A Modest Proposal for DC Congressional Representation

DC-LenfantInspired by the state named roadways in Washington DC, a solution to the DC representation problem presents itself. Rather than DC being a state of itself (it is smallish, certainly in size, but also in population), which clearly raises the ire of Republicans who would be loathe to create 2 Democratic Senate seats, or being functionally retroceded to Maryland (which gets Maryland one more representative, but diminishes each Marylander’s vote for Senate and creates new demands on taxpayers), we could divide the District into 50 districts, and assign each to one of the fifty states. The districts should be approximately equal in size (~12000) people and area (~1.2 square miles).

DCVote The elegance of this is that everyone in Washington would get a federal vote, some people in Minnesota, some in Florida, and so on. Every Senator and 50 representatives would all have some interest in the District of Columbia, as a good number of their constituents live there. Washington would no longer be “there”, but instead be part of all of the United States. Incumbents in Congress should vote for it, since they have an advantage in campaigning in this not inconsequential district of the District compared to rivals.

We could tie each district to the state avenues, so, for instance, Minnesota would get a chunk of DC that is along Minnesota Avenue, say around the Minnesota Avenue Metro Station. Florida’s chunk would be in part coterminous with Florida Avenue, and so on. We could further encourage Senators and the Representative to stay in the part of DC that is in their Congressional district. This would disperse at least 50 Representatives and 100 Senators who have a nasty habit of co-habitating to no good end, and this would further their feel for the city.
The link below illustrates the concept for Minnesota Avenue.MinnesotaDC

Linklist: March 9, 2012

GGW: Air rights could tie together Tysons Corner – Greater Greater Washington:

“One problem with the otherwise impressive Tysons Corner redevelopment plan is that the two main streets, Route 7 and Route 123, will continue to function as suburban arterial high­ways. They’ll be so hard to cross that the neighborhoods on either side will be effectively cut off from each other. Rather than main streets, they are de facto freeways, barriers that divide the community in two. Fairfax County proposes to address this problem by adding 4 pedestrian bridges. But a better solution would be to deck over these roads wherever possible, and then stitch together the neighborhood fragments with air rights development.”

Atlantic Cities: Explaining Transit’s Secret Language :

“It’s difficult to categorize Jarrett Walker’s excellent new book, Human Transit. It’s not quite for a popular audience, though it’s written with engaging ease. It’s not for academics, though it’s as thorough as most published research and far more approachable. It’s not strictly for a policy audience, though it’s fresh grist for any transit wonk’s mill. Its closest literary cousin may be a good language book, for it feels capable of teaching anyone, beginner or beyond, to speak Transit more fluently.”