57°Clear

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com — May 31, 2012 at 8:55 am 3,098 172 Comments

Support for the Pike Streetcar — A Greater Greater Washington writer opines that “Columbia Pike’s proposed streetcar line will help revitalize one of Arlington county’s busiest corridor.” Ryan Arnold writes: “[The streetcar is] the latest chapter in the decades-long story of Arlington’s coordination of land-use and transit planning to develop successful communities.” [Greater Greater Washington]

Arlington Unemployment Rate Dips — Arlington County’s unemployment rate is now 3.1 percent, down from 3.5 percent a month prior. Arlington’s rate is the lowest in Virginia and compares to the state’s overall unemployment rate of 5.4 percent. [Sun Gazette]

Bond Rating Reaffirmed — Fitch Ratings has reaffirmed Arlington’s AAA bond rating, the highest rating possible. “Arlington recognizes the importance of the AAA rating, and our financial policies help ensure that it will be maintained,” County Manager Barbara Donnellan said in a statement. “Having the highest possible rating allows us to continue making critical capital investments at the lowest possible cost to residents and businesses.” [Arlington County]

Flickr pool photo by Damiec

  • Josh S

    +1 on the photo

  • DarkHeart

    In lieu of the streetcar, can we have beer bikes on the Pike instead? It promotes tourism and physical activity simultaneously.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/31/world/europe/from-amsterdam-beer-bikes-popularity-spreads.html

    • drax

      This is why we liberals adore Europe.

      • Elmer

        Yep, Love those Greeks and Spain, Portugal, Italy, Ireland. Great preview of our nation’s future with the libs/progressives at the helm.
        We won’t be able to manufacture enough wheelbarrows to hold the dollars it will require to buy a loaf of bread.

        • drax

          1. I was kidding, genius. (Though I do personally envy beer bikes. Oh, how I envy that).

          2. Your “liberals” crap is the same old empty posturing.

        • Josh S

          Tremendous differences, of course. Starting with basic demographics.

          As one of the 99%, I’ll take my chances with the “libs/progressives” (whenever it is they get elected). Now, if I was one of the 1%, I’d be more than happy with the status quo / conservatives / regressives.

        • whatthe…

          your comment is absurd. wall st. was solely responsibly for crashing the global economy. hello deregulation under the republicans. let’s stick to the streetcar topic shall we.

  • drax

    Bondisphere!

  • KalashniKEV

    There is no support for the streetcar despite what local politicians and now the media are selling.

    It’s going to tear up the street for years, reduce vehicular trafficability after completion, and bleed us worse than ArtisFAIL in operating costs.

    What it will do is increase the Pikes viability as a pedestrian corridor, since traffic will be slowed to a streetcar’s crawl, punctuated by stops every 200m or so… and when one breaks down?

    Oh… and there will be a marked increase in QUAINT CHARM.

    • drax

      “There is no support for the streetcar despite what local politicians and now the media are selling.”

      Simply saying that doesn’t prove it.

      • FrenchyB

        I was surprised to discover that I apparently don’t support the streetcar, despite the fact that I do support it.

      • Elmer

        If the trolley has such great wide-spread public support, why is the county board ducking a vote by the taxpayers on any of its funding? How about a public referendum on even a smidgin of the quarter of a billion dollars it will cost?

        • Ballston

          Becuase that’s not how representative democracy works. You get to vote in elections for representatives, who decide things like this so we don’t all have to vote every time we want to do anything.

          • Elmer

            Oh. So a project that will cost a quarter of a billion dollars and is supposed to be the salvation of the county is too important to trust to the voters in a referendum? Got it!

          • Ballston

            That isn’t what I said. What I said was just because there’s a vocal minority who opposes something doesn’t mean there should be a referendum on it. We get to vote every time there’s a county board election and there are candidates who are both for and against the street car. It just so happens that the candidates who support it keep winning. Now it may just be a coincidence, but I’d say that shows the board that the people of Arlington want the street car and negates the need for an expensive referendum on this issue

          • Elmer

            Amazing logic. The reason the county members keep getting reelected is because they support the streetcar project.
            Yeah sure!

