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Cuneyt Dil
Updated 19 hours ago - Politics

Town Talker: So many candidates, so little polling

Illustration of a ballot filled in to create a question mark
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

With so many crowded races and little public polling to reveal who’s up and who’s down, this year’s local primaries promise to be unpredictable.

Why it matters: The lack of polling is complicating fundraising, debates — ever try to moderate ten people on a Zoom stage? — and how organizations decide on the most viable candidates to endorse.

Chelsea Cirruzzo
19 hours ago - COVID

D.C. area officials prepare to vaccinate young children

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

D.C. area officials are preparing to vaccinate children under the age of five who may be next in line to get their COVID-19 shots.

Why it matters: Parents who want their little ones vaxxed, stat, will be queuing up as soon as they get the green light.

Paige Hopkins
19 hours ago - News

D.C.’s new pandemic rush hour

Vehicle traffic in front of the Capitol.
Photo: Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Office occupancy is still low and yet traffic is exceeding pre-pandemic levels, according to a new JLL report.

What’s happening: The pandemic has taken us from a couple of rush hour spikes in traffic in the morning and evening to a steady stream of traffic throughout the day.

D.C.'s food truck fix

PhoWheels food truck.
Photo: Paige Hopkins/Axios

Throughout the pandemic, restaurant owners have turned to food trucks for survival by literally meeting diners where they are: working and eating at home. 

What’s happening: You might’ve noticed a steady stream of restaurants-on-wheels stopping by your neighborhood these last two years. Most local food trucks have left downtown streets behind and have migrated to residential areas instead. 

Meanwhile, the fleet of trucks in the District has expanded — to 198 as of last month.

  • According to the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, which monitors the industry, that was a 21.5% increase from April 2020.

Why it matters: The pandemic has been absolutely brutal for restaurants, and even with more diners out and about, the industry still faces a raft of headwinds. But food trucks are helping some business owners stay afloat, all while bringing dinner to our doorsteps.   

What they’re saying: PhoWheels owner Tuan Vo says his truck is bringing in more revenue now than before the pandemic. He’s also seen an increase in private bookings for weddings, festivals, and birthday parties. 

  • Vo says that pre-pandemic, the truck would usually be booked only one or two months in advance, but he’s currently booked on most Fridays and Saturdays until November.

Pepe, a food truck by José Andrés, has shifted to focusing on private and community events during the pandemic. Sous chef José Rivera emailed Axios that the truck is "incredibly busy" and is open now more than it was before the pandemic.

Yes, but: The food truck fix hasn’t endured for everyone. The mobile businesses are expensive to maintain and tough to staff because at least one employee has to be certified to drive the truck. 

Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken owner Elliot Spaisman says the early days of the pandemic were lucrative for his truck: “It was wild those first couple months.” But revenue slowed as the pandemic continued.

  • He shuttered the truck last fall due to staffing issues and pricey repairs. 

Similarly, Roaming Roster cut its fleet of four food trucks to two. 

  • On the flip side, it has opened six new brick-and-mortar locations and now all but one of its restaurants are mainly in residential areas. 

What we’re watching: As the pandemic goes on and work-from-home lifestyles adjust, the food truck scene may further evolve as restaurant owners continue searching for ways to attract customers.

Chelsea Cirruzzo
Updated May 23, 2022 - News

D.C.’s struggle to end homelessness is getting more complicated

Illustration of row houses masked by the shape of Washington D.C.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

D.C.’s homeless population is aging, introducing a new and urgent set of challenges to the city’s race to end homelessness.

Why it matters: The city has a plan to end homelessness by 2025, but six years into the effort, it’s still behind in helping individuals find housing — right at a time when more of the aging boomer population comes into the system.

Cuneyt Dil
May 23, 2022 - Politics

Mary Cheh backs Ward 3 candidate Tricia Duncan as successor

Photo of Tricia Duncan taken outdoors
Photo courtesy of Tricia Duncan campaign

Ward 3 Council member Mary Cheh said she's supporting Tricia Duncan to take her seat in a crowded election.

Why it matters: Cheh's support is a major development in the race of nine Democrats, as several candidates jockey to break out with less than a month until the primary elections.

Ned Oliver
May 23, 2022 - Politics

Abortion’s precarious state of play in Virginia

Data: Guttmacher Institute, Axios research. Cartogram: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

The potential overturning of Roe vs. Wade has thrust abortion to the forefront of the battle for the Virginia state legislature.

Why it matters: Even if Democrats hold onto their one-seat majority in the state Senate during next year’s election, the party could still lose on abortion if one of their members — the notoriously unpredictable Senator Joe Morrissey — sides with the GOP, Axios Richmond’s Ned Oliver writes.

Here's how to rent a boat in D.C.

A group on a boat.
Photo: Ting Shen/Xinhua via Getty Images

Don’t own a boat but want to get out on the water? The D.C. area has several boat rental services that loan powerboats by the hour. Two of the outfits are Airbnb-style, with reviews, special features, and boat owner information.

  • And if you do own a boat and are looking to make extra money, you can list it.