$630K in grants aimed at creating ‘vibrant, walkable communities’ throughout DC region

Prince William County has been awarded a $60,000 grant for the “Commuter Garage Active Transportation and Micromobility First/Last Mile Connections” project. It will help create a walkable environment around a planned 1,400-space commuter garage and lot intended to support an OmniRide bus and ridesharing to D.C. from Stonebridge.
Prince William County has been awarded a $60,000 grant for the “Commuter Garage Active Transportation and Micromobility First/Last Mile Connections” project. It will help create a walkable environment around a planned 1,400-space commuter garage and lot intended to support an OmniRide bus and ridesharing to D.C. from Stonebridge.

The $60,000 Alexandria grant will fund the “Safe Routes to School Walk Audits Phase 2” project encompassing five city schools.
The $60,000 Alexandria grant will fund the “Safe Routes to School Walk Audits Phase 2” project encompassing five city schools.

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Prince William County has been awarded a $60,000 grant for the “Commuter Garage Active Transportation and Micromobility First/Last Mile Connections” project. It will help create a walkable environment around a planned 1,400-space commuter garage and lot intended to support an OmniRide bus and ridesharing to D.C. from Stonebridge.
The $60,000 Alexandria grant will fund the “Safe Routes to School Walk Audits Phase 2” project encompassing five city schools.

The goal of getting people out of cars and into more walkable communities advanced Wednesday, with D.C.-area localities receiving grants for technical assistance on 11 transportation-related projects.

The National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments has approved planning and design funding totaling $630,000 for the projects through its Transportation Land-Use Connections Program.



“The idea is to make it easier for folks to drive less [and to] actually be less car-dependent,” said TPB Transportation Planner John Swanson.

“It’s to create active, economically vibrant communities. It’s to make our streets safer, particularly for people who are walking,” he said.

“And pretty important also, is we want to take care of people who are particularly vulnerable. Those folks who have to take transit, maybe have to take transit late at night. We want to make sure that communities are safe for walking, for biking at all hours of the day,” he said.

The New Design Road Bikeway Study — which is being awarded $35,000 — will help Frederick County, Maryland, fill a void in the National Capitol Trail Network that ultimately will create a direct link between the Pennsylvania border down to Charles County, Maryland, and Prince William County, Virginia.

The New Design Road bike path is a segment of the National Capital Trail Network; the grant will aid plans to connect the city of Frederick to the C&O Canal National Park.

A $60,000 grant to Alexandria will fund the Safe Routes to School Walk Audits Phase 2 project to encompass areas around five city schools.

“If kids live within walking distance of a school, they should be able to walk there,” Swanson said.

D.C. is getting $55,000 for a Delivery Microhub Feasibility Study.

“Often in our planning profession, we talk about the first-mile and last-mile connections, and getting people to and from transit stations to their final destination often requires people to walk,” Swanson said.

“And it’s also increasingly true for freight … the idea is that we need to establish microhubs for these kinds of sustainable-delivery modes — cargo bikes and foot deliveries. These will be staging locations for these kinds of delivery services.”

A $50,000 grant to help Montgomery County with streetlights will create standards that could help inform decisions to put into practice regionwide.

“This project is going to be establishing streetlight standards for both corridor and intersection illumination. It’s going to be looking at the reaction time at these locations and reducing crash probability and severity,” he said.

A driving philosophy at TPB is to think regionally and act locally, and Swanson said the grants help fulfill that mission.

“The idea that we’re supporting vibrant, walkable communities in all corners of our region is not just good for the community level, but it really helps make everyone stronger in this whole metropolitan area,” he said.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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