The National Landing Business Improvement District (BID) partnered with local stakeholders today to launch the “People Before Cars” Coalition to unite area organizations around shared priorities to create a safer and more accessible transportation network in National Landing.
Joining the BID in the Coalition are Sustainable Mobility for Arlington County, an advocacy organization that promotes smart transportation options for Arlingtonians; Arlington Families for Safe Streets, a community voice for infrastructure and policy changes towards more safe and equitable mobility; and Washington Area Bicyclist Association, a nonprofit with the goal of a just transportation system and JBG SMITH, National Landing’s largest property owner and developer whose projects are redefining the area’s built environment.
“We must come together as a community to advocate for improvements across National Landing’s transportation network that will lead to a more equitable and accessible neighborhood,” said Tracy Sayegh Gabriel, President and Executive Director of the National Landing BID. “The future of our downtown depends on the decisions we make today, and it’s vital that we are unified in voicing that our priority is people and their safety.”
The “People Before Cars” Coalition seeks to address community concerns around safety by championing the implementation of best practices in people-centric urban design and planning. The Coalition is centered on a set of common priorities for key projects and opportunities to enhance multi-modal mobility in National Landing, and will work together to promote those priorities through public outreach, advocacy and engagement with key stakeholders, including Arlington County and VDOT.
“The People Before Cars Coalition is possible because people-first street design helps us achieve so many different goals: fighting climate change, improving safety and building a bustling, vibrant downtown. It is rare to have residents, landowners and a business community that understand that great places are built for people, first and foremost. We have that in National Landing and together, we can do great things. Our focus is building a great place where residents have the freedom to move around however they choose,” said Chris Slatt, President of Sustainable Mobility for Arlington County.
The Coalition comes at a critical time. As described in the BID’s Mobility Next report, eight major transportation projects with a combined estimated cost of $4 billion, including VDOT’s Route 1 Multimodal Improvements Study, are currently in the pipeline and expected to deliver in phases over the next decade. Combined with the myriad private development projects that are helping to reshape the neighborhood streetscape, National Landing has an incredible opportunity to enhance walkability and deliver human-scaled mobility.
“With the current wave of development in National Landing, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to establish a safe, sustainable, equitable transportation system by looking beyond individual projects to the area as a whole. Arlington Families for Safe Streets is excited to be part of the People Before Cars Coalition to achieve this important goal. By promoting walking, biking, and transit, our transportation system will be safer, more sustainable, more equitable and provide better support for local businesses,” stated Gillian Burgess, President, Arlington Families for Safe Streets.
“Through The People Before Cars Coalition we have an amazing opportunity to capture the energy and potential to transform National Landing into a national example of what infrastructure can look like if you prioritize the needs of walkers, bikers and public transit over cars. This Coalition of business leaders and community leaders can be a voice in the region for sustainable transportation and a leader in the movement to develop multimodal transit options for residents while ensuring those options are both equitable and address our climate crisis,” said Jeremiah Lowery, Advocacy Director of Washington Area Bicyclist Association.
“JBG SMITH has always been focused on placemaking through the creation of walkable, urban environments where people are prioritized and their experience matters. We are pleased to join the National Landing BID and community partners to help ensure that safe, sustainable mobility is a central part of the broader transformation underway in National Landing,” stated Jay Corbalis, VP of Public Affairs for JBG SMITH and Co-Chair of the National Landing BID Transportation Committee.
Street-level improvements that put people first are at the forefront of the Coalition’s efforts. Recommendations include bringing Route 1 to grade to create a more human-centric experience that prioritizes those walking, biking and taking transit; incorporating new signals, signal timing and speed enforcement at various locations to make walking easier and safer; and providing an interconnected network of protected bike lanes, bike facilities, and trails that provide a safe place for people to bike and use scooters away from people walking on the sidewalk. In addition, “People Before Cars” highlights the importance of constructing the CC2DCA Intermodal Connector, which will provide a convenient way for people to walk and bike from downtown National Landing directly to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.
Expanding and enhancing mass transit also serves as an essential component of the Coalition’s ideal for greater accessibility. The pledge outlines rail and road improvements including Amtrak service in Crystal City and through-running MARC trains, as well as increased frequency on Metroway, Transitway and bus lines. In addition, the Coalition calls for various forward-looking studies to determine long-term solutions to transit, traffic and motor vehicle flow within National Landing.
The launch of the “People Before Cars” Coalition builds on the BID’s efforts to transform National Landing into the nation’s most connected urban center. In the spring, the organization launched a public awareness campaign around its work to create a greener and more inviting Route 1. In January, the BID released its Mobility Next report, outlining a robust portfolio of public and private projects that will achieve next generation transit in the district.
For more information about the Coalition, its vision and priorities, or to join visit: https://nationallanding.org/get-around/people-before-cars-coalition