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  #1181  
Old Posted Aug 28, 2017, 4:37 PM
anday anday is offline
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  #1182  
Old Posted Sep 25, 2017, 8:38 PM
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Bike-sharing

As of this week, there are four new bike-sharing systems operating in DC, including Lime Bike and Mobike (I took the photo below this past weekend). Both Lime Bike and Mobike are offering free rides on a trial basis until Oct. 1

Which dockless bikeshare (Mobike, LimeBike, or Spin) is right for you?

https://ggwash.org/view/64863/which-...-right-for-you

Bike Share, Unplanned

https://www.citylab.com/transportati...-share/540606/

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Last edited by 202_Cyclist; Sep 25, 2017 at 8:52 PM.
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  #1183  
Old Posted Oct 3, 2017, 4:54 PM
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Capital Bikeshare gears up for another expansion — and competition

Capital Bikeshare gears up for another expansion — and competition


Bikes line a Capital Bikeshare station at Eighth and O streets NW in Washington in 2015. (Brittany Greeson/The Washington Post)

By Luz Lazo
October 2, 2017
Washington Post

"Washington’s bike rental system is expanding next year, promising to remain competitive as new, high-tech rivals enter the region’s bike-sharing market.

Capital Bikeshare is slated to widen its reach in 2018 with the addition of more than 100 stations, hundreds more bikes and a larger coverage area — investments that are worth more than $5 million of federal, local and private funds.

“When we launched in 2010 there were only 100 stations and two jurisdictions,” said Kimberly Lucas, the District’s bike-sharing program coordinator. Now, Capital Bikeshare is available in the District and Alexandria, plus Arlington, Montgomery and Fairfax counties. Prince George’s County and Falls Church are joining next year..."

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local...=.78a16a2efa5b
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  #1184  
Old Posted Oct 4, 2017, 12:05 AM
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D.C. streetcar's Benning Road extension moves forward with engineering solicitation

Quote:
With an infusion of District funding for 2018, the Benning Road streetcar expansion and associated transportation improvements are moving forward.

The D.C. Department of Transportation in late September issued a request for qualifications for planning and engineering of the 2.4-mile eastward extension of the streetcar along Benning Road NE between Oklahoma Avenue and Benning Road Metro station
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  #1185  
Old Posted Oct 4, 2017, 5:44 PM
jtown,man jtown,man is offline
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I have a question, non DC related but kindof...since its the only bike sharing I have used and apparently they are expanding.

Why do these bike sharing programs require federal money ect to jump start and run? It seems like these programs make pretty good money, based on my own subjective use of the system. Point is, I don't see how its not profitable.
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  #1186  
Old Posted Oct 4, 2017, 8:21 PM
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Lightbulb

Quote:
Originally Posted by jtown,man View Post
I have a question, non DC related but kindof...since its the only bike sharing I have used and apparently they are expanding.

Why do these bike sharing programs require federal money ect to jump start and run? It seems like these programs make pretty good money, based on my own subjective use of the system. Point is, I don't see how its not profitable.
You don’t see the maintenance these bikes require, nor the repositioning of the bikes, all of which costs lots of money. These bike share programs wouldn’t require subsidies if they were profitable, private enterprise would step in and do it if it were.
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  #1187  
Old Posted Nov 4, 2017, 1:46 AM
ITB495 ITB495 is offline
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WMATA Statement on Collective Bargaining with ATU Local 689

On September 8, 2017, WMATA released an official statement on the status of contract talks with Local 689, the union that represents the vast majority of Metro employees. Although the statement received some news coverage, it's largely flown under the radar.

When read and reread carefully, however, the statement details with stunning clarity why WMATA probably will not be able to emerge from its present fiscal quagmire unless there is significant reform of pension and retirement benefits for employees represented by unions.

Here's the statement in full:
For immediate release: September 8, 2017

Metro statement on collective bargaining with ATU Local 689

Metro management regrets the decision by Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689 to abandon contract talks. Management remains open to a compromise that is fair to our valued employees and addresses the substantial financial challenges facing Metro.

