Transit Tuesdays: Our D.C. civic life officially happens online

"For #SustainableDC Twitter meeting at 12pm go to tweetchat.com and use #SustainableDC hashtag to join," the District's Office of Planning tweeted out to the world on Monday afternoon. Moments later, the account added, "Of course, Director [Harriet] Tregoning is here!"

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Our new civic life. (Photo: flickr/daquellamanera)

Thus began a "Twitter town hall," a discussion united by a common hashtag and devoted to how Washington, D.C. can become more sustainable in any number of ways.  The District Office of Planning co-hosted the talk with the District Department of the Environment as part of Digital Capital Week. The dialogue immediately exploded with what appeared to be at least a couple hundred tweets weighing in on the civic issues at hand.

Here's a sampling of tweets from the #SustainableDC exchanges:

Not a 100% solution, but shopping by bike = more frequent trips to the store = fresher food. #SustainableDC
Nov 07 via TweetChatFavoriteRetweetReply

Re: Green DC Map -- we are considering moving to open version folks can add own sites/info #SustainableDC
Nov 07 via TweetChatFavoriteRetweetReply

Thoughts on having a Truckeroo that shifts in location to serve multiple community hot spots? #SustainableDC
Nov 07 via webFavoriteRetweetReply

On its own, the Twitter town hall hardly seems revolutionary so much as natural. Of course the D.C. government would participate on the social media channels.

From @Bikeshare to @DDOTDC to @DCFireEMS, elements of our local government have recognized the virtue of social media and the active transit and development conversation happening on a regular basis out there. What underscores the significance of this online engagement is the launch of the D.C. Council's new website, a new Twitter account (despite some initial missteps), and the passion surrounding what will happen to @DCFireEMS earlier this fall. DDOT offers documents on Scribd and on just November 1, announced a new way for the public to access and understand permits online. Our civic life continues to happen in real-life town halls and meetings and outreach but those efforts also seamlessly have entered our browsers, inboxes, and live social feeds. It's a public life for the 21st century, and the quiet success and integration into all these modes of modern life is worth celebrating. Let the conversation expand — and don't forget the proper hashtag!

Elsewhere in the realms of transportation, urbanism, and real estate...

Three cheers for Frank Kameny — and his house, too: The leader of our local gay rights movement died recently at the age of 86, and the National Park Service just announced that his house at 5020 Cathedral Ave. NW will be listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the Blade reports

Gawker notices the Washington Post, Metro, and the newly named NoMa station ... and promptly mocks all of it: "How do DC officials make hipness happen in this fast-moving world of the Twitternet and designer drugs? Is it... by renaming the New York Avenue Metro stop "NoMa," in an "allusion to the cool vibe of neighborhoods such as SoHo?" Isn't that how they do it, up in the big city? 'Will hipness follow?' the WaPo asks, with rhetorical flourish." D.C. promptly scoffed and noted that Gawker just doesn't get us. NoMa, after all, isn't exactly a new designation.

No giving thanks at your local gas station: AAA says our holiday prices will be much higher than last year. Gross.

Boom goes Euclid Street: I was astonished to see all these smashed cars in Columbia Heights on Friday morning and wondered what could have caused this devastation. Turns out a driver really did manage to cause the wreckage late Thursday night in one wild ride. The police have identified and are seeking him now.

Yards Park is the place to be, apparently: "Visually memorable design and a unique water feature will make this one of the best and most contemporary public spaces in D.C. for years to come," decrees the Atlantic Cities' Mark Byrne, who not long ago declared the National Mall a "failed" public space. 

Adams Morgan deals with a hangover: All those drinks at Madame's Organ are bound to catch up with you. Lydia DePillis looks to the future of the party-centric D.C. neighborhood.

Capital Bikeshare rides on: 13th and H Street NE now have a dozen new docks, bringing the total up to 27.

Learn the history of one of D.C.'s funniest neighborhood names: DCist's Alia E. Dastagir considers the name "Foggy Bottom" and its long history in our capital, going back well over a century.

Watch out for streetcar tracks, bicyclists: Alex Baca can tell you why.

Should the Old Post Office become a Waldorf Astoria? Hilton has proposed turning the building into a big hotel, according to the Business Journal.

God save our bicyclists: Should the bike-riders among us receive special legal protections from angry drivers? The D.C. Council held a hearing of grievances last Wednesday and are considering an anti-harassment law.

Taxi economics: The Post takes a good hard look at how taxicab drivers score their best customers as well as how our fares stack up against the rest of the country's. The verdict: "Few, if any, major U.S. cities offer such a sweet deal for the riding public." Would you agree?

Read more daily transportation news at TBD On Foot.

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