          • Gilmer

            An expensive referendum? Yeah, that damn democracy just costs too much.

            Seriously, I know all about the “we won so just shut up” attitude. But you can’t seriously think that any board election in the past 10 years was decided on the streetcar issue, can you? I mean you’re not that brainwashed, are you?

          • Becoming indifferent

            Do you really think people are voting for Chris Zimmerman, et. al, because they support the streetcar? No, its’s because only a small number of people bother to vote in county elections, and because they have D after their names.

            And it’s not a vocal minority, trust me. If you’ve followed any of discussion on this, it’s not a minority.

          • CW

            I must have accidentally missed you guys a decade ago when you were out on the streetcorners with signs demanding a referendum on Iraq, right? Because surely you must have been doing that.

          • drax

            No, the elections weren’t decided on the streetcar issue.

            Which means nobody is angry about it enough to vote against incumbents.

            What does that tell you?

          • drax

            I demand a referendum on whatever I don’t like! Waaaaaah!

          • John Fontain

            And yet that have bond referendums on a host of much less significant things.

          • Gilmer

            They have to find other ways to fund it by shifting money around, otherwise they know it could be defeated. Look at it this way, the reason a lot of the recent issues showed up on bond votes (like simple road maintenance and parks improvement) is that the county shifted money towards the streetcar and left other stuff unfunded, requiring bond votes, ie, borrowing and putting us deeper in debt because of their streetcar fetish.

          • Elmer

            Congrats! Another 100 %. Great minds do run alike.
            Cousin Elmer.

        • drax

          Because we don’t vote on every little thing, Elmer.

          If there is a bond required, you’ll get to vote on a bond referendum.

          • Elmer

            Glad to know that a quarter of a billion dollar project is simply one of those “…every little things”.
            So a billion here and billion there and pretty soon you are talking real money. Anything less is chump change in Planet Arlington.
            .

          • CW

            Especially when you fudge the numbers.

            Read the documents. (http://news.arlingtonva.us/pr/ava/columbia-pike-streetcar-costs-220095.aspx)

            Arlington would be responsible for $112M. Split that over 30 years or whatever, do some fooling around with interest rates and inflation, and you get a cost in the single digit millions per year in today’s dollars. You really don’t think that making the Pike into a real thoroughfare could grow tax revenue by that much? When condos are selling for $700k each?

            Stop running your mouths like fools.

          • drax

            Um, small projects cost a little money, while big ones cost alot. Simply saying “billions” doesn’t tell you anything about the value of the project vs. its cost. It’s typical empty talk from you.

    • Leaves of 3

      I know. It’s insane. No one I know actually thinks its a good idea, yet you get people like this cheering it on.

      • drax

        You are the center of the universe.

    • JohnB

      I support it.

      • SoMuchForSubtlety

        I support it as well. I just got back from Lisbon, and getting on and off their streetcars made things very easy. Can’t wait to have it here too.

  • BreakPause02

    As long as the County Board can keep raising revenue (can’t say the T word) our AAA rating should stay.

    One of the reasons the Federal Gov’t lost its AAA was its inability to raise taxes.

    • D'oh!

      True, but it was primarily a willingness to take the country to the brink of default, according to S&P.

    • drax

      And it can easily keep raising taxes because our tax rates are still low. On the other hand, our property values are steady, and growing, so large tax increases aren’t necessary.

      • Elmer

        The only reason “… our property values are steady, and growing…” is because in this one company town, the feds are printing money more rapidly than ever in our nation’s history.
        That bubble will come to an end and with it will come a rude awakening for this county so dependent on the federales.

        • drax

          Well, no, that’s not the only reason. But thanks for your usual contribution.

        • SoMuchForSubtlety

          Interesting theory chicken little…

          • Elmer

            Not chicken little. Its the grasshopper and the ant. Ask the grasshoppers in Greece.

          • drax

            Why? We’re not Greece, and we’re not printing Euros either.

    • drax

      “One of the reasons the Federal Gov’t lost its AAA was its inability to raise taxes.”