Metro is advising customers that the move from collective bargaining to arbitration has no impact on bus and rail service.

"The Union's proposal to increase wages and benefits by $213 million over the contract period ignores the financial reality of the region and would threaten the viability of the transit system," said General Manager and CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld. "Our proposal would have maintained previously negotiated raises for lower-wage workers in combination with savings in other areas. Management remains open to a compromise settlement that is not only fair to our valued employees but rationally addresses the substantial financial challenges facing Metro."

Metro's management's objective throughout the negotiations has been to preserve the jobs and pensions of existing employees. That can only happen if Metro has a sustainable business model.

Management's negotiating position included:

Preserving pensions for existing workers and retirees
Preserving existing jobs
Preserving previously negotiated wage increases for lower-paid workers
Proposing wage freeze that only impacts top earners
Establishing a 401k-like plan for future workers


"Failure to address Metro's financial challenges will put jobs and benefits at risk. Business as usual will not work for employees, for people who depend on us for transportation or for the taxpayers who subsidize our system," Wiedefeld said.

The primary obstacle to a negotiated settlement centered on pension benefits.

Metro has proposed steps to make the retirement plan more sustainable by responsibly restraining future growth. There are many ways to do that, including limiting overtime in the pension calculation, increasing employee contributions for health and pension benefits to bring them more in line with employee plans at our funding jurisdictions, adjusting the retirement age, imposing a temporary wage freeze on top-earning workers, and eliminating automatic triggers that increase benefits well beyond standard practices. All of these details were negotiable.

"I am hopeful that the arbitration process will result in an appropriately restructured labor agreement that recognizes Metro's financial reality and achieves these important goals." Wiedefeld said.

Key facts about Metro wage and benefit costs:

Wages and benefits account for 70% of Metro's operating costs

Benefit costs are growing 2.5 times faster than revenue

The retirement benefits for the Local 689 bargaining unit far exceed benefits for government employees in nearly all of the Metro-area jurisdictions that help subsidize the system, including the Federal Government

Unlike most pension plans, benefit calculations for the Local 689 bargaining unit factor in all overtime pay worked in the years before retirement, and current retirees' benefits increase each year based on the percentage of any wage increase for active employees instead of reflecting changes in cost of living
https://www.wmata.com/about/news/Sta...-Local-689.cfm


The contents of this statement are unsettling:

• Wiedefeld, WMATA's General Manager and CEO, says the union demands for increased wages and benefits "ignores the financial reality of the region and would threaten the viability of the transit system."

• The retirement benefits for Local 689 far exceed benefits for government employees in nearly all of the Metro-area jurisdiction, including the Federal Government

• Benefit costs are growing at a rate 2.5 times the rate of revenue

Unlike most pension plans, benefit calculations for the Local 689 bargaining unit factor in all overtime pay worked in the years before retirement

And perhaps, the most disturbing of all:

• Current retirees' benefits increase each year based on the percentage of any wage increase for active employees instead of reflecting changes in cost of living

Is it any wonder WMATA's funding jurisdictions are reluctant to keep funneling ever increasing amounts of money to an organization that appears trapped by excessive and unreasonable union demands that may, in the not too distant future, push the agency into insolvency?

