This year’s Maryland General Assembly session hasn't even kicked off yet. But last year’s biggest win, transportation scoring, is already under attack.
Transportation scoring makes state transportation funding decisions more transparent. Rather than closed-door decision making, scoring helps everyone evaluate where the state should invest its money. But Governor Hogan has fought this law since day one. His political supporters are flooding legislators with emails calling to repeal it.
The Governor and General Assembly need to hear from you. Demand that they protect transportation scoring!
Progressive advocates worked hard last year to win transportation scoring in Maryland. The law follows in the footsteps of Virginia’s SmartScale legislation passed with bi-partisan support, and national best practices. So why should we take a step backward by repealing it?
Transportation scoring ranks projects based on factors like environmental stewardship, community vitality, economic prosperity, and equitable access to transportation. Will access to jobs improve? Will people have more transportation options? Will it support more sustainable land use? Will the project reduce greenhouse gas emissions? Currently, none of these questions are answered in any quantitative or qualitative way. And, if a Governor decides to fund a low-ranked project over a highly ranked one, they must provide an official explanation.
With scarce transportation dollars today, scoring helps ensure wise allocation of taxpayer resources. Help us protect sensible, transparent, and accountable transportation spending. Ask Governor Hogan and the General Assembly to protect transportation scoring.
For more on the transportation scoring bill, read my post from last year over at Greater Greater Washington.
Use our take-action tool below to tell the MD officials to protect sensible, transparent, and accountable transportation funding. If you can, please take a moment to put our template into your own words! Form letters are better than no letters, but personalized letters mean so much more to decision makers. Thank you!
In October, we wrote to you about WMATA’s proposal to permanently end late-night Metrorail service. We didn’t want to see late night cuts. So we asked WMATA to do a better job of explaining why the additional shutdown time is necessary, and we outlined 5 critical conditions for accepting the late-night service cuts.
This Thursday, the WMATA board meets to vote on the late-night cuts. Most of the board has agreed on a compromise that meets most of our 5 conditions, and we hope the WMATA board approves it. But the DC delegation has been threatening a veto.
WMATA will use the extra closure time for preventative maintenance it’s largely ignored in the past. As the Washington Post wrote, “The idea that Metro hasn’t been doing preventive maintenance on this scale is alarming.” It’s bitter medicine, but we must do this maintenance.
We’d originally asked that the late-night closures be approved for a year. Board members (except DC) have compromised at two years, which we think is a fair compromise that will allow us to collect real data on the work being done, while giving us a chance to pump the breaks if Metro isn’t making the most of the additional maintenance time.
Email the DC members of the Metro board, and ask them to vote for the compromise, but with more money for supplemental late night bus service:
- 2 years of reduced late-night hours under “Scenario C”, with service until 1am Friday and Saturday, 11:30pm on weeknights, and 8am-11pm Sunday
- Increase the budget for supplemental bus service from $2 million to $5.5 million
Use our take-action tool below to tell the DC officials to support this compromise. If you can, please take a moment to put our template into your own words! Form letters are better than no letters, but personalized letters mean so much more to decision makers. Thank you!
Wouldn’t you like Fairfax Boulevard to be a walkable, people-friendly place? An extension of University Drive from Fairfax Boulevard (Route 50) to Eaton Place is a great start.
The University Drive extension will help create a local street network in this commercial corridor of the City of Fairfax. It will help avoid another strip mall at the city’s Northfax gateway, allow for a walkable center with high-quality residential, retail, restaurants, coffee shops and public plazas, and improve access to jobs, stores, and services for city residents.
But it won’t happen without your support. The Mayor and City Council want to hear from you!
Despite all the benefits of creating a local street network, residents have expressed concern about the potential increase in traffic along University Drive south of Route 50. The estimated increase appears to be modest -- about 1 vehicle per minute in each direction during the morning and evening peak hours. This can actually improve safety by slowing speeds.