      The federal government has plenty of room to raise taxes. It may be unwilling to do so, but it is not unable to do so.

      • Elmer

        Typical. Drax and the Feds never heard of cutting expenditures to live within your means.

        • Josh S

          The personal / family budget analogy, although easy to grasp and so therefore very tempting, is extremely flawed.

          • Elmer

            Try this: Socialism works great until you run out of other peoples money to spend-Lady Thatcher.
            Applies to governments-applies to households.

          • Josh S

            Except there is no lack of money in the United States – it’s just increasingly concentrated in the hands of those who have control of the government and therefore can treat it as their very own slice of socialism – as long as the spoils go to them, they are perfectly happy…..

          • drax

            Nobody is talking about socialism except you. Please come back to reality.

      • sunflower

        it is unable b/c it is unwilling– and i dont feel like citing evidences

        • SoMuchForSubtlety

          There’s logic interesting logic for you. Could be useful in lots of places. “I was unable to pay my restaurant bill because I was unwilling to pay it, so I just left without paying”…

          • sunflower

            my point being that even though able, many members of congress are unwilling to amass enough votes to raise taxes

          • drax

            Or “I was unwilling to pay my county restaurant tax, so I ignored it…”

  • don

    The Pike streetcar is being forced on a population who don’t want it. Many of the people who are for it don’t even live in Arlington. An alternatives analysis has already determined that an articulated bus system will cost 1/5 as much as a streetcar system and provide comparable service with little impact on the environment.

    • drax

      Another claim about public opinion without evidence offered.

      • Rick

        Barbara Donnellan seems to have her heart set on it and she doesn’t live in the County…

        • SoMuchForSubtlety

          I supprt it, and I live in the County.

    • Southeast Ben

      Agree with you Don.

      Curious as to how many beneficiaries of the street car project actually pay taxes along the Columbia Pike corridor.

      • Jose

        Haven’t you heard? We only take the bus.

        • Southeast Ben

          Lol, but what if there is a street car?

          • Jose

            what … and ride with all the drunk gringos from Senor Jeffrey’s Tavern y El Perro Negro? I’ll stick to the bus to get between my second and third jobs

          • thelevyisdry

            +1

    • JohnB

      I want it and I live in the county.

  • SoArl

    I live right off of Columbia Pike and I want the street car. If adding quaint charm means more development and higher property values, bring it on.

    • Patrick

      But you want the rest of us to pay for it?

      • Josh S

        Who is this “rest of us” to which you refer?

        It’s a public good. The public pays for it.

        • drax

          Public good, paid for by the public? What are you, a communist?

          • FrenchyB

            In Soviet Union, streetcar rides you!

          • Josh S

            Congrats. Been waiting for that opportunity, I’m sure. And you knocked it out of the park. Well done.

          • FrenchyB

            Yep, sitting on the fastball all the way.

          • DarkHeart

            Russian Machine Never Breaks

        • SoArl

          Yep – I’ve been paying for infrastructure in other parts of Arlington. (I can’t believe we agree on something, Josh, S.)

      • drax

        Did all the taxpayers pay for your street, or just you and your neighbors? Would you never ride the streetcar, or benefit from the (theoretical) decrease in traffic, or the increase in development? Would you not benefit from the increase in revenue to the county from new development and increased property values, allowing the county to keep your taxes from going up?

        Do you think everyone lives in a vacuum?

        • Ayn Randy

          We all live in a vacuum of self interest – there is no community and this is good.

          • Dead Kennedys

            Kill kill kill kill the poor!

          • Ayn Randy

            They should be allowed to fail…….Then rounded up once they become homeless of course.

      • Childless Old Bat

        I’m tired of paying for other people’s kids education.

      • SoMuchForSubtlety

        Yes, we do.

  • Sam

    For the reader comment sections on GGW my eyes always glaze over about 10 comments in.

    • CW

      Two words – curb cuts.

    • Josh S

      Those people give earnestness a bad name.

  • Judy Garland

    CLANG CLANG CLANG went the trolley …

    • Josh S

      Hey Judy – you’re dead. Remember?

