CNU blogs

Vintage Perfection in Wheat Ridge. Ranch-style home for $245,000.

Denver Real Estate - Thu, 2015-07-30 16:39
Vintage Perfection in Wheat Ridge Mid Mod ranch with original features youll adore and modern conveniences youll love Splendid hardwood floors and coved archways welcome you The original RETROvated kitchen retains its 1950s cool factor with boomerang countertops, original cabinets and vintage appliances Mix up the classic with a few modern pieces including a new stainless steel refrigerator, sink, hardware and youre rockin it Mad Men style. Dont miss the telephone pass-through and pocket door The three season porch is the ultimate retreat for your morning coffee or evening cocktail. Friends and family will ask you to host the next get together in your ample-sized back yard. This home only gets better - Check out these updates: New Central Air Conditioning and Furnace, Updated Electrical, Service Line and Extra Outlets, New Roof amp; Gutters, New Garage Door w/ Web Control Remotes and Three Anderson Windows. Great Block, Close to Anderson Park, Pool and Trails. Listed by Stacey Rohrer for Live Urban Real Estate. Please contact Stacey for current pricing and availability. 4530 Flower Street, Wheat Ridge, CO. $245,000. nbsp; nbsp; nbsp; nbsp; nbsp; nbsp;
Categories: CNU blogs

Here are the answers to whichWMATA week 61

Greater Greater Washington - Thu, 2015-07-30 14:45
by Matt Johnson

On Monday, we posted our sixty-first photo challenge to see how well you know Metro. Reader Mr. Johnson took photos of five Metro stations. Here are the answers. How well did you do?

This week, we got 46 guesses. Eight got all five. Great, work, JamesDCane, Peter K, Andrew, Russell Harris, RyanS, MB, FN, and cythrosi!


Image 1: Minnesota Avenue

This week was a themed week. Each of the stations has a state in its name.

The first image shows the platform at Minnesota Avenue. One clue is the wooden surface, which is present while Metro replaces the platform. Another way to narrow this down is the presence of the freight tracks on the left and the catenary supports on the right. Only two stations have that setup, the other being Deanwood.

You can narrow this one down to Minnesota Avenue because the tracks rise in the distance in order to climb over DC 295 and meet the Blue and Silver Lines.

Thirty-three got this one.


Image 2: Rhode Island Avenue

The second picture is of Rhode Island Avenue, looking north. The view from here is distinctive because of the station's height above the surrounding terrain. At left, you can see the Metropolitan Branch where it crosses under Franklin Street.

Thirty-five knew this one.


Image 3: College Park—University of Maryland

The third image is from College Park, which is appended with the name of the University of Maryland. At left, you can see the College Park Post Office. Another clue to help you figure this one out are the railroad tracks in the foreground, which carry MARC's Camden Line.

Forty guessed correctly.


Image 4: Georgia Avenue

This image shows the mezzanine at Georgia Avenue. From the ceiling, you can narrow this down to one of the five arch II stations.

It can't be Columbia Heights, since the coffers at that station are very shallow. You can also rule out Glenmont and Congress Heights because they're only served by one line, and this picture shows several line bullets.

Of the remaining two possibilities, it can't be Mount Vernon Square because the end of the mezzanine there has a stair and escalator rather than a pair of escalators. Therefore, this has to be Georgia Avenue.

Fourteen figured this one out.


Image 5: Virginia Square

This is Virginia Square. This one was a bit harder, though the process of elimination should've helped you figure it out. First, this is a side platform station, which narrows the field considerably. The waffle architecture and side platforms means this can only be one of nine stations.

You can also see that there's only one mezzanine, which cuts the field to five. At right, you can just see the Blue and Silver lines on the sign, indicating that this is an eastbound platform. Since WMATA's new signage includes lines that share later on, all the Orange/Silver and Blue/Yellow stations show the Blue/Silver interlining, too.

It can't be Ballston, Pentagon City, or Crystal City because those mezzanines each have three pairs of escalators, instead of just two. You can rule out Clarendon because the bridge from the mezzanine to the vault wall is over the Largo/New Carrollton track. At Clarendon, it's above the Vienna/Wiehle track. So this must be Virginia Square.

Thirty-three guessed Virginia Square.

Next Monday we'll have five more photos for you to identify. Thanks for playing! And a special thanks to Mr. Johnson for supplying the photos this week.

If you have pictures you think would be good fits for whichWMATA, please send them to whichwmata@ggwash.org.

12 comments

Categories: CNU blogs

Can Somerset County Attract Millennials?

New Jersey Future - Thu, 2015-07-30 14:19

The Cobalt, a proposed apartment development near the Somerville train station. Photo: Weiss Properties

The Fall 2014 Duke Farms studio class at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University had an interesting assignment: Figure out where the opportunities are for Somerset County to attract more Millennial residents. The report, Somerset County Development Opportunities: A Millennial Perspective (pdf), prepared for the Somerset County Business Partnership in collaboration with the Somerset County Freeholders and Planning Board, has now been published.

As a fairly typical upper-middle-class suburb dominated by single-family housing and automobile-centered transportation, the county doesn’t currently fit the profile of Millennials’ preferred living environment, but the detailed analysis done by the Bloustein students did highlight some important trends and opportunities that the county can use to its advantage. And with the county’s over-55 population, in particular the number of residents age 65 and older, showing strong growth, many of the recommendations put forward to attract and retain Millennials will also serve this older cohort.

Among the report’s major recommendations:

  • Transportation options, multi-modal connections, and in particular one-seat train service to New York, should all be expanded;
  • Housing choices should be broadened, especially outside of the county seat of Somerville, to include more smaller, affordable units both for sale and for rent;
  • Health and personal care is a significant driver of retail sales in the county, and opportunities for growth and synergies in this sector should be explored.

