D.C.-area leaders urged native governments Wednesday to prioritize fairness when planning and investing in transportation, inexpensive housing, financial improvement, public well being and environmental protections.



a man standing in front of a building: Pedestrians walk past a Purple Line sign at the Takoma Langley Crossroads Transit Center.


© Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Publish
Pedestrians stroll previous a Purple Line signal on the Takoma Langley Crossroads Transit Middle.

The board for the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, or COG, composed of 24 state and native jurisdictions, unanimously accepted two resolutions: that fairness ought to be integrated into all regional and native decision-making and that transit stations be given particular consideration in land use and transportation planning.

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Arlington County Board member Christian Dorsey (D) stated specializing in mass transit will scale back visitors congestion, higher leverage the area’s investments in public transportation and encourage “energetic transportation,” comparable to strolling, that improves public well being and combats local weather change.

Furthermore, Dorsey stated, prioritizing lower-income areas and people with extra racial minorities ensures that “they’re now not ignored of the advantages and are now not lacking from the efforts that we’ve to carry vitality and prosperity to our area.”

The trouble to focus on traditionally underserved communities marks the primary regional dedication to prioritize fairness in planning and funding selections. It additionally helps the COG board’s broader objectives of creating the area extra “accessible, livable, sustainable and affluent,” COG council planners stated.

D.C.-area leaders contemplate prioritizing fairness in transportation, land use planning

Native officers will prioritize 351 census tracts designated as “fairness emphasis areas.” These tracts — together with 1.6 million residents, or about 30 p.c of the area’s inhabitants — exceed the regional common of low-income households and have excessive numbers of Black, Asian or Latino residents. For instance, native leaders may favor them when deciding the place to focus new housing, plant bushes or set up food-security packages.

A major focus shall be enhancing entry to mass transit by finishing the half-finished Nationwide Capital Path Community and constructing extra sidewalks. Along with serving to transit-dependent residents attain stations extra simply and safely by strolling or driving a motorbike, planners stated enhancements will scale back the necessity to drive, which is able to decrease car emissions that contribute to local weather change.

Native governments additionally will focus development — and significantly housing for a variety of revenue ranges — across the area’s 150 “high-capacity transit” stations, together with one other 75 anticipated to be constructed by 2030. These embrace stations for Metro, commuter rail, bus fast transit strains, streetcar strains and the light-rail Purple Line beneath development.

Areas surrounding transit stations characterize 10 p.c of the area’s land however are anticipated to soak up 55 p.c of recent job development and 42 p.c of recent properties, planners stated.

“If you wish to deal with fairness, it’s essential give attention to these areas,” COG Government Director Chuck Bean instructed the board.

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A number of public officers stated the area is overdue in making certain that residents of all races, ethnicities and incomes can attain jobs and afford properties.

Fairfax County Supervisor Rodney L. Lusk (D-Lee) stated the brand new method will assist residents within the Richmond Freeway hall in his district.

“There are such a lot of wants and a lot alternative that would come to that space,” Lusk stated. “They’ve been, sadly, ignored. This can be a means for us to account for that and to verify we’re giving them the identical entry to employment and coaching.”

Loudoun County Supervisor Juli Briskman (D) stated she’s been contemplating fairness each in zoning necessities and when deciding, for instance, the place to construct sidewalks.

“Now each time, I’m asking our employees, ‘Are you trying on the fairness emphasis areas from COG?’ ” Briskman stated.

The resolutions are binding on COG’s regional planning however aspirational for native jurisdictions, a COG spokesman stated.

The board additionally accepted a brand new “Housing Affordability Planning Program” of grants for native governments and nonprofit builders to discover methods to protect and create extra inexpensive housing close to transit stations.

The cash for the $500,000 in grants, which COG will award at as much as $75,000 apiece, will come from Amazon, which is constructing its second headquarters in Arlington.

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Catherine Buell, Amazon’s head of group improvement, stated the grants are a part of the corporate’s greater than $2 billion dedication to protect and create inexpensive housing in its three main metropolitan areas — Seattle, Nashville and the D.C. area. (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Publish).

“We share COG’s perception,” Buell stated, “that offering equitable transit-oriented communities is an integral a part of assembly the area’s rising housing wants.”

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