WASHINGTON — There’s a new idea to fix congestion that’s choking your commute. The answer, regional transportation planners said, is to build more homes in places where you don’t have to drive. A new analysis says that's not a pipe-dream, but only if the next 10 years are treated the right way.
"We’re looking at the intersection of housing and transit," Chuck Bean of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments said.
He thinks the region is at a crossroads when it comes to cutting congestion. The group forecasts more people coming to our region over the next decade and 325,000 new homes will need to be built.
"It’s going to really take unprecedented collaboration from the government and the private sector, so we’re going to need to think in different ways," Bean said.
The Council spent a year looking not just at how to move people, but where people should move. The only answer, Bean says, is right next to high-capacity mass transit. Bean says that means looking beyond our 98 Metrorail stations, but also to MARC and VRE along with future projects like the Purple Line and bus rapid transit lanes.
"The idea is to get those people closer to their jobs," Bean said.
A million new people are forecasted to come to our region in the next 30 years. roughly the size of 20 Amazon HQ2’s. Bean said that combating congestion requires big thinking through big partnerships.
"These are aspirational goals," Bean said. "In order to achieve those goals we’re going to need to work together -- public, private and nonprofit."