Nine studies aimed at promoting the integration of transportation and land-use planning at the local level will kick off around the Washington region in the coming weeks.
The projects will be funded under the Transportation/Land-Use Connections Program, which was created by the Transportation Planning Board in 2006 to help local jurisdictions identify key improvements to help make the transportation system and development patterns support one another more effectively.
All nine projects funded under the program, often referred to as TLC, will be completed by June 2013, which is the end of the TPB's fiscal year.
Of the nine projects funded this year, six will take place in Maryland, in part because the Maryland Department of Transportation commits extra funding each year to support additional TLC projects in Maryland jurisdictions.
In the City of College Park, a consultant team selected by the TPB will complete a market analysis for potential mixed-use, transit-oriented development on an 18.2-acre site immediately adjacent to the College Park Metrorail station, the College Park MARC commuter rail station, and a planned Purple Line light rail stop.
Also in Prince George's County, another consultant team will assist the City of Greenbelt in carrying out safety and accessibility evaluations of its 136 bus stops and drafting a multi-year strategic plan for making it easier and safer for local residents to access bus transit.
In Montgomery County, consultants will assist county planners in determining the extent to which it's possible to ease minimum parking requirements for developers in areas served by bikesharing systems. The team will use the experiences of other metropolitan areas to determine how much parking demand is reduced by having access to such alternatives.
In the City of Rockville, planners will receive help in evaluating development-related traffic impacts that cross jurisdictional boundaries and in identifying appropriate capacity improvements or transportation alternatives to mitigate such impacts.
And in the City of Takoma Park, consultants will assess the feasibility of transforming New Hampshire Avenue from a six-lane suburban arterial into a multi-way boulevard, with center travel lanes for faster-moving auto and bus traffic separated by tree-lined medians from side lanes designated for slower-moving traffic, on-street parking, and bicycle facilities. The study will complement a TLC project completed last year that developed streetscape standards for the corridor.
The sixth project in Maryland falls under TLC's new Design Pilot Program, which for the first time makes funds available to help jurisdictions complete conceptual design and preliminary engineering for a key project with the goal of moving it closer to full implementation.
The City of Frederick will receive assistance under the Design Pilot Program to design a new trail -- including bike lanes, sidewalk upgrades, and a shared-use path -- linking the existing MARC commuter rail station with a newly-installed bike lane that connects residential areas and major job centers in the City.
Across the Potomac River, in Virginia, two TLC projects will soon kick off, too.
One will be in the City of Falls Church, where planners want to increase the use of alternative modes of transportation along the Washington Street corridor, which connects the East Falls Church Metrorail station with the city's southern gateway. The study will develop recommendations to promote transit-oriented design principles outside the quarter-mile radius of transit stations or stops that is the traditional focus of planners.
In the Town of Middleburg, in Loudoun County, a consultant team will help develop plans -- including cost estimates and an implementation timeline -- for carrying out a streetscape improvement project on Washington Street, the town's historic main street. The study will focus especially on how to preserve the street's historic character, address aging street lights, and develop a succession plan for overgrown trees.
Finally, the ninth project to be funded under the TLC Program this year will take place in the District of Columbia. Consultants will help planners there carry out an extensive survey of residents and managers of residential properties to try to quantify the benefits of being able to access jobs via walking, bicycling, bus, or rail, rather than by car.
In all, twelve county or municipal governments applied for funding for 16 projects under the program this year. In June, a panel of transportation and land-use experts assembled by the TPB chose nine of the projects to receive funding.
Now in its seventh year, the TPB's TLC program has funded more than 50 technical assistance projects to help local jurisdictions better integrate transportation and land-use planning, and to identify key improvements to help make the transportation system and development patterns support one another more effectively.