Op-Ed: David Alpert on TDM recommendations

Leading edge TDM strategies showing the way in Washington D.C..

* Report from David Alpert, Executive Director of Surface Transit of Greater Washington D.C.

When any new building appears in the city, its residents, office workers and/or shoppers have to travel to and from the building. The traditional planning approach is to require enough parking so that all of the users could drive there. But that’s not the ideal outcome, since our roads can’t handle more traffic. Instead, many cities now push for other elements that make it easier for people to travel by other modes. These elements are called Transportation Demand Management strategies.

At the Board of Zoning Adjustment hearing for the Whitman-Walker project at 14th and S, DDOT planner Chris Ziemann proposed several TDM strategies, including bicycle parking, car sharing spaces, free initial Zipcar or SmartBike memberships, and free SmarTrip cards for new residents. These come from a September DDOT memo on TDM which I was able to obtain.

These are the TDM strategies DDOT considers when looking at a new project:

* Bicycle parking: One space for each 20 car spaces, locked bicycle storage, and shower facilities for workers. That can include facilities for workers at residential buildings as well as office workers.

* Carpools: Reserved spaces in good locations for carpools and vanpools, and discounts against parking rates in pay garages.

* Parking costs: Ensure that the garage charges market rates for parking. If employees or residents get free parking, allow them to take a payment (“cash-out”) for the market value of their space instead.

* Car sharing: Free parking spaces(s) for carsharing vehicles, accessible 24-7 to the public. Also, cover the initiation fee and first year membership fees for initial residents.

* Bike sharing: Allocate space for a SmartBike station, or possibly fund the station entirely.

* SmarTrip: Give new residents and building employees complimentary SmarTrip cards. DDOT suggests $20 for residential tenants and $60 for employees of residential buildings.

* Information: Put links on buildings’ Web site to CommuterConnections.com and goDCgo.com. Include signs or brochures in lobby kiosks, information in welcome packets, or bulletin boards with information on transportation options.

* Technology: Have a business center in residential buildings with a copier, fax, and Internet access. This makes it easier for people to telecommute.

Keep in mind that this is just a menu of possibilities, not rules. DDOT can decide which are most appropriate for each project. The developers can voluntarily agree to implement some, and if not, BZA or Zoning Commission ultimately decides whether to impose any as conditions of approvals. Some, like bicycle parking, are also part of draft future zoning rules, but these may go beyond the absolute requirements of zoning.

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About the author:

David Alpert is Founder and President of Greater Greater Washington and Executive Director of DC Surface Transit. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle.  http://greatergreaterwashington.org

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About the editor:

Eric Britton
13, rue Pasteur. Courbevoie 92400 France

Bio: Founding editor of World Streets (1988), Eric Britton is an American political scientist, teacher, occasional consultant, and sustainability activist who has observed, learned, taught and worked on missions and advisory assignments on all continents. In the autumn of 2019, he committed his remaining life work to the challenges of aggressively countering climate change and specifically greenhouse gas emissions emanating from the mobility sector. He is not worried about running out of work. Further background and updates: @ericbritton | http://bit.ly/2Ti8LsX | #fekbritton | https://twitter.com/ericbritton | and | https://www.linkedin.com/in/ericbritton/ Contact: climate@newmobility.org) | +336 508 80787 (Also WhatApp) | Skype: newmobility.)

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