Last edited by ITB495; Nov 4, 2017 at 1:47 AM. Reason: Grammar
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  #1188  
Old Posted Nov 4, 2017, 9:14 PM
BrownTown BrownTown is offline
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Originally Posted by ITB495 View Post
Unlike most pension plans, benefit calculations for the Local 689 bargaining unit factor in all overtime pay worked in the years before retirement
A lot of people probably don't realize just how big this is. The union I work for is the same way so the 3 years before a person retires they pound the overtime to get 2x (or more) their base salary and then pull a massive pension. Pensions in general need to be seen as a thing of the past. They don't work anymore in the current low growth environment. The stock market is absurdly inflated and yet STILL virtually all public sector pensions are underfunded. It's just absurd when you look at some places (Detroit being the most egregious) and the city is paying out 2x as much in pensions as they are in salaries.
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  #1189  
Old Posted Nov 4, 2017, 11:48 PM
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Originally Posted by BrownTown View Post
A lot of people probably don't realize just how big this is. The union I work for is the same way so the 3 years before a person retires they pound the overtime to get 2x (or more) their base salary and then pull a massive pension. Pensions in general need to be seen as a thing of the past. They don't work anymore in the current low growth environment. The stock market is absurdly inflated and yet STILL virtually all public sector pensions are underfunded. It's just absurd when you look at some places (Detroit being the most egregious) and the city is paying out 2x as much in pensions as they are in salaries.
As someone who is approaching retirement, I find this comment incomprehensible. How are people to survive if there are no pensions? It is not possible for everybody to continue working and I am not sure what kind of life we will all end up with.
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  #1190  
Old Posted Nov 5, 2017, 7:48 PM
ITB495 ITB495 is offline
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History of ATU Local 689

Posted on the ATU Local 689 website is a concise, informative history of the union and its benchmark achievements. The timeline begins in 1919 and leaves off at 1989. It's of interest because it documents with clarity how Local 689 systematically, contract by contract, extracted ever greater wage and benefit concessions from WMATA management during the 1970s and 80s.

Since Washington Metro didn't start operations until 1976, I'll post verbatim only the latter parts of the text:
ATU Local 689
A member of Amalgamated Transit Union AFL-CIO/CLC
Representing the operators, clerical, paratransit and maintenance workers of Washington DC Area Transit

1970s
• 1973 - Agreement effective 11/1/72-4/30/74, signed in January, re-established full percentage cost-of-living clause and provided for 9th and 10th holidays (Columbus Day and a floating holiday). The sick leave waiting period was reduced to 2 days, unused sick leave could be credited as service for pension purposes and bereavement leave was no longer charged to sick leave.
Also in 1973:
WMATA took over DC Transit and WV & M in January and completed final takeover of private properties (AB & W and UMA) in February. Entire system now publicly owned.
• 1974 - First black full time elected officer. 1974-1979, Rodney Richmond. Secretary-treasurer, assist. B.A.
Also in 1974:
The agreement effective 3/1/74 - 4/30/76 continued the full percentage cost-of-living clause in addition to basic rate increases and provided for normal pensions for employees retiring at age 58 with at least 27 years' of service, i.e., sum of age and service = 85 (first time one could retire under the age of 60 with a full pension benefit). Martin Luther King Day added as holiday if Authority operates a holiday schedule. There were also improvements in life insurance, sickness and accident insurance, vacation, and provisions relating to operators such as spread pay and percentages of straight runs.
• 1975 - Supplementary rail agreement signed, establishing wage rates and other provisions applicable to operating and maintenance employees in the rail system and providing for inclusion of rail system employees under the terms of the basic collective bargaining agreement.
• 1976 - First segment of MetroRail opened in March.
An arbitration award continued the percentage cost-of-living clause (which WMATA had sought to modify drastically), established a dental plan with the Authority paying 50% of the cost and provided other improvements in Health and Welfare and pensions.
• 1977 - First black recording-secretary--James "Tommy" Thomas, 1977-1982.
• 197 [sic] - Wildcat strike halted bus and rail service for a week over Metro's failure to pay COLA under rollover provision. Arbitration panel ordered Metro to pay the disputed COLA.
• 1979 - Local 689 and WMATA selected Richard Bloch as permanent grievance arbitrator.

