Latest Comments

  • I would have just drawn rainbow flags flying from all houses. 
  • Maybe they should badge the riders so they can bill them later?
  • [This comment has been deleted for violating the comment policy.]

  • From the project page, I find the child butterfly to be extremely creepy for some reason.

    They really need to start over on this.
  • An interesting project would be to go back through some famous NIMBY cases and track their predictions to how things actually turned out. Like whether or not nearby home values fell.

    But if you're inside Washington DC and you think town houses are too dense then something is out of whack.
  • @DMW 

    Maybe it's a dog whistle about the "kind" of people who are attracted to urban, high-density living, like people who are less family-oriented and more "flamboyant".

  • Jacob Grossman on April 25, 2017 at 3:16pm (Breakfast links: New apartments in College Park go up in smoke)

    Can we not listen or take seriously again the people who swear up and down that the streetcar is anything other than a massive boondoggle while conveniently ignoring the fact that, more than a year after opening, they still can't manage to collect  fares on it?  The fact that a few thousand people a day take advantage of the only free transit option in the area is hardly a ringing endorsement.  

  • There is no mention of the Library station. 

    Go to the project page (click here), and click on each individual station. You'll see a variety of submissions for each one, including for the library (click here).

  • Great idea! Or an alternative urinary target could be the people who argued strongly that this should've been BRT
  • The further you push the fences, the tougher it is to patrol. That’s simple geometry, and for the life of me, I don’t know why it goes overlooked so often. The secured perimeter will increase as a result of this change. Unless you correspondingly increase the number of Secret Service agents patrolling the larger perimeter, this means each agent has to patrol a larger section of fence line.  This makes security breaches more likely.

    If the goal is to increase security at the White House complex, this plan fails miserably.  The plan makes breaches more likely throughout the complex while only giving the agency another second or two of reaction time on a southern end with a ton of reaction time already.  

    If the goal is to justify a higher budget to bring on more Secret Service agents, this plan is perfect.  The Secret Service can point out that the fence is X% bigger justifying an X% higher budget allocation.  When breaches inevitably become more common thanks to the poor design, that trend line will be used to justify another Y% on top of the X%.  

    Is that intentional?  Probably not.  The Secret Service is likely doing what they think will best protect the President.  Still though, although it's counter-intuitive, the security enhancements seemingly make the security problem worse before even touching all the urban design aspects.

  • Metro isn't involved in the Purple Line at all. It's being built by the State of Maryland and eventually will be run by the Maryland Transit Administration (or a private entity hired on their behalf). I don't know what the policy of MTA is on requiring art in transit. 

    However, FTA requires any federal money received to not be used on art unless the art itself is an integral part of the station, e.g. you can use FTA dollars to pay for  "fancy" tiling patterns but not for a free standing sculpture.

    Given that the Purple Line is stressed for funding right now as it is - with state funding almost cancelled when Hogan took office - I doubt that 1% of the budget would be going towards art. But perhaps someone else who knows he MTA better could weigh in. 

  • The streetcar just hit 1 million rides. But no one will ride it, lol

    Can we not listen or take seriously again the people who swore up and down it would be a huge failure? 

  • Fun! Public Art!
  • so tacky ... as to be insulting

    I love that as a description. I think it also fits the subterranean root system and the rainbow representing the international community. 
  • There is no mention of the Library station.  The library is in Fenton Village, one of the most diverse - racially, ethnically and econimic - in the country.

    On  of the designs was so tacky in my opinion as to be insulting - a neon sign with rolling quotes from famous authors - a couple of local writers.

