WASHINGTON, DC - Members of the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) voted unanimously today to approve a $31 million application for the third round of the federal Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program.
The application, "Multimodal Access Improvements for Rail Station Areas in the Washington Region," will make rail stations - Metrorail, commuter rail, and future streetcars - more accessible by pedestrians and bicyclists. The seven proposed projects focus on pedestrian, bicycle, and streetscape improvements to 16 rail station areas throughout the region in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. To see a map of proposed projects, click here.
This region has invested billions in Metro and commuter rail, explained Eric Randall, Senior Transportation Engineer at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG). "These projects will leverage that investment by making it easier for commuters to get to and use rail transit," Randall noted.
Tom Harrington, Director of Long Range Planning at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, agreed, noting that usage of Metro is dependent on people feeling like they can safely and easily get to the station. "We're very excited about working with the TPB, COG, and local officials to improve multi-modal access to our Metro stations," Harrington said.
The proposal focuses on areas well-served by transit but underutilized in terms of housing and employment. They include existing suburban activity centers - such as the Pentagon-Crystal City Corridor in Arlington County - and potential housing and job centers on the eastern side of the region - such as New Carrollton in Prince George's County.
Dave Snyder, Falls Church Vice-Mayor and TPB Member commented on the strong cost-benefit ratio for these projects. "TPB members may not always agree on how to increase new capacity, but making better use of existing capacity is a very efficient way of improving transportation in our region and something we can all get behind," Snyder said.
Award notifications are expected to be announced by the U.S. Department of Transportation in February 2012.