A full briefing on the report’s findings and recommendations will take place Friday, July 31, at the Somerset County Business Partnership’s Fifth Friday Friars Policy Luncheon at Raritan Valley Country Club. More information and registration.

Download the full report

Categories: CNU blogs

People walking and biking will get a new connection from L'Enfant Plaza to the waterfront

Greater Greater Washington - Thu, 2015-07-30 13:15
by David Cranor

At the south end of the L'Enfant Promenade is a circle, Banneker Circle, atop a hill overlooking the waterfront. Unfortunately, the only way to get down to the water on foot or by bike requires a circuitous and unpleasant route. That will soon change.


Conceptual rendering of a connection from the SW Ecodistrict Plan. Image from NCPC.

Today, there is a narrow and cheaply-built path that cuts diagonally over to the intersection of 9th Street and Maine Avenue. People bicycling can either take that or ride along a road that feels a bit like a highway off-ramp to 9th Street. This makes people go fairly far out of the way, especially for those who want to then go north along the waterfront.


Banneker Circle and Banneker Park. Images via NPS unless otherwise noted.

As part of its package of amenities to get zoning approval, the Wharf project will build a new, temporary, direct pedestrian connection. The connection will consist of stairs and a new at-grade crossing of Maine, but include an ADA ramp that will work for cyclists.

The scoping document for the environmental impact statement says,The temporary project also includes landscaping, improvements to pedestrian crosswalks, lighting installation, universal accessibility, and stormwater management. The purpose of the project is to provide a safe, functional, and aesthetically pleasing pedestrian connection between the overlook at Banneker Park and southwest waterfront. The project is needed to improve urban connectivity by providing greater accessibility between the waterfront, Banneker Park, the National Mall, and surrounding areas.There are two concepts for the project and, to me, the better of the two is a no-brainer.


Concept 1.

Concept 1 would try to create a direct path down the hill. This would require a switchback ramp and stairs down the hill from a point a little way from the bike/ped access to the Case Bridge, the bridge that takes I-395 over the Washington Channel.


Concept 2.

Concept 2 would build a curving connection directly from the Case Bridge access point along with an ADA compliant sidewalk on the east side. The west-side stairs would connect to a new signalized crossing of Maine Avenue.

Both projects include landscaping, crosswalk improvements, lighting and stormwater management.

Concept 2 is the better design because of the way it removes switchbacks, allowing for a more fluid connecton, and the way it connects into the Case Bridge access.

The design should include a curb ramp from the L'Enfant Plaza roadway, as well as a bicycle-friendly transition area where the three connections meet—one with lots of room and natural curves as opposed to sharp turns.


The path to Maine Avenue (left) and to the Case Bridge (right) have no curb ramps. Photos from Google Maps.

Right now, there is no curb ramp to get from the roadway to either the path down to Maine Avenue or the path to the Case Bridge; a cyclist riding on the wide, very low-traffic L'Enfant Promenade instead of the sidewalk then has to get over the curb to go on either path.

The stairs should also include a bike trough, the ramp next to steps that lets people walk their bikes up or down the stairs, and there should be signs directing users to the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail and East Potomac Park via the Case Bridge. Also, the sidewalk along the south side of the circle should be widened for trail traffic from the bridge to the "new ADA compliant ramp."

If only it would include a fix to the Case Bridge access that didn't require the ridiculous switchback that's there today.

In the long run, the National Capital Planning Commission's Southwest Ecodistrict vision includes completely redoing 10th Street from a wide, empty promenade into a street with pedestrian activity, green plots, and festivals. That plan calls for completely redoing Banneker Park into a usable park instead of a traffic circle atop an empty hill. That redesigned park would also let people on foot and bike connect more directly to Maine Avenue and the waterfront.

The National Park Service will host a meeting on this project on August 11th, 6-8pm at the Wharf offices, 690 Water Street, SW and they will be accepting comments on the scoping document until September 2nd.

A version of this post was originally posted on TheWashCycle.

14 comments

Categories: CNU blogs

I Use the Word 'Vibrant' (and You Can Too)

Planetizen blogs - Thu, 2015-07-30 13:00
Planners and designers should not be afraid to reclaim overused and misused words—as long as they know what they're doing.
Categories: CNU blogs

Hang in there, Homebuyers...the Denver Metro Housing Market is starting to balance out.

