Public PolicyRSS

Photo by Raul Pacheco-Vega licensed under Creative Commons

The many local governments in the Washington region take actions every day that affect our downtowns and neighborhoods and the quality of life in our cities and counties. Greater Greater Washington writes about the public policies that influence our region and how they promote (or prevent) a growing, inclusive region with walkable urban neighborhoods.

Many different types of public policy influence where and how people live, work, and play. Education, which is one of the biggest reasons people choose a place,can help ensure the success of the next generation. And the environment is vital to preserving a livable region for our descendants.

Public safety and social justice issues affect how people of different backgrounds interact in our public places and whether people feel welcome. Health, food, and jobs are all vital parts of making our region thrive. And our governments make many budgetary and fiscal decisions that shape all of this.

  • Racial politics kept College Park Metro far from campus

    It may be an urban myth that racism kept Metro out of Georgetown (while many residents did oppose a station, Metro planners hadn’t included the neighborhood in initial plans in the first place), but according to a graduate paper from 1994 that Rethink College Park found and put online, it played a significant role in the decision to locate College Park’s Green Line stop…  Keep reading…

  • Is Red Hook de-gentrifying?

    SoHo, Alphabet City, Cobble Hill, Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Bushwick. One after another, New York neighborhoods full of gritty industrial buildings and unsafe streets have turned into yuppie meccas. Red Hook was next… but then it wasn’t, argues an article in New York Magazine. Despite a Fairway and beautiful riverfront views of Manhattan, would-be gentrifiers…  Keep reading…

  • Calculating walkability

    The walkability of a neighborhood is an intangible quality that doesn’t appear on real estate listings like the number of bathrooms or the square footage. But living in a place where you can walk to grocery stores, restaurants, movie theaters, hair salons, and other amenities makes life in certain places enormously different (and, I believe, better) than those where driving…  Keep reading…

  • The Triboro RX

    In the heyday of the railroads, rail lines crisscrossed the country and ran right through major cities. Some lines are commuter railroads today, others were turned into transit lines or highways, but many were abandoned. A few still exist, relatively unknown to most people, because they were either abandoned but never completely turned over to other uses, or because they carry some…  Keep reading…

  • Georgetown never blocked a Metro stop

    Conventional wisdom says that the Washington DC Metro was supposed to go to Georgetown (after all, it barely misses it between Rosslyn and Foggy Bottom), but NIMBY residents in the 1970s blocked the station. But it’s not true.  Keep reading…

  • Conservatives for congestion pricing

    “I can’t believe I’m saying these words,” wrote Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, “but I applaud the Bush Administration for their forward thinking on the issue of congestion and thank them for their willingness to work with local governments to address their unique problems.”…  Keep reading…

  • Even Beverly Hills wants a subway

    That’s a headline you were very unlikely to see twenty, ten, or even five years ago, but things have changed.  The LA Times is reporting that city officials are working to make sure that a subway through the Westside includes stops in Beverly Hills.  “‘There is an incredible sea change of attitude from resistance to support for the subway,’ said…  Keep reading…

  • America’s melting pot

    New York City was once the world’s melting pot; today that lives on primarily in Brooklyn, once of the most multicultural cities in America.  Many neighborhoods still represent a microcosm of the planet, with many ethnic groups living side by side, working, practicing their traditions, and sharing a neighborhood, usually peacefully.  Keep reading…

  • Hiro’s U-Stor-It

    In the book Snow Crash, Hiro Protagonist (the protagonist, of course) lives in a U-Stor-It, a storage facility.  There’s a building in Oakland, right next to Interstate 880, right at a curve positioned in a way that made it very visible from either direction.    Keep reading…

  • Bravo Gale

    For many reasons, some known, some not known, the New York City Department of Transportation is still mostly stuck in the SimCity Classic phase of urban planning thinking, closer to Robert Moses than Jane Jacobs.  While they did recently suggest, to the surprise of many observers, converting a segment of Willoughby Street in Downtown Brooklyn to be pedestrian-only, DOT Commissioner…  Keep reading…

  • More than a thousand words

    None but the most corrupt of politicians would think that moving Yankee Stadium over to a public park, farther from the highway, replacing that park with some space on top of garages and other parkland crammed up against the river far away from the neighborhood, and having the city kick in $70 million for this, could possibly be a good idea.  Keep reading…

  • A conservative take on the importance of public spaces

    Consider two groups of people, both of whom call themselves “conservatives.”  One is the Republicans of Bush, Frist, DeLay, Enron, and the oil companies.  They believe that unregulated business and low taxes are the cures for all ills.  They also claim to believe in small government, but they really believe in big government that gives subsidies,…  Keep reading…

  • Congestion pricing: an idea whose time is coming

    Congestion pricing in Manhattan below 60th Street is “being whispered in the ears of City Hall officials” according to the Times (in an article written by Sewell Chan!)  It’s an idea that keeps popping up, for the simple reason that it’s an obvious, huge win.  The only obstacles are inertia, and Queens councilmembers representing a small minority…  Keep reading…

  • City Council takes some stupid pills

    It’s the most basic rule of economics - if something costs more, people will do it less, and vice versa.    Keep reading…

  • Memorable Phrases for Parks

    I’m in the bloggers’ area of the Parks1 Mayoral Forum.  Up on stage, Democrats Gifford Miller, Virginia Fields, Freddy Ferrer, and Republican Tom Ognibene, are telling us why they all love parks.  Keep reading…

  • Added value of community

    This article joins in the chorus of criticism of the Supreme Court’s Kelo decision, which allowed the City of New London to condemn property for redevelopment even though the public value of that was fairly tenuous. But the article also thinks beyond the simple government power versus private property rights argument, by suggesting that the real issue is one of valuing the…  Keep reading…

  • Which came first, the city or the liberal?

    Citizens in urban areas disproportionately support Democrats, and citizens in exurban areas - the sprawl far away from urban centers - generally support Republicans.  Rich or poor, even controlling for race and other factors, the cities are Blue and the exurbs Red.  Is this because living in a diverse, dense community forces individuals to value policies that help all…  Keep reading…

  • The power of positive planning

    At last month’s CopyNight, Beth Noveck suggested that the copyright balance movement needs to move beyond a negative agenda (don’t pass more copyright extensions, don’t regulate technology, don’t create new criminal penalties) and toward a positive agenda.  She elaborated on this idea yesterday in her blog.  Keep reading…

  • Yassky for traffic calming, hybrid taxis; not sure about bridge tolls

    I met David Yassky, my city councilman last night.  (Warning: no content on his site yet.)  He seems as much a geek as a politician.  According to a Google cached document that may disappear, “As an aide to Chuck Schumer, David helped author and pass the Brady Bill, Violence Against Women Act, the federal hate crimes law and Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances…  Keep reading…

  • For: alternatives to cars, civil rights online

    I am a strong supporter of Transportation Alternatives, which promotes public policy to enhance public transit and bicycle use while reducing dependence on cars.  New York leads all American cities by a huge margin in its percentage of residents who commute to work in ways other than driving.  This is good for communities, the environment, the economy, and foreign relations,…  Keep reading…

Browse by month

You can help keep independent, thoughtful, policy-oriented reporting and analysis healthy by supporting us with a monthly, yearly, or one-time contribution.

Support Us