Friday, November 16, 2018

What will Amazon mean for Metro riders?

I was quoted in a Washington Post article (it was also the cover story in the Washington Post Express) about Amazon's announcement to open one of its second headquarters in the Washington DC region.
The article about it is excerpted from
A key part of why Amazon, the world’s second trillion-dollar company, chose Crystal City in Arlington, Va., today as a second headquarters location is transportation.
The office-park neighborhood is supported by Metrorail, Metroway (the Washington, DC region’s only bus rapid transit route), plenty of bus routes, and National Airport.
This is a great opportunity for Metro to boost its declining ridership. But with Metro’s sometimes poor reliability and Uber and Lyft’s growing prominence, there’s no guarantee that Amazon employees and their families will choose Metro.
My quote in the article:
“Metro has to make itself really attractive to get [Amazon employees] to choose Metro over any of the other options perhaps people are finding more attractive at this point."
Some observers predict that Amazon will attract high-earning millennials to the DC region. This might not bode well for Metro, as this is the demographic reducing its ridership the most. 
Luckily, there’s a good chance that Amazon will provide unlimited transit passes to employees, as it does for employees at the Seattle headquarters. This strategy is known to both boost transit ridership and increase employee satisfaction.
Yet Amazon’s arrival means that many more people – not just Amazon employees – will be moving to the DC region. For Metro to win those riders too, the agency needs to up its game. That means improving service and making it easier for people to ride Metro, with better signage, real-time information, and marketing.
And for Amazon itself to help improve the quality of transportation options throughout the DC region, it can start by offering its own employees the very best corporate transportation incentives.
Photo of Arlington Cemetary Metro station by Sam Kittner for Mobility Lab. 

Monday, November 12, 2018

A Star is Born comes along as shockingly great

With two little kids, I admittedly don't make it the movie theater to watch adult movies much these days. So I can't make huge pronouncements at the moment about the competition, but I hope A Star is Born sweeps the Academy Awards in a few months.

Bradley Cooper as the aging rock star. Best Actor. Check. Lady Gaga as a genuine person who goes from nothing to the top. Best Actress. Check. All the big players. Best Supporting Roles. Check. Best Picture. Check.

I went to this film thinking I'd like it but that it easily could border on romantic schmaltz. But the story is all there. And the characters are all so real. No gloss whatsoever. And oh the songs, made even better by the fact that Cooper and Gaga wrote them all and performed them often live in front of festival and other audiences. Just incredible. I actually cried during at least four songs. (Here's a good article in Vanity Fair about how Cooper became such a great singer and songwriter.)

Run out and see this before it leaves theaters as quickly as you can.

5 out of 5 stars

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Aretha Franklin made us all feel like a “natural woman”

While reading the always-remarkable music journalist Mikal Gilmore’s remembrance of Aretha Franklin (there is a lot of dirt in the profile, about her nastiness to a lot of people and becoming a mother at age 12 AND 14), I was inspired to watch this performance from late in her career in front of the Obamas at the Kennedy’s Center Awards.

If anyone ever doubted her talent, all it takes is one viewing of this clip.