City Desk

The Needle: Stranded Without a Train Edition

Last Call, Last Train? When Metrorail's hours were expanded to better accommodate weekend warriors after midnight—first to 1 a.m. in 1999 and later to 3 a.m.—it was heralded as sign that the nation's capital was loosening its tie a bit and supporting its nightlife. Sure, it reduced the amount of time crews could perform track maintenance. But it also provided a way for people to enjoy a night out on the town without having to get behind the wheel. Now, some at Metro think it may be necessary to cut back operating hours to rein in spending. That idea is a tough sell, for sure. But even considering scaling back weekend hours is a sign of just how dire Metro's fiscal straits are. -2

Do You Smell Rotten Eggs? There may be a gas leak somewhere in West Virginia that is wafting over Maryland. Or it could be something else. Sometimes, mysterious interstate odors can be sweet, like New Jersey's maple syrup smell that New York City residents sometimes report coming from across the Hudson River. But what Marylanders are getting is by no means saccharine. -1

Bedbugs at CPAC! There's nothing that freaks people out more than bedbugs. They can suck your blood while you sleep. And that is scary. Apparently, the Woodley Park hotel that is currently hosting the Conservative Political Action Conference has had reports of bedbugs, if you believe the reports on the Bedbug Registry. If there's any upside to bedbugs at a hotel hosting a big political conference, it raises awareness of the nation's epic bedbug problem. Maybe Sarah Palin can make another appearance at the Marriott Wardman Park and marshal her army of devoted fans to go on the offensive against the bloodsuckers? +2

It Does Get Better: Local D.C. Republican Pat Mara, who is running for an at-large seat on the D.C. Council, just tweeted: "Gathering signatures at metro. Does life get any better?" Yes, in fact, life does get better. Especially when you're gathering signatures in warmer weather. It's supposed to get up into the 50s this weekend! +2

Yesterday's Needle rating: 45 Today's score: +1 Today's Needle rating: 46

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