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.
As climate change forecasts keep getting worse, it's clear we don't have a moment to lose to take ambitious action to protect our vulnerable region and planet. Officials in the Washington region have promised to cut our carbon emissions by 80% by 2050.
Transportation emissions regionally account for 30% of our carbon emissions, but our region's list of planned transportation projects, if built, would send us in the wrong direction.
That's why we need you to submit your comments to the current review of our region's transportation plan, and ask your leaders to ensure that the proposed 2014 update to our regional transportation plan meets our climate goals.
For more than 10 years, we’ve talked about what kind of development at the Takoma Metro station would make it a lively, safer place, and offer greater housing opportunities on top of a transit hub.
A new plan for development -- now before the Metro board -- deserves our support. The new building and residents overlooking the site will foster a safer and more pedestrian-oriented environment at the Metro station by building on the surface parking lot and creating a pedestrian-supportive street frontage along with improved walking paths to Metro.
What's in the proposal?
- 208 homes in an apartment building with approximately 0.7 parking spaces per unit - all on top of the parking lot (the 2006 proposal offered less than 90 townhouses, many with 2 car garages
- A stepped back building on Eastern Avenue with a 3 story façade before rising to 4 stories for the rest of the building as it backs up to the railroad tracks
- The 2.5 acre open space remains and is enhanced, with at least 1 acre dedicated as a park (the original 2006 proposal was to build on much of the open space, but create a 1 acre village green)
- Replacement of 95 Metro parking spaces – which exceeds at current utilization levels;
- An additional bus bay
- Drop off and accessible parking brought closer to the elevator entrance.
Email the Metro board and DC Councilmember Bowser (who serves on the board) now, so that they know you support a more vibrant downtown Takoma with more opportunities for people to live right at Metro.
Tons of people use DC's 16th Street corridor to commute to jobs downtown. During the morning rush hour, Metrobus carries 50% of all of the people traveling on 16th Street NW toward downtown DC! But the 16th Street bus is often stuck in traffic, which leads to unreliability and overcrowding and seriously harms what should be one of the best bus routes in the city.
Fortunately there's a way to address this. Bus-only lanes on 16th Street at peak times would mean shorter commutes for riders and more reliable service. Tell Mayor Gray and Council chairman Cheh that we want these dedicated lanes!
The County Council's transportation committee will decide the future of Rapid Transit on 355 this Friday. 355 has the highest projected ridership of any line - 44,000 riders per day - making it critical to the effectiveness of the entire plan. Please write in today to call for a robust Rapid Transit plan for 355!
Write to the Montgomery County Council! Enter your information and send our template letter as is, or take a few seconds to edit and craft your own personal message.
We have our work cut out for us on next steps with the King Street bicycle and pedestrian improvements! Send an email right now to the City Council voicing your support.
Your email to City Council means a lot more if you take a few moments to personalize it. So we've kept our template letter simple, so you can add your own points!
We suggest mentioning where in Alexandria you live, whether you walk or bike regularly, and 1-2 of the talking points below:
- The proposed improvements are critical to making this stretch of King Street safer and more accessible for ALL users, but especially pedestrians.
- City staff has done the engineering analysis on the proposed changes, and found that the proposal works.
- There's been lots of public dialog on this issue. The city's public outreach process led to the current proposal, which retains 10 parking spaces, and downgrades some stretches of the proposed bike lanes to sharrows.
- There is no reason to delay these improvements further. The city has already considered all viable options for meeting the project's safety improvement objectives.
- As an Alexandria resident, my voice matters, and I want to see improved pedestrian and bicycle safety along this stretch of King Street.
Montgomery County is pushing forward a costly and destructive highway project called M83 (the Midcounty Highway Extended). In a time of scarce resources and rising environmental challenges like climate change, we can’t afford to make the wrong investments for our future. Now is the time to invest in transit, not new highway capacity.
There is an important public hearing on August 7 to grant an environmental permit for this major sprawl highway. Please stand with our allies at TAME Coalition (Transit Alternatives to the Midcounty Highway Extended) to stop this destructive project:
Please modify the letter below to send your comments in to the Army Corps of Engineers, Maryland Department of the Environment, Montgomery County Department of Transportation, the County Executive, Montgomery County Council, Montgomery County Planning Board, and the EPA.
Done right, the planned redevelopment of the McMillan Sand Filtration Plant will create the city’s largest new park and foster a vibrant, walkable neighborhood. The planned transformation will sensibly complement the surrounding neighborhoods of Bloomingdale and Stronghold and bring the isolated Washington Hospital Center campus back into the city’s fabric.
While the extensive planning process has built broad community support, the future of the former sand filtration site is still contested.
Some who are opposing the transformation of this long off-limits city-owned parcel have mischaracterized the plans and are urging the D.C. government to halt progress despite the many proposed public benefits.
We need you to step up and show that many fair-minded D.C. residents believe moving McMillan forward in a responsible way is the right thing to do. It will add greater vibrancy to our community, contributing a grand new park (over 6 acres), restoration of historic buildings and landscaping, along with a compatible mix of housing, offices, and retail. It will also create much-needed affordable homes, though the number has diminished as the proposed park has expanded in size.
Please send an email to the office of the D.C. Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, expressing your support for a new McMillan right now!
The D.C. Zoning code shapes the form of our city and influences how walkable, inclusive and transit-oriented it is. Yet the code hasn’t been comprehensively updated since 1958! Priorities have changed a lot since 1958 – and that’s why it’s so important to get involved in this effort to create the framework to help us ensure the gains we’ve made in recent years continue far into the future.
Do you agree? Join with us and sign the petition below:
The "zombie road" is back with a vengeance! Once again, lobbyists are pushing for an unneeded and wasteful Outer Beltway, seeking to divert scarce tax dollars from the needs of existing commuter roads that are choked with traffic. The Outer Beltway would do nothing to solve our current traffic problems, but instead would open new land to sprawling development, adding yet more traffic to existing commuter routes.
The Wall Street Journal reported on this oft-overlooked fact in their recent article, "More Roads, More Traffic."
Moreover, the Outer Beltway would run through historic land on the western boundary of Manassas National Battlefield, destroying this hallowed landscape, even as our nation honors the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War.
Please sign our petition calling on Governor McDonnell and Secretary of Transportation Sean Connaughton to protect Manassas Battlefield and stop this unneeded and fiscally irresponsible highway.