Posts about Arlington
Save up to splurge on holiday shopping with this upcoming plethora of free events around the region.
Panel and party for local producers: Join Smart Growth America, Think Local First DC, and Elevation DC for Production in the City, an event celebrating local manufacturers in DC. Get a local perspective on production during a panel discussion and shop the pop-up marketplace with over 20 local producers, including Gordy's Pickle Jar, Cherry Blossom Creative, and Capital City Mumbo Sauce.
This free event happens this Thursday, December 5 from 5:30 to 8:30pm at the Yards Boilermaker Shops, located at 300 Tingey Street SE, and you can register to attend here.
After the jump: Reserve your space now to discuss all things nerdy with the Lobby Project, add two more exciting urban events to your docket for this Thursday, and remember to join the GGW and GGE crew for two upcoming discussions.
Get nerdy in NoMa: This Tuesday's free event from the Lobby Project, "Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper: Better Cities," appears to already have "sold out." Make sure you register here for the next and equally-as-free event in the series, "Crafting Local Brews and Spirits," happening on Tuesday, December 17. Both events take place from 6 to 8pm at 1200 First Street NW.
Hear new thoughts on New Urbanism: Also on December 5, you have the option of heading to Arlington's RoundAbouts Speaker Series for Victor Dover's talk on New Thoughts on Streets and Cities. A charter member of the Congress for New Urbanism, Dover's projects include the Columbia Pike revitalization plan and code, and Plan El Paso, which the Natural Resource Defense Council has hailed as "America's Best Smart Growth Plan."
Of course, it is free, in the Founders Hall Auditorium at George Mason University's Arlington campus, located at 3301 Fairfax Drive. The event goes from 6:00 to 8:00pm and you can RSVP here.
Meet transportation techies: Are you a techie looking to make innovative contributions in transportation? Join Mobility Lab for their Transportation Techies meetup: CaBi Hack Night. This debut event will highlight tools and apps built using open data from Capital Bikeshare and encourages attendees to share any programs they may have created using CaBi open data.
The event is this Thursday, December 5 from 7 to 10pm at 1501 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 1100 in Rosslyn. You can RSVP here.
Greater Greater Events: And don't forget about our two upcoming events involving the GGW and GGE teams.
Warm up for whichever Thursday night activity you choose with David Alpert and a talk on blogging and civic engagement. To join, make your way to Georgetown University's School of Continuing Studies Downtown Campus, located at 640 Massachusetts Avenue NW, this Thursday, December 5 from 4:30 to 5:30pm.
Next Monday, December 9, join Greater Greater Education for an Evening with Councilmember David Catania, where we'll discuss public education in the District of Columbia. The event runs from 6:30 to 8pm at the Hill Center at Old Naval Hospital, located at 921 Pennsylvania Avenue SE. You can register here. Whether or not you can make it, please submit your questions for the panel in the comments box here.
Arlington may consider instituting a fee for developers who provide less than the "standard" amount of parking in office buildings. The money could be used to pay for improvements in the surrounding area, particularly ones that encourage using alternatives to driving.
At an Arlington Transportation Commission meeting last Monday, staff presented the results of the county's Commercial Parking Working Group, charged with finding a fair and transparent method for developers to compensate the community for the external costs of building less parking.
Their solution: a three-tier fee for developers that provide less than the "standard" amount of parking for an office building. The minimum parking requirement is about one space per 600 square feet for most projects, and less in Rosslyn, Crystal City and Pentagon City. Normally, developers only have to comply with standard site plan requirements, like working with the county to provide transportation demand management (TDM) services to the building's users.
Under the proposal, a developer that wanted to provide less than the standard amount would have to pay a fee. County planners would use the guidelines to decide the amount of the contribution when the developer submits their site plan for consideration. The guideline amounts would adjust periodically according to inflation. The money would be specifically earmarked for improvements in the building's immediate area or would pay for TDM services for the building's tenants.
The first two tiers are fairly inexpensive, ranging between $7,000 and $10,000 per space, since it's relatively easy to convince a small number of people to switch from cars to other transportation modes.
As developers build less parking, it may be harder to convince committed drivers to reconsider, and the county may have to construct or otherwise provide parking instead of less expensive commuter services. At the top tier, a developer would be required to pay $40,000 per space not built, which is equivalent to the average cost of providing a parking space underground.
This is a good solution for Arlington. We have a robust system of review for major projects, and the proposal lays out in concrete terms what developers can expect if they want to reduce the amount of parking in their projects.
Although the payment amounts are lower than I would like to see, they are linked to analysis concerning the costs of convincing people not to drive to work. I would rather have seen payments linked to the cost of construction for parking spaces, which could have more closely reflected the benefit to the builder for reducing the number of required spaces.
