Skip to main content

The Most Important Project You Don't Know About

Earlier in the month a series of floods wreaked havoc on the Bloomingdale neighborhood in DC. It was the result of a variety of factors, including weather, geography and out-of-date infrastructure. In short, when it rains really hard and really quickly, water flows downhill into Bloomingdale but there's not enough sewer capacity to carry it away.

(from bhrome on Flickr)

The solution? A multi-billion (with a B) dollar project by the water utility to install a sewer tunnel from Bloomingdale to the water-treatment plant on the other side of town (among a handful of other things).

This is not the kind of "sexy" infrastructure project that typically gets a lot of attention. The Silver Line to Dulles is an expensive project  that a lot of people have an opinion on. Capital Bikeshare is a much less expensive project that gets a lot of attention. But a storm sewer?.. it's hard to get people excited about that.

It's probably nonetheless one of the most important infrastructure projects in the city. It's a reminder that when cities get old, things need to be replaced and upgraded. Infrastructure is durable, but it doesn't last forever. When it works like it should, nobody really notices. But when it fails, and people have to suffer through multiple floods in a month - that's when people actually start to notice.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

In Praise of Southwest's 'C' Boarding Group

A few weeks ago I saw a tweet from someone complaining that their Southwest Airlines boarding pass had been assigned A20 (meaning they would be at least one of the first twenty passengers to board the plane). Apparently this person though they should have been assigned a higher number, less their flight experience be considerably spoiled.

Despite the complaints, Southwest has resisted demands to assign seats on its flights, a decision which I personally applaud. I'll admit that I was skeptical when they rolled out the newest boarding procedure, assigning both boarding groups and a line number; but in hindsight it seems like one of the best operational decisions they've ever made. If nothing else, it effectively eliminated the infamous "cattle call" whereby fliers were getting to airports hours in advance and sitting in line on the floor as if they were waiting for the midnight showing of the new Star Wars movie.

When I was an intern at Southwest Airlines last winter, I…

So You Want to be a Southwest Airlines Intern?

My personal website must have pretty decent SEO - because in the past year, I've received about two dozen emails from aspiring Southwest Airlines interns looking to draw on my experience in search of their own dream internship. In the past two weeks alone a few new emails have already started rolling in...

(from flickr user San Diego Shooter)

If you've found your way here, you might be hoping for the silver bullet; a secret tip that will propel you above the competition. Unfortunately, I do not know any inside secrets. I can only share my experience as an internship candidate about two years ago and, rather than responding individually to future emails I anticipate to receive, I hope that potential interns will find the information posted here valuable.

Understand: Southwest Airlines is a very unique company. The corporate culture at Southwest is truly unlike that of nearly every other company. But you probably already knew that, since it now seems mandatory for every management,…

Good Advertising

The blogosphere seems to be one fire over Microsoft's new "Lauren" TV commercial. Frankly, I don't see what the commotion is about.



If the critics are correct, then "Lauren" is actually Lauren De Long, a Screen Actors Guild eligible actress; and apparently, if you look close enough, she never even enters the Apple store.

Even if all of that is true, it doesn't refute the fact that Apple's laptops are significantly more expensive than most PCs. It isn't a lie that Apple doesn't sell any 17-inch laptops for less than a grand. The advertisement doesn't make any reference to the quality of the machines (or contest any of the claims made in Apple's "I'm a PC" commercials) or provide any good reason to buy one other than price.

As far as I can tell, after years of horrible commercials and a series of flops, Microsoft seems to finally have hired an ad agency that put together a decent advertisement. It's not likely to persuad…