(08/01) Envisioning a Future
Washington summarizes Alice Rivlin/Carol O'Cleireacain's new
paper, visualizing DC's growth over the next decade heavily favors residential growth, shows
"productivity"of various family groups. Lengthy NARPAC critique indicates areas of agreement
(08/01) NARPAC's Ten-Year Vision for DC elaborates on NARPAC's preferred alternatives to Rivlin initiative above heavily favors commercial growth for financial stability; includes proposed changes in governance, "poverty-sharing"provides hot links to each of eight detailed tables listing possible improvements
(01/02) NARPAC A'01 Annual Assessment of DC progress describes DC's limited progress in each of nine domestic urban "wars" during 2001, wistfully comparing mayor's capabilities compared to those of President Bush in his single-minded War Against Evildoers
(01/02) Index of Long Range Solutions provides hot links to each of eight detailed tables listing possible improvements updated 01/02
(01/02) Target Values for Quantitative Indicators 80 quantitative indicators of progress in city performance are provided across the eight categories of major issues with target values and their sources updated 01/02
(11/99) Worst Place to Raise a Child Summary of latest Children's Rights Council report ranking 50 states and DC as place to raise a child--chosen parameters key
(10/99) DC Scorecard Performance
Measurement discusses original scorecard development by DC
Agenda, subsequently perfected elsewhere
(01/02) Table of Qualitative Indicators compares the original draft "scorecard" for DC government services, developed by DC Agenda, with NARPAC's broader listing, updated 01/02
(06/00) Official DC Scorecards for 2000 Revised, simplified scorecards provide specific tasks for some of DC's top managers for 2000. NARPAC finds coverage incomplete, with serious concerns for lack of comparative ranking for the overall team effort
(02/01) Mayor Announces Scorecard Results for Y2000 Results of first-year effort towards accountability look encouraging--but will there be improvement and follow-up?
(01/01) Potomac Index--New Measure of Regional Success Inaugural effort by GW Board of Trade panel to establish quantitative criteria for measuring success of metro area in becoming "world-class connected community". Provides 29 progress measures, divided into 5 'strategic commitments': innovation and entrepreneurship; inclusiveness; education and lifelong learning; quality of life; and regional thinking and action. NARPAC questions amorphous redefinition of area; lack of comparisons with other metro areas; no intra-area comparisons; poor definition of quality of life; no measures of 'connectedness'; no 'norms' as targets; no costs of gov't criteria; etc.
| (10/97) The Geographical Domain jurisdictional
borders, National Park Service areas
(10/97) The Jurisdictional Domainstate v. territory v. county v. inner city v. wards
| (10/97) The Hierarchal Domain jurisdictional
dependence, dependence on federal government
| (10/97) Diminished Roles for DC give
up state functions, become a colony, become in part a National Park
(10/97) Gain Greater Autonomy townships, privatized or affiliated services, realigned ward structure
(08/99) Change Boundaries bring Arlington back, let wards secede to neighboring states, cede "Anacostia County" to Maryland
(10/97) Minimal District schematics of "National Capital District"
| (10/97) Place DC in Higher Jurisdiction
merge all or parts into MD, VA, make separate county, adopt
regional government, changing demographic balance, outlook
(10/97) Make DC a Separate State statehood party, local gov't, Congressional interference
(05/99) Daily Headlines Post headline summaries for 1997, 1998, and most recent concerning DC's alternate futures.
(09/99) Official Studies summaries of Rivlin reports, GAO reports, DC Agenda Project, Business Reg Reform
Commission, links to reviews of Tax Revision Commission, Public Housing reports, and
FY2000 DC Budget.
(11/00) 1970 Commission on the Organization of DC summaries the 28-year old final report of this commission which identified most of the problems still extant today: commonality with other metro areas; urban gov't costs; demographic trends; problems for school children and elderly; too many low income families; poor gov't productivity and lack of analysis thereof; no accountability; lack of accurate data; performance standards; relations with Congress; micromanagement; etc. remarkable parallels to the content of this web site. .
(09/99) Brookings Rpt on "A Region Divided" presents "east-west fault line"; availability of resources in region; need for regional cooperation. NARPAC questions off-center map; lack of jurisdictional data; denial of "suburbs vs central city" contest", etc.
(09/00) State of the Union for American Kids" summarizes annual report of the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics providing data on total population share, mix, and proportion; parental and poverty status; health, birth and death rates; and education. Better-off kids are getting better while worse-off kids are stuck on the bottom. Education improvements seem closely tied to better parental education.
(09/00) State of the Union for American
Kids" summarizes annual report of the Federal Interagency
Forum on Child and Family Statistics providing data on total population share, mix, and
proportion; parental and poverty status; health, birth and death rates; and education. Better-off
kids are getting better while worse-off kids are stuck on the bottom. Education improvements
seem closely tied to better parental education.|
(12/00) 7th Annual Rpt: DC Kids Count" provides latest--and discouraging--data on the status of DC's declining number of kids, plus summary of 10-yr trends
(02/02) Government's Greatest Priorities for Next 50 Years This Brookings Survey asked 550 academics where government should put their emphasis over the next 50 years: urban problems, in the main, were shoved to the bottom of the list
(02/02) Low Income Housing Survey provides data on the growing gap between housing costs and the income of the poor. Focusing mainly on renters, it shows that many of the otherwise affordable rental properties are occupied by people who could afford to pay more, leaving the truly poor with few choices.
(05/02) McKinsey Report on DC's Financial Position was prepared at the behest of the Federal City Council to update their prior studies. In short, they claim that DC is on the path to $500M-$700M deficits in future years, and that DC should not only tighten its fiscal belt, but seek hundreds of millions in annual payments from the federal government. To NARPAC this appears to be a superficial endorsement of dubious statistics about a misleading "structural imbalance". Better solutions exist.
| (09/97) Metro Areas Outgrow
growth of suburbs, comparative state/local revenues and
(09/97) The Governance Pyramid federal guidance,state, county levels, city gov'ts, school districts, neighborhoods
(09/97) DC's Missing Levels no states and counties, too much Congress
(09/97) Regional Authorities metro groups here, other cities, federal incentives needed
| (09/99) DC Disenfranchised potential
for retrocession, devices to get vote, precedent for Congressional amendments,
metro participation, restore voting rights in Maryland?, dialogue from 'themail' on
constitutionality of voting representation
(11/00) Courts Deny DC Vote in Congress provides 2000 chronology, chapter and verse on the courts' turndown of DC representation in the Congress--including the Supreme Court. Pushes issue back to Congress
(09/97) Regionalism Overlooked "metro area" considerations not included in recent charters; DC Council resists regionalization
(01/02) Long Range Solutions various options for major actions at federal, regional, and local levels tabulated updated 01/02
Board of Trade Testimony State of Potomac,
Greater Washington Initiative, Potomac Conference, summary of Jan '99
(12/98) Defining Regionalism what, why, how, when, Nat'l Assn of Regional Councils, regionalism elsewhere, Chicago moves to regionalism, others threatened
(11/98) Pres. Council on Sustainable Development roles of different gov't levels in "strengthening communities"
(11/98) Potential Initiatives in Region NARPAC suggestions to OMB to: increase gov't efficiency, level playing field, redefining urban roles, normalizing metro area quality of life, balancing Congressional representation, incentivizing regional grants
(04/99) Other Opportunities for Regionalization DC/Pr. George's police cooperation, Regional police academy, DC School System coop with MD, regionalizing unions
(01/00) New Federal Role in Regionalism? APSA experts' roundtable looks at new justifications for, and specific actions such as providing data ; using , extending, or rescinding existing authorities; etc.
