Our big fall event and lots of updates!

We hope you and your family are well. Please join us for our annual Smart Growth Social, don’t forget to vote, and read on to catch up on the latest in your smart growth community.

Smart Growth Social

Our annual Smart Growth Social (virtual edition) is October 28th at 7pm via Zoom! Join us to hear Beth Osborne of Transportation for America, network in social breakouts, and enjoy a photo contest to celebrate the best of smart growth in our communities. For more details visit the SGS webpage. Register here. If you or your organization is interested in sponsoring the event or joining the host committee, click here.

Don’t forget to VOTE!

Today is the last day to register in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Between mail-in voting, early voting, and ballot dropboxes, there are more options than ever before. Identify what works best for you, and make your voice heard! And don’t forget that there are key ballot initiatives on many local ballots — highlighted below.

A climate agenda

Photo credit: Jane Lyons

Last month we introduced Bill Pugh, our Senior Policy Fellow, who is leading our climate agenda. We know transportation is the largest source of carbon emissions, and reducing vehicle miles traveled (VMT) is key. Bill is crafting our advocacy agenda to work with policymakers to reduce VMT and carbon emissions. 

Fighting for an inclusive Comprehensive Plan in DC 

Room for more housing proposed from Friendship Heights to Tenleytown.

It’s not over yet! We’re still fighting to ensure vital amendments to the DC Comprehensive Plan are adopted before the end of the year — for a greater diversity of housing options for different income levels. Tell Chairman Mendelson you want to see these changes passed in 2020! 

  • Meanwhile, join our forum on the DC Comp Plan and transportation, October 22nd at 5:30pm, co-hosted with Young Transportation Professionals-DC, featuring Andrew Trueblood, Director of DC Office of Planning, Gabe Klein, former director of DDOT and founding Partner of Cityfi; and our Policy Director Cheryl Cort. RSVP
  • Testify to win! We’re also co-hosting a testimony workshop with partners October 27th at 4pm. You’ll learn more about the Comp Plan and how to effectively testify at the  DC Council virtual hearings November 12th and 13th. RSVP here and sign up to testify here.
  • Our Better DC Buses campaign with partners is bearing fruit. DDOT accelerated its Bus Priority Program (notice more red painted bus lanes). Join us at DDOT’s moveDC meetings October 13 or 15 to support better buses and safer, more sustainable and equitable transportation. 
  • And don’t forget to vote! DC has two open, at-large Council seats and two dozen candidates! The Post profiled the race here. There’s also a ballot initiative to decriminalize the use of psychedelic plants

Fighting for a better future in Maryland

  • A win for smart growth! We supported Bill 29-20 in Montgomery County, which passed 7 to 2. It creates a 15-year tax abatement for development on WMATA owned land at Metro stations, with up to15% of affordable units. The bill is expected to spur up to 8,600 new homes at Metro including 1,300 affordable homes.
  • Just around the corner — public hearings on the update to Montgomery County’s general plan, Thrive 2050RSVP for our testimony workshop with Montgomery for All on October 15th at 7pm to learn how to effectively communicate your desires for the future of the county.
  • The Council is discussing the Subdivision Staging Policy, and you can still send a message asking them to repeal the harmful and outdated housing moratorium here.
  • There are four critical ballot initiatives in Montgomery County regarding the makeup of the County Council and property tax caps. We encourage you to vote yes on Questions A & C and no on Questions B & D; more information can be found here.
  • Participate in the Silver Spring Downtown and Adjacent Communities Plan, via an online listening session tonight,  and fill out the survey here. To stay updated, sign up for the plan e-letter here and visit Montgomery Planning’s website here.
  • The Purple Line, and the economic benefits it would bring to Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties, are in flux after a judge ruled that private contractors could abandon the job. Work has halted, but after a major advocacy push Governor Hogan has committed to the project’s completion. Read more in this piece featuring quotes from our Maryland Advocacy Manager Jane Lyons. 

Fighting for safer and more sustainable transportation in Virginia

  • First the ballot initiatives: There are 2 State Constitutional Amendments. Question 1 would move redistricting authority from the General Assembly to a bipartisan redistricting commission composed of eight legislators and eight citizens. Question 2 would provide disabled veterans a tax exemption for one vehicle.
  • In addition to the constitutional amendments the following NoVA localities have bond initiatives, and one special election: 
    • Fairfax County:Transportation (Metro), Parks, Schools, Health and Human Services, and Libraries 
    • Arlington CountyStormwater, Schools, Transportation (Metro + other), Parks/Rec and County infrastructure
    • City of Falls ChurchA special election to fill unexpired term for one council seat
    • Loudoun CountySchools, public safety, and transportation 
  • Fairfax County wants to improve Fairfax Connector Franconia/Springfield bus service with faster, more frequent service, and improved accessibility. If you ride in this area, learn more here and fill out the survey by October 16th.
  • VDOT wants to widen the Beltway to extend toll lanes between Tysons and the GW Parkway. But increased telecommuting could permanently reduce peak trips, and with climate change increasingly apparent, we must rethink massive highway expansions. Ask VDOT to put the 495Next project on hold to consider better alternatives.
  • We are partners in the fight for an effective solution for Route 28 in Prince William. Together we’ve proposed a parallel street network that will revitalize the Yorkshire area, include bus rapid transit, and improved safety. The Prince William Board, and NVTAuthority, voted instead for a new bypass that will take up to 50 homes, harm drinking water, and fuel more traffic. See our joint press release.  
  • Four people have died walking along Richmond Highway (Route 1) this year alone. We’re pressing for design changes and reducing the speed limit from 45 to 35 mph to make Route 1 a safer place to walk, bike, and drive. These steps could reduce fatal crashes by 40%. Tell VDOT you support a safer Richmond Highway!

We hope to see you on October 28th at 7pm for Smart Growth Social. In the meantime, stay safe and healthy!