Photo by rodeomilano on Flickr.

MoCo planning staff endorse light rail: Reports of Planning Board staff endorsing a bus Purple Line have been greatly exaggerated. A staff report released yesterday endorses the surface light rail option, including the segment parallel to the Capital Crescent Trail. “We have to grow, and we have to do it in a way that is sustainable ... in a reasonable way that is less dependent on the auto,” said the report’s author, Tom Autrey, according to the Post.

Sign up to testify Jan. 8: The next step is the Planning Board hearing to review this recommendation on January 8th. You can now sign up to testify, or submit written testimony to MCP-Chairman@mncppc-mc.org until January 2nd.

Save some stimulus for transit: House Transportation Chair James Oberstar is trying to ensure transit isn’t forgotten in the rush-to-pork stimulus Congress is working on. Transportation For America has a petition to ask Congress to include transit for a greener stimulus. Twin Cities Streets for People created a video envisioning a future for Minneapolis after building all the freeways Minnesota DOT wants to spend their stimulus on. Via Richard Layman.

Falls Church debating suburban setbacks: Suburban zoning codes typically require large setbacks for buildings facing main streets (often to accommodate parking in front), but we’ve now learned that building closer to the street creates a more walkable environment. One developer is planning rental apartments and townhouses, including some affordable housing,  within walking distance of downtown Falls Church and the Metro. According to DCMud, some members of the Falls Church Planning Commission “remain concerned about the developer’s push for a variance that would allow them to build up to five feet from the property line, instead of the normally regulated twenty.”

Yup, ugly: BeyondDC reviews the Post’s list of the area’s six ugliest buildings. On Georgetown’s Lauinger Library, he writes, “You know that really pretty spire that’s the defining landmark of Georgetown University? You know that massive concrete bunker in front of it that blocks the view of the spire from the Potomac? Yeah, good call.”