Hopefully, Arlington embraces a similar result for residential buildings. Apartment and condominium developers similarly ask to build fewer parking spaces, but there are not concrete guidelines for what community benefits we should expect in return.
Today's push to improve streets for pedestrians and cyclists mirrors the push a century ago for paved roads. Both ideas stated small but grew to become popular movements by increasing public awareness.
Over 100 years ago, maps of "Good Roads" led the push for paved roads by letting travelers know which roads were likely to be passable. In Slate magazine, Rebecca Onion recently posted an 1897 map of "Good Roads" in and around Philadelphia. Onion says that maps like these were a necessity in a time where standards on road quality and the funding for infrastructure was haphazard and sometimes non-existent.
Efforts like this are still happening today. While most of our roads and highways are now paved, many communities recognize that our streets need infrastructure upgrades in order to help more people feel safe while traveling on foot or by bike, as well as driving.
In the beginning of the 20th century, the "Good Roads" movement pushed governments to pave more roads to accommodate the newly-invented bicycle. Today, there is a push to create protected spaces for cyclists to use. Many cities are adopting "complete streets" policies that seek to standardize our street infrastructure and emphasize that roads are safe and accessible for all users whether they're on foot, riding a bike, or driving.
Like the "Good Roads" movements, maps are an important tool in advocating for complete streets. Both advocacy groups and local governments publish maps that show where the best routes to bike are. This isn't a new idea, either. Bicycle maps were being published in California as early as 1896.
In every debate over a new bike lane or changes to street parking, opponents sometimes argue that the status quo is fine and question why it should change. "Good Roads" maps show that our infrastructure is always changing, and the desire for better and more accommodating streets is nothing new.
Arlington has tried to reduce traffic by clustering development around transit and using transportation demand management (TDM) programs to raise awareness of alternatives to driving. According to a new study of residential buildings, it's working.
We found that regardless of age or whether a building is condo or rental, people who live in Metro corridors or in areas with high Walk Score indeed take transit more and drive less than the average resident.
Residents were also less likely to drive when their workplaces used TDM programs to inform people about alternatives to get to work. The price of parking also had a strong effect.
Transit use is higher while driving is lower in study buildings
For the study, Arlington County researchers counted cars entering and leaving parking lots at 16 residential buildings which have Transportation Demand Management (TDM) programs. Researchers also counted how full each building's lot or garage was at one point in time, surveyed residents about their habits, and talked to property managers to get information on each building.
34% of the residents in the study use transit, more than Arlington overall, which has a rate of 27%, and significantly more than the regional average of 21%. Study residents' commutes are similar to those of commuters who live nearby, but study residents ride transit slightly more.
Access to transit service at home and the walkability of a residential area both result in low rates of driving to work alone. Parking is a powerful factor in how people decide how to get to work, but the availability and price of parking at work is more important than parking at home. And where people work is a strong influence on how they get to work.
Study residents use transit, walk, or bike for 39% of their non-work trips, which is also higher than rates for their immediate neighborhoods. Transit access seems to have a less significant influence on how people travel outside of work, which is clearly related to the extent of services within walking distance. It's difficult to define the role of residential parking on non-work trips; most likely, it influences vehicle ownership, which in turn influences mode choice.
Whether a building was located within or outside a Metro corridor was the most significant factor affecting trip generation. Outside of Metro corridors, the density of destinations (measured by Walk Score), higher neighborhood intensity, and the availability of a shuttle or free transit seemed to result in fewer car trips. But there was no noticeable difference in the trip generation of apartments and condominiums, or by average age of residents in the building.
We also compared the number of daily and rush hour car trips for study buildings near Metro with the predicted number of car trips from the Institute of Transportation Engineers, and found that they were much lower. ITE also overestimated some trip generation rates for buildings away from Metro as well.
Vehicle ownership, parking influences travel habits
We also looked at how vehicle ownership affected travel habits. Vehicle ownership increased with average household income, and condominium owners owned more vehicles per adult than apartment residents.
There was a definite inverse relationship between vehicle ownership and transit access. Ownership rates were lower in more walkable areas than in "car dependent" areas, but were about the same if the area was "somewhat," "very," or "extremely" walkable, according to Walk Score.
Vehicle ownership is strongly related to the cost of residential parking, particularly at a cost of $95 or more per month. But parking occupancy and vehicle use seemed unrelated to the spaces per resident provided.
Overall, parking occupancy within Metrorail corridors was similar for all weekdays. Weekend occupancy was higher, but Sunday evening occupancy was similar to the occupancy on weekday evenings.
