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Get involved this week in PG Co., Arlington, DC

It's the first week of the month and that means lots and lots of great opportunities to speak up in local government!

Prince George's County: The county is working on a Transportation Master Plan to include new highways, transit lines, and bike and pedestrian improvements. Go speak up at the meetings to make sure the transit and bike trails get the importance they deserve in an area that's one of the region's least transit-oriented, least walkable and least bikeable. There's a meeting tonight in Suitland and Wednesday in Greenbelt. Here's the meeting info (PDF).

Arlington: The public forum to discuss legalizing accessory dwellings like basement apartments is tonight. I'm sure the opponents will show up. Speak up to allow property owners to rent out their basements if they want to and allow more people to live more affordably in Arlington.

DC Zoning: Tonight, Low and Moderate Density; Tuesday evening, Arts and Culture; Wednedsay, Retail Strategy in the afternoon and Parking and Loading including bike parking in the evening; Thursday evening, Historic Structures.

These meetings aren't 50 people in an auditorium with each person speaking for 2 minutes and bored government officials not really listening. These are all small groups of 10-20 people who engage in real discussion about how to change zoning, and the recommendations do reflect what was discussed. The Parking and Loading draft is out, and I can't post it yet, but it really is based on what we discussed. One Smart Growth advocate can and did singlehandledly get provisions in there to require parking to go behind new buildings instead of on the side; one NIMBY-ish neighborhood advocate can and did get higher minimums when higher density abuts lower density. We need more advocates for livable communities to make sure those who want to prevent change of any kind don't get their wishes enacted into law.

ANC meetings: Tuesday, Georgetown and Mount Pleasant; Wednesday, Shaw/Mount Vernon Square, Logan Circle and Adams Morgan; and Thursday, Columbia Heights. I only have Wards 1, 2, and 6 so far; check the DC ANC site to find yours.

As always, check the calendar in the right sidebar for upcoming ways to make your voice heard. DC is not that big a city, and the numbers of people who participate in these meetings are not so great. And the other cities and towns are even smaller, of course. You can make a difference!


DC & Rockville residents: get involved in local planning!

There are a lot of good meetings happening this week in DC and Rockville around local planning, from encouraging the arts and retail through DC's zoning to improving Rockville Pike.

The effect of bad zoning on Mass. Ave.

I highly encourage all of you, readers, to attend these meetings in your city or neighborhood. Many of them, especially the DC Zoning Update and the Pike planning, are significant opportunities for you to speak up and have an impact. The Parking and Loading zoning meetings, which I attended, had about 15-20 participants and the consensus of the group made a meaningful difference in what the Office of Planning will be putting into the draft revised codes.

Here's a list of some upcoming meetings. If you know of something good that I missed, post it in the comments. In particular, I'd really like to know about important meetings happening outside DC; I found the Rockville Pike one somewhat serendipitously, and would love to know about similar meetings in Arlington, College Park, and the rest of the region.

Citywide in DC: Two new working groups are starting this week. The Retail Strategy group (Tuesday, 6:30 pm) will be discussing topics like encouraging more retail downtown, use of public space like sidewalks, fostering diversity of retail establishments (i.e. more grocery stores, not all banks), and more. The Arts & Culture group (Wednesday, 1 pm) will discuss how zoning can help "transform the District into an even more vibrant cultural capital in the future than it is today" including where arts venues can be located and affordable housing for artists.

Rockville: The third public meeting about transforming Rockville Pike into a more walkable, mixed-use place is Tuesday evening at 7. I attended the last one; this meeting will focus specifically on transportation on the Pike.

Meetings about Union Station bike parking, the GW campus, AFRH, and the Old Convention Center after the jump.

Capitol Hill/H Street: ANC 6A, which covers northeast Capitol Hill and the eastern H Street area, is having their Transportation and Public Space Committee meeting Monday at 7, where they will discuss Union Station bike parking and hear a presentation from Zipcar.

Foggy Bottom/West End: Your ANC meeting, ANC 2A, is Wednesday at 7 and will discuss the GWU campus plan, among other topics.

Everyone: The Commission on Fine Arts, which reviews art and architecture on Federal property in DC and various other things, will be discussing the Armed Forces Retirement Home develppment plan and the proposed development at the Old Convention Center site (the huge parking lot around 10th and I). This is much less participatory than the others, but should be interesting.

And for future events, there's always a calendar on the right sidebar of this site.

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