Category: Newsletters

How we’re building a more equitable and sustainable region

February has arrived, and the CSG team is continuing to incorporate equity into our work. We spent the past week tuning in to Smart Growth America’s Equity Summit, which featured great speakers and leaders from across the smart growth and urbanism community, and we’re excited to continue building a more equitable smart growth movement for a more equitable and inclusive DC region. Be sure to check out the videos and recommended reading from the Summit when available!


Transit Equity Day

Transit Equity Day is this Thursday, February 4, celebrated on Rosa Parks’ birthday! We’re joining advocates across the U.S. and DC region to highlight both the progress and challenges in achieving equity through better, more accessible transit.

We’re co-sponsoring the national Labor Network for Sustainability’s Transit Equity Day with virtual public hearings on February 3 and 4.  

In VA, we’re co-hosting with the Sierra Club – Virginia Chapter a lunch and learn panel on February 4 at 12pm, featuring transit champions from NoVA, Richmond, Charlottesville, and Hampton Roads.

In DC, we’re cosponsoring #TranspoBINGO! The bingo card will be revealed at a virtual happy hour (RSVP here) on Feb 3rd at 8pm and the game will run Feb 4 to 11, with another virtual happy hour on Feb 11 at 6pm to announce winners. It’s a great chance to connect with fellow transit advocates! Tweet your progress using #TranspoBINGO. Learn more here.


Virginia

Speaking of transit, Fairfax County continues public outreach for their Transit Strategic Plan, which is a county-wide review of bus service and a plan for future service. You can provide input here until February 19.

Meanwhile, Sonya is working across NoVA organizing and speaking up in support of inclusive and sustainable housing policies. Thanks to Alexandria residents and CSG supporters, the city passed a strong new accessory dwelling unit policy by a 6-1 vote last week! In Fairfax, Stewart and Sonya provided testimony to the Planning Commission in support of the county’s Workforce Dwelling Unit policy update and their zoning modernization (zMOD) updates to accessory living units. Both will go before the Board of Supervisors and needs your support. Arlington County extended the survey deadline to provide input on their Missing Middle Housing study to Feb 8, so there’s still time to support missing middle housing by filling out the survey!


Maryland

Missing middle housing is also up for consideration in Montgomery County! The county is discussing missing middle as part of their Thrive2050 General Plan update, as well as Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) 20-07. The ZTA would allow missing middle housing on lots zoned for single family houses within a mile of Metro stations. To learn more, check out last week’s Montgomery for All meeting, hosted by Jane, with experts Lisa Govoni and Eli Spevak. The Council will hold a public hearing on the ZTA on Feb 11, so join the waitlist to testify or submit written testimony here

If you live in downtown Silver Spring, RSVP to a virtual meeting on Feb 9 at 7pm to learn more about the drafting of the Silver Spring Downtown and Adjacent Communities Plan, which will guide the area’s growth for the next 20 years.


DC

The fight continues for passage of the Comprehensive Plan! Cheryl is working with the Housing Priorities Coalition to organize support from DC residents, including submitting a sign-on letter from residents to urge passage. The updated plan removes exclusionary language, requires the use of a racial-equity lens when making decisions, increases affordable housing supply and sets goals for equitable distribution of housing opportunities. It would also allow construction of over 1,000 affordable homes stalled by the Comp Plan’s delay. Click here to send an email to Council!

Cheryl is also continuing to work on expanding DC’s inclusionary zoning (IZ) regulations, or IZ+, which would require additional affordable homes in developments resulting from upzoning. Stay tuned for our event on IZ+ later in February. And ICYMI, we released the long-awaited ADU DC Homeowner’s Manual: How to Build an Accessory Apartment or Second Dwelling in the District of Columbia with United Planning Organization and Citi.


Climate

Transportation is our #1 source of emissions, but officials aren’t doing enough to reduce the amount we have to drive. Thanks to Bill, we won a vote at the Transportation Planning Board to require projects to be prioritized to reduce vehicles miles traveled and greenhouse gas emissions. But we’re seeing delays by staff and aren’t convinced some jurisdictions will do their part to select transportation projects that reduce emissions, so we sent a joint sign-on letter to every local government. Multiple CSG staff are also providing input to local government climate action plans under development in Virginia and Maryland.


Want to volunteer for CSG?

.

We’ve recently received several inquiries from supporters who are interested in volunteering their time to support CSG’s advocacy. If that describes you, please fill out this form to let us know how you’d like to help. Two key projects — local photography and monitoring local government meetings.

Thanks for all you do,

Stewart, Cheryl, Jane, Sonya, Emily, and Bill

Working hard to make 2021 better

Dear Friend,

Can you believe it’s been another month? We hope you and your family are continuing to stay safe and healthy. We’re working hard to ensure that several progressive policies across the region are passed before the end of the year, so we can build a better 2021.