Whether or not University Drive is extended, the street should receive safety enhancements including bulb-outs at crosswalks and other locations, clearer delineation of parking, complete sidewalks on both sides, bike lanes, and other appropriate traffic calming measures. The City of Fairfax is already moving forward with many of these measures.
This project has already been awarded over $10 million in state funding. But if the city rejects the project it will lose the funding. Tell the Mayor and the Council you support the project before they decide on Tuesday, December 13.
The city needs to create walkable places in its commercial corridors to attract high quality investment. A better local street grid will make this possible. It’s the most effective way for the city to provide the tax base needed to support high-quality schools and other public services, while reducing the burden on residential property taxes.
If you’d like to do more, please consider attending and speaking in support of the project at the December 13 public hearing. It starts at 7 pm at City Hall. The agenda will be posted here, and you can sign-up to speak when you arrive.
Use our take-action tool below to tell the Fairfax Mayor and Council that you support the extension of University Drive. If you can, please take a moment to put our template into your own words! Form letters are better than no letters, but personalized letters mean so much more to decision makers. Thank you!
Yesterday, the Montgomery County council passed important reforms to the county’s “growth policy.” Supporters like you spoke up for more walkable, transit-oriented growth in Montgomery County, and your voices were heard!
Before, Montgomery only looked at the change in driving speed through an intersection when evaluating new developments impact on the transportation network. But it didn’t take into account walking, biking, and transit trips.
With these new reforms:
- People and not just cars are counted in transportation evaluations
- Transportation impact taxes are more closely tied to the amount of driving that occurs
- In metro station areas, transportation mitigation for new developments must go to bike, pedestrian, or transit improvements.
When we stand up for better transportation, together, we can achieve positive change.
Use our take-action tool below to tell the Montgomery County Council how thankful you are that they took action to create better policies. If you can, please take a moment to put our template into your own words! Form letters are better than no letters, but personalized letters mean so much more to decision makers. Thank you!
The Montgomery County Department of Transportation is debating between two design alternatives (A and B) for the much-awaited bus rapid transit on Rt. 29. We want them to choose Option A, which has more dedicated space for transit.
Montgomery County has plans for a 14 mile bus rapid transit system on Rt.29. When funded, the system will stretch from Downtown Silver Spring to Burtonsville, with off-board fare collection and upgraded bus stations.
Alternative A would use dedicated transit-only lanes along more of the route, while Alternative B would open certain portions to HOV cars and right turning lanes.
The more dedicated space it has, the more reliable BRT service is – so we think Alternative A is the winner. In early 2017 MCDOT will choose their BRT alternative for the Rt.29 corridor.
We need your help to bring high quality premium transit to eastern Montgomery and tell MCDOT to “bring their A game.”
Use our take-action tool below to tell MCDOT to choose Option A. If you can, please take a moment to put our template into your own words! Form letters are better than no letters, but personalized letters mean so much more to decision makers. Thank you!
Mayor Silberberg and the Alexandria City Council are going on a retreat with senior city staff this Saturday (November 5). They will discuss the budget forecast and important priorities for the city.
Before the retreat, let’s share our smart growth priorities.
Here are 5 important smart growth priorities to share with the Council:
- Keep supporting well-designed mixed-use development
- Invest in safer walking and bicycling
- Address housing affordability
- Invest in transit, including Metro
- Address stormwater runoff and combined sewer overflows
Why are these important issues?
Metro still has huge value for attracting investment and people – and Marriott’s decision to move from an office park to a Metro station shows that. Walkable urban places attract higher rents and higher tax revenues per square foot. Thanks to investment near their Metro stations, Alexandria, Arlington, and DC have been able to fund services citywide, including schools.
Walking and bicycling
We need to make walking and bicycling safer citywide. An average of 70 pedestrians have been injured each year since 2008, 6 per month. We need to keep designing our streets to be safer, and we need to increase enforcement and education.
