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Politics


David Catania's platform supports Metro, streetcars, bus lanes, bike lanes, transit-oriented development, and more

Mayoral candidate David Catania released a 66-page platform today, chock full of positions on issues from education to jobs to seniors. It includes strong statements on transportation and the environment.


Catania at a DC Council hearing.

Here are a few key quotes from the platform:

Metro: To ensure that Metro Momentum becomes a reality, the entire region will need to prioritize the plan's funding. As Mayor, David will ensure that the District leads the effort with our regional and federal partners to create a dedicated funding mechanism for this vital investment in our collective future.

Streetcars: David will seek to build both the East-West and the North-South [DC streetcar] lines, believing that the system must be sufficiently expansive in order to serve as anything more than a novelty or tourist attraction.

Bus lanes: David will work with community members, bus riders, and transit agencies to increase capacity and implement priority bus lanes on major arterial roadways and key transit corridors.

Bicycle infrastructure: David will expand bicycle infrastructure to all areas of the city, particularly in communities east of the Anacostia River that have yet to see such investments. This expansion can take place in a way that does not displace other forms of transportation. Many District streets are particularly well positioned for installation of protected bike lanes while maintaining sufficient car parking and driving capacity. David will also support the continued expansion of Capital Bikeshare.

Traffic cameras: There is little doubt that speed and red light cameras have contributed to the overall safety of our streets. However, in some cases the deployment of these cameras raises questions about whether the intent is purely to improve street safety or if the real motivation is to raise additional revenue through ticketing and citations. As Mayor, David will demand that the proper analysis is conducted to ensure that these devices are being used to target locations with street and pedestrian safety concernsnot simply as a means to raise revenue!

Vision Zero: David will pursue a street safety agenda in line with the Vision Zero Initiative. ... Vision Zero calls for the total elimination of traffic deathspedestrian, bicycle, and vehicle passengerthrough innovative street design, enhanced traffic management technologies, and education campaigns.

Transit-oriented development: The District's density is one of its greatest economic competitive advantages. Recent studies have found a clear connection between the higher concentration of residents and greater economic output. As Mayor, David will harness this economic potential in a way that creates healthy and livable urban communities, by focusing development around transportation hubs including Metro stations, bus lines, protected bike lane infrastructure, and Streetcar corridors.


Speck. Image from the Catania platform.
A lot of this reads like something a smart growth and sustainable transportation advocate might write. Maybe that's not such a surprise, as the section starts out with a big picture of Jeff Speck, author of Walkable City and a local smart growth champion. Jeff and Alice Speck are strong supporters of Catania, and probably suggested a few ideas.

There is a lot about the environment as well in that section, such as LEED buildings, tree canopy, and water quality, as well as on many more topics in the full document. What do you agree or disagree with in the platform?

Transit


New Tysons Circulator bus routes get mixed reviews

When the Silver Line opened, Fairfax County also launched three new bus routes to help people get around Tysons Corner. How are they working? Jenifer Joy Madden had a good experience on the buses, but Navid Roshan says that the meandering route makes the bus slow for many trips.


Photo by Jenifer Joy Madden.

Madden writes,

Recently, two family members and I biked from our home in suburban Vienna over quiet streets and neighborhood trails to Spring Hill, the closest of the Silver Line stations. Our final destination was the Tysons I mall, but instead of continuing by bike or Metro, we parked our bikes, walked over the Route 7 Metro pedestrian bridge, and caught Fairfax Connector 423.

For walkers and cyclists, the bus is a great solution for bypassing or crossing the Tysons core. The 423, like the other new Fairfax Connector circulator buses, runs every ten minutes from morning until night. The cost is only 50¢ per ride or free if you transfer from Metro. The ride to the Tysons Corner Metro station bus stop took less than 20 minutes, about the same time it would have taken by bike.

However, Navid Roshan points out that while the bus takes a fairly direct route between Spring Hill and Tysons, it winds circuitously around the rest of Tysons, making it less useful for many trips.


Map from Fairfax Connector.
Unfortunately, the [North Central Tysons] residents who would rely on the 423 would see an approximate 8 to 10 minute bus ride from the Park Run region to Tysons Corner station. That is only 2 minutes shorter than walking. Add in the average headway wait of 5 minutes (half of 10 minutes) and it makes more sense for the thousands of residents in this community to walk instead.

That being the case, it's not shocking that ridership on the 423 is so pathetic, especially considering the very strong ridership from this same neighborhood on the 425/427 series to WFC... which used to take only 4 minutes more than the 423 to get to the Metro station.

