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Tag Archives: DC

The Obama’s New Digs

After the Presidency, the Obama’s will be moving to some really nice digs in DC’s Kalorama Section. Kalorama is one of several sections in the city which feature beautiful high-end, often stone faced homes in a wooded setting, bordered on two sides by Rock Creek Park and the Naval Observatory. The Obama’s will be renting, while they decide where they would like to ultimately locate. No hint on whether they will return to Chicago. At 8200 sf, I don’t think they will be cramped for space.

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2016 in Giant Negros

 

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Anatomy of a Disaster

This is the BIG problem plaguing our subway system in DC. This one does not appear to be a failing power connector. If you look closely towards the bottom left there appears to be a bit of trash, possibly tin foil caught on the insulator holding the 3rd Rail, allowing it to arc to ground and the travelling rail. 700 Volts at 6,000 Amps makes a hell of a boom when it is shorted!

 
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Posted by on May 6, 2016 in News, Uncategorized

 

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Man “Busjacks” Metro Bus in DC

Washington DC’s Metro System converted to fare cards quite a while back. So there is little to no money on a Bus. So why someone would hijack a Bus is a bit of mystery. Looks like the hijacker may have been trying to blow the bus up by driving it over the gas pumps like in the movies.

Crazy people doing crazy things (with guns) everywhere!

Hijacked bus kills pedestrian in D.C.

Authorities say a man attacked a bus driver, stole the bus, then struck and killed a man after the bus jumped a curb at a gas station.

Police Chief Cathy Lanier said at a news conference Tuesday that the man with a weapon attacked the driver. She says passengers fled the bus and the driver hit the emergency button before getting off himself.

Lanier says the man drove off and as the bus pulled into a gas station it went over a curb and hit the man. She says the man was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Lanier says the man who stole the bus appeared distraught as officers took him into custody. CBS affiliate WUSA-TV reports the alleged hijacker was taken to a hospital for evaluation.

 

 
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Posted by on May 3, 2016 in Nawwwwww!

 

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Negative Press Spurs DC To Give 107 Year Old Woman Photo ID

Get enough people demanding answers and once in a while the politicians will respond…

ID problem resolved for 107-year-old woman who danced with Obamas

“Thank the lord!” 107-year-old Virginia McLaurin exclaimed Tuesday morning as Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser handed her a copy of a new government-issued photo ID.

Just days earlier, McLaurin revealed in an interview with The Washington Postthat after meeting and dancing with President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama in February, she had been invited to New York and Los Angeles for media interviews.

There was only one problem: McLaurin didn’t have the ID she’d need to travel by plane or train, and she didn’t have the appropriate documents to get one.

The Department of Motor Vehicles in D.C. said she would need documentation that proves her identity, such as a U.S. birth certificate, an unexpired passport or an unexpired military ID card, among other things. Now at the age of 107, McLaurin didn’t have any of the required documentation to get a D.C. photo ID. She once had one, but it was stolen awhile back, she told the Post. In order to obtain her birth certificate from South Carolina where where she was born, she discovered she would also need a government-issued photo ID.

Bowser heard about McLaurin’s ordeal and as a result, Washington, D.C. passed a new regulation on Monday that allows the city to make exceptions for elderly residents applying for a driver’s license or photo ID. Under the new regulation, D.C. officials will now have the discretion to make exceptions for federal requirements for any D.C. resident over the age of 70, whereby they can come up with other acceptable documents.

“Thank you. Thank the lord!” McLaurin said after they handed her the temporary version of the ID. She will receive the official version in the mail.

Asked how she was feeling, she said, “Great! I feel great!…I don’t feel like 107. I feel like I’m about 16.”

 

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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DC Metro May Shut Down Major Lines for 6 Months

The nation’s second busiest subway system may have to shut down service for 6 months in what could be a catastrophic outage for a system which carries 800,000 passengers a day. Once the nation’s crown jewel system, the problems that have brought Metro’ Subway System low are an accumulation of problems over years. About half of the blame rests with how the system is funded, the other half is based on gross incompetence at the middle and senior management level of the Authority.

Metro or the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority is an odd duck in terms of organization due to the fact that a significant portion of it’s budget comes from the Government. Which means Congressional oversight and piddling in the affairs of the company. The Company’s ownership is spread across the 7 jurisdictions it serves in the Washington Metropolitan area, including the Federal Government. The Federal Government is a player here because 53% of the passengers on the system are Federal Employees. As everything from fares to which communities are served is regulated, the company is designed never to make a profit (or even break even), and each served municipality pays a proportional part of the actual operating budget each year.

In function, the Transit Agency works like a Federal Government entity – meaning there is no motivation of the employees to either improve service, to make systems operate more efficiently, or to cut costs…Ergo the old $10,000 Toilet Seat issue. Massive cost overruns are the norm. Massive project failures are the norm. The recent Silver Line expansion ballooned from $1 billion to $3 billion, in large part due to project being managed by the corrupt Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority – a situation created because of lack of faith that Metro could manage such a large project. I mean when the Federal Government is going o take over your local transit authority – not only are things truly f’d up… But they are going to get a lot worse.

While, like any big dollar enterprise, there are incidents of corruption – even to the highest levels of the management structure, there is no evidence of any major corruption issue, or that corruption is the reason behind the Authority’s failure. It really boils down to incompetence within almost the entire senior management structure at the company’s headquarters. As such, confusion, lack of vision, lack of will, turf fights, nepotism, and duplicate organizational functions are the order of the day. And to clarify a point, very little of “the problem” has to do with the rank and file customer facing employees who in general believe in the mission of serving the community and often will go above board to make things right.

