Embark Richmond Community Update

Jul 29, 2016

by David Levine, President/CEO

This past Monday, I attended the second community meeting sponsored by the Embark Richmond Highway project held at West Potomac High School. A collaborative group of local stakeholders and County officials, Embark Richmond supports the widening of Richmond Highway with the aim of creating mixed-use, mixed-transit, and denser development.

Covering fifteen miles of the Highway, the Embark Richmond Highway effort has as one objective to create greater transportation capacity, which in turn will create greater development opportunities.  Whether by bus rapid transit, bike lanes, or a Metro extension, these new multimodal transportation options will make a difference in the future of the Highway.

In the executive summary posted on its website, Embark Richmond Highway found that one of its key findings was that “maintaining housing affordability and diversity is a real challenge.”  Its solution seems fairly straightforward:  Invest in transportation capacity, then the jobs and the upward-trending household incomes will follow.  Larger incomes will lead to more housing affordability for families.

It is sensible to link economic growth to transportation capacity. According to the executive summary, for those residents currently living within a half-mile of the Highway, some 2,000 households do not own a single car.  They are low income, where more than half of the households live at or below 30 percent of the area median income. Without question, greater transportation options will improve their lives.

Most particularly, it keeps our own residents and neighbors in their communities along the Highway.  Through smart development and more economic opportunity, everyone will do better.