Image by Adam Fagen licensed under Creative Commons.

In the fall of 2018, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced a plan to widen I-270 and I-495, adding four express toll lanes each. The controversial plan would spend billions of dollars on highway expansions that some experts say will ultimately make congestion, housing affordability, and quality of life worse. Now, more details are about to come out.

Starting this week, the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) is hosting a series of public workshops to review and discuss preliminary concepts for the plan in both Prince George's and Montgomery Counties. At the meetings, MDOT will present the study status and schedule, a summary of the purpose and need, preliminary alternatives, and screening criteria to evaluate the alternatives.

Readers told us that this issue is important, so we're encouraging urbanists like you to attend these meetings and speak out against this proposed plan. There are several public workshops, with the first one happening on Tuesday, July 17. Each workshop will begin at 6:30 pm with short presentations at 6:30 pm and 7:30 pm. A virtual workshop will also be available here starting July 17.

Other upcoming urbanism events around the region

There's something for every urbanist this week! Got an idea for using data to improve transportation in Virgina? Head over to the SmarterRoads Hackathon, or get an update on the 11th Street Bridge Park project. Looking for some entertainment? Grab your bike and scoot down to Deanwood Recreation Center to see Black Panther. Check out these upcoming events and more!

Tuesday, July 17

SmarterRoads Hackathon: Are you a developer, planner, or data lover? Do you want to help solve Virginia's greatest transportation needs using open data sets? Participate in the two-day SmarterRoads Hackaton Tuesday, July 17 through Wednesday, July 18 at 1776's Crystal City Campus (2231 Crystal Dr #1000, Arlington, VA). Winners in six different prize categories will walk away with $2,500 in cash prizes. Learn more and register here.

Prince George's County Zoning rewrite work session: Prince George’s County has been on a four-year journey to streamline development procedures and maximize its economic development potential by rewriting its zoning ordinance. The Prince George’s County Council will host three work sessions taking public comment at the County Administration Building, 14741 Governor Oden Bowie Drive, 2nd Floor, Upper Marlboro, MD. This is the last public opportunity to give input! Learn more and sign up to speak here.

Wednesday, July 18

11th Street Bridge Park project and the Anacostia Watershed: Join Montgomery Parks on Wednesday, July 18 from 12 pm-2 pm for a special presentation from Scott Kratz, Director of the 11th Street Bridge Park, and Jim Foster, President of the Anacostia Watershed Society, to hear the latest on their efforts to restore, revitalize, and reconnect the DC community with one of its most significant natural resources, the Anacostia River. The presentation, which will take place at Montgomery County Planning Department Auditorium at 8787 Georgia Avenue Silver Spring, MD 20910, is free and open to the public. Complimentary boxed lunch is available to those who register in advance.

Friday, July 20

Bike ride to Black Panther: Celebrate the summer with the DC Bike Ambassadors by taking a bike ride along the beautiful Anacostia River Trail to the Deanwood Recreation Center to watch Marvel’s Black Panther under the stars. Bring a blanket, water, and snacks for the movie, as well as a helmet, bike lock and lights for your ride. The one-way ride will be about six miles. Register here.

Saturday, July 21

Green roof tour: The College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability, and Environmental Sciences (CAUSES), of the University of the District of Columbia (UDC), invites you to tour its green roof and hear more about sustainable agriculture from Sandy Farber Bandier, UDC GreenRoof/Greenhouse Coordinator and learn about green roof design from David Bell of BELL Architects. The tour begins at 9:30 am at University of the District of Columbia (Van Ness), Building 44, Green Roof, 4200 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, DC. Register here if you'd like to attend.

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