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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Feb 13, 2012/ 20 Shevat, 5772

A Failure of Imagination Put Metro on Wrong Track

By Michael Barone




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Believers in central planning should take a look at Washington's Metro rail transit system. While they will find many things to like, they will also see examples of how central planners — and especially rail transit planners — can get things disastrously and expensively wrong.

Things to like include aesthetics. Metro stations and cars are attractively designed and reasonably spacious. Metro attracts more riders than any other American rail transit system except, of course, New York's.

It has stimulated local planners and developers to create vibrant downtown-like clusters of stores, restaurants and apartment buildings along the Orange Line in Arlington, Va., and around the Bethesda, Md., station on the Red Line.

But then there are the bad things, which my colleagues at The Washington Examiner have documented at great length.

The escalators at the south side of the DuPont Circle station are being repaired and out of commission for — get this — nine months. This is Metro's fifth busiest station.

Other escalators are often on the fritz. Metro's designers didn't put canopies over all of the escalators but left them out in the open. It turns out that it rains and even snows sometimes in Washington and that water corrodes the metal escalator.

Who'd 'a' thunk it? Well, actually the designers knew all about the Art Noveau canopies that covered the stairwells of the Paris Metro, but they didn't have the funds to match what the French were able to manage at the turn of the 20th century.

Deferred maintenance and failure to replace outmoded cars have taken a heavy toll. This isn't the designers' fault, but this sort of thing happens frequently in public-sector agencies (and sometimes in private-sector companies, as well).

Metro has found the money to meet union demands, but too often it hasn't found funds to keep the system up to date.

In the wake of increased delays, and after a collision of two trains resulted in nine deaths in June 2009, ridership has fallen. In response, Metro has raised fares. Higher prices for worse service: not a winning combination.

Metro's more fundamental and interesting flaw is apparent when you look at its attractive route map. (Metro, like mass transit systems going back to the London Tube in the 1930s, is good at graphics.)

What you see is a bunch of differently colored lines converging in downtown Washington, near government and private-sector office buildings.

The assumption of Metro planners was that jobs would continue to be heavily concentrated in the historic downtown.

So there is no station serving Tysons Corner in Northern Virginia, which has become the largest office center between downtown Washington and Atlanta.

Joel Garreau, in researching his book "Edge City" on Tysons and similar clusters, asked Metro planners why they didn't put a station there.

The reply: We never thought there would be any development there. Suburbs are for houses.

But Northern Virginia lawyer named Til Hazel, who handled land acquisition cases on the Capital Beltway, figured it out. He bought big parcels in the triangle between the Beltway, Leesburg Pike and Chain Bridge Road, and made millions developing Tysons.

Now Metro is trying to extend the Orange Line to Tysons and beyond to Dulles Airport. This would have been much cheaper when the system was planned in the early 1970s and much of the land in between was vacant.

Now the costs are astronomical and construction deadlines seem far distant. But, hey, other systems are worse. New York opened its first subway line in 1906, but you still can't take a subway to LaGuardia or Kennedy airports.

Central planners have trouble envisioning the future and, at least in the case of rail transit planners, have a bias toward recreating the past.

They love the idea of channeling the masses into central destinations and have had trouble imagining that suburbs developing beyond the leafy residential enclaves of the 1950s. They have been slow to see that airports would be a major destination.

But as Joel Kotkin has pointed out, the centralization of business and shopping in downtowns was predominant only for a moment in time, between the onset of rail transit till the arrival of the automobile.

Systems like the Metro have failed to anticipate the future and, at great cost to national taxpayers, have helped the minority who prefer dense urban living. But with higher fares and lower reliability. Metro looks nice, but it's not much of a bargain.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

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JWR contributor Michael Barone is senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner.




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