Photo by Elvert Barnes on Flickr.

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, but before it arrives, there are some public meetings on some very important plans this week in the District, Montgomery County and across Northern Virginia.

You can weigh in on plans for the Long Bridge railroad bridge and talk to National Park Service leaders at a pair of meetings Tuesday in DC. In Montgomery County, support a good BRT program at one of 3 open houses and hear about terrible pedestrian safety choices at ACT’s public meeting.

On the other side of the Potomac, the Northern Virginia Streetcar Coalition is having their annual meeting Wednesday. Tuesday is a VDOT session on multimodal priorities, while both Tuesday and Thursday Fairfax County is holding meetings on their transit plans.

In the District

The District Department of Transportation and Federal Railroad Administration are doing an extremely important study of the Long Bridge, the railroad bridge over the Potomac which carries Amtrak, CSX, and VRE trains. This bridge needs a 3rd track (at least) to accommodate demand for freight and passenger train traffic. Plus, there needs to be a better pedestrian and bicycle connection along the route of the Long Bridge.

There is a a public meeting on Tuesday, 4-6 pm at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 400 I Street SW near Waterfront Metro.

Later, local superintendents from the National Park Service will be available to hear from residents about what we want from our local federally-controlled parks, such as more community activities, better spaces to eat lunch or actual food for sale, and pathways safe for joggers and bicyclists.

NPS officials need to hear from residents in order to push them toward making the parks better; they already hear plenty from Congresspeople who only want to drive as fast as possible through the parks and never actually try to sit and enjoy them. So please try to make it! The town hall is Tuesday, 6:30-8:30 pm at the African-American Civil War Museum, 1925 Vermont Ave NW at the U Street Metro.

In Montgomery County

Montgomery planners are holding 3 community meetings  to discuss the latest plans for Bus Rapid Transit. There are 3 meetings, Tuesday at Montgomery Blair High School, Wednesday at the Shady Grove Training Facility, and Thursday at the Wheaton Library.

You can be sure that some people will show up who only want roadways to maximize vehicle speeds, so all Montgomery County residents should try to make one of the 3. The events all go from 6:30-9 pm, with a presentation at 7 pm.

The Action Committee for Transit‘s monthly meeting, also Tuesday night, will focus on the county Department of Transportation’s hostility toward helping pedestrians cross streets. Ed Rothbluem, Miriam Schoenbaum, and Tracey Johnstone will each give examples of bad transportation decisions from MCDOT. The meeting is 7:30 pm in the Silver Spring Center, 8818 Georgia Ave, Woodside Conference Room.

In Northern Virginia

Wednesday, November 14 is the Northern Virginia Streetcar Coalition’s annual meeting, 7-9 pm at Skyline Technology Center, 5275 Leesburg Pike. Officials from Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax County, and Falls Church will talk about plans for bringing streetcars to the region.

The Virginia Department of Transportation is holding “Multimodal Transportation Meetings” to talk with residents about their priorities for the Six-Year Improvement Program, essentially the priority list for what VDOT will build.

Not that surprisingly, the meetings are not in very multimodal-accessible locations. The one in our region is Tuesday at the VDOT Northern Virginia District Office, Potomac Conference Center, 4975 Alliance Drive (off West Ox Road just south of I-66).

Members of the Commonwealth Transportation Board, the Governor-appointed board which chooses between building more car lanes and building even more car lanes, will be there, and FABB hopes residents will attend to remind the CTB that bikes and other modes also exist.

Fairfax County is also holding 2 meetings on their Countywide Transit Network Study. One is Tuesday at Stenwood Elementary School, 2620 Gallows Road in the cafeteria, and the other is at Key Middle School, 6402 Franconia Road in the Key center Cafeteria on Thursday. Both are 6:00-8:30 pm.

In short, especially if you live in Northern Virginia, you definitely should participate in some civic affairs this week. Which of these will you make it to? (And if you want to write about any of these for Greater Greater Washington and can write something up right after the meeting, please let us know!)

David Alpert is Founder and President of Greater Greater Washington and Executive Director of DC Sustainable Transportation (DCST). 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. Unless otherwise noted, opinions in his GGWash posts are his and not the official views of GGWash or DCST.