Denver Real Estate - Thu, 2015-07-30 12:17
Itrsquo;s been a sellerrsquo;s market in residential real estate for more than a year now. According to Realtor.com, thatrsquo;s fantasticnbsp;for homeowners, and for the U.S. economy overall, but letrsquo;s get real: It creates a challenging environment for people who are trying to buy their first home. Fear not, first-time home buyers Things are going to get bettermdash;soon. The main reason wersquo;ve seen above-average price appreciation is limited inventory. And that leads to bidding wars. Thankfully, higher prices ultimately help solve this problem by encouraging more owners to put their homes up for sale. So the market is clearly shifting toward more of a balance in the second half of the year. Combined with a temporary reprieve from rising mortgage rates and slightly easier access to credit, buyers should find it easier to purchase a home in the months ahead. Listings have grown an average of 4.5 over the past three months. New construction is also finally stepping up to relieve pressure as well, withnbsp;single-family permits up 9 year to date over last year. And prospective buyers are noticing the difference. From our daily surveys of visitors tonbsp;realtor.comreg;nbsp;who are looking to buy a home, the No. 1 reported obstacle to making a purchase in June remained ldquo;I have not yet found a home that meets my needs.rdquo; However, the percentage of respondents reporting this problem declined from 42 in January to 37 in June. For first-time buyers, the fact that theyrsquo;re ldquo;just starting to explorerdquo; became their No. 1 obstacle in June, bumping the issue of finding a suitable home for the first time this year. Donrsquo;t get me wrongmdash;supply is still tight. But we are moving in the right direction. Wenbsp;should see the median age of inventorymdash;the number of days a house sits on the marketmdash;plateau and even increase in the months ahead as a result of supply expanding. This will be a clear sign that the market is moving toward more of a balance. Access to credit has been holding back many potential sellers and buyers from participating in this market. That, too, is slowly changing for the better. Mortgage credit availability was 5 higher in June than in June 2014, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association. Meanwhile, even though mortgage rates are now well off their lows, with the average 30-year fixed-rate firmlynbsp;above 4, rates have retreated more than 10 basis points from their recent highs.nbsp;ldquo;Lockrdquo; and ldquo;float-downrdquo;nbsp;are two moves to put in your dance arsenal this summer and autumn if the direction of rates is unnerving you. Finally, the upcoming change of season should favor you first-time buyers, assuming you are flexible about timing and can find a home that fits your needs. Families with school-age children are far less likely to compete for homes on the market after the beginning of the school year, which for many is in August. While inventory levels will also be lower due to the season in most areas of the country, the fall could turn into a great time to buy. nbsp;
Categories: CNU blogs

A senseless skirmish in Toronto is a welcome reminder to share street space

Greater Greater Washington - Thu, 2015-07-30 11:45
by Edward Russell

Two people in Toronto, one on foot and one on a bike, recently got into a fight after nearly colliding. The altercation happened on a street that's supposed to give pedestrians and cyclists their own dedicated lanes, and is a reminder of how important it is to share space.

A video posted by the Toronto Star shows the two men exchanging words before throwing punches, with the one on foot saying the one on a bike almost ran him over.

The video is barely more than a minute long, and we don't know what happened before the camera started rolling. But it's safe to say that the tension was at least partially rooted in a universal dilemma: on crowded city streets, pedestrians and cyclists have to vie for space.


Queens Quay. Photo by Waterfront Toronto.

The incident happened on Queens Quay, which runs along Toronto's waterfront and opened with space for pedestrians, cyclists, streetcars and automobiles in June. While local blogs have widely lauded the design, they have also noted its unique challenges.

"It seems that drivers, pedestrians and cyclists aren't heeding the standard signs, signals and line painting that are there to guide them through the street's new intersections and driveways," wrote Waterfront Toronto, the agency responsible for the street, in a recent post. "So, we're working on a few small changes to make these cues even more clear and to make the street as safe as possible."

We face similar issues in Washington

While our region continues to build more protected bike lanes that separate cyclists from cars and pedestrians, things can still get tense. For example, mid-block crossings by pedestrians have plagued cyclists using the protected bike lane on M Street NE, something that Twitter users hope new green paint will help deter.

That is a bright green on M St NE. #bikeDC pic.twitter.com/TPwOD7glGy

—jwetz (@jwetz) July 27, 2015

@e_russell @jwetz Mainly I hope it raises pedestrian awareness. So many mid-block crossings in that stretch...

—DaveS (@darsal) July 27, 2015

It's always good to remind one another that whether we're on foot or on a bike (or using any other mode of transportation), respecting each other's space can help us avoid altercations like the one in Toronto. The video above is a good reminder of what can happen when we forget this.

27 comments

Categories: CNU blogs

Join us this Saturday at the Bow Wow Film Fest Benefiting Colorado Pet Pantry

Denver Real Estate - Thu, 2015-07-30 10:58
We are happy to support this local event for one of Live Urbans 2015 Live + Give recipients, Colorado Pet Pantry. August 1 @ 2:30 pmnbsp;-nbsp;4:00 pm Bow Wow Film Fest Fundraiser Get Your Tickets for the Bow Wow Film Fest Join us August 1st at 2:30 p.m. at the Oriental Theater in Denver for a fundraiser that will be fun for the whole familyThe Bow Wow Film Festival is all about the LOVE OF DOGS. Yoursquo;ll get a great afternoonnbsp;of short films about our favorite 4 legged creatures. Yoursquo;ll see dogs on surf boards, in the ski patrol, and get a peek intonbsp;the crazy world of people who own pugs, among other fun films. All ticket sales benefit Colorado Pet Pantry and our friends at PawsCo.JOIN US FOR A GREAT DAY OUT.nbsp;Buy Tickets Onlinenbsp;HERE.Bow Wow is a traveling film festival that celebrates, educates and inspires all things doggie through the art of short film.Save $3 buying onlinenbsp;Tickets are $12 for adults and $7 for under 12.Day-of:nbsp;Tickets are $15 for adults and $7 for under 12. Check out whatrsquo;s in the Silent Auction Autographed ldquo;I Love Dogsrdquo; book bynbsp;bestselling author Sue Stainton and bestselling illustrator Bob Staake. Donated bynbsp;Bob Staake. Two Massage $50nbsp;Gift Certificates.nbsp;Donated bynbsp;Celestial Massage. A $100 gift Certificate for your choice of services. Donated by thenbsp;Wellness Center. A ldquo;Dogrdquo;nbsp;Gift Basket.. Donated bynbsp;Jolly Goods. Gift certificate. Donated bynbsp;Denver Cat Company. Gift Basket. Donated bynbsp;Simpawtico. Bouldering Gym Passes. Donated bynbsp;The Spot.
Categories: CNU blogs

Denver's beautiful Union Station mixes old and new

Greater Greater Washington - Thu, 2015-07-30 10:15
by David Koch

When Denver needed a new transit hub, city leaders naturally looked at the city's aging Union Station. Now after a massive expansion, Union Station is a monument to multimodalism, and a beautiful architectural mix of ornate old and shimmering new.