      • Hattie McDaniel

        They try to say that about me as well.

      • DarkHeart

        Nora Dunn and Jan Hooks!

  • novasteve

    Face it, libs desperately want street cars so they can pretend they are in San Francisco.

    • WeiQiang

      Wait until we force a bond referendum to add more hills to ArlCo

      • Ballston

        +1

      • Josh S

        What I wouldn’t give for a giant fog machine……

        • WeiQiang

          That’s actually what they were testing at the Sewage Treatment Plant when things went awry and the sh!tter cloggen all the way to Harris Teeter. Ergo, delay in fog capability.

    • drax

      Brilliant comment! Factual, relevant, clever, politically astute, insightful, and above all, witty. A classic contribution from novasteve!

  • BreakPause02

    From the GGW Op-Ed:
    Ryan Arnold earned his master’s degree in Architecture from the University of Michigan in 2009. He currently lives in Arlington.

    What are the odds that Mr. Arnold is a property owner in Arlington subject to the County Boards’ constant tax hikes?

  • SoArl2

    I live right off of Columbia Pike and don’t want the street car, so there!. Ugly overhead wires (that we just spent a fortune undergrounding, increased traffic and difficultly in navigating the Pike around the streetcars, and the cost of the streetcar are all huge negatives to me. Never mind the fact that the increased congestion on the Pike (because, let’s face it, it’s not like all the cars will magically disappear when the street car comes), will be forced onto the side streets making our adjacent neighborhoods even more dangerous for bikers, walkers and residents as the volume and speed of cut-through traffic increases. Also, has anyone actually said if the streetcar will replace the 12 or so bus lines going up the Pike? Or will the streetcar be in addition to the huge number of buses already making the Pike difficult and dangerous to drive in rush hour?

    • Josh S

      For better or worse, it’s almost impossible to “cut through” the neighborhoods and make any better time than you would on the Pike itself. I can’t see how anyone is going to be forced off the Pike into the neighborhoods simply because of a streetcar.

      Yes, someone has actually said whether the streetcar will replace bus lines.

      I can see why the cost of the streetcar would be a negative to you. It’s a known. And, while I don’t agree with you, I can see why concerns for the aesthetics of overhead lines would be a negative. It’s also pretty much a given. But your concerns about the “difficulty in navigating the Pike around the streetcars” are purely speculative. Personally, I can’t see why they would make much of a difference. Sure, it’s a large vehicle, but so are buses and trucks. And the streetcar only goes by so often.

      • SoArl2

        Well, if it’s “almost impossible to ‘cut throught’” to make better time, why is there so much cut through traffic on the streets adjacent to the Pike. But I guess you’re being speculative . . .

        OK, where is the reference to which bus routes will be displaced? And where, then, will the routes that go beyond the streetcar pick up all of the people that can’t take the streetcar to their final destination?

        It’s difficult not to see how a streetcar that is confined to one lane won’t become a barrier to through-traffic if it breaks down, if there’s a vehicular accident blocking the way, etc.

        I think you need to look at this objectively.

        • Josh S

          If it breaks down. How often will that happen?

          If there is a vehicluar accident blocking the way? How often will that happen? When it does happen, how is that the streetcar’s fault?

          If a car/bus can drive around a breakdown or accident, what is to stop them from driving around a breakdown or accident plus the streetcar that is stuck behind the breakdown or accident? Wouldn’t this just be an inconvenience for the streetcar patrons?

          Objectivity is very important when evaluating whether or not to build a streetcar. You know what else is important? Skepticism. I am very skepitcal that these hypothetical / chicken-little scenarios that you are offering up will be frequent enough occurrances to be relevant.

    • SoMuchForSubtlety

      I want the street car, so there!!

  • Becoming indifferent

    As was mentioned in an earlier piece on the streetcars, put it to a referendum. This will finally put an end to this ridiculous streetcar plan.

    • Ballston

      We have. It’s called county board elections. We keep electing people who are in favor of the streetcar, so clearly people want it.

      • http://theliffeyswell.blogspot.com Foggy Dew

        +1

      • Gilmer

        Yes, they are all reelected at-large in staggered elections and funded by the very developers who will cash in and run when their projects get approved.

