A busy fall: top issues and events in DC, MD, VA

Regional Campaigns

The Bus Transformation Study is out: We need more frequent, faster, and reliable service!

The final report of the Bus Transformation Study is out! Serving on the Executive Committee we ensured the study stressed the urgency of improving our region’s bus service, including installing priority bus lanes, route redesign for more frequent service, and lower fares. With MetroHero, we issued the first DC Bus Report Card, and a set of solutions to make our buses faster, more frequent and more reliable. We’ll be pressing elected officials to implement significant bus improvements, and we hope you’ll join us in this effort.

Regional Housing Needs: We need more homes, more affordable homes near transit

Yesterday, the Urban Institute and Greater Washington Partnership issued a report showing our region needs 374,000 more housing units by 2030 including 264,000 that are affordable for families annually making $54,300 or less. We need to say yes to more homes near transit, mixed-use redevelopment of commercial strip shopping corridors, accessory dwelling units, duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes, expanded housing trust funds, and inclusionary policies. Join CSG in making more affordable housing accessible to transit a top priority!


CSG In Action – District of Columbia

The DC Comprehensive Plan: The critical vote is coming up on September 17

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 September 17, the DC Council will take its final vote on the Plan. We are still fighting to make more housing a priority. We’ll need you to continue to weigh in. Here’s our call to action outlining priorities for the Plan. Look for a new action alert in your in-box soon.

Parking Cashout: We STILL need one more vote to make this happen!

Do you live in Ward 4 or 5? We need your help! 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.

CSG joins with UPO to launch “DC ADU”: to help low-income renters and homeowners

United Planning Organization (UPO) in August announced the launch of ADU DC, a pilot initiative to make accessory dwelling units (ADUs) more accessible to lower-income homeowners in DC. UPO is collaborating with CSG and founding corporate supporter Citi Community Development. DC ADU will help qualified homeowners build ADUs on their property; increase access to affordable and lower-priced housing in the District; and help homeowners with information about ADU development, zoning, permitting, design, and financing.

A Community Conversation:  DC’s Housing Framework for Equity and Growth

Join in the conversation to be held on Saturday, Sep 21, from 1 to 3 p.m. at Ron Brown High School in Deanwood. RSVP. This is an important city initiative analyzing how we can produce more affordable and market rate housing in the District, including achieving a more equitable distribution of new affordable housing across the city. They will examine public policies and regulations, market forces, and community dynamics.

Benning Road Streetcar Project Public Meeting #1: September 19

On Thursday, September 19, 2019, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., DDOT will hold an open house to kick off the Benning Road Reconstruction and Streetcar Project. Check out plans for DC’s streetcar extension at the event to be held at the Department of Employment Services (DOES), 4058 Minnesota Avenue, NE (Minnesota Ave. Metro station).


CSG In Action – Maryland

Event: “Climate Emergency: Montgomery County Responds”

CSG is a co-sponsor and will be tabling at “Climate Emergency: Montgomery County Responds” on Saturday, September 14th at the Silver Spring Civic Center. Attend the town hall — with a panel of advocates and county officials, moderated by WAMU reporter Jacob Fenston — and then come say hi! Learn more and RSVP here.

Save the Date!: Homeowner workshop on building an accessory apartment in Montgomery County

Mark your calendar to join CSG on Thursday, November 14th from 5:30 to 8:00 pm at the Silver Spring Civic Center to learn about the process of building an accessory apartment! We will have presentations on zoning, permitting, licensing, financing, and more, as well as a Q&A session to help demystify the process. The workshop will be limited capacity, so keep an eye out for the registration link!

Montgomery General Plan: What does the county’s future look like?

Montgomery County is kicking off its General Plan update, Thrive Montgomery 2050, which will create a vision for how we work, live, and play. Planning Department staff are touring the county to get your feedback. You can also provide input via their online quiz. We believe the county has the opportunity to be a national leader in planning and implementing a sustainable, zero-carbon emissions, walkable, inclusive, and transit-oriented future.

Subdivision Staging Policy: We need to end the housing moratorium

The Subdivision Staging Policy is the tool Montgomery County uses to ensure public facilities, like schools and transportation, keep pace with development. It’s also the policy that governs the county’s harmful housing moratorium, which is discouraging walkable, transit-oriented development. CSG is working to support revisions to the policy, and you can get involved by attending the county’s community workshop on October 7th.

Prince George’s County: The Westphalia kerfuffle and zoning for TOD

We supported the Prince George’s County Council’s steps to implement its newly adopted zoning code. The changes will improve public transparency and strengthen transit-oriented development. However, the Council took a step backwards when it arbitrarily redefined the Westphalia Town Center plan to allow a 19-acre warehouse with a sea of parking, declaring the warehouse appropriate for a walkable, mixed-use development. 

We joined local residents in opposing the change and talked to the Washington Post about the importance of consistency for ensuring high-quality transit-oriented communities. The corporate end user, Amazon, backed out, and we’ll be teaming with local advocates to ensure more walkable, transit-oriented communities are the focus for the county’s growth.

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, focusing development in walkable, transit-oriented communities, and expanding affordable housing. These measures 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!


CSG In Action – Virginia

Seminary Road: The Council Votes September 14!

Thank you to all who signed our petition! If you haven’t yet signed in support of the safest option — Alternative 3, please do so. Meanwhile, don’t forget to send an email to the City Council ahead of their vote on September 14. 

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 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. We urge you to email the Council in support of Alternative 3.

Merrifield Plan Update: Where’s the bus rapid transit?

Fairfax County is full steam ahead with a proposed Merrifield Comprehensive Plan Amendment that will transform the old Exxon-Mobil headquarters on Gallows, and Fairview Park across I-495, into a mixed-use community. The plan protects some open space and forests, establishes strong stormwater requirements, and recommends expanded bicycle and pedestrian networks.

However, it focuses on widening roads and numerous intersections, but lacks firm commitments or timeframes to expand public transit and build the bike/ped trail network. Completely missing is a much needed bus rapid transit link to the Dunn Loring Metro Station and Tysons. The Planning Commission hearing is September 11, and Board of Supervisors, September 24. Check out the staff report here and look for our alert on Monday.

Richmond Highway: Still fighting to get the design right

Fairfax County and VDOT are moving forward with plans to widen Richmond Highway and implement Bus Rapid Transit, but we are pressing them to design Route 1 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. Learn the latest details and provide feedback at the Richmond Highway BRT public meeting coming up on September 17 at Bryant High School in Alexandria. 

Event: Tour the Railroad Cottages in Falls Church on Saturday, September 21!

Join us for the first of two fall walking tours! The award-winning Railroad Cottages in Falls Church is next to the W&OD trail and within walking or biking distance of two Metro stations. They illustrate how we can gracefully provide more homes for people. Instead of three homes, 10 EarthCraft sustainable homes were approved in a cottage format around a central walking lane, with a commons building and covered bicycle parking. CSG supported the project and is working for safer walking and bicycling access to the West Falls Church Metro. We’ll post the registration page shortly.