(02/99) Williams Transition Team Report general engagement, transportation/smart growth, workforce and economic development, missing: increasing local gov't effectiveness
(02/99) Growing Suburban Enemy:
Roger Lewis "report card" in Post, new Myron Orfield book,
VP Gore initiatives
(08/98) Metro DC Council of Gov'ts organization, program output, missions, NARPAC appraisal and recommendations
(08/98) NARPAC Looks at MWCOG "wave of future", DC has not sought help; COG has problems, alternatives to COG, NARPAC recommendations
(08/98) Proposed Regional Transportation Act summaries proposed new metro area bill: includes revenue raising option
(11/99) Governance and Opportunity in Metropolitan America summarizes and critiques new NRC book on national metro area problems that confirm prior NARPAC analyses, and proposes state-level remedies. NARPAC points out several shortcomings, including lack of federal role in leveling metro playing fields
(04/00) The Nation's Mayors Speak Out resolution at 1999 annual conference of US Mayors speaks out for linking cities and their suburbs, urging more comprehensive and vigorous strategies for our nation's cities, and for endorsing and supporting changes in federal policies, regulatory and administrative actions that discourage residential and business activities in central cities and nearby suburbs
| (11/98) DC Statistics
DC has city statistics, not like small states, demographics confirm urban
(11/98) Macro-Economic Growth growth tables, home rule not at root of problem,
(03/99) DC Share of Metro Growth statistical shares of metro area, DC contribution dropping, bidding for businesses like Marriott
(08/01) 1999 Statistics of Income compares distribution of income federal income taxes for DC, Md, Va, and US total; illustrates how to estimate DC revenues for any household group; provides 50 years of historical trends in DC tax returns, demonstrating no major "exodus" of "middle class" taxpayers
(02/02) Revenues from DC Residents estimates the total sales, property, and income tax revenues to DC from each of the income categories, showing the high dependence on a few households in the top income bracket
(08/01) Population Trends trends by age, households, race, children, jobs, taxpayers, middle/upper income taxpayers, 1996 update, other clues to demographic, racial trends, latest ('98) migration conclusions, influx of Latinos to region, distribution of age by ward, ranked by median household income
(08/01) Difference Between Mean and Median Income demonstrates meaning of different values for same term; indicates risks in drawing conclusions across broad spectrum can have same mean and median, very different fiscal implications
(06/01) DC Highlights from Census 2000 provides graphics on long-term regional trends; population shares for DC and suburbs; household trends; demographic changes in DC by ward; comparison to American demographic norms; shift in population centroid
(09/02) Regional Highlights from Census 2000 provides graphics comparing population, poverty, household income, housing sales, black pop'n, college grads, crimes and cops, and shows how different DC would be if these data were normalized across the metro area
(08/02) Comparisons of Metro Kids from Census 2000 provides graphics comparing numbers of kids, kids with disabilities, minorities of kids and adults, school kids and asian kids, and numbers of their teachers and schools, and, like prior section, shows how different DC would be if these data were normalized across the metro area
(04/03) Comparisons of Regional Car Ownership from
Census 2000 Car ownership increased by 400,000 cars over the
past 10 years, though the number of cars per household held steady at just over two. DC
has by far the largest number of households without cars, but, NARPAC concludes, due to
poverty, not urban sophistication
(04/03) Comparisons of Regional Commuting Patterns from Census 2000 There are some 2,500,000 commuters in the region, some 81% by car, and 84% of those driving alone. DC has by far the best use of public transportation, and has the same share of cross-stateline commuters as Maryland and Virginia. 74,000 walk to work, and 7700 use bikes, 40% of which live in DC.
(06/03) Tourists and Visitors Still Flock to DC compares DC's visitors in 2002 to commuters and shows what tourists do in DC
(02/02) The 1998 American Housing Survey for the DC metro area provides comprehensive comparative data on metro area households allowing direct comparison of DC vs Fairfax County; DC renters vs DC home owners; and DC black households vs Pr. George's black households: income levels and marital status tend to tell the story
(07/01) Y2000 Real Estate Values shows increasing "real estate product" (units sold x median selling price) in 2000 for all local jurisdictions of 'inner metro area' around and including DC, but also shows DC's small share of total value
(04/03) Real Estate Values Continue to Rise in 2001, 2002 summarizes significant increases in regional sales value of homes, even though the number of units sold lower then previous years. DC gains are highest in the region. However, tax revenues from residential properties are still lagging well behind increases in the assessed valuation of newly built commercial properties.
(06/03) DC Interest in Condos Has a Ways to Go shows comparative unit sales for houses and condos in metro area in 2002 vs 2001: DC interest seems to be growing
(11/00) Increasing Metro Area School Diversity provides tables of the 1999-2000 demographic make- up for all the metro area school systems, and shows 30-year changes in Montgomery County system: portends rapid changes in ethnic/racial balances now underway
(05/99) Daily Headlines Post headline summaries for 1997, 1998, 1999, and most recent concerning DC's role in regional growth
(01/02) Long Range Economic Solutions core city economic incentives: vision, incentives, economic climate for business and residents tabulated -- updated 01/02
(08/02) Distribution of State/Local
Spending:ranks state/local spending in major categories by share of total personal income,
indicating how far DC is from US norm.
(08/02) Government Employees per Capita:shows gov't personnel per capita in 16 categories of state/local spending for DC, Maryland, Virginia, and US total, illustrating DC overstaffing in safety and welfare components.
(08/02) Major City School Districts:shows cost per student, teachers per student vs school size, graduation rates vs school size and minority percentages for 40 major urban school districts. Also shows household income and poverty level vs education level for 31 regional counties and DC.
(08/02) 40 City Police Levels:shows serious crime rates and uniformed and civilian police force levels vs minority populations in 40 major cities, indicating DC way overstaffed.
(08/02) Importance of Minority Shares?:illustrates that although minority share is (roughly) related to poverty level in all 50 states, it does not correlate with school costs per kids, welfare costs per recipient, or safety costs per metro area resident: suggests state data can be used for city 'benchmarking'.
(08/02) Importance of Urbanization?:indicates there is no correlation between total unit costs of education, safety, and welfare and the relative share of state's population living in metro areas (vs rural areas).
(08/02) DC Spending Far Above National
Norm:shows DC spending in major budget categories to be far in
excess of national norms for state and local spending.
(11/03) Five Cities in the News:provides comparable urban statistics for DC and Richmond VA, and Oakland, CA where DC's new city administrator has worked in the past, and Charlotte, NC and El Paso, TX which passed DC in total population in 2002. DC does not end up looking good.
(01/04) A Fresh Look National and Local Birth Rates : indicates significant reductions in younger female birth rates (that may be accelerated by the introduction of new oral contraceptives that cannot be used to induce abortions). Looks at differences in birthing ages for blacks and whites, including number of kids; notes that the casual fathers are likely to be several years older than their mates; and shows the tendency for black teen mothers to have somewhat more kids with congenital defects
(07/04) DC Is No Long Beach, California : compares statistical data between DC and Long Beach, CA, from where DC hoped (but failed) to get a new public school superintendent. Indicates that much (but not all) of Long Beach's better public school performance may be due to neighborhood demographics, not superior school management. Also points out significantly lower school costs due to fewer schools, fewer special ed kids.
| (11/98) Regional Income Tax Trends:data
on returns, exemptions; AGI; DC shares; 1995 income tax update.
(01/99) Sate/Local Revenues/Expenditures: state financing of local areas; re-allocation of federal funds to states; comparative per-capita revenues and expenditures; DC as a stand-alone jurisdiction.
(07/01) Comparisons of FY02 State/Local Revenues/Expenditures: shows relative income and spending for all major budget categories between DC and five neighboring jurisdictions of 'inner metro area'. DC remains odd man out in levels of spending and gov't employees per household, with exceptionally high expenditures for human services and public safety. Relationship of federal and state to local spending shown.
(01/99) High Cost of Poverty: high share of DC residents below poverty line, only 2.6 workers above poverty line to pay for them
(1/00) Stark Face of Contemporary Poverty: draws from David Rusk's new book to show that high poverty tracts are mostly black, and mostly single moms--suggests that dispersed affordable housing in suburbs may not be attractive to them
(06/01) Current American Views of Poverty provides results of recent poll of almost 2000 Americans above and below poverty line: considerable agreement on causes of poverty and remedies; bigger differences by political party and race
(01/02) Trends in Families in Poverty shows 20-year trends in white, black, hispanic families in poverty shows predominance of black female-led households
(03/02) 20-yr National Poverty Trends shows significant 20-year trends in poverty by location, age, employment, and household composition
(12/99) Poverty Traps: auto insurance rates much higher for inner cities: need new category of "no fault, no pain"
policies to get rates down so poor can drive to better paying jobs in suburbs--maybe help buy
(11/00) Stacking the Deck Against Poor Kids summarizes quantitative results of Urban Institute analyses showing the greater likelihood of kids from poor families sufferng problems in and out of school due to unfavorable 'sociodemographics', stress and turbulence in family circumstances. Thoroughly supports NARPAC view that many kids' problems originate in the home, and probably cannot be solved inside their schools
(07/99) Impact of Income Mix on Gov't Costs looks at six different trends in population income mix (high, middle, and poverty income levels) to show very different impacts on per capita costs of running DC government--at current efficiency levels
(08/01) Black vs White Earning Power provides chartys on relative earners per household, earnings per household, mean and median income, ten-year trends, provides stark comparison of total revenues and expenditures for an all-black or an all-white Washington DC to show fiscal uncertainty as mix varies
(01/02) Trends in Births to Unwed Mothers shows continuing growth in unwed births: blacks up from 22% to 69% since 1960, whites up from 2% to 26%: suggests 27.5M unwed births in 40 years
(01/99) Use of State "PILOTs" state surpluses indicate plausibility of payment in lieu of (commuter) taxes to DC for public health, safety, welfare admin., and higher education
(09/98) Small Business Index "misery index" for businesses twice as high in DC as MD or VA
(10/05) The Unaffordable Washington Metro
the rapidly rising costs of living for DC regional households are explored,
based on a valuable report commissioned by WOW; (i.e., Wider Opportunities for Women) and
notes that the heart of the challenge involves the higher education levels required to get new area
(07/98) DC a Residential City neighborhoods, topography, land uses, "downtown", bldg height restrictions
(07/98) Wealthy Metro Area industry, commerce, employment and income sources, payroll composition
(05/01) More Bureaucrats and Fewer Entrepreneurs compares DC and suburbs on types of jobs and minority entrepreneurs impacts economy and political outlook
(07/98) Changing Revenues and Expenditures ten year trends and shares by category
(10/01) DC Gross Domestic Product provides break-out of DC's "state domestic product" for 1999 and compares it with (very different) national average
(08/01) Residential vs Commerical Revenues uses FY02 DC budget data to demonstrate that revenues from commercial taxes exceed expenditures, while tax revenues from residents do not cover their expenditures points to virtue of expanding business, not residential, uses
(07/98) Changing Character of Residents distribution of households, income, real estate values, too many renters -- too few owners?