    Fenton Village is warm, eclectic and colorful - the cold neon and abritrary quotes are the opposite of what our community is all about

    The submissions missed the community completely.  Two designs focus on the library itself as if it exists in a vacuum and the other is an interesting galvanized fence but with no reference to anything,

  • I'm a killjoy with this stuff, but I just prefer a simple, clean, minimalist look to this kind of decor. If artwork is to be used, I suggest that it be refreshed every 5-10 years, because old, faded art makes a station look even more neglected (and sometimes even dilapidated) than it would otherwise, which will run counter to the purpose of commissioning it in the first place.
  • I read your post, but couldn't find any mention of how the art is being funded. Is it part of the overall Purple Line project budget or is there a separate art budget?I know Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) and Portland, Oregon's TriMet have dedicated art budgets for all transit projects. I believe 1% of the overall transit project's budget is dedicated to art. Does Metro have the same dedicated art budget?
  • Normally I am not a big fan of seeing Calvin peeing on things, but can the artwork at one of the stations just have Calvin peeing on the town of Chevy Chase?  
  • we need more family housing

    Then they build 3BR and the screams will be "3BR? but then where will my crafting and office and dogs rooms be? I need at least 5BR and also it needs to be a block from the Metro and have a playground."

  • Ninety-Five on April 25, 2017 at 1:37pm (It takes more than bricks & cherry blossoms to make a nice town)

    The Last photo is an unfair representation of that location. That lot is 10X better than what was there before although still a missed opportunity. That being said you also have your back turned to what is actually a very nice area of Fairfax, the Old Village center that has filled out well, and manages to face retail and buildings primary entrances to the street, and parking the back almost everywhere except this tiny corner. Also this particular location might be an excellent use as a parking lot, as it would be ideal for other community events like farmers markets.

  • "There are too many condos for singles, we need more family housing!"

    "Okay, here are some large townhomes"

    "Arghh, they are too expensive, not low density enough (!) they will reduce representation (?!?!?)"

  • I'd suggest you ask Brianne Nadeau.
  • @DMV: I have no idea. I think someone has been inhaling too many essential oils from their pot pourri basket.
  • I'm admittedly not sophisticated in regard to art, but these are disappointing. I was hoping for something awesome like Penguin Rush Hour. Just pick a different animal to represent each station and paint a mural of a bunch of them riding a train.

  • Has the nutty DC law on low-income buyers reselling been changed to make these low-income units viable for sale? 
  • Ninety-Five on April 25, 2017 at 1:21pm (Old Town Alexandria is getting more bike lanes in May)

    This is a step in the right direction, but Alexandria still has a long way to go. Thankfully, most drivers I encounter while biking everyday from King Street to North Oldtown are actually very nice. I've but run-around so they can ahead, but I've never been honked at or flipped off here, as is the case in some other places.

    I think the simple fact that 99% of corners in Oldtown are Traffic Lights or Stop signs really help a bicyclist out if you follow the Idaho law (which is not technically legal in VA- I believe). I would love to see more protected cycle tracks between the metro stations to at least Royal St. and then preferably a bike boulevard or cycle track between Prince and at Least Pendleton or Wythe on Royal. Realistically there aren't a lot of great N/S Options through Oldtown, The MV trail kind of ends at Pendleton St. and People are not too Keen to Share the section of the MV trail between North Oldtown and Pendleton- I've actually been yelled at for using it on bike share more than once. In addition to that, for some reason people think its illegal to bike on sidewalks everywhere in Oldtown[?] and that's just not the case. The City's own website states that's only true for a 2 block section of Union around King Street.

    That being said the [relatively] flat terrain and slow traffic on side streets thanks to a plethora of stop signs (that I loathe while driving but love while I'm biking)  really do make it easier to bike [IMO] than a lot of neighborhoods in DC or Arlington.

    On Dec. 8, 1988, the County Council voted for a $10 million  emergency appropriation for the acquisition of the Georgetown  Branch right-of-way. I argued that the purchase was justified for  recreational purposes whether or not we ever build a rail line, but a number of my colleagues disagreed. I seriously doubt there was a majority willing to vote to buy the land in the absence of the rail proposal. 