Denver Union Station. Photo by Ryan Dravitz.

The new Denver Union Station combines five transit modes with expansive new and refurbished public spaces, and a brand new transit-oriented neighborhood.

Historic depot building

The station is anchored by the beautifully renovated 1894 depot building, with its lovingly restored, bright, airy waiting room. The ground floor includes popular restaurants and bars, along with table shuffleboard sets and occasional live music performances. The upper floors now host a boutique hotel.


Waiting room. Photo by Ryan Dravitz.

Plazas surrounding the outside of the depot building are well-landscaped, and integrate nicely with the bustling LoDo neighborhood across the street. They form the northern end of Denver's 16th Street pedestrian mall, and are a vast improvement over the surface parking lots that formerly occupied the same space.

Multimodal transit

The station brings together Amtrak, commuter rail, light rail, and local and intercity buses.

New commuter and light rail lines are the major components of Denver's impressive FasTracks plan, which is adding about 100 miles of new rail to the city's transit network. Union Station will be the hub.

Immediately behind the historic depot lie the new platforms for Amtrak and commuter rail. They're partially covered by the grandest train shed in America.


Intercity and commuter rail platforms. Photo by Ryan Dravitz.

For now there's only a slow trickle of Amtrak trains using these platforms. But starting in 2016 when Denver's new commuter rail lines begin to open, it will bustle.


Denver's coming transit lines. Photo by DearEdward on Flickr.

Beneath the train shed lies Union Station's subterranean bus depot, the closest thing Denver has to a subway.

The bus depot serves as both a transit terminal and a pedestrian walkway between the main station and the light rail platforms, further beyond the train shed. It's a long walk from one end to the other, but it's an attractive space.

At the far end, Denver's light rail. The city has had light rail since 1994, but it's expanding under the FasTracks program.

Beyond the light rail, active freight rail tracks pass by to the northwest.


Entrance to the bus terminal and light rail station, with freight tracks to the right. Photo by the author.

Transit-oriented development

While the station itself is finished and open to the traveling public, the surrounding land is only half-complete. The former industrial railyards behind the station are being redeveloped as a new high-rise neighborhood.

Millions of square feet of development are planned, with thousands of new housing units in the pipeline. Multiple blocks of mixed-use infill development are under construction.

Denver is undergoing a population and building boom, so planners and developers anticipate high demand for the new units. The South Platte River Valley just to the north is also a fun and attractive part of the city, popular with tourists, cyclists, and shoppers visiting REI's flagship store on the left bank of the river, housed in the former power plant for Denver's streetcar system.

When it's all complete, Denver will have an impressive new urban neighborhood, fully integrated with and surrounding its new transit hub.


New buildings going up. Photo by the author.

A model for DC

The plan to redevelop Washington Union Station is, if anything, even more ambitious and complex than Denver's.

But as the DC area prepares to make that plan a reality, we can draw lessons from Denver's successes. Colorado's experience shows that it's possible to integrate multimodal planning and strong land use decisions, to a beautiful result.

16 comments

Categories: CNU blogs

Breakfast links: May the odds be ever in your favor

Greater Greater Washington - Thu, 2015-07-30 09:11
by Katie Gerbes


Photo by Chris on Flickr.Arlington's falling behind?: Victor Hoskins, now the economic development director for Arlington, says the county is "getting crushed by DC" and that residents have to realize "that they have ceased to be the innovators" like they were back when Arlington was a leader in TOD around Metro. (Post)

Credits for renters: Montgomery County is urbanizing and may attract more people renting rather than buying homes. The county council approved tax credits for low-income renters to make new apartments near Metro more attractive. (WAMU)

Going down: We're sinking. As a result of an ancient icecap, DC is expected to sink up to 8 inches in the next century. The sinking inevitably will lead to flooding issues, forcing planners to be proactive now on how to minimize damage. (WTOP)

See you in court: Did the White Flint Mall's owners break a contract when they shut down the mall to redevelop? Or is Lord & Taylor, which says yes, just trying to squeeze the mall's owners for money? The dispute has now gone to trial. (Post)

Trash truck art: Taking out the trash is about to get prettier. The DC Department of Public Works is turning service trucks into public art by painting them with colorful designs. DPW plans to repaint nine trucks as part of the program. (Citylab)

Move it: As a cyclist, nothing is more frustrating than an object blocking a bike lane. When a car blocked his path, this man simply picked it up and moved it. Super strength not your thing? Learn how to safely pass and report. (Citylab, WABA)

Don't hate, embrace: Arcata, California is creating the first "medical marijuana innovation zone" in its zoning code. The zone would keep the smelly cultivation out of residential areas while promoting the weed related economy. (Next City)

Have a tip for the links? Submit it here.

32 comments

Categories: CNU blogs

Not Racist—but Similar to Racism

Planetizen blogs - Wed, 2015-07-29 17:00
Low-density zoning is not racist in the narrowest sense of the term—but it does have similar goals to racist housing policies and creates similar problems.
Categories: CNU blogs

Ask GGW: How do you find crime reports for a neighborhood?

Greater Greater Washington - Wed, 2015-07-29 14:40
by Michael Lewis

Have you ever seen a crime scene and later wondered what happened, or if the police weren't already there, whether someone let them know about it?
Photo by [puamella] on Flickr.

Jonathan Neeley, our staff editor, ran into this situation last week:On my bike ride home, I saw that a large section of the Metro station parking lot was taped off, and there were officers and detectives all over the place. I asked one of them what had happened and he just said "a fight." I went on my way, but wanted to know more.

