City Desk

The Needle: Baltimore United Edition

What Will Keep United In D.C.?: Baltimore wasn't playing when it decided to make a bid for D.C. United, which isn't happy, or profitable, playing at RFK. (Fans, meanwhile, aren't happy with the team's inability to make the playoffs.) Major League Soccer has been surveying fans up I-95 about how they'd feel about a soccer team moving to the city, apparently to see whether a relocation would be viable. In response, United supporters here are circulating a petition to District officials and investors, saying the team should be able to build a stadium at Buzzard Point, near the Nationals ballpark in Southwest. The cynical prediction: No stadium for United, which is the only major D.C. team to win a championship in its league in the last decade, but the city does wind up dumping hundreds of millions of dollars into a Redskins practice complex. -1

Key Bridge, Don't Fall Down Now: The bridges in the D.C. area haven't gotten great reviews lately, but sometimes a politician needs a convenient prop. And so it was that President Barack Obama brought his campaign to invest in infrastructure to the Key Bridge, speaking with Rosslyn behind him about the manifold joys of public works projects. The recent Wilson Bridge reconstruction, the White House says, has cut bottlenecks dramatically. As for the Key Bridge, it's not in such great shape—Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood exhorted Congress to spend some money fixing it up soon, lest Obama give his next Georgetown speech in front of a pile of floating rubble. +1

You Don't Have To Go Home, But You Can't Stay Here: The last time bad weather settled in during a wintertime rush hour, the city hit levels of gridlock not seen again until the August earthquake. Theoretically, that'll change this winter. Instead of letting everyone go whenever they feel like leaving, the federal government will tell workers when to leave or tell them to stay until roads are clear. We still recommend tele-commuting the next time it snows, though. +2

Boots Off: Budget cuts have left city and state governments around the country trying to do—as the irritatingly chipper phrase has it—more with less, and D.C. is no exception. The latest round of cuts, though, may be good news to anyone who has a habit of parking illegally: The District Department of Public Works has laid off 30 people, cutting in half the number of parking enforcement officers devoted to booting cars. -1

Yesterday's Needle rating: 37 Today's score: +1 Today's Needle rating: 38

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