Tag: Virginia

Smart Growth Events — March-April

Hi Friend!

Happy Spring! We have a lot of big news and events to share!

On April 23 we’ll be honoring Rushern Baker, former Prince George’s County Executive with our Prince Livable Communities Leadership Award, and the DC-area League of Women Voters with our Sanders-Henn Community Hero Award. We hope you will join us at Tico restaurant in DC from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. for delicious food, great company, and to celebrate these amazing indivduals and thier leadership on smart growth. Sign up to sponsor or buy your individual tickets. We hope to see you there!

We’re hiring for two great positions — Communications Manager and Northern Virginia Advocacy Manager. Learn more here and apply at jobs@smartergrowth.net.

It’s shaping up to be a big year in advocacy for smarter growth and we welcome your involvement. With town, county, and state legislative elections in Virginia, we are teaming with partners on a Healthy Communities Platform to call for transit-oriented communities with safer streets for walking and bicycling, more transit, more affordable housing, parks and restored streams.


Never before has it been more important for our region to focus growth in walkable, mixed-use, mixed-income, transit-oriented communities. We have just a decade to significantly cut our greenhouse gas emissions, and we can’t do so without major reductions in driving. These dynamic communities also improve access to jobs and opportunity, allow for improved health and human interaction, and are a far more effective approach to addressing our transportation challenges than massive highway expansion.
We hope you will join us in supporting smarter growth and healthier communities in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia at these upcoming events and hearings.

Upcoming Events

Wharf Phase II Kick Off Celebration and Family Fun Day

Sat, March 30, 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

The Wharf — 600 Water Street, SW, Washington, D.C.


Northern Virginia Housing Expo 

Sat, March 30, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Washington-Lee High School, 1301 N. Stafford St., Arlington

A free public event for first-time homeownership, rental opportunities and resources throughout Northern Virginia: location options, being prepared for buying or renting, understanding and improving credit scores, senior housing options, condominium governance, improving energy efficiency, and more. For more information check here.


Beer+Transit Networking Event

Mon., April 1, 2019, 6:00 p.m.

Busboys and Poets, 450 K St NW, Washington, D.C.

The Rail Passengers Association presents a Beer+Transit networking event as part of the 2019 #RailNationDC Spring Advocacy Conference. Guest speaker is Joe McAndrew, Director of Transportation Policy at the Greater Washington Partnership. Tickets are $12.00.


MPC Annual Spring Lecture: Robert Sampson “Urban Neighborhoods and American Life”

Wed, April 3, 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.

American University, School of International Service Founders Room, 4400 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.

Professor Robert J. Sampson of Harvard University will deliver the Metropolitan Policy Center’s fifth Annual Spring Lecture. He is the Henry Ford II Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard University. A reception will follow the lecture. RSVP here.


The Climate Crisis: Impacts and Solutions

Tues, April 9, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.

GMU Founders Hall, 3351 Fairfax Drive, Arlington (Virginia Square Metro)

Talk by Jay Fisette, former Arlington Board member and managing partner for DMV Strategic Advisors, presenting Al Gore’s compelling slide deck and leading a panel discussion. Hosted by EcoAction Arlington, Coalition for Smarter Growth and Encore Learning. Attend and join us in emphasizing the importance of smart growth for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.


ACT April Meeting: What’s the Future of the Bus?

Tues., Apr. 9, 2019 at 7:30 p.m.

Silver Spring Civic Center, 1 Veterans Pl, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910

Dan Malouff (GWU professor, Alexandria planner) will be speaking on the future of bus transit.


Prince William Supervisor Candidate Forum on Climate and Sustainability

Mon, April 15, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Chin Park Regional Library, 13065 Chinn Park Drive, Woodbridge, VA

Hosted by the Greater Prince William Climate Action Network and other partners. Prince William has some of the highest rates of driving in the region and scattered land use — meaning even bigger steps are necessary to find land use and workable transit solutions. (CSG is a 501(c)3 and does not endorse or work on behalf of any candidate for office.)


