Good affordable housing programs and transportation options are critical to making sure DC stays a place where everyone can afford to live, work, and play. An innovative new small apartments project seeking approval in Shaw's Blagden Alley will include 11 affordable units as part of DC's inclusionary zoning policy AND encourage its residents to go car-free. That's a win-win in our books!
The project, at 90-91 Blagden Alley in Shaw, will include 123 small studios (including 11 affordable units!), and is seeking a variance from the BZA to skip building the 60 parking spaces DC rules currently require.
View of both the M and 9th Street buildings in Blagden Alley. Image from Hickok Cole via ANC 2F.
Because these will be fully-furnished short term rental studio apartments, future tenants would be unlikely to own cars and won't be competing for street parking spaces – with the building’s alley address, they won’t even be eligible for residential parking permits. Even better, the developers will pay to have a Capital Bikeshare station nearby.
This is the type of project that we think is very important for a more sustainable future DC. If we want a city that doesn’t choke on traffic and air pollution as we continue to grow, providing more options to live car-free is very important. And if we want a city that’s affordable for more than just the well-off, we need to be creative in using our growing prosperity to help create more long-term affordability.
With the decision to build no parking and the inclusion of homes that will be affordable for the long-term, this project is a great example of how we can make a more sustainable and inclusive city even as we grow.
The project is seeking permission to move forward from the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) on Tuesday. Add your name to our petition in support of the project now!
When hundreds of us wrote in for safe streets in White Flint, our elected leaders responded. Now let's ensure bicycle and pedestrian-friendly streets for more people and more places in Montgomery County. A new bill would do just that.
Bill 33-13, co-sponsored by Councilmembers Riemer and Berliner, adds several key amendments to the county’s urban road code that will ensure safe, attractive streets for all users. The highlights of the bill include:
- Maximum lane widths of 10’ to slow traffic and reduce accidents
- A 25mph maximum speed for urban areas
- Pedestrian bumpouts and smaller intersections, which will mean cars making slower turns and a shorter distance for walkers to cross.
- Requirements for sidewalks and bike lanes.
Without your support, this great bill may not pass. Please send an email to the County Council today to support Bill 33-13 for safer streets throughout Montgomery’s urban areas.
Last Tuesday, Fairfax voters said YES to $100 million in new funding for better walking and bicycling, passing the county transportation bond by a margin of 70%. With this new funding, Fairfax will be able to upgrade sidewalks, trails, and bike lanes; improve safety around schools; and make local spot improvements to roads throughout the county.
Unfortunately, the highway lobby has fought against use of the new tax revenues (most of which are generated right here in Fairfax!) for bicycle and pedestrian projects, and for that matter isn't really supportive of new transit projects and local street funding either. Therefore, the county designed the bond to ensure that important bicycle, pedestrian, and local street investments are not left by the wayside.
We hope you will send a thank you to the Fairfax Board of Supervisors to let them know you'd like to see even greater investment in new transit, in safe routes to schools, and in other pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure. >>
Now that the election is past, we're looking forward to working with Mayor-elect Bowser to continue the momentum to make our city a better place to live and work. Sign the petition to show her that DC residents are behind her in making DC a more walkable and inclusive place!
Fantastic news. We won! You urged the DC Council to support a strong public lands bill to build more affordable housing, and they listened. Despite push back from the Mayor and a councilmember, the bill passed unanimously. The Mayor could still veto the bill, so we’ll need to wait and see. But we are confident that we will win this major commitment to affordable housing in city-owned land deals.
The bill requires that when DC sells city-owned “public” land (like vacant lots or city facilities that are no longer needed) for development, a substantial amount of affordably-priced housing be included in any deal for mixed-use and residential development. This helps create a reserve of long-term affordable housing that allows existing residents to stay in DC and enables new residents to move here without spending way too much of their income on a place to live. Sustaining a diversity of housing opportunities is an important ingredient for a truly vibrant and inclusive city.
Now, say thank you to the Council for standing up and passing such an important bill. Then, keep reading below for more details about how the bill passed.
Great news! The McMillan Sand Filtration redevelopment plan was approved by the Zoning Commission this month! That puts us one step closer to the creation of a new, vibrant piece of our city, complete with a large new public park and new affordable homes.
