Jeff Bezos‘ $250 million purchase of The Washington Post in 2014 changed the direction of the newspaper in some fairly significant ways. Among them: The Posts’s focus became less local and more global, it began expanding digital access dramatically (promoted by the Kindle, of course), and started spending some serious cash on events.
One of these events is the America Answers series. Begun in 2014, it is intended to showcase the ways people are solving some of America’s biggest problems, such as commuting. To that end, America Answers’ Fix My Commute event will take place for the second time this October. Last year the forum took place in Washington D.C.’s Studio Theatre, and it was apparent from the catered lunch and generous swag bag that the Post had committed some serious money to it. Vice-President Joe Biden was the keynote speaker, and I was lucky enough to literally be within spitting-distance of him (see above).
The Post wants your participation before this year’s October 21 Fix My Commute forum. It is soliciting comments via the Dr. Gridlock column, or you can tweet comments or questions before-hand using the #americaanswers hashtag. Last year’s event resulted in a ton of new content for the Washington Post web site, as well as useful data for geeks like me. It was also live broadcast over the Web, and should be this year as well.
Photo by the author
The ride-hailing company has invested in autonomous-vehicle research, and its CEO Travis Kalanick (pictured above) has indicated that consumers can expect a driverless Uber fleet by 2030. Uber expects its service to be so inexpensive and ubiquitous as to make car ownership obsolete. Such ambitious plans could make its disruption of the taxi industry look quaint in comparison.
Uber operates in about 60 countries and 300 cities worldwide. Consumers and Wall Street adore the “gig economy” company, which is worth more than $50 billion, and got to that mark in nearly half the time as Facebook.
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Washington D.C.’s recent renaissance probably doesn’t include the Dupont Circle neighborhood. Dupont has been an attractive place to live since the 1970s, when the neighborhood (in decline after World War II and the 1968 riots) was revitalized by gay and lesbian urban pioneers. Along with other neighborhoods like West Hollywood, Chicago’s Boystown, and Greenwich Village, Dupont Circle became nationally known as a gay neighborhood, in large part defining gay identity and culture in America. Today, gentrification has made the neighborhood more mainstream, and you’re more likely to find a pour-over coffee shop or yoga studio in Dupont Circle than a gay bar.
According to Zillow, rents in Dupont are slightly over the median for the city, and housing values, while high, lag those of hotter neighborhoods like U Street and Logan Circle. MWCOG’s Activity Centers project determined that Dupont Circle is the most walkable neighborhood in D.C. (and WalkScore concurs). Dupont’s terrific walkability is not only because the neighborhood is mixed-use, but also because the numerous transportation options — Metro, Capital Bikeshare, and Circulator, among them — make owning a car unnecessary.
Photo of the Dupont Circle neighborhood by Paul Goddin.
[By Paul Goddin for Mobility Lab]
Ever since the Roman Empire, local governments have had great control over land use. Today, this control is exerted through zoning regulations, tax policies, and infrastructure-investment decisions. Municipalities can choose to develop in an unconnected, low-density, suburban-style manner, or they can consider more compact, connected urban land uses.
The report, The Fiscal Implications of Development Patterns, is authored by Smart Growth America’s Chris Zimmerman and RCLCO’s Lee Sobel. They analyze the dollar costs to municipalities of different land-use patterns, concluding that, overall, dispersed, car-dependent land use patterns result in higher costs to municipalities than dense, urban development. Choosing sprawl over density, the authors state, could have multimillion-dollar consequences.
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Washington D.C.’s Union Station, in addition to being a major train hub and leisure destination, is the busiest Metrorail station in Washington’s system. Customers may exit directly to the Amtrak and MARC train platforms, or, as pictured here, onto street level in front of the station’s entrance. Trivia: This shot of Union Station can be seen at the beginning of Alfred Hitchcock’s film Strangers on a Train (1951), when the Metro entrance was utilized as a passenger drop-off point for automobiles and taxicabs.