Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan
The Action Committee for Transit offers the following comments regarding the draft Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan, the site of a future Purple Line station. We appreciate the work of the planning staff to assemble a comprehensive vision for the community, and we recognize their outreach efforts to gain the perspective and input of residents, developers, property owners, and local officials.
There’s a lot to like about the sector plan:
- It focuses on retaining the residential character of the community, enhances neighborhood-serving retail, and creates new opportunities for public space.
- The Plan provides more housing near transit, a crucial need. Page 38 of the sector plan states that about 80% of traffic on Connecticut Avenue during weekday rush is pass-through traffic. This traffic is caused by previous planning decisions that encouraged single-use, low-density development. If we don’t provide more opportunities for future residents to live closer to their destinations, traffic will only get worse.
- The Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan takes advantage of the future Purple Line station, but it also provides other elements that will increase the amount of pedestrians, bikers, and transit users. Current traffic conditions on Connecticut are congested for motorists and treacherous for bikers and pedestrians. The Plan will enhance the network of sidewalks, provide better crosswalks and medians, and provide a separated crossing above Connecticut for bikers and pedestrians. These amenities will allow more people to bike or walk to their destinations, and even small changes in traffic patterns can lead to big reductions in congestion.
- The demand for walkable communities, like the one proposed in the Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan, is growing, especially among those in my generation. My peers are much more open to living without a car. Some of you may have read the recent New York Times article about all the Brooklyn hipsters moving to the suburbs, and some may take away from the article that people only prefer cities until they’re ready to settle down. However, that analysis misses a crucial point. Although people are moving to suburban areas, their choice to locate in a walkable community stays constant. The Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan provides an opportunity to live in a walkable area with access to excellent schools and recreational opportunities.
While we would like to see a higher density of residences than what the Sector Plan allows, we recognize the compromise inherent in the plan and encourage its support. Thank you for the opportunity to provide comments.