That's just the morning. Forget about riding the bus if you want to take it home after work. Due to the 423′s one way loop around Tysons, grabbing the bus from Tysons Corner Station to get to the center of the North Central residential region will take between 14 and 18 minutes. All of this is being caused by the serpentine and over stretched nature of the 423.

Roshan says that initial plans called for four Circulator routes, but Fairfax combined them to save money. He suggests re-dividing the 423 into two routes, one mostly using the north-south roads to and from the Tysons Corner station, and one more east-west to Spring Hill.


Map from Fairfax Connector modified by Navid Roshan.

That would mean the bus wouldn't serve the specific trip Madden took. but since that was between two Metro stations, the train is available except during rush hours when bikes are prohibited on Metro. Meanwhile, she has her own suggestions to improve the circulators:

It would be useful if a circulator route could ferry cyclists and pedestrians past the dangerous Beltway/Dulles Toll Road interchange. Also, the circulators should have their own design and colors. Right now, they are indistinguishable from the external buses and their purpose isn't clear. I think that's why the 423 isn't being used as much.
Have you used the Tysons buses? What do you think of the routes?

Transit


DC Circulator is such a great brand it's expanded to Ohio

Earlier this year Columbus, Ohio launched CBUS, the Columbus Circulator. It's a special overlay bus route running along the main street through the city's densest, most urban neighborhoods. It comes every 10 minutes, has a low (actually free) fare, and limited stops. Sound familiar?

Oh, and here's a photo:


Photo by Darius Pinkston on Flickr.

Look familiar? That sweeping line, the destinations labeled on the side, "CIRCULATOR" in a modern sans-serif font right in the middle. It looks nothing like Columbus' standard bus livery, but it is all very reminiscent of the DC Circulator.

In fact, Ohio transit advocates had the DC Circulator in mind during planning for CBUS.

Columbus isn't alone, either. "Circulator" is spreading as an increasingly common brand choice for short-distance, high-frequency buses in mixed-use areas, especially near DC. There's a Bethesda Circulator, a Tysons Circulator, and a Baltimore Circulator.

Just how far will this brand spread?

Cross-posted at BeyondDC.

Roads


A traffic engineer and a planner both study a closed freeway segment. Their conclusions are wildly different.

Let's say you have a closed piece of freeway along your waterfront. What should you do with it? Ask many traditional traffic engineers, and they'll likely answer with some variant of "build a lot of car lanes, maybe with some path for walkers and cyclists if there's room." Ask an urban planner, meanwhile, and the answer could be a more nuanced mix of buildings, parks, roads, or other pieces of a city.

Just look at what traffic engineers versus planners came up with for the piece of DC's Southeast Freeway between the 11th Street Bridge and Barney Circle:


Four-lane road with parking and overpasses. Image from DDOT.


Concept extending DC's street grid into the freeway. Image from the DC Office of Planning.

Advocates of "urbanism" or "livable streets" or "smart growth" often deride the "traffic engineer mindset." This is the attitude of some (but not all) engineers who primarily build and maintain roads. These folks tend to hold an ingrained assumption that more roadway lanes are basically the answer to any mobility problem.

Meanwhile, graduates of most planning schools today will bring a wide variety of tools to the table. They'll often look not just at how to move vehicles or even people, but whether more motion is really the best way to use some land. If people are encountering more traffic to get to jobs, one solution is to build a big transportation facility, but another approach is to create more opportunities for the people to live near the jobs, or to put the jobs near the people.

For one of the starkest illustrations of this "lane engineer" versus planner mindset dichotomy, look at the Southeast Boulevard studies in DC. There used to be a freeway running along the edge of eastern Capitol Hill to Barney Circle. Long ago, plans called for it to connect to a new bridge over the Anacostiathe Barney Circle Freeway, and part of an "inner loop" of freeways around downtown. That would have been a very damaging plan for both DC's environment and its congestion.

DDOT's study thinks very narrowly

In 2005, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) came up with a somewhat better scheme, to essentially widen the 11th Street Bridge by building a new parallel local bridge and convert the freeway segment from a four-lane freeway to a four-lane urban boulevard.

DDOT then conducted a 2014 study of options to replace the freeway segment. The study devised xis options, but all of them basically looked like near-freeways. While pedestrians and cyclists could cross to access the waterfront, and cars could turn on and off to nearby streets in some options, all of the options turned a huge expanse of pavement and empty grass into other huge expanses of pavement and empty grass, sometimes also with tour bus parking.

