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Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | July 9, 2012 at 8:45 am | 3,931 views | 107 Comments

Plane at DCA Sinks into Tarmac — It was so hot Friday that a US Airways flight got stuck in some heat-softened pavement while taxi-ing to the runway. [Washington Post]

Vote Set on Pike Streetcar Plan — On July 21 the Arlington County Board is scheduled to vote on whether to proceed with plans to build a streetcar or add enhanced bus service along Columbia Pike. The Board is expected to formally sanction the streetcar plan, then apply for federal funding. [Sun Gazette]

Arlington Living Wage Increased — Arlington County has raised its minimum salary for contracted employees to $13.13 an hour, up from $12.75. The increase puts Arlington in line with Fairfax and Alexandria, both of which pay a $13.13 living wage. [Washington Business Journal]

Arlington Resident Wins on Jeopardy — Arlington resident Stephanie Fontaine racked up two back-to-back wins on the televised game show “Jeopardy!” last week. She’ll try to make it 3-for-3 on the show tonight. [Sun Gazette]

Flickr pool photo by BrianMKA

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  • JnA

    C.B meeting agenda for July 21,23,24 should be posted on the C.B.’s Web page by Friday afternoon.

  • G Clifford Prout (now moderated for extra purity)

    OK. I’ll take the bait.

    YEA! GO STREETCAR!

  • Over moderated

    Golly. I wonder how the streetcar vote will turn out. What a puzzle. Let me go out on a limb: i predict it will pass. I know it’s a risky bet, what with the Board keeping an open mind and listening to both sdes and all. (its the Arlington Way, you know.) But I still lean toward it passing. Call me a crazy dreamer.

  • novasteve

    I’ve actually heard of lawyers making less than that “living wage” standard I see in this article.

    • Ballston

      What kind of lawyer makes less than $30k a year?

      • jackson

        Every year someone has to be last in his class at law school!

      • bob

        Lawyers that went to GMU.

        • Marie Antoinette

          Interesting. I know 3 people who are now partners. Your comment? FAIL.

          • South Awwlington

            Mason is a Tier 1 Law School.

      • Norht A-Town Snob

        Maybe not $30K a year, but plenty of people starting out of law school maybe made $65-80K year and work 15 hour days, 6 days a week…sometimes more. Average that one out and it isn’t too different per hour. Heck, I work on average 55-60 hours per week and even at $100K+, my hourly rate would be kind of crap.

        • Elmer

          Don’t despair. Relief is on the way for the lawyers. There are 13,000 pages of regulations being written to tell us what’s in the 2700 pages of Obamacare.
          Full employment for the lawyers.
          I feel healthier-though not wealthier-already.

          • drax

            Because there aren’t any long regulations for your private insurance policy, right Elmer?

      • novasteve

        I recall seeing when the economy was “good” advertisements for licensed lawyers to work for $10/hr. I know of lawyers who have graduated law school and the best they can do in the legal field is to due unpaid internships for an ADA in NYC… Pretty soon law school grads will feel “lucky” to work at starbucks.

        • Elmer

          The lawyer behind the counter asks: So will you have fries with that Big Mac, Sir?

          Hey, its the new economy. Ready for another four years?

          • Jackson

            Is it really the economy’s fault? There was a joke about there being more students in law school than there were practicing lawyers in St Elmo’s Fire, a movie set in this region about 25 years ago.

  • http://facebook.com/johnjiangisawesome JohnJiangisAwesome

    We all know the board will vote for the streetcar; is this news anymore?

    Hyper-gentrify all of the pike & surrounding areas already and re-pave the pike so we can fill it with beemers, ranges, audis, and benzs already

    • South Awwlington

      I know. It’s about time!

    • Becoming indifferent

      I agree–streetcar will pass, so why have a meeting. Even that bobblehead Tejada will vote for it once he figures out how everyone else is voting. I probably won’t be living in Arlington by the time this thing is finally running, let alone by the time construction starts, so what do I care if this boneheaded plan bankrupts the county and makes Columbia PIke as bland as Wonder Bread?

      • South Awwlington

        Bland – as in property owners actually maintaining and IMPROVING their property? I’ll take that Wonder Bread 6 days a week and twice on Sunday.

