Lots of open windows in my Firefox browser, so here’s a link dump:

Beeee-autiful. Dr. Gridlock reports that lots of Metro stations will be getting a nice cleaning over the next couple of months.  He also links to a Post story about the process of cleaning a station from March of this year.  The following stations will be spruced up:

Major Enhancements: Dunn Loring, East Falls Church, Eisenhower Avenue, Forest Glen, Medical Center, Potomac Avenue, Twinbrook, Wheaton, White Flint, U Street, Vienna, West Falls Church.

Mini Enhancements: Ballston, Bethesda, Brookland, Court House, Foggy Bottom, Franconia-Springfield, Friendship Heights, Rockville, Shady Grove, Smithsonian, Virginia Square, Woodley Park.

The enhancements really make a huge difference.  The stations seem lighter and more welcoming.

Freakonomics had a nice post with some links to a few old studies noting how closing roads sometimes improves traffic flow.   This particular case is from Vancouver, but this is precisely the logic behind the pedestrianization of Times Square in New York.  In certain situations, this kind of action can be a win-win-win – you improve traffic flow by simplifying the turning movements and signals, you increase pedestrian space and safety, and you maintain the urban design that makes Times Square an actual square.

The New York Times paints a portrait of the infamous Randal O’Toole.  It’s somewhat sympathetic, but does a decent job of letting O’Toole’s constant obfuscation collapse under its own weight.

The Wash Cycle notes of upcoming efforts to add murals to retaining walls and underpasses along the Met Branch trail.  The Union Station rail corridor – both connecting to the Metropolitan Branch towards Silver Spring and the Northeast Corridor towards Baltimore – is a vital rail link, but also an undeniable barrier in the area.  Public art along some of those underpasses can be a great way to make those links more attractive to cyclists and pedestrians.

With the Metropolitan Branch trail, it’s vital to ensure as many vertical circulation access points as possible – make it easy to shift levels between the trail and the street grid.

Nevertheless, this kind of mural is a great example of an easy public art project that can be a huge asset to the area.

Streetsblog’s DC folks try to document the hierarchy of decision making on the transportation bill. Making a law is always like making sausage, but this particular sausage seems far more complicated than most.  The House folks are fighting a two-front war against both the Administration and the Senate.  That’s a tough road.


2 Responses to “Smorgasboard”

  1. Daniel M. Laenker Says:

    Why no enhancements planned for Shaw-Howard Univ? There’s been what appears to be droppings from the world’s largest pigeon on the walls since I can remember it. Can anyone clean that up, or is it somehow structural?

  2. arblock Says:

    Daniel, I don’t know what Metro’s priorities are in terms of which stations they rehab and which they don’t. I will say this – when they come through and do the full cleaning – complete with powerwashing all the walls, replacing all the lightbulbs, etc – the station is much brighter and pleasant to be in.

    As far as Shaw-Howard, I think some of that stuff on the walls is structural. It looks like stuff that’s leeched out of the walls and stained the concrete. I don’t know that there’s much they can do about it except to paint the station – and I think that’s a bad idea. The painted stations show dirt a lot more than the pure concrete ones – and some of them still show the same stains over the paint that you see at Shaw-Howard anyway.

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