Per Downtown DC BID, “In 2006 the Washington Parking Association (WPA) estimated that there were 199 parking garage locations in the Downtown and Golden Triangle BID areas providing 45,721 spaces.” That does not include the 17,000 street parking spaces that even AAA acknowledges still exist. Therefore, the 150 parking spaces removed to build the “controversial” L Street bike lane pictured above = 0.2% of downtown parking supply. In other words, 417 out of every 418 downtown parking spaces remain even after AAA whines that “The bike lanes have taken up all the parking spaces.” [posted to TheWashCycle]
Also, calendar note: the JITI Urban Transportation Seminar on February 6 will feature speakers from Tokyo Metro and Tokyu Corporation. Tokyu is notable for being one of the more profitable commuter rail + real estate + retail conglomerates in metro Tokyo.
The building in the middle of this ensemble — directly below the street sign — burned in a recent fire and is now being demolished. It was built a century ago as part of the Central Manufacturing District, and provided part of the original industrial park’s regal face to the city along Ashland Avenue. (The CMD’s front door was its better-known, mile-long streetwall along Pershing Avenue.) Together, they defined two of the few well-defined streetscapes on Chicago’s south side.
Hey, anyone else remember this photo? I used to squeeze through fast-moving traffic on Dearborn daily and recall more than a few close calls that resulted with cabs, buses, cars, even pedestrians.
Well now, thanks to a new cycle track, those bad old days are just a memory.
[Part of an occasional series of FAQs about traveling to Washington, D.C. For more, please click on the "dc-faqs" tag above.]
Unlike other cities, you’re here in Washington not to understand a city, but to understand a country, so there’s no way that I would recommend that someone skip the usual monumental sights. Let’s start with what the experts recommend.
- Lonely Planet’s 2 days (the Mid-Atlantic Trips book has an edgier 2-day itinerary)
- Jennifer Barger’s 2 days for National Geographic Traveler
- Neal Learner’s 3 days for United Airlines’ Hemispheres
- The Washington Post’s online visitor guide includes three different 3-day itineraries: monuments, city neighborhoods, and suburbs
- TripAdvisor has a comprehensive list of attractions
- AirBNB has an up-to-date photo tour of local neighborhoods
To which I’d add these personal favorites among the monuments, memorials, and museums:
- the Smithsonian American Art Museum: be sure to spend time curating your own art experience at the library-like Luce Center on the third floor, and stop in to admire the magnificent Renwick Gallery across from the White House
- the Library of Congress has consistently fascinating public exhibits, and getting a reader card to explore the reading rooms’ vast reference collections — and just maybe request a book, any book — takes just a few minutes
- the National Gallery of Art’s East Wing has a tremendous collection of Calder mobiles, housed in a soaring space tucked into a corner of the concourse-level gallery
- most assume that the Smithsonian’s collections of Americana would overshadow its collections about the rest of the world, but in fact its connected Freer, Sackler, and African Art museums have some of the finest collections in their respective fields anywhere
- whenever I’m feeling homesick for Chicago, the simulated “L” ride at the American History museum takes me right back to the Loop
- between the Kennedy Center, nearby cinemas (from Hollywood blockbusters at Georgetown AMC Loews to indie documentaries at West End), natural Theodore Roosevelt Island, and a waterfront park boasting both pubs and boathouses, there’s something for all tastes along the Foggy Bottom-Georgetown waterfront
- if a Hollywood blockbuster is showing at the Smithsonian’s [true] Imax screens, it’s really not worth seeing anywhere else (plus, these are the closest cinemas to my house)
Personally, I also find the monuments at the west end of the Mall to be too widely spaced for a comfortable walk. Instead, use bike share and this handy Monuments by Bikeshare route, which uses off-street paths or low-traffic roads.
I’m on a sporadic publishing schedule this month since finals decided to start arriving earlier, but there’s been a lot of noteworthy things happening on the global warming front:
A majority of Americans say they would vote for a candidate who supports a revenue neutral carbon tax if it created more American jobs in the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries (61% would support such a candidate), decreased pollution by encouraging companies to find less polluting alternatives (58%), or was used to pay down the national debt (52%). A large majority of Americans (88%) say the U.S. should make an effort to reduce global warming, even if it has economic costs.
And, in Mitt Romney (!), there was a candidate who at one point (you never know with that guy) put pen to paper and seemed to like the idea (from his book “No Apologies”):
a tax swap… would encourage energy efficiency across the full array of American businesses and citizens. It would provide industries of all kinds with a predictable outlook for energy costs, allowing them to confidently invest in growth. And profit incentives–rather than government subsidies–would stimulate the development of oil substitutes and carbon-reducing technologies… a tax swap may be the best among the four alternatives currently under consideration…
And Al Gore agrees: “It will be difficult for sure but we can back away from the fiscal cliff and the climate cliff at the same time,” [Gore] said. “One way is with a carbon tax.”
2. Even if there isn’t a carbon tax in our near future, and even if global warming was hardly mentioned at all during the entire Presidential campaign, Joe Mendelson at NWF notes two more promising takeaways from 2012: Big Fossil’s huge “I’m an Energy Voter” campaign flopped in a huge way, and the year’s numerous weather disasters have perhaps reminded Americans that adapting to climate change will be neither easy nor cheap.
3. Sure, the right-wing spin machine’s anti-empiricism (or, as Noam Scheiber calls it, “intellectual nihilism”) got its just desserts with their embarrassingly wrong election forecasts. However, I doubt that this will have a lasting impact on other important policy topics, notably the climate.