TDM makes a difference at work, but not at home
We also found that Arlington's TDM programs have an impact on how residents get around. 75% of the study respondents had TDM services at work, while 85% of respondents mentioned having at least one home-based TDM service. 56% of respondents had used them before. Awareness of Arlington TDM services was the same as for the County overall, but only 34% of Arlington residents had used a TDM service.
Study respondents who knew of Arlington services took transit, biked, and walked at higher rates for commute and non-work trips than did respondents who were not aware of Arlington services. Respondents who had used TDM services had even higher use rates.
There was a strong relationship between the awareness or use of TDM services in the workplace and use of transit, walking, or biking for commuting. But having TDM services in your building had a more modest relationship to commute mode. Instead, living in transit, pedestrian, or bike-accessible areas seemed to have a greater influence on how respondents got around.
Our analysis shows that people will change their travel habits if the right amenities are present: if their homes and jobs are close to transit; if they live in walkable, bikeable neighborhoods with lots of shops and services nearby; and if they're made aware of different transportation options.
A version of this post appeared at Mobility Lab.
Talk about upcoming elections in DC and Maryland, planning in Arlington, and find out how Vienna, Austria got its affordable housing at events around the region this week.
Transit reporters talk politics: How will Smart Growth issues affect the 2014 elections in DC and Maryland? Tonight (Tuesday), the Action Committee for Transit will host a panel discussion on transit and the election with the Washington Post's Robert Thomson, also known as "Dr. Gridlock," Ari Ashe from WTOP, and Josh Kurtz from the blog Center Maryland. Kyjta Weir, former Washington Examiner reporter and currently at the Center for Public Integrity, will moderate.
This free meeting will be from 7:30-9 pm at the Silver Spring Civic Building, located at the corner of Ellsworth Drive and Fenton Street in downtown Silver Spring. For more information, visit ACT's website.
After the jump: Events in Arlington, Fairfax, Hyattsville, and of course, our next happy hour in Penn Quarter.
Hear Leinberger talk about Arlington: Arlington County's planning department kicks off its new speaker series tomorrow (Wednesday) with author and researcher Christopher Leinberger, who will give a talk called "The Urbanization of the Suburbs: Why Arlington is the National Model and Where Do We Go Next." This free event will include a Q&A session with the speaker as well as a networking reception.
The talk is Wednesday, November 13 from 6-7 pm at the Artisphere, located at 1101 Wilson Boulevard in Rosslyn. To RSVP or for more information, visit the county's website.
Spend Virginia's transportation money: Virginia's newly-passed transportation funding bill means new money for projects in Fairfax County. How should the county spend it? Fairfax County is holding its final two meetings this week to learn what residents want and find the best ways to get them moving.
The first is tonight, November 12 from 6:30-8:30 pm at the County Government Center at 12000 Government Center Parkway in Fairfax. The second is tomorrow, November 13 from 6:30-8:30pm at Forest Edge Elementary School, located at 1501 Becontree Lane in Reston. For more information, visit the Fairfax County website.
Learn about Bus Rapid Transit on Route 29: Communities for Transit and the Coalition for Smarter Growth are holding an open house to talk about one of Montgomery County's proposed Bus Rapid Transit lines, on Route 29 between Silver Spring and Burtonsville.
Speakers include Planning Board commissioner Casey Anderson, county planner Larry Cole, Chuck Lattuca from the Department of Transportation, and transit advocate Mark Winston. The meeting is from 6-9 pm at the White Oak Community Recreation Center, located at 1700 April Lane in Silver Spring.
Testify on DC's zoning rewrite: DC's Zoning Commission is considering the first update to the city's zoning code since 1958 in a series of public hearings over the next two weeks. There are three: hearings this week: Tuesday will cover car and bicycle parking, Wednesday mixed-use zones, and Thursday downtown, PDR (industrial), and special zones.
The hearings are at the Office of Zoning, 441 4th Street NW at Judiciary Square. Each hearing starts at 6 pm and continues until all the witnesses are heard or the Zoning Commission decides to recess.
Tuesday's parking and bike parking hearing is now full, but you can still sign up for the overflow hearing the next Tuesday, 11/19.
...and in Montgomery County: Montgomery planners have also rewritten their zoning code to modernize antiquated, redundant zoning regulations and create new tools to help achieve goals in community plans. The County Council will hold public hearings on its zoning code update tonight and Thursday at 7:30 pm at the Council Office Building, located at 100 Maryland Avenue in Rockville. It's too late to sign up for tonight, but you can register to testify on Thursday by calling 240-777-7803 until 5 pm on Wednesday.
...and Prince George's County, too (sort of): The County Council is holding a public hearing tonight on Plan Prince George's 2035, a vision for how the county should grow in the future. The hearing starts at 7pm at the County Administration Building, 14741 Governor Oden Bowie Drive in Upper Marlboro. To sign up to testify, you can register online.
