Perspective from another city

Visiting other places is always good for my outlook and perspective on Northfield.  I’m in Washington, DC right now.

Bag tax: The No

rthfield Council heard a presentation from Marcea Frazier proposing a 20-25 cent tax on bags (paper or plastic) at stores as a means to change consumer behavior.  Here in DC, I’ve been paying a five cent tax on every little bag I’ve received for my postcards, takeout food, etc.  The goal for the DC Bag Tax is raising revenue to clean up the Anacostia River rather than just encouraging consumers to bring their own bags.  However, since the tax went into effect in 2010  businesses report an immediate drop in paper/plastic bag use.

Bike to the Capitol!

Bikes and bike lanes: As Northfield considers what design of Jefferson Road might be good for cars and bicycles (with the usual fear-mongering about cyclist safety on the streets), DC has put bike lanes right down the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue. There are two lanes – 1 in each direction – between the traffic lanes + well-marked intersections and turn lanes.  The lanes were in use by commuter/messenger cyclists – those expert users -but also touristy families on rented bicycles and folks riding bright red Capital Bikeshare bikes.

Public transportation: Yes, I love the Metro.

From the airport to Capitol Hill via Metro train

Street trees: Another piece of the Northfield City Council’s street design discussion – on Linden and Plum Streets rather than Jefferson Road this time – is trees.  In July, in Washington DC, street trees are a wonderful addition to the walkability and livability of the city.  Of course, they look nice and bring green movement to all that pavement and big buildings.  The real value to me, however, is the shade.  The shade from trees around Capitol Hill, the Mall, and nearby makes walking from place to place to Metro Station cooler and more pleasant.  The shade also keeps benches and other street elements from becoming too hot to touch or sit upon.  People gather to eat, talk, and relax in the shady places around federal office buildings, near tourist attractions, and for sidewalk dining.

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