Transit Briefs: Denver RTD; Sound Transit; WMATA
RTD’s strategic plan (download below), “Change, Challenge, and Connections,” covers four agency priorities: community value, customer excellence, employee ownership and financial success. Developed by General Manager and CEO Debra A. Johnson, RTD’s executive leadership team and the 15-member Board, it provides a road map for initiatives and programs RTD will undertake over the coming year; includes a framework for measuring success beyond the one-year period; details RTD’s goals as well as the steps to attain them; and articulates RTD’s mission, vision and values.
During the nine months since Johnson assumed RTD’s top leadership role, “she has observed that the agency is recognized as an industry leader—and has also weathered a fair share of challenges and criticism for not having clearly defined organizational strategies, priorities and processes,” according to RTD.
“I was able to ascertain that RTD needed to challenge itself to do business differently,” Johnson said. “I believe that public transportation is the great societal equalizer, connecting people to opportunities. Our customers and our community will see an RTD workforce committed to delivering measurable value and communicating these results in a clear and transparent fashion.”
Sound Transit—the regional transit system serving the Seattle and Central Puget Sound area in Washington state—has entered into an agreement with the city of Seattle to lease, at no cost, a former construction site and build a temporary tiny-home village. The one-year lease can be renewed up to three years. Sound Transit intends to convert the property to a permanent TOD (transit-oriented development) in 2024.
Rosie’s Tiny Home Village will be located at 45th Street and Roosevelt Avenue, where the construction offices for the University District light rail station had been housed. (The station will open Oct. 2 as part of the Northgate Link extension.) The city will manage the village, and the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI) will run it. It is slated to provide up to 36 furnished residential units and house up to 65 people. The village will include shared kitchens, bathrooms, offices and other community spaces.
“This partnership is an example of how Sound Transit is working with cities to address the urgent challenges facing people experiencing homelessness,” Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff said. “This innovative use of property first used for construction staging when building our new U District station is helping us tackle the most critical need burdening our region. We are grateful to the elected leaders of Seattle in partnering with us on this effort and look forward to the groundbreaking later this fall.”
WMATA signed an agreement with FGCP-Metro, LLC, an affiliated partnership with EYA LLC (EYA), Hoffman & Associates and Rushmark Properties, for the redevelopment of the West Falls Church Metro Station site. WMATA said the project—which will create a mixed-used community with more than 1 million square feet of office, retail and residential space—is a result of a multi-year effort between the agency, the joint development team and Fairfax County. On July 13, 2021, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved an amendment to its Comprehensive Plan to support development of both the WMATA site and the adjoining Virginia Tech site.
Over the next year, FGCP-Metro, LLC will go through Fairfax County’s rezoning process to advance the design and planning for the station site. Construction is slated to begin in 2023.
“Building transit-oriented development is an important strategy for managing many of this region’s most pressing challenges, such as traffic congestion, sustainability, housing production and transit ridership recovery,” Metro General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Paul J. Wiedefeld said. “The West Falls Church Metro Station is a unique opportunity that will convert underutilized parking lots to provide housing, jobs and economic opportunities, and create a cohesive development plan with the adjacent publicly owned sites.”
“The plan presents an opportunity to better align the West Falls Church Transit Station Area with the County’s Transit Oriented Development Guidelines,” Fairfax County Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust said. “I am pleased that it envisions a vibrant mixed-use, pedestrian friendly environment and attractive public spaces, while respecting nearby established residential communities.”