On January 25, we hosted a workshop with the United Planning Organization (UPO) for DC homeowners about building an accessory dwelling unit (ADU).
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.
For the limited scope hearing to analyze the proposed PUD under the updated Comprehensive Plan particularly with regard to the issues raised by the Remand Order.
June 22, 2021 – CSG and Ward3Vision hosted an event to learn about the many tools we have to create and sustain lively places on the main streets of our community. We discussed why streets are important, what makes them comfortable, interesting, useful and inviting, and what models we might learn from. The event also helped the audience understand how affordable housing actually gets financed. The event also helped the audience understand the ‘software’ that helps make it all work.
- Matthew Bell FAIA (Principal, Perkins Eastman & Professor, University of Maryland School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation)
- Robert Peck (Gensler Architects)
- Erkin Ozberk (Neighborhood Planner for Wards 3 and 4, DC Office of Planning)
- Leigh Catherine Miles (Executive Director, Tenleytown Main Street)
- View the event recording on youtube.
- Presentation slides:
Re: Testimony in Support of the FY22 Budget for DDOT
Dear Chair Cheh and members of the Committee:
Thank you for the opportunity to provide testimony. 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.
Major Investment Bus Priority:
We wish to express our enthusiastic support for the FY22 budget for DDOT, especially the $63 million for bus priority programs. This is a tremendous step in making the commitment we need to the bus service we should have. This budget makes a major commitment to building out the city’s bus priority network. Over the last decade, we have advocated for better bus service and urged the city to give buses priority on District streets. We are gratified to see such a bold proposal to advance bus service. This major commitment to better buses helps address racial and economic disparities, and build a more sustainable city for everyone.
We commend the proposed budget to both support operating costs for the Bus Priority Program and the $63 million of capital investments for “Bus-Only Lanes and other initiatives to improve bus speeds and reliability on 50+ priority bus corridors throughout the city.” While this investment is most of what we need, we ask that the funding for this program be sustained to ensure its completion in the out years.
We also support $116 million for the K Street Transitway, which is a necessary reconstruction of a central downtown thoroughfare. This project will improve speed and reliability for bus passengers benefiting travel both in downtown and throughout the District. It will benefit residents from all parts of the city as they travel through the corridor to jobs, services, or via bus on their way to another destination. We are excited that the transitway will also accommodate people bicycling, and improve the walking environment.
We support the $375 million for streetscapes, trails, bicycle lanes, Open Streets, and Vision Zero safety improvements. We also are thrilled by the $19 million expansion of Capital Bikeshare. These investments are critical to the city’s ability to make education, jobs, and services more accessible to residents and visitors. To accelerate these investments and get us back on track to achieving Vision Zero, we need to ensure that DDOT has the staffing to plan and guide these projects through to delivery. In the past year, our city has experienced far too many tragic deaths of people walking and bicycling. We need to do more to accelerate implementation of safety improvements and redesigns of unsafe streets and intersections. We ask that the budget add staff positions to the pedestrian/bicycle team to ensure that DDOT can deliver on these critical facilities.
We also want to express our support the FY22 budget’s transfer of the Automated Traffic Enforcement (ATE) program to DDOT. DDOT’s management of ATE will better ensure that safety and compliance are tightly linked to the design and management of our streets to support walk and bicycle access and safety, and effective bus lanes.
This is a set of major investments that will make our city more sustainable, equitable, accessible and vibrant. These investments give people healthier, more sustainable, and more affordable transportation choices. We urge the DC Council to support these investments.
Lastly, we wanted to inquire about the regulations for the Transportation Benefits Equity Act (B23-148). This new law will enable an employee who is offered a parking benefit by their employer to use the equivalent value of the parking subsidy for a transit, walk, or bike commute. We understand that the administration has been working on regulations, but it has gone on for months. As the District begins to reopen, we should have the regulations for the law in place to provide better guidance to employers as they consider any changes to their commuter benefits policies. We ask the Committee to follow up with the administration on the status of the regulations.
Thank you for your consideration.
On May 18, after five years of advocacy and hard work, the DC Council voted unanimously to approve the amendments to the 2006 Comprehensive Plan. Thanks to all those who have taken action over these five years to convince the city to do more to address our acute need for affordable housing and more homes near transit.
Working with a terrific group of partners in the Housing Priorities Coalition, with the DC Office of Planning, and with the Council, we fought for and helped create a much better document to guide the future of our city. The updated plan puts a priority on affordable housing, sets a goal of 15% for each part of the city, and highlights the opportunity in Ward 3, which today hosts just 1% of the city’s affordable housing stock.
The Future Land Use Map creates room to build more homes, especially near transit. This reduces pressure on existing housing, and helps those who should be able to be served by the market to find a place to live. At the same time, the plan also better addresses displacement of vulnerable residents.
The update focuses on bringing racial equity into every land use decision we make. Recognizing that Black families in DC earn a third of what white families earn and have a median family income (MFI) at just 40% of the region’s MFI, the plan refocuses goals, policies, and spending priorities to meet the needs of these families. Until now, DC programs have too often focused on 80% of median family income.
We are eager to get on with implementation — ensuring the Council increases public funding for deeply affordable housing, creating local plans to guide neighborhood change, rezoning for more mixed-income housing near transit, and incorporation of racial equity assessments into Zoning Commission decisions. Then we’ll participate in the full rewrite of our Comp Plan, due to start in 2025.
Thank you for your involvement and contribution to this success! With this milestone behind us, stay with us as we continue our work to build a more sustainable, equitable and vibrant DC.