There are two opportunities this week to speak in favor of positive moves by VDOT and Fairfax County that will make walking and biking safer and more convenient.
Washington, DC — The MetroNow Coalition—comprised of the Coalition for Smarter Growth, Federal City Council, Greater Washington Board of Trade, Greater Washington Partnership, Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce, Prince George’s Chamber of Commerce, the 2030 Group, and Tysons Partnership—today released the following statement on the ongoing WMATA Metrorail service disruptions.
Did you know that Ride On has been free since March 2020? We’ve successfully advocated for the emergency free fare program to be extended twice, and now the County Council is going to decide whether or not to make it permanent.
We believe Montgomery County can invest in the local economy and further racial equity and social justice by keeping fares in the pockets of those who need it most. The average income of a Ride On rider is $35,000 and we know that regionally nearly 80% of bus riders are people of color. Free fares overwhelmingly benefit vulnerable populations and the working class.
However, we know that free fares cannot come at the cost of service quality. Frequency and reliability need to be top priorities of the system, given that they are proven to provide the best rider experience and are most effective at increasing ridership. Together, free fares and service improvements would result in the most ridership, climate, congestion, equity, and economic development gains.
Ride On is already permanently free to kids, seniors, and people with disabilities. Let’s make it free for all riders! Tell the Montgomery County Council that you agree.
October 27, 2021
Hon. Phil Mendelson, Chair
Committee of the Whole of the
Council of the District of Columbia
Regarding: PR 24-359, Board of Directors of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
Tracy Hadden Loh Appointment Resolution of 2021
Dear Chairman and members of the Committee:
Please accept these comments on behalf of the Coalition for Smarter Growth, the leading non-profit organization in the D.C. region advocating for walkable, bikeable, inclusive, transit-oriented communities as the most sustainable and equitable way for the DC region to grow and provide opportunities for all.
We wish to express our support for Tracy Hadden Loh, PhD, for WMATA Board. Dr. Loh is eminently qualified to represent both the interests of the District of Columbia residents, and the region as a whole. She brings years of experience and expertise in regional governance, land use, and transportation issues. Dr. Loh is a life-long and regular user of WMATA and other transit systems. This makes Dr. Loh an intellectual leader on transit and urban land use policy while also being grounded in practical experience as a transit rider and DC resident.
We ask the Committee to approve Dr. Loh’s appointment.
Thank you for the opportunity to provide testimony.
Our co-host, Island Press, recently released the second edition of Christof Spieler’s wildly popular book “Trains, Buses, People.” Christof discussed the evolving conversation around transit and shared updates on fare policies, wayfinding, inclusivity, and North American transit systems. Purchase using code WEBINAR with Island Press for 30% off.
If you missed the talk, watch the recording of the event or download our powerpoint below.
City Council is set to vote on Alexandria’s updated mobility plan following a public hearing on Oct. 16. This plan is critical for more sustainable and equitable transportation in Alexandria — focusing on increasing walking, biking, and transit options, while making our streets safer for all users and modes. Let’s make sure it’s approved! If you haven’t yet, tell the City Council that you support the updated mobility plan.
In addition to sending an email, you are encouraged to speak at the upcoming public hearing in support of the plan’s goals for mobility in the city.
City Council Public Hearing – Oct. 16 at 9:30am – Sign Up to Speak
The Alexandria Mobility Plan (AMP) is the result of a community-driven planning process that identified key priorities and recommendations to improve reliability, safety, and travel options in the city. The AMP strives to:
- Give all Alexandrians convenient options in how they travel
- Make transit easy to use and more reliable
- Continue towards Vision Zero designing safer streets and reducing speeding
- Complete missing pedestrian and bicycle connections
- Utilize technology to improve safety and efficient use of the street network
- Proactively and equitably manage curb space for different needs (dining, bikeshare, loading/pick-up, parking, etc.)
The updated mobility plan will set a course for Alexandria to continue moving towards a more equitable, sustainable, and livable city. You can review the final draft of the AMP and learn more at the project website here.
