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Damn The Torpedoes: The Department of Justice recently reminded federal law enforcement authorities that marijuana is illegal in the U.S., no matter what laws cities or states might pass to the contrary. Here in the District, that might have threatened a nascent medical marijuana program—except Mayor Vince Gray has apparently decided he doesn’t care what the feds say. Smoke ’em if you got ’em, folks (and by “got ’em,” we mean, got prescriptions, of course). +2
Out Of Service: Anyone who’s ridden Metro recently might be surprised to learn that the agency’s official target for how many escalators are supposed to be in good working order at any given time is 90 percent. But those Metro riders won’t be surprised to learn that it hasn’t met the goal. In May, 103 of the system’s 588 escalators were down for repairs—or more than 17 percent. No wonder tourists can’t figure out that they’re supposed to stand to the right; standing won’t get you anywhere on a broken escalator. -2
Red Means Go: One of the most frequent gripes from drivers about bicyclists is how often they see bikes running red lights. Never mind that most of the time, the bikes are just trying to put as much distance between themselves and cars as possible, and that they wait until the intersection is clear to go; apparently it’s galling. In Virginia, it may still be galling, but it’s now officially legal for bicyclists, motorcyclists, or moped riders to run a red after waiting two minutes for it to change. Prediction: This will do absolutely nothing to stop drivers from grumbling. +1
Green Means D.C.: The District government loves boasting about how environmentally friendly its policies are. Now it turns out those boasts may be justified. A ranking of 27 U.S. and Canadian cities by Siemens put D.C. number one in “environmental governance,” and number eight overall in general green-ness. In water conservation, the District ranked 24th. Guess those rain barrels aren’t enough. +2
Yesterday’s Needle rating: 49 Today’s score: +3 Today’s Needle rating: 52