    Six years later, rail supporters and opponents on the council were  deadlocked on the issue of allowing an interim trail on the portion of the right-of-way east of Bethesda. Pro-rail advocates lobbied me ferociously to oppose the interim trail. They argued that once the right-of-way became a trail only, even one labeled interim, it would not be possible to gain approval of the planned rail-trail combination. I felt strongly that we should not deny public use of this resource while waiting for a final decision on the rail. I said at the time that public officials should have the courage and confidence to do the right thing in the mid-1990s by allowing an interim trail and again later when it came time to vote for the rail-trail plan. 

    No good deed goes unpunished

  • "You don't prove your point about class-based subtext by quoting other politicians who have previously made the same baseless claims."

    I think you have to be willfully obtuse not to see the class issues at play here that drive the opposition. But look up all the arguments that started around the country club (Country Clubs being known as a bastion of equality of course).

    All the alternatives were only focused about preventing riders from traveling through Chevy Chase somehow.

    The USA is divided by a lot of things including class and race and its obvious to see where it intersects here with the purple line because we've seen it before with other projects both at home and abroad.

    We live in a society where people know how to code themselves to avoid most controversy (though recently some people  have given up that pretense). Why doesn't it apply here all of a sudden?

  • BTW, is Wikipedia incorrect? It states that the section east of Bethesda was not opened until 1998, as the Georgetown Branch Interim Trail.   With the intention of eventually using the ROW for transit.  

    Does that not make the notion of being "friends" of the trail, as if the trail existed independently of that plan, and was not always an interim use, somewhat dishonest?

    Also does not protection for an interim endanger other proposed interim uses of land?  Is that addressed in the suit?

  •  Again, if you can point to particular things these plaintiffs or their representatives have said that are dog whistles for class-based animus to transit, then let's talk about that. Otherwise, just own the fact that it's just name-calling and derision based on the fact that you oppose their point of view.

    Many of us have heard such race and class based animus to transit in person from people we know or from individuals online.  It is wise of the plaintiffs and their representatives to avoid such animus in their public statements.  The pols Drumz quotes are active in local politics in the area, and I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt that their statements are based on things they have heard in private.  

    JeffB makes a valid point - if its about preserving park spaces from transportation related noise, there are plenty of places in the region, including some close to Chevy Chase, where automobiles have a huge impact on park space, and where in some cases there is potential to lessen it.  One looks eagerly for the same individuals to get involved in the cause of change in those instances.  
  • So on other remaining issues he needed no further information, did not tell defendant what if anything was serious in them, and yet has not rendered a decision on those issues, after 8 months.

    IANAL, but this seems screwed up to me.

    As for the recusal issues, it seems to me that there are grounds that may not rise to the level of requiring recusal, but might well be a basis for legitimate public questioning that does not in fact endanger democracy.   Do you recognize that?  Or do you still consider raising questions of partiality that do not rise to the level of requiring recusal to be something that should trouble us in the same way as mentioning the race, religion, gender or national origin of a judge does? 

  • My favorite line from the flyer is "Free Bear hugs & Air kisses". Is that a reference I don't get, or are they just nutty?
  • “The proposed development at St. Joseph’s will destroy this community, create havoc on the streets, and endanger residents [sic] mental/physical health,”

    Cows will mate with sheep, the rivers will run with blood, cats will skin themselves and make mittens for dogs. This is the sort of hardcore NIMBYism that needs to be shut down hard. Don't let these fools in the door.

  • @CrossingBrroklynFerry:

    If there were any other claims the plaintiffs made that the judge cited as needing time to answer, please provide a cite. 

    On page 2 of his August 2016 decision, the judge notes that he was granting the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment "in part," based on the ridership issues; that he was ordering the preparation of an SEIS; and that he would "reserve judgment as to the remaining issues." Then, in his November 2016 decision, he modified his previous order to allow FTA to determine, in the first instance, whether they thought the ridership issues merited an SEIS and that if they did not think an SEIS was warranted, he directed the parties to file additional briefing on that question. The parties have now done that. So now, the court has to issue a "final, final" decision that addresses whether FTA's decision not to prepare an SEIS was arbitrary or capricious, as well as resolves all the other claims that the plaintiffs' have raised and as to which the court had earlier "reserve[d] judgment."