Accepting Federal money means the involvement of Congress. It also means Federal Agency Oversight, which in typical form tries to solve problems at the weed level instead of systemic. It means getting whipsawed by political trade winds in Congress, being victim to corruption at the Congressional Level, and dealing with Congressional fingers in the pie at any time. Ergo the Republicans want the system to operate without tax dollars or a fare hike (It’s the same magic which destroyed some of their own states), and the Democrats want the system to operate as a social good vehicle.

A major shutdown of the system could entail putting 500,000 cars onto the Washington area’s already gridlocked streets. It will cost the Federal Government and private businesses Billions of dollars in lost work and revenue. As a Management Consultant who has done rescues, turnarounds and restructurings of companies, and a former employee of Metro, I have a pretty good idea about what needs to be done…And it isn’t initially going to be pretty.

Lengthy Shutdowns in Washington, D.C., Metro System Are Possible

Repairs to Washington’s aging subway could require the closure of entire rail lines for months at a time, the system’s chairman, Jack Evans, said Wednesday. At the very least, Mr. Evans said, riders should expect the closure of segments of individual lines for extended periods.

His remarks were the latest indication that the system, known as Metro, will be facing significant service disruptions as its management confronts financial and safety problems.

“If we are going to fix the infrastructure, we can’t do it three hours at night,” Mr. Evans, who is also a member of the D.C. Council, said at a symposium marking Metro’s 40th anniversary.

“There may be decisions where we have to close down whole lines and repair them, which are going to be very unpopular,” Mr. Evans added. “But the only way that we are going to get this system fixed is to make unpopular decisions.”

Metro officials already closed the system for a day earlier this month for an emergency safety inspection.

Mr. Evans called the system “maybe safe, somewhat unreliable, and being complained about by everybody,” and said that its health long-term requires increased — and a permanent — source of financing, like a regional sales tax and annual federal contributions.

Paul J. Wiedefeld, Metro’s general manager, will announce a systemwide maintenance plan in four to six weeks, a Metro spokesman, Dan Stessel, said Wednesday.

Mr. Wiedefeld, in his own remarks at the Wednesday meeting, said the scale of the transit agency’s woes required drastic measures.

“What we have been doing has not been working,” he said. “We cannot Band-Aid, we cannot paper over some of these issues.”

Both men’s remarks were first reported by The Washington Post.

 

 
 

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DC Metro System Shut Down

How bad is DC’s Metro?

They are shutting down for 24 hrs, over a workday…to “inspect the system”.

That leaves approximately 800,000 daily workday passengers SOL.

I don’t even want to think about what the impact of putting 500,000 more cars on the road tomorrow (3/16/16) will be. The impact to traffic will be worse than the blizzard dumping 3 ft of snow on the area just two short months ago. Since 53% of the riders on Metro are government workers, it may well wind up that there is a Federal Government shutdown as well.

Photo taken inside a DC Metro car during the incident at L’Enfant Station when an electrical feed to the train shorted out

The system has been plagued with numerous problems, both self inflicted, and by the fact that much of the infrastructure is 30-40 years old. Due to the self-inflicted problems the company is not able to keep pace with the repair work necessary to renovate the system. In particular, the electrical system is ancient on the older lines is beyond it’s projected lifecycle causing about a half dozen major incidents in the last year, with a passenger fatality on a stuck train due to smoke inhalation. Just Monday this week, another electrical failure stopped traffic on the system’s busiest tunnel system, shared by 3 lines. One of the lines is still not fully operational.

BTx3 is working from home tomorrow.

This is the section of tunnel which arced and caught fire last year resulting in a passenger fatality, just outside the L’Enfant Metro Station.

Sources: Metrorail Will Shut Down All Day Wednesday for Emergency Investigation of Equipment

The entire D.C. Metro system will shut down for 24 hours starting at midnight and lasting for the entire day Wednesday for an emergency investigation, two sources tell News4.

Metro officials are expected to announce at 4 p.m. Tuesday that they need to inspect as many as 1,200 pieces of equipment, as News4’s Tom Sherwood was first to report.

A cable fire early Monday caused delays on the Blue, Orange and Silver lines throughout the day.

This is an abandoned trolley tunnel under DC, built back in the 1949

This is a current Metro tunnel on the Red Line – the oldest operating line.

 
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Posted by on March 15, 2016 in You Know It's Bad When...

 

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Streetcars Return to DC

Re-purposed “antique” DC Capital Transit Fare Tokens,, which are actually a bit smaller than a dime.

As a youngster, I remember Streetcars running on the streets of Washington, DC. Indeed, somewhere in my collection of trivial things I’ve never thrown out is a DC Capital Transit Fare Token. As a youngster, my Mom and I rode the Subway Car through Georgetown on the last day in 1962, before they shut the system down. The Washington, DC METRO Subway System was built with little regards as to where the people who were actually going to use the system actually lived – or where developers were building huge communities outside the Capital Beltway. As such, an area like Tyson’s Corner, a non-incorporated area near the City – which employs more people than the City of Washington, DC only got access with the addition of the new Silver Line last year. In a number of other fast growing un-served communities in the area, the Streetcar has become a rallying cry – and plans to build at least 6 lines have been underway with varying success over the last few years.

The first of the proposed systems is scheduled to open 2/28/2016, covering he rapidly developing (re gentrifying) H Street corridor in Northeast DC.

While a romantic idea from a bygone era, there are valid questions as to whether such systems are even viable.

The new system?

Yeah they are pretty…But they are going to make a hell of a mess of traffic on H Street

 

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2016 in General

 

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