        Put the county board seats into precincts and elect more than 2 every cycle and see what the “people want”.

        • Elmer

          Gilmer, You’er 100% correct.
          I would expect nothing less from a person whose name rhymes with “Elmer”.

          • drax

            Gilmer rhymes with Elmer?

          • CourthouseChris

            near rhyme

        • drax

          So what if they are at-large?

          Maybe you could get one Republican on the board with wards. Maybe. But the Dems on the board, every time, are elected with strong majorities across the county.

          Funding of elections is completely irrelevant to what the voters want.

      • onjulic

        ‘Ballston’ is correct. We elect people to the County Board who can then do what they want and ignore what the citizens want. (Not to mention a significant portion of the voters will elect whomever has a ‘D’ after their name, regardless of what the candidate says.)

  • CW

    @ARLnow – regardless of what people think of the streetcar, Mr. Arnold has a better grasp of subject-verb agreement than that for which you give him credit.

  • Cakes

    I wonder how a proposed streetcar would operate with the Right Turn Only lane @ Wash Blvd. 395 intersection between 630-9am. It can’t switch lanes (right? its in the right hand lane).

    • drax

      It would go straight.

      • Cakes

        What about those turning from the left-hand lane?

        • WeiQiang

          Maybe the new design of that interchange will address this issue.

        • Andrew

          They would be cut off just like they are now by other drivers who do not pay attention and metro buses.

    • bobco85

      It would be incorporated into the Washington Blvd bridge construction project that will redo the intersection (Here’s the ARLnow article). At that part, the road would be 3 lanes (2 straight, 1 right turn only) so I think it will use the right of the 2 straight lanes.

  • JM

    I live near the Pike and I do not want a streetcar system. An alternatives analysis has already been completed which indicates that BRT would cost 20% what a street car system would and provide equivalent service. I am also displeased about how many non-residents who work in the County Manager’s office are busy inflicting a streetcar system on us, starting with the County Manager.

    • drax

      That’s startup cost only, not operating costs.

    • Vinh An Nguyen

      How is a dedicated bus lane even possible on this road?

      • relievedcyclist

        it would be articulated buses, but in mixed service. Some folks use “BRT” for anything beyond conventional bus service – its a poorly defined term to begin with, and when rail opponents use it, it gets stretched even further.

  • Jacob

    Streetcars were everywhere in the 1910s. They all disappeared for a reason, namely that they suck.

    • drax

      So we should get rid of sidewalks too? We have cars after all.

      • John Fontain

        Logic fail. Sidewalks didn’t disappear.

        • Joan Fountain

          Neither did “all” streetcars.

    • Josh S

      Jesus, and our property taxes went to your public school so you could come out and make that argument?

    • S. Arlington Resident

      They disappeared because of the automobile and Ford’s invention of the assembly line AND because of gasoline lobbyists. Know your history!

    • jan

      No, Jacob. Read your history.

  • CW

    Can we get a sound-off on who commenting on this article has ever actually ridden a streetcar? And I mean a modern one integrated into the roadway and traffic pattern, not a quaint holdover e.g. San Francisco. Just curious.

    • Rick

      Actually I believe novasteve has used them based on previous posts.

    • Garden City

      I have, in Toronto, Ontario. The streetcar system, originally laid in in the 19th century, has grown as the city has grown, and was not retrofitted. It works very well. There was a move in the early 1980s to remove it, but the citizenry was very set against it. so the abandonment plan was abandoned. The streetcar network has actually been expanded over the past decade, and continues to be expanded.

    • reflecting on street cars

      Last time that I can recall was also in Toronto, over 15 years ago. I’ve also ridden them in Boston, Baltimore and Newark, but those were in fully or partially seperated rights of way.