The next step before DC residents can see the opening of this long-fenced off site, is for the DC Council to give final approval to the transfer of the land. The Council hearing is set for November 12 at 10:00 AM.
But if we want to see all of these things really happen it’s important that Councilmembers hear from supporters like you. Please join with other DC residents and send this message today.
Please tell the DC Council that you want to see a vibrant new neighborhood accessible to all. »
We know that walking to school both improves children's health and enhances concentration and learning. But elementary school students in Clarksburg are being required to ride the bus across the street, instead of having the opportunity to walk to school. Parents are understandably frustrated, when the wait for the bus takes more time and their children are prevented from getting exercise. Clarksburg’s 1994 master plan envisioned a transit and pedestrian-oriented community. We think Montgomery County should act to slow down traffic and ensure a safe crossing to Wilson Wims Elementary, and hope you’ll join us in petitioning the county for fixes:
Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie's bill to create strong affordable housing requirements in DC public land development deals.
It's a great bill, but new movement on the bill has us worried that the Council may gut the most important provisions. Tell Council to keep the bill strong! »
We're very concerned about a potential loophole that would let the Mayor's office decide all on its own to bypass the requirements when they think the requirements are too hard to meet.
McDuffie's bill allows for a waiver when necessary, but reasonably puts the power to bypass the requirements into the hands of DC's independent CFO -- keeping the decisionmaking process from being a black box to the public.
The Council hasn't yet introduced the loophole, but let's make sure they don't -- please send an email to Councilmembers now, telling them to pass the bill with the CFO waiver provisions intact.
Six years ago, the DC region committed to do our part to stop climate change by reducing our regional CO2 emissions.
But projections show that with our current long-range transportation plan, CO2 emissions from transportation will rise, not fall!
Hardly surprising, when the proposed update to the plan calls for 1200 new lane-miles of highways and just 44 miles of high-capacity transit, and doesn't include funding for essential capacity expansion at Metro including 8-car trains.
Our region committed to the goal of reducing CO2 emissions 80% below 2005 levels by 2050. These are the kind of reductions that experts say we need to see globally if we want to make a real dent in climate change before it's too late. But significant reductions are hard to make if we’re not working EVERY angle possible.
Some committees on the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG), including air quality and climate, are great champions of the goal. But the Transportation Planning Board , which is responsible for long-term transportation planning in our region, needs to step up and commit to doing its part.
Email your elected officials urging them to make sure the Transportation Planning Board does its part by committing to reducing CO2 emissions from transportation 80% by 2050. »
With construction starting in 2015, the Purple Line is finally close to a reality! Just as important, Prince George’s, Montgomery County, and the state of Maryland have expressed willingness to put in place smart, intentional strategies to make sure that everyone along the Purple Line route can participate in and benefit from the changes that the Purple Line will bring to their communities.
The Purple Line offers many benefits, like fast, high-quality transit connections to major job centers, and will attract more jobs to eastern parts of the region. But big investment like this can also fuel rising housing prices and push out long-time residents and small businesses.
To address these concerns, we’ve been partnering with a cross section of activists in Montgomery and Prince George’s to call on local and state leaders to join Purple Line communities in a compact of commitments that preserves housing that's affordable for working families and offers protections to small businesses.
We are pleased that Maryland’s elected officials are responding and have agreed to work with the community to craft a “compact,” or community agreement, that spells out specific actions we can take to address concerns raised by low-income and immigrant communities.
Subsequent community work sessions will be held to create a compact that we all can commit to – state of Maryland, Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties and all the residents and groups who will share in the opportunity and challenges that come from the Purple Line.
Tell County Executives Baker and Leggett, and the Governor, to make good on their promise to work with the communities along the Purple Line, build in safeguards to preserve affordable housing and small businesses, and give work opportunities to local residents. Customize your note below!
Seven years ago, residents, property owners, civic leaders, and county officials came together to develop and adopt the White Flint Sector Plan, a blueprint for transforming the area into a walkable, sustainable community. Now, Montgomery County’s own transportation officials are threatening to undermine that entire process by constructing the first major road in the White Flint Sector without any of the bicycle or pedestrian amenities required by the Plan.
Instead of the bicycle and pedestrian friendly road the community was promised, MCDOT’s design for Old Georgetown Road calls for more high-speed car lanes while eliminating the bike lanes, walking and cycling path, and recreation loop required by the Sector Plan. Not only does this design make White Flint even less safe, it undermines the years of work by stakeholders to develop a plan for the future of their community.
