Category: Resources

Testimony in Support of Tracy Hadden Loh for DC WMATA Board

Testimony in Support of Tracy Hadden Loh for DC WMATA Board

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.

Sincerely,
Cheryl Cort
Policy Director

Event: Picture the Plan: Let’s talk about shaping the future of Chevy Chase DC

CSG worked with Ward3Vision to create an Urban Design Concept for Chevy Chase and present to the community through an event hosted by Historic Chevy Chase. View the plan and learn more.

Graphic: Opportunity Sites from Ward 3 Vision: A 30-Year Vision for Chevy Chase DC

Joint Comments from Fairfax Healthy Communities Network on the Community-wide Energy & Climate Action Plan (CECAP)

Dear Chairman McKay & and Members of the Board of Supervisors, 

We, the representatives of the undersigned organizations, as part of the Fairfax Healthy Communities Network, are excited to support the Community-wide Energy and Climate Action Plan (CECAP). As Virginia’s most populous jurisdiction, Fairfax County can stand out as a leader in the region and have an outsized impact on the race to reduce carbon emissions.

Our network partners envision a Fairfax County where people can live, work, and play in connected communities that are healthy, sustainable and inclusive. In fact, there may be no policy endeavor that better embodies our joint work than a climate plan that addresses all aspects of providing clean air, clean energy, reducing reliance on dirty fossil fuels for transportation, and ensuring natural green space for all county residents. This is a large part of our vision for a healthy community.  

The newly-released Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) sixth Assessment Report on the science of climate change provides a dire picture of accelerated impacts.  Warming of the planet is happening at an alarming rate, far faster than predicted. 

The report predicts that warming of greater than 1.5 C (2.7F) will cause more extreme weather events such as fires, droughts and flooding. These events are already happening. Hurricane Ida, the Caldor Fire, the extreme heat in the Pacific Northwest and even our local intense pattern of rain are all very real “canaries in the coal mine” for all policy makers.  

Today, we do not feel the most severe and dangerous impacts here in Fairfax County. However, the current fires and storms serve as the newest wakeup call – we have the opportunity to try to get ahead of the most severe local impacts. Fairfax County is a significant contributor to the emissions problem in the metro area and shares the responsibility to solve it. Only by large and rapid cuts in emissions can these dire impacts be addressed.  There is no time to waste, and every jurisdiction has to play a role.

Core to this plan are twelve strategies that outline areas of focus. Each is important, but some will have greater mitigation impacts, such as energy efficiency in buildings and changes in transportation, particularly vehicular impacts. Others come with multiple benefits, such as preserving and expanding our natural resources throughout various land use processes to both sequester carbon and provide additional climate resiliency. Given the complexity of climate change and the world’s evolving response, we cannot rely on residents and businesses to voluntarily change behaviors or know which climate-friendly steps are most beneficial to prioritize, so we count on innovative and ambitious government policies and actions to influence change.  

Reaching the goals in CECAP will only be possible if the County moves from ideation to the implementation phase at full speed. An implementation plan must be crafted and put in place with the urgency that is needed. As with all County programs, it is critical that each facet of this program comply with the One Fairfax policy by asking who benefits, who is harmed by any actions, and how we prevent harm.

As advocates representing environmental, smart growth, transportation, affordable housing, and social justice, organizations, we urge the Board of Supervisors to: 

  1. Develop an aggressive timeline for the CECAP Implementation Plan
  2. Hire a team of climate experts to guide and support staff in implementing the plan
  3. Fund programs and provide incentives in FY 2023 to begin immediately mitigating carbon emissions

We are counting on the Board to offer its considerable leadership to this formidable task. If it is to be successful, it will also require dedicated, creative, and visionary staff to permeate throughout the government and into the private sector. Success is the only option.  

Thank you for taking this important next step in the climate fight.

Sincerely,

Audubon Naturalist Society, Renee Grebe, Northern Virginia Conservation Advocate
Coalition for Smarter Growth, Sonya Breehey, Northern Virginia Advocacy Manager
Friends of Holmes Run, Whitney Redding, Primary Conservator

Northern Virginia Affordable Housing Alliance, Michelle Krocker, Executive Director

Sierra Club, Great Falls Group, Ann Bennett, Energy, Climate and Land Use
South County Task Force, Mary Paden, Chair

Virginia League of Conservation Voters, Bridget McGregor, Senior Northern Virginia Organizer

Washington Area Bicyclist Association, Stephanie Piperno, Trails Coalition Manager

Testimony in Support of Bruce Monroe PUD (Zoning Commission No. 16-11)

Testimony in Support of Bruce Monroe PUD (Zoning Commission No. 16-11)

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.

Bruce Monroe plan drawing by TORTI GALLAS + PARTNERS

CSG comments in support of the Alexandria Mobility Plan

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.

Sonya Breehey
Northern Virginia Advocacy Manager