Proposed donor wall inside the MLK Memorial Visitors Center. Image from the MLK Memorial foundation.
Like lawn gnomes in the nation’s front yard: The Examiner looks at “mall sprawl”, the constant pressure from interest groups (and caving by Congress) to put more and more memorials on the Mall despite a 2003 law that said they wouldn’t do it. Newer ones aren’t just a simple statue or wall, either: they come with visitors’ centers, that explain the memorial, sell books, and clutter the landscape. Memorial organizers even want this one to contain a huge wall recognizing not great civil rights leaders, but big donors who gave money to build the memorial.
Congressional whack-a-mole: Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton spends a huge amount of her time fighting bills to add new memorials which pop up with alarming frequency. Harriet Tregoning, no surprise, has the better answer: “A high-performing transportation system” to get people from the Mall to other memorial sites throughout the city.
New York isn’t always more progressive: NYC DOT is now one of the nation’s best, but their land-use decisions aren’t as good (the inverse of DC’s situation, where OP is the most progressive and DDOT is mixed). In Manhattan’s Hudson Yards area, atop rail yards on the West Side and the last major undeveloped parcel around Midtown, Extell wants to build a big-box Costco with 2,300 parking spaces, Streetsblog reports.
The rest of Midtown, all the way to both rivers, is entirely walkable and has some of the lowest rates of car ownership and car commuting in the country; the last thing we should be building is an auto-oriented retail complex. The Bloomberg administration proposed—successfully—other suburban-style megaprojects like the Bronx Terminal Market in its early years, making Bloomberg a pretty bad mayor on smart-growth policy until his congestion pricing epiphany.
Seriously, we subsidize cars a lot: Slate has an article examining the many ways we subsidize auto ownership. Ryan Avent would add how gas taxes don’t cover the costs of even building the roads themselves, let alone the other, subtler subsidies the Slate article lists.