Good News, Bad News

Some good news here in DC:

Ryan Avent notes that despite the recession, the District is still a popular destination for people moving in.  It will be very interesting to see where DC’s population number ends up with the 2010 Census.

Bad news:

Construction within the District is way down from a year ago.

But there’s more good news!

Union Station’s bike station has glass!

From around the nation, some other promising tidbits:

72% of Charlotte’s LRT riders hadn’t used transit before.  Like The Overhead Wire, I think that’s a huge number.  Some of it might be to good timing with the nationwide increase in transit ridership and gas price spikes coinciding with the opening of the line – after all, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.  Still, that’s a fantastic number and shows the kind of bias for rail potential riders have.

Small scale solutions to water issues get some publicity in Roll Call.

Most of us think of water and wastewater infrastructure as consisting of big pipes, treatment plants and reservoirs. Few of us recognize the importance of our natural infrastructure — the forests, wetlands, flood plains and grassy, permeable landscapes, which filter and purify water for humans, provide habitat for fish and wildlife, and mitigate hot summers in city and town. Our natural landscape provides us with the most cost-effective and efficient system for recycling, reusing and filtering water.

This way of thinking has to change. Our infrastructure is aging. We pay relatively low water rates, which fail to cover the full value or cost of clean and safe water. We are losing more undeveloped land each year along with its trees, shrubs and grasses and are replacing it with impervious surfaces — roofs, roads, parking lots — that allow pollution to be carried off into our waters. We find ourselves in a changing climate, whatever the cause, bringing with it chaotic weather patterns including droughts in some places and greater precipitation and polluted runoff in others.

This kind of small scale thinking is something the Feds should encourage cities to take on, as it fits into their purview far more than, say, massive and expensive deep tunnel projects.  (Hat tip – Infrastructurist)

And one bit of bad news from New York: The Feds don’t like the delays and budget projections for the Second Avenue Subway.

The story is simple: The MTA has been unable to meet any of its self-imposed deadlines, and it now faces the prospects of massive cost overruns and a six-year delay in delivering Phase I of the Second Ave. Subway. Original plans called for the entire line to be constructed by 2020. That is but a pipe dream right now.

The FTA numbers are alarming. The MTA is budgeting for an expected cost of $4.451 billion with a high end of $4.775 billion. The FTA believes a low budget estimate to be $4.978 billion with an August 2017 completion date. The federal government’s high end is $5.728 billion — over $1 billion more than the current MTA estimate — with a June 2018 opening date.

It’s too bad, since mismanagement like this (and Boston’s Big Dig also comes to mind) turns people away from thinking big and long term.


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