How can I find crime reports most easily? Should I expect to be able to find info online about what I saw, or is there a good chance there's nothing out there?

For a general search of crime reports, you can go to CrimeReports and look up any location in the US or Canada. The site has data on recently-reported crimes that will show up on a map, categorized by types like theft (a "T" on the site's maps) and robbery ("R"). Not all reported crimes will appear on the map, however.


Screenshot of CrimeReports by the author.

Abigail Zenner says that her Metropolitan Police District has a robust email list that you can subscribe to. "I get the digest and scan it to see the crime report in my neighborhood," she says. "There is also usually an officer who does community outreach and provides the crime report at ANC and citizen association meetings. If what you see is in your own neighborhood, you may be able to find a contact person through the people who host those meetings."

David Alpert adds that each police district is broken up into Police Service Areas (PSAs), and some PSAs have a regular meeting that's separate from the ANC. This page lists the lieutenants in charge of each PSA, who residents can also contact about crime issues.

You may also find more specific information using the Metropolitan Police Department's DC Crime Map.

Perhaps you witness a crime and want to make sure the right people know about it. In DC, you can file a police report online using the Citizens Online Reporting Tool (CORT). This tool offers a way to make quick reports that do not necessarily require a police officer or a witness to take the information from you. You can use it to report property loss, damage, or theft, particularly theft of or from a car and lost tags.

Maryland and Virginia

In Montgomery County, you can check the police department site directly. Residents can look up which police district they are in and view a map of its boundaries. Montgomery's police department also has a Crime Reporting System for filing police reports online. Similar to DC's CORT tool, not all types of crimes can be filed through the online system.

Prince George's County's police site also links to its Crime Solvers, Inc. site, which has a link to CrimeReports for searching.

Kevin Beekman says Alexandria's police department uses a site called RAIDS Online (Regional Analysis and Information Sharing), which is a crime mapping site like CrimeReports. It also provides analytics, e-mail reports, and tips for the public. They have an online database too.


Screenshot of RAIDS Online website by the author.

Fairfax County has links to multiple resources for finding information about crime in the county from its Crime in Our County page. The links include annual crime reports and crime mapping. To file police reports and to use their online reporting system, residents can go to their Complaints and Concerns page.

Do you have a question? Each week, we'll pose a question to the Greater Greater Washington contributors and post appropriate parts of the discussion. You can suggest questions by emailing ask@ggwash.org. Questions about factual topics are most likely to be chosen. Thanks!

3 comments

Categories: CNU blogs

Protecting the Rights of People Living with HIV/AIDS

HUD blog - Wed, 2015-07-29 13:59

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) turned 25 on July 26th.  This landmark legislation has had a positive impact on so many lives over the last 25 years – and as I think about the programs I have worked on in the field and at HUD, I think about how much the ADA helped us accomplish – providing housing and services to people with disabilities, especially those living with HIV/AIDS.

HIV/AIDS, whether symptomatic or asymptomatic, is recognized as a disability.  For individuals living with HIV, the ADA guarantees equal opportunity in public accommodations, employment, transportation, State and local government services, and telecommunications.  While housing is not covered under the ADA, it provides important civil rights protections for beneficiaries of programs such as Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA).

HOPWA is the only Federal program dedicated to the housing needs of people living with HIV/AIDS. Through this effort, HUD makes grants to local partners for projects that benefit low-income persons living with HIV/AIDS and their families.  Housing is the primary focus of HOPWA and beneficiaries are protected from housing discrimination because of HIV through the Fair Housing Act, but the supportive services component is vital for beneficiaries to maintain stable housing and to focus on their health needs.  Supportive services vary with the specific needs of beneficiaries, but could include case management, substance abuse treatment and counseling, mental health services, daycare, nutritional services, and employment services.  The ADA provides an essential protection from discrimination for beneficiaries living with HIV accessing these supportive services.

As HUD continues to work to create opportunities for all Americans, we celebrate the civil rights protections the ADA has brought for beneficiaries of HOPWA and many other programs at HUD.

Information on resources for discrimination because of HIV/AIDS can be found here.

Ann Oliva is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Special Needs, Office of Community Planning and Development.

Categories: CNU blogs

Empty bikeshare stations don't always mean long waits

Greater Greater Washington - Wed, 2015-07-29 13:15
by Matt Caywood

When a bikeshare station is empty, or an app tells you it's only got a bike or two left, should you just try another station? In both cases, waiting it out is often the best bet for getting a bike most quickly.


Photo by Mr.TinDC on Flickr.

A team of data scientists at TransitScreen recently put some thought into how to make information about bikeshare more helpful. Rather than just showing "0 bikes" at an empty station, for example, we wondered whether we could predict how long you would wait to get a bike at that station.

Using Capital Bikeshare data from 2012 through 2014, we calculated the probability of the bike count increasing or decreasing within five minutes. We did this for each station, then we smoothed this probability across hours, days, and months.

We looked at five different stations where more than 10 bikes per hour were turning over, but ended up looking most closely at the Thomas Circle station at 14th & M St NW. This 33-dock station was particularly interesting since its place on a border between residential and commercial neighborhoods leads to rapid turnover throughout the day.

We noticed the wait was most predictable at bikeshare stations that see a lot of turnover, like Thomas Circle. When that's the case, it's highly likely a bike will be available within a reasonable amount of time (even if you're in a hurry). And when there aren't many bikes left at a station, there's still a good chance that one will be available within a given five minute stretch.

If it's rush hour, waiting is a good call

Imagine you're working near Thomas Circle and looking to run an errand at 5 pm on a Tuesday. You rush over to the bikeshare station only to find it empty. What should you do?