Stand up for Smart Growth

Events listed under D.C, Maryland, Virginia, and regional below.

District of Columbia

Protected Bike Lanes for 20th/21st/22ndStreet NW– Public Meeting #3

Sat, April 13, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens, 2425 N Street, NW, Washington, D.C.

Attend this open house to learn about and comment on DDOT’s recommended alternative. Learn more about D.C.’s protected bike lane studies here.


Montgomery Council work sessions on Accessory Dwelling Units

Planning, Housing & Economic Development Committee

Thurs, April 4, 9:30 a.m.

Zoning Text Amendment (ZTA) 19-01 would make ADU’s easier and more affordable to build. Read more here and see a fact sheet here. You can submit comments by email here.


Montgomery Planning Open House on Rock Spring Master Plan Design Guidelines

Thurs., Mar. 28, 2019 at 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Davis Library, 6400 Democracy Blvd, Bethesda, MD

The Rock Spring Master Plan envisions this 535-acre office park, as walkable, mixed-use community with new housing and retail, and a central circulation spine for a future BRT.


PEC Community Meeting on the Loudoun2040 plan

Wed, March 27, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Middleburg Community Center, Middleburg, VA

The latest in a series of information sessions on the Loudoun2040 comprehensive plan, what’s at stake and how to get involved. Learn more here.


Eisenhower East Small Area Plan 2019 Update Open House

Wed, March 27, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Eisenhower Center III Office Building, 2331 Mill Road, 6thFloor

The city is evaluating flexibility of land uses, building heights, potential additional development, retail, and ped/bike issues. Attend to encourage improved placemaking, retail, and pedestrian and bicycle features to enhance Alexandria’s highest density Metro-oriented center. Learn more here.


Oakville Triangle and Route 1 Corridor Vision Plan Update for Virginia Tech Innovation Campus

Mon, April 1, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Oakville Triangle warehouse, 444 Swann Ave, Alexandria

The first in a series of meetings about Virginia Tech’s planned Innovation Campus. For additional information, visit the project webpage and the City’s National Landing webpage.


Richmond Highway (Route 1) Urban Design Guidelines Pop-up Studios

Thurs, April 4, 4:00 to 7:00 p.m.

Sat, April 6, 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Mount Vernon Plaza Shopping Center 7648 Richmond Highway (behind McDonalds)

Share your ideas at Pop-UP STUDIOs showcase pedestrian-friendly streetscapes and building design ideas for the Richmond Highway corridor.


Arlington’s Plan Lee Highway Design Studios

Every other Fri, April 5, 19, May 3, 17, 31, from Noon to 3:30 p.m.

Russell Building, 4620 Lee Highway, Suite 208, Arlington, VA

An opportunity for residents, business owners, and community members to view the latest study materials, meet with project planners, ask questions and share ideas.


2019 NLIHC Housing Policy Forum: Seizing the Moment for Bold Solutions

Wed., Mar. 27, 2019 at 8 a.m. through Fri., Mar. 29, 2019 at 5 p.m.

525 New Jersey Ave NW, Washington, District of Columbia 20001

Join affordable housing advocates, thought-leaders, policy experts, researchers, housing providers, low income residents, and leaders from Capitol Hill to advance bold solutions to homelessness and housing poverty in America.


CSG In Action

Workforce housing:  Last week, on the heels of Mayor Bowser’s proposal to increase funding for affordable housing, we issued our report: Making Workforce Housing Work: Understanding Housing Needs for D.C.’s Changing Workforce, urging D.C. to increase the total supply of housing, and target housing support toward working households at 50% of area median income and below. We recommend the city dramatically increase funding for its Local Rent Supplement Program and Housing Production Trust Fund, and use Inclusionary Zoning, Planned Unit Developments, and other zoning tools to produce more housing that is affordable. See our post in GGWash.


