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Anyone who cares about D.C. civic life knows the name Terry Lynch. He’s the fellow who works for an outfit called the Downtown Cluster of Congregations and gets quoted somewhere, on some topic, about five times a day. Lynch is a wonderful man with deep knowledge about a lot of things. Downtown development, city politics, the relationship between the federal government and the city, and on and on—-for any of these topic areas, Lynch will cough up a sweet quote that you can punch right into your story.
On Saturday, though, the Washington Post explored the outer reaches of Lynch’s quotemeister CV. The story was written by sharp staffer Allison Klein, a reporter who formerly worked in Prince George’s County but has moved to the D.C. beat. She was writing about the death of 6-year-old J’Lin Tyler, who was hit by a car in Northeast as he was walking to the bus stop.
Klein then pointed out that Tyler was the latest victim in a rash of pedestrian fatalities in the District—-the third in the past week and the fourth this year. And when looking for an explanation, she turns to Lynch:
Terry Lynch, executive director of the Downtown Cluster of Congregations, a nonprofit group of churches that does community outreach, pointed to two general causes of pedestrian fatalities. “People are in such a hurry, and they’re multi-tasking, whether they’re listening to their iPod or talking on the cellphone. We have a distracted, rushed culture,” he said. “It’s also a lack of engineering. We are a fast-growing city, bringing more pedestrians into contact with vehicles.”
A couple of problems here: One, it’s not clear whether any of the recent fatalities had anything to do with iPods or cellphones or distracted people.
Two, since when is the District a fast-growing place? A couple of years back, in fact, the Census Bureau released numbers saying that the city was losing population—-from roughly 572,000 in 2000 to 550,000 in 2005.
The administration of Mayor Anthony A. Williams later appealed that Census estimate and got a more favorable one, which put the number at 582,000. Even if you accept that number, it all amounts to an uptick of about 10,000 people in six years.
So let’s keep Lynch focused on his core subjects. Isn’t there some decision on church parking coming up?