In this week’s issue, Washington City Paper asked a handful of politicians, journalists and “thinkers” to come up with a way to “fix a single, nagging problem in the District.” Some of the suggestions are quite good, some are overtly outlandish and others are probably just blatantly unconstitutional—but still, points for trying.
Here’s a few of the problems your fellow D.C. journalists tackled, and their solutions…
Elahe Izadi, reporter at National Journal
The Problem: Md. and Va. drivers can’t drive in D.C.
The Fix: “Lanes on select streets just for D.C. drivers. Lanes paid for by District taxes and upon which drive those who know where they’re going and see no need to slow down to catch glances of monuments they pass.”
The problem here might actually be that most drivers in and around D.C. just can’t drive period—regardless of what state (or non-state) their license plate is from. Better suggestion? Make driving even more unpalatable and other modes of transportation more desirable so less cars off the roads altogether.
D.C.’s historic skyline? Screw it…
Matt Yglesias, Slate
Problem: The Rent Is Too Damn High
The Fix: “D.C. needs skyscrapers. Not the piddly tinkering with the Height of Buildings Act of 1910 that politicians are talking about right now, but honest-to-God, balls-out skyscrapers.”
Yglesias focuses here on businesses and office space, with the idea that more inventory means more money, more jobs, more everything. He’s right. D.C.’s building height restrictions artificially depress the available inventory of both office and living space in the city, driving prices ridiculously high. If builders could build more, we’d all pay less.
Lydia DePillis, WaPo’s Wonkblog
The Problem: Outside the Mall, D.C’s parks just suck
The Fix: “Give all the parks outside the monumental core back to the city. (We’ve actually been doing it bit by bit for years, but an omnibus act of Congress could finish the job.) Local government is at least more accountable to the people who live here and could better integrate those precious pieces of nature into the neighborhoods around them. And I’m pretty sure the Park Service would be happy to have them off their hands, too.”
More local control of local resources? It’s debatable whether the city would do a better job than the National Park Service at taking care of our little squares and circles, but DePillis has a point—at least local politicians actually have reason to care about what those of us who live here think. Maybe this isn’t a solution, but it’s a step in the right direction.