FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 13, 2017
Stewart Schwartz, Executive Director
Pete Tomao, Montgomery County Advocacy Manager
Transit advocates release 5 principles for smart growth in Montgomery County ahead of 2018 elections
Montgomery County, MD — On Wednesday, advocates at the Coalition for Smarter Growth released a smart growth platform highlighting the importance of transit-accessible, inclusive, and walkable communities for Montgomery County’s future. The platform encourages candidates and public officials to commit to a sustainable Montgomery County by investing in transit-oriented development, affordable housing, providing more transportation choices to reduce the amount people have to drive, protecting the Agricultural Reserve and county streams, and expanding public parks. The platform [PDF] includes 5 main principles and a list of specific policy recommendations for each principle.
“With an expected increase of 230,000 residents in Montgomery County by 2040, and the need to be competitive in attracting next generation companies and employees, we must continue the progress the county is making in shifting growth to transit-served areas. Arlington committed to this approach over the last 30 years, and they have contained congestion. Today, Arlington residents enjoy the shortest commute times in the DC region and the highest walk, bike and transit mode shares outside of D.C.” said Stewart Schwartz, Executive Director of the Coalition for Smarter Growth. “Montgomery County has dual advantages, the ability to create strong, walkable urban places, and nearby access to the Agricultural Reserve and one of the nation’s best park systems.”
Schwartz continued, “We can achieve a vision of a sustainable Montgomery by building out the county’s 81-mile bus rapid transit network, fully developing the areas around Metro, increasing housing near transit, promoting affordable housing on public land near transit, and protecting parks and the Agricultural Reserve. These approaches aren’t just good for the environment; they are also better for business.”
86% of new office construction in the region is within one-quarter mile of a Metro station; a recent report found the most successful office clusters are in walkable, transit accessible locations. “The decision of the county’s largest private employer, Marriott, to relocate from an office park to Downtown Bethesda really puts an exclamation point on the benefits of transit investment and smart growth, and we now hear that Amazon is looking for a transit-accessible location for its second headquarters. Simply put, smart growth is better for the environment and better for the economy.”
“Montgomery’s redevelopment of places like White Flint and Silver Spring has paid off in attracting businesses and residents, and contributed to the 10% drop in vehicle miles being driven in the county,” said Pete Tomao, the Montgomery County Advocacy Manager at the Coalition for Smarter Growth
“As a millennial and Silver Spring resident, I can say that our platform provides a policy roadmap that will help attract and retain the next generation workforce. Younger folks want more urban spaces where they can be less reliant on a car. Additionally, access to transportation has emerged as critical to escaping poverty. Transit-oriented development provides access to opportunity for all residents of Montgomery,” said Tomao.
Read the smart growth platform for Montgomery County here.
About the Coalition for Smarter Growth: The Coalition for Smarter Growth is the leading organization in the Washington DC region dedicated to making the case for smart growth. Its mission is to promote walkable, inclusive, and transit-oriented communities, and the land use and transportation policies and investments needed to make those communities flourish. Learn more at smartergrowth.net.