Julia Koster is the Director of Intergovernmental Affairs at the National Capital Planning Commission. She is also a member of the TPB and Region Forward Coalition and has served as Chair of the TLC selection panel for the past four years.
To meet our shared goals outlined in Region Forward better coordination of transportation and land use is essential. But before local governments can launch projects that promote transit-oriented development complete streets and bicycle and pedestrian safety they often need some support. To help move these projects forward the Transportation Planning Board (TPB) created the Transportation/Land-Use Connections (TLC) Program in 2007.
Since its creation the TLC Program has shared information on best practices and provided $1.3 million in technical assistance to local jurisdictions in the Washington region. In recent years the TPB has emphasized funding projects that put an innovative spin on the traditional view of transportation and land-use planning. In 2011 for example a TLC project in Frederick County reviewed freight-dependent land-use designations for opportunities to maximize the utility of freight rail and truck corridors.
In July the TPB approved eight projects totaling $350000 in TLC technical assistance funding for 2012. Several projects focused on fast-changing areas such as Tysons Corner and New Hampshire Avenue in Takoma Park. As Chair of the TLC selection panel I thought all of the winning applications demonstrated a compelling need for better connections between land use and transportation.
I was especially excited that two of the winning applications will study topics new to our program—one focusing on transportation access for people with disabilities and the other on affordable housing. A project in Arlington will conduct an evaluation of pedestrian transportation facilities around transit and develop recommendations to bring these facilities into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). And a multijurisdictional project proposed by Alexandria the District of Columbia and Prince George’s County will study housing affordability around transit-oriented development in these jurisdictions and provide recommendations for how best to preserve and provide affordable housing in close proximity to transit.
Now that this year’s selection process is over we’re focused on getting the word out about TLC. On September 16 we’ll be holding a forum to launch a Regional Peer Exchange Network to better communicate information about the many innovative projects it has helped shape.