else (take more frequent local buses downtown and then back out, or drive to the place.)

  • Theres nothing pleasent about driving the Baltimore Beltway or anywhere in Columbia. I think you are thinking of driving in rural areas.
  • @MLD

    I think my point is accurate. For the most part historic review delays rather than stops development.  It certainly gives a voice to those who value interesting architecture and a city-scape over private development rights.

    And yes, it raises costs of development by adding time and layers of review.

    But historic review provides a way for items that are valued and are shared by the population of the city to be reflected in how the city is altered over time.

    Cleveland Park metro stop could look like Van Ness metro stop if it weren't for the historic designation of the Stop and Shop.  But there is some value to seeing early attempts to design the city for the automobile.

    The Colonel Brooks attempt to use HP as a block failed.  Absolutely determined opposition (with deep pockets to file suit three times) caused the development to fail. It wasn't the loudness of the voice but instead the  financial ability to pay lawyers to sue by neighbors that has blocked that development.  Usually the developer has the upper hand in financing suits (or equally important, threatening to sue is often enough to get sign-off from the zoning administrator.)  HPO review is one way to make sure that plans that are proposed are reviewed independently with a view to what fits with the neighborhood, if the neighborhood happens to be in a historic district. 

    McMillan Reservoir was/is public land.  "***I n 1991 ***, the D.C. Historic Preservation Review Board designated McMillan Park a Historic Landmark and nominated the site for the National Register of Historic Places. It included the site on their "List of Most Endangered Properties in 2000"[1] and again in 2005.[2]"

    The history is convoluted as is the land ownership and development planning and court cases. Development rights were awarded  by DC in 2007, land was declared surplus in 2014 by DC Council and sold to development team.   The HPRB was always going to be involved in redevelopment of this property.  The expectation was that the development would proceed and be a public good.

    Historic preservation is not the reason that redevelopment of McMillan Reservoir is not proceeding.  The latest court case cites the failure of the Zoning Commission to document the effects of the PUD on the neighbors.  Again, it's zoning regulations  and processes that have (temporarily?) delayed the project. 


    It is worth noting that both the "Colonel Brooks" and McMillan Reservoir developments are PUDs, which are cases where judgement (of ZC) affects what additional density can be added over and above what is allowed by right.

    A PUD (or ZC interpretation of a planned unit development which trades off "public good" for zoning rule exceptions and/or extra development rights beyond what zoning would "normally" allow.  All too often the "public good" is pretty small.

    Historic districts / historic preservation office review of developments generally improves the development for the public.  Ugly, cheap looking projects are usually not developed in historic district and taken to the HPRB.  In the cited examples it is not historic preservation that has caused the developments to tank.  It is well-financed, organized opposition suing and winning on zoning issues.

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