Executive Director’s Note
- Making the case for an progressive update to the D.C. Zoning Code
- Leading the way for new transportation funding in Maryland
- Promoting the benefits of new rapid transit in Montgomery County
- Teaming with Prince George’s residents to support locating the new medical center next to a Metro station
- Hosting five great walking tours in Maryland, D.C., and Virginia.
Keep reading below to learn more about these campaigns. Thank you again for your support – we couldn’t do any of our work without our many donors and volunteers who share a commitment to smart growth for our communities and our region!
D.C. Zoning Update
The proposal to eliminate unneeded parking mandates in transit-rich areas has become the most debated item in the Zoning Update. So to illustrate how changing lifestyle and transportation choices are making mandated parking minimums a poor fit for our growing city, we collected stories from scores of D.C. residents who rely on transit, biking, or walking for most parts of everyday life.
We anticipate Zoning Commission hearings on the final draft of the zoning update to be held this fall and will keep all of our D.C. supporters regularly updated on the process.
Momentum in the Outer Beltway fightpublicly broke with the Governor’s office and came out in opposition to the fast tracking of this wasteful and sprawl-inducing new highway. That came on the heels of six conservative local legislators announcing their opposition to the project as well.
Along with our partners, we are utilizing the momentum these announcements generated to step up our community outreach in Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William counties about the Outer Beltway and the real need for fixing east-west commuter corridors, more transit, safer local streets, and other smart growth transportation investments. Recent meetings have been packed with area residents asking for real solutions to Northern Virginia’s traffic problems, not a wasteful road that will only spur sprawl development that makes the current situation even worse.
Maryland Transportation Fundingtransportation funding measure that should provide enough funding for important transit projects like the Purple Line and Baltimore’s Red Line to move forward. We played a lead role in bringing together environmental, business, and civic organizations in the Get Maryland Moving coalition to speak with a unified voice about the necessity for new transit funding in Maryland.
Coordinating more than 30 influential statewide, regional, and local organizations, we sent action alerts, produced and distributed sign-on letters, organized press events, and more. We’ve heard from a number of influential Maryland leaders that our efforts helped demonstrate public support and gave decision makers the confidence they needed to support new funding.
Advancing Montgomery Rapid Transitrobust investment in rapid transit. The county’s proposed rapid transit system, based on bus rapid transit concepts, is before the Planning Board, and we rallied many supporters to testify for stepped up transit investments at a May hearing.
The plan is expected to be before the County Council in the fall, setting up a busy couple of months for transit advocates.
Prince George’s Regional Medical Center1000+ person petition, a report detailing the success other communities have had with mixed-use, pedestrian-oriented hospitals, and press outreach) has played a significant role. We’ve been so effective that even the normally anti-transit Examiner editorialized in favor of our chosen site in March.
We expect a final decision on the location at some point over the summer. In the meantime, recent testimony by Council Chair Andrea Harrison left no doubt that Prince George’s sees transit-oriented development as the top priority for economic growth.
A Great Spring of Walking ToursWhite Flint redevelopment, saw opportunities to link stream restoration with development along Route 1 in Fairfax, strolled a quickly changing 14th Street in NW D.C., discussed how a more walkable Wheaton can maintain its eclectic small businesses, and saw the future for a more vibrant and walkable Ft. Totten.
If you missed out on this spring’s program, never fear – we’ve got five more coming this fall! Keep an eye out for an August email announcing the lineup and schedule.