David Alpert is the Founder and President of Greater Greater Washington (https://ggwash.org/), an organization and platform that seeks to build informed and civically engaged communities who believe in a growing and inclusive Washington region was a facilitator for a Full Member conversation on March 29th. Greater Greater Washington has always been a largely volunteer-driven organization since its founding in 2008. Some volunteers participate by writing and talking about ways the Washington metro region can reflect a shared vision. Others help edit, advise, moderate comments, handle social media, and more. The biggest part of the GGW community is readers, commenters, and advocates who advance conversations on and offline.
David shared his belief with attendees that informed constituencies will speak up for livable communities and high-quality education for all. He believes that the conversation in the region needs to be transformed from an “us vs. them” mentality between developers and citizens to reflect a more collaborative dynamic in building communities. He spoke about the DC Council’s public hearing on comprehensive plan amendments that are proposed to make the development process more predictable. The hearing that lasted for 11 hours and engendered a debate about gentrification, affordability, and displacement in the City, demonstrating the passionate feelings about the development climate in the region.
In his introductory remarks, David focused on his goal to make our region’s strong wing of “progressive” voters and elected officials a catalyst for good development that is equitable and energized rather than opposing it wholesale. He also spoke about how our region can best utilize existing and new resources to transport residents, workers, and customers to the places they need to go in the future and what needs to be done now to be prepared for that future.
David said that our dependence on single occupancy vehicles has created a type of hell for the transportation system and that the focus needs to be on creating a heaven. This can be accomplished through the use of available data to implement policies such as congestion pricing, and to implement such improvements as seamless fare payment with better bus to rail transfers, more dedicated bus priority corridors, curbside management of shared vehicles, and other critical bike and pedestrian improvements.