Smart Growth Social

We celebrated a successful virtual Smart Growth Social at the end of October! Beth Osborne of Transportation for America gave an inspiring update on the exciting possibilities of transportation reform, while social breakout rooms provided a much needed opportunity to reconnect and network. If you weren’t able to make it, you can watch a recording of the event here. Congratulations to Ted Eytan, who won our photo contest with his stunning shot of Ben’s Chili Bowl:

Climate

The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) is preparing a Climate and Energy Action Plan (CEAP) for the year 2030 that will provide direction to regional efforts like TPB’s Visualize 2045 transportation plan update. However, the draft CEAP needs to set stronger land use, vehicle miles traveled reduction, and non-auto mode share goals and strategies to ensure the region adequately addresses its transportation sector emissions. CSG submitted comments to MWCOG and to TPB on this effort in October and this month we’re contiuing to work with our partners to push for a more robust plan. End of YearWith the end of the year comes end of year fundraising! This year has been unlike any other, and it has been especially tough for nonprofits. If you’ve been inspired by the work CSG has done this year to make our region a more livable, inclusive place, please consider supporting our work.Support CSG’s ongoing work with $5, $10, or $25 today!


Election updates

While the presidential election has been taking up a lot of bandwidth, lots of local elections also turned up promising results for the region.

In Virginia: 

  • Voters approved a constitutional amendment that will give redistricting authority to a bipartisan commission made up of citizens and legislators, rather than the governor and General Assembly. 
  • Preliminary results on bond referenda in Fairfax County show all 4 bonds (parks and recreation, public libraries, health and human services, and transportation) have passed with a safe margin, but certified results will not be available until November 16th.

In Maryland:

  • Voters approved a measure that gives more authority to the General Assembly, allowing them to increase, decrease, or add items to the state budget as long as such measures do not exceed the total proposed budget submitted by the governor. 
  • In Montgomery County, voters passed Questions A and C, which remove an existing cap on overall property tax revenue and add two new District seats to the Council respectively.

In DC: 

  • The crowded field for two open at-large council seats in DC yielded a win for incumbent candidate Robert White and newcomer Christina Henderson.

A busy month in Maryland

This past Monday was the deadline for public comments on MDOT’s draft environmental impact survey for the proposed expansion of I-495/I-270. You can read our comments here and our joint comments with Sierra Club here.The Council will have their final vote to repeal the housing moratorium within the Subdivision Staging Policy this Monday. It’s been a long fight, but it is very likely that the housing moratorium will finally be repealed, once again enabling development in desirable growth areas of the County. Thank you to all the supporters and local advocates who helped make this happen!Public hearings for the update to the Montgomery County General Plan are on November 19th! Click here to sign up to testify before noon on November 18th. You can also submit written comments by sending them to MCP-Chair@mncppc-mc.org.For the final Montgomery for All meeting of the year, we will be joined by guest speaker Councilmember Will Jawando, who is one of three councilmembers on the Planning, Housing, and Economic Development (PHED) Committee. The PHED Committee is the primary body behind reviewing and implementing the updates to the General Plan, so it should be an interesting and fruitful meeting. Register here!


The fight continues in Virginia

Next week there will be a series of community meetings on service improvements to the Fairfax Connector in the Centreville-Chantilly-Vienna-Tysons areas. If you’re a Connector rider along any of these routes, RSVP to one of three meetings here or take the survey here. Connector service remains an essential service during the pandemic and your feedback is necessary to improve reliability, increase mobility, and provide better access to desirable destinations!

We’re continuing to monitor 495 Next, the proposed northern extension of express lanes on I-495. With our local partners, we won an extension to the comment deadline until December 4th. Our main concerns are the current lack of transit funding and the apparent rush to commit to the project before knowing the outcome and timing of Maryland’s plans. You can submit comments to VDOT and your elected officials using our email form here

Arlington kicked off its missing middle housing study two weeks ago and we’re continuing to monitor its progress. You can read more about the study here and give input until December 31st.


Still fighting for a more affordable, inclusive DC

The second of two public hearings on the DC Comp Plan will take place today. The updates on the table have been long approved, it’s just a matter of adopting them. We’re fighting for adoption before 2021, before new councilmembers assume office. The DC Zoning Commission will hear the proposal for Expanded Inclusionary Zoning this Monday November 16th at 6:30pm. The proposed policy isn’t perfect, but the existing affordable housing crisis and the additional pressure generated by the pandemic has created the need for urgent action. You can read our testimony here and sign up to testify here. A survey on MoveDC, the District’s long range multimodal transportation plan, is currently open until tomorrow, November 14th. The last update to MoveDC occurred in 2014, and some aims of the upcoming update include: 

  • Map mobility networks for bicycles, transit and freight to achieve mode shift goals
  • Address how recent, emerging and future mobility trends and innovations will shape our transportation system
  • Ensure equity is a key consideration in making transportation decisions

Share your input with DDOT here!


Our work would not be possible without the support of people like you. Please consider making a donation today

Thanks for all you do,

Stewart, Cheryl, Jane, Sonya, Emily, and Bill