(07/98) Social, Economic Disparities racial separation, political preferences, voter turnout, public housing and welfare concentrations, wealth transfer between wards, civic distractions of federal presence
(08/01) DC Housing Is A Mixed Bag describes relative lack of attractive single family housing units for residential expansion, provides data by Ward
(09/00) Continuing Rent Controls in
DC Analyses new report for Control Board on impact of
removing rent controls, concluding there would be 'minor impact', better to do it now than when
more units are at ceiling. Provides excellent data on who rents; how many rental units there are;
and how many are at their ceilings. Suggests 'blanket-lifting' with 12-18 mos notice. Highly
contentious issue--Council plans to extend controls, Board plans no action
(02/00) Growing Disparities between Rich and Poor tabulates average household income, and shares of total DC income for top, bottom, and middle fifths of '98 population, and compares number of jobs and shares of total DC property values by ward. Demonstrates that small shares of population and area create most of DC's wealth
(05/01) DC: A Haven for the Homeless shows DC's homeless rate to be 7.3 times higher than the suburbs suggests ideal area for regional poverty-sharing
(05/99) Estimating Productivity of DC's People and Land revenues from and expenditures for rich, middle income, and poor people, commuters, businessmen and tourists; and for land used by offices, hotels, and apartments, signle family dwellings and public housing; suggestions flowing from analysis
(08/01) Residential Household Productivity demonstrates in detail which income categories cost the city more in expenditures than they provide in revenues; also shows the difference in 'productivity' between typical black and typical white households
(05/00) Thumbnail Statistical Update summarizes latest numbers in the '97-'98 issue of DC's Statistical Handbook, INDICES, for population demographics, economic demographics, and the spreading gap between rich and poor
| (09/02) Economic Analysis by Census Tract
Uses Census 2000 "Factfinder" demographic and socioeconomic
data by census tract to project "productivity" of various illustrative
sample areas and neighborhoods within DC for planning purposes. Somewhat
laborious to do by hand, such analyses will soon be carried out as part of "geographic-based
information systems" (GIS). Sample areas initially explored are: Northwest DC border; all Near
Southwest tracts; one Near Southeast tract on each side of the SE Freeway, and the
neighborhoods of Tenleytown, Shaw, and Anacostia. Allocations of revenues to functional
expenditures are shown, plus imputation of revenues from income and property values. Need for
more taxable businesses is clearly demonstrated.
(04/03) Productivity of Ward 8 Uses the same analytical techniques as in the prior sections to determine the "net productivity" of the five planning "clusters" within Ward 8. All clusters consume more services than the revenues they produce. The sum total is estimated by NARPAC to be $485M net drain on DC's budget
(04/03) 100,000 New Residents -- Boon or Bane? This
section looks at each of the census tract groups previously analyzed, and projects the marginal
costs and revenues of adding 100,000 more residents "just like them". As might be expected, the
results vary from providing $770M more in net revenues, to $550M less. NARPAC wonders
whether the DC government can assure a mix that will be significantly beneficial.
(02/04)Upper Wisconsin Avenue Corridor Study Brings Out the NIMBYs assesses the new "strategic framework plan" for Upper Wisconsin Avenue and finds it seriously constrained by local activist resistance. Provides comparisons with higher density growth on Maryland side of border and suggests need for more economic analysis and planning study options. Also suggests need to relax building height limitations over 4 miles from downtown center, and within one mile of much denser "edge cities"
(03/04) Testimony for Office of Planning Open Hearing on Upper Wisconsin Avenue Corridor Study summarizes for verbal delivery the major points made in the previous section, including some ballpark estimates of the potential per-acre return from various developments. Stresses notion of relaxing building height limitations near the "edge cities"
(05/04) Federal Elements
of Comprehensive Plan
summarizes all seven elements: federal workplace and impact on community; foreign missions and international organizations; transportation; parks and open spaces; federal environment; preservation and historic features; visitors: and action plan
(05/04) Detailed NARPAC Comments notes specific omissions in each section, many dealing with failure to recognize role of poor urban quality of life in tarnishing capital image
(05/04) General NAPAC
Comments extensive general comments on plan shortfalls, from
defining "capital" and "community", to ignoring cost and space limitations and the need for
(05/04) DC's Topographic Bowl describes minor topographic feature that defines limits of L'Enfant City, plus extent of federal/military properties that collectively constraint the city's socio-economic development,
(02/03) DC '97 Comprehensive Plan summarizes and critiques outdated plan with emphasis on vision, economic development and transportation planning
(09/04) Background and Outline
provides the background for, and outline of, the analysis that follows
(09/04) Summary of Vision Document presents three major subheadings of "vision" of "growing an inclusive city" (whatever that may be): creating successful neighborhoods; increasing access to education and employment; and connecting the whole city. NARPAC commentary provided for each
(09/04) Transportation Strategies background report provides basic data, three scenarios that indicate DC cannot cope with expected commuters, but city cannot provide housing units for equivalent work force. Suggests focus on 'internal circulation' and developing local signature transportation systems. Does note need for parking management, world-class infrastructure
(09/04) Planning for Social Equity best of four background reports analyzed, but still filled with old myths. Does project fewer incoming residents, need for "net revenue-producing households". Basic question about trying to make neighborhoods self-sufficient. Report questions why residents would move to depressed neighborhoods, and why not lift 25K residents out of poverty instead
(09/04) Housing Strategies very similar to Urban Institute report on affordable housing. Quotes high numbers of
people needing better housing, plans to use vacant/abandoned units scattered around city (same
ones others want to accommodate new residents). Claims critically important to continue to
grow, but retain all current residents, but does not explain.
(09/04) Economic Development Policies some interesting data, some very poor analyses. Notes new area jobs due to federal outsourcing; ignores "structural imbalance"; provides very dubious info on potential for more retail outlets; notes potential revenues from commuters and tourists. Many dubious assertions
(09/04) Comments from DC Council provides listing of Council-desired changes: wants more on regional cooperation; more on relationship between federal and local cities; using regional approach to affordable housing; accepting 100K new residents as long-range benchmark, not a statutory target; wants additional analytical work. Claims some metro stations meant to "serve neighborhoods" while others should transform neighborhoods
(09/04) NARPAC Alternate Outline provides alternate outline with six sections based on new theme oof becoming a world-class capiital city: adopt goals needed to excel; achieve financial independence; provide premium business/commercial areas; seek quality living for quality residents; lead the drive for regional smart growth; and establish credible quantitative planning factors. Concludes with exhortation to "get the fictions out of planning"
(06/06) Written Testimony
this chapter presents the written testimony provided for the
Mayor's public hearing on the new draft ComPlan for DC. It expresses DC's disappointment in
the draft's lack of focus on DC's unique global, national, and regional roles, and its failure to
present a practical future-oriented plan to improve the city's basic transportation infrastructure.
The testimony recommends finishing up this 'parochial, certainly not comprehensive, plan' and
then convening a commission to develop a realistic plan to keep DC growing with the times
(06/06) NARPAC's 'Guiding Principles' provides a list of 30 'principles' all of which are different than those proffered by the CompPlan
(06/06) NARPAC's Views of Transportation
Needs this section indicates the (notional) types of transportation
infrastructure growth that the city needs on a continuing basis. It presents the logic for planning
expand DC's major arteries by five lane-miles per year, and to expand Metrorail by one station
and one mile of above- or below-ground trackage per year, indefinitely |
(09/06) NARPAC Testimony before the DC Council urges the Committee of the Whole to delay approval of this bland CompPlan until DC's new leaders have had time to seriously consider at least ten basic questions raised by NARPAC
(02/06) Summary of Housing Plan this opening chapter provides a summary of the Comprehensive Housing Strategy Task
Force Report (CHSTFR) which forms the basis for the Housing Element in the draft
ComprehensivePlan. NARPAC details the major recommendations, provides several direct
to capture the essence of their objectives, and offers frequent "asides" in the form of italicized
commentary. We believe that this report is strictly an advocacy document for more affordable
housing, and lacks the breadth or quantitative backup to be easily transformed into a balanced
element of the Comprehensive Plan.