    • Josh S

      Gosh, have you ever been to SF? I’m guessing not. You appear to be referring to the cable cars, which indeed have been around for a long time and are primarily (although certainly not exclusively) ridden by tourists and local whimsy-seekers. But MUNI rail operates half a dozen streetcar lines that service a large part of the city, are ridden daily by tens of thousands, operate both in the roadway (sometimes in the curb lane, sometimes not, and sometimes down the middle of the street when there is only one lane each way) and underground (in the same stations as BART downtown), and are an integral part of the local transportation system. There is nothing quaint about them.
      However, since they have also been operating for decades, perhaps they are a “holdover.”

      • CW

        Right, I agree with you. But a lot of people have the old SF cable cars in their mind as what a streetcar is. Look at the people making the 1910 references and saying “that’s why we got rid of streetcars”. I was simply using the must famous example to create a juxtaposition between what the naysayers’ perception is and a modern system (which you also describe). Calm down there, chief.

      • PaulB

        You can take the Judah line out to the ocean as an example. Works great out there on the surface street. That in now way resembles the situation on Columbia Pike. There’s a reason the lines go underground as they get into the city core.

        • Four Mile Run Baby

          And let’s not forget that for much of its run above ground, it’s in dedicated lanes (but not at 9th and Irving, the best place to get off the N-Judah… sigh). In-traffic trolley will be a disaster.

        • Josh S

          Actually, not all the streetcars do go underground in busy areas – Market street has plenty, with the little waiting areas in the middle of the street and everything. Market Street is busier than Columbia Pike.

          • WeiQiang

            +1

    • WeiQiang

      Amsterdam, Prague, Oslo, Istanbul [not extensive enough for the city ... cabs are preferable], Munich and Toronto [which ties in to the GO train well]

    • J

      I rode something roughly similar in Istanbul. It was maddeningly slow since it stops for every stop plus every traffic light. The parts where it was offset from traffic were quite decent, but I don’t think we’re talking about that here.

      • CW

        I have ridden that one as well. It is indeed slow where it is integrated into traffic; where it has separation is is quite efficient. However, even in the “slow” parts it is still moving no more slowly than the cars and buses, many dozens of which it is replacing.

      • drax

        Just like a bus.

    • thegreatGU

      Lived abroad for 14 years.

      Vienna, London, Germany, Prague, Amsterdam, Korea, China

      Streetcars are used to support other main modes of transport. Columbia pike is better supported by a metro line with street cars going north/south between the lines.

      • CW

        This is a good statement.

        I’ve said it before. I’d take the “real thing” (metro) over the streetcar; it’s a no-brainer. But, sadly, we don’t have that option right now. This is what makes supporting the streetcar a tough project. If they build it, then that basically kills any chance of metro ever happening. So should we hold out for metro? But, with the current state of capital projects in this country, what is the chance of that ever happening to begin with? A very tough call.

      • Vinh An Nguyen

        They will never build a Metro line down Columbia Pike.

    • John Fontain

      I’ve ridden one in Portland, Oregon and liked it a lot. Although I don’t think their downtown has anywhere near the volume of commuters and traffic as the Pike does.

    • dirty biker

      Portland- Street Car + bike (+ rain gear) pretty much eliminates the need for a car. Works great, moves lots of people, has resulted in excellent corridor improvements.

    • SoMuchForSubtlety

      I just used one in Lisbon. The #15 which gose from the Baixa all the way out to Belem. It was completely modern and extremely convenient. I also used the #28 streetcar, which is an older version, quite a bit. Lisbon has both an extensive undergound subway and an extensive streetcar system. They serve different purposes. For short distances, its much easier to get on and off the street car. And of course its great for areas not served by subway (such as the Belem neighborhgood in Lisbon).

      • Vicente Fox

        Yes, but the Euro is a faulty currency union, so obviously a streetcar in Northern Virginia will doom us to retiring at 55 and have the month of August off from work.

        Or something like that.

    • http://theliffeyswell.blogspot.com Foggy Dew

      Dublin, Ireland; Long Beach, Calif., both systems worked really well, were pleasing to the eye (overhead wires – not a big deal), didn’t clog up the joint and, most important, got you to where you were going without any fuss.

    • Suburban Not Urban

      I have – Media PA – and the integration between streetcar and road system caused endless problems.

      • Josh S

        For who?

        • WeiQiang

          For WHOM?

