Greater Greater Washington

Push for better parking zoning, development, streetcars, retail and buses in DC and Arlington next week

Next week is a big one for advocates for sustainable transportation to make sure DC and Arlington seize big opportunities to move forward. There is a huge streetcar hearing, a key parking zoning hearing, the first step to rewriting the federal Comprehensive Plan, and exciting forums on East Falls Church, far Northeast livability, the Circulator, upper 14th Street, the Columbia Pike Streetcar, the 23 and 25 buses in Arlington, and more.


Photo by DDOTDC on Flickr.

If you can get away from work on Wednesday afternoon, support the streetcar at the DC Council's hearing, 2 pm at the Wilson Building (1350 Pennsylvania Avenue) in room 120.

When the DC Council approved funding for the H Street/Benning Road streetcar, they demanded DDOT develop a more thorough plan. DDOT has now done this, and it's time for the Council to sign off and move forward on this project.

The streetcar has widespread public support, and despite being a midday meeting, the tenor of the hearing will send a strong signal to Chairman and Mayor-Elect Vince Gray as he makes tough budget decisions. You don't need to say anything profound or fact-laden; just say why you want the streetcar built. To get on the list, contact April Hawkins-Mason by at ahawkinsmason@dccouncil.us or 202-724-8195 no later than Monday at 5.

The other place we need a strong turnout is for the parking zoning hearing. The Office of Planning and DDOT have worked hard to find reasonable parking regulations that still respect businesses' and residents' desires, but also to remove the dangerous incentives in zoning to build too much parking and lock newly developed areas into excessive car-dependence.

You can say whatever you want, but I'm going to say I encourage the Zoning Commission to support the recommendation and choose DDOT's revised proposal for maximums, which lies between their original suggestion and OP's. That hearing is 6:30 pm Monday at 441 4th Street, NW (One Judiciary Square), 2nd floor. To sign up to testify, call 202-727-6311.

Tomorrow are two meetings on transportation east of the river. At 10 am is a meeting for the Far Northeast Livability Study, one of DDOT's projects around the city to examine streets in a multimodal way and improve performance and safety for all modes. This one encompasses the part of Ward 7 north of East Capitol Street and takes place at Kelly Miller Middle School, 301 49th Street, NE.

Then at 1, DDOT will hold the second of its two Circulator meetings, where it will talk to residents about the Circulator expansion study. That will occur at the Benning Library, 3935 Benning Rd, NE.

In DC's northern section, the second community meeting on revitalizing upper 14th (north of Spring Road) is Wednesday, November 17, 6:30-8 pm at Kingsbury Day School, 5000 14th Street, NW in the Great Room.

If you live west of both rivers, don't feel left out. There are meetings on plans in Arlington and Falls Church involving parking, streetcars, and buses too.

Arlington is holding two open houses on the East Falls Church Area Plan. This plan was the result of years of staff and task force input, and was officially presented to the Arlington County Board back in July 2010.

The board asked staff to address some specific points and seek community input and then return for final approval. How much parking to build, and how much to design the area around walking (as Arlington wants) versus automobility (as VDOT wants), are some of the key questions.

The open houses are Monday, November 15, 7 pm at Tuckahoe Elementary School, 6550 North 26th Street in the Multi-Purpose Room, and Saturday, November 20, 1 pm at Resurrection Evangelical Lutheran Church, 6201 Washington Boulevard in the Parish Hall.

If you'd rather talk streetcars, there are also two public meetings on the Columbia Pike streetcar. One is also Monday, November 15, 7 pm at Goodwin House at Bailey's Crossroads, 3440 S. Jefferson Street, Falls Church in the auditorium. The other is Thursday, November 18, 7 pm at Walter Reed Community Center, 2909 16th Street S., Arlington in the Multipurpose Room.

Then there's buses. WMATA is studying improvements to the 23A/C (McLean-Crystal City) and 25A/C/D (Ballston-Bradlee-Pentagon) lines. The next public meeting is 6:30-8:30 pm at Shirlington Public Library, 4200 Campbell Avenue in Arlington.

Finally, NCPC is starting the process to update the federal part of the Comprehensive Plan, which influences federal land use choices and transportation options for federal workers. The first part to discuss is transportation, and NCPC is holding a public forum Tuesday, 5:30-7:30 pm at their offices, 401 9th Street, NW, Suite 500. We'll also be having a live chat with NCPC planners at noon on Tuesday, so stay tuned.

David Alpert is the founder and editor-in-chief of Greater Greater Washington. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He now lives with his wife and daughter in Dupont Circle. 

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A few meetings (and forums) you missed:

- Tuesday evening, the public is invited to the ThinkBike Workshop being hosted by the Royal Netherlands Embassy.

- Wednesday evening is CSG's Future of Fairfax Forum.

- Thursday evening is another streetcar-related meeting, this time in Alexandria. As part of their transitway corridor feasibility study (which is looking at streetcars as one of the modes), the city's High Capacity Transit Corridor Working Group is holding a public meeting Thursday night at Landmark Mall.

by Froggie on Nov 12, 2010 2:56 pm • linkreport

Yes, this is very important. Please go to the hearing and let the Council know that that they need to demand a real plan from DDOT. From what I've heard, what's been handed over to Council as 'a plan' has some serious holes in it including assumptions for funding which have already been denied and getting an easement which they've already been told they'll have to spend many dollars and many years to get. I.e., it's not a serious plan. Tell the Council we want a real plan because we want a real streetcar system.

by Lance on Nov 12, 2010 7:06 pm • linkreport

1. Easement done according to DDOT
2. Are you talking about the system plan or the plan for H Street? David is talking about H Street
3. "From what I heard" means you have no idea what you are talking about, which is nothing new I might add
4. If you know so much why don't you post with a real name and profile
5. "Assumptions for funding that have already been denied" means nothing when you are talking about a $1.5 billion system over 10 plus years. This is a natural process in transportation projects, which most of us understand who have experience.

by Fritz on Nov 14, 2010 10:31 am • linkreport

@Fritz, The easement is not done and the Potomac Development Group has already said they will fight the easement ... i.e., it's not 'done'. And you're just as wrong about your other points as you are about this one. The federal grants mentioned in the plan that are to pay for completion of this segment have already been denied ... GGW has even reported on this. I'm surprised you didn't know this ...

by Lance on Nov 14, 2010 7:58 pm • linkreport

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