    @Falls Church: 

    I'm not saying a judge couldn't ever have a conflict of interest based on where he lives, or that a judge's spouse's connections to a case couldn't ever arguably present a conflict of interest. I'm saying (as the WaPo article discusses) that there was no reasonable basis for concluding either of those things about the judge overseeing the PL case, or his spouse. And when people attack judges based on specious claims of conflict (or based on irrelevant claims about race, national origin, gender, etc.), rather than on facts based in reality, that fosters distrust in the judicial system, which hampers our democracy.


    You don't prove your point about class-based subtext by quoting other politicians who have previously made the same baseless claims. Again, if you can point to particular things these plaintiffs or their representatives have said that are dog whistles for class-based animus to transit, then let's talk about that. Otherwise, just own the fact that it's just name-calling and derision based on the fact that you oppose their point of view.
  • This isn't a criticism, but it's interesting the development is right next to Providence Hospital. And the McMillian Sand Filtration development is near MedStar. Are developers specifically targeting doctors' wallets?
  • Accusing a judge of having a conflict of interest based on where he lives, or on some vague association his wife supposedly has with a neighborhood group that isn't even before the court, is the kind of smearing of the judiciary that isn't helpful to our democracy.

    Maybe you could argue that the judge doesn't live close enough to the PL to have a conflict. But, it doesn't seem reasonable to say that where he lives can't be a factor. What if his house was on the PL's path and scheduled for demolition? Would you still say where he lives doesn't create a conflict?

    As for his spouse, once again maybe you could say her association with the case isn't direct enough. But, an immediate family member can definitely be a legit source for a conflict according to the Judicial Code.

    Below is the standard for recusal. It's pretty clear that as a member of the Country Club and through his wife, he has some amount of familiarity with the matter that originates outside of the case. The question is whether it's sufficient to warrant a recusal.

    "The general rule is that, to warrant recusal, a judge's expression of an opinion about the merits of a case, or his familiarity with the facts or the parties, must have originated in a source outside the case itself. This is referred to in the United States as the "extra-judicial source rule" and was recognized as a general presumption, although not an invariable one, in the 1994 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Liteky v. United States."

  • Last month I remember reading this post by Dan Tangherlini where he suggested using a property tax as a dedicated funding source for Metro. Does anyone have any idea how much that might bring in annually? He doesn't really give any estimates. 

    I'm open to a sales tax if that's what it would take to fund Metro, but if it's possible to do so through a property tax, that would seem more equitable.

  • The job of the secret service is to push for enhanced security for the people they protect.  The job of city leaders is to push back and say no.  The issue is not who is pushing for what changes, but how the decisions get made and who makes them.  Someone whose job includes preserving the beauty and accessibility of the federal city needs to be involved in these decisions and provide an adequate counter-balance to the constant pressure for more and more security.
  • pardon, national origin, not nationality, since the judge in that was of course American by nationality.
  • They have asserted a huge number of claims.

    According to the WaPo article on the ruling from August, the reasons Judge Leon gave were metro ridership and metro maintenance.  Those impact the PL only via their impact on PL ridership.  If there were any other claims the plaintiffs made that the judge cited as needing time to answer, please provide a cite. 

  • 1.  The connection of his wife is not trivial, I think comparing it to mentioning a judge's nationality is unfair.

    2. The POTUS cannot just decide to not fund transit projects. What he did was propose a Presidential budget without them. Such budgets are virtually never passed as is.   If the judge is using that as a rationale for delay, I would say that sounds like bad faith to me. 

  • Worst of the worst, Boston's.  Paint on the tar doesn't make for safe interaction between cars (with well defined rules) and cyclists (some who follow car rules, some who follow whatever's expedient).  NO visibility for drivers with cyclists in the blindspot: wingman, which is (clockwise) between 4 and 5 (o'clock) and 7 and 8 (o'clock) positions.