        You know, when I first moved to Columbia Pike I was amazed — I was amazed that homes and properties so close to Arlington Ridge, Lyon Park, Pentagon City and Crystal City could be allowed to be so run down. We see it on Glebe Road/Four Mile Run Drive also. You don’t have to live in a 700k home to maintain it. Pride in ownership, neighborhoods and community is sorely missing many parts of South Arlington and I hope the Streetcar reinvigorates some of that pride.

        • Over moderated

          Oh there’s no doubt it will. By running out all the low income residents who are too busy working to make ends meet to spend all their time maintaining there homes to your satisfaction. And when that happens, of course, the board will then start with the “oh nos! There is not enough affordable housing in Arlington!” and raise taxes to promote the very thing their policies destroyed. And round and round it goes.

          • South Awwlington

            Too busy working – You mean like me with a full-time and part-time job?

            Maintaining their homes to my satisfaction – if this is what you consider NOT using their quarter acre duplex yard for a trash can, well OK then.

            I’m not asking for English Gardens here. Just a little litter collection and disposal. If living in your own trash is OK with you and it doesn’t bother you that your run down blight affects the whole neighborhood, then I don’t want you living anywhere near me.

        • Mary-Austin

          Time to tear down all these slummy South Arlington p.o.s. homes!
          Bring on the 1.5mil BCN bungalows baby!

          • confused

            over mod says the street car will change the make up of the pike, replacing old housing with new hirises.

            Mary A has said that development will not change due to the street car.

            Which is it?

            One suggests that the streetcar will reduce affordable housing, but will increase tax revenues (possibly paying for itself)

            The other suggests that there will not be new tax revenues, but also that the affordable housing is doomed anyway.

            I dont see how both can be true (IE that the street car will drive out low income folks, but NOT generate new tax revenues)

          • Mike

            Also confusing:
            How is it that streetcar opponents says that (1) the streetcar will not work, or at least will not be any more effective than the much cheaper articulated bus alternative, yet (2) the streetcar is going to spur development, bring in rich people, and drive out lower income people? Both of these things can’t be true, can they? If articulated buses will work just as well, then development along the Pike will occur anyway, without the streetcar. Or if the streetcar is not going to work and is just going to make traffic worse, then that fact is going to keep the rich people from moving in.
            It sounds like, invoking the spirit of Yogi Berra, they are saying, “that streetcar will be such a failure, everyone will want to live next to it.”

          • drax

            Great point, Mike!

            Where’s Marie Antionette? She likes to have her cake and eat it too.

          • WeiQiang

            Does cake come in a suitcase? I love cake.

          • Mary-Austin

            Yes some of the pro-streetcar commenters here seem to be constantly confused.
            It’s not that the streetcar “will not work” whatever that means.
            It will not do anything for transportation that modernized buses will not do.
            Development is coming to Columbia Pike and has been for several years because it is and extremely convenient location with cheaper land.
            And how would making traffic worse keep the rich from moving in? It would just make life worse for everybody.

          • confused

            “Development is coming to Columbia Pike and has been for several years because it is and extremely convenient location with cheaper land.”

            then how does the street car have any impact on the existing affordable units, which it seems are doomed anyway?

          • Marie Antoinette

            Drax,

            I will fully support the Trolly when the Arlington Board authorizes my diamond encrusted 12 horse carriage!

            Ta Ta

          • Mike

            Mary-Austin —
            I’m a streetcar agnostic, but I can’t help but notice that your arguments are internally contradictory.
            How would increasing traffic keep rich people from moving in? That’s easy: Rich people, by definition, can afford to live where they want to, so if the quality of life along the Columbia Pike is not good, the rich aren’t going to move there, or won’t stick around for long if they do.
            If the streetcar won’t do anything that articulated buses won’t do, then articulated buses will cause the same spike in development.
            And if development is coming anyway, then the streetcar won’t have any effect on it.
            The streetcar may be a failure – a poor investment that will not be as cost-effective as better bus service, does nothing to relieve congestion, and does not make the Columbia Pike a better place to live. Or it may successful — a nicer, more popular form of transportation that makes the Pike better, and hence pushes prices up. But it isn’t going to be both of those things. In their zeal to kill the streetcar, some people don’t seem to recognize the irony in arguing that the streetcar will not live up to expectations, yet it will simultaneously drive up housing prices as everyone scrambles to live next to the failed streetcar line.