1980s
• 1980 - The Gill Award for the contract effective 5/1/80-4/30/83 provided for many improvements including:
1) Pensions - reduced employee contributions by from 7% of pay to 5.5% by 5/1/82; lowered normal retirement age to age 55 for employees whose age and service add up to 85; provided for 100% vesting after 15 years' service (50% after 10 years increasing 10% for each year of service between 10 and 15); added survivor benefit for employees who die prior to retirement.
2) Health and Welfare - Improved dental and basic health insurance benefits; increased life insurance by $3,000 for active employees and $1,500 for retirees; increased sickness and accident insurance by $10 per week (to $65).
3) Vacations - 4 wks after 10 years (was 11); 5 weeks after 20 years (was 24); 6 weeks after 30 years (was 33) plus 1 additional day for each year of service after 30.
4) Other - increased uniform allowance to $100 eff. 7/81; provided for 3 sets of workclothes per week (was 2 sets); increased tool allowance to $80 eff. 5/81; added 3 days bereavement leave for grandparent's death; voluntary COPE checkoff provision added.
• 1983 - First black president - James "Tommy" Thomas.
The agreement effective 5/1/83-4/30/86 included the following improvements:
1) Pensions - The employee contribution of 5.5% was eliminated effective 7/1/83 and the survivor "baloon" provision was establiched. Former AB&W employee benefits were increased.
2) Wages and COLA - COLA was incorporated and base rates were increased by 6.5% on 5/1/84 and 5/1/85 and by 80% of the increase in the CPI above 6.5% in the preceding year with adjustments effective on 4/30/86.
3) Health and Welfare - Dental plan was upgraded by adding periodontics and increasing co-payment to 80% of UCR. Life insurance and sickness and accident insurance were increased; podiatry coverage was added; coverage was continued for the surviving spouse and dependent children of active or retired plan participants for a period of 1 year following the employee's death.
4) Vacations and holidays - 5 days of vacationmay be used single-day increments; Inauguration Day was added as a holiday.
5) Other - there were also improvements in uniform and tool allowances and benefits for part-time operators.
• 1984 - Negotiated employee assistance program.
• 1985 - Negotiated attendance policy.
• 1986 - In June of 1986, Washington operators had the highest wage rate for operators on any transit system in the United States ($14.14). That agreement, effective 5/1/8/6-4/30/89, provided many other improvements including:
Health and Welfare - Established a "flexible benefit" program funded bu Authority contributions of $50/month for family participants and $30 for single members. Employees may select from a list of options in addition to those provided by the current health & welfare plan.
Pension - 100% vesting after 10 years (was 15); full (unreduced) pensionsavailable when the sum of employee's age and service equals 83; Authority continues to pay total cost.
4) Sick Leave - 2 day waiting period eliminated for those with 10 years' service who accrue and maintain 12 or more days of sick leave; attendance bonus established providing one-half day for each calendar quarter of perfect attendance which can be accumulated without limit, added to sick leave, or paid in cash each year (max. 1 day per year paid in cash).
5) Other - Many other improvements in uniform and tool allowances, benefits for part-time operators,no layoff for full-time operators while part-time operators on payroll, pay for physical exams, subcontracting of custodial services, work selection procedures, and more.
• 1989 - The agreement effective 5/1/89-4/30/92 included the following improvements:
1) Wages and COLA - In addition to the 4.5% wage increases each May 1, wage rates were increases by 80% of the increase in the US CPI above 4.5% over the proceding 12 months, effective April 30 of each year.
2) Health and Welfare - No employee contributions between 5/90 and 5/91, then employees pay 1/3 of increase over 12/90 rates; life insurance increased to $20,000 for full time employees and $15,000 for part-time employees (was $12,000 and $9,000); survivor insurance coverage increased to 2 years.
3) Pensions - full (unreduced) benefits after 30 years' service at any age; early reduced retirement possible at age 50 with 20 years' of service; benefit formula increased to 1.5% of high-4 earnings for each year of service (approximately 14% increase in benefit amount); plan continues to be non-contributory for employees.
4) Also improvements in vacation pay, uniform and tool allowances, grievance procedure and meal allowance.
Source: http://www.atulocal689.org/99-years-of-local-689.html

Note that in the 1970s, Local 689 members contributed to their pensions, but in subsequent contracts, the percentage was first reduced, and then eliminated. At the same, the age an employee could retire at with full benefits, and number of years worked in order to vest the pension, were being tweaked. Health and dental plans also were enhanced with little or no additional contributions. With virtually every new contract, either wages or benefits, or both, were expanded.

