Coming Soon

Observed at the corner of 14th St. and Rhode Island Ave NW, Logan Circle, D.C.:

Coming soon

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Too Much Parking

As cities are being recapitalized, albeit by private sources which brings its own problems, land is at a premium. A recent study estimates how many parking spaces five cities, New York, Seattle, Des Moines, Jackson (WY), and Philadelphia, have. It’s a lot (boldface mine):

It’s not an exaggeration to say American cities have been built for cars more than people. “After decades of requiring parking for new construction,” Scharnhorst writes, “car storage has become the primary land use in many city areas.”

In Des Moines, for example, there are 18 times as many parking spaces per acre as households — 1.6 million parking spaces and about 81,000 homes. In Philadelphia, there are 3.7 times more parking spaces than households. Of the five cities, only New York has more households than parking spaces, and New York still has 1.85 million parking spaces…

All this parking spreads destinations farther apart, making walking, biking, and transit less viable and further entrenching car dependence.

Parking is also extremely expensive to construct and maintain. If you built all the parking in these five cities today, Scharnhorst estimates it would cost $81 billion.

It’s a damning picture of America’s huge misallocation of resources to car storage.

The lending industry has been a big part of the problem, insisting on outdated parking formulas as a condition for financing new construction. The fact that this report was commissioned by mortgage bankers indicates that the industry may be ready to change its standards.

What the report doesn’t directly address unfortunately is how much land area is dedicated to parking. If we estimate that each parking space takes up 180 sq. feet*, we get the following percentages:

New York City: 4.2%
Des Moines: 11.7%
Seattle: 12.3%
Philadelphia: 10.5%
Jackson: 21.5%

Seattle is probably closer to 10%, as about one-third of its parking is structured, taking up less space. I’m guessing, based on these numbers, that D.C. is in the Philadelphia range.

When you realize how much of these cities is dedicated to car storage–and therefore not available for people storage, aka housing, it’s staggering to realize just how poorly we have planned our cities. As the article notes, mortgage lenders might be getting nervous about this. They might not care about quality of life issues or the environment, but there is a lot of wasted space that could be used for houses and businesses.

*Obviously, underground parking doesn’t take up surface area, and multi-level garages only occupy the street level. On the other hand, parking lots will take up more space as you have to have travel lanes within the parking lot. It’s also worth noting that, outside of Seattle, very few overall parking spaces are ‘structured’: most are on-street or surface lots.

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Links 7/18/18

Links for you. Science:

Dangers of childbirth: DC works to save dying mothers
California Is Preparing for Extreme Weather. It’s Time to Plant Some Trees.
When a DNA Test Shatters Your Identity
House Republican will introduce $23 carbon tax next week
Why Don’t More Americans Use PrEP?


Russia’s Plan to Buy Off the GOP Began Before the Rise of Trump
When anti-Blackness comes to town
Forbes Foul Ball? That un-cool call about “cool” Yards Park (the future of ‘journalism’)
Bernie Sanders: Bold Politics Is Good Politics
DC Councilmember: If I Park Illegally, That Opens Up a Spot for You
What DC needs to do if it really wants zero road deaths
Trump’s Stupid ‘Where Is the DNC Server?’ Conspiracy Theory, Explained
Can a window sticker convince a business owner to pay a ‘living wage’?
When Will These Republicans Act to Safeguard Our Elections?
Body Language
Poland honors satirist who said Jews create anti-Semitism
The truth about Trump and Russia that Republicans cannot say out loud
Need a New Washing Machine? The Trump Tax Is Gonna Cost You.
Top Voting Machine Vendor Admits It Installed Remote-Access Software on Systems Sold to States
This is as true now as it was half a century ago when Galbraith first began saying it.
How Do We Fight the Cult of Trump?

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Cash Four

Observed at the corner of Florida Ave. and California St. NW, Adams Morgan, D.C.:

Cash 4

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Death Panels Redux: The National Guideline Clearinghouse Edition

So the Trump Administration has decided that evidence-based medicine is stupid (boldface mine):

The Trump Administration is planning to eliminate a vast trove of medical guidelines that for nearly 20 years has been a critical resource for doctors, researchers and others in the medical community.

