For our morning links, while you slept, showered, shaved, and got your Starbucks, we scanned the local papers, blogs, and websites to find the most interesting stories in them you might have missed.

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The long-delayed project to remove the temporary security measures around the Federal Courthouse in Carlyle and install a new, more permanent, may be coming to a head soon. See the video above from the May meeting of the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) where the NCPC gives its approval for the project. Starting at approx. 5:09 in the video, the presenter goes over the plans for the Courthouse.

Some of the improvements include:

  • Removal of jersey barriers around the Courthouse
  • The installation of garden walls and secure bollards around the site.
  • The movement of existing parking spaces from Jamieson Ave to Elizabeth Lane.
  • The reopening of Courthouse Square to one-way traffic (this should benefit the Westin Alexandria the most).
    • This includes pop-up bollards on Courthouse Square which can be popped up in case of a BIG trial at the Courthouse.

The City of Alexandria report on this project is located at this link. The presentation, which shows what the final design looks like can be found at this link. The final details are being worked out between the GSA, the City of Alexandria, and the Carlyle Community Council. IMHO, I would look for construction to start sometime this fall.

Metro has released a video to try and sell the random bag checks to you. As We Love DC points out:

One small problem with Metro’s plan is that they will not be searching at every station, and I can’t quite figure out what would stop someone from seeing police presence at, say, Farragut West, and instead walking just two blocks to Farragut North. Terrorists aren’t going to be deterred by searches, and a bomb going off at any station would do the sort of damage that would be irreparable to ridership and public confidence in the embattled transit agency.

What are your thoughts on the announced bag checks? My thoughts are that I can just see myself getting flagged, missing my train and waiting 12 minutes in the freezing cold for the next one.

TBD’s ‘On Foot’ blog has the details:

Metro interim general manager Richard Sarles announced today that the agency will begin performing random checks of passengers’ bags and packages in the coming days.

Metro officials have said the searches will take “only minutes” and are intended to be “non-intrusive.” Transit officers will use ionization technology and K-9 units to try to detect explosives in and around Metro stops. Anyone who’s pulled aside for a search and refuses to submit their bag or package will be prohibited from bringing it onto Metro. Metro says the bags will “generally not be opened” unless officers believe there’s a need for further inspections.

The agency has played with the idea of random inspections in the past but hasn’t instituted any until now.

“This adds another layer of security to our system,” Metro Transit Police Michael Taborn said in a statement. “The program will increase visible methods of protecting our passengers and employees, while minimizing inconvenience to riders.”

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