When there is an opportunity, jump in!

Christine GreenThe Greater Washington DC region was recently ranked in a report as #1 for congestion. I took that to mean we need to diversify -- get people out of cars on their feet, on their bikes or on transit.

Luckily, we have several initiatives taking various approaches to do just that. First, there is moveDC, a collaborative District Department of Transportation effort to develop a bold and implementation-focused vision for the city’s transportation future. They kicked off the plan recently with an Idea Exchange. At the Idea Exchange, you could build your ideal street, map out your ideal trip path, write your transportation wish and take a picture with it in a photo booth. The Idea Exchange made transportation planning fun!

The morning was kicked off with Mayor Vincent Gray stating a goal from his Sustainability Plan that 75 percent of trips will be made by walking, bicycling and transit by 2032. Now that is the DC I want to live in, not the region known for congestion! The next step for moveDC is focused meetings throughout the community.

Just across the border, the State of Maryland has launched an update to their Bike and Pedestrian Master Plan. The plan update will be designed to give planners and elected officials a better understanding of needs and opportunities over the next 20 years and develop strategies for targeting and prioritizing investment. It will also recommend performance measures for tracking progress in bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. Performance measures are extremely important as some states and communities find it hard to track their progress.

Maryland Department of Transportation has begun with an online survey to assess the thoughts and needs of the pedestrian and bicycle community. Community meetings should follow this effort.

It is sometimes hard to wrap our heads around long-range plans. They are a lot of work and results on the ground are not always seen immediately. But when presented with an opportunity, we must take it! We must encourage our city and state departments of transportation to do better, to create communities in which a child is safe walking and bicycling in their neighborhood. This is how we work to create walkable and bikeable communities!

For more information on the Greater Washington DC region, please see our regional website.