Amazon:  We filed testimony in support of the local Arlington incentives for Amazon’s location in Crystal City/Pentagon City, while urging laser focus by the county and state on affordable housing preservation and expansion, including a doubling of the county’s housing trust fund. We noted that the state/local transportation package is very progressive in focusing on transit, walk and bike modes and urged Amazon to achieve a 65% non-auto mode share.


Bus Transformation Project: We are serving on the Executive Committee for this regional study on how to improve bus service. Public meetings are coming later this spring. In the meantime you can find all study documents here.

RELEASE: Bridge Boondoggle: Smart-growth groups respond to Loudoun’s push for upper Potomac River bridges

Coalition for Smarter Growth, Piedmont Environmental Council, Montgomery Countryside Alliance

Press Statement
For Immediate Release
October 10, 2018

Stewart Schwartz, CSG, (703) 599-6437
Gem Bingol, PEC, (703) 431-6941
Caroline Taylor, MCA, (301) 461-9831

Recently, the Loudoun County Board voted to support and push for a new and controversial upper Potomac bridge, based on a county-funded study.

The Coalition for Smarter Growth and allies responded, citing years of studies that demonstrate the bridge is not needed, would waste tax dollars, and would destroy neighborhoods and the environment.

“An upper Potomac Bridge and associated outer beltway would be a boondoggle, wasting billions of dollars, diverting funding from true transportation needs, fueling more sprawl and traffic, and greatly harming neighborhoods and environmental resources,” says Stewart Schwartz, executive director of the Coalition for Smarter Growth. “A bridge didn’t make sense in 1988, 2001, 2004, 2015, or 2017 — when it’s been studied before — and it doesn’t make sense now.”

CSG, the Piedmont Environmental Council, and the Montgomery Countryside Alliance were critical of Loudoun County for not including three previous studies in their analysis: the 2001 “Wolf” study, the 2003-2004 Council of Governments/Virginia Department of Transportation origin and destination study, and the 2015 Virginia Department of Transportation origins and destination study.

“The Loudoun County study ignores the clear findings of VDOT’s 2015 origins and destination study of Potomac River crossings, which do not support a new upriver crossing,” says Schwartz.

The 2015 VDOT study is definitive. It shows that that just 5 percent of Virginia trips crossing the American Legion Bridge today, and 4 percent in 2040, are the “U-shaped commutes” that might use an upriver bridge. All other trips — 95 percent — are either “L-shaped” (60 percent) and best served by the location of the American Legion Bridge and its alignment with the largest job centers in Fairfax and Montgomery Counties, or are trips that cross the American Legion and have destinations along and inside the Beltway (35 percent — these are not discussed in the briefing).

“The 2015 study concluded that the American Legion Bridge has the worst congestion and need for improvement among Potomac River road bridges, and we are pleased the governors of Virginia and Maryland are now focused on multimodal improvements at the American Legion Bridge,” says Schwartz.

The 2015 VDOT findings confirm the previous origin and destination study for the American Legion Bridge (2003/2004), which tracked both Virginia and Maryland commuters crossing that bridge and found a similarly low percentage of “U-shaped commuters.”

“Given the high potential cost of a new upriver bridge, including the 10 to 15 miles of highway that Maryland would need to build, scarce tax dollars are better used fixing existing congestion problems at the American Legion Bridge and the Rosslyn Metro Tunnel, and on local road improvements within Loudoun County,” says Schwartz.

“The Loudoun County study showed that any neighborhood chosen as the path for a new bridge would see negative impacts, including loss of homes and wetlands. It also ignored that the last time specific bridge crossings were proposed, in the 2001 study initiated by Congressman Frank Wolf, it prompted a massive outcry from neighborhoods on both sides of the river,” says Gem Bingol of the Piedmont Environmental Council. “The neighborhoods should not have the threat of this highway hanging over them when the road isn’t justified in the first place.”

In a Fairfax Times article dated May 29, 2001, “[Congressman] Wolf said communities in northern Fairfax and Loudoun counties and those in southern Montgomery County, Md., — particularly on the proposed bridge corridors — were simply too densely packed with homes.” Wolf also said, “Moving the route further west put the bridge into Maryland’s agricultural preserve and too far out to make a difference for commuters.”

