Transportation mostly survives DC budget cuts
DC will continue most of its existing transportation efforts next year under a draft budget released by DC mayor Muriel Bowser. The K Street Transitway, Pennsylvania West, bus and bike lanes, and other projects continue to move forward.
DC will build a tunnel from the NoMa Metro, delay the K Street Transitway, replace lead pipes, and fund more affordable housing
A long-awaited moment in budget season comes when DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson releases his package of budget changes, which combine, reconcile, and sometimes reverse things from the individual committees. Here are some of the changes most connected to issues we cover.
Mary Cheh will fund more bike lanes, raise residential parking fees, study decongestion pricing, and not keep Circulator free
DC would get more public space inspectors, dedicated spaces for dockless scooters, and some progress on a long-delayed bike lane on 6th or 9th streets NW, under a draft budget revision from Councilmember Mary Cheh. Meanwhile, the DC Circulator would no longer be free and people would have to pay more for residential parking permits, especially for cars beyond the first.
To make ride-hailing work for urbanism, here’s what needs to happen
Ride-hailing services like Uber, Lyft, and Via have grown meteorically since launching just a few years ago. Meanwhile, transit ridership nationwide is declining, and some studies posit a direct connection. As a result, many transit supporters have sharply criticized these services. Some fears are warranted, but ride-hailing is also offering people a valuable transportation service.
DC may require ride-hailing companies to share data, but won’t encourage pooling
Cities have required taxis to give logs of their rides to regulators for a long time. New York, Toronto, Chicago, Seattle, and others ask for taxi-like data from ride-hailing companies such as Uber, Lyft, and Via. Now, DC might join them. However, it won't follow through on an earlier proposal to encourage carpooling on these ride-hailing services.
To cut down on traffic, DC may encourage sharing Ubers, Lyfts, and Vias
Ride-hailing services like Uber, Lyft, and Via are growing rapidly. They are actually two kinds of service: private cars and shared, with shared cars much better for traffic, sustainability, and roadway efficiency. Now, the DC Council has taken a positive step to encourage sharing, relative to riding alone, in the tax code.
A letter from DC Council chairman Phil Mendelson and five colleagues could imperil the Metro funding deal
A letter, released yesterday from DC Council chairman Phil Mendelson and five other council members, argues DC shouldn't pay what Virginia expects. That could lead Virginia or Maryland to pull back on their own contributions, leaving Metro with not enough money for needed repairs and upgrades.
Phil Mendelson restores some, but not all, streetcar and solar funding
For the first vote on DC's budget on May 30, DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson slashed streetcar funding and a program that provides incentives for more solar power in DC. The budget lacked money necessary to extend the streetcar to Benning Road, never mind downtown. Now, he's proposing to bring back some but not all of the lost funding.
DC Council Chairman Mendelson says he didn’t cut the Benning Road streetcar extension. DDOT says “that’s false.”
When a final budget came out of the DC Council the night after Memorial Day, I reported that it cut $60 million from the DC Streetcar and that would significant delay, or permanently scuttle, extending the line to Benning Road Metro in Ward 7. Chairman Phil Mendelson is disputing that's the effect of his cuts, but transportation officials re-confirmed to me that is exactly what will happen if the cuts stay.
DC Council Chairman Mendelson’s budget slashes the streetcar to Benning Road
Residents of DC's Ward 7, who have long awaited new investment in their community and support extending the H Street streetcar line to Benning Road, will have to wait six years or forever if the budget released last night by Chairman Phil Mendelson passes. That budget cuts about $97 million from transportation capital projects.
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Image by Sam Kittner / DDOT used with permission.