        • Marie Antoinette

          I’m sure you do. As long as it is on our dime, why not, right?

      • Id

        This is what you get with a One-Party Board. No different philosophical approach to fiscal responsibility. Wait until Federal subsidies to the County disappear.

    • drax

      Keep Columbia Pike Poor!

      • Id

        No, try responsible governing. Columbia Pike has already started turning around with new businesses. Keep raising the tax rate and you will have people fleeing Arlington like the 40,000 people expected to leave Maryland due to the new tax increases that went into effect on July 1st there.

        • jackson

          You do know the new businesses on the Pike are largely there due to the promise of the trolley, right? Of course you do.

          • Mary-Austin

            Yea I just don’t get it. How are they staying in business without the streetcar?!?

          • jackson

            Yeah, you don’t get it.

          • South Awwlington

            Mary – I can assume from your comment that you don’t know much about business but I can tell you that any business doesn’t set up shop in area that they suspect will have stagnant or declining revenues.

            Yes, development is happening now and that will sustain the business who have come and will come in the near future. The long game is about increased revenues over time to grow their sales. This view would not be possible without the promise of a streetcar.

          • Mary-Austin

            Why wouldn’t growth be possible without a streetcar?
            Plenty of places see growth without a streetcar. In fact development is booming on Columbia Pike and there isn’t even guaranteed funding yet.

          • South Awwlington

            I don’t know, perhaps you should ask folks who live on and around underdeveloped corridors in other less affluent areas?

            As for our particular situation, a streetcar has been talked about for years on Columbia Pike and was a determining factor when businesses decided to set up shop here.

            You might argue that owners were hedging their bets by coming before the Streetcar but at least they had their pick of location by doing so.

            Arlington has a reputation of getting infrastructure projects done, therefore how big of a gamble was it?

          • Robert A Buoy

            The “businesses opening near the streetcar” argument is so silly. What will you say when they close down? What do people say about businesses along the Orange Line in Clarendon that close down? Did transportation fail them?

          • South Awwlington

            And how long does that closed business space stay vacant on said Orange Line?

          • Robert A Buoy

            I’d venture it’s been over five years that the space less than 20 feet from the Ballston metro entrance has been empty.

          • South Awwlington

            Robert – Please provide more detailed information on the address so we can find out the real reason it has been empty for so long. Perhaps landlord greed and a soft market are contributing.

            We won’t know until we research it. Otherwise, the statement is just more hot air in this fight.

          • Robert A Buoy

            The former Ruby Tuesdays? You have not heard of that spot?

            Perhaps landlord greed and soft markets (as if?) will never occur on the Precious Pike. LOL. You have no argument.

          • jackson

            Ballston metro isn’t a great analogy because it’s also located at a large bus station on a street cars can’t even drive down for half the block.

          • Id

            I don’t think so.

          • Overly moderated

            Gosh! Now it’s a magical trolley! They have not even decided to build it yet and it is already drawimg scores or new businesses to the Pike. I guess if we debatebuildingTWO trolleys a decade from now new starts in that area will probably double, no?

          • drax

            I recall some business owners saying they were anticipating the trolley, but I can’t find the quotes. Most smart business owners get into a good thing early though.

          • jackson

            One of the new restaurant owners at Penrose mentioned the trolley as a reason for opening there in an article on this site.

          • confused

            Im guessing its the buildings (which have long lives) are possibly being built in anticipation – retail stores and restaurants of course need current revenue.

            Personally I think SOME development would take place anyway (possibly including all the current development), but the street car will mean more.

          • Salmon Ella

            The trolley idea has been around for some time now. I heard about it through the Chamber of Commerce maybe 5 years ago, so yeah, some businesses are probably there in anticipation of the trolley.

  • brian

    great time to raise wages!

    now time to raise my rental property monthly rates!!!

  • Benjamin W.

    So despite vigorous protests and sublimely reasonable alternatives, Arlington’s going to go ahead and make a preposterously expensive investment that will cause construction delays for years, won’t improve traffic, and won’t reduce commute times? Cool.

    • Becoming indifferent

      It’s the Arlington Way!

