Montgomery’s Bus Rapid Transit system is a critical investment for the county. It will help us have more sustainable, walkable places, and expand access to jobs and services for people of all incomes.
Legislation before the Maryland General Assembly would empower Montgomery County to build the Bus Rapid Transit system quickly and effectively -- by setting up an independent county transit authority.
Infrastructure projects take time and focus. To get Rapid Transit moving on our roadways as quickly and efficiently as possible, County Executive Leggett has proposed the creation of a new independent Transit authority to oversee the implementation and operations of transit in the county, including Bus Rapid Transit and RideOn.
The new authority would be responsible for Montgomery County's transit implementation and operations, including Bus Rapid Transit and RideOn.
If the Maryland General Assembly passes the enabling legislation, the important details of how the authority will be set up will be decided by Montgomery County, and we will keep you up to date on that process. The county's existing mass transit property tax will be set to zero, so that county residents wouldn't be taxed twice.
Please use our template to send your state legislators a note, urging them to let Montgomery County build Bus Rapid Transit now! And don't forget to check out our fact sheet for more details!
Things are heating up in the Virginia General Assembly. There's a lot percolating on smart growth, transportation, and land use, but we've rounded up top priorities where your voice will help make a difference. We're looking at bills that could block new transit projects, make it illegal to bike on streets, and more. The Virginia General Assembly is considering these bills now. Input from constituents like you is a critical part of the legislative process, and this year we have a lot to gain and a lot to lose.
These bad bills could effectively defund transit and make cycling illegal on some streets:
- For years, highway advocates and others hostile to transit have tried to make "congestion reduction" metrics the primary way we choose which transportation projects get funding. This session, we're staring bills (HB1470 and HB1915/SB1314) in the face that would do just that for the Northern Virginia Transportation Plan, your local Comprehensive Plan, and new transit projects.If passed, these bills would foreclose proven, effective long-term approaches like transit and TOD in Virginia's transportation planning. In effect, the evaluation of these projects would have to ignore the many benefits of transit for moving more people, providing an effective commute option, reducing air pollution, promoting smart growth development, and maximizing walk, bike and transit trips.
- Another bad bill (HB2170) would merge our Northern Virginia Transportation Commission, which plans, funds and develops transit projects, into the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority. It would reduce the voting power of pro-transit jurisdictions, and with the bills above would undermine transit investment in Northern Virginia.
- A Delegate from outside of Richmond has introduced a bill (HB1746) that would require people on bikes to use any available sidepath or bike lane, and prohibit their riding in the roadway. Obviously, this bill could have major negative impacts on the many Northern Virginia cyclists who use bicycles for transportation.
These good bills will make for better funding, accountability, and bicycling:
- A comprehensive bill (HB1887) would partially fill a hole in state transit funding, and increase funding for structurally deficient bridges, deteriorating pavement, and local transportation needs.
- Another bill (HB1886) would establish new oversight and accountability for public-private partnerships in transportation projects -- which is particularly important following debacles like the Route 460 project, which wasted $300 million in taxpayer funds without having permits in hand.
- A bill to legalize crossing the double yellow line to safely pass bicyclists with the required three foot safety distance (SB781) has passed in the Senate and is headed to the House. Another good bill (SB882) would make dooring illegal (opening a traffic-side car door into the path of a cyclist). It would also make it easier for cyclists to be fairly compensated after being injured by dooring.
- Another bill (HB1402/SB952) would make sure local jurisdictions don't lose state funding if they make bike improvements on local streets.
- Finally, yet another bill (SB1279) would ban use of any personal communications device while driving, unless that device is hands-free or the vehicle is stopped.
Please take a few minutes now to weigh in with your legislators in favor of the good and against the bad. Our model text will make it easy to provide input. Thank you!
I-66 needs fixing, and state transportation officials believe a $2 to $3 billion HOT (high-occupancy toll) lane project is the fix. At the Coalition for Smarter Growth, we first want to look at lower cost alternatives that combine fixing key bottlenecks, carpooling incentives, dedicated lanes for rapid transit and carpoolers, and smarter land use.
But Virginia officials indicate they want HOT lanes. If that's the case, let's at least make sure the planning guarantees funding for expansion of VRE and rapid bus service.
VDOT's plan for HOT lanes would expand I-66 to 10 lanes from the Beltway to Haymarket: 2 HOT lanes (free for HOV-3 carpoolers) and 3 non-tolled lanes in each direction, versus today's average of 6 lanes (including an HOV-2 in each direction).
Like I-95 and I-495, the HOT lanes would be privately-tolled, with tolls generating about $1 billion toward the project costs. And like I-95 and I-495, VDOT promises rapid bus service and space for future Metrorail west of Vienna Metro. But rapid bus was never funded for I-95 nor adequate on I-495.
So it's very important to comment on the project. Send an email to VDOT and to your elected officials.
Take action and send an email below, then read on below to learn more...
This month, the Montgomery County Council and Executive are updating the county’s Transportation Priority Letter, sent yearly to the state, that ranks and requests funds for the county’s top transportation priorities. While there’s a lot to cheer about – the Purple Line, WMATA, MARC, and bicycle/pedestrian funding are top priorities – the letter still contains too many expensive highway expansion projects.
