8.7.19 Summer Email Updates

CSG in action-District of Columbia

Parking Cashout – we need one more vote to make this happen!

If your employer offers you a parking benefit, we think you should have the option to cash it out and put the funds toward your biking, walking or bus/Metro commute. Unfortunately, our bill is stuck in the D.C. Council’s Transportation & Environment Committee. Contact Councilmembers Brandon Todd and Kenyan McDuffie and let them know you support B23-148, the Transportation Benefits Equity Act of 2019. Check out our factsheet here, and our webpage here.

The DC Comprehensive Plan – let’s ensure it supports a more inclusive city.

For two years, we’ve been pressing for an updated citywide Comprehensive Plan that ensures we’ll have enough homes and affordable homes as our city grows. On July 9th, the DC Council took a first crucial vote on the Plan. While it has some of the improvements we’ve fought for, it still falls short of building a truly inclusive and sustainable DC. We’ll need you to continue to weigh in. Here’s our call to action outlining priorities for the Plan. 

DC Bus Report Card — we can do better!

We recently teamed with MetroHero to issue the first-ever DC Metrobus Report Card. We graded 9 high-ridership bus corridors on speed, schedule adherence, and headway adherence. Find out how these routes scored (spoiler: expect more F’s than A’s) and check out the solutions we’re promoting to make our buses faster, more frequent and more reliable.


CSG in action-Maryland

Accessory Dwelling Units – a big win! 

We scored a big win on July 23rd when the Montgomery County Council voted unanimously to ease restrictions on accessory dwelling units! From policy expertise to grassroots, social media, and press, CSG used every tool in our toolbox to mobilize support. Working closely with our members and partners, including the Montgomery Housing Alliance and Habitat for Humanity, we highlighted the benefits of backyard cottages and basement apartments for helping to meet the housing needs of extended families, individuals with disabilities, seniors, young workers, and other residents. Our Maryland Advocacy Manager, Jane Lyons, talked about the win on the Kojo Nnamdi show.

Bus Rapid Transit – another step forward

A few years ago, CSG championed and won an 82-mile bus rapid transit (BRT) plan for Montgomery County. Last year the county began construction of the Route 29 line. Two weeks ago, CSG testified in support of BRT along MD-355 (Rockville Pike) and enhanced bus on Veirs Mill Road, and the County Council voted to advance the projects to the next stage of engineering! This is an important step towards providing more frequent, reliable bus service on two of the most traveled corridors in the county.

 Prince George’s County: a more understandable zoning code 

The Prince George’s zoning code is out-of-date, overly complex, and too confusing. Only sophisticated developers attorneys know how to navigate it. So, CSG collaborated with county activists and stakeholders to support the adoption of a new code that will be simpler, and clearer and will make walkable, livable, transit-oriented communities a priority. The Prince George’s County Council voted unanimously on July 23rd to take the next big step in the implementation of the modernized zoning and sub-division code. Our work isn’t done — some new Councilmembers are skeptical of the zoning overhaul, so we’ll continue to press for adoption of the improved code.


CSG in action-Virginia

Seminary Road: Sign the petition for a safer design!

Seminary Road between Quaker Lane and I-395 is a high-speed, four-lane road without bicycle lanes or safe crossings despite the presence of neighborhoods, schools, and Alexandria Hospital. The City of Alexandria’s Seminary Road Complete Streets Project seeks to improve safety and accessibility for all users, and it shows the best design option is Alternative 3, which adds two protected bicycle lanes, and converts to one through car lane in each direction with a middle left-turn lane. HOWEVER, Alexandria’s Traffic and Parking Board voted to generally maintain the 4-lane status quo.  

We’ve joined a broad coalition of Alexandrians to urge the City Council to adopt Alternative 3 at their public hearing and vote in September. You can read more about our recommendation and sign our petition HERE. 

Richmond Highway: getting the design right

We campaigned for over a decade to convert Fairfax’s Richmond Highway (Route 1) into a walkable, bikeable, mixed-use, inclusive, transit-oriented (TOD) community, and the county adopted the Embark Richmond Highway Plan last year. But we have to get the details right. We are pressing for the VDOT/Fairfax County proposed Route 1 design to be safer and easier to cross — asking for narrower lanes, tighter right turns, and a design speed of 35mph instead of 45 mph. It would be even better for the road to be two through lanes in each direction instead of three — but VDOT and Fairfax won’t budge on that count.

Potomac Yard Metro: 

We recently testified for the Potomac Yard Metro Station, Alternative B, at a state Water Control Board Hearing. This is a difficult one because the location would permanently convert about 1.5 acres of forested wetlands. However, the best net environmental benefit will come from this location which is closest to the highest number of future residences and offices and generate 13% higher Metro ridership and the largest reduction in vehicle trips. Transit-oriented development supported by Metrorail stations and other high capacity transit is critical if our region is to make major cuts in greenhouse gas emissions that are fueling climate change.


Regional Efforts

Bus Transformation Project: we need more frequent, faster, and reliable service

621,000 riders per day take the bus, almost as many as Metrorail, yet bus ridership is declining, in large part due to road congestion as well as competition from other services. We serve on the Executive Committee for the Bus Transformation Study. Our surveys of over 8000 area residents show strong support for dedicated bus lanes, more frequent reliable service, free transfers, and lower fares. We have urged our elected officials to make fixing our buses a top priority! Look for an action alert from us after the final report is issued in early September.

The Nice-Middleton Bridge: Maryland refuses to include protected bike lanes

The replacement for the Nice-Middleton Bridge is a 100-year decision. That’s why we’ve joined the bike and tourism communities in pressing Maryland to include a protected bike and pedestrian crossing on the new bridge. MDOT has opposed local elected officials who’ve joined us, arguing it’s too expensive. They’ve also opposed oversight by the regional Transportation Planning Board. Eric Brenner, a member of the Maryland Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee was so concerned about the state’s actions, that he very publicly resigned. We’ll keep pressing!

I-495/270 Toll Lanes: smart growth offers a better alternative

Governor Hogan’s highway plan threatens the environment without actually lessening traffic congestion. We’ve been pushing for a comprehensive approach to our regional transportation needs: advancing transit projects, managing transportation demand, improving land use, and expanding affordable housing closer to jobs. These measures, which include creating complete transit station communities in Prince George’s and the east side of Montgomery County, would not only reduce emissions but would do far more to reduce travel times than adding additional highway lanes. Look for our calls to action!