TLC Studies Focus on Making Areas Near Transit Safer, Easier to Use, and More Affordable

Mar 11, 2013

In 2012, the Transportation Planning Board funded three planning studies to look at ways to make commercial and residential areas near transit stations in the Washington region safer and easier to use, or to make those areas more affordable places to live.

The TPB funded the studies under its Transportation/Land-Use Connections Program, or TLC, which, each year since 2007, has provided technical assistance to help local jurisdictions identify transportation and land-use improvements that can make the local transportation system and development patterns support one another more effectively.

In 2012, the TLC Program funded a total of eight technical assistance projects.

One of the three projects focusing on improving transit-oriented development identified ways to ease resident and commuter reliance on automobiles in Tysons Corner by designing transportation hubs where people could transfer easily from one mode of transportation to another, including transit, walking, biking, and car-sharing. The study focused on the areas around the four Silver Line Metrorail stations currently under construction in Tysons, aiming to design hubs that could be used by all age groups, while also improving safety, and creating public space.

The second project took place in Montgomery County, where a team of consultants helped develop a public involvement strategy to create a vision for redevelopment near the Glenmont Metrorail station. The visioning process helped the County gather feedback from local businesses and residents through a series of public workshops, each of which built on the previous session to further refine the vision. The project showed how public involvement and an iterative process can yield a shared vision for what a community can become.

The third project focused on the availability of affordable housing near transit, which has been at risk of declining as the region has grown and housing prices near many transit stations have increased. The TLC study, which was carried out in Prince George's County, the District of Columbia, and the City of Alexandria, identified transit station areas that are at greatest risk for becoming unaffordable. Staff from the three jurisdictions collaborated with a team of consultants to develop a common set of strategies to ensure that affordable housing remains available even as transit areas become more popular.

In addition to providing technical assistance to jurisdictions, the TLC Program also serves as a forum through which counties and municipalities can develop new ways to approach planning and to share "lessons learned" with other jurisdictions working to solve similar problems. The study in Tysons, for example, provides other jurisdictions looking to become less car-focused with design guidelines for making mulit-modal transportation hubs safer and easier to use.

The five other projects funded under the TLC Program in 2012 included: a bicycle master plan update in Montgomery County; an assessment of pedestrian safety near Farragut Square in the District; an inventory of transit options within Prince George's County; an evaluation of right-of-way compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act in Arlington County; and the development of new streetscape design standards for the City of Takoma Park.

Since it began in 2007, the Transportation Planning Board's Transportation/ Land-Use Connections Program has supported 65 planning studies around the region to identify strategies for better coordinating land-use and transportation planning. On March 8, the TPB started accepting applications for the 2014 round of projects. Applications are due on May 15, and the TPB is expected to approve projects at its meeting on July 17.

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