D.C. asking public’s help in shaping long-range transportation plan

October 21, 2013

A D.C. streetcar destined for H Street/Benning Road runs along a test track on South Capitol Street. It’s part of the city’s effort to expand transportation options. (Robert Thomson/The Washington Post)

The District Department of Transportation has begun a final round of public workshops to discuss moveDC, its effort to develop a transportation plan for the next three decades.

This isn’t for D.C. residents only. Commuters might want to stop by Monday’s day-long workshop at Union Station or see the presentation and online survey at the program’s Web site, wemoveDC.org.

D.C. residents and suburban commuters will certainly have different views on transportation priorities. Should rush-hour parking restrictions be extended on major commuter routes or should parking rules be made more friendly for people who live in those neighborhoods?

Some suburbanites who write to me about transportation controversies describe what they see as a city vs. suburbs relationship. But city dwellers themselves have quite a variety of views on their transportation needs. Those may vary sharply among age groups income levels and communities.

Richard Layman, who writes the blog Rebuilding Place in Urban Space, pointed out recently that urban D.C. is a somewhat modified version of the space laid out by Pierre L’Enfant. On transportation issues, many D.C. neighborhoods may have more in common with close-in suburbs than with the city center.

I find that differing sensibilities within the city show up in many transportation issues. Younger residents in the middle of D.C. see new bike lanes as part of the infrastructure that will make urban living affordable for them. But some who live in the District’s less urban environments see the expansion of bike lanes as a threat to their mobility, because they take away parking spaces and through lanes.

Through various programs, D.C. officials are focused on expanding the ways people can get around the city. Mayor Vincent C. Gray outlined his vision this year in the Sustainable D.C. plan.

The moveDC program invites people to join in the process by telling city officials what their priorities are before DDOT produces a draft transportation plan.

Monday’s session at Union Station continues till 6 p.m. Another session will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Dorothy I. Height/Benning Neighborhood Library, 3935 Benning Rd. NE. Then on Saturday, another session is set for 1 to 4 p.m. at the DCUSA Retail Center, 3100 14th St. NW. On Oct. 30, a session is scheduled for 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Petworth Neighborhood Library, 4200 Kansas Ave. NW.

DDOT will host two one-hour Web sessions on the program. The first is scheduled for noon to 1 p.m. Thursday and the second for 7 to 8 p.m. Oct. 28. To participate, go to www.wemoveDC.org and sign up.

Finally, there’s an online survey soliciting the public’s views on transportation options that’s open throughout October. Follow this link to the survey.

Robert Thomson is The Washington Post’s “Dr. Gridlock.” He answers travelers’ questions, listens to their complaints and shares their pain on the roads, trains and buses in the Washington region.
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