The popularity of living in Alexandria has meant higher rents and home prices. We need to combine public and private funds to preserve existing affordable housing, ensure new development includes affordable units, and ensure our housing authority makes good deals when redeveloping and modernizing public housing.
Transit investments (including Metro)
Alexandria and the region cannot thrive without Metro without rail and bus transit (both Metro and DASH), peak hour congestion would be far worse than it is in Alexandria. Metro’s new General Manager is working to restore Metro to good working order, but Metro needs more funding from local and state jurisdictions in the long term.
Stormwater and sewage
You’ve probably heard about the sewage that runs from Old Town into the Potomac during heavy rains. Sewage pours out of our old “combined sewer overflow” pipes into Hunting Creek and the Potomac. And all across the city, impervious surfaces channel stormwater into our streams carrying pollutants off of our streets, too many nutrients off our yards, and gauging sediment out of the streambanks. We need to address these environmental challenges.
Alexandria is a great place to live but we can work together to make it even better.
Use our take-action tool below to share your thoughts on these and other important issues. If you can, please take a moment to put our template into your own words! Form letters are better than no letters, but personalized letters mean so much more to decision makers. Thank you!
Do you want safer streets in Prince George’s County? You’re in luck! This morning, a key committee passed a resolution that will reduce speeds, improve safety, and encourage walking and biking on your streets.
Now the decision to make your streets safer for everyone is going to the county council.
For over a year, we have been working with Prince George’s County to update standards for street designs in urban places where people want to walk, bike, take transit, and drive. We are extremely happy with the outcome. This resolution sets new road standards near transit and other centers.
Roads in these areas will now be designed to encourage lower, safer speeds, thinner travel lanes, on-street parking, square corners, and separated bike lanes. In residential areas, the streets will be designed for even lower speeds. This is a big win for neighborhoods who today fear cars speeding down their streets.
Better streets are the building blocks to create truly walkable places that support all modes of travel, transit-oriented development, and vibrant business streets.
With the new Regional Medical Center coming soon to the county coming soon to the county, these new street design approaches are just in time! Passing this resolution means safer streets for you, your children, and your neighbors. Thank County Executive Baker and the County Council for moving forward on these urban street standards. Urge them to adopt them and put them to use right away.
Use our take-action tool below to tell the Prince George's Council and County Executive Baker how important it is that the county adopt these urban street design standards. If you can, please take a moment to put our template into your own words! Form letters are better than no letters, but personalized letters mean so much more to decision makers. Thank you!
Do you want to have in impact on the future of growth in DC? You can. DC’s Comprehensive Plan, the city’s rulebook for how and where to grow, is due for an update.
Our biggest concern? Housing.
We need you to stand up for the housing and affordable housing we need to accommodate the city’s growing population and protect our long-time residents.
DC’s Comprehensive Plan was originally written in 2006 and a plan was set to update the document every five years. Small amendments were made in 2011. And now, five years later, we want the DC Office of Planning to make sure it gets housing right.
There is no doubt; we have an affordable housing crisis. We need more housing for our low- and middle-income residents. We need more 2 and 3 bedroom homes to accommodate growing families. Where should that additional housing go? Around Metro stations and transit corridors, adjacent to existing commercial corridors, on public land, and on former big institutional sites like the Old Soldiers Home.
If the necessary changes are not made, we could end up with an even more divided city that only offers apartments, condos and houses too expensive for most working people. Or, we could say yes to more housing and say yes to equitable development.
So we ask you: what kind of city do you want for yourself? For your children? Change is fueled by those who step up and take action. Say yes!
Use our take-action tool below to tell the Director of the Office of Planning how important it is that the Comprehensive Plan update delivers on its potential to create more housing and affordable housing for DC residents. If you can, please take a moment to put our template into your own words! Form letters are better than no letters, but personalized letters mean so much more to decision makers. Thank you!