The data shows that if you wait for five minutes, there is a 50% chance a bike will appear. Considering how long it might take to walk to the next-closest station, five minutes might not be so bad!

If the same situation came up at 1 pm, however, you'd only have a 20% chance of getting a bike within five minutes. Waiting would probably be a waste of time, and you might want to find another bikeshare station (or choose another transportation mode altogether).


Chance of bikes appearing within five minutes at different times of day. The station is Thomas Circle, the time is a weekday during May. Graphs from TransitScreen.

It's rare for a station to go from having few bikes to actually having zero

Let's say that next week, at the same time, you check an app like TransitScreen before leaving your building. This time, the dock isn't empty...but it only has one bike.

What's the chance there won't be any bikes left after the five minutes it takes you to walk there? It turns out even at the busiest time, evening rush, it's still 60% likely a bike will still be there when you arrive.


Chance of a single bike remaining after 5 minutes at different times of day. Station is Thomas Circle, time is a weekday during May.

Similar ideas hold for returning bikes to full stations

It's not uncommon for people to get "dockblocked," which is when you go to return a bikeshare bike but the station is full.

Anecdotally, this seems even more common than people waiting at empty stations. It's possible that's because it's just easier to see a person waiting with a bike rather than one who is empty-handed. It could also be that people who need to return bikes are willing to wait longer because they've just finished a ride and they're feeling tired.

Either way, like with empty stations, we predict that in a lot of cases, it makes sense to wait rather than find another station.

We can do similar studies for other stations

We used Thomas Circle as our example, but as long as it has open bikeshare data, we can study stations with high bike turnover in any city—New York, Boston, London, or Paris—With a combination of "big data" and data science, it turns out bikeshare systems are surprisingly predictable!


Three dockblocked riders patiently waiting in Dublin. Photo by Ryan Croft.

I'd like to thank Erin Boyle for doing the coding and analysis for our recent research. Dan Gohlke shared his CaBiTracker data store with us, and we used open source code from the Data Science for Social Good group.

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Categories: CNU blogs

Lousiana Avenue could get a protected bikeway

Greater Greater Washington - Wed, 2015-07-29 11:49
by David Cranor

What's next for protected bikeways in DC? A few sections are in the works, including a connection from NoMA to Pennsylvania Avenue, a north-south bikeway downtown, and several other small connections as well as the next piece of the Metropolitan Branch Trail.


Area around Louisiana Avenue from the DC Bicycle Map.

At a recent meeting of the Bicycle Advisory Council, representatives of the District Department of Transportation announced that DDOT is working with the Architect of the Capitol and the ANC to extend the soon-to-be-completed protected bikeway on First Street NE from Union Station to the bikeway on Pennsylvania Avenue NW via Louisiana Avenue NE/NW.

The First Street NE extension to Union Station is almost done. Resurfacing will begin soon (if it's not already underway). After that, DDOT will install concrete blocks similar to those farther north.

When done, First Street will become a one-way street with a two-way protected bikeway where today motor vehicles are allowed to drive two directions for part of the road's length. The bikeway on this block will be two feet wider (10 feet) than on the sections farther north, as DDOT now views 10 feet as the minimum for such facilities. There will be a loading zone on the opposite side of the street.

DDOT has been meeting with the Architect of the Capitol, local Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners, and Councilmember Charles Allen's staff to discuss extending the bikeway further south, along Louisiana Avenue, where it would connect to Pennsylvania Avenue via either First or Third streets.

Discussions are preliminary and no alternatives have been defined yet, but the response has been mostly positive. One potential roadblock is that the design will likely require removing parking along Louisiana. Parking is under the purview of the Senate's Sergeant at Arms, not the AOC, and they are concerned about the loss of parking. But if all goes well, work could begin next year.


Senate parking on Louisiana Avenue. Image from Google Maps.

A north-south bikeway through downtown

The East End Bikeway would be a mile-long north-south bikeway on the east side of downtown. Studies are continuing for this project. DDOT planners have collected data on traffic volume, parking, transit use, land use etc. They have also been reaching out to stakeholders, especially churches, to address concerns early.

They'd like to have a public meeting on it soon, perhaps September, and present alternatives. There will be choices about designs and about which street(s) to use.


Area around downtown from the DC Bicycle Map.

4th and 8th have been ruled out, but they may get bike lanes. On other streets, the options are a one-way protected bikeway on each side of the street; a bi-directional bikeway on one side; or a pair of one-way bikeways on adjacent streets such as 5th and 6th.

They hope to have the 30% design completed by the end of the year, with installation to start next spring.

What else?

DDOT has only installed about two miles of bike lanes so far this year. Bike planners have been busy filling small gaps. Those are nearly as much work as longer lanes, but with less mileage. Still, DDOT planners think they're critical pieces which will pay off.

They've installed a couple of small bike lane sections on 2nd and 3rd streets NE near Rhode Island Avenue; bike lanes and sharrows on 49th street NE; a pair of one-way bike lanes on Galveston and Forrester Streets SE; and one-block sections on 4th and 6th NE near Stanton Park. They plan to do the same thing on 11th and 13th near Lincoln Park too.

19th Street NE/SE on Capitol Hill got a bike lane and sharrows. This project was originally going to be a complete rebuild of the street, but became restriping only.


Area around the northern Met Branch Trail from the DC Bicycle Map.

Design and community outreach is underway on the north section of the Metropolitan Branch Trail. DDOT planners are meeting with community groups, taking soil borings near the trash transfer station and the Metro tunnel, and working on the 30% design, which they hope to complete this year. The stickier sections are where the trail crosses Riggs Road and the area near the Brookland Metro entrance. They hope to start construction in 2017.

