Rising regional pollution is “gibberish”? Image from Region Forward (PDF).

Today is the last day to comment on the Greater Washington 2050 report.

Here’s what I submitted:

The Greater 2050 report is a huge positive step for COG and the Washington Region. This policy will meaningfully connect our growth policies to the region we want, where people can easy travel from close-knit communities to good quality jobs and education amid clean air and water.

While this is a good first step, COG should find ways to add “teeth” to this plan, tying future TPB approval of transportation projects to their contribution to these goals. The plan should also further promote growth in a smaller number of more significant activity centers instead of spreading it out to every one, some of which are very far-flung and cover a large area with few people and jobs.

I was shocked to see Lon Anderson of AAA call “community connectivity and walkability and minimizing ecological harm” “gibberish.” People travel using all modes in our region, and the only crazy policy has been COG’s past practice of making those modes distant stepchildren to car-dependent planning. We should not stop making roads a part of our region’s transportation network, but it’s telling how outraged some people have gotten at the mere thought of making other modes a core part of the planning paradigm as well.

We can address congestion in two ways. We can build ever-larger rings of freeways, which past experience here and elsewhere has proven will simply generate even more crushing traffic burdens. Or, we can design around a mix of driving, transit, walking and bicycling, and expand the great success of our Metro system and the low-traffic, walkable and bikeable growth in DC, Arlington, and Bethesda to all jurisdictions throughout the region.

Whether you agree or disagree, I encourage you to submit a comment. You can also email them directly; according to NVTA, comments form the Web form will be posted publicly while emailed comments will not. Your comment can be just a few sentences; short comments are very helpful.

David Alpert is Founder and President of Greater Greater Washington and Executive Director of DC Surface Transit. 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 here are his and not the official views of GGWash or DCST.