Green city stock photo from 3RUS/Shutterstock.

In 2012, DC released its Sustainable DC plan, with ambitious goals for sustainability in energy, trash, transportation, and much more. Now, officials are updating it, and they have a new set of goals for you to look at. What do you think?

You can read the list and comment directly here. It includes goals like reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50%, reusing 20% of all waste produced in the District, and ensuring 75% of residents live within a quarter mile of a full-service grocery store.

Here are some of the transportation targets and a few select sub-goals that catch my eye.

  • By 2032, increase use of public transit to 50% of all commuter trips in all wards.
    • TR1.1: Complete a bus rapid transit study on high capacity corridors.
    • TR1.2: Improve transit connections to employment and activity centers from underserved areas.
    • TR1.5: Launch an integrated payment method for use on multiple transit systems.
  • By 2032, increase biking and walking to 25% of all commuter trips in all wards.
    • TR2.1: Develop a safe and convenient citywide 100-mile bicycle lane network.
    • TR2.2: Expand the Capital Bikeshare program to 300 stations by 2020 to ensure all District residents have access to a bikeshare station within a half mile of their home.
    • TR2.5: Program crosswalks and traffic lights for improved safety and convenience of pedestrians and cyclists, prioritizing children, seniors, and people with disabilities.
    • TR2.7: Based on results of current dockless bike pilot, facilitate new, accessible active transportation options such as dockless bikeshare and scooter systems.
  • By 2032, reduce commuter trips made by car to 25%.
    • TR3.2: Encourage ridesharing, vanpooling, and car-sharing
    • TR3.3: Encourage private businesses to offer incentives to employees commuting by transit, biking, and walking.
    • TR3.5: Work with the Washington Metropolitan Council of Governments to increase regional options to reduce SOV trips, including studying a regional congestion fee.
    • TR3.6: Study the impact of autonomous vehicles on public transit and public space.
  • By 2032, reduce greenhouse gas emissions coming from transportation by 60%.
    • TR4.2: Require District Government, and incentivize private businesses, to purchase zero to low-emission fleet vehicles.
    • TR4.3: Build a system of electric vehicle charging stations throughout the city.
    • TR4.5: Fully electrify District-controlled buses, and work with regional bus systems to reduce regional bus emissions.

Some of these actions come from the current plan, while others are new or changed. Those top-level targets are most significant: the original plan set these aggressive targets of moving our commute mode share to 50% transit, 25% walk/bike, and just 25% car. Here's how that stacks up against reality:

2032 goal 2016 ACS 5-year estimate 2011 ACS 5-year estimate
Transit 50% 36.8% 37.5%
Walk/bike 25% 17.6% 14.6%
Car 25% 39.1% 41.9%

There's a ways to go, but DC has been moving in the right direction, except on transit, where it's been moving in the wrong direction.

Green house stock photo from ponsulak/Shutterstock.

The built environment

Here are some housing and building related goals:

  • By 2032, accommodate the District's projected population growth of 250,000 residents while maintaining quality and affordability for all.
    • BE1.1: Create and preserve affordable and workforce housing that accommodates different family sizes and is both energy and water efficient.
    • BE1.3: Reduce required parking minimums and restrict surface parking for large developments.
    • BE1.4: Modify zoning regulations to facilitate dense, transit-oriented development.
  • By 2032, provide essential services within a 10-minute walk and a variety of services and amenities within a 20-minute walk of all residents.
    • BE2.3: Encourage the development of affordable live-work units.
    • BE2.4: Locate affordable, high-density housing close to commercial zones and high capacity transit.
    • BE2.5: Strengthen walkable, vibrant commercial corridors by supporting small, District-based retail.
  • By 2032, audit 100% of existing commercial and multi-family buildings and implement improvements to achieve carbon reduction goals.
    • BE3.1: Rehabilitate all public housing to be green, healthy, and equipped to meet net-zero energy standards.
    • BE3.2: Develop a green building workforce by training built environment professionals and building operation and maintenance staff in the latest green skills.
    • BE3.4: Retrofit and modernize all public buildings to reduce portfolio energy use by 50% and maximize installation of renewable energy technology.
  • By 2032, meet net-zero energy use standards with all new construction projects and develop policies or regulations to improve the sustainability, livability, and resilience of new development.
    • BE4.1: Update the Green Building Act to require higher levels of energy efficiency, renewable energy requirements, and broader sustainability metrics for public projects.
    • BE4.2: Provide incentives for new building projects to achieve net zero energy.
    • BE4.5: By 2026, update the building codes to require that all new buildings achieve net-zero energy use or better.

Those last two, especially that third one, might be hard as long as historic preservation rules won't bend at all for sustainability.

Take a look at the whole plan outline. What do you think should be added or changed? You can comment until July 15.

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.