January 18, 2023
WMATA Board of Directors
Office of the Board Corporate Secretary, SECT 2E
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
P.O. Box 44390, Washington, DC 20026-4390
Testimony in Support of Proposed Changes to Transit Facilities at Takoma Metro Station, Docket R23-01
Dear Board Members:
Please accept this letter on behalf of the Coalition for Smarter Growth (CSG). CSG is the leading non-profit organization in the Washington, D.C. region, including suburban Maryland, dedicated to making the case for smart growth. Our 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.
We are excited to be testifying tonight in support of the proposed changes to the transit facilities at the Takoma Metro station. We’ve been working on reconfiguring the station area, and adding housing and other complementary transit-supporting uses since the year 2000.
After seeing a number of site plans over these years, we’re happy to say that, though we’ve missed the opportunity to offer housing, and a better station environment for the last 20 years, the proposed plan now is far more ambitious, and far more appropriate to a Metrorail station in our dynamic region. We are pleased to urge WMATA to support the proposed transit facilities changes, which will increase access and ridership, facilitate additional benefits for the community and riders, and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
We support the following changes:
- 10 bus bays (including an added bay) reconfigured to line the train tracks embankment, facing a relocated bus loop, and a new mixed use apartment building. This reconfiguration maintains the bus loop’s Eastern Ave. and Carroll Ave entrances, while shifting bus passenger facilities to be generally closer to Metro station entrances. Closer is always better. The new location also is likely to give bus riders increased safety and comfort with proximity to retail, natural surveillance from the apartment building, and proximity to Metro station entrances.
- The reconfiguration of the site will facilitate a significant amount of housing and affordable housing, adding more riders, and more opportunities for low income riders to live at a Metro station and bus hub.
- The civic plaza with ground floor retail is a benefit to transit riders giving them new conveniences, meeting places, and a sense of safety from added pedestrian traffic by the entrance of the Metro station.
- The 16 pick-up/drop-off vehicle parking spaces in close proximity to the front entrance of the Metro station, including formalized on Carroll Ave., provide an appropriate compromise for driving access. These drop-off spaces provide convenience while not replacing the 160 kiss and ride spaces, which are largely not used as intended. Between better management of the 16 drop-off/pick-up spaces, the proposed 67 spaces for retail parking, and street parking, we believe that driving and parking access to the area will be provided without hindering other transit access improvements, or imposition of excessive cost.
- We appreciate the greenspace buffers proposed for the site to give space between transit uses, and new residential uses, and existing neighbors. We commend the proposal to retain 1.8 acres of open space for the site, while maximizing the potential for increased transit use.
- We expect enhanced walk and bicycle facilities, and traffic calming to ensure safe access to the station.
- We are excited to participate in the shaping of the mixed use development for the site, and are eager to maximize affordable housing opportunities.
We acknowledge that for some, the 16 pick-up/drop-off parking spaces will be the source of their objection to the changes. The many benefits of housing, affordable housing, an enhanced station environment that includes a plaza with retail, improved walk and bicycle access, and improved bus bays, all weigh in the favor of revising the number of pick-up/drop-off parking spaces as proposed. Parking will be available on and around the site that is not dedicated to transit access. We recognize that Takoma Metro was never supposed to have long term parking, but over the years, the kiss and ride parking was used for these unintended uses. More effective management of parking by local governments in the area could do much to address drivers’ concerns, while allowing this reconfiguration of the Metro station’s transit facilities to go forward.
We enthusiastically support the proposed changes to the Takoma Metro station.
Thank you for your consideration.