The Coalition for Smarter Growth has played a key role in the regional dialogue, using our Blueprint for a Better Region to show the benefits of smart growth and a network of transit-oriented communities. We partnered with the business community in the 2005 Reality Check visioning exercise, and teamed with COG jurisdictions and regional leaders in the COG’s Region Forward vision plan. Region Forward captures the shared goals of a more sustainable and equitable region, focused on implementing transit-oriented development, addressing the east-west divide, and supporting green buildings, improved access to health care and more. Today, we are working with area leaders on implementing Region Forward including the updated Activity Centers, which are designed to absorb regional growth in walkable, mixed-use and transit-oriented communities.
Next Generation of Transit
New transit investments are critical to creating walkable, inclusive communities, and to handling our population growth without perpetuating sprawl and generating even worse traffic. But these investments won’t happen unless we all work together to support a new vision, just like the leaders who pressed for our Metrorail system back in the 1960s and 70s. Our newly-launched Next Generation of Transit campaign champions new transit investments, increased interconnectivity between transit modes, and high-quality information and service.
Inclusive Communities & Affordable Housing at a Regional Scale
More than a decade after the Brookings Institution released its seminal Region Divided report, the Washington region is still divided, with parts of D.C. and the east side of the region not sharing in the prosperity of our economy. According to the Metropolitan Washington Council on Governments, during the 1990s, job growth on the west side of the region was 20 times higher than on the east side of the region, and the pattern continued in the following decade. Meanwhile, even in wealthier communities throughout the region many families struggle to keep up with rising housing costs, a situation that is made even worse by the a lack of diversity in housing types and housing built without access to transit or far from jobs. Too many families are finding that long commutes by car are forcing them to spend a large percentage of family income on transportation.