DDOT's options still primarily focused around moving cars fast, and would all have created big empty spaces that would not create any actual sense of place and would be, at best, unpleasant to cross on foot.


Map of Concept 2. Images from DDOT.


Concept 2.


Concept 4A.

Planners think more creatively

Residents, led by Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Brian Flahaven, were not happy with the narrowness of DDOT's analysis. Instead, at Councilmember Tommy Wells' urging, the Office of Planning stepped in to do a more open-minded study of how to use the space.

OP's options still look at four-lane boulevards and even four-lane parkways, but with much more appealing designs like a big park next to and partly on top of the road:


Concept C2. Images from the DC Office of Planning.

Or just extend the street grid right through the site with new townhouses like the old ones:


Concept A2.

Or a new avenue fronted by larger buildings:


Concept A1.

Or a hybrid:


Concept B1.

Why 4 lanes?

But even OP's study assumed that there need to be 4 lanes of traffic, as that's what DDOT insists on. OP's presentation points out that 4 lanes of traffic can be a part of residential boulevards, like New Hampshire Avenue in Petworth or East Capitol Street near Lincoln Park. However, these roads still feel much wider than others. Drivers tend to move faster here, often too fast to safely mix with other neighborhood users. New Hampshire Avenue north of Dupont, in contrast, is just one lane each way.

So why do there need to be 4 lanes of traffic? DC just effectively widened the 11th Street Bridge, adding car capacity there. Can't there be a reduction on an adjacent street? More than that, there haven't been any lanes for years now. It seems that a traffic pattern with zero lanes works fine.

If there's new development, it would need a road and some lanes to get to it, but to say we need 4 because we already had 4 is circular reasoning without logic, unless you assume that more lanes are always better, and any lane once built must always remain to eternity. That's the ingrained belief of many traditional traffic engineers, and it's the answer I got from Ravindra Ganvir, DDOT's deputy chief engineer, when I asked in February of 2013:

The constrained long range plan (CLRP) traffic model is assigning traffic volumes that would exceed the capacity of a two-lane facility and is showing Southeast Boulevard as a four-lane arterial facility.
Traffic models "show" traffic on a link that varies depending on what kind of link you have built, so to say that the model shows a four-lane boulevard worth of traffic when you have a freeway or boulevard in the plan is again circular. Or, as one contributor wryly paraphrased, "We are building a big road because we need a big road because there was a big road there before."

DDOT needs to re-examine its reflexive assumption that 4 lanes is the only possibility. Regardless, this area now stands a good chance of becoming an excellent urban place now that people who think about spaces broadly and creatively got involved.

Pedestrians


One strip mall's owners block, but then restore, a pedestrian path to the neighborhood

In suburban, car-oriented neighborhoods, simple footpaths can do a lot for people who don't or can't drive. When the owner of a Rockville shopping center inadvertently closed a popular footpath to nearby apartments, residents spoke out and were able to keep it open.


The path to Federal Plaza. All photos by the author.

Federal Plaza is a car-oriented shopping center on Rockville Pike near the Twinbrook Metro station. Its owner is Rockville-based Federal Realty, which owns other strip malls nearby but also develops urban, mixed-use projects like Bethesda Row and Pike + Rose, currently being built in White Flint.

South of Federal Plaza are an apartment complex, the Apartments at Miramont, and a condo complex, the Miramont Villas, where my parents live. Until recently, residents used a short, unpaved footpath that connects the apartments to Federal Plaza and lies on both properties. Long-time residents say they have used this path since the Miramont buildings were built in the mid-1980s.

But in the middle of July, a six-foot-tall wooden fence suddenly appeared along the south side of Federal Plaza, blocking the footpath. Miramont residents now had to walk out to five-lane East Jefferson Street, along a narrow sidewalk with no buffer, and back into the Federal Plaza parking lot via the driveway entrance. The detour added about 1/5 of a mile to the trip each way.

This was a serious inconvenience for many Miramont residents. The Miramont condos are a naturally occurring retirement community, with a relatively large proportion of elderly residents and residents with disabilities, including mobility impairments. But Miramont apartment residents now also had to make the detour while pushing strollers, pulling shopping carts, or carrying groceries. The detour was even a big problem for some of the residents of an assisted living facility another block south who also used the footpath.

And the detour wasn't just inconvenient. It was also dangerous. Drivers entering the Federal Plaza driveway from East Jefferson Street cannot see pedestrians in the driveway. And pedestrians now had to walk the full length of the parking lot, in a county where roughly one-third of collisions with pedestrians occur in parking lots.


