Photo by dan reed! on Flickr.

Enjoy an opportunity to socialize with your Greater Greater pals this week, learn about bikeshare in Fairfax County, and tell Metro how to spend its $3 billion budget at events around the region.

A new bar and another Greater Greater happy hour: Meet fellow readers and contributors face to face this Wednesday, January 29 for our monthly Greater Greater happy hour, from 6 to 8 pm. This month’s event is at Urban Butcher, a new restaurant/butcher shop/coffee shop in Silver Spring. Located at 8226 Georgia Avenue at Ripley Street,  it’s just two blocks from the Metro, several Metrobus routes (including the 70/79 and S2/S4), and one block from a Capital Bikeshare station. We’ll be in the front room.

After the jump: WMATA budget meetings, housing and transportation in Montgomery County, bikeshare in Reston, hearings on the DC zoning code update, and improvements to the I-66 corridor in Virginia.

WMATA budget hearings: Metro’s proposed FY15 budget will invest $3 billion in our transit system. The public has an important opportunity to comment on the proposed budget through an online survey or at multiple meetings being held throughout the region this week and next. You can learn more about WMATA’s current work and discuss any other issues not on their agenda.

For more information, to register to testify, or submit written comments, visit Metro’s website. All six meetings begin at 6:30 pm. Here’s a list:

  • Wednesday, January 29: Greenbelt Marriott, 6400 Ivy Lane in Greenbelt. There’s a free shuttle to and from Greenbelt (Green Line).
  • Thursday, January 30: Hilton Springfield, 6550 Loisdale Road in Springfield. There’s a free shuttle to and from Franconia-Springfield (Blue and Yellow lines) after 7:30 pm.
  • Monday, February 3: Matthews Memorial Baptist Church, 2616 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE in DC, two blocks from Anacostia (Green Line).
  • Tuesday, February 4: Montgomery County Executive Office Building, 101 Monroe Street in Rockville, two blocks from Rockville (Red Line).
  • Wednesday, February 5:Arlington Central Library, 1015 North Quincy Street in Arlington, three blocks from Virginia Square (Orange Line).
  • Thursday, February 6: Metro headquarters, 600 5th Street NW in DC, two blocks from Gallery Place-Chinatown (Red, Green, and Yellow lines).

Learn about I-66’s transit future: Virginia’s looking at ways to add transit on I-66 in Fairfax and Prince William counties, and they’re holding two meetings this week and next to tell the public about it. You can hear from state transportation officials about the alternatives they’re looking at, which include light rail, bus rapid transit, or extending Metro or VRE along the corridor. You’ll also be able to offer your thoughts on how best to move people through the area.

The first meeting is Thursday, January 30 at Oakton High School, located at 2900 Sutton Road in Oakton, followed by a second meeting at the Wyndham Garden Hotel, located at 10800 Vandor Lane in Manassas. Both meetings are from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. For more information, visit the Virginia Department of Transportation’s website.

Talk about Bikeshare in Reston: Fairfax County’s first bikesharing program could come to Reston. There will be a meeting about it this Wednesday, January 29 to gather public input on a potential system, and provide an overview of the bicycle sharing program, bicycle operations, infrastructure needs, and potential station locations. The event starts at 7 pm at Lake Anne Elementary School, located at 11510 North Shore Drive in Reston.

Whither DC’s housing market? This Thursday, January 30, Montgomery County’s Planning Department kicks off its Winter Speakers Series with a discussion on the critical connections between housing and transportation. Lisa Sturtevant, a real estate researcher at the National Housing Conference and Center for Housing Policy, will explore the land and property cost impacts of transit, and talk about some tools to preserve and create affordable housing.

The event, which is free and open to the public, starts at 6 pm, and will be held in the Planning Board auditorium, located at 8787 Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring.

See Clybourne Park with us: And on Sunday, February 9, we’re going to see the Arlington Players’ production of Clybourne Park, an award-winning play that explores gentrification and racial issues in Chicago. Afterwards, we’ll have an open discussion with the director, cast, and some of your favorite Greater Greater contributors.

The show starts at 2:30 pm at the Thomas Jefferson Community Center, located at 125 South Old Glebe Road in Arlington, a little over a mile from both the Ballston and Virginia Square Metro stations. It’s also accessible by Metrobus routes 10B, 23A, 23C, and 4A as well as ART route 41. For more information or to buy tickets, visit the Arlington Players’ website.

Last chance to speak out on the DC zoning update: The DC Zoning Commission is holding one last round of meetings for public input. Residents who wish to testify in person must do so at the meeting for the ward where they live. Lucky for you, the Coalition for Smarter Growth has set up a handy sign-up center to streamline the registration process. Here are the dates:

  • Wards 1 & 2: Thursday, February 13 at 6:00 pm, DC Housing Finance Authority building, 815 Florida Avenue NW.
  • Wards 3 & 4: Tuesday, February 11 at 6:00 pm, Wilson High School Auditorium, 3950 Chesapeake Street NW.
  • Wards 5 & 6: Saturday, February 8 at 9:00 am, Dunbar High School Auditorium, 101 N Street NW.
  • Wards 7 & 8: Wednesday February 12th at 6:00 pm, Dept. of Employment Services, 4058 Minnesota Avenue NE.

Erin McAuliff is a Policy Fellow at the Coalition for Smarter Growth. An urban planner by trade, she has a longstanding interest in and experience with public health and planning issues affecting both D.C. and New York City communities.  Erin received her master’s in urban planning at Hunter College (City University of New York).