(02/06) Problems with Definitions this chapter addresses a number of qualitative terms that would either be difficult to define in quantitative terms, or should be (like "diversity" and "inclusiveness"). It is backed up with various specific comparisons to note various 'norms' elsewhere. In general it intends to push the Comprehensive Plan drafters towards specifics that can be used as objectives for the Plan.
(02/06) Problems with Numerics there are a number of instances in the CHSTFR where quantitative material is presented that seems either too vague, or in some instances inconsistent. For instance, the "normal" share of a householder's income that can conveniently be devoted to housing appears at odds with available statistics. In this and other areas, NARPAC presents additional statistical data which may improve the credibility of the planning effort.
(02/06) Looking Poverty Squarely in the Face one of the most difficult issues in planning DC's future is what to do about its disproportionate number of poor adults, poor kids, and poor households. There is a natural humanitarian tendency to try to alleviate the suffering rather than to alleviate the underlying problem.
This plan proposes to actually increase the share of DC housing devoted to
the poor, even 20 years hence. NARPAC thinks this is, in fact, inhumane. |
(02/06) Relating Education, Jobs, and Housing Although the CHSTFR asserts that progress in housing in DC will depend on improving public schools, it does not plan for any linkage between the two. It notes that some of DC's poorest residents are having difficulty finding jobs, and suggests bringing more low-end jobs closer to them. NARPAC explores, yet again, the primary linkage between education and household income, and suggests that some of DC's available land should be used to help provide adult education, rather than more homes and jobs for the current poor.
(02/06) Market Houses and Market Cars this chapter goes treats two related issues. First the CHSTFR, (and now the draft Comprehensive Plan) focus almost entirely on the needs for affordable housing, but do not engage the planning objectives for market rate housing development. Surely they need to understand how these new households are likely to differ from the past. In addition, NARPAC suggests that future housing guidelines must include what to do about cars: these ubiquitous, road-blocking appendages to the American family.
(02/06) Financial Implications this 20-year plan for DC's future must address the affordability of the whole plan. This chapter looks at some of the obvious issues such as a) the trade-offs between residential and commercial properties to derive the needed revenues; and b) the potential availability (and transfer) of additional under-utilized federal properties. NARPAC develops a "what if" model to indicate options where DC moves either ahead or behind the 'power curve' , and provides its own preferred solution.
(03/07) Summary and Introduction
Lays the ground work for showing that the CFO's operating budget
fails to provide quantitative data and trends relevant to the city's future and how to get there
(03/07) Population Trends, and Land Use Indicates the uncertainties and different agency projections of DC's population, and the absence of information on the huge differences in land use productivity
(03/07) Impact of Commuters and the Federal Presence Notes the absence of useful information on the costs and contributions of commuters, and the ridiculous assertions about a "structural imbalance" caused by the presence of the US Federal Government!
(03/07) The Real Structural Imbalance: Poverty
Points to the erroneous claims that the "recent' GAO report
identifies the key fiscal influence of DC's oversized poverty households, and shows that
the budget does not identify these very real costs or what is being done about them |
(03/07) Infrastructure Needs Indicates that the problem with aging municipal fixed assets is almost as large as that with the school system. Reminds readers that transportation infrastructure needs are simply not addressed.
(03/07) Conclusion: a DCPAO Recommends the formation of a separate Program Analysis Office, either managed jointly with the Mayor's office, or solely by the DC Council, and unambiguously independent of the CFO
(12/04) Introduction Outlines various elements of the needed planning framework, and the full range of
analytical fields of view
(12/04) Typical Types of Analysis Describes five specific types of analyses needed: statistical; infrastructure; budgets; productivity; and special problem solving
(12/04) Developing the Capabilities
Describes the basic necessities for setting up a strong analytical
staff, and suggests some near-term priorities such as: household statistics; potential transportation
gridlock; net productivity of various city "users"; and solving DC's crippling poverty
(12/04) Sampling NARPAC Analyses Provides links to almost 70 different analyses on this web site that are representative of more formal studies needing to be done
(09/05) COG/TPB "Travel Forecasting
Model Probes huge opaque regional computer model for
predicting traffic problems and finds many shortcomings: inadequate treatment of: increasing
truck influences; lack of off-street parking; and downtown Metro 'choke points'. Model does not
challenge consistency of individual jurisdiction's "inputs" or treat city evacuation requirements,
takes 8-12 hours for single run, is not suited to "what if" reality checks, and appears to shuffle
(within the model) the job location of residents of any given jurisdiction to minimize traffic
problems without displaying, or summarizing impact of, re-allocations (?)
(09/05) COG (Budget) Constrained Long-Range Transportation Plan This summary report of the impact of constrained infrastructure budgets seems to gloss over the model's predictions of region-wide gridlock by 2030, and extolls the virtues of the minor projects included, and provides platitudes about unfunded future "challenges"
(09/05) COG/TPB Report "Time to Act" Takes opposite stand from report (above) by showing transportation infrastructure funds missing from near-term budgets that "threaten the stature of the national capital region", but offers no alternative plans
(02/03) DC '97 Comprehensive Plan summarizes and critiques outdated plan with emphasis on vision, economic development and transportation planning
(02/03) DC '97 Transportation Vision Plan summarizes and critiques outdated transportation plan, noting lack of correlation with Comprehensive Plan (above)
(02/03) NARPAC testimony to DC Council suggests improvements to DC's old Comprehensive Plan (above), pulling examples from DC's old transportation plan (above)
(11/02) Strategic Neighborhood Plans (SNAPS) Describes 39 new local neighborhood 'cluster' plans, giving samples of content, comparing priorities divined here from those of citywide strategic plan, and demonstrates major differences in the size demographics and wealth of the clusters. NARPAC concerned by lack of equivalent emphasis on citywide and region-wide planning
(11/01) New Citywide Strategic Plan Describes new draft plan, gives "good" and "bad" examples, points out missing elements and lack of costing information
(11/98) Nat'l Capital Planning Commission 100-yr plan for "monumental core"
(06/00) Nat'l Capital Revitalization
Corp begins to organize with appointment of board, statement of
charter; older DC bill defines priority development areas and "blighted areas" (with
(01/01) Proposed Revitalization Plan of the NCRC presents detailed draft plan with defined emphasis, and key principles. Describes preferred businesses and areas for concentration, limits on funding and planning. Gives evaluation criteria for financial assistance. NARPAC raises eight issues where plan seems inadequate, including ignoring urban productivity and regional cooperation, while focusing on neighborhoods, not urban stature and larger-than-neighborhood projects
(12/00) Post Interview with Planning Director Altman reproduces lengthy Altman interview with Washington Post--and irreverently pretends that NARPAC was interviewed too. Attempts to show disappointing short-term, narrow, focus of current city planning
(03/99) Urban Renewal Problems describes unexpected problems redeveloping Philadelphia, summarizes '99 article on new urban purposes
(12/98) DC Ec Resurgence Plan "citizens' plan" ordered by Control Bd describes strategic industries, populations (workforce and residents), areas (beyond downtown), implementation, NARPAC analysis
(10/99) 1997 DC Transportation Plan detailed descriptions of projected improvement action items for gateway information; parking and roadways; metro, light rail, and water taxi systems; bicycle/pedestrian paths; goods movement, multi-modal transportation corridors. Also treats US DoT report on "Transportation in a World Class Capital"-- using average city spending!
(05/00) Long Range Transportation Planning in DC summarizes Committee of 100 paper offering "10 Good Ideas for Transportation in the Federal City", from intermodal transportation centers and more bicycle lanes, to transit service extension and transportation financing. NARPAC notes lack of emphasis on Metrorail expansion, city parking, and regional solutions
(12/99) City-wide Strategic Plan summarizes draft plan presented to Neighborhood Action Summit. Six major goals: better neighborhoods; stronger families; investing in kids; making gov't work; economic development; and unified democratic purposes. NARPAC finds "big picture" missing in a dozen different areas
(07/06) Redeveloping the Old Convention Center
Site font size=-1> Looks at the current draft master plan being prepared and
questions whether many of the planning guidelines are sensible. It also laments the failure to
include "3-D" land use practices to reduce traffic gridlock at the abutting Mt. Vernon Square
(12/05) Redeveloping the Walter Reed Hospital Site font size=-1> Provides a notional up-zoning scheme that would produce maximum annual tax revenues ($270M) for DC. Suggests relaxing DC's outmoded building height limits so far from downtown, and so near to two of DC's most prosperous 'edge cities'
(12/06) New NCPC Vision for South Capitol Street font size=-1> provides outline of new NCPC Task Force plan for South Capitol Street and criticizes lack of imagination in decreasing essential arterial traffic flow for dubious increases in "urban vibrancy". Suggests better solution with urban deck, multi-level traffic and parking. Notes need for added Metrorail. New comments to DDoT expressing distaste for their latest plan (including the presence of the new baseball stadium) are added in '06
(10/06) "Deconstructing" the Whitehurst Freeway This section has been moved and consolidated in a new chapter
(07/04) More High-Density Development for Arlington Describes plans to knock down three tall buildings in Rosslyn to build three taller ones (24 story) on 2-acre site that will be several times more revenue productive than most sites in DC. It will certainly raise skyline of one of DC's biggest "edge cities"
(11/02) Redeveloping the South Capitol Street Gateway Describes kick-off for ambitious new plan to rebuild South Capitol Street across into Anacostia. Provides extensive list of NARPAC suggestions for expanding the scope of the Congressionally-mandated DC DoT study from the general to the very specific
(10/02) Redeveloping the Southwest Waterfront Describes the current state of planning for the redevelopment of the Southwest Waterfront, and nearby Waterside Mall. Major changes will replace several run-down buildings and a redundant road, with high density mixed residential/commercial uses. "Gentrification" seems to have the approval of nearby home owners.