The bridge and highway would impact significant natural and historic resources, including the Potomac Heritage Trail, the C&O Canal National Historic Park, Broad Run, Seneca Creek, the Montgomery County Agricultural Reserve, and neighborhoods in eastern Loudoun and throughout Darnestown and North Potomac, Maryland,” said Caroline Taylor, executive director of the Montgomery Countryside Alliance. “As a result, and not surprisingly, Montgomery County and the State of Maryland remain adamantly opposed to the bridge and highway.”

In the 2017 Council of Governments study of long-range transportation plan priorities, Supervisor Ron Meyer of Loudoun County pitched the upper Potomac Bridge as a “game-changing” investment, but study results show it is not. It performed worst in meeting regional challenges, increased regional VMT and per capita VMT, ranked 6th in reducing vehicle hours of delay, and was among the scenarios that moved the needle very little on the remaining measures.

This almost precisely mirrors the findings in a recent Northern Virginia transaction plan analysis, which showed that the Northern Virginia network performed about the same with and without the bridge. In that case as well, other scenarios, such as compact land use, performed as well or better than the bridge. Additionally, the bridge would add traffic to area roads rather than reduce it, because it would induce demand for new trips rather than serving existing travel patterns.

“The bridge stands out from all the other scenarios for having the largest negative impact on air and water quality and open space,” says Bingol.

“This isn’t surprising. The bridge would directly impact the drinking water intakes for most of the region’s population; potentially impair the Piedmont groundwater aquifer, which serves as the sole source of drinking water in rural Montgomery County; create development pressure in the nationally recognized Agricultural Reserve; and increase vehicle miles traveled,” says Taylor.

“We urge Loudoun County to drop their push for an upper Potomac River bridge,” says Schwartz. “It won’t help traffic. It will, in fact, make traffic worse, while harming neighborhoods, drinking water, the Agriculture Reserve and environmental resources. And it will waste tax dollars.”


About the Coalition for Smarter Growth
The Coalition for Smarter Growth is the leading organization in the Washington DC region dedicated to making the case for smart growth. Its mission is to promote walkable, inclusive, and transit-oriented communities, and the land use and transportation policies and investments needed to make those communities flourish. Learn more at smartergrowth.net.

JOINT STATEMENT on I-66 agreement between Governor McAuliffe and Virginia legislators by Coalition for Smarter Growth, Southern Environmental Law Center, Sierra Club – Virginia Chapter, Piedmont Environmental Council, and Arlington Coalition for Sensible Transportation

February 10, 2016

Stewart Schwartz, Coalition for Smarter Growth, (703) 599-6437
Trip Pollard, Southern Environmental Law Center, (804) 318-7484

RICHMOND, VA — Three leading smart growth, conservation, and transportation reform advocacy groups released the following joint statement on the announced agreement between Governor McAuliffe and state legislators on I-66 inside the Beltway:

Our organizations have supported the Governor’s package of transit, HOV, and tolls for I-66 inside the Beltway as a far more effective approach than widening. This package of solutions will move 40,000 more people through the corridor in the peak hours faster and more reliably, and it won the support of Fairfax, Arlington, Falls Church, and the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission.

Therefore, we are deeply disappointed by legislators of both parties who have pressed to undo this effective demand-management and people-moving package in favor of a widen-first approach. In doing so, the legislators have failed to understand the settled science of induced traffic where widened roads in metropolitan areas quickly fill up again. They also failed to understand the benefits of funding transit through the toll revenues, and the effectiveness of the package in moving more people through the corridor during peak hours.

We’re grateful to the Governor for fighting for the package of solutions he has championed for I-66 inside the Beltway. Although we are very disappointed that the widening is being accelerated before more effective solutions are given the opportunity to work, the agreement reflects a political compromise. That said, we urge the Governor and local governments to accelerate the funding and implementation of transit and supportive ride-matching and transit marketing necessary to ensure we maximize the number of people using transit and carpooling before the widening takes effect in 2019.

