. She quotes Shane
Farthing, the executive director of the Washington Area Bicyclists
Association, as complaining, "It can be frustrating to have Segways
blocking the bike lanes en masse, and when it forces bicyclists
into the street to avoid such groups it is unsafe." To which a
commentator, Mikey, writes, "You mean cyclists are stuck behind slow
moving vehicles that are slowing down their lanes? Welcome aboard."
Thoughts on Parking Issues
I have several thoughts about issues that should be taken into
account when drafting parking requirements. There is an assumption by
those who want to eliminate parking requirements that mass transit will
pick up the slack. The problem with that logic is that Metro is at
capacity, In addition to needing billions of dollars of rehabilitation,
necessitating regular slowdowns and closures for the foreseeable future.
The public investment required for all this, much less any thoughts
about expansion, is uncertain to say the least. In the District,
significant expansion would require major investment and digging more
tunnels so that we had more than a single track in each direction.
Many people who are doing the planning seem oblivious to the human
life cycle and how one’s ability to do extensive walking, biking, or
using mass transit changes with age, family status, and one’s physical
state. As a city, we need to plan for the needs of people of all ages
and conditions, which means we still will need some parking. This
includes the elderly, the disabled, and those with children, as well as
others who may have major purchases to get home or deliver somewhere.
Apartments and other buildings without parking ignore the needs of
service people to access those buildings for repairs and services of
various sorts. There always need to be some parking spaces for plumbers,
electricians, delivery persons, etc., or we will end up with
double and triple parking — blocking our roads even more — or we will
increasingly be unable to get those sorts of services because it is too
much of a hassle.
Testing Scandals, DMV, and the War on Cars
We are yet in another round of mandatory testing. In the last two
years, between the mandatory testing and the "voluntary testing," my
daughter spend all or part of twenty-one school days in tests; add
another day for tenth grade. As a parent, I didn’t even know about the
so-called voluntary tests until they were nearly over and we got a
robocall. Now I find the testing is tiered and the timing is only
"recommended." My daughter has gotten tier level two tests this year
(for math), which are longer and harder than the level one test her
classmates are taking. This raises a question for me. In the days of the
Ohio (or wherever) standardized tests, I was told to keep working on the
exam, but that we would hit a point where we would not know the answers,
as the tests went a grade level above where we were. So why the tiers?
Is this some fancy way of dumbing down the test to make test scores
appear better? Or will those students with Honor and AP classes somehow
be counted as more. What does proficient mean if there are two tiers? I
doubt the test scores will note the tier. The tiering makes no sense and
I not have read about it anywhere; if my daughter had not made a casual
comment I would not have known. She also has reported that the test time
is "recommended" for fifty minutes, but since she was in middle school
the standard was that all students sit in the classroom until everyone
is done, which can take up to an hour and half. Puzzling.
As for the gentleman and the plates for his new car [themail, April
24], I have bought two new cars in the last ten years and the plates
were at the dealer within two weeks. Same for my neighbors. Perhaps it
is a problem with his dealer, not the DMV? I for, one am happy with the
many improvements DMV has taken. Now there is a new director at DMV, so
perhaps there has been some backsliding.
I do agree about the war on cars. Not only have things got worse for
your average car owner, but for a disabled person they are much worse. I
do not have a curb cut, and HPRD has denied one. I may be able to get
one now by invoking the ADA if I guarantee to restore the curb when I
move out of the house (by DDOT standards). So you have to be a rich
disabled person to get a curb cut. Yet, I may not be quite disabled
enough for reserved parking. I would like to stay in my house, and since
the house itself has a curved back stairwell would be good to age in
place, if I could get to the sidewalk. Ironically, though I am in a
historic district, there was no retaining wall when the house was built
and likely there was parking alongside the house, but I cannot go back
to those historical standards.
Special Election Results
We probably ought to do a little further analysis of the at-large
council seat election. First point is that the turnout was awfully low.
Anita Bonds actually won with something like four percent of the
eligible vote. (And for what it’s worth I’m not enthusiastic about the
idea of an "instant runoff," where voters would say who their second
choice would be. I think that’s just asking for people to game the
system. It wouldn’t give the winner greater legitimacy.
The second point is that Elissa Silverman calculated correctly by
urging Matt Frumin to drop out. If she had inherited his eleven percent
of the vote she would have won handily (although still with a plurality,
not a majority).
The third point is that it’s a liability to run as a Republican. You
can’t escape being associated with the troglodyte national party. The
old moderate Republican wing has been totally shut out of the party —
and if a moderate insists on staying in and calling himself or herself a
Republican he or she can’t attract votes from independents.
Others may have more to say.
Well so much for my theory — hope — that the recent special election
might serve as a good opportunity to prove the worth and benefit of an
open primary system here to combat the one party domination of our
electoral politics. First and foremost, no one showed up. Nine and a
half per cent of the registered electorate!! What does that say about
us? And what does that say about the at-large candidate who won with
such paltry numbers? This was pitiful. Furthermore, what does this say
about the Republican Party? There are supposedly 33000 registered Repubs.
If they had shown up in good numbers, Mara should have won or had a much
better showing. I agree with Gary, this should spell the end of the
Also significant in this election was the referendum item regarding
budget autonomy. So less than 10 percent of the voters spoke up and
passed- a yes vote for it. And that result will represent the will of
the six hundred thousand people residing here? First, I am not at all
sure that a referendum vote can alter/amend the Constitution, but does
anyone seriously think that a less than 10 percent voter turnout is
going to be persuasive, let alone binding, on the not-so-friendly forces
on Capitol Hill? Be that as it may, I am very disappointed. It seems
that most — 90 percent — of people here simply do not care about the way
we are or can be governed. So I guess we get what we deserve — the
indifference to our lack of voting representation from the rest of the
nation. This does nor augur well for any serious home rule for us. Folks
watch our collective voting behavior and discount us to the point of
irrelevance. And, by the way, should anyone want to know, my wife and I
voted in this election.
CLASSIFIEDS — EVENTS
Tenleytown’s John Burgess at Tenley Library,
Mary Alice Levine,
The Friends of Tenley-Friendship Library invite you to a talk by John
Burgess, author of A Woman of Angkor, on Wednesday, May 1, at
7:00 p.m. at the Tenley library. ‘In a village behind a towering stone
temple of Twelfth Century Cambodia lives a young woman named Sray. Her
beauty and spiritual glow lead neighbors to compare her to the heroine
of a Hindu epic. But in fact her serenity is marred by a dangerous
secret. One rainy season afternoon she is called to a life of prominence
in the royal court. There her faith and loyalties are tested by
attentions from the great king Suryavarman II.
"A Woman of Angkor is an historical novel that recreates the
golden age of Southeast Asia’s lost Angkor civilization. John le Carré
has said the book sets ‘a credible and seemingly authentic tale in the
courts and temples of ancient Angkor to stir the imagination and excite
our historical interest.’"
Book sale and signing to follow event. Cash or checks only. Light
Refreshments. The Tenley-Friendship Library is on the corner of
Albemarle Street and Wisconsin Avenue, NW. Take the red line to
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