City Desk

The Needle: Metro Conquers All Edition

Metro Opens More Doors: If the Metro seemed a little more crowded than normal this spring, it was—transit officials say ridership in April through June of this year increased by 1.2 percent over last year. The reason? The (slowly) improving economy. As more people get back to work, they need to find a way to, well, get back to work. One way Metro could continue to bring down the unemployment rate, which is still at 9.9 percent in D.C.: Hire mechanics to fix the escalators. +2

Drive Now, Talk Later: The District's law banning cell phones while driving is usually honored in the breach. Which is why the police crackdown this morning near 9th Street NW and New York Avenue may have come as a surprise to some of the drivers caught in it. From a Home Rule standpoint, the busts were unwelcome; apparently, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, not local authorities, prompted the operation, hoping to provide a nice backdrop to a federal conference on distracted driving. But from the standpoint of someone who bikes to work most days, it's hard to complain. (Note: City Paper now expects to win a Pulitzer for covering this issue, just like the New York Times did.) +3

Not So Suspicious Package: There was a time when strange packages leaking weird liquids in the 900 block of F Street NW would have been par for the course, and besides, if anything really nasty oozed out, it might help cover up the ambient smells at the old 9:30 Club. Nowadays, pharmaceutical lobbyists, not rock-and-rollers, tend to hang around the area—which is why streets were closed downtown today over a suspicious delivery. All's well that ends well, though; the package was declared harmless, and everything eventually reopened. No word on what was leaking. -2

The Heat is On: Because this is, apparently, the Year of Horrific Weather (see: Snowmageddon; Snowpocalypse; all of June, July, and August; the earthquake), the northern California-like idyll we've been experiencing this week had to come to an end. And right on cue, here come temperatures in the 90s again, possibly challenging the 1980 record for most days over 90 degrees ever. Abandon hope, all ye who enter here. -2

Yesterday's Needle rating: 58 Today's score: +1 Today's Needle rating: 59

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