City Desk

The Needle: Torch Song Edition

Mosquitos Will Kill You: Itching and scratching is no longer the worst possible consequence of spending too much time outside without a proper dousing of DEET first. City health officials say they've identified West Nile virus in mosquitos in the District. There's only a real danger for about one in 150 people who gets bitten by an exposed bug, but don't let that stop you from panicking; the more mosquitos you kill in a rage, the better for all of us. -2

Faster, Higher, Stronger: When a joint bid by D.C. and Baltimore failed to win the U.S. Olympic Committee's endorsement nine years ago, it was probably a blessing—spending money on bike lanes has proven controversial enough here, so imagine building a whole velodrome. The games almost always wind up a financial drag on the host cities. Tomorrow, though, you can pretend the Olympics are coming here anyway, as the torch heading for the London games next year passes from the Canadian embassy (because Vancouver hosted last year's Winter Olympics) to the British embassy. No word on whether it's still possible to bribe officials to move the route closer to your preferred viewing location. +2

Postal Going: Dire predictions from the U.S. Postal Service are nothing new; the agency warns of doom (defined, usually, as an end to six-day mail delivery) every so often to justify rate increases, and Congress usually goes along. The latest prediction, though, might really get lawmakers' attention. USPS says it might close a post office in the Capitol, as well as about a dozen others in the District, as part of a plan to eliminate more than 3,500 locations. Quick! Send an angry email to let them know you object! -1

Commute Not Going As Planned: The District's Office of Planning has helped push to expand bike infrastructure for years, so it's no surprise that director Harriet Tregoning cycles daily from Columbia Heights to her office near the Southwest Waterfront. But Tregoning now may have an even better reason to advocate more bike-friendly streets: She was hit by a car Tuesday morning while riding to work. The car, which had Maryland tags, ran a red light on Massachusetts Avenue NW and sideswiped Tregoning. The planning director wasn't hurt, but her folding Brompton bike was badly damaged; the driver will pay to fix it. Tregoning warned the driver never to run red lights in D.C. again. -2

Yesterday's Needle rating: 42 Today's score: -3 Today's Needle rating: 39

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Comments

  1. #1

    Heh, I had almost forgotten about DC's Olympic bid. Most cities exhibit an outpouring of civic pride and excitement when they're up for a bid. Not DC. The chorus of sarcasm and cynical self-loathing was deafening.

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