Today's DC Library: Fewer Books, but More Media and Visitors

Kate Rabinowitz // October 19, 2016

As reading habits change, so does the DC Public Library. With the number of books down, but other media and library visits up, the library is much more than its book collection, as I recently wrote for Greater Greater Washington.

The meaning of curling up to a book has broadened over the past decade. It could mean an actual physical book, but also scrolling down your smartphone or listening to a book over headphones. With a limited collections budget, how has the DC Public Library balanced traditional physical books with newer mediums? Read on...

When Sick, Where you Live in DC May Matter for Recovery

Kate Rabinowitz // October 4, 2016

With colder weather comes colds. As recently reported by Greater Greater Washington, emergency response times are longer in Wards 7 and 8, located east of the Anacostia. But what about access to non-emergency medical care? Suppose you come down with the flu. Besides chicken soup and bedrest, how will you get better? As I recently wrote for Greater Greater Washington, where you live in the city may make a difference. Read on...

All Those Reports About DC Rents? Best to Take Them With a Grain of Salt

Kate Rabinowitz // September 2, 2016

On a weekly basis, the email inbox at UrbanTurf is filled with new reports and studies from rental and real estate start-ups highlighting one trend or another about DC’s housing market. Asked by the popular real estate blog to look into the methodology behind these reports, I found a lot to be desired. Read on to learn the issues with these reports, like recent the RadPad findings shown below...

DC's Expensive, but that's not the Whole Story

Kate Rabinowitz // August 31, 2016

Earlier this month, a map saying that $100 will buy you less in DC than any other state made the online rounds. But while it's true $100 will buy you less in DC, it's misleading to leave it at that because DC's higher incomes mean it's easier to make $100 here than in many other places.

The above map, which came from the Tax Foundation's Alan Cole uses the relative value of $100 across states to highlight how prices of the same goods vary. "The same amount of cash can buy you comparatively more in a low-price state than in a high-price state," writes Cole. For instance, in Mississippi, the state with the lowest prices, you could spend $100 to buy goods that would on average cost $115.34 in the US. Conversely, DC has the lowest relative value of $100: If you spend $100 in DC you would receive goods that on average cost $84.67.

Concluding that DC is the most expensive place in America is a bit disingenuous. Read on in my recent Greater Greater Washington post.

Charting the Divide in New and Old DC Homes

Kate Rabinowitz // August 1, 2016

While all of DC is a city, some of its residential neighborhoods feel more like a city than others. This feels intuitive walking along the smaller row houses of Capitol Hill compared to the more expansive mid-century homes in upper Northwest.

The maps below show this divide between homes in the inner and outer sections of the city by house type, year built, and lot size. Generally, homes located closer to the city core are older, built upon smaller lots, and almost entirely row houses. There is a strong interrelatedness between these three housing characteristics that can be seen by the almost identical areas of light shading across the maps. The area extends from Capitol Hill to Georgetown and from Shaw up to Petworth. Conversely homes outside of these neighborhoods tend to have been built later, on larger lots, and more likely to be single (self-standing) or semi-detached homes. Read on...

The Changing Geography of DC Nightlife

Kate Rabinowitz // July 15, 2016

In recent years DC has seen a large influx of new restaurants and bars. But these new businesses aren’t necessarily opening in the same neighborhoods as they would have five or ten years ago. And for many, where they go out on Saturday night has been slowly moving east. The map below shows the percent of today's nightlife establishments (bars, nightclubs, and restaurants with liquor licenses) that opened after 2010, for neighborhoods with more than 10 nightlife establishments. Read on...

Another Brick in the Ward

Kate Rabinowitz // June 29, 2016

DC is a city with a diversity of people, businesses, and neighborhoods. But walking along the city’s residential streets you may notice one aspect of the city that isn’t particularly diverse at all - facades of DC homes. DC is home to almost exclusively brick homes.

The map below shows each residential properties in the District by facade...Read on at DMPED's Chart of the Week, a great source for weekly DC data visualization.

Bike to Work Day: By the Numbers

Kate Rabinowitz // May 24, 2016

This past Friday brought sunny weather and Bike to Work Day, an annual celebration of biking throughout the DC region. But while some may forego a car, train, or bus to celebrate, Bike to Work Day is just like any other weekday for many. Biking is on the rise throughout DC and will likely become even more popular with the upcoming Metro maintenance.

How did this year’s Bike to Work Day look across some of the region’s most popular bike routes? Automatic bike counters installed by DDOT and Arlington County that collect real-time data on foot and bike traffic give an idea. The chart below compares the number of bike rides for this year’s Bike to Work Day to average weekday ridership so far in May and last year’s Bike to Work Day (BTWD).

Bike to Work Day 2016 Brings Many More Bikers

Bike counts for average May weekday to date and Bike to Work Day (BTWD) 2015 and 2016

Source: DDOT and Arlington County, via

Read the rest in my recent Washingtonian piece.

Maryland Drivers Receive the Most Parking Tickets in DC

Kate Rabinowitz // May 11, 2016

There’s a long-held debate around Washington over which jurisdiction is home to the worst drivers. With jobs in DC split about evenly between the city and the suburbs, the District sees drivers from all over put to the test with its one-way streets, traffic circles, back-in-only spaces, and parallel parking. What insight can open data provide into the prowess of the region’s drivers? Newly released parking-ticket data sheds some light.

The District issued more than 1.5 million parking tickets in 2015, generating more than $73 million in fines. While DC residents received a little less than one-third of the tickets, they were not actually the top recipients. That honor goes to motorists from Maryland, who accrued more DC parking tickets than drivers from anywhere else in the country. Maryland drivers received 120,000 more DC parking tickets than DC residents, for a total of 554,265 parking tickets worth over $25 million in fines. The trend is consistent with previous years and, perhaps more importantly, regional lore.

This does not necessary mean Maryland drivers are the worst drivers in the District. Read the rest and see how other states fare in my recent Washingtonian piece.