Transportation in the City event highlights the changing the face of transit in DC

TranspoInTheCityCrowd

On Wednesday, September 25, Smart Growth America’s Transportation in the City event brought together a panel of transportation and startup experts, representatives from innovative transportation services operating in DC, and Washington residents to discuss the growth of transportation options over the past few years – and the challenges that lay ahead.

The panel included Donna Harris, Co-founder, 1776; Sita Vasan, Executive Director, SwitchPitch; Martin Di Caro, Transportation Reporter, WAMU; and Tom Fairchild, Director, Mobility Lab. Stewart Schwartz, Executive Director, Coalition for Smarter Growth made the opening remarks and the panel was moderated by Smart Growth America Vice President and Chief of Staff Ilana Preuss.

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Spotlight on Sustainability: Maryland capitalizes on grant, plans growth around Metro stations

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The southern expansion of the Washington, D.C. Metro green line opened in 2001 – costing over $900 million. Prince Georges County, Maryland, seeking to capitalize on the existing transit system developed a corridor action plan that incorporates transit oriented development around four southern green line stations; Southern Ave, Suitland, Naylor Rd. and Branch Ave.

With an annual ridership of over 200 million trips the Metro system is an invaluable asset to spur future growth in the DC metropolitan region. Job and housing growth was higher in the area along the southern green line than it was along any other transit line in the DC metro system between 2000-2010.

The Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission (MNCPPC) capitalized on the growth potential of the southern green line with an $800,000 Community Challenge grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to develop the corridor action plan.

Complete Streets

Councilmember Eric Olson works to ensure Prince George's County's legacy neighborhoods stay well connected

Olson speaks with Governor Martin O'Malley at the announcement of new state offices near New Carrollton station. Photo via Flickr.
Prince George’s County Councilmember Eric Olson (right) speaks with Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley (left) at the announcement of new state offices near New Carrollton station. Photo via Flickr.

Prince George’s County, MD has no lack of ways to get around or places nearby to go. The largely suburban county just outside of Washington, DC contains fifteen Metro stations and is served by two MARC commuter rail lines, among other transit routes. But regulatory red tape has made it difficult for developers to build near stations and as a result, many stations are most easily identified by the parking lots that surround them.

Local Leaders Council

Councilmember Hans Riemer on the challenge of creating attractive urban areas in Montgomery County, MD

Rockville Town Square
Rockville Town Square, in Councilmember Riemer’s district of Montgomery County, MD. Photo by Dan Reed via Flickr.

Councilmember Hans Riemer has a problem. Residents of the greater Washington, DC metro area increasingly want to live in attractive, high quality, urban neighborhoods—but there aren’t enough of those neighborhoods in his home district of Montgomery County, MD, to meet the demand.

“Cities are reviving and becoming incredibly attractive places to live,” says Riemer, a charter member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council. “We’re seeing the impacts of that in Montgomery County. Where people used to prefer the suburbs, they now want to live in cities.”

Local Leaders Council

Cambridge Main Street wanted to support local businesses—and new zoning is helping to make it happen

Downtown Cambridge
Main Street in downtown Cambridge, MD. Photo by Eli Pousson, via Flickr.

It took a golf course to make the city of Cambridge, MD, reconsider how it was planning development.

The 1,000-acre project would have added 3,200 homes to Cambridge, a city of just over 12,000 people on Maryland’s lower Eastern Shore. After several rounds of city approval followed by fierce public opposition, the Maryland Board of Public Works purchased 70% of the land back from the developer and committed it to preservation.

“That experience was a major impetus to rewrite the City’s comprehensive plan,” said City of Cambridge Planner Anne Roane. In 2008 the City began the process of updating its plan for growth. And city planners weren’t the only ones excited about the new initiative.

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Spotlight on Sustainability: Charm City works to improve housing, transportation, and jobs


Baltimore, Maryland. Photo by Kevin Labianco via Flickr.

The Baltimore metropolitan area is planning for the region’s future development thanks to a Regional Planning Grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), part of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities.

The Opportunity Collaborative for a Greater Baltimore Region spans a diverse landscape ranging from the dense urban streets of Baltimore to the rural, pastoral landscapes of Northeastern Maryland. The project encompasses Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Howard County, Carroll County, Harford County and Anne Arundel County – an area home to more than 2.5 million people.