Maintained by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality [AHRQ], part of the Department of Health and Human Services, the database is known as the National Guideline Clearinghouse [NGC], and it’s scheduled to “go dark,” in the words of an official there, on July 16.

Medical guidelines like those compiled by AHRQ aren’t something laypeople spend much time thinking about, but experts like Valerie King, a professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Director of Research at the Center for Evidence-based Policy at Oregon Health & Science University, said the NGC is perhaps the most important repository of evidence-based research available.

“ was our go-to source, and there is nothing else like it in the world,” King said, referring to the URL at which the database is hosted, which the agency says receives about 200,000 visitors per month. “It is a singular resource,” King added…

“AHRQ agrees that guidelines play an important role in clinical decision making, but hard decisions had to be made about how to use the resources at our disposal,” said AHRQ spokesperson Alison Hunt in an email. The operating budget for the NGC last year was $1.2 million, Hunt said, and reductions in funding forced the agency’s hand…

The site plays another critical role, King said: that of gatekeeper. Because medical guidelines are produced by such a vast array of organizations, they vary widely in quality.

“In times past, there were an awful lot of, let me put air quotes around this — ‘guidelines’ — that weren’t of good methodologic quality,” King said. “They were typically just expert opinions, or what we jokingly refer to as BOGSAT guidelines: ‘bunch of guys sitting around a table’ guidelines.”

The NGC has a screening process designed to keep weakly supported research out. It also offers summaries of research and an interactive, searchable interface.

That gatekeeping role has sometimes made AHRQ a target. The agency was nearly eliminated shortly after its establishment, in the mid-90s, when it endorsed non-surgical interventions for back pain, a position that angered the North American Spine Society, a trade group representing spine surgeons. A subsequent campaign led to significant funding losses for AHRQ, and since then, the agency as a whole has been a perennial target for Republicans who have argued that its work is duplicated at other federal agencies…

Underscoring how medical research like that maintained by the NGC can be politicized, AHRQ drew the ire of then-congressmember Tom Price in 2016 when it published a study critical of a drug manufactured by one of his campaign donors. According to ProPublica, one of Price’s aides emailed “at least half a dozen times” asking the agency to pull the critical research down. Price was the first director of HHS, AHRQ’s parent agency, under the Trump Administration, before resigning under pressure last year over his spending on chartered flights.

The other element of this is the conservative propaganda effort around ‘death panels’, which was a two-for-one deal: it accused the ACA (Obamacare) of mandating ‘death panels’, while, at the same time, undermining efforts to provide reliable, non-corporate funded information about medical procedures and drugs, in part through AHRQ research.

Mission accomplished, as the kids used to say.

Posted in Conservatives, Fucking Morons, Public Health | 2 Comments

Links 7/17/18

Links for you. Science:

The downfall of Theranos, from the journalist who made it happen
Heat Check: Extreme heat kills more than a hundred New Yorkers yearly. Here’s how the city’s tackling the problem in a warming world.
Potential DNA damage from CRISPR has been ‘seriously underestimated,’ study finds
Scientist Loses Award After Acceptance Lecture Featured Students in Bikinis
An 11-million-ton iceberg is threatening a tiny village in Greenland


Bourdain Confidential
Metro Reasons: WMATA’s union has authorized its leaders to call a strike (best explainer I’ve seen so far)
What will the footpath of the future look like?
Amazon’s Curious Case of the $2,630.52 Used Paperback (maybe it’s a way to engage in low-level money laundering?)
Our homes don’t need formal spaces: The entertaining rooms meant to make us social actually foster isolation
Has Mueller Caught the Hackers? (to my fellow lefties, priors are not inviolate…)
Jewish Historical Society Oral History Project
Worker wages drop while companies spend billions to boost stocks
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Historic Win and the Future of the Democratic Party
Why the myth of a perfect meritocracy is so pernicious
This Is the Moment of Truth for Republicans
“Do We Want the Government in This Business at All?”
The Worst Case Scenario Has Been Obvious for a While
The Republicans Will Save Us
ANC6B Says Historic District Designation Process Does Not Serve District Residents
Hidden Herstory: The Leesburg Stockade Girls

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Observed on Dupont Circle, D.C.:


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