Article by James May, reposted from the Winter 2016 Newsletter, American Planning Association, Virginia Chapter. No one informed Robert Brosnan that retirement means he can slow down. After thirty-eight years with Arlington County, serving as Planning Director for 27 years and then as the Director of the Department of Community, Planning, Housing, and Development until July of 2015, Mr. Brosnan formed Brosnan …
“Creating more transit-oriented development at Metrorail stations is a key strategy for resolving Metro’s funding gaps,” this according to Shyam Kannan, WMATA’s planning chief. Speaking to the Transit Oriented Development Institute Conference convening this week in DC, Mr. Kannan explained that more development around the region’s stations will support Metro with increased ridership and revenue. In recent years Metro has had to ask local and state governments to contribute more due to regular revenue shortfalls, but according to Mr. Kannan, there is an opportunity to address revenue challenges by thinking more about better use of Metro’s real estate adjacent to stations.
Capital Bikeshare’s 2014 Member Survey indicates that even as Washington D.C.’s bikeshare service has grown by leaps and bounds, its users have become older, whiter, and wealthier.
Most company executives would be happy enough with these demographics. Wealthy customers? Yes please.
Washington’s business community, in fact, was a tough sell on this new transit option. Many businesses were initially leery of bikeshare stations located near their retail establishments. Their fears were: What kind of customers — if any — would bikeshare provide? Would they scare away my “real customers,” who drive cars?
Where should the boundary line between Metro and local authority logically be drawn? Although Metro’s escalators have nothing to do with moving the trains safely between stations, clearly they are necessary to get us to the platform to board Metro trains. But so are sidewalks and roadways that lead up to the stations. Is it possible that the cost and myriad of issues presented by operating 91 stations has diverted Metro’s attention and important funding from that most important job of safely and efficiently moving the trains? The time has come to think this through again.
America’s cities must compete or face the consequence of decline. The greatest urban success stories share high rates of biking, walking and transit ridership. Today, City Version 3 is launched by experts with proven track records of enabling communities to succeed against these critical measures. Not just another consulting firm, City v3 is a cooperative venture of individuals and enterprises that offer a comprehensive set of expertise focused on urban mobility strategies. City v3 experts have produced programs to increase biking across diverse populations, created communication to build urgency about critical transportation investments, implemented America’s most successful bikeshare system, increased intermodal transport ridership with innovative real-time technology solutions and more.
Arlington is one place that has succeeded in cutting vehicle miles travelled (VMT) per capita drastically. With walkable neighborhoods based around underground Metrorail stations, Arlington’s overall car use has flattened, or even declined slightly, while the population has surged, explained Tom Fairchild of City Version 3. It seems that we can have economic growth without increased environmental harm, at least from transportation. Fairchild described himself as not anti-car, but favoring choice in a variety of modes. He added that the DC region is already a success story in multimodal transportation, with 66% driving alone on the commute to work, 13% taking the train, and the rest choosing other modes such as carpooling, bus, or bike. By the standards of the United States, this is indeed a success story.