by Marlene Berlin
DDOT’s moveDC is nearing completion of its 25-year transportation plan for the District. Its long-range plan now in its final public comment phase, which ends on July 6th.
The long-range plan touches every corner of DC, and proposals affecting ANC 3F include:
But much to my delight, the draft makes the pedestrian the top policy priority. It’s an extensive plan that moves us much closer to a true multimodal system, with pedestrian access the glue that holds everything together. As the plan itself states: “Everyone is a pedestrian…. The pedestrian network needs to work for everyone – the youngest and oldest, the fittest and the frailest.”
In May 2013, early in moveDC’s public engagement campaign, Sharon Bauer and I presented a report to DDOT on Iona Senior Service’s Ward 3 Sidewalk Gap Project. It recommended ways to implement a now four-year-old DC law requiring DDOT to prioritize sidewalk installation based on the street’s proximity to transit, schools, and community centers; danger to pedestrians without a sidewalk; and resident requests.
This report must have made quite an impression since many of our recommendations are in the moveDC plan. Also buttressing the pedestrian point of view were two former members of DC’s Pedestrian Advisory Council, Neha Bhatt and Anita Hairston, who sat on the Transportation Plan Advisory Taskforce.
Meanwhile, our Ward 3 Council member, Mary Cheh, is moving on her own plan to reorganize DC’s transportation agencies. Cheh chairs the Council’s Committee on Transportation and the Environment, and on June 4th, she held the first hearing on her Transportation Reorganization Act. The bill proposes splitting off parking management into its own agency, creating a transit authority, and placing DDOT’s Urban Forestry Administration under the District Department of the Environment.
She called Ed Reiskin, the head of San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, as the first public witness at the hearing. He advised her to do the exact opposite of what she’s proposing in her bill. Not only should she keep parking under the DDOT umbrella, but also those entities needed to carry out a clear long-term vision for transportation.
And what better vision than moveDC, or some semblance of it? Here we have had a huge community effort to pull this plan together, and we now have the opportunity for a very important conversation about how to organize DDOT or some other entity to implement it.
In addition, Reiskin and others made the very important point that a larger and more complex agency will attract the kind of leader we need. I encourage you to listen to his testimony:
To Mary Cheh’s credit, she voiced her openness to crafting legislation that reflects the input she receives. She is setting up working groups which will meet over the next eight weeks to provide input on this legislation. They start this Wednesday.
Working Group Meetings – 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. in Wilson Building, Room TBA
Wednesday, June 18 Parking – Policy, Enforcement, and Adjudication
Wednesday, June 25 Parking – Continued Discussion (if needed)
Wednesday, July 2 Transit – Governance, Management, and Oversight
Wednesday, July 9 Transit – Continued Discussion (if needed)
Wednesday, July 16 For-Hire Vehicles – Agency Structure and Oversight
Wednesday, July 23 For-Hire Vehicles – Continued Discussion (if needed)
Wednesday, July 30 Transportation Planning and DDOT Generally
Wednesday, August 6 Trees – Beyond Street Trees and Agency Structure
If you’d like to participate, sign up here.
I hope these working groups recommend changes that will create the kind of transportation entity we need; one that will implement a multimodal transportation system that moves us beyond the roadblocks to improvements we are met with today.