October 15, 2021
Alexandria City Council
301 King Street, Room 2300
Alexandria, VA 22314
RE: Comments in support of the Alexandria Mobility Plan
Dear Mayor Wilson and Members of City Council:
Please accept these comments on behalf of the Coalition for Smarter Growth (CSG) in support of the draft Alexandria Mobility Plan (AMP) with a few recommendations. CSG is the leading organization in the DC region advocating for walkable, bikeable, inclusive, and transit-oriented communities as the most sustainable and equitable way for the Washington, DC region to grow and provide opportunities for all.
The overall draft AMP is very good and builds on and expands Alexandria’s existing transportation policies, setting a course for the city to continue moving towards a more equitable, sustainable, and livable city.
I appreciate the updated plans focus on peoples’ mobility to truly give everyone who lives, works, and visits Alexandria convenient options in how to travel. To realize this improved mobility and accessibility, the plan appropriately calls for continued work towards Vision Zero designing safer streets, reducing speeding, and completing missing pedestrian and bicycle connections; making transit easier to use and more reliable; utilizing technology to improve safe and efficient use of the street network; and proactively and equitably managing use of curb space for different needs, such as dining, bikeshare, loading/pick-up, parking, etc.
While the AMP touches on the notion of reducing vehicle miles traveled (VMT), it should establish a specific target for per capita VMT reduction and call for specific actions to attain it. The targets should be based on the findings of the MWCOG’s Transportation Planning Board’s Climate Change Mitigation Study, which Alexandria’s Energy and Climate Change Action Plan should similarly support.
To help reduce VMT and expand transportation choices, I recommend that the AMP explicitly call for moving away from using a level of service modeling that focuses only on vehicle delay and identify better methodology that assesses level service for people walking, biking, and using transit too.
Ultimately the AMP goals will help improve safety and connectivity for people walking, biking, and using transit making it better for those already reliant on those modes but also making these sustainable transportation options a more convenient choice for others. This would serve to shift more people from single occupancy driving helping to alleviate congestion and still accommodating those that need to drive. Overall this plan would have a positive impact on climate and environmental impacts as well as mobility.
Thank you for your time and consideration of my feedback.
Northern Virginia Advocacy Manager
September 21 – The proposed high speed Maglev train between Baltimore, MD and Washington D.C. would harm a national park, a national wildlife refuge, the Chesapeake Bay and numerous nearby communities.
NPCA, the Coalition for Smarter Growth, the West Baltimore Project, Delegate Jared Solomon, and Delegate Robbyn Lewis hosted a conversation about why the proposed Baltimore-Washington Maglev project is wrong for the region and the numerous transit solutions currently being considered.
Last week I joined the Gum Springs community demanding a safer Richmond Highway. The coffin included in the protest is dramatic, but captures just how dangerous our roads are. Fairfax County continues to experience high rates of pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities and serious injuries with 10 people killed already this year.
The Washington Post story captures the energy of local community members led by Queenie Cox and the New Gum Springs Civic Association fighting for safer streets. This community is showing that together we can make a difference.
Creating safe and connected ways to walk and bike in Fairfax County will take a strong vision and solid plan to overcome the disconnected and dangerous conditions we face today. That’s why the ActiveFairfax Transportation Plan is so important. Let’s make sure Fairfax County knows there is strong support for making active transportation a safe and viable option to get around our communities.
The County is currently seeking public input on the plan’s draft vision, goals, and objectives before it goes to the Board of Supervisors for approval. This is the first part of the ActiveFairfax Transportation Plan being developed that will be a road map for a safe and convenient network of sidewalks, bikeways, and trails in the county.
There is a virtual public meeting tonight, Sept. 15, at 6:30 pm where you can learn more about the plan and ask questions directly to staff. Check out the Active Fairfax Transportation Plan website for information on the plan and how to join one of the meeting. Public comments will be accepted through September 19.
We need safer streets and better walking and biking now. Remember to ask the county to move quickly from vision and goals to actually funding needed safety improvements!