Path dependence, libertarianism, and HSR

There’s been a great back and forth over the past few days on high speed rail, most of it stemming from Ed Glaeser’s flawed cost-benefit analysis, and Yonah Freemark’s counter-analysis.

First, Tyler Cowen weighs in on Yonah’s HSR analysis.

Don’t do it. Given irreversible investment, lock-in effects, and required hurdle rates of return, this

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NIMBYism on the Hill

Recently, this article from the Washington Examiner showed up on my neighborhood listserv for Hill East. A troublesome carry-out establishment on the Hill, previously a magnet for the drug trade and crime, has been torn down and replaced with a taller, mixed use condominium building with space for ground-floor retail.

The Examiner:

A former Hill

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Garden Variety Links

Garden Cities – Suburbs, back to the future…

Christopher, in the comments of my post on the American Dream, mentioned this great photo gallery over on Slate from Witold Rybczynski of Forest Hills Gardens, an American interpretation of the Garden Cities of the turn of the century. Chris notes these Garden City suburbs have

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Sorry for the convenience

Escalator temporarily stairs!

DCist and GGW note a post from Unsuck DC Metro about old studies on converting some of Metro’s escalators to stairs. The relevant document is available on WMATA’s website. As anyone who’s ridden Metro regularly knows, the system has a lot of escalators and they tend to break down quite often.


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Rethinking the American Dream

The American Dream is an awfully broad thing – probably best described by taking phraseology from the Declaration of Independence – life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Somehow, during the past 200+ years of American history, that dream got far more specific and universal, meaning home ownership. Not only did that mean home

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Inter and Intra, all at the same time…

Following up on an idea from previous posts on HSR…

Several HSR skeptics have raised the point that we should invest more in urban mass transit than in intercity rail service. My gut response was “do both!” Yonah Freemark articulates things a bit more coherently:

High-speed rail is convenient to people living or working

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More High Speed Notes

Freakonomics blogger Eric Morris seeks to “start the debate” on high speed rail with his buddy Ed Glaeser, except that I don’t usually seek to start debates with authoritative titles like “the bottom line on high speed rail.” Yesterday, Stephen Dubner did him one better by categorically denying peak oil – which kind of misses

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High Speed Nonsense

Ed Glaeser, what have you started?

First, you post a series of articles over with the New York Times on how the math for High Speed Rail doesn’t add up. The poor assumptions force guys like Ryan Avent to rip these articles to shreds. Any back of the envelope calculation will involve a lot of

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Downtown Open Space

Last week, DC Metrocentric floated the idea of leaving the old convention center site free from development, turning the area into a park, plaza, or some other sort of space. Matt Yglesias rightfully shot the idea down. The map accompanying his post makes the reasons why abundantly clear:

Substantial, underutilized park spaces flank the

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Potomac Avenue Square – Update

Potomac Ave. Image from M.V. Jantzen on Flickr

Last week, David Alpert put together a nice Google map interface showing off DDOT’s Transportation Improvement Plan. Of particular interest to me is the new traffic circle/square/oval/rhombus at the intersection of Pennsylvania, Potomac, and 14th St SE. I’ve delved into the plans for the intersection previously

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