We urge legislators to understand that an economically successful region like ours cannot build our way out of congestion through highway expansion. That widening is just a band-aid with an increasing cost to people’s homes, neighborhoods, schools, parks, and health.

We have long made the case that investment in transit and smart growth, which can be coupled with road and parking pricing, is the most effective approach to addressing traffic congestion in the near, medium, and long term. Creating a network of walkable, transit-oriented centers and communities allows us to maximize walking, biking, and transit trips, while minimizing driving. It reduces the sprawling development which is the chief contributor to our traffic congestion, and creates the types of communities so in demand today.

Finally, it is important to recognize that Arlington County’s internationally recognized success in coupling transit-oriented development (TOD) with transit investment has done more to reduce regional traffic congestion than any other jurisdiction or any highway expansion in Northern Virginia, while increasing the region’s economic competitiveness. Arlington’s success is a compelling case for why we should continue to maximize our investment in transit and TOD across Northern Virginia rather than widen highways all the way to DC.

The Coalition for Smarter Growth is the leading organization in the Washington DC region dedicated to making the case for smart growth. Its mission is to promote walkable, inclusive, and transit-oriented communities, and the land use and transportation policies needed to make those communities flourish. Learn more at smartergrowth.net.

The Southern Environmental Law Center is a regional nonprofit using the power of the law to protect the health and environment of the Southeast (Virginia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama). Founded in 1986, SELC’s team of over 60 legal experts represent more than 100 partner groups on issues of climate change and energy, air and water quality, forests, the coast and wetlands, transportation, and land use. Learn more at SouthernEnvironment.org.

The Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club is 15,000 members strong. We are your friends and neighbors working to build healthy, livable communities, and to conserve and restore our natural environment. Learn more at sierraclub.org/virginia.

Since 1972, the Piedmont Environmental Council has proudly promoted and protected the natural resources, rural economy, history and beauty of the Virginia Piedmont. Learn more about the Piedmont Environmental Council at pecva.org.

 The Arlington Coalition for Sensible Transportation has campaigned for a ‘wiser, not wider’ I-66 inside the Beltway since 1999.  Learn more at acstnet.blogspot.com.        


Dulles International Airport Challenges

A demand for change at Dulles Airport.

Washington Dulles International Airport, located in Fairfax and Loudoun Counties in Virginia, was once surrounded by farmland. An image of the Dulles Airport decorates the seal for the Town of Herndon. Yet Dulles airport is fighting an image problem. Virginia political and business leaders are trying to reverse passenger declines at Dulles Airport, as more passengers travel through Reagan National Airport.

#In 2005, 27 million passengers flew through Dulles; in 2014, the number was 21.6 million. In comparison, 17.8 million passengers flew through Reagan National Airport in 2005. By 2014, that number of Reagan passengers had become 20.8 million. Three times in 15 years, Congress has lifted the 1,250-mile perimeter and added new flight slots at National.

#Some travelers have said Dulles Airport is difficult to navigate through. It has also been getting a bad reputation for luggage issues. Dulles had 1,086 total claims, out of which 331 were approved or settled for a total of $67,952.16 between 2010 and 2014. A USA Today investigation found the TSA is taking a hit for damaged bags, paying out $3-million in claims for lost, broken or stolen items.

#TSA PAID OUT 7.6 claims per million passengers at Washington Dulles International, about two and a half times the number of losses paid at nearby Reagan National and nearly four times more than the airport ranked with fewest complaints among the 30 busiest Airports in America, Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

#In the meantime, Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) is trying to increase revenue while more passengers are using Reagan National. Dulles is expensive for airlines. Most large airlines fly a “hub-and-spoke” network where they fly almost entirely to and from their hubs. Without a United hub, there are no flights to smaller eastern cities from Dulles, since United depends on connecting passengers to fill them.

#United CEO Jeff Smisek said United is reluctant to expand at Dulles because it is more expensive than other airports. Airports have to be self-sufficient and pay for their facilities and operations through revenue they earn inside the airport (like restaurants, concessions) and fees airlines pay. When an airport wants to build new facilities, it must take on debt that raises the costs for the airlines.