It’s critical that County Executive Leggett hold his transportation department accountable to the walkable streets that were promised to the community in the master plan, rather than the car-oriented streets they continue to build. Please edit and send your note below!
As you know, many residents are priced out of living near their work and near convenient transportation choices. It’s also getting harder for new residents who aren’t wealthy to come to DC. Besides hurting lower-income residents and our vibrant city neighborhoods, this means more sprawl in the suburbs, which leads to more climate change pollution at a time when we simply can’t afford it.
The idea is to ensure that when DC sells city-owned “public” land (like vacant lots or city facilities that are no longer needed) for development, it gets a substantial amount of affordably-priced housing in any deal for mixed-use and residential development. This helps create a reserve of long-term affordable housing that allows existing residents stay in DC and enables new residents to move here without paying an arm and a leg. That’s an important ingredient for a truly vibrant and inclusive city.
That’s why the bill the DC Council is considering is so important. It would require that these developments be 20 - 30% affordable (with the rest at market rate).
The bill moved through committee over the summer and now the full council is scheduled to start the final voting process tomorrow and they need to hear from you!
Please tell the DC Council that it’s time to make affordable housing a top priority for city-owned land!
With the opening of the first phase of the Silver Line, news stories and social media are drawing attention to the unsafe conditions for pedestrians and bicyclists on many of the roads around the stations. With the bad news, there's also good news and a moment of opportunity.
The good news: People have flocked to the new Silver Line, eager to give up their brutal car commutes, and many have been bicycling to the stations. Bike racks at the Wiehle-Reston East station have been filling up quickly, while demand for car parking in Reston and Tysons has been much lower than expected.
The bad news: Bicyclists to the Tysons stations found conditions poor and have voiced the need for more bike lanes to safely reach the stations. Pedestrians also face a very difficult situation in getting to the Metro, trying to cross as many as nine lanes of traffic at the intersection of Tysons Boulevard and Galleria Drive, where two sides of the intersection are missing marked crosswalks.
Southeast corner of the Tysons Blvd and Galleria Dr, without marked crosswalks. Photos by Ken Archer.
More fixes are coming to this intersection, and we know Fairfax County is committed to making Tysons and Reston pedestrian and bicycle-friendly urban centers with safe and convenient access to the new Silver Line Metro stations. But this is an opportunity for us to call for more funding, including state funding, for accelerated implementation of projects and the taming of roads like those shown above.
Use the form below to tell the Fairfax Board of Supervisors that you strongly support safe pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure in Tysons, Reston, and throughout Fairfax, as a critical investment in health, safety and quality of life. >>
The DC Zoning Commission has scheduled additional public input hearings on the proposed DC zoning update this fall. Even if you have already given in-person testimony, you can testify again as long as you focus your remarks on the proposed amendments.
Monday-Thursday, September 8-11, 2014, @ 6:00 pm
Jerrily R. Kress Memorial Hearing Room
441 4th Street, NW Suite 220-S
Washington, DC 20001
Currently, the Zoning Commission is scheduling speakers on a first-come, first-served basis for Monday 9/8. Once Monday is full, they will move to scheduling Tuesday, and so on. If you have a specific scheduling conflict, you can request a particular date in your request note below, and Zoning Commission staff will be in touch to coordinate with you.
If you're speaking on behalf of an organization, please be sure to add your organization to the form letter.
The DC Zoning Commission has scheduled additional public input hearings on the proposed DC zoning update this fall.
On Thursday, September 4 at 6:00pm, the commission will hear public comment from individuals, organizations, and associations that have not yet testified at a prior public hearing.
In addition, ALL ANC commissioners are welcome to testify, regardless of whether thay have testified previously or not.
To sign up to testify, please use the form below to contact Zoning Commission staff. Once you've signed up, CSG staff will follow up with you to make sure you have the resources and assistance you need to make the most of your chance to testify.
If you're speaking on behalf of an organization, please be sure to add your organization to the form letter.
The Silver Line's first phase to Tysons and Wiehle Avenue opens this weekend with the inaugural train on Saturday, July 26.
Here are 5 reasons the Silver Line is a big deal for Fairfax:
- Choice: It offers a new, high-capacity commuter option to avoid unending traffic on the Dulles Toll Road, around Tysons, and on I-66.