(06/02) Kennedy Center Access Study Describes a federally-funded plan to add an 'urban deck' east of the Kennedy Center and revise traffic patterns that isolate the site from the 'monumental core'. Demonstrates model of federal/city cooperation to improve city and its unfinished transportation network. Includes NARPAC comments.
(06/02) Redeveloping the old DC General Hospital
Site Describes the draft master plan for redeveloping
'Reservation 13' and illustrates how federal land can be transferred to the city for productive uses.
Extensive comments explain NARPAC's concerns for several aspects of the plan.
(06/03) St. Coletta School Site Looks at the conflict between 'transit-oriented development' and the special ed school site on 'Reservation 13' right next to the metro entrance. Suggests the possibility of at least putting a large revenue-producing underground parking lot under the school
(11/01) Long-range DC Sewer Upgrade Plan Describes new billion-dollar, 20yr upgrade plan and expected improvements in cleanliness of Potomac and Anacostia Rivers if neighboring states help!
(11/99) Navy Yard Redevelopment updates rebirth of Navy Yard and surrounding area in SE--returning Crystal City to DC
(03/01) Development East of Navy Yard describes new Maritime Plaza development on 11 acres east of Navy Yard
(06/00) Anacostia Waterfront Initiative begins to engage neighborhoods in major, multi- agency redevelopment plan of both banks of Anacostia River, with objective of maintaining DC as most beautiful capital city in the world
(10/99) New Developments in Northern Virginia describes new redevelopment plans for Potomac Yard area of Alexandria, and plans for new Dulles Town Center
(11/00) King Farm Development describes new development along the 'BioTech Corridor' northeast of DC on a 450-acre farm being turned into a community for 10,000 plus offices, stores and schools in less than a decade--why not inside DC?
(03/01) New Development at White Flint Metro takes note of Metro's new plans to develop 32 acres near White Flint metro station along Rockville Pike in Montgomery County--hope to provide space for 6100 workers, 1300 families--nothing like it underway in DC
(12/00) Georgia Ave Development describes DC's new plan to revitalize Georgia Ave Gateway with $111M of DC funds
(12/00) Downtown DC Development describes new DC plan to enlarge and improve DC's downtown with combined residential and business growth--expects to attract $4.5B in private investment within 5 years
(12/00) Neighborhood Development East of the Anacostia describes historic new effort to revitalize 5 communities in 'Anacostia County', using almost $1B of DC investment capital--way short of what NARPAC would like to see, but way more than ever before!
(12/00) Major Developments Coming to Annapolis describes significant new projects coming to Annapolis, Md, and its suburbs--NARPAC believes it heralds beginning of major new economic growth to the eastern side of the DC metro area and its "Southeast Quadrant"
(12/06) Original Analysis of DDoT Proposal
describes shortcomings of study on feasibility of tearing down
Whitehurst Freeway without considering its potential contributions to future city growth.
Alternate solutions suggested, again involving urban decks and cosmetic re-styling to approve
appearance. It also notes need for added Metrorail, with a station in Georgetown, as party of a
new "Inner Circle Line"
(12/06) 2006 Critique of Emerging Plan Provides the lengthy commentary submitted by NARPAC to DDoT following their summary neighborhood meetings
(12/06) Background and Current Status describes the background and current status as of end 2006, including the recent Council hearing, and the existence of another privately-generated critique which largely supports NARPAC's own analyses
(12/06) An Inadequate
Evaluation Model inadequacies of the "evaluation model" are
shown at length for a model purported to identify the most "acceptable" alternatives, but only to
those in local neighborhoods that don't use the freeway or feel obliged to consider the cost of
(12/06) Inadequate Scope of the Evaluation either in terms of area impacted, or long-term (50-year?) impact of a more aesthetically acceptable, neighborhood-friendly, regional by-pass arterial; and finally
(12/06) NARPAC Testimony to DC Council brief testimony before a relatively disinterested, poorly attended, technically-challenged DC Council Public Works Committee, seemingly unwilling to seek accountability from anyone other than the Council member pushing the study and its continuation, with special neighborhood interests
(07/06) The Handwriting on the Wall
NARPAC looks at the future of this historic function
at this historic site, and wonders if, in fact, it is in the best interests of either the city, or
the retirement home to stay at its current location
(07/06) AFRH Draft Master Plan the AFRH's current draft master plan clearly looks at the future development of the site as a means to increase revenues to sustain its operations here and elsewhere in the future, while trying not to offend the neighbors accustomed to this lush 270-acre site in their midst
(07/06) NARPAC Comments
NARPAC looks at the AFRH's 'near-term' attempt to develop its
own "oil wells" (in our parlance), but feels that any new site plan should look further ahead to the
full redevelopment of the site, complete with the requisite urban street layout and high-density
development zoning appropriate for this site, the similar development about to be undertaken
directly across North Capitol Street, and the 'transit-oriented development' approaching
from the nearby Georgia Ave/Petworth Metorail/bus stations to its west
(11/05) Summary and
Background NARPAC tries to figure out how to defuse the
acrimony between George Washington University (GWU) and the neighboring historic district
resident who fear total obliteration under the weight of student body expansion. A short summary
and a longer background section try to summarize the current situation in which both sides seem
to have lost their civility
(11/05) Major Considerations four major considerations contribute to the issues: the adjunct GWU hospital, recently 'spun off', has contributed to both the current tensions, and the future opportunities that frighten the neighborhood; the area's only Metro station is within the campus boundaries; there are six other significant universities scattered around the city; and the current zoning restrictions within and around the campus seem starkly incompatible
(11/05) Estimating Tax Revenues NARPAC develops a simplified technique for estimating city tax revenues that might be gleaned (or foregone) from any property in the area, based on its assessed residential or commercial property value
(11/05) 2 Current GWU Plans GWU has evolved two plans: the first would result in expanding the campus upward (higher density) within its boundaries rather than sprawling further outward; the second would commercially develop its prime, now empty property on Washington Circle ("Square 54"), on which it would pay taxes, and from which it would generate revenues for its other development needs
(11/05) Characterizing the Neighborhood
the demographic characteristics of the disaffected neighbors are
then outlined, indicating that they are a mixed bag, only a portion of whom have a real stake in
(11/05) A Series of Relevant Questions eleven questions are then raised which need to be resolved along the way to reaching a sensible resolution of this basic issue of non-profit institutions smack in the middle of an expanding "downtown DC"
(11/05) A NIMBY's "Economics Primer" a neighborhood-produced "Economics Primer" is the dissected which pretends to explain the basic drive of all universities to expand endlessly until stopped by higher governmental authorities (or neighborhood activists). It is a classic pseudo-intellectual diatribe that has no place in any realistic consideration of the current issues
(09/06) NARPAC Testimony before the DC Zoning Commission urges the Zoning Commission to take a much broader approach to "up-zoning" the GWU site, including time-phased FAR increases, and to turn their attention to the broader, longer-range issues involved in assuring DC's future growth
(08/07) West End Activists Repeat Foggy Bottom Disgruntlement in 2007, the new Fenty Administration agrees to trade away three small DC properties in West End (a library, police station, and fire house) in return for new facilities and other redevelopment bound to increase DC revenues noticeably. By "dissing" the local resident activists, a "win-win" situation turns sour. Could it jeopardize other more major Fenty initiatives later on?
(07/05) Summary and Background
Provides background and study context. Expresses concern for lack of
emphasis on: capacity growth; misrepresentation of NY Ave as a "front entrance" rather than a
"service entrance"; regional vs local traffic; use as "virtual I-395 extension"; major
use as truck route
(07/05) Planning for Six Different Zones Describes individual plans for each of six "zones" with different objectives from "Major artery" to "urban street". Seems overly interested in "beautification" and too little focused on basic functionality of artery
(07/05) NARPAC Alternative
Proposes greater emphasis on three functional uses instead of "redecorating".
