Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

DDOT Announces 2-Year Plan

The District Department of Transportation announced a two-year action plan last week to kickstart its implementation of MoveDC, the District’s long-term transportation plan that will guide infrastructure developments in the city until 2040.

The Georgetown area will see a number of changes planned as part of MoveDC, including a Georgetown station for the Metrorail, potential tolls or congestion charges for cars, repairs and expansion of the Key Bridge and improvements to bike paths, new trails and walkways. Sam Zimbabwe, the DDOT associate director of planning, policy and sustainability administration, warned that these long-term projects may not even be completed by 2040.

“It will be a tremendously costly thing and take a long time to build,” Zimbabwe said. “This is a 2040 plan, and I think we’ll be lucky if something like that happens in that time span.”

The two-year plan calls for the addition of bike lanes, sidewalks and increased automated features at bus stops throughout the city. DDOT will also commence bridge repair work and evaluate the city’s transportation infrastructure to lay the groundwork for their future developments.

“The 25-year plan is something that’s hard for a lot of people, including us, even sometimes, to think about. It’s a long, long time frame,” Zimbabwe said. “Through the action plan, we can start on the implementation of a number of the recommendations. Not every single one, but most of them are covered by actions in the two-year action plan.”

Mandated by the Federal Highway Administration, which provides much of the funding for D.C.’s transportation budget, MoveDC expanded DDOT’s plans for a city-wide transportation upgrade. The 25-year outlook aims to add a 22-mile streetcar system, a 47-mile “high-capacity” transit network and water taxis in Georgetown and the Navy Yard, in addition to improving existing Metrorail and Metrobus services.

“For this plan in particular, we kind of went further than what was required,” DDOT Strategic Planning Branch Manager Colleen Hawkinson said. “We really drilled down to make it a local, city-wide plan as well. New York City, San Francisco [and] Philadelphia have all recently undertaken local city plans, and we wanted to make sure that we captured both the requirements, as well as the local city needs.”

The improvements offered by the plan look to address D.C.’s exponential population growth and the subsequent stresses placed on the transportation network.

“The District, for the last four years or so, has grown by about 1,100 people every month,” Zimbabwe said. “And that increase in activity means there is more demand on all modes of travel. So, biking, people taking transit, people driving. If there’s not a coordinated, multi-modal plan that looks at all those together, we would have a lot of big problems.”

Cheryl Cort, the policy director at the Coalition for Smarter Growth, worked on the task force that helped put together the MoveDC plan and explained that one of its main goals was to encourage and facilitate the use of public transportation.

“We are really excited about the creation of this cohesive vision for the future of the city,” she said. “The Sustainable D.C. goal is that 75 percent of commute trips would be by walk, bike and transit, something other than [cars]. …We think that’s a great way to look at how we can give people better transportation services that also are going to reduce pollution and enhance health and address climate change all at the same time.”

Despite the funding concerns, Cort said that she believed that the new mayoral administration that would take office in 2015 would also support the plan.

“We need to make sure that our elected officials are supportive of moving this plan forward and providing the funding and support for the policies in the plan. We’re confident that we can do that,” she said.

Although the effects of the master plan will not soon be implemented, Georgetown Running Club Communications Director Jimmy Smith (COL ’17) said he believes that the plan’s long-term goals will offer the Running Club new running paths.

“It definitely is great for us,” he said. “It’s going to make more people run, which we always like to see, but second of all, it’ll be great to just give us more room and places to run around the city.”

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