- Connection: It greatly improves economic and social connections between Tysons/Reston and Arlington/DC, promising much-improved access to business, government, and entertainment.
- Transformation: It's key to transforming Tysons from an aging, traffic-choked office park with malls to a dynamic, walkable urban center.
- Attraction: It offers a new living option at a time when demand to live in walkable urban centers has never been greater.
- Sustainable growth: It enables compact, transit-oriented development, helping to fight climate change and reduce air pollution.
It's taken a lot of work to get here. Let's celebrate and thank those who made it happen!
Please use the form below send a quick thank you note to the elected officials who played a central role -- Senator Kaine, Senator Warner, Congressman Wolf, Congressmen Connolly, and the Fairfax Board of Supervisors.
Last week, we had good news about the Columbia Pike and Crystal City Streetcars!
- Governor McAuliffe allocated $65 million in state funds to the Columbia Pike Streetcar, and the state will pay up to 50% of the total cost of this Fairfax-Arlington transit project.
- The Arlington Board voted to include both streetcar projects in the county's 10 year Capital Improvement Program.
These developments represent an important commitment from the state and county, and a big step forward for the project, and it's important that elected officials hear from supporters like you amid recent attacks on the project.
Why? Because the negative environment that's being created by opponents -- despite years of planning, analysis and public involvement by the county -- puts at risk all major transit initiatives in a state where many legislators are skeptical of transit. Too many legislators haven't had the opportunity to visit and see what transit has achieved in Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax, and nearby DC, but they are certainly reading about the recent controversy.
Arlington has the track record for effective transit and transit-oriented development (TOD), and is an internationally-recognized model for smart growth.
- TOD in Arlington (11% of the county's land) generates over 50% of the property tax base, keeping residential property taxes low while funding a high level of services for all neighborhoods.
- Billions of dollars in economic development in the Rosslyn-Ballston Corridor were achieved while keeping traffic flat or declining due to the many transportation choices available.
Arlington has done its homework on the Streetcar and now it's time to move forward. Let's stand up for this important transit investment. Please show your support by sending an email of thanks to Governor McAuliffe and the Arlington County Board!
72 miles of protected bike lanes, 22 miles of streetcars, 28 miles of dedicated bus lanes, a new downtown Metrorail loop, expanded commuter rail, managed traffic lanes to ease congestion, and increased priority for people walking! This is what the MoveDC transportation plan could mean for DC in the next few decades. But if we want to see this plan become a reality, we need to make our voices heard.
MoveDC offers one of the most progressive transportation plans in the nation. The plan sets the course for meeting the mobility needs of a growing city expected to add 28% more residents and 40% more jobs by 2040. To do this, the plan provides the transportation choices needed to make sure that walking, biking, or transit are the chosen mode for 75% of all trips. MoveDC increases the system’s overall capacity to move people rather than cars, and foster a more sustainable, convenient, and healthier city.
Check out the exciting new plan at wemovedc.org.
Can you please let DDOT officials (DDOT Director Matt Brown and MoveDC staffer Colleen Hawkinson) know you support this plan today?
It was looking like a new day for Virginia transportation planning. Governor McAuliffe had been off to a great start this year, halting two wasteful Virginia highway projects, and publicly declaring that we need to reevaluate our transportation priorities.
But two weeks ago, the Governor seemed to contradict all of that, when he told Loudoun business leaders and Dulles Airport boosters that he expects the Outer Beltway (aka the Bi-County Parkway) to receive a high priority rating among potential Northern Virginia transportation projects.
The Governor needs to hear from you! We want to applaud his stated commitment to reform, but let him know that reform must include a hard look at the Bi-County Parkway, aka the Outer Beltway.
Use our template below to customize and send your own email to Governor McAuliffe.
Last week, DC backtracked yet again from a progressive zoning update, weakening key provisions that could create more affordable housing and put us in a better position to handle a deluge of new residents in the coming decades without completely clogging our roads with cars and ruining our air.
We haven’t reached a point where the zoning update is worthless – yet. But we’re worried that we may be headed that way so we hope you’ll send a note to Mayor Gray and the DC Office of Planning letting them know that further retreat is a bad deal for DC.
Send your note now, and read on below for more details on the latest changes.