Join us for happy hour: GGW's regular happy hour series rolls into Penn Quarter this month. Join contributors and readers for drinks and discussion next Thursday, November 21 from 6 to 9pm at Penn Quarter Sports Tavern, located at 639 Indiana Avenue NW, across from the Archives Metro station.
Let's talk affordable housing: Join the Housing Opportunities Commission, Montgomery Housing Partnership, and Coalition for Smarter Growth for a talk about Vienna, Austria's city-run housing program. Wolfgang Förster, Vienna's Chief of Housing Research, will discuss how to create more affordable housing in the DC region. This talk is today from 2 to 3:30pm at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, located at 5701 Marinelli Road in White Flint.
Let's talk buses on Rhode Island Avenue: Do you ride the G8, 81, 82, 83, 84, 86, or T18 on Rhode Island Avenue? If so, join Metro for one of two public meetings on proposed service changes to these routes. The first is tonight from 6 to 7:30pm at the Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Neighborhood Library, located at Rhode Island Avenue & 7th Street NW in Shaw, followed by another one tomorrow from 6 to 7:30pm at Hyattsville City Hall, located at 4310 Gallatin Street in Hyattsville.
And even more: WMATA will hold a webinar on its Regional Transit System Plan tomorrow from 12 to 1pm; the University of the District of Columbia is hosting a conference on sustainability about Hamburg, Germany on Thursday and Friday.
Arlington County board member Christopher Zimmerman will step down early next year to join Smart Growth America. During his 18 years in office, Zimmerman was an outspoken board advocate for public transportation and smart growth.
Zimmerman will become Vice President for Economic Development at Smart Growth America, a national advocacy group for sustainable transportation and development practices. In a press release, the organization said that Zimmerman will "focus on the relationships between smart growth strategies and the economic and fiscal health of communities."
A board member since 1996, Zimmerman also served on many regional planning boards, such as the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission, the WMATA Board of Directors, the VRE board, and the regional Transportation Planning Board. Arlington will hold a special election to fill his seat next spring.
In a statement yesterday, Zimmerman noted that when he was first elected in 1996, now-common ideas in Arlington like traffic calming, bike lanes, and transit-oriented development didn't exist. Two of Zimmerman's signature accomplishments were helping to create the ART bus, which now has 13 routes in the county, and the Neighborhood Conservation Program, which provides money to individual neighborhoods to fund improvements and has brought sidewalks and streetlights to many Arlington neighborhoods.
More recently, Zimmerman has been an ardent proponent of the Columbia Pike Streetcar, part of a the larger Columbia Pike Initiative. That effort established a form-based code to turn the formerly suburban strip into a compact, walkable urban neighborhood, and set greater standards for preserving affordable housing in the area. These helped make Arlington an example for Smart Growth across the region and nationwide.
During his 13 years on the WMATA Board, Zimmerman relentlessly pushed for better service and for more rider-friendly policies. He was the strongest advocate for open data at Metro, which utimately helped convince the agency to publish its schedules, routes, and real-time vehicle locations in open, public formats. He also fought widening I-66 and I-395 and other efforts by the state to push more commuter traffic through Arlington against the county's wishes.
Zimmerman's departure means that's there will be a special election to replace Zimmerman this spring. It's likely that the Columbia Pike streetcar and issues relating to transportation and land use will play a big part in the campaign as they have in previous board races. Whoever hopes to replace them will have big shoes to fill as Mr. Zimmerman's influence will loom large in Arlington and greater Washington for years. Smart growth or public transportation advocates have their work cut out for them if they want to support a candidate in Arlington who is dedicated to those issues as much as Zimmerman has for the past 18 years.
Chris Zimmerman is one of the reasons why these debates happen in Arlington today. Now, we will see if his work at Smart Growth America will make this conversation more prominent on a national level.
Last week Arlington painted its first green bike box, at the corner of Veitch Street and Lee Highway.
The bike box was originally installed in July, but without green paint. The new green markings make the box more visible, so car drivers know to stop behind it.
Between the bike box and its new buffered bike lanes, Veitch Street has become one of Arlington's best on-street bikeways.
Cross-posted at BeyondDC.
Arlington produced a half-hour documentary about its bike planning efforts, and how it became one of the east coast's best cycling towns. Give it a watch.
Cross posted to BeyondDC.
- It's fine to not build parking at Tysons Metro stations
- Arlington considers using fees to reduce parking
- Sexist Metro ad asks "Can't we just talk about shoes?"
- Rural Virginia leads eastern US in cars per household
- Downtown & Georgia Avenue Walmarts open for business
- Are our sports spaces serving both genders?
- Good design, lots of parking at Wheaton's tallest building