  • Rick

    Greater Greater Washington would support a streetcar that goes straight into the potomac. And how long has the County been trying to revitalize Columbia Pike?

  • cranky crankypants

    For cripe’s sakes, the streetcar discussion has been going on forever. At the time that the county was reviewing options, going through the Arlington Way, the people said that they wanted a streetcar. The planned streetcar was part of the calculus behind the reconstruction of the new Giant and most of the recent development down there. It is a redevelopment lure. If we want the Pike to be something better than a backwater in the county, and I believe we do, then we have to invest. When others start dropping cash based on our plan, it’s bad form to change the plan.

    • JohnB

      +1

    • SoMuchForSubtlety

      +1000

  • Jason Bourne

    Street cars will just increase crime or gun shoot-outs. See my movies.

  • thegreatGU

    Put a metro under Columbia Pike and the traffic problem is solved.

  • DB

    I’ll support rail any day. Bring on the street car.

    (Nice image for the morning notes!)

  • SinSA

    I live off of Columbia Pike, and I take the busses all the time. I am fully supportive of the streetcar idea. It will boost my property value (and those around me), it will hopefully be a lot more efficient than waiting for a bus running 10-15 minutes late and then having 3 of them pull up at the same time, and it will bring people and businesses to the Pike area. Yes, it’s going to cost money. A lot of money. So did Metro when they were building that. If you don’t want to use it, then don’t use it. That saves a seat for me.

  • barry

    Articulated buses use the same lanes as regular buses. I have ridden the Portland streetcar, it’s slow. I have ridden the Las Vegas ACE articulated bus. It’s not slow.

    No one is talking about the thousands of parking spaces to be built in the Pike corridor.

    We need to get people out of their autos. But that’s not what’s being planned for the Pike. There will be more auto traffic. Lots more auto traffic.

    • SoMuchForSubtlety

      Interesting calculus: better public transportation = more car traffic. Hmmmm…

  • G Clifford Prout (now moderated for extra purity)

    Just back from two weeks in Sunny San Francisco. I can report back that Arlington is NOT the San Francisco on the Potomac. What I can report is that I made a special point utilizing public transportation wherever I went. So, Cliffy went out and got a seven-day pass and rode the cable cars, the historic streetcar, the modern streetcar, the bus and yes the BART to and from SFO. I did rush hour and non rush hour travel. Never did I see any of the things folks on here fear so much. Cars and streetcars coexisted, and even the 80 year old streetcars on the F line weren’t breaking down every five feet. Taking the N Judah line there were three cars running as one train. That was about the size of three articulated busses. So I do buy into the greater capacity argument. What I did marvel at was how well all parts of the system worked together. How will the streetcar work with other parts of our transit puzzle: ART, Metrorail and Metrobus?

    • jan

      Thanks!

  • Becoming indifferent

    One thing that nobody has brought up is “diversity”–people in Arlington, especially the County Board, seem to love “diversity.” Has any noticed the “diversity” around Clarendon on a Saturday? We have both yuppies and hipsters! Diversity!

    If this proposed streetcar system goes in, and property values go up all along the Pike as people hope, we’ll still have our Thai restaurants and maybe a pupaseria. But where will all the people who bus tables, mow lawns, and perform other labor live? Not around Columbia Pike. It’s hard enough for county employees to live in Arlington (I used to be one–I know). Sure they will be a handfull of “affordable” units around, but not nearly enough. And anytime the word “affordable” is used, the NIMBYs go berserk.

    Maybe what Arlington considers “diversity” is different than what I thought it was?

    • Four Mile Run Baby

      See, the increase in land values from the streetcar will further increase whitening… excuse me, gentrification (only the vast majority of “urban gentrifiers” are white, not all)… which will allow for more property tax money (and bond issues) to create artificial pockets of affordable housing to offset gentrification in Arlington. The diverse part of Arlington’s world-class, diverse community will live wherever the county deems those pockets to be after intense “negotiations” with the developers.

