Monday, June 8, 2015

A Note to VDOT that One Alleged Transportation Advocacy Group Won't Like

Thanks to David Alpert at Greater Greater Washington, I was recently made aware of an effort by the Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance (NVTA), an organization hopelessly mired in old-school transportation thinking,  to mount an email (or letter-writing, as they're VERY old-school) campaign to push the state of Virginia to cut spending on transit and nonmotorized modes, such as bikes and pedestrians. NVTA wants this money re-tasked to highway widenings.

So, I set out to write Virginia's Department of Transportation a note of my own. But as I did so, I realized that what I was writing was applicable throughout much of the U.S. Too much, really.

Most regions have organizations stuffed with wealthy, generally older, business owners and CEOs frustrated by congestion created largely via previous plans that they, themselves, advocated. Rather than read up on the field of transportation, or even notice what's going on around them, they advocate the same failed solutions they tried before.

So please read the note below and, if you like, cut and paste to suit your own needs. The only way "Dumbgrowth" organizations like NVTA will be thwarted is if those who favor "Smartgrowth" speak up. If you'd like to submit a comment to VDOT, click here.

Here's my note:

"I understand that the Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance is asking its allies to push VDOT for more emphasis on reducing road congestion via widenings. As a realtor and a northern Virginia resident, I strongly DISAGREE with this approach.
One need only look at the congestion on newly-widened roads in northern Virginia to realize that our state's reliance on road widenings has utterly failed. I see the result firsthand in the staggering residential price premiums near transit stations. Nobody pays a premium to live within easy reach of a highway these days.
While that's good for me, as a realtor focused on areas close to DC- and therefore close to transit- it's bad for Virginia. Those areas without good, rail-based transit and high levels of walking and biking infrastructure are doomed. Their prices have already stagnated as Millennials stay away; soon they will drop as their neighborhoods age.
The ONLY way to stop this is via a full embrace of transit and Complete Streets by VDOT. Anything else will merely add to Virginia's legacy of transportation failure."


Wider roads worked great in Atlanta! Here's downtown at 4 PM on a Monday.
They might as well get out and start walking.