Author: Kara Young

8.7.19 Summer Email Updates

CSG in action-District of Columbia

Parking Cashout – we need one more vote to make this happen!

If your employer offers you a parking benefit, we think you should have the option to cash it out and put the funds toward your biking, walking or bus/Metro commute. Unfortunately, our bill is stuck in the D.C. Council’s Transportation & Environment Committee. Contact Councilmembers Brandon Todd and Kenyan McDuffie and let them know you support B23-148, the Transportation Benefits Equity Act of 2019. Check out our factsheet here, and our webpage here.

The DC Comprehensive Plan – let’s ensure it supports a more inclusive city.

For two years, we’ve been pressing for an updated citywide Comprehensive Plan that ensures we’ll have enough homes and affordable homes as our city grows. On July 9th, the DC Council took a first crucial vote on the Plan. While it has some of the improvements we’ve fought for, it still falls short of building a truly inclusive and sustainable DC. We’ll need you to continue to weigh in. Here’s our call to action outlining priorities for the Plan. 

DC Bus Report Card — we can do better!

We recently teamed with MetroHero to issue the first-ever DC Metrobus Report Card. We graded 9 high-ridership bus corridors on speed, schedule adherence, and headway adherence. Find out how these routes scored (spoiler: expect more F’s than A’s) and check out the solutions we’re promoting to make our buses faster, more frequent and more reliable.


Continue reading “8.7.19 Summer Email Updates”

Seminary Road Rescue

Support a Safer Seminary Road

Your help is needed to make Seminary Road safer for all road users — people who walk, bike, ride the bus, or drive. While the city’s goals are to improve safety and connectivity, the city’s Traffic and Parking Board voted to make very few changes to the current road, meaning it would continue to see high speeds and unsafe conditions.

The City Council will vote on September 14. Together, we need to urge them to reject the traffic board’s proposal and choose a safer alternative. That’s why we are collecting petition signatures, which will be combined with those collected by other partner groups.

Please support a safer Seminary Road by signing the petition!

The better and safer street design option would be a “road diet,” converting the four lane road to three lanes with a center turn lane, providing buffered bike lanes, enhancing crosswalks and adding pedestrian refuge islands at transit stops.

This option would improve safety and access for all road users, and especially pedestrians, but is facing opposition over concerns about traffic. Yet, road diets have been proven to maintain a steady vehicle flow while providing significant safety improvements.

Not only will the three lane design for Seminary Road reduce dangerous speeding, the center dedicated left turn lane will help to keep traffic moving while reducing the rear end collisions so common on four lane roads that lack protected left-turn lanes.

A similar project on King Street in 2016 reduced speeding by 18% without adding congestion, decreased crashes by 50% and did not result in a jump in neighborhood cut-through traffic.

Please support safe streets now by signing the petition!

Thank you for your support,

Sonya Breehey
Northern Virginia Advocacy Manager
Coalition for Smarter Growth

RELEASE: Coalition calls on DC area leaders to transform the bus




Press Release

For immediate release: July 25, 2019

Contact: Stewart Schwartz, 703-599-6437


Coalition calls on DC area leaders to transform the bus

Washington DC: Bus services in the DC region carry 621,000 riders per day, almost as many as Metrorail. Yet, bus service is in trouble as buses are slowed by road congestion, competition from services like Uber and Lyft (which are adding to that congestion), and are seeing declining ridership. These are key concerns highlighted in the WMATA Bus Transformation Study being briefed to the WMATA board today. The Coalition for Smarter Growth (CSG) served on the study Executive Committee with leading business executives, a union representative and two other non-profit leaders. The study also included strategic and technical advisory committees comprised of government staff and advocates.


“CSG recently teamed with MetroHero on our own study of DC bus performance and confirmed the concerns in the Bus Transformation Study – buses were moving slower and becoming less reliable, scoring a ‘D’ on in our analysis,” said Cheryl Cort, Policy Director for the Coalition for Smarter Growth.


“The public is strongly supportive of better bus service,” said Stewart Schwartz, CSG’s Executive Director. “The most recent survey by the Bus Transformation Study of 2905 area residents and riders found that people overwhelming want to see dedicated bus lanes, more frequent service, free transfers from bus to rail, and more affordable fares.”


“We’ve always known what makes bus service effective – fast, frequent, reliable service, with affordable fares, good user information and safe, comfortable conditions at bus stops and on buses,” said Cheryl Cort. “The recommendations in our DC Bus Report Card, in the Bus Transformation Study, and the Greater Washington Partnership’s bus study, and WMATA’s 2018 study, all point to these same priorities.”


Recent press has highlighted some of the negative reactions by local and state jurisdictions to ideas in the Bus Transformation Study regarding potentially shifting some more local routes and service to the jurisdictions from WMATA. The jurisdictions, many of which have established their own bus systems over the years, expressed concerns about taking on the routes and the potential costs. However, they also generally supported the service improvement recommendations in the report.


“We urge the jurisdictions and WMATA not to get tied up in a fight over who runs which routes. Riders and potential riders want them to focus on service – how to make the buses faster, frequent, more reliable, easier to use, and more affordable for lower income residents,” said Schwartz. “Rather than arguing over who should run what, we need leadership that makes bus transformation a top regional priority.”


“We cannot address our region’s traffic challenges, improve access to jobs, or fight climate change, unless we make bus the mode of choice across wide swaths of our region. Rail and bus transit must be tied to compact, walkable, mixed-use, mixed-income development as much as possible if we are to address these challenges,” said Cort.


The study has six main elements with 27 recommendations. Three main customer facing elements are:

  1. Bus system should be customer-focused and an easy-to-use option that people want to ride
    1. Recommendations include marketing, better bus information including maps and bus route naming, mobile apps, free transfers, lower fares, and more employers offering transit benefits.
  2. Prioritizing buses on major roads is the fiscally responsible way to move the most people quickly and reliably.
    1. Recommendations include commitments by jurisdictions to giving buses priority, enforcement of priority lanes, and parking limits to provide for bus lanes.
  3. Frequent and convenient bus service is fundamental to accessing opportunity, building and equitable region, and ensuring high quality of life
    1. Recommendations include bus network redesign


The Coalition for Smarter Growth will be partnering with other advocacy organizations and business leaders in urging local leaders to follow-up release of the Bus Transformation report with concrete actions to dramatically improve bus service.




The Coalition for Smarter Growth is the leading organization in the Washington DC region dedicated to making the case for smart growth. Our mission is to promote walkable, inclusive, and transit-oriented communities, and the land use and transportation policies and investments needed to make those communities flourish.