Suggests redesign more like a "freeway" with greater use of underpasses for cross streets.
Accepts planners' suggest for extended I-395 tunnel, but with somewhat different
(07/05) Turning NY Ave into a Toll Road Suggests use of "EZ-Pass" technology to turn NY Ave into fully automated, large revenue-producing asset, with different fees for different degrees of "urban- unfriendliness": using current traffic rates, seems readily able to pay for itself in perpetuity
(03/03) Redevelopment of Columbia Heights
Analyses the eleven properties around the Columbia Heights Metro station now scheduled for
redevelopment by the National Capital Revitalization Corporation in the context of its planning
cluster, Cluster 2, to determine if these important projects will have an important impact on the
"net productivity" of the Cluster, which is currently a whopping $121M shortfall (i.e.,
expenditures for services compared to revenues generated by the four neighborhoods of Cluster
"transit-oriented development". Concludes that while these projects are
important as catalysts, by themselves, they will at best improve net productivity by$20M per
probably much less. Points to DC's self-imposed limitations which will constrain economic
growth, including requirements for affordable housing, importing near-minimum wage jobs,
historic preservation, and building height limits, as well as failures to include declining public
school needs, to more pro-actively rezone near metro stations, or to enforce a measure a civic
pride in community.
(06/04) Summary Provides summary of lengthy analysis of the potential for removing under-utilized,
outdated military bases within DC that limit city's revenue-generating powers. Uses new "DC
Guide" to show aerial photos of all bases discussed
(06/04) DC Land Uses Presents a summary of the various uses of all properties within DC: federal, municipal, tax-free, commercial, and residential, showing how few acres are available for development
(06/04) DC Land Productivity Summarizes the revenues generated by each Ward, along with educated guesses of how much is spent on city services. Points up that only Wards 2 and 3 generate more revenues than they consume, and only on about 4000 acres
(06/04) Six Military Bases Too Many Suggests the closing of Bolling AFB; Anacostia Naval Station; Naval Research Lab; Naval Security Station; Soldiers' and Airmen's Home; and Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery to free up some 1400 acres for redevelopment
(07/04) Navy to Relinquish Security Station in Northwest DC 38-acre site to be transferred to GSA for greater use by Homeland Security. NARPAC illustrates how much more revenue-productive it could be as a high-end, high-density residential site.
(06/04) Two DC-productive Facilities Describes benefits from prior BRACs, current efforts at/near Navy Yard to bring in business, and at/near Marine Barracks to reduce poverty
(06/04) Three Potential Revenue-Generating
Facilities Indicates three bases certain to remain that could
provide some revenues for DC: Walter Reed Medical Center; Ft. McNair and its Defense
University'; and the Naval Observatory Circle |
(06/04) Three Under-utilized Facilities Outside DC Suggests that any residual displaced functions from existing bases can be absorbed at Ft. Meade, Ft. Belvoir, or Andrews AFB. NARPAC reiterates the need to make Andrews AFB a more important "destination" to foster development of metro area's southeast quadrant
(06/04) Process for Base Re-alignment and Closing (BRAC) Provides evolution of apolitical government process for changing and disposing of military bases, presents approved criteria for use by new BRAC Commission from Federal Register, as well as NARPAC's suggested criteria for recommending such closures and re-alignments
(10/05) The 2005 BRAC Round Draws to a Successful Conclusion the final results of the this BRAC round are reported. NARPAC did not get all we were hoping for, but did much better than nothing (with the closing of Walter Reed Hospital) and the removal of naval functions from the "Potomac Annex". We hope DC leadership will play a more positive and progressive role in the "post-Iraq BRAC Round" expected in a few years, as well as in deciding what to do with Walter Reed
(12/02) Three Rationales for Federal
Assistance A new
Brookings report (on an old theme) stating that "A Sound Footing for the Nation's Capital is a
Federal Responsibility is drawing attention in late 2002. It recommends a permanent annual
federal hand-out to DC because: a) DC's Status as the nation's capital costs it a lot; b) DC has
exceptional expenses because it is "stateless"; and c) it is necessary to make up for a "legacy" of
neglect" as well as declining population. NARPAC disagrees with each of these for several
(12/02) Is DC's Recovery Sustainable? The Brookings report points out lack of reserve between projected revenues and expenditures, and asserts that the city cannot raise revenues, reliably control spending, or improve bureaucratic efficiency. Again, NARPAC takes exception to most of these claims, and the superficial analyses behind them.
(12/02) Options for Federal Assistance The report suggests up to $600M annually based on either federal payment in lieu of taxes; compensating for lack of commuter tax; reimbursement for 'state-like' services; general per-capita grant; or larger subsidy for public education. Also suggests five specific one-time payments for large development projects. NARPAC again suggests alternative approaches.
(12/02) Accountability and Responsibility Brookings
suggests five areas for DC government improvement needed to give Congress confidence: to
include better information, results measurement, planning, decisions, and people. NARPAC adds
(12/02) Final NARPAC Comments NARPAC again points out that DC's financial problems stem mainly from an over-concentration of the poor, with no help from the suburbs, and no incentives from the federal government to level the metro area's playing field.
(10/03) DC Commuters: Boon or Bane? NARPAC takes a stab at quantifying the financial costs and benefits accruing to DC's coffers as a result of the daily influx of commuters. This preliminary analysis concludes they are a valuable asset, not just because they keep the federal government running, but because, even without a commuter tax, they generate hundreds of millions of dollars more in revenues (thru business taxes) than they cost in city services. In fact, they contribute more in parking fee taxes alone than they consume in road repair, police, and emergency services.
(11/03) Vehicular Traffic In and Out of DC NARPAC provides graphics of the each-way traffic flows on several of DC's major avenues (Massachusetts and Connecticut) and bridges (Chain, Memorial, and South Capitol Street) as of middle '90s. It clearly shows the rush hours, with more incoming than outgoing in the morning, but also that much traffic is not commuter related.
(08/03) Historical Perspective
Reviews and references the several-year background effort regarding 'structural
imbalance' with links to pertinent NARPAC references
(08/03) GAO Interim Report Summarizes without comment the highlights of the interim report which focus on DC's own management problems and indicating lack of needed local government data on its own claims
(08/03) NARPAC Commentary NARPAC notes CFO's own limited views on deficit, federal government relief to DC "state-level" problems, and basic inefficiency of DC bureaucracy
(08/03) GAO Final Report Provides lengthy summary of final report which leans heavily on obscure methodology developed a decade earlier for "equalizing" federal grants
(08/03) NARPAC Commentary on Final Report Comments on different character of final report, noting basic issues of whether "being average" is DC's objective, whether DC as an inner city can be compared through a methodology based on state-sized jurisdictions, and on the risks of ignoring ineffective government performance
(08/03) Rayfuse/ACIR Background Report Describes in detail the methodology developed by Rayfuse as background for probing GAO adaptations of technique
(08/03) GAO Applications of ACIR
Report Describes in necessary detail the GAO assumptions
lead to their rather incredible conclusions about the need to more than double DFC's spending on
public safety the largest driver in a huge potential deficit
(08/03) NARPAC Analysis of Data Provides NARPAC's dissatisfaction with many GAO assumptions such as the need for a 45% hike in police pay. Finds particular fault with applying "workload factors" developed for statewide jurisdictions to costing data developed for urban counties
(08/03) NARPAC Calculation of RES Recalculates the "representative expenditures" terms for public safety along with "what if" variations demonstrating that more reasonable data inputs can show a significant DC financial surplus
(08/03) Determining Revenue Capacity Describes the equivalent methodologies for estimating the "revenue-generating capacity" of state/local jurisdictions pointing to what appears to be errors in GAO computations. Again big reductions in deficit estimates result. The issue of "representative federal payments" is also raised since DC already gets way more than an "average" share
(08/03) Significant Unfinished Issues NARPAC points to the failure to date to question DC's claims for deferred maintenance and acquisition, over half of which is for possibly surplus schools. Also points out continuing lack of credible quantitative data on uncompensated costs to DC of hosting federal government, and the commuters that keep it running
(06/03) 100,000 New DC Residents
Summarizes the new Rivlin report showing how DC can assimilate 100,000 new
middle income residents, especially families with kids, within a decade or so, and asserting that
provides the only solution to assuring DC's economic development and fiscal viability. NARPAC
presents 20 unanswered questions about this approach, and wonders if there's a hidden agenda.