      The hateful NIMBY opponents of artificial affordable housing will be rightly shamed, especially since they won’t be placing this housing within spittin’ distance of anybody with any real power around here. The Arlington Way will be invoked (amply supported by the usual cheerleaders) to cover the imposition of “affordable housing” where there was none to replace the former market-driven affordable housing where bland units of mid-rise brick facade, poorly enclosing granite countertops, off-brand gyms, and microbrews must rise.

      Developers get rich, the county gets more tax money out of us, and we get to keep the veneer of diversity to keep the liberal guilt at bay – even if most of our new neighbors look and act just like us (and not like the people who used to live around there).

      • NotLiberTard

        why does it matter whether affordable housing is “natural” or “artificial” – is it like sweeteners, does artificial affordable housing give lab rats cancer? Is there unrefined affordable housing?

        • Four Mile Run Baby

          Unnecessary cost and regulation at the expense of necessary cost and regulation. If Arlington were serious about a real stock of affordable housing, it would simply not have approved the various development projects (starting all the way back at the redevelopment of Arna Valley if not earlier).

          Instead it did and continues to do so. Now, instead of having tax money going to road repair, improved street lighting, etc, it will go to subsidize housing for some of the very people that got developed out and we have to issue bonds to get the streets fixed… eventually. Bonds that will come due…

  • 5555624

    While I live within a couple of blocks of the Pike and do not want the streetcar; but I realize that a significant number of people — perhaps not a majority — want it. Yes, I know that many of these people who support it do not live near Columbia Pike or even in south Arlington. All I ask is that the “supporters” show their support and, once the streetcar is built, make two round-trips Monday through Friday — if the “supporters” do this, the streetcar will be a success. In fact, it will be so successful that the ‘supporters’ will support one on Wilson Boulevard, from Rosslyn to Bluemont.

  • Arlingtonian

    The article says: “A Greater Greater Washington writer opines that “Columbia Pike’s proposed streetcar line will help revitalize one of Arlington county’s busiest corridor. …”

    Horsefeathers.

    Columbia Pike does not need “revitalization”. It is already “vital”.

    “Revitalization” is a word that developers use whenever they want to make big bucks by evicting low-income residents and low-rent businesses from their long-standing homes and establishments.

    “Revitalization” means the same thing as “urban renewal”. They both sound good. They both bring disaster to people who have lived and worked for years in their neighborhoods.

    • replytothat

      You are spot on Arlingtonian.

    • Josh S

      I agree completely that the term “revitalization” is completely overused and perhaps meaningless at this point. It’s just development. Was there a magic time in the past when the Pike was vital and then it wasn’t? I wonder.

  • Becoming indifferent

    Thank you, Arlingtonian! Couldn’t have said it better myself!

    • S. Arlington Resident

      The term is real. 8 Years ago I wouldn’t walk down the Pike to get a pizza, coffee and a bagel, go grocery shopping, watch a soccer match, or go to see John Lovitz at the Cinema Draft House. Now I can do a number of those things every day. How is that NOT revitalizaiton!?! I can’t wait for the Rosenthal development to be done. The development looks 100x better than the current car dealership. Seems to be another good example of continued revitalizaiton.

      • John K.

        Of the those things on you list I would do, I did those things 8 years ago and don’t see why someone wouldn’t have… unless it was 2am, in which case, I still wouldn’t. Columbia Pike was vital then, too… just not as “pretty”.

        • S. Lincoln St Resident

          8 years ago there was no Lost Dog, no Giant, no P. Brennan’s, or no high rise apartment buildings. The Pike has been revitalized in that sense with more affluence catering to a greater range of demographics.

          • 5555624

            Uh, there was a Giant eight years ago. Ten years ago there was the Cowboy Cafe. the original Five Guys, the Broiler, and Brenner’s Bakery.

            Since Giant was there and I would take Mom’s Pizza over Lost Dog and the Cowboy Cafe over P. Brennan’s, your point seems to be that we can now pay more for lesser quality?

  • S. Lincoln St Resident

    I forgot about those places we felt real comfortable taking our children to. Remember the produce in that crappy Giant? Think there’s a difference now? The Giant has been revitalized!

×

Subscribe to our mailing list