One year ago this week FABB was promoting the Virginia Sierra Club’s release of the Blueprint for Better Transportation in Northern Virginia. In addition to the Virginia Sierra Club, FABB joined with the Coalition for Smarter Growth, Environment Virginia, the Piedmont Environmental Council, the Climate Reality Project: Northern VA Chapter, the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication, and five other regional groups in endorsing the Blueprint.
The Blueprint’s recommendations, if enacted, would expand transportation choices, reduce pollution, and create better communities. By creating more bikeable, walkable, and transit-oriented communities with more strategic road and trail connections, Northern Virginia could relieve congestion and achieve a host of other benefits, including cleaner air, healthier residents, and stronger local economies.
The Blueprint contained ideas that clearly had and still have influence. Six months after the Sierra Club’s Blueprint release, the Greater Washington Partnership, an alliance of senior business executives, published its own transportation blueprint. This plan expanded the focus to the larger DC-Maryland-Virginia region between Baltimore and Richmond and included recommendations to complete and connect trail networks and deploy “smart traffic signals” that serve all road users—including cyclists—to move people rather than vehicles.
2018 also saw the regional Transportation Planning Board, which comprises elected officials from around the Washington region, issue Visualize 2045, another long-range transportation plan. It also included proposals that shared biking-related ideas with the two Blueprints.
These ideas, many of which start with local advocacy, are important because they are likely to shape discussions about how to fix the region’s problems with congestion, pollution, public transportation shortfalls, and equitable access to multi-modal transportation options. Developing and attaching costs to these ideas also provide more perspective and details to help local motorists and taxpayers understand the trade-offs and advantages in spending more on multi-modal transportation versus building more lanes on already clogged highways.
In 2015 FABB changed part of its name from Advocates to Alliance because we understood the importance of being part of the broad coalitions of business groups, labor unions, environmentalists, and civic organizations that will be driving future transportation choices. To be an active participant in these coalitions, however, FABB needs more volunteers to help represent us at meetings and special events. Interested in getting involved? Please contact us at [email protected].