    • South Awwlington

      A small group of vocal opponents with multiple email addresses and online comment forum names in NO WAY equals vigorous protests.

      One need only examine a primary argument of this group against the streetcar: “I don’t want my property values to go up. Then I’ll have to pay more taxes.” I heard Newt is opening a new lunar colony and they need people. Have fun.

      • Becoming indifferent

        The opponents’ numbers aren’t that small. If you read the comments closely, taxes are not the only reason many of us oppose the streetcar. The fact that this will cost a lot of money and do nothing to alleviate traffic on the Pike is one of many concerns. I have yet to meet a single person who thinks streetcars are a good idea. I know, this is not a scientific survey, but I think I would have come across at least one Arlingtonian who supports this boondoggle.

        • Id

          It reminds me of a Simpsons when Homer is given the chance to design an automobile for a car company and his design was so outlandish (huge cupholders, shag carpet, tailfins, bubble domes) it bankrupted the car company.

        • Mary-Austin

          The streetcar proponents don’t read the comments closely, listen to other ideas, take a common sense approach etc. The county board is right there with them.
          Many of my neighbors who live in the area and actually want to stay here disagree with the plan. Sprinkle in a few who are just here for several years and then hope to cash in or those who think it would be kinda cute to see themselves lugging their groceries from a whole foods on a trolley.

          • drax

            “The streetcar proponents don’t read the comments closely, listen to other ideas, take a common sense approach etc.”

            Well, anyone can say that about anyone.

          • DCBuff

            Which applies to your comment about I-66 below.

          • drax

            No it doesn’t.

        • FrenchyB

          You need to get out more.

        • South Awwlington

          Yes, they are. I get every email on the yahoo groups from any of about five people. Bitching about the same old thing, time and again. Grasping at whatever terror tactic they can muster for the desired audience.

      • DCBuff

        Or, a small group of vocal proponents with multiple email addresses and online comment forum names in NO WAY equals vigorous support.

        One need only examine a primary argument of this group for the streetcar: “I don’t care about fiscal responsibility. Let someone else pay more taxes. I like fancy things that ArlCo calls ‘world class’”

        • South Awwlington

          One need only examine a primary argument of this group for the streetcar: “I don’t care about fiscal responsibility. Let someone else pay more taxes. I like fancy things that ArlCo calls ‘world class’ —

          This is your argument against a transportation option that will pay for itself via increased commercial tax revenues. How can anything that is self sustaining be used to support the argument about not caring about fiscal responsibility?

          Did you really just write that?

    • drax

      So you oppose new lanes on I-66, huh Benjamin?

      • Becoming indifferent

        How did lanes on I-66 enter the picture here?

        I don’t know if it matters, but I oppose those.

        • drax

          I was referring to Benjamin’s comment:

          “despite vigorous protests and sublimely reasonable alternatives, (the state of Virginia is) going to go ahead and make a preposterously expensive investment that will cause construction delays for years, won’t improve traffic, and won’t reduce commute times.”

          Fits I-66 lanes perfectly.

      • ACDC Hack

        Nice try to divert the thread there “Board Boy”……….

    • Id

      When Scottsdale Arizona built their street car system, the number of car accidents skyrocketed because of people’s unfamiliarity with driving on a road with a street car. I wonder if that scenario will be in our future as well.

      • South Awwlington

        Ever driven in DC during a major snow/rain event? I rest my case.

        • Mary-Austin

          What a terrible argument.
          A major snow event occurs maybe 3 or 4 times a year.
          People will be unfamiliar with driving behind, around, and in front of a streetcar every day for a long time.

          • South Awwlington

            No, it’s not a terrible argument. Bad driving happens here daily. Using the word “major” was a mistake. When does responsibility of awareness become expected of people?

  • Southeast Ben

    That cloud of smoke should represent my tax dollars.

    • Sam Walton

      No – that cloud of smoke is the exhaust from the six articulated buses that just went around the trolley that was in an accident with a car where the signals were dark.

      • South Awwlington

        No – that cloud of smoke is billowing from that car that the articulated bus slammed into during the first major ice/snowstorm of the winter. Notice the streetcar happily continuing on its route during inclement weather.

