The maximal building under New York’s 1919 zoning. From Edge of the West.

Better architecture through zoning: New York’s Zoning Act of 1919 directly begat the “iconic ziggurat” style prewar skyscrapers. That law required a specific envelope to preserve light and air, and those shapes, it turns out, maximize the buildable square footage. Too bad they later replaced that zoning rule with a basic Floor Area Ratio one that encouraged boxes flanked by empty plazas (ergo, Sixth Avenue).

Raise the Maryland gas tax? It’d be a great way to fill Maryland’s yawning transportation budget chasm, especially with gas prices so low. And it just might be possible, with a little political will. A letter writer from North Potomac explains some of the side benefits.

3 minutes greater: The Examiner featured Greater Greater Washington in its Three-Minute Interview yesterday. It mostly focused on the Metro petition.

Elect our AG: Phil Mendelson introduced a bill to make the AG an elected position. The measure would ensure greater independence from the AG, and also move misdemeanor prosecution to the AG’s office instead of the U.S. Attorney. If it passes the Council, Congress would have to pass a corresponding bill.

No representation, no taxation? Rep. Louie Gohmert plans to introduce a bill exempting DC residents from paying federal income tax. After all, if there’s no taxation, then it’s not taxation without representation. (Puerto Ricans don’t pay federal income tax either). Norton, of course, really wants the vote, not the tax exemption. If this were a real choice instead of a publicity stunt, I wonder where DC residents would come down on the question?

And: Tom Toles illustrates Metro’s good inaugural work; DC Metrocentric critiques a particularly bad blank wall downtown; and the Montgomery County Council backs the light rail Purple Line, concurring with the Planning Board and County Executive’s recommendations.

David Alpert is Founder and President of Greater Greater Washington and Executive Director of DC Sustainable Transportation (DCST). He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle. Unless otherwise noted, opinions in his GGWash posts are his and not the official views of GGWash or DCST.