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Join us next week for "The Next Generation of Transit: the key to Montgomery’s green future"

Join Smart Growth America’s President Geoff Anderson, the Coalition for Smarter Growth and the Montgomery County Sierra Club next week for a panel and discussion about transit, bicycle, pedestrian, and smart growth solutions in Montgomery County, MD. Get the latest updates on Montgomery transit projects and join fellow advocates for discussion about smart growth issues in the county.

When: Wednesday, February 13, 2013
6:00-8:00 PM
Where: Silver Spring Civic Center,
One Veterans Place, Silver Spring, MD 20910
RSVP: Click here to register for this free event.
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Smart growth news – April 18, 2012

Senate committee approves transportation and HUD budget
The Hill – April 17, 2012
A $53.4 billion budget for the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development departments was approved on Tuesday by a Senate subcommittee. The measure was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies. It is less than the $74 billion President Obama requested for transportation in his 2013 budget proposal, and $44.8 billion less than he called for housing and urban development.

Highway Bill Faces Veto over Pipeline Provision
Reuters – April 18, 2012
he White House on Tuesday renewed its threat to veto legislation to fund U.S. transportation projects responsible for millions of jobs if it includes the politically charged Canada-to-Texas Keystone XL oil pipeline.

Austin, Atlanta Give ‘Middleweight’ U.S. Cities Global Punch
Businessweek – April 17, 2012
Mid-size U.S. cities such as Austin, Texas, and Atlanta will join New York and Los Angeles to drive more than 10 percent of the world’s growth from now to 2025, McKinsey Global Institute said in a report.

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Smart growth news – December 27, 2011

Byram growth plan honored again
New Jersey Herald, December 23, 2011
Spanning from Maine to Washington state, the 15 chosen communities represent major cities, suburban communities, and rural towns, said Smart Growth America Vice President Roger Millar. The 15 selected communities exhibited the strongest interest in and need for smart growth tools, and demonstrated a commitment from local business, community and political leaders to implement local smart growth solutions, according to Millar.

Tacoma Chosen to Receive Smart Growth Assistance
Exit 133 (Wash.), December 23, 2011
Tacoma has been awarded a grant for free assistance from Smart Growth America. Tacoma is one of 15 communities selected out of a pool of close to 90 applications for the free assistance in implementing the principles of smart growth.

PlanMaryland: A Model for State-Level Smart Growth Planning
Streetsblog DC, December 22, 2011
Parris Glendening, former Maryland governor and smart growth leader explained his support for the plan in blog post for Smart Growth America: “I want my grandchildren to enjoy the beauty of Patapsco Valley State Park and the bustling downtown of historic Annapolis. I want them to be able to eat food grown in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and to find a job here. I want Maryland to be a place they will love.”

Top 10 Daily Digits from 2011
Governing, December 23, 2011
69,000: The number of bridges that need major repairs or complete replacement in the United States, according to a Transportation for America report. Reuters reported in March that the American Society of Civil Engineers has estimated that the nation needs to invest $17 billion yearly to improve current bridge conditions.

Housing the Echo Boomers – Next Big Real Estate Opportunity?
Forbes, December 21, 2011
[W]hether Echo Boomers rent or buy, they will need housing, and there are 80 million of them. In other words, recognizing their demographics and preferences will separate the winners from the losers and that has huge financial implications in a generation as large as the Echo Boomers.

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PlanMaryland the fiscally responsible way to build a better Maryland

Years from now, I want my grandchildren to enjoy living in Maryland as much as I do. That’s why I support PlanMaryland.

I want my grandchildren to enjoy the beauty of Patapsco Valley State Park and the bustling downtown of historic Annapolis. I want them to be able to eat food grown in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and to find a job in Maryland. I want Maryland to be a place they will love.

PlanMaryland will help make sure all these things are possible. On Monday, Governor Martin O’Malley signed an executive order on this long-term growth plan for the state, and I completely support his action.

PlanMaryland will save Maryland taxpayers billions of dollars of infrastructure costs, including $1.5 billion on necessary road repair. In addition, the Plan will help Maryland avoid $29 billion in road and school construction costs over the next 25 years, which would be needed to keep pace with current trends.

PlanMaryland will stimulate economic development and revitalization in towns, cities and other existing communities. Many of Maryland’s communities have empty storefronts and vacant homes, and PlanMaryland will help bring people back to these places. The Plan will also support 600,000 new jobs in Maryland by the year 2035.

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