NARPAC believes there are much better solutions, and that the widely varying
demography of the region will make it impossible, without controls or quotas, to assure that
incoming residents will provide more in revenues than they consume in city services. It again
stresses the potential for more reliable revenues from business. |
(04/99) The Beginnings early history, geography, statistical shortfalls, similarities East and West, transition from
farming to residential
(04/99) Growth Patterns Since the 1960's superimposing economic developments, land use differences, extent of public housing, significance of planning, key role of the Metro in economic development
(05/99) Alternative Futures for Anacostia basic alternatives: return Anacostia to Maryland, let it fix itself, or take on a bold plan--to include: new use for Andrews AFB, international exposition grounds, genetics medical center, regional sports stadia, major defense complex/museum; high-rise urban corridors, academics center and training centers, incentives for residents to change, developing political power
(12/00) Development Planning East of the Anacostia summarizes paucity of long-range plans for this area. NARPAC doubts wisdom of local "people's plans' where so much major change is needed. Suggests ways for current residents to benefit from essential 'gentrification'. Notes new (11/00) DC commitment of almost $1 billion to begin revitalization of 5 communities--historic first!
(05/00) 'Gentrification' Underway East of the
Anacostia summarizes extensive CITY PAPER article describing
the accelerating redevelopment of Ward 8, primarily by natives of that area such as developer
H.R. Crawford. Discusses relocation of residents, lack of homeowners, new Metro stops, etc.
Contradicts activist warnings that poor blacks will resist 'gentrification'
(07/01) A Right of Way Waiting to Be Reused provides schematic map and photos of virtually abandoned CSX rail spur from Minnesota Ave to Blue Plains Treatment Plant parallel to west banks on Anacostia and Potomac. NARPAC suggests its use for a new elevated metrorail line to undergird economic development East of the Anacostia
(12/01) The Anacostia Waterfront Initiative: Closer, but no Cigar summarizes status of redevelopment plan, noting the absence of an overarching economic and transportation plan for the Southeast Quadrant which could have impacts on the developments on each river bank. Suggests area EoA should eventually "pay for itself" in revenues and expenditures
(10/02) Background for St. E's Redevelopment points out
Ward 8's status as socioeconomic 'basket case'; one time opportunity to fix; gives short history
and current status of each campus
(05/03) Preemptive Plans Limit Choices discusses prior claims put on east campus by DoMH for new hospital, and OCTO for 'unified command center', plus 'notch' in west boundary, and other possible additions. Update quantifies some of losses from the municipal programs
(10/02) Analysis by Urban Land Institute (ULI) summarizes series of recommendations, plus overall site analysis, indicating very few unused acres. Also provides rather guarded market analysis based on perceptions of the surrounding area.
(10/02) Summary of RFP for St. E's master planner
summarizes RFP sent out to contractors competing to be master site planner: indicates
unevenness in both redevelopment goals and assessments relegated to contractor. Some of these
items should be developed and promulgated from a citywide master plan.
(05/03) NARPAC Commentary concerned are raised about lack of comprehensive citywide plan; importance of site; overdoing the historic aspects and influence of Ward 8 communities; relating project to city and metro area; the lack of a full blown transportation plan; need to consider transferring additional federal properties; and need for more emphasis on financial aspects of land use. New update adds some new thoughts for "swapping zoning" within and outside boundaries
(05/03) Illustrative Quantitative Land Use Objectives this update demonstrates NARPAC's crude methods for estimating 'net productivity' of site using different land use guidelines, points ways to maximize financial gain by looking "outside the box".
(10/01) Uneven Utilization photo
essay shows lack of development around DC metro stations compared to suburbs,
but beginning to change; tallies latest Metro updates; difficulties in development planning
around some stations; describes opening of new Green Line segment; notes metro stop build-ups
as "strategic subgoal"; lists latest suburban plans to develop around stations; notes future metro
rail inclusion in new Wilson Bridge
(02/01) Progress in Metro Development provides a running account of major happenings in Metrorail, inside DC and in the suburbs
(02/01) Metro Usage provides quantitative data to show grow in system and per-station use--indicating surprisingly little grow in per-station usage over time
(02/01) Proponents for Metro Growth provides statement by Montgomery County's Executive, plus interesting excerpts from a recent brochure from the Washington Regional Network.about 'transit-oriented development'
(02/01) Metro Long Range Plans expresses disappointment in lack of ambitious long range plans for Metrorail, and offers a NARPAC 'strawman' for new lines and stations within DC
(05/01) Constrained by Its Own
Success reports on Metro analyses indicating some of its lines
be saturated within a few years. NARPAC analyzes some of the options for further development,
again pointing up the need for a good long-range transportation plan.
(12/01) Metro's Next Window of Opportunity points out newly unfolding Metro plans for Blue and Purple Lines, expresses concern for considering trolley line as part of regional transportation growth, recommends region get prepaRed for next big DoT grant program in 2003.
(05/01) Residential DC illustrates typical residential areas around DC
(11/98) Modern Metro Rail System shows size and business attractions
(11/98) Urbanization at Borders shows the extensive developments in Maryland and Virginia just outside DC borders
(11/98) Inside DC Borders shows lack of development around many of DC's "bus stops"
(11/99) The Metro Stations of Green Line North shows state of development on DC's Green Line North--opened in late 1999, and with a tremendous potential for growth over next decade"
(02/01) The Metro Stations of Green Line South provides photos and description of newly opened Green Line South--which will probably benefit PG County commuters more than DC residents East of the Anacostia
(07/06) Rapid Bus for Georgia Avenue?
NARPAC analyses the current plan to add "express" bus service to the
crowded Georgia Ave corridor. While certainly more sensible than adding fixed rail trolleys,
are insufficient data on the existing service, the proposed new service, other traffic and other
to assess whether more buses will help or hinder total flow on this 'principal arterial'
(10/05) One Dimensional Transit Planning in a Three-Dimensional City NARPAC loses its cool again over the short-sighted plans of DC's transportation department to neglect Metrorail, while offering a 25-year plan to further crowd DC's streets and arteries with trolleys and dedicated bus lanes.In late 2005, the Director of DC's DDoT gave a talk which quite clearly outlines their current mindset which NARPAC finds starkly inadequate for the nation's capital city
(10/05) DC Transit Alternatives Analysis A new transit alternatives "analysis" is described in detail. Now out for final comment, it essentially dictates that Metrorail will be allowed to atrophy while additional bus and trolley service is added to DC's already crowded streets
(10/05) And Now Comes the Great Street Initiative A separate "Great Streets Initiative" has also been decreed in late 2005. It will take revenues raised from advertising in renovated bus stop shelters to upgrade the "streetscapes" at various yet-to-be-determined segments of major arteries. The stated objective is to encourage local economic development in relatively disadvantaged areas. NARPAC doubts such an effort will be successful, and may well have deleterious effects on essential traffic
(10/05) NARPAC Summary Comments on DCTAA and GSI Finally, NARPAC's formal comments for the public record . are reproduced here to record the extent of our disagreement with both the content of, and the methodology for pursuing, these quite possibly counterproductive uses of limited transportation funds
(04/02) The State of American Urban Transportation summarizes APTA data on usage, discusses the ubiquitous bus and its detractors, commuter trains, heavy and light rail, and provides an extensive table of comparative data
(04/02) DC Transit Development Study outlines new DC study, including selection of three potential new routes for use by light rail
(04/02) The GAO Looks at Bus Rapid Transit
vs Light Rail this is the comparison of most interest to DC since it already has an
elaborate heavy rail system: GAO concludes that a modern 'bus rapid transit'
system has somewhat lower costs and greater flexibility than light rail
(04/02) NARPAC commentary raises several issues re both city and metro priorities, including growing metro costs; the potential new impact of 9/11 on rigid-route surface systems; and the need to start thinking about "above grade" as well as "Below grade" options
(05/03) French CIVIS Bus provides a brief description of a demonstrator unit that came to DC in February 2003: strange looking, but has some valuable features
(11/03) Trolleymania Grows in DC provides information on a recent public hearing encouraging Anacostia to approve a "technology demonstration" of new light rail systems, both electric and diesel. NARPAC notes its concerns and provides the negative testimony it presented at the hearing. The major concern is preempting the expansion of regional metrorail connectivity
(01/04) K Street Busway Begins to Take Shape discusses many opportunities to make DC's first busway a new and different transit system, from bus design, a new Metro station, and "smart curbs" to rebuilding under the Whitehurst Freeway, adding a new intermodal parking facility, and adopting elevated "express trails"
(02/04) Truck Traffic Study Raises Questions, Ideas summarizes recent draft report by Volpe National Transportation System Center, reviewing heavy and delivery truck congestion and security problems in DC, and recommending certain designated routes for (limited) truck use. NARPAC suggests several other ideas, including the use of new technologies to generate revenues while constraining, monitoring, and enforcing rules for truck movement and parking
(03/04) NARPAC Testimony to the DC Council re DDOT Progress provides a summary of the comments and recommendations of the prior two sections above, noting the need to "turn a necessity into a virtue" and adopt policies and technologies by which to make traffic pay for itself in DC, like "smart tags" and "smart curbs"
(02/03) WMATA's Service Extension
Plan describes Metro's background study for extending Metro
service both downtown and further into the suburbs
(02/03) WMATA's Core Capacity Study provides excellent background information of Metrorail's projected growth by 2025, indicating the choke points that will limit its capacity to double ridership, and what to do about them
(02/03) WMATA's Regional
Bus Study provides equivalent background data for doubling
Metrobus ridership by 2025. Proposes emphasis on "RapidBus" |
(02/03) WMATA's 10-Yr Capital Improvement Plan draws from prior studies to devise a 10-yr, $12.2B upgrade and expansion plan. Almost certainly too modest to keep up with needs, by NARPAC's standards
(08/04) Summary and Background
provides summary of NARPAC's vision for future
Metro growth, and references to prior recommendations for added lines and stations. Notes need
to consider public transit within the larger context of the total transportation "system" to include
trucking and parking
(08/04) A Vision or a Target note problems with trying to provide a credible "vision" without details. Lays out three basic objectives to cure impending problems. Describes ten separate goals, many with separate graphics. Questions current DC planning objective to identify a "signature system" (like trolleys) other than metrorail for DC. Acknowledges may under-utilized stations in DC almost 30 years later!
