Clean Me a River: Long-time Washingtonians may sometimes wonder what’s going through the heads (or digestive tracts) of people fishing on the banks of the Potomac River. For decades, the river’s been considered so polluted as to be a national disgrace. Turns out those people fishing were just ahead of the curve, though; a new study finds the Potomac is in better health now than it was in the 1950s. Evidently, all it took was putting an end to the practice of dumping sewage into the water. Scientists needed 60 years to think of that? +5

Ride a Bike: With schools back in session everywhere in the region and drivers returning to the roads after August beach vacations and last-gasp Labor Day trips away from home, today was officially declared “Terrible Traffic Tuesday,” which, as arbitrary names go, is far catchier than “Cyber Monday,” but still kind of… silly. So far as we could tell, traffic wasn’t actually any worse than usual. That’s because we rode our bike to work today, just like we do most days. Sure, it was hot, and there’s always the risk of getting run over by a frustrated driver, but isn’t that more fun than being the frustrated driver? -2

No, Really—Ride a Bike: A DDOT study shows drivers on 15th Street NW have been speeding less since a “contraflow” bike lane was installed running south on the one-way northbound street, and more cyclists are using the street to get around, with a 40 percent increase in bikes spotted at 15th and T. The lane will soon be extended so it runs from E Street NW to W Street NW; now, it only goes between U Street NW and Massachusetts Avenue NW. Best news? D.C.’s bike lanes cost only $100,000 a mile, as opposed to New York City’s tab: $1.5 million per mile. (On the other hand, New York’s bikes probably cost more, on average, too, thanks to the prevalence of hipsters riding expensive track bikes from dive bar to dive bar—here, we just don’t have as many dive bars to commute between on carbon fiber frames.) +3

Marty Peretz Weighs In: Any voters still undecided between Vincent Gray and Adrian Fenty now, officially, no longer have an excuse not to make up their minds—The New Republic‘s D.C. mayoral endorsement is finally out! Counter-intuitively, TNR decided not to go the counter-intuitive route, and endorsed exactly the candidate you’d expect for a neo-liberal opinion journal mostly written and read by over-educated white people: Fenty. (Of course, that’s a whole different demographic than, say, an alt-weekly mostly written and read by over-educated white people.) Admittedly, TNR‘s editorial wisdom has not always persuaded the masses; otherwise, we might be living through President Joe Lieberman‘s second term. If Fenty wins, we at Washington City Paper look forward to the inevitable “Were We Wrong?” follow-up sometime in 2013. 0

Friday’s Needle rating: 37 Today’s score: +6 Today’s Needle rating: 43