      • nom de guerre

        Sorry, the electric power went out during the first major ice/snowstorm and the streetcar is dead in its tracks.

        • South Awwlington

          And preytell what took out the power from the underground upgraded utilities on Columbia Pike? Perhaps a floor sheered off Penrose and landed on the Catenarys? Do you believe that the County would allow tree growth so close to the wires should one of them fall, the service would be disrupted?

          This argument is null should the County opt for Alstom and the conduit powered system. Only drawback here is the company is not American. I for one, would prefer using an American company (American Streetcar) for this project thereby ensuring more job hours for the American worker.

        • confused

          how do they keep the green line running in Boston?

          • South Awwlington

            It doesn’t snow there. :)

  • Tabby_TwoTone

    Cool photo.

  • Becoming indifferent

    So what’s your point with the article? That’s supposed to convince us to support it?

    • South Awwlington

      No, we know nothing would make you support anything the Board did. My point is to at least expose you to facts rather than fears – at least in regard to overhead power line arguments in this instance.

      I don’t suppose I would ever have the pleasure of meeting you on the Streetcar. Either because you live in North Arlington and enjoy lobbing verbal grenades at the threat of South Arlington gaining influence or you live in South Arlington and don’t take transit because it’s for the lower class.

      • Robert A Buoy

        Everybody in south Arlington seems to have a bad inferiority complex.

        • South Awwlington

          Please don’t confuse my defense of a vision and hope for the renewal of the Columbia Pike neighborhood with inferiority.

          The inferiority complex comes from the North Arlington property owners who will have to compete with a broader real estate market base in the sales of their properties as buyers have more options to choose from when seeking to relocate to Arlington County.

          • Robert A Buoy

            If the streetcar is built, they will build mostly apartments along there. The few condos that go up are not going to put a dent in any housing numbers in Arlington.

          • South Awwlington

            The proximity to rail transportation will have a direct impact on the housing within .5 mile of the stops on the line. That means ALOT of single family homes will fall into this category and will be considered a lot more attractive than before the service was introduced. This will have a direct impact on sfh’s, condos, and apartments. The impact of the streetcar does not stop at the sidewalks edge on Columbia Pike.

          • Robert A Buoy

            There is already bus service that stops more frequently along the Precious Pike than the streetcar will. The access to transportation is already factored into those properties.

          • South Awwlington

            Your snide “Precious Pike” remarks are a clear indicator of the level of maturity I am dealing with here so I’ll keep this short.

            Proximity to a bus stop does not affect property values in the same way the proximity to a rail station does – at least in regard to Northern Virginia.

          • Robert A Buoy

            You’re continuance and goalpost shifting in the face of me refuting every single point you have attempted to make is a clear indicator of the level of intellect I am dealing with here.

            Too easy.

          • SoArl

            How exactly are you refuting every point? Just because you’re responding doesn’t mean you are correct.

          • South Awwlington

            Your v. You’re usage in an argument hinged on intellect. Priceless.

          • Robert A Buoy

            lol autocorrect. You win.

            Wait a minute……. count up the grammar errors in this thread and you are worse. I would gloat, but that’s not my style.

            But I know you would rather talk about anything other than the actual issues. You didn’t know about the Ruby Tuesday space at Ballston, did you? Kind of messes up one of your theories.

            Now go proofread my comments.

          • South Awwlington

            Here’s your listing: http://www.showcase.com/property/901-N-Stuart-Street/Arlington/Virginia/137308 . Costar is the marketing company.

            As for how long it has been vacant, I don’t know and only have your recollection to rely on. This is particularly troubling to me given your demonstrated propensity for hyperbole.

            I never was much one for Ruby Tuesday, I started noticing how bad their food was sometime around 1995 in High School and haven’t sought them out since. I will happily discuss with you the differences between destination and chain restaurants, clientele, long range economic expansion 10 years ago versus now, etc. I’ll even suggest (and as I am sure you know) no matter WHERE you locate your business, if it sucks, it will fail.

            I absolutely will own every one of my grammatical errors. I even remark about them. We should definitely have a preview screen before the posts are published. I only mentioned yours because of the irony in it.

            Most concerning to me is your assertion that “I know you would rather talk about anything other than the actual issues.” I’d love to see examples on which this claim is based. Just one example will suffice.

