Friday, May 13, 2011
(Washington D.C. - David Schultz, WAMU) It's five months into his first term, and D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray still hasn't selected a permanent head to his Department of Transportation. Now, two of the Department's top deputies are resigning and one says this leadership vacuum was a factor in her departure.
Deputy Director for Resource Management Leah Treat and Associate Director for Policy Karina Ricks are leaving DDOT, the organization for which they've worked for a combined 22 years. Ricks says she will be leaving later this summer. According to sources within DDOT, Treat is already gone.
Friday, April 22, 2011
(Washington D.C. - David Schultz, WAMU) My colleague at WAMU, the esteemed J. Patrick Madden, reports that membership in Capital Bikeshare, D.C.'s nascent bikesharing program, "practically doubled overnight to 10,000" after the city partnered with the online coupon company Living Social.
Thousands of Living Social members took advantage of discounted membership rates and can now ride on one of the seemingly ubiquitous red and yellow Capital Bikeshare bikes.
The District is looking to build 25 new bike rental stations, Madden reports, in addition to the 100 that already exist. Currently, the stations are only in D.C. and neighboring Arlington County, Va. But other local jurisdictions, such as Alexandria, Va. and Montgomery County, Md., have expressed interest in joining Capital Bikeshare.
The Revolving Door: Despite Ethics Rules, Former Metro Executive Now Lobbying On Behalf Of Metro Contractor
Monday, March 21, 2011
(Washington D.C. -- David Schultz, WAMU) A private email obtained by WAMU shows that Emeka Moneme, a former top executive at D.C.'s Metro, may have violated ethics rules by lobbying his former coworkers on behalf of one of Metro's largest contractors.
Metro says it still believes in the integrity of its contracting process.
Friday, January 28, 2011
(Washington D.C. - David Schultz, WAMU) Last year, D.C. unveiled its nifty new bike sharing service, Capital Bikeshare, which allows riders to swipe a credit card and rent a bike for a few hours from dozens of street corner bike-sharing stations across the city.
It was billed as one of the crowning achievements of former D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty and his prolific transportation guru Gabe Klein. (Ironically, the launch ceremony for Capital Bikeshare was held just days after Fenty's devastating primary election loss to the city's current mayor, Vincent Gray.)
At the time, one of the big questions that many people a few people I had was: who is Capital Bikeshare for? Is it really going to significantly improve transportation in Washington? Or is it going to be used only by committed cyclists and/or tourists looking for a quick way to museum hop?
Well, some early data is in and it looks like my skepticism may have been unfounded. As the map to the left shows, most of the trips taken by Capital Bikeshare have been within D.C.'s residential areas - not around the touristic mecca of the National Mall.
Wednesday, December 08, 2010
(Washington, D.C. - David Schultz, WAMU) Just a few moments ago, Gabe Klein, the director of Washington D.C.'s Transportation Department and a strong advocate of transit and pedestrian-oriented policies, announced his resignation.
Klein was appointed to the post two years ago by Mayor Adrian Fenty, who, earlier this year, was resoundingly defeated in his reelection bid by City Council Chairman Vincent Gray. Klein and Gray had clashed earlier this year over funding for the city's urban streetcar program, so Klein's departure just a few months before the new mayor takes office is not a huge surprise.
Still, Klein enjoyed a fair amount of support for his agenda, which, along with the streetcar project, included the installation of more bike lanes on roads, beefing up the city's local short-trip bus service and, perhaps most successfully, launching a city-wide bike sharing service.
Vehicle sharing seems to be Klein's M.O. Before joining the local government in D.C., Klein was a regional vice president of Zipcar, the pioneering car-sharing company that has taken off in many urban areas.
For more on Klein's resignation, check back in with WAMU throughout the day.
Friday, December 03, 2010
(Washington, D.C. -- David Schultz, WAMU) The D.C. City Council, convening in a lame duck session next week, will cast a crucial vote on funding for an urban street car project.
The project was the darling of outgoing Mayor Adrian Fenty and his Director of Transportation Gabe Klein. Building a streetcar as a supplement to the city's already-existing bus and subway service was a huge part of their overall goal to make D.C. more walkable and to spur economic development in blighted neighborhoods.
But the project's costs have been climbing steadily upward, and there are still questions about how the streetcars will be powered (i.e. whether there will be overhead wires blocking D.C.'s monumental views).
His soon-to-be successor, current Council Chairman Vincent Gray, has been much more cool to the streetcar. In a late night budget session earlier this year, Gray eliminated funding for the streetcar project — only to reinstate it later that day after an outcry from the local transit backers.
Gray later blamed the elimination of streetcar funding on a "staff error," and said he is a full supporter of the project. But the upcoming vote, which could be one of his last on the City Council, will be a true test of that support.
Wednesday, September 01, 2010
(Washington, DC - David Schultz, WAMU News) Car dealerships, as downtown businesses go, aren't great neighbors. They bring grease-stained service centers, and large, open asphalt lots to blocks. At night, they turn strips of development into dark, foot traffic-free areas. Adding something like that to Washington D.C. would be unthinkable, you might think. This city guards its scenic vistas and grand avenues like some grizzlies guard their cubs.
So then why is the D.C. Mayor's office not only supporting but also facilitating a car company's bid to open a dealership on K and 11th Streets NW - right in the heart of downtown D.C., just a few blocks from the White House?