Category: Transportation

STATEMENT: White’s Ferry Closure

Coalition for Smarter Growth
December 28, 2020


Statement on the Announced Closure of White’s Ferry


“We are disappointed by the announcement of the closure of White’s Ferry, which appears to be due to the failure of the operators to reach an accommodation with the landowners on the Virginia side of the river. We urge the State of Virginia and Loudoun and Montgomery Counties to seek a solution that restores this helpful service that carries an estimated 600 to 1000 vehicles per day.
We expect that longtime boosters of a new bridge over the Potomac will once again claim we need another bridge. However, this was rejected in the early 2000’s after extensive study (the Congressman Wolf study) showed the harm it would cause to neighborhoods on both sides of the Potomac and to the Montgomery Agricultural Reserve. 
In addition, the 2003-2004 VDOT/TPB Origin and Destination Study and the 2015 VDOT Potomac Crossings study showed that less than 5% of peak hour trips might benefit from a bridge between the American Legion Bridge and Point of Rocks. These studies showed that the real need is at the American Legion Bridge, where a high-capacity transit connection must be part of any solution.
Finally, employees and employers have now seen the advantages of telecommuting which is expected to lead to a significant reduction in peak hour work trips, allowing for existing facilities to handle projected traffic.”
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RELEASE: Historic Climate Win at Transportation Planning Board

Press Release

For immediate release:

December 16, 2020

Contact:

Stewart Schwartz, CSG, 703-599-6437

Historic climate vote took place today at Metropolitan Washington’s Transportation Planning Board (TPB) 

Elected officials agree to prioritize transportation projects and policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Today, at the launch of the process to create the Washington DC region’s next multi-billion dollar regional transportation plan, Visualize2045, elected officials on the Transportation Planning Board (TPB) voted to “[require] (emphasis added) its member agencies to prioritize investments on projects, programs, and policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, prioritize the aspirational strategies, and achieve COG’s land use and equity goals as they submit their input for inclusion in the TPB’s [Long-Range Transportation Plan and Transportation Improvement Program].” The TPB also agreed to prioritize the aspirational initiatives they adopted in early 2018 including linking jobs and housing, a regional bus rapid transit network, Metro, demand management, bike/walk access to transit, and the capital region trail network.

“This is a historic vote. For the first time, regional elected officials committed to prioritizing transportation projects, programs, and plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the region’s transportation plan,” said Stewart Schwartz, Executive Director of the Coalition for Smarter Growth (CSG). “They also agreed on the need to reduce vehicle miles traveled to achieve the greenhouse gas emissions reductions we need.”

During the debate, representatives of Prince William and Loudoun counties raised concerns about the challenges of reducing VMT in outer suburbs, and sought to soften the resolution from “requires” to “urges.” Their motion failed, and the vote on the full package of amendments passed 22 to 1 with 7 abstentions and 6 members absent. A full list of elected officials’ votes can be found below.

“In response to the concerns of the outer suburbs,” Schwartz said, “we believe that the outer suburbs can help tackle transportation emission, through better land use including walkable, mixed-use ’15-minute’ neighborhoods, commuter rail, and bus.”

The TPB’s action follows the commitment by the Council of Governments to reduce the region’s total greenhouse gas emissions 50% below 2005 levels by 2030.

“Our analysis shows that adoption of electric vehicles is essential, but the timeline is uncertain, and we’ll have to do more – which means reducing how much we have to drive, through better land use – walkable, transit-oriented communities; addressing the east-west jobs imbalance; and investing more in transit, walking and biking infrastructure,” said Bill Pugh, Senior Policy Fellow for CSG. Bill’s analysis for CSG is laid out in his recent post in Greater Greater Washington, and in a draft paper – Cutting Transportation Emissions by 2030 and Beyond: Smart Land Use and Travel are Essential submitted to the Transportation Planning Board by CSG.

THE VOTES:

Here is how Transportation Planning Board members voted on amendments to strengthen commitments to reducing vehicle miles traveled and greenhouse gas emissions (the full Technical Solicitation document can be found at a link here and amendments debated today can be found at Agenda Item 9; official vote tally should be confirmed with TPB staff).

Motion by Loudoun County Supervisor Kristen Umstattd, seconded by Manassas Park Vice-Mayor Pamela Sebesky to “urge” rather than “require” that jurisdictions prioritize projects, programs, and policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

“Through this technical solicitation input process the TPB urges/requires its member agencies to prioritize investments on projects, programs, and policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, prioritize the aspirational strategies, and achieve COG’s land use and equity goals as they submit their input for inclusion in the TPB’s [Long-Range Transportation Plan and Transportation Improvement Program].”