The restored footpath. View from Federal Plaza to the Miramont buildings.

After the fence went up, it took a few days to figure out who had put up the fence and why. But it soon turned out that Federal Realty had put up the fence to respond to Southern Management, the manager of the Miramont apartments. Miramont residents shook their fists at the fence, met, talked, signed a petition, and called and sent e-mails to Federal Realty to explain the problem and ask Federal Realty to solve it.

Federal Realty promptly committed to solving the problem. And two weeks ago, roughly six weeks after the fence went up, Federal Realty removed the section of fence that blocked the footpath. Miramont residents are once again able to use the footpath to get to Federal Plaza.

In addition, Federal Realty installed a curb cut from the parking lot to the footpath. They also marked a crosswalk across the driveway entrance on East Jefferson, another crosswalk along the driving lane from East Jefferson to the west side of the Federal Plaza building, and a crosswalk from the footpath to the long crosswalk, across the driving lane.


New crosswalk from the footpath at Federal Plaza.

Unfortunately, Federal Realty's willingness to keep the path open appears to be the exception among commercial property owners, not the rule. In Wheaton, the owners of Wheaton Plaza are trying to block a popular footpath, saying it will bring crime to the surrounding neighborhood.

Federal Realty's response is good news for Miramont residents and Federal Plaza customers, of course. But it's also good news for Montgomery County overall. Pike + Rose is surely not the only commercial property in the county that Federal Realty intends to redevelop from car-oriented shopping plaza to mixed-use, walkable development. Their quick and effective reaction to the small problem of the fence bodes well for their bigger plans for the future.

Development


Topic of the week: Olympics in DC

An organization called DC 2024 is trying to bring the Olympics to Washington. But the topic is quite controversial. Are the games worth the cost? We asked our contributors what they thought.


Photo by Graeme Pow on Flickr.

The International Olympic Committee will select the host city for the 2024 summer games in 2017. Only one American city will be nominated by the US Olympic Committee, and DC 2024 wants it to be Washington.

Hosting the games would be a prestigious event for the region, but it would also be a costly one.

Contributor Edward Russell was the most positive about the Olympics coming to DC. His thinking:

"A redeveloped RFK could contain the Olympic village. This would attract some decent architecture, like at City Center DC, for attractive high density residential on the sea of parking lots at RFK. I would expect no less than reconnecting the area to the city's grid, and a better connection to the Anacostia River Trail.

Looking further afield, a DC Olympics would likely spur additional investments in the region's transit system. This could include much of Metro's Momentum plan, commuter rail improvements, and other bus and roadway improvements.

Will a DC Olympics cost money? For sure. Is this an unsolveable problem? No. The DC region is a rich area that can, by and large, afford an Olympics. Not one on the scale of Beijing, but it can afford one.

The Olympics is a worthwhile endeavour for the DC region to pursue and, I for one, think we could put on a heck of a games if given the opportunity."

Dan Malouff quoted from a post he wrote last year saying,
"Hosting the Olympics in DC would be expensive, and a huge hassle, and probably wouldn't result in much lasting benefit to the city, specifically.

But all the hate still breaks my heart. It's the civic equivalent of when a school board cuts art & music programs and redirects their funding to standardized mathematics testing. On paper it's the right decision, but it's wrong if you want your students to grow up with anything to dream about using math to create.

Art, music, and Olympics are all luxuries, it's true. But they're luxuries that are good for the soul. They're luxuries that make our civilization more than the sum of its parts. They're things worth doing if we value love.

I love the Olympics, and notably, so do many of the haters, who are happy to watch them on TV when they're hosted in someone else's backyard. Don't we have a term for that?"

A number of other contributors were happy to have the games provided certain conditions were met.

Christopher Matthews thinks it's worth it for two reasons,

"If we got statehood and a new Metro line, I could suck it up (and leave town) for two weeks. Anything less than that, nope, no thanks."
Bradley Heard is also interested in the prospect of a redeveloped RFK,
"[T]he development of an Olympic Village (and future dense, compact housing) on the RFK surface lots could spur the development of the Oklahoma Ave and River Terrace infill Metro stations, as well as the extension of the streetcar all the way to Benning Road Metro"
And Jim Titus is interested in environmental remdiation,
"If making the Potomac River swimmable for some of the events is part of
the deal, then count me in."
But not everyone is sold with the idea of hosting the games.

