Morning Poll: Arlington’s Highway Opposition

by ARLnow.com November 16, 2010 at 8:14 am 23,531 127 Comments

Arlington’s opposition to the I-95/395 HOT Lanes and the I-66 widening projects has inspired a special report from WTOP called “Arlington’s Way of the Highway.”

While noting the praise heaped on Arlington for being a model of smart growth, WTOP reporter Adam Tuss says that the county’s resistance to highway transportation projects has opened it up for criticism.

“There are others that scoff at the county, saying its officials take a parochial transportation view and only think about Arlington at the expense of the entire D.C. region,” Tuss reports.

County board chairman Jay Fisette, meanwhile, defended the county’s expensive lawsuit against the HOT lanes project by saying that the county is concerned about “the impact on our local communities and also insuring the movement of people.”

Do you think the county is doing the right thing, or does is Arlington selfishly ignoring the region’s “greater good?”

  • MikeyinCrystalC

    I’m not a fan of the whole HOT lane thing, but wouldn’t mind an extra lane on 66.

  • Nitin

    I could live without the HOT lanes on 395, but they need additional capacity on 66 East between the Toll Road and Ballston.

  • Kevin

    66 needs to be widened.

    It should have been done the first time around but Arlington went full NIMBY and we’re stuck with the mess we have today.

    • el fat kid

      it’s not my fault you gave up location to have that two car garage and .5 acre lot.

      • Kevin

        Actually, I live in Arlington and work from home.

        However, its ridiculous to be in traffic at 8pm on Saturday or 2pm on a Sunday afternoon.

        • JamesE

          exactly, sometimes I just want to go for a nice weekend drive then hit stop and go traffic on 66 just to get out of the damn beltway to some open roads.

          • Eh?

            The problem you’re having isn’t limited to Arlington. Fairfax has wide highways and I often find them crowded on the weekend.

          • Stefan Sittig

            Route 50 is a viable alernative to 66 for weekend/non-peak hour driving an is usually pretty free of congestion along the same area covered.

            I never use 66, and you don’t have to either.

          • JamesE

            Route 50 is still a mess until it opens up past chantilly, I just take 66 to actually get outside the beltway

  • Let’s Be Free

    Every time Arlington makes a big stink about limiting our neighbors’ mobility on crammed highways it gives Ken Cuccinelli another 5K to 10K votes in becoming Governor Ken. Keep it up Arlington, I’ll be more than happy with the results.

    • BoredHouseWife

      Mobility isn’t limited. You can easily take the bus or metro. One can leave earlier. My health is important. Your convenience is not.

      • Jackie

        There are people who work outside the beltway or have offices that are not metro accessible and therefore need to drive. This is an area with millions of workers and commuters, convenience is necessary.

  • NorthAdams

    66 needs the extra lane in Arlington. it will take traffic off Wash. Blvd and Lee Hwy.
    As for HOT LANES, it is a stupid project. but Arlington is even more stupid with the tact they are taking on it, quite frankly, embarrassing.

    • Just sayin’

      Actually, it won’t. Adding capacity will increase traffic on I-66, which will create more spillover to Washington Blvd. and I-66. It’s all in VDOTs traffic prediction studies. And I live right off Washington Blvd. Widening is not the answer.

      • Lou

        More traffic is coming to 66 whether they continue widening it or not. Don’t confuse induced demand with growth forecasts.

  • Thirsty

    I don’t see any sense in adding lanes or capacity to 395 North until DC can handle an increase in cars. Adding more lanes in NOVA won’t get cars into the District any faster if DC doesn’t increase their road capacity.

    66, on the other hand, is a potential parking lot on any day of the week. Getting stuck in traffic on a weekend trying just trying to get home from other parts of Virginia just sucks. I’m all for widening, increasing capacity.

    • Jackie

      I agree with you. The whole DC metro area needs to do their part of expanding. There is so much that needs to be done and this area will only continue to grow.

  • KalashniKEV

    The Cucc is here to stay, and he’s moving up. Pee your bed tonight worrying about it, Libbies.

    I’m hoping the Silver Line will alleviate some of the I-66 glut.

  • Dave

    66 desperately needs to be widened.

    • S. Arl 2


    • Arlington, Northside


  • Novaqt

    I can tell you this poll is not working. It is not registering my NO votes! 66 needs to be fixed.

  • bennynojets

    Someone told me while I was in planning school that “road widening to fight traffic congestion is like loosening your belt to fight obesity.” There are probably smarter ways to improve traffic conditions in Arlington and the DC metro area, but that will require regional planning.

    • Kevin

      “There are probably smarter ways to improve traffic conditions in Arlington and the DC metro area, but that will require regional planning.”

      Like what? I’m genuinely interested to hear what alternatives are out there

      • G::TheNativeArlingtonian

        Benny’s analogy is the best I have heard. Alternatives? Simple: start with increased telecommuting by non-critical/non-security clearance individuals, at least a couple days a week. That would reduce the number of people required to get into the city passing through Arlington.

        Next, (and even I laugh here) improve metro rail and bus service throughout the region. Smooth running mass transit would help greatly. We should be looking to NYC as a model of how to get this done. Silver line should help… but a buddy working on this project just shakes his head when I ask him how the