  • This technology for construction is nothing new.  I was on a project that planned on using it in 2009 (and would have if it weren't for that pesky recession and it's friends).  Every person who has started as a Junior staffer for a GC has had to Daily Reports where you collect the manpower on site.  It's used to track vs project schedule to make sure people are meeting their contract.  This is just making it easier.  And given that most sites are restricted anyways it's a relatively good thing I'd say.

    This isn't Gattica, 1984 or some other distopian scifi novel.  It's relieving some poor kid of a miserable task.

  • Stopping fence jumpers at the Executive Residence is not rocket science, but good shoe-leather policing.  A sufficient number of cops should be walking the perimeter beat at all hours, so that no portion of the fence is not under scrutiny by a pair of human eyes.  The Uniformed Division of the Secret Service comprises 1300 officers -- surely, assigning foot patrols would not present an excessive demand on their staff power.  It is shameful that the citizens are not allowed to view the People's House from the adjacent sidewalk.  This is not Moscow, and the White House is not the Kremlin, at least not yet.
  • It's dangerous to just pull numbers out and compare them that way. If they contracted out certain types of routes (e.g. more suburban, faster-running routes) then you would see a per-mile difference between contracted and non-contracted service even if there were no actual savings. Silly for WMATA to make that comparison when they (correctly) price out bus service by platform/service HOUR in their budget. One mile of bus service doesn't cost the same everywhere. One hour of bus service is far more comparable.
  • When I pushed for bike lanes here years ago while chair of the local Transportation Commission, it was with the understanding that a travel lane on both streets would be dropped. However, current T&ES leadership insists traffic counts are too high for that. They are well within FHWA guidelines, but the Old Town Civic Association is notoriously anti-bike (they're responsible for the ticketing of people who bike on Union Street). I gathered that neither T&ES nor local advocates cared to engage them in a fight for a safe design.

    FYI- both Prince & Cameron are one-way. Although I also suggested a two-way conversion, my last conversation with staff indicated that no such conversion would take place. Unless that's changed, the illustrations in this article should probably be corrected.

  • I'm not sure how the barcode article fits in GGW, but it was interesting.
  • This reminds me of Trump's statement "Nobody knew healthcare could be so complicated."
  • I don't like the idea of allowing jurisdictions to choose their own adventure. It goes down a path of regionalism that could lead to a game of chicken and a race to the bottom. Once you open up that Pandora's Box, VA could claim "we shouldn't be subsidizing maintenance of the aging infrastructure in DC/MD when our infrastructure is newer on average, has fewer miles of leaky tunnels and requires less maintenance?". It seems like this path could quickly spiral into a splintering of the coalition across jurisdictions that keeps Metro together.

    It's fine for each jurisdiction to choose how they raise funds but I don't like the idea of jurisdictions choosing funding and service levels.

  • There is a human aspect to this that many people either can't or won't comprehend and to just say "while I understand" does not convey an understanding how families are devestated by the lack and planning, understanding of construction and development economics and long term growth of projects by elected officials on all levels.  The developer has done what is legally required and has been cooperative with the ANC.  Like one commenter said these are ill-directed sentiments to the developer.  Over regulation results in added building cost and it would make building more affordable units attractive if these processes were streamlined and cost were reduced on the front end as well as increased density.  The city is responsible not personal property owners, for providing philanthropic proportions of housing to those in need.  Regardless of the amount of personal property they own.  Gentrification is real so get over the guilt, if you move here you will be a gentrifier,regardless of your race, you are participating in a generational shift in the socioeconomic and demographic of this neighborhood.  All you can do is responsibility integrate yourself into the community by not trying to change every aspect of culture but embracing what's there and adding things that are compatible with the community's DNA.

    That was a lot... either way those are my thoughts.

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