The TPB approved eight projects to receive technical assistance through its Transportation/Land-Use Connections (TLC) program. Included among this year’s recipients are some familiar kinds of TLC projects as well as a few innovative ideas.
The TPB created its TLC program in 2006 to provide technical assistance grants to local jurisdictions identifying ways to help make the region’s transportation system and development patterns support one another more effectively.
TLC provides planning and design assistance for small local projects. It has funded 100 projects to date supporting a range of issues, including transit station accessibility, mixed-use and transit-oriented development opportunities, pedestrian and bicycle planning, and streetscape design and corridor planning.
Rhode Island Avenue bike lanes in College Park—filling a trail gap
One of this year’s more classic examples of a project receiving TLC technical assistance is the Rhode Island Avenue protected bike lane design in College Park, Maryland. TLC will provide preliminary engineering for a segment of bike lane that will fill a gap in the city’s bike lane and trail network and help it connect to the Greenbelt Metro station.
The missing link will be part of the College Park Trolley Trail, which now runs continuously from the Hyattsville Arts District through Riverdale Park and Old Town College Park to mid-town College Park where it meets Greenbelt Road. This trail connects three communities, yet in North College Park, cyclists end up on busy Rhode Island Avenue. Providing a safe place for cyclists along that segment would complete the trail and connect all of the neighboring communities to the Greenbelt Metro station and an entire trail network that extends into the District of Columbia.
The design assistance under TLC would also supplement other work that College Park has already done with the Maryland State Highway Administration to improve crossings for cyclists and pedestrians on Rhode Island Avenue at Greenbelt Road. The city has also begun working with Prince George’s County to begin designing protected bike lanes for another portion of Rhode Island Avenue from Muskogee Street to the Capital Beltway.
This year’s design assistance builds upon the findings of two previous TLC projects. In 2016, TLC technical assistance provided the city with a Bike Boulevard Implementation Plan which identified Rhode Island Avenue as an area that could be improved to help cyclists travel through the area and connect to other trails.
Tysons is changing. How are people getting around?
Another project receiving TLC technical assistance this year is a little less traditional. Fairfax County will receive technical assistance to develop a technology plan for a travel monitoring program in Tysons. Those familiar with Tysons have likely observed that the area has been changing from a classic suburban-style area into a dense urban center. Tysons is served by Metro’s new Silver Line, and is home to shopping centers, offices, and residential buildings. These changes are reflected in plans for the area adopted by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.
Changes like the ones in Tysons expose a need to collect data so that the county can provide the right kind of transportation services and so that planners can balance multiple needs in a data-driven way. One element of this data collection is to use new technology to identify how people are getting around Tysons.
TLC will provide assistance to Fairfax County to create a plan to collect data and monitor travel in and around Tysons. Once the plan is complete, the county hopes to use it to decide where and how to build and to help planners reshape Tysons. It will also provide data to share with stakeholders, such as the Virginia Department of Transportation, Tysons Partnership, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, Fairfax County Planning Commission, and members of the public. The final product will help Fairfax County fully implement a new vision to create an urban center in Tysons.
6 other projects were also approved
District of Columbia public space activation and stewardship guide: This project will develop a guide and create a pilot project to focus on new uses for public rights-of-way. The guide will identify techniques for creative placemaking and require interagency collaboration. It will also be a launching pad for permanent improvements and community partnerships.
Waldorf urban area bike/ped connectivity analysis in Charles County: This is a project to determine local bicycle and pedestrian needs for connectivity, circulation, and convenience in Waldorf, Maryland. The final product will include facility type and design recommendations, a prioritization schedule for implementation, and cost estimates.
Educational materials for new bikeways in Montgomery County: The county will develop new bilingual and accessible educational material to aid users of planned new bikeways in Montgomery County. The educational training materials will be piloted in White Flint and Silver Spring Activity Centers.
Washington, Baltimore, and Annapolis Trail extension feasibility analysis in Prince George’s County: The analysis will look at the potential for extending the Washington, Baltimore, and Annapolis Trail along MD 704 from MD 450 to the District of Columbia boundary. The report will include a proposed alignment, potential design issues, implementation phases, funding sources, and sketches of proposed trail sections.
Columbia Pike bike/ped study in Fairfax County: This study will review existing bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure along Columbia Pike. It will make recommendations that identify opportunities to create better and safer places for people to walk and bike along the thoroughfare. The final report will include a map of recommendations, proposed facility improvements, a prioritization matrix, and planning-level cost estimates.
Engineering analysis for better bike/ped connections to future Metro stations in Loudoun County: This project will support already identified improvements for pedestrian and bicycle accommodation within a one-mile radius of future Metro stations. It will look at specific data and ways to make intersections safer with better traffic lights, crosswalks, and other ways to reduce conflicts between motorists and people biking and walking.