            And after this nonsense is over, perhaps you will join me on the Streetcar destined for a Happy Hour where you can buy my beer because I was right. :) JK.

          • Robert A Buoy

            But you see, it has nothing to do with Ruby Tuesdays. You asked how long a space will remain vacant along the Orange Line. There is an example.

          • SoArl

            Well, my inferiority complex comes from those who’s answer to affordable housing is to “keep Columbia Pike poor,” as Drax referenced above. Like we should never seen any rise in property values down on the Pike in order to ensure low prices for renters.

      • Becoming indifferent

        You doth assume too much. I have no problem supporting the Board if they do something that makes sense.

        Overhead power lines are only one of my concerns. South Arlington gaining influence at the expense of North Arlington? I didn’t know there was such a power struggle in Arlington! Really, if South Arlington became the center of Northern VA, that would be fine with me.

        I live at the southern edge of of North Arlington and drive on Columbia Pike to visit my parents. I grew up just off Columbia Pike–I love the area. Do YOU take the bus with the “lower class,” as you so delicately put it?

        I don’t take transit much, but not for the reasons you assume. I have no problem taking a bus. But you see, I live close enough to work right now that I can walk. I believe in living close to where you work. For what I get paid, I’m on the lower end of the socioeconomic scale in North Arlington–sorry, we can’t all be lawyers and “consultants.” Since I rent, I’m already considered a second-class citizen by many around here because I don’t own property, and I’m slowly, but surely, being priced out of the market. I’m educated (MA), work hard (60 plus hours a week), am debt free, live within my means, and love my job–I’m not in it for the money. There are many like us here, but not for much longer, as Arlington is simply becoming too expensive for us to afford. I know four people, friends and neighbors, who have recently moved or are in the process of moving, because Arlington seems to want to attract only a certain type of people.

        To say that I wouldn’t take a bus with the “lower class” is ridiculous (and a bit offensive) and exposes your own bias against buses. They would do the same exact thing has this precious little streetcar, but for a fraction of the cost without the disruptions associated with constructing it.

        But why so angry? You’re going to get your streetcar! I guarantee it.

        • Mary-Austin

          Yea I was going to point out the “South Arlington gaining influence” thing too. wtf.
          South Arlington has plenty of influence. Hello Arlington is about as politically correct of a place as it gets.

          I guess some people just can’t accept that many in South Arlington just do not want to deal with the hassle and disruption to neighborhoods this thing is going to cause.

          • SoArl

            And many of us in South Arlington think it will be worth it in the long run, sweetheart.

        • South Awwlington

          BI – I do apologize if the tone of my post seemed elevated. It is not solely directed at you. It is directed at a group of anti-streetcar folks who are willing to through anything and the “kitchen sink” at the Streetcar project in the hopes if destroying it.

          I posted that article not to make anyone support the Streetcar Alternative but rather in response to Nom’s post about Caternary wires. I was unaware that new technology had allowed for systems without the wires – wires are one of several concerns discussed here regularly. It was relevant in the context it was posted. It wasn’t meant to shift support.

          I never inferred that gained influence of South Arlington would be at the expense of North Arlington other than broaden a desirable real estate market.

          And yes, I do take the Metrobus and Metrorail to my office daily. The class comment is something that has been mentioned to me, as a transportation professional, regarding perceived differences among the bus v. rail riding populations. The notion is not mine. In fact, our transportation systems are a direct reflection of our population as a whole. I envy your ability to walk to work and hope that you will use the Streetcar for errands, etc.

          Any anger on my part is directed at folks who seem to wish death at any cost to this project. This is not flailing Artisphere. This is not Affordable Housing. This is not Spray Parks and Million Dollar Dog Parks. This is a key piece of huge transportation puzzle that relies on folks utilizing all services: Walk, Bike, Drive Alone, Bus, Rail, etc to continue to work. Just as if everyone in the region rode Metro one day, it would seize, think what would happen to your car commute if all the transit riders drove their own cars and the carpoolers disbanded. You won’t get far.

          Apologies if my post seemed personal. This is a worthy fight for me and I will have it.

  • YTK

    The streetcar project should sinnk into the past. Give us more buses, and don’t tear up Columbia Pike which is clogged with traffic to begin with.

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