Washington, D.C. – Officials are seeking feedback on the draft Regional Transportation Priorities Plan, a new effort informed by the public to identify strategies that will address metropolitan Washington’s major transportation challenges. Yesterday, the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) has released the plan for a 30-day public comment period that will close on Friday, August 23.
This morning, Council of Governments Transportation Planning Director Ron Kirby briefed the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Board of Directors on the plan, which is based on extensive public input conducted in 2012 that culminated in an in-depth, online survey of over 600 area residents earlier this year. According to the survey, transit crowding, roadway congestion, and Metro and highway maintenance are the region’s most critical transportation challenges.
To address these challenges, the plan recommends a set of priorities, including a paramount focus on the maintenance of the existing transit and highway network. The plan’s top priority calls for Metro and highway maintenance to be given the highest priority when area agencies develop and budget for a major update to the region’s long-range transportation plan in 2014.
The plan’s second priority seeks to address transit crowding and roadway congestion. It proposes an integrated approach of focused enhancements to the transportation network—alleviating road bottlenecks, increasing the number of eight-car trains on Metrorail, and adding bus rapid transit on express toll lanes—as well as strategies to reduce demand on the network, such as concentrating more growth in mixed-use activity centers.
For other significant transportation challenges, the plan’s third priority focuses on issues like the needs of people with disabilities, improvements to make bus transit faster and more reliable, and the expansion of the region’s bicycle infrastructure.
The report is posted on the Council of Governments web site, www.mwcog.org. During the comment period, officials, stakeholders, and members of the public will be able to view the plan and the online survey tool used to develop the plan. The TPB is interested in getting feedback on the strategies and priorities in the plan, the online survey tool, as well as input on how the plan can inform decision-making in the region.
After the public comment period closes, the TPB will review a revised draft plan on September 18.