In the 1990s, WMATA was in good financial shape as ridership increased significantly, bringing in the additional monies needed to cover these growing cost burdens. As the 21st century dawned, however, the gravy train Local 689 was supping at was becoming more difficult to maintain. Fares were increased, but ridership stagnated. Yet demands for even more expansive benefits continued nearly unabated. When WMATA management began to balk, the negotiating process often devolved to arbitration per the Compact. More often than not, the arbitrator tended to side with the unions, tightening the fiscal screws on WMATA's budget even tighter.

And, now, we are where we are. The system is deep trouble, verging on a fiscal collapse if substantial new monies aren't soon forthcoming. Fares have been jacked up so high, they're among the highest in the world by most any standard. This has led to hundreds, more likely thousands, of users to forgo Metro, and to try alternatives, such as ride sharing, bicycling, or telecommuting. Things are coming to a head. Something has to give. If meaningful benefit reform for WMATA union employees isn't soon enacted, the system may be pushed into insolvency. At this time, the newest contract for Local 689 is in arbitration. It will be bad news, very bad news, if once again, the reality of WMATA's dire fiscal situation is discounted.
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  #1191  
Old Posted Nov 11, 2017, 4:26 AM
ITB495 ITB495 is offline
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Silver Line Construction — Recent Photos

Construction of Phase 2 of Metro's Silver Line continues to move forward.

Installation of a pedestrian walkway at the future Herndon Station in September.


Images courtesy of Dusty Smith/Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project via restonnow.com





https://www.restonnow.com/2017/09/21...metro-station/
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  #1192  
Old Posted Nov 11, 2017, 4:49 AM
ITB495 ITB495 is offline
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Silver Line Construction

The Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project's November 2017 newsletter has been posted on the project's website. It contains several photos as well as an interesting tidbit on how a car hoist will raise railcars to allow disassembly and repair at the new Rail Yard and Maintenance Facility at Dulles Airport.
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  #1193  
Old Posted Nov 13, 2017, 8:46 PM
ITB495 ITB495 is offline
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Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project Phase 2 Update

The MWAA Board of Directors will be receiving an update of Phase 2 of the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project at its Wednesday, November 15, meeting. Presentation materials for this cost and construction update have been uploaded to the MWAA's website.

The presentation features several pictures of the new stations as well as more esoteric construction details that may be of interest.

http://www.mwaa.com/sites/default/fi...er_30_2017.pdf
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  #1194  
Old Posted Nov 16, 2017, 2:20 AM
BrownTown BrownTown is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lrt's friend View Post
As someone who is approaching retirement, I find this comment incomprehensible. How are people to survive if there are no pensions? It is not possible for everybody to continue working and I am not sure what kind of life we will all end up with.
Well, this is already the world we live in as only something like 5% of new jobs have pensions. It's not that complicated, people just have to save on their own. The problem is that with the reduction in the fertility rate combined with the increased life expectancy it's simply not possible for a 30 year career to be enough to retire on. The norm needs to rise to be more like 40 years. If pensions required a person to get 40 years to max out then they could work, but those that allow a person to make out in 25-30 years simply can't be funded in such a low growth environment.
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  #1195  
Old Posted Nov 16, 2017, 5:19 PM
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Crystal City Wants a High Line Bridge Connection to National Airport

Crystal City Wants a High Line Bridge Connection to National Airport

November 16, 2017
by Nena Perry-Brown
Urban Turf


Image courtesy of Urban Turf.

"A little-known fact about Crystal City is that it’s just a 15-minute walk from National Airport. However, it’s not very well-known because the options to make that walk are unsafe and inconvenient. Now, the Crystal City Business Improvement District (BID) is unveiling a proposal for a connection between the city and the airport that would make that walk a lot easier and more pleasant.

On Wednesday, the BID presented their vision for a new bridge or tunnel that will connect to a security gate at the airport that the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is constructing...."

https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/bl..._airport/13264
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