Finally, DDOT and DPW are creating a snow clearing plan for bridges for next winter. Last year no one was responsible for the 14th Street Bridge so it wasn't cleared. They are trying to prioritize bridge sidewalks for clearing and then DPW and DDOT are dividing up responsibilities, so that every bridge will eventually get service.

A version of this post was originally posted on TheWashCycle.

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The Greening of Jefferson Avenue, Richmond Virginia

HUD blog - Wed, 2015-07-29 11:34

On June 9, I attended a kick-off event for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Greening America’s Capitals award of technical assistance to the City of Richmond. The goal of the three-day event was to gather input from community stakeholders to improve pedestrian and bicyclist mobility and safety along the Jefferson Avenue corridor in the Union Hill/East End of Richmond.

Greening America’s Capitals helps state capitals develop a vision of environmentally-friendly neighborhoods that incorporate innovative green infrastructure strategies. In collaboration with HUD and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) through the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, EPA provides design assistance to help communities to protect the environment, economy and public health and to inspire state leaders to expand this work elsewhere.

EPA funds a team of designers to visit each city to trigger or complement a larger planning process for the pilot neighborhood. The process results in schematic designs which help city staff develop specific implementation strategies.

In applying for EPA’s technical assistance, the City of Richmond had some additional goals for the community:

  • To improve connections to the nearby river, businesses, medical school and regional recreation amenities.
  • To encourage investment in the vacant and underutilized parcels of land immediately surrounding and near to the project area.
  • To use green infrastructure, including urban food gardens to address storm water pollution.
  • To improve the aesthetic appearance of the corridor, including public art and community green space that would reflect the neighborhood history and character.
  • To coordinate with ongoing projects in the area including the street scape concept developed by the Union Hill Civic Association, proposed traffic calming and a design competition for the pocket park bounded by Jefferson Avenue, 23rd Street, and Clay Street.
  • To define the corridor as a gateway to the community.

Over the next few days, focus groups including city staff, neighborhood residents and local business owners were held to discuss pedestrian and bicycle mobility and safety, storm water management, parks and open/green space and economic development in the neighborhood.

The design team worked to incorporate input from the focus groups and a public meeting. The final day included the chance for City staffers to review potential implementation funding opportunities from federal agencies like HUD and DOT, and an open house to introduce the final plans to the general public.

The designs improved safety by changing the flow of traffic and adding more space for pedestrians and cyclists; they beautified and eased access to Jefferson Park by reducing the number of steps and they protected the environment by reducing the amount of storm water run-off.   All in all, community participants were pleased to see that the final designs addressed their concerns and helped meet their goals for a greener, safer and more lively Jefferson Avenue.

Toni Schmiegelow is a Senior Management Analyst in the HUD’s Richmond field office.

Categories: CNU blogs

We're hiring! Come work for us or help us find great people!

Greater Greater Washington - Wed, 2015-07-29 10:10
by David Alpert

Greater Greater Washington is growing and working more on housing. We're looking to grow our team with two new, amazing people. Is that you? Or do you know someone who fits the bill?
Hiring photo from Shutterstock.

Our new Community Engagement Manager will develop our new housing program by building relationships with people in a wide range of neighborhoods, planning in-person events, recruiting people to write for the web, and organizing people to get involved directly in pushing for solutions to rising housing costs in their communities.

Our Managing Director will strengthen our organization by handling all of the necessary and vitally important pieces of actually making a nonprofit tick, including managing staff day to day, fundraising, handling things like computers and office space, and working with the board to develop clear goals for programs and staff.

The detailed job descriptions are below, or you can download a PDF. Consider applying, and we'd also really appreciate your help spreading the word, especially to people and communities who don't already read Greater Greater Washington. Thank you!

Managing Director

Do you passionately enjoy growing small nonprofit organizations and thinking about how to make them sustainable? Do you also care deeply about walkable urban places, transportation options like transit and bicycling, and increasing housing choices for people of all incomes? Do you want to take Greater Greater Washington to its next level of growth?

Greater Greater Washington is growing from an organization with one part-time employee to three full-time employees. This opens up exciting new possibilities but also requires us to build our organization and sources of support to make that level sustainable, and hopefully grow beyond as well. We need a Managing Director to take primary charge of fundraising, staff, and day-to-day office operation.

The Managing Director will:

  • Develop, supervise, and mentor the Staff Editor and Community Engagement Manager on a day-to-day basis to ensure that they have a clear work plan and the resources they need to succeed; write regular performance reviews in consultation with the Board of Directors
  • Create plans to increase contributed and earned revenue, track existing sources of revenue, and execute on plans with assistance from the Board of Directors and other volunteers
  • Manage the daily operations of the organization such as monitoring spending and income, and securing office space, computers, and other basic needs of the organization
  • Guide, encourage, and recruit volunteer members of our editorial board to continue to steer the website's direction, contribute content, and handle specific portfolios of responsibilities.
  • Work closely with the Founder and President as well as other board members to guide the strategic direction for the organization
  • Staff meetings of the Board of Directors and assist the board in recruiting new members
Candidates must have:
  • At least four years of experience in small nonprofit organizations including experience with organizational development
  • At least three years of experience with fundraising for nonprofits including creating and implementing fundraising plans, ideally including experience fundraising from foundations, corporate sources, and developing earned revenue. Experience with Washington-area philanthropy is a strong plus.
  • Proven ability to work with board members and volunteers with a wide range of personalities to keep them engaged and interested and mediate interactions as needed
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and strong communication skills
  • Talent for thinking strategically and ability to balance immediate and long-term priorities
  • Ability to work independently, without day-to-day direction from others, and to work occasional evenings and weekends
  • Understanding of and experience with multiple parts of the Washington region in DC, Maryland, and Virginia
  • A passion for urban planning and transportation, a deep desire to see more vibrant walkable places in a growing and inclusive region, and some understanding of the policy issues behind it; having regularly read Greater Greater Washington for a substantial period of time is a strong plus
This is a full-time, salaried position. The position involves working with a small team of four people in office space that we will soon secure somewhere in central DC. Women and people of color are strongly encouraged to apply.

