Hump-day late-night link-dump

CC image from chethan shankar on flickr

CC image from chethan shankar on flickr

Stuff that’s been piling up in my open tabs…

Jarrett Walker takes a look at Seattle, and how the city’s geography of natural chokepoints and barriers aid the city’s transit usage, despite lacking an extensive rail transit system (though it’s getting bigger as we speak).

Transit planning is frustrating in such a place, but road planning is even more so.  Ultimately, Seattle’s chokepoints have the effect of reducing much of the complex problem of mode share to a critical decision about a strategic spot.  If you give transit an advantage through a chokepoint, you’ve given it a big advantage over a large area.

A follow-up post on the subject delves deeper into chokepoints.

For DC, there are a whole lot of factors that shape the balance (or lack thereof) of development between the western portion of the metro area and the eastern half – but these kinds of choke points are certainly part of the success in shaping that development around transit for Metro’s Potomac River crossings.

Free parking FAIL. This is out of date now, but the Mayor of Providence’s plan to offer free on-street parking as means of encouraging downtown shopping  backfired, big time.

Since there’s free parking all day at metered spaces, employees from the nearby courthouse and some from other government offices are taking parking spots early and are staying all day.

It’s leaving holiday shoppers out of the stores.

Not a good idea to try and offer the same things malls offer when you don’t have the means to do so.  Better to use price to encourage turnover and maximize usage, while marketing the advantages that urban shopping districts do have over malls.

Seventy Percent. Previously, I’ve looked at some details of transit plans elsewhere, and Denver’s FasTracks system, centering on a revamped Union Station is as interesting of a case study as any.  They’ve now released the 70% design documents for Union Station (large PDF – 15.3 mb).

Denver Union Station - Diagram of transit facilities, with underground bus concourse connecting light rail platforms (left) with commuter rail/inter city rail (right) and the historic station building.

Denver Union Station - Diagram of transit facilities, with underground bus concourse connecting light rail platforms (left) with commuter rail/inter city rail (right) and the historic station building.

Headquarters?  What is it!?! It’s a big building where Generals meet, but that’s not important right now.

Huh? Oh, that.   Northrup-Grumman is moving to town.   Ruth Samuelson handicaps the race for capturing the actual HQ building, and she’s not betting on DC:

So I guess being right in the thick of Washington D.C. could make a difference. But, realistically, people are betting against the city (this is again from the Sun story):

Washington, which has 1,000 Northrop jobs now, strikes him as out of the running. The potential threat of a terrorist attack is omnipresent in defense contractors’ minds, so he doubts one would choose to locate its leaders there. Maryland and Virginia benefit from being near the nation’s capital but at a potentially safer distance, though “there’s a clear pattern among the recent arrival of defense companies in Washington: They tend to favor Northern Virginia,” [Loren B. Thompson, a military analyst at the Lexington Institute] said.

Now, if we’re all blown into oblivion by a rogue nuclear weapon, is there really that much of a difference between having your HQ in Rosslyn or Crystal City, as opposed to NoMA or the Capitol Riverfront?

The Census is coming. And Maurice Henderson wants you to fill it out.  Do it.  Doooo it.

US v. Canada. While this particular hockey fan is basking in the glory of a thrilling, 6-5 overtime victory for the US over Canada in the World Junior ice hockey championships (with the game winner scored by John Carlson, a prospect for the Washington Caps), TNR’s Avenue blog looks at the economic and metropolitan implications of re-shaping the NHL into more of a rivalry between countries and between cities.  Taking the same passion you see from national team competitions and channeling it into club competitions – perhaps taking a page from soccer’s rivalries and sense of place?

Biosphere. BLDGBLOG takes a look at the abandoned and deteriorating Biosphere 2 project in Arizona.

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