Motion failed with 16 no, 14 yes (with 6 members absent)

Voting yes (for “urges”)

1.     DDOT represented by Mark Rawlings

2.     MDOT represented by Asst Secretary Jeffrey Hirsch

3.     Charles County – Jason Groth (staff)

4.     City of Frederick Alderman Kelly Russell (TPB 2020 Chair)

5.     City of Laurel – represented by staff Phil Goddard (?)

6.     Virginia Department of Transportation

7.     Fairfax County Supervisor Walter Alcorn

8.     Fairfax County Supervisor James Walkinshaw

9.     Loudoun County Supervisor Kristen Umstattd

10.  Loudoun County staff representative Bob Brown

11.  City of Manassas Vice-Mayor Pamela Sebesky

12.  City of Manassas Park Mayor Jeanette Rishell

13.  Prince William County Chair Ann Wheeler

14.  Prince William County Board Member Victor Angry

Voting no (favoring “requires”)

1.     DC Office of Planning – Kristin Caulkins

2.     DC Councilmember Charles Allen

3.     College Park Councilmember Denise Mitchell

4.     Frederick County Alderman Kai Hagen

5.     City of Greenbelt – Mayor Emmett Jordan

6.     Montgomery County Executive – represented by Gary Erenrich 

7.     Montgomery County Councilmember Evan Glass

8.     Prince George’s Councilmember Deni Tavares

9.     City of Rockville Mayor Bridget Newton

10.  City of Takoma Park Councilmember Kacey Kostiuk

11.  Maryland Delegate Carol Krimm

12.  City of Alexandria Councilmember Canek Aguirre

13.  Arlington County Board member Christian Dorsey

14.  City of Fairfax Mayor David Meyer 

15.  City of Falls Church Councilmember David Snyder 

16.  WMATA represented by Shyam Kannan

Absent:

1.     DC Councilmember Phil Mendelson

2.     DC Councilmember Brandon Todd

3.     City of Bowie 

4.     City of Gaithersburg

5.     Prince George’s County Executive represented by Victor Weissberg (Dept of Transportation)

6.     Fauquier County

Motion to adopt all six amendments (found at Agenda item 9) first proposed by Falls Church Councilmember David Snyder with final drafting by TPB staff including amendment B with “requires.” Motion made by Mayor Bridget Newton of the City of Rockville and seconded by Councilmember Charles Allen of DC.

Motion passed with 22 yes, 1 no, 7 abstentions (with 6 members absent)

Yes (for the amendments on VMT and greenhouse gas emissions)

1.     DC Office of Planning – Kristin Caulkins

2.     DC Councilmember Charles Allen

3.     MDOT represented by Asst Secretary Jeffrey Hirsch

4.     College Park Councilmember Denise Mitchell

5.     Frederick County Alderman Kai Hagen

6.     City of Frederick Alderman Kelly Russell (TPB 2020 Chair)

7.     City of Greenbelt – Mayor Emmett Jordan

8.     City of Laurel – represented by staff Phil Goddard (?)

9.     Montgomery County Executive – represented by Gary Erenrich 

10.  Montgomery County Councilmember Evan Glass

11.  Prince George’s County Executive represented by Victor Weissberg (Dept of Transportation)

12.  Prince George’s Councilmember Deni Tavares

13.  City of Rockville Mayor Bridget Newton

14.  City of Takoma Park Councilmember Kacey Kostiuk

15.  Maryland Delegate Carol Krimm

16.  City of Alexandria Councilmember Canek Aguirre

17.  Arlington County – Dan Malouff for Board member Christian Dorsey

18.  City of Fairfax Mayor David Meyer 

19.  City of Falls Church Councilmember David Snyder

20.  Fairfax County Board Member Walter Alcorn

21.  Fairfax County Board Member James Walkinshaw

22.  WMATA represented by Shyam Kannan

No

1.     Virginia Department of Transportation

Abstentions

1.     DDOT represented by Mark Rawlings

2.     Loudoun County Supervisor Kristen Umstattd

3.     Loudoun County staff representative Bob Brown

4.     City of Manassas Vice-Mayor Pamela Sebesky

5.     City of Manassas Park Mayor Jeanette Rishell

6.     Prince William County Chair Ann Wheeler

7.     Prince William County Board Member Victor Angry

Absent:

1.     DC Councilmember Phil Mendelson

2.     DC Councilmember Brandon Todd

3.     City of Bowie 

4.     City of Gaithersburg

5.     Fauquier County

6.     Charles County

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The Coalition for Smarter Growth advocates 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.

RELEASE: “Devastating. Leaders must step up to save WMATA.”

PRESS STATEMENT

December 1, 2020

Contact:
Stewart Schwartz, Executive Director

703-599-6437 (cell)

Proposed cuts to WMATA would be devastating

Leaders must step up!

“The reality of proposed cuts to our Metrorail and Metrobus service in the absence of a rescue package is now clear. It would be simply devastating – to our workers, our economy, our transportation network.

Congress needs to step up and this includes every Republican. We are one nation, one economy, with a huge share of our economy dependent on our cities and metropolitan regions.

If the cuts were to take place they would gut a system the DC region built over four decades and upon which our essential workers and economy depends. It would undermine decades of real estate investment, prompt flight of our next generation workforce, and have a disproportionate impact on the essential workers upon whom our food and health and services systems depend.

We shouldn’t let our two Governors and local elected officials off the hook either. We cannot afford to continue wasteful road expansion and sprawl, massive toll roads that benefit few, and boondoggles like the Maglev when we can’t afford to maintain and operate what we’ve already built. We must be shifting funding from road expansion to save the transit system that is the backbone of our region’s economy.

‘Fix-it-first’: maintain, rehabilitate, and operate our existing infrastructure and locate new development in walkable communities with both jobs and frequent transit.”

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