#In January of 2015 Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe unveiled new, large versions of the “Welcome to Virginia” signs at Dulles Airport. In April, a seminar was held at the Sterling AOL Campus, titled Dulles Matters. The event was sponsored by the Committee for Dulles. Stewart Schwartz, executive director of the Coalition for Smarter Growth, said although Dulles is a key regional asset, the public must be sure leaders are making the smartest choices when it comes to spending taxpayer money.

#A study commissioned by the MWAA showed Dulles generated more than $1.2 billion a year in tax revenue and nearly $10 billion in labor income. More than 19,000 people work at Dulles, but nearly 250,000 jobs are tied to the airport. MWAA operates National and Dulles. “We need to rally and put Dulles and this region onto a positive growth path,” said Keith Meurlin, president of the Washington Airports Task Force and former Washington Dulles International Airport manager.

#Phase 2 of Metro’s new Silver Line will include a station at Dulles, and construction may be complete by 2020. The MWAA may amend its ground transportation policy to allow Uber, Lyft and similar services access to airport property at National and Dulles. The Maryland Aviation Administration, which oversees BWI, studied practices at other airports to develop a “comprehensive review” of its ground transportation service, and plans to update regulations in coming months, officials said.

#Traditional cabs pay a $3-per-fare fee to operate at National, unless it’s a prearranged trip, and they must wait in line to be dispatched. Uber and Lyft drivers can pull up to the curb to collect passengers. “They are popular with a certain segment of the population,” said John Massoud, vice president of M&R Taxi Company, Inc., trading as Arlington Blue Top Cab, which has provided taxi service to Northern Virginia since 1984. A locally owned family business, M&R Taxi Company, Inc. has potential taxi drivers go through a detailed screening process including a drug test, training and an exam. “Only then we do allow someone to drive a Washington Flyer taxi,” said Massoud. Although taxi companies have few worries for the Metro Silver Line, they have expressed specific concerns regarding rider services such as Uber.

#DULLES AIRPORT has been reviewing three potential sites for hotel development including a 2.6-acre site used as employee parking at the east end of the terminal. The other two sites include: a 5.6-acre site behind a daily garage facing the main terminal, near the future Metro station; and a 13.7-acre lakefront site near the existing Dulles Airport Marriott hotel, which has a lease to operate at Dulles through 2027. On-airport hotels have been popular for travelers who have early flights.

Read original article here.


I-66 coalition asks Virginia to reopen its congestion-relief study

The I-66 Corridor Coalition, a new group of community, transportation and environmental groups, is calling on the Virginia government to reopen a congestion-relief study for the interstate outside the Capital Beltway so that a broad range of options can be reconsidered. That study was completed in 2013.

Virginia to Congress: Stop approving new flights out of Reagan National Airport

Stewart Schwartz, the executive director of the Coalition for Smarter Growth, said taxpayers already have invested billions in the Dulles Access Road, Dulles Toll Road, Routes 606 and 28, and the Silver Line.

“Now the Dulles folks are seeking billions more for another round of highways,” Schwartz said. “Before we jump into that approach let’s first recognize the challenges that Dulles faces include the fact that they have over projected growth amid the boom in the mid-2000s and they took on too much debt.”

Virginia’s economy needs Dulles Airport to soar again, boosters say

“This is an event for boosters,” said Stewart Schwartz, executive director of the Coalition for Smarter Growth, referring to Thursday’s event. “Nobody’s asking the hard questions — like, ‘Did they overestimate demand and take on too much debt?’ ”

Meeting to address concerns on I-66 HOT lanes

In announcing the forum, the Coalition for Smarter Growth named some of the popular topics in Fairfax County: How will homes and neighborhoods be affected? Will there be enhanced opportunities for walking and biking? What transit alternatives are being developed? How will the project affect parks, streams and natural habitats? What are the likely effects on everyone during the construction period?