Mayor Gray has set a goal of growing by 250,000 residents in 20 years. Previous mayors had similar goals. GMU studies suggest we need over 122,000 new housing units (each of which might hold multiple people) by 2030. How can and should the District accommodate this growth?
Paul Zukerberg responded...
My growth plan has 3 parts:
- a green, bikeable, walkable city
- a big push on affordable housing
- safe and affordable Metro
Washington is a beautiful city. We need to keep it that way as we grow. Walking and biking are the healthiest ways of getting around, both for the individual and our environment. Paul actively supports Safe Routes to School, WABA, and pedestrian- friendly DDOT streetscape projects.
We will not see any growth if people cannot afford to live here. DC has an affordable housing crisis. Longtime residents are being forced out by high rents.
Other prices are way up too. Gas and electric, water, telephone — forget about cable or internet. Metro fares rose in 2012, and payroll withholding taxes went up again on January 1. Working people, students, and those on fixed income are being squeezed hard.
We need to move forward on affordable housing in a big way this year. Developers want to ease height restrictions, and we should consider allowing limited increases, in exchange for an affordable housing component in every project.
We also need to fight PEPCO rate increases and higher property taxes. One way is to keep lobbyists off of the Council.
Our greatest transportation resource — our wonderful Metro bus and rail system — is in decline. The past five years have seen safety lapses, poor service, high crime and fare increases. The 60 cent Metro fare is now $2.10. Add distance charges, and a single trip can cost $5.75. No wonder Metro ridership is down. Safe and affordable Metro is the key to future growth.
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