To apply, please send a resume; a cover letter explaining your interest and qualifications for the position, and why you want to be a part of our team; and two work samples (fundraising, media, marketing, or other written materials) to jobs@ggwash.org with "Managing Director" in the subject line.


Community engagement photo from Shutterstock.

Community Engagement Manager

Are you as alarmed as we are that Washington, DC is rapidly turning into a place that poor, middle class, and even many upper middle class people cannot afford to live in? Do you want to help us ensure that DC has room for everyone who wants to come live here or stay in the communities where they've long lived? Do you enjoy talking to people face to face? If so, you might be perfect to be Greater Greater Washington's Community Engagement Manager.

The Community Engagement Manager will be able to build an exciting new program for Greater Greater Washington that will involve building relationships, convening conversations, and organizing residents across divides and barriers in DC. The role involves working with people in communities all around the city in person and also helping elevate their voices to a higher level by working with them to create content for the Greater Greater Washington website.

The Community Engagement Manager will:

  • Build relationships with neighborhood leaders, Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners, civic association leaders, faith community leaders, and other stakeholders in all eight wards of DC to discuss housing capacity and displacement issues and build coalitions to pursue solutions
  • Organize and facilitate conversations and educational events in communities around DC
  • Cultivate existing grassroots supporters and locate and engage new supporters through online and offline grassroots outreach techniques
  • Experiment with ways to generate content for the website from in-person events, such as written summaries, audio or video, social media roundups, or other content
  • Identify people who can and are willing to effectively write about their experiences, their visions, and/or development projects in their neighborhoods from all parts of DC
  • Mobilize people to contact District officials and councilmembers, attend community meetings, council hearings, zoning hearings, and other events
Candidates must have:
  • At least three years of experience organizing in electoral or issue advocacy campaigns
  • Experience working in traditionally underserved communities, ideally including District of Columbia wards 7 and 8
  • Ability to attend many community meetings during evenings and weekends
  • Proficiency in using social media to reach a wide audience
  • An outgoing personality and comfort speaking with people from a range of backgrounds
  • Strong writing skills. Experience in media or communications is a plus
  • A strong commitment to walkable, inclusive communities and the transportation networks and other infrastructure needed to support them
  • Experience in economics, housing finance, community development, or related fields also a plus
This is a full-time, salaried position. The position involves a lot of time in the field and working with a small team of four people in office space that we will soon secure somewhere in central DC. Women and people of color are strongly encouraged to apply.

To apply, please send a resume; cover letter explaining your interest in housing capacity in Washington DC, your qualifications for the position, and why you want to be a part of our team; and two short writing samples to jobs@ggwash.org with "Community Engagement Manager" in the subject line.

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Categories: CNU blogs

Breakfast links: Asbestos and concrete

Greater Greater Washington - Wed, 2015-07-29 09:37
by Angela Martinez


Photo by daryl_mitchell on Flickr.Asbestos on the rails: The oldest rail cars in Metro's fleet contain asbestos, but WMATA says there is no threat to riders' health. The agency is hiring a contractor to remove it before the cars are decommissioned and disassembled. (Post)

Even more Transit Center money?: WMATA wants Montgomery County to pay $15 million to cover future maintenance and repair costs for the beleaguered Silver Spring Transit Center before WMATA takes over control of the facility next month. Montgomery County says WMATA is moving the goalposts. (WAMU)

Wheels for those in wheelchairs: DC is pushing for more wheelchair-accessible taxis. There are grants to help taxi companies buy vehicles. Uber, meanwhile, has no wheelchair-accessible cars. (WAMU)

Subsidized solar: An affordable housing development in Adams Morgan is one of the first in the District to install solar panels. The solar panels will help cut down utility costs for the building. (District Source)

It's electric: Metro staff got a first hand look at all-electric bus technology with demonstrations from several bus manufacturers. Metro is in the early stages of evaluating adding all-electric buses to its fleet. (PlanItMetro)

Seven corners a go: Redevelopment at Seven Corners got the green light from the Fairfax County Board. The plan will create denser mixed-use development, but faced strong opposition. (Post)

Big or small: Living in a small condo building lets residents avoid the bureaucracy of large buildings, but also means more responsibility. What's better? (Post)

Have a tip for the links? Submit it here.

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A Better Solution to Reusing Abandoned Property: Evidence from Flint and Detroit

Planetizen blogs - Wed, 2015-07-29 09:00
Margaret Dewar of the University of Michigan blogs about her new article in Journal of Planning Education and Research, which investigates reuse of abandoned property in Detroit and Flint. You can download the article free until August 31, 2015.
Categories: CNU blogs

Jordahl Public Lands Lecture: Still the Geography of Hope: How Public Land Can Restore the Soul, and the Environmental Movement

1,000 Friends of Wisconsin - Tue, 2015-07-28 16:38

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 22. 7:00 P.M. MONONA TERRACE. 1 JOHN NOLEN DRIVE. MADISON, WI. FEATURING TIMOTHY EGAN. Timothy Egan is an acclaimed writer and veteran chronicler of the West whose interests range wide across the American landscape and American history. He is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, a popular columnist, and a National Book Award-winning author.

The post Jordahl Public Lands Lecture: Still the Geography of Hope: How Public Land Can Restore the Soul, and the Environmental Movement appeared first on 1000 Friends of Wisconsin.

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