What I worry about is:
(a) the time scale differential between an election prediction (results are splashed across every newspaper within weeks, and a new cycle begins the day after) and a global warming prediction (when the result slowly reveals itself over decades, and is irreversible by then) is like the difference between a cornstalk and a sequoia. With humans’ short attention spans, by the time the former is over and done with, we can still maintain plausible deniability about whether the latter has changed at all.
(b) that the Right has shown little interest in empiricism before — when they’ve been objectively proven wrong, they instead retreat even further into their bubble. We’ve seen it before on, say, supply side economics, where the top marginal rate has fallen by half since 1980 but where (to hear Romney say it) the already-dubious Laffer curve theory is apparently stronger than ever — even though few academic economists agree.
That said, I am really excited about a future in which Nate Silver-esque analytics can help to more broadly inform decision-making from the individual to the national level. All the buzz about “smart cities” is just the beginning.
[Adapted from a comment posted to Grist]
4. A nice quote about said anti-empiricism, by Mark Potok of the SPLC:
“It just seems that on issue after issue after issue we are no longer having disagreements about a certain set of facts. Instead we have two sides presenting absolute alternative realities. And the bottom line, I think, is that from the political right, or the far right, that we are seeing almost nothing but a string of conspiracy theories that have virtually nothing to do with reality. So we cannot even have a rational debate about things that we admittedly disagree about. Instead, we spend our time fending off utterly baseless, fear-mongering conspiracy theories that prevent us moving forward in any way as a society.
“At the turn of the 21st century we are facing very major problems. We are at a time of great social and environmental change and we need to seriously address them — not poison ourselves with the conspiracy theories and baseless fear-mongering that we see today.
5. As if to confirm 3(a) above, I was recently frightened by the documentary “Chasing Ice” (very similar clips are viewable for free at National Geographic). Even though the documentary covers land glaciers, the most dramatic story over the past year has been the collapsing sea ice cap in the Arctic Ocean: ‘experts say that recent data on plummeting ice extent and volume show that the Arctic has entered a “new normal” in which ice decline seems irreversible.’ Over my lifetime, 15,000 cubic kilometers of ice has disappeared from the Arctic Ocean. That’s enough to fill 6,003,910,273 Olympic swimming pools with molten ice!
This kind of change doesn’t just happen in a vacuum. Reshaping the face of the earth on this scale seriously matters. It will permanently shift weather patterns, particularly the jet stream that sets medium-range weather for the Northern Hemisphere, and could be to blame for the very long cold/hot/wet/dry patterns that many of us have seen lately.
6. Curiously, right after I attended the “Do The Math” tour program, none other than the IEA confirmed McKibben’s arithmetic: “No more than one-third of proven reserves of fossil fuels can be consumed prior to 2050 if the world is to achieve the 2 °C goal.”
The world can’t wait for Peak Oil. (I never really liked that too-tidy eschatological scenario, anyhow.) We can’t wait for the fossil age to end by running out of fossil fuels. We will have to will its end, or it will end our age.
1. The “Coalition of the Ascendant” narrative continues to be validated by the likes of Bill O’Reilly and Richard Cohen; Sully has a roundup. (James Joyner: ‘The only question is how many more elections they’ll lose clinging to a “traditional America” that’s a distant memory.’)
2. The tidal wave of Big Money and a House map spectacularly gerrymandered in their favor only downgraded the Republicans from a stern rebuke to a slap on the wrist. As a geography nerd, I’m particularly concerned about the electoral map: “the ridigity of the gerrymander is more impressive when you see it hold off a minor wave,” says Dave Weigel in Slate. He points to several states, particularly Pennsylvania and Ohio, where the House delegation and the Presidential vote diverge sharply. One could also look at the average winning margin across Democratic and Republican districts, or, as Princeton Election Consortium’s Sam Wang points out, that the total national vote may go to Democrats even as the actual House went to Republicans. (Put another way, if there were national, or even state-level proportional representation, the House would be balanced or slightly Dem.) Update: Ian Millhiser at ThinkProgress points to a preliminary House tally of 53,952,240 (50.3%) Democratic votes vs. 53,402,643 (49.7%) Republican, with the caveat that West Coast vote-by-mail states have incomplete results and that uncontested races were excluded.
Another indication: the opposite may well be true at the Presidential level, which is tied to House representation but at a slightly more macro level. Republicans rack up huge margins in their core red states, but Democrats seem to have a persistent edge in several of the battlegrounds.
3. Sommer Mathis ties the ascendant demographics to the “urban archipelago,” a theme from the 2000 campaign that I heard echoed recently in discussions at NACTO (an event I’ll be posting notes from soon). Interesting to note that Romney’s largest county margins so far appear to have been in Maricopa at 131,770, Utah County (Provo) at 126,546, and Tarrant County, Texas (Fort Worth) at 95,897. Obama pulled six-figure margins even in suburban and second-tier counties like Contra Costa, Hartford, and Mecklenburg (Charlotte, a traditionally Republican city whose former mayor won N.C.’s governorship in a rare GOP pickup) — never mind the nearly million-vote margins in population centers like Los Angeles and Cook.
Having nearly lost my voice tonight, I guess I have to write instead. At least two thoughtful Republicans are willing to admit that the Emerging Democratic Majority (for which I check most of the boxes — young, brown, queer, feminist, single, overeducated, secular, urban, etc.) has fully arrived: Douthat and Salam.