Nine local jurisdictions in the Washington region will receive technical assistance under the Transportation Planning Board's Transportation/Land-Use Connections Program for projects that strive to enable transportation systems and development patterns to support one another more effectively.
The TLC Program has, over the years, provided technical assistance for projects that explore everything from ways to promote transit-oriented development to making roadways safer for cyclists and pedestrians. This year's projects address a similarly wide variety of ways to better integrate transportation and land-use planning at the local level.
One of the largest projects funded this year is a multi-phase study in the District of Columbia to assess the demand for parking near large apartment and condo buildings. The study will inform an update to the city's zoning code, under development by the District Office of Planning, by analyzing the specific factors that contribute to parking demand. The first phase will be funded through the TLC Program and focus on data collection; the Office of Planning will contribute additional funding to analyze the data.
Another project in the District will aim to develop design standards for parks, grocery stores, and sidewalks that promote healthy living near affordable housing within the city.
In Loudoun County, the TLC Program will fund a study to identify needed bicycle and pedestrian facilities -- bike lanes, bike racks, and cross walks -- within a three-mile radius of two planned Metrorail Silver Line stations. The identified improvements would make it easier for residents and workers to access nearby rail transit and workplaces without having to rely on automobiles to do so.
The City of Bowie, in Maryland, will receive technical assistance to study ways to make it safer and easier for people to cross the five-lane Maryland Highway 197 -- currently a barrier between historic Downtown Bowie and the Bowie MARC station. The planned project will examine ways to extend the Bowie Heritage Trail underneath MD 197 to connect these and other destinations.
Two other projects will aim to make bicycling a more viable transportation option in suburban communities. In Montgomery County, the TLC Program will support a project to develop guidelines for improving road infrastructure to make bicycling on suburban roads safer and easier. Fairfax County will receive technical assistance to develop a plan for expanding Capital Bikeshare to Reston.
In addition to funding technical assistance for planning projects, the TLC Program is also, for the second year in a row, providing local jurisdictions with assistance in performing preliminary design work to move projects from the planning phase to construction.
This year, the TLC Program will help the District of Columbia develop preliminary designs for how to apply "Green Streets" treatments to a one-block section of 19th Street NW between K and L streets. Such treatments include things like permeable pavement and strategically placed trees and plants to reduce the volume and rate of water runoff during heavy rains, which proponents say can both reduce flooding and minimize the environmental impact of runoff from infrastructure like sidewalks and roads.
Last year, the TLC Program funded preliminary design work for a six-mile stretch of bicycle and walking trails in Frederick, Maryland, to connect the Frederick MARC Station to key employment and residential centers via an old and unused rail right-of-way.
Other projects funded this year under the TLC Program include a feasibility study in Gaithersburg, Maryland, for creating new bus service to connect residents to businesses, and a study in the City of Frederick of ways to improve multimodal access and safety along the city's Golden Mile corridor.
Since 2007, the TPB's TLC Program has funded 65 projects in 18 jurisdictions across the region. The latest slate of nine TLC projects was approved by the TPB during its meeting on July 17. Projects will kick off in the fall and be complete by next summer, a timeline that helps jurisdictions jump-start the planning process for smaller projects.
Through its Transportation/Land-Use Connections program, the TPB is helping local jurisdictions move forward on planning projects that might not otherwise have received near-term attention. The technical assistance provided through the TLC Program often helps demonstrate the value of potential projects, figure out how and when to proceed with a given project, and to help secure future funding for eventual implementation. Two other components of the TLC Program, the TLC Clearinghouse and the Regional Peer Exchange Network, help make the recommendations from completed projects available to other jurisdictions as examples that they can either follow or tailor to meet their needs.