(08/04) Potomac Avenue Station Redevelopment Singles out the poorly used Potomac Avenue Station, and provides four rationales for turning it into a major future "destination station". Also serves as a key "corner" on a newly conceptualized inner "Circle Line", comparing it to London's
(08/04) Investment Costs Needed
Provides ballpark estimates of the total investment funding
needed for each of nine plausible segments to be built over 25 years, including additional
rail cars and parking facilities. Total of roughly $20B in today's dollars converts to
$800M annually (forever!), and for expansion only, not upkeep. Only the Federal Government
can provide it. |
(11/04) Emerging 'Downtown South' Describes combined impact of several new developments getting underway south of the National Mall to the banks of the Anacostia, including DC's proposed new baseball system. Points out total lack of transportation infrastructure planning, and potential for evolving an important 'downtown south bypass' to serve the new developments and alleviate Metrorail saturation downtown.
(10/04) Summary describes contents of chapter
(10/04) 5-Yr Trends in Operations Growth shows slow but steady growth in both bus and rail operations and equipment
(10/04) Primary Budget Divisions shows that personnel costs are almost three-quarters of total
(11/04) Personnel Costs shows similarity of bus and rail salaries and wages, indicates overall average very close to that for DC government, except higher fringe benefits, but higher than forMontgomery County's "Ride On" local bus system
(10/04) Functional Break-out of Costs illustrates that a good half of Metrorail expenses relate to fixed rights of way (tunnels, tracks, stations) rather than vehicles
(10/04) Composition and Sources of Subsidies indicates where subsidies come from, demonstrating that those jurisdictions using public transit the most, pay the most (rather than the least!). Revised rules could save DC $125M annually
(10/04) Bus Operations very large gamut from high to low density regional and 'non-regional' bus routes
(10/04) Rail Operations charts show growth and variation in station use, rush hour integrals showing preponderance of riders coming from farthest out stations
(10/04) Cost of Commuting sketches variation in round-trip costs with distance from downtown, showing one occupant car and taxi to be far more expensive.
(10/04) Cost of Car Parking indicates that daily/monthly parking rates in DC metro area substantially below top US cities. Could be source of significant additional revenues
(11/04) Capital Investment abbreviated section indicates recent past and future capital investment is disastrously low and threatens existing system. NARPAC makes its own guess as to what is needed/justifiable: $800M annually for expansion; $700M annually for upkeep and system improvements.
(05/03) High-Density Metro Parking
This notional preliminary design effort describes the potential advantages of
using modern transportation technologies to construct high-density, automated parking facilities
with the potential of storing up to 20 times as many cars as a open surface parking lot. Major
components are described and sketched, and very crude cost estimates developed. A novel
parking fee schedule is developed to encourage the use of public transit, and to avoid bringing
large, energy-inefficient vehicles into the city. Major cost savings result from using fewer scarce
urban acres, and reducing the demand for new urban rights of way. This approach should appeal
(05/03) Reality is Stranger than
Fantasy? NARPAC discovers that there is already one automated
parking system working in Washington. The German-designed "SpaceSaver system has a lot in
common with NARPAC's own notional design, but, coming from a different origin, our design
also has some advantages |
(12/03) Robotic Parking, Inc. Operational Facility NARPAC further discovers that there is already one fully operational robotic parking system in Hoboken, NJ, developed and produced in Florida. It too is different from (and probably better than) NARPAC's design, but it leaves no doubt but that the technology is now available to provide a better union between public and private transportation.
and Summary lays out the context of two new commission
reports, one on DC'sd parking problems, the second on managing downtown
(01/05) Commission Recommendations summarizes recommendations and concludes they are a very mixed bag. Worries that neither commission is bellying up to the major issues of continuing urban growth, even though the handwriting is on the wall and the reports are in the files
(01/05) Developing a Sensible Growth Metric suggests households as best metric, highlights need to come to grips with the American reality of vehicle ownership. Indicates concerns that commissions do not recognize the full revenue potential of parking fees, the substantial revenue potential of commuters compared to residents, or the limited revenue potential of retail commerce
(01/05) Pinning Down Real Villains and their growth rates expresses need to get real about traffic volume increases and growing size of each private and commercial vehicle. Doubts current rights of way really saturated, but certainly agree that future pedestrian traffic requires fresh approaches, and perhaps a new dimension
on Trees, Not Forest recognizes that administrative organization
is an essential ingredient to success, but deplores lack of cost considerations as to whether DC's
current traffic-related costs are covered by current traffic-related revenues. Provides NARPAC's
own estimates based on DC's FY05 operating budget. Concludes DC collects $100M more trhan
it spends on traffic |
(01/05) Evolving Technology concludes emerging technologies can significantly help in traffic management and revenues. Feels the commissions underestimate the extent of new technologies becoming available, and ignore the major impact of radio frequency identification devices (RFIDs). Guesses that traffic control revenues could soon be doubled
(01/05) NARPAC's View of Reality Reiterates view based on the many related issues explored on this web site that an impending transportation melt-down in DC could surely impact the future well-being of the nation's capital. Expresses limited objections to the near-term recommendations presented, finding some of them potentially very useful. More concerned by the failures to put these partial solutions into the context of the larger whole. DC needs to place equal or greater emphasis on starting the process of addressing the longer-term economy-limiting transportation projections already quite well defined
describes reason for taking on analysis,
road map to six Major Issues
(02/05) #1: Relations with Federal Government lists major choices within issue, quantitative data on this site (and elsewhere) that can inform the choices, and NARPAC's preferences, and illustrates typical available data
(02/05) #2: Regional Relations lists major choices within issue, quantitative data on this site (and elsewhere) that can inform the choices, and NARPAC's preferences, and illustrates typical available data
(02/05) #3: Better Land Use lists major choices within issue, quantitative data on this site (and elsewhere) that can inform the choices, and NARPAC's preferences, and illustrates typical available data
(02/05) #4: Expanded Transportation
lists major choices within issue, quantitative data on this site
(and elsewhere) that can inform the choices, and NARPAC's preferences, and illustrates typical
available data |
(02/05) #5:Alleviating Endemic Poverty lists major choices within issue, quantitative data on this site (and elsewhere) that can inform the choices, and NARPAC's preferences, and illustrates typical available data
(02/05) #6: Alleviate Education Deficit lists major choices within issue, quantitative data on this site (and elsewhere) that can inform the choices, and NARPAC's preferences, and illustrates typical available data. Concludes that DC Council is probably not suitable to weighing these issues, and points out the lack of independent Council analytical capabilities.
(10/00) Outline goal of economic growth; outline of annotated briefing; current budgetary demands;
regional comparisons of gov't tax burden; sources of revenues, users of expenditures; related
gov't personnel locally and federally funded
(10/00) Current Land Uses taxc status and assessed value; productivity of different land uses; distribution of jobs in DC; residential real estate values; net residential land productivity; trades of land use between residential and commercial
(10/00) Current Population Trends population and demographic trends; trends in DC households; types of job available; productivity of people; welfare trends in DC and metro area; trade-offs in population
(10/00) Economic Trends by Ward taxable acres and households by ward; median household income per child;
development of (very uneven) productivity per ward |
(10/00) Prime Waste Space entire area East of the Anacostia River; under-utilized and vacant properties; areas around metro stations; surface parking
(10/00) Impediments to Concerted growth listing of 'big picture' items such as lack of high-level vision for DC and future cities; lack of cooperation within region and lack of regional plans; lack of voting rights; dysfunctional bureaucracy; dubious tax policies. Also listing of local issues such as race relations; too much emphasis on neighborhoods vs the whole city; obstructionist activism; building height limits; overuse of historic site designations; etc.
This page was updated on Dec 15, 2007
© copyright 2007 NARPAC, Inc. All rights reserved