This DC Taxi Driver Was a Superstar in Ethiopia (2-12-18)

Left: Photo collage by a fan (unknown) at the Hilton Hotel, late 1960s. Right: Hailu Mergia today.

In the 60s and 70s, Hailu Mergia was a famous musician in Africa. But famine in the 80s forced him to move to the US. Now he’s poised for a comeback.

As a young man living in Addis Ababa during the swinging 60s, Hailu Mergia was a superstar. The Ethiopian capital city was a bustling cosmopolis where art and culture flourished amid the country’s uneasy quest for independence.

His jazz and funk band, The Walias, performed for the domestic and international elite at the then-prestigious Hilton Hotel’s music club, which granted residencies to Ethiopia’s hottest bands. Crowds of dignitaries and foreign diplomats, Hollywood movie stars, famous musicians like Duke Ellington and Alice Coltrane, and important African figures like Manu Dibango would flock to the hotel to dance and jam until sunrise.

Read Full Story Here (via VICE)

D.C. Taxi Drivers Worry As Rideshare Firm Doubles Service Area (2-8-18)

Ridesharing company Via this week expanded to 24/7 service and doubled the number of D.C. neighborhoods where users can order rides, worrying cabdrivers who face increased competition.

“This is part of a big push we’re making in the D.C. market to be available to folks,” Via General Manager Alex Lavoie told The Washington Times.

The ridesharing company entered the D.C. market in 2016, and until this week, users previously could ride only during commuting hours along Metro’s Red line.

Read Full Story Here (via The Washington Times)

Turns Out Uber And Lyft Might Not Be Ruining The American City (1-31-18)

FILIPPO MANARESI/GETTY IMAGES

THIS IS HOW quickly transportation has changed in urban America. In July 2010, a service called UberCab went live in San Francisco—that’s fewer than eight years ago. Washington, DC’s Capital Bikeshare, the country’s largest bike-sharing program, really got off the ground in 2010. Austin became the first US city to host car-sharing service Car2Go a few months into the same year. Lyft launched in SF in June 2012.

That’s a ton more travel options in a short time, most of them enabled by the explosion of the smartphone and fostered somewhere in the Bay Area. Some have indubitably made it easier, cheaper, and safer for residents to travel through dense cities. But for city governments that feel responsible for getting all their residents around, the sudden burst of diversity has confused the whole picture.

Read Full Story Here (via Wired)

Handicapped-Accessible Parking Violations Dramatically Increased in 2017 (1-16-18)

People with disabilities are facing an uphill battle for parking spaces amid a fast rising number of parking cheats, according to an investigation by the News4 I-Team.

A review of parking enforcement records in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia shows a dramatic increase in citations and convictions against people who illegally park in spaces designated for people with disabilities.

The increase was most dramatic in D.C. In 2017, D.C. public works officers began issuing tickets against drivers who unlawfully park at red top meters in the Central Business District, which are restricted for use by people with handicapped placards on their vehicles.

Photo credit: DDOT

Read Full Story Here (via NBC Washington)

NAIAS 2018: The North American International Auto Show Gets Underway (1-15-18)

Even as North American car sales ease off a bit, there’s an optimistic buzz about the future of the auto industry at the press days here at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, which kicked off its press preview days on Sunday, January 14th and will open to the public from January 20-28th.

Read Full Story Here (via BrandChannel)