Gordon Chaffinis a freelance journalist who focuses on infrastructure and traffic news and insights for Street Justice. You can support independent journalism by subscribing to Gordon’s StreetJustice newsletter: He’s offering a 20% discount to THIH readers. See more information below. –Maria Helena Carey
Note on Kennedy Center’s REACH Festival of Events
The Kennedy Center opened up its new outdoor event space REACH this month and is in the middle of several weeks worth of programming there. A new bike/ped bridge was built across the Rock Creek Parkway as part of this renovation at the Center’s Southwest edge. It connects the Potomac waterfront shared-use path with the too-narrow, poor-surfaced Roosevelt Bridge bike/walk sidepath and the Virginia Avenue/Watergate intersection. From there, trail users can ride into Foggy Bottom, though that area has dangerous pedestrian crossings and no bike facilities. (Cough, ANC 2A, Cough).
On Friday afternoon, I was stopped while trying to use the new Rock Creek Parkway bridge to get from that waterfront path to Foggy Bottom via the REACH site. Security guards wanted to search my basket even though I was just riding through. They said this was only for REACH’s opening weeks of events. They told me that this security search procedure would not be in place during regular Kennedy Center events. However, I am suspicious that future events held at REACH — outdoor concerts, etc — will also include locking down this bridge. I have to check with KenCen officials on that. If security is frequently placed at this new bridge, a much-needed bike/ped connection, the public benefit will be greatly reduced.
SW Waterfront ANC Wants Expensive Safety Compromise
At Monday night’s ANC 6D (Navy Yard/SW Waterfront/Buzzard Point), Commissioners requested DDOT consider an alternative proposal for the P Street SW cycletrack the agency proposes built. It would form the final missing link of the Anacostia River Trail at the expense of 26 resident-zoned parking spaces along two blocks with no residents on one side and two apartment buildings with off-street resident parking.
ANC 6D will vote on whether to support DDOT’s plan during their October 21st meeting. Safe streets advocates will need to consider their position regarding 6D’s call for an alternative design that saves the 26 parking spots adjacent to Fort McNair. DDOT’s hesitance to propose alternatives is that most alternatives would cost orders of magnitude more and take two years or more to implement. Even if those two were worth it, DDOT sources raise serious design concerns that may not be solvable.
In short, DDOT could implement this cycletrack in the next month or two for about $10K or they could attempt to reconstruct the entire south sidewalk and green space, add ADA upgrades, negotiate successfully with the Defense Department, and build an off-street alternative for $250K and installation 2021-22. That’s according to a DDOT source familiar with this project and experienced in bike/ped infrastructure design and implementation.
DC Vision Zero Hearing Delayed
Multiple people said this week that DC Council’s Committee on Transportation and the Environment will *not* host a hearing Monday, September 23rd on CM Allen’s Vision Zero bill, CM Cheh’s mobility rules bill, and others. Those stakeholders say the hearing was rescheduled because of a scheduling mishap unrelated to the substantive debate or that week’s sentencing hearing for slain bicyclist Dave Salovesh. There is no new date. The bills will *not* expire at the end of this fiscal (Sept 30) or calendar year, so far as I know. They will only expire at the end of this DC Council term in December 2020. [Full Story]
School Bus Staging Stymies Capitol Hill NE
School buses dropping off and picking up at Capitol Hill Montessori @ Logan double-park on 3rd Street NE between F and G Streets NE. This is according to at least two days of tweets with photos from a resident. ANC 6C04 Commissioner Mark Eckenwiler replied that he wrote into DCPS about the issue. DCPS and DDOT were supposed to change on-street parking signs to reflect no-parking during school PUDO times. He also wrote August 27th that the school should stage buses on their parking lot for now. However, DCPS claims that’s hard because of construction at the site. Eckenwiler doubts that it’s so large an issue. The parent confirmed on August 28th that school buses were PUDO on the parking lot, “but that’s not a permanent solution – construction has already started.” [Full Story]
Street Justice is Growing But Needs Your Help
We have several new paid subscribers this week after Tuesday’s behind-the-scenes explanation of Street Justice’s financial runway and my struggle to grow the news organization. Thank you very much for pledging your support. They tell you that you only need 1,000 people at $5/mo to make a living. But, getting to 1,000 is a multi-year, full gas effort of outreach, demonstrated good work product, and funding help (in most cases family wealth, personal savings, and ben/malevolent rich backers). I’ve asked you to pledge more than $5 — $7, $10, etc — because 500 at an average of $10/mo is a lot more realistic given the niche topics and limited audience of local news in a transient city. PoPville does volume shooting, I have to be an efficient point guard. I’m creating benefits for premium subscribers at $20/month or more so there’s an archive of audio/video/data/photos and other supporting documents for stakeholders to access and refer back to.
The chart above shows how Street Justice is growing consistently, if slowly, after nine months of daily production. The industry standard for digital news subscriptions is 10% of your audience pays to subscribe. Street Justice is running at 14.7%. I’d love 10,000 total and 1,000 paying a $5/mo average, but 5,000 with 500 paying $10/mo average is more appropriate for a niche coverage area. Beyond paying living wage hourly work to an editor and occasional young journalist contributors, I don’t aspire for Street Justice to be any bigger than this reporter. Maybe we get a bigger/better A/V kit, but this is always going to be run out of my office. Which is also my bedroom. And the kitchen. I live in a shipping container. My bed is 8 feet away from this screen.
WaPost’s The Express closed last week. When I moved here in 2009, it was a staple for 40% – 60% of Metro riders to read it during commutes. Then came smartphones, and single-tracking, and Safe Track, and summer shutdowns, and the destruction of local journalism in even the biggest U.S. cities. I care about providing that daily reporting to transit riders the way Express did. Ask your older friends and co-workers about it. Tell them to subscribe to Street Justice. Press that “Forward” button right now and send it to them. We won’t have such iconic covers, unfortunately[Full, Free-to-Read Story]
This is a daily newsletter produced by Gordon Chaffin, a journalist in Washington DC who covers transportation & urban planning in DC, MD, & VA. Reports delivered every weekday afternoon for paid subscribers and Sunday mornings for free subscribers. Sign up for free. Please support local journalism with $5/mo or $50/yr. The Hill is Home readers can subscribe to Street Justice for a 20% discount.