Montgomery County has added 100,000 people in the last decade, while the total miles driven in the county has declined and transit ridership has risen. Still, road widenings and numerous interchanges costing over $100 million each populate Montgomery County’s list of priorities. Isn’t it time to rethink whether we want to spend our public dollars on all that new pavement?
Write your County Executive and Councilmembers and ask them to prioritize investments in sustainable transportation. Please consider taking a few moments to customize your letter from our suggested text below. Customized letters receive much more attention!
As Mayor Bowser and a new Council get to work, we’re optimistic about progress on transit and housing policy for a more walkable, sustainable DC.
But to make sure officials are making the right choices – like making it easier to get by without a car, and making sure people of all income levels can afford to live in walkable neighborhoods-- we need your voice!
The start of a new term is a great time to push for these priorities. Good decisions on transit, affordable housing, and TOD can make a great city even more sustainable in the coming decades, and begin to build a lasting legacy for newly- elected officials.
Send a letter now to Mayor Bowser and all members of the DC Council. Ask them to prioritize transit, affordable housing, and important transit-oriented development projects over the next four years.
Please consider taking a few moments to customize your letter from our suggested text below. Customized letters receive much more attention!
The Purple Line is in real, immediate danger of being cancelled by the incoming Hogan administration, and we need our elected officials in Annapolis to make it their top priority to fight for this critical project. Let’s make sure our delegates and senators know how important this project is to us – please send them a message today.
Our automated targeting system will take care of making sure your letter gets to the right legislators (including county delegation leadership, who may not be your direct representative, but is intentional), but please consider taking a few moments to customize your letter from our suggested text below. Customized letters receive much more attention from elected officials! Please note, you must have a Maryland address to send a letter using this tool.
Exciting plans are being discussed for the former Southeast Freeway between 11th Street and Barney Circle!
In place of a high-speed highway that moves only cars, new options for the area from the DC Office of Planning could reconnect our neighborhoods to the river, add new homes for residents of all income levels, create great new park space, and add convenient shopping choices for Hill East and other nearby neighborhoods.
You can get the full details for what’s being discussed from the DC Office of Planning (OP) below. You can see a series of options that range from four lanes to two lanes of road, with varying amounts of housing and access to new park space.
If you like what you see, please send a letter in to OP letting them know that you want to see new park space, inclusive transit-oriented development, a reconnected street grid, and a great new addition to our neighborhood – not more of the same!
We have some sample text below. Feel free to use it if you’re pressed for time, but if you can, make sure to personalize it based on what’s important to you.
We have some sample text below. Feel free to use it if you’re pressed for time, but if you can, make sure to personalize it based on what’s important to you.
The Purple Line is in real, immediate danger of being cancelled by the incoming Hogan administration. We understand that the Hogan transition team is hearing from transit opponents asking the Governor-elect to cancel the project once he takes office. We need to counter those negative voices now!
Tell Governor-elect Hogan not to kill jobs the Purple Line will bring to Maryland's economic engine. There's a strong link between investing in transit and economic development. Expanding transit creates more jobs and higher wages. It saves businesses and households money thanks to lower transportation costs, time savings, and increased access to jobs and employees.
Overall, transit generates about $4 in economic returns for every $1 invested. In a time when Maryland is competing with Virginia on infrastructure investment and economic competitiveness, cancelling this crucial project will set Maryland too far behind.
Thanks for taking action, and please visit our partners at Action Committee for Transit and Purple Line Now for more information about the project, and to join these great organizations that have been fighting for the Purple Line for over 20 years.
Use our tool below to send a message to the Governor-elect (and copy your delegates and Maryland state House and Senate leaders) about how important the Purple Line is!
VDOT and area elected officials are studying Route 28 between Liberia Avenue and I-66 and need to hear from you.
This part of Route 28 should be a top priority, NOT the Bi-County Parkway. Route 28 is where people are stuck in traffic. It is the road that connects the heart of Prince William, along with Manassas and Manassas Park, directly to Dulles Airport and the Dulles jobs corridor. It's also a prime connector to I-66.
Yet, VDOT is limiting this study only to smaller projects, including: turn lanes, better timing of traffic lights, and some additional lanes for short stretches. That's fine and much needed, but let's make this corridor a top priority for greater investment including other local road fixes, express bus service, and even incentivized (paid) carpooling. Long term, the Manassas area needs a dedicated-lane, high-capacity transit connection on Route 28 connecting to I-66 and up to the Dulles Corridor.
Why should Route 28 be a higher priority than the Bi-County Parkway?
- On Route 28 between Liberia Avenue and I-66, a 15 minute drive outside of rush hour, stretches to as much as one hour in the morning rush. The morning backup can stretch nearly five miles back from New Braddock Road to Manassas Drive.
- Traffic volume on Route 28 in this stretch ranges from over 45,000 to nearly 80,000 trips per day. Traffic volumes on north-south roads near Manassas Battlefield? About 11,000 per day.
- The Bi-County Parkway is proposed to run north from I-66 through Prince William's Rural Crescent. Prince William should not make traffic worse by opening up the Rural Crescent to development.
Speak out for Route 28 from Manassas to I-66 as a top priority, not the Bi-County Parkway, and share your ideas for improving Route 28. Send in your comments by Monday, December 29.
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.