DC’s fortunes have risen, but so have housing prices. Many residents are priced out of living near their work and near convenient transportation choices. It’s also getting harder for new residents who aren’t wealthy to come to DC. Besides hurting lower-income residents and our vibrant city neighborhoods, this means more sprawl in the suburbs, which leads to more climate change pollution at a time when we simply can’t afford it.
Fortunately, there are a lot of tools we can use to create more long-term, effective, affordable housing.
One of the best tools is to ensure that when DC sells city-owned “public” land (like vacant lots or city facilities that are no longer needed) for development, it gets a substantial amount of affordably-priced housing in any deal for mixed-use and residential development.
Bill 20-594 before the DC Council would require these developments to be 20 - 30% affordable (with the rest at market rate) and needs your support.
While the city has included affordable housing when selling off public property, it hasn’t always prioritized getting the best deal for more affordable housing. That’s why we need this bill. Without a law, we can’t rely on the city to consistently prioritize affordable housing when considering how to use the value of public land parcels. We need to ensure that that city stays committed to affordable housing as a top community benefit whenever city-owned land is offered for private redevelopment.
Tell the DC Council it’s time to make affordable housing a top priority in public land deals and ensure accountability.
Next Wednesday, June 18, the WMATA board will discuss the Takoma development at a special public hearing. At the meeting, Metro needs to hear strong voices of support from neighbors and supporters like you to make sure they let the project move forward.
Metro hearing on proposed changes to WMATA facilities at Takoma Metro station
(meeting info & materials here)
June 18, 2014 - 5:00pm
Takoma Education Campus
7010 Piney Branch Rd., NW
Information session at 4:30, hearing starts at 5:00pm
Can you attend the hearing, and speak in support of the proposal? Use our handy form below to sign up to speak! Be sure to customize the message to include your own information!
DC Councilmember Mary Cheh’s provocative proposal to reorganize the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is making a lot of waves in DC government this week. The proposal could radically reorganize the way transportation is managed. While there are points of agreement, the current proposal runs the risk of worsening key challenges to building a more sustainable transportation system. Our bottom line is that any solution must address several key problems without creating any new ones.
You can read more about the proposal here. Generally speaking, Councilmember Cheh starts from a position that assumes DDOT has gotten too unwieldy to get things done efficiently and proposes breaking up the agency into much smaller pieces that would have more specific authority, and she argues, be more effective. This would include a separate authority (governed by an appointed board) for all transit, bikeshare, taxi service and multimodal planning in DC; along with an independent department to focus solely on parking issues -- leaving roads at a much smaller DDOT.
We agree with Councilmember Cheh’s desire to address many areas in transportation that need improvement. DDOT has promised but not delivered a working streetcar, and leadership on reforming the residential parking permit (RPP) program is nowhere to be seen. Progress on common sense steps like rush hour bus lanes on 16th Street has been slow.
However, we worry that if we adopt what this bill proposes, the cure could be far worse than the disease. For a more detailed review of our take on this issue, please read Coalition for Smarter Growth Policy Director Cheryl Cort’s testimony on the matter from the initial hearing.
Please let Councilmember Cheh (and her co-sponsors of the bill -- Councilmembers Grosso, McDuffie, Wells, and Mendelson) know that you appreciate her efforts to address key transportation issues, but that we need to make sure any final bill addresses existing problems without of creating new ones. >>
Last week, DC’s Zoning Commission voted once more to delay consideration of DC’s proposed zoning update until the fall (at the absolute earliest). This is after nearly seven years of deliberation and resident input, and will now be an entire year after a full draft was released for public review.
Public involvement is a critical part of good planning, and the Coalition for Smarter Growth has fought tooth and nail to increase public participation in DC and other jurisdictions throughout the region.
Yet, even though city officials have established what must be a new record for public consultation, some opponents of the zoning code update continue to make disingenuous claims that hard-working officials are not taking the time to work with DC residents.
Please help us tell Mayor Gray that further delay in creating a more walkable and inclusive city is simply not acceptable.
Do you want your tax dollars to fund a costly sprawl highway instead of transit? We didn’t think so. We are close to winning removal of funding for Midcounty Highway Extended (M-83) from Montgomery County’s budget, and we hope you’ll help us win this step in the fight to defeat this highway project by sending a quick email to the Montgomery County Council and the County Executive.