Matt Johnson thinks that DC doesn't need the Olympics and that arguments about stadium re-use rarely pan out.

"If we were to use the Los Angeles (1984) model, it might have merit. But these days, the only way to win the Olympics is to spend outrageous sums of money to have the biggest, best, most frilly stadia in the history of the games. And most of these venues will not be used 8 times a year. They'll be used once.

If we were in Europe, I might feel differently, because the Olympics do tend to generate significant amounts of federal investment. But in the United States, they do not.

Look at Atlanta, for example. Did the Olympics create any investment in the transportation network? Not really. Yes, a month before the games, the North Line (now the Red Line) opened. But that line had been in planning since 1986, 4 years before the games were awarded. And it didn't actually link to any venues. The Olympic Stadium (now Turner Field) remained disconnected from the rail network, and now, less than 20 years after the games, is about to be torn down. And it likely would have been built anyway, because Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, formerly home of the Braves, turned 30 in 1996.

We don't need the games for prestige, or even as a reason to spur us into action. If we want to do great things in this region, we should do them. We can do them. The Olympics won't make it any easier to do them. And, in fact, by siphoning off money that might otherwise go to other projects, the Olympics might actually make it harder to do some of the things we desperately need to do."

Miles Grant also thinks its a bad idea and doesn't like the idea of partnering with a scandal plagued IOC,
"If improving public transportation and affordable housing are such a good ideas (and they are!), why don't we just do that? Why do we have to shovel subsidies at the scandal-ravaged International Olympic Committee that rakes in millions while paying athletes literally nothing and looking the other way on discrimination? As Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban put it, "The greatest trick ever played was the IOC convincing the world that the Olympics were about patriotism and national pride instead of money."

Let's invest in making DC greater for the people who live here, not for people who might visit for a week in 2024."

Payton Chung reflected on his experience in Chicago and its bid:
"I lived through Olympics-mania in Chicago several years ago. Back then, I wrote that the Olympics were a prime example of the worst possible "project planning," to use Roberta Brandes Gratz's dismissive term. The academic literature surrounding sports investments show even more dire rates of return than for convention centers. That goes double for the Olympics, which require a large number of very specialized venues for esoteric events.

Chicago's organizers sold to the public an expectation that the Olympics would somehow, magically solve the region's transportation woes (even though the Bid Book ultimately said nothing of the sort, instead saying that private shuttle buses would move everyone about). Instead, as others have amply pointed out, the federal government does not do anything of the sort. Given the current anti-Washington sentiment nationally and the Highway Trust Fund's bankruptcy, I doubt that a local Games would benefit from much federal funding.

If our region has to raise billions of dollars to invest in transit or housing or parks, we could easily raise it locally. After all, we live in one of the wealthiest regions of the country, and yet pay quite moderate taxes by international standards. If our region wants to build its international stature, we could invest in homegrown ideas and talentrather than lavishing funds building palaces for a tarnished international franchise that demands a multi-billion-dollar tribute."

Some of our contributors are stuck in the middle.

David Alpert:

"To me, this issue is about whether the city/region will get a good deal or let itself be fleeced. It reminds me of the basic economic principle known as the Winner's Curse.

DC could put together a sensible, solid plan for an Olympic bid that has real, definite advantages and avoids overspending. It could submit that bid, confident that if it won, it would get a good deal, but also knowing that some city that's less pragmatic would probably win out. But it's unlikely to work this way. [are]spending taxpayer money. The people on the board of the Olympic bid committee aren't bidding to pay for the Olympics and make profit; they're trying to convince politicians to spend taxpayer money.

How about the business executives who are pushing for the Olympics get some skin in the game? How about, if the benefits to the region do not exceed the costs, ThinkFoodGroup, District Photo, Venturehouse Group, Carsquare, the Mystics, Kiswe, the Nats, Lerner Enterprise, Under Armour, Akin Gump, rand*, the Informer, and EY have to make up the difference by issuing debt or equity in their companies to pay back the taxpayers? Then we can be sure that, being sensible businesspeople, they will take care to not overbid. I'd be all for an Olympic bid in that case."

Canaan Merchant
"I can't definitively say whether it would ultimately turn out good or bad for DC but but it looks like an awfully high risk without a commensurately high reward.

What is risked:

  • A lot of money that could be spent on other things.
  • A huge chunk of land surrounding and including RFK stadium that could be put to almost any better use than what's there currently.
  • DC area residents would bear a huge portion of security costs. Both monetarily and in terms of how it would impact our day to day lives.
Meanwhile the gains could be significant but at the moment we have no idea what those gains actually are. So the city is risking a lot without knowing what it is they stand to get in return
and Malcolm Kenton:
"My views are closest to Jim, Topher and Miles. I see the costs as outweighing the benefits, and a huge benefit (such as statehood, an even more concerted effort to clean up the Anacostia River, or a tremendous, lasting capital investment in transit) would have to be part of the package in order to earn my support.

Otherwise, while I sometimes enjoy the pageantry and athletic performances of the Olympics, I realize that it's primarily about money. And it's hard to feel national pride when I realize how un-level the playing field is for the most part between the world's wealthiest countries and all the rest. The institution of the Olympics needs to be reformed to be fairer to all concerned, but I'm not sure exactly how that would be accomplished."

It seems like there a lot of opinions about whether the Olympics in DC is a good or bad idea and what it would take for DC to have a successful games. What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments.

Zoning


One more chance to make the zoning update better

This summer, the DC Office of Planning further softened its ever-more-timid zoning update proposal, but there's good news: some zoning commissioners don't agree with the latest retreat. However, if they're going to prevail, you have to trundle down to Judiciary Square one more time this coming Monday to speak at a hearing.


Photo by Terry McCombs on Flickr.

In July, the Office of Planning backed off on reducing parking minimums along busy bus corridors, and weakened proposals that would make it easier to rent out a carriage house on your property.

These revisions were the latest disappointments in a chain of compromises dating back to 2009, and were the final straw for many people who supported the zoning update as a serious tool in making DC more walkable and inclusive.

It's not an episode of the Twilight Zone: there really is one more hearing on the long-running zoning update show, on Monday, September 8th, and this one's really important.

Commissioners aren't sure about OP's latest retreat

OP's latest changes were part of a big package of tweaks based on input from residents and the Zoning Commission. Some amendments made a lot of sense, but on these two, OP didn't listen to the large numbers of residentsincluding many of youwho had testified in favor of key zoning update proposals during the last rounds of hearings.

But this time, some members of the Zoning Commission pushed back on the retreat. At a July meeting, Commissioners Marcie Cohen and Rob Miller both expressed skepticism about the changes. They wondered why, when DC is facing a growing shortage of accessible affordable housing, OP would back off a policy that would encourage more and cheaper housing options.

The other commissioners said they would listen to what the public had to say. Therefore, the hearing next week gives residents a chance to recommend two alternatives: OP's proposed amendment, and the previous, stronger version. Even though evening hearings are easier for some people than others, the numbers of residents who speak up for each alternative may well determine which way the commission goes.

Reduced parking mandates and fewer restrictions on accessory units are creative solutions to create more mixed-income communities (and help existing residents affordably age in place), and the "alternative text" is a big step back forward after too many steps backward.

It's been a long road

The pace of the zoning update process has been frustrating to many supporters. They worry that increased public participation (a good thing) is being misused by opponents as an excuse to delay the process indefinitelyor at least until the reform has been weakened enough to be ineffective.

But we really are nearing (if not already in) the homestretch of this process. And, after a series of compromises, there are finally signs that members of the Zoning Commission understand that we have an opportunity to create the framework for a more walkable and inclusive future DC in the face of our growing affordable housing crisis.

Please sign up to testify Monday evening. The hearing begins at 6:00 PM at One Judiciary Square / 441 4th Street NW, by the Judiciary Square Metro station. The Coalition for Smarter Growth has a streamlined sign-up tool to help you register to speak on Monday night.

While the process can seem daunting to those unaccustomed to sitting through long municipal meetings (which is probably a large majority of everyone reading this), it's not that hard. Just write a short statement that will take no more than three minutes to speak out loud (slowly).

Say you support the "alternative language" that matches the September version of zoning update on parking around bus corridors and accessory apartments in carriage houses. Talk about where in the city you live and why these proposals matter to you. In fact, here's a step-by-step guide to how to testify.

Then print out at least one copy to hand in (if you can) and bring it with you to the hearing. Wait until your name is called, come to the table, and when it's your turn, say your piece.

If you've already testified before at one or many of the previous rounds of meetings and hearings, we know you're probably sick of the zoning update by now. Still, this is a really important moment to make yourself heard. This hearing is covering a set of edits rather than the entire zoning update, and commissioners are not just going through the motions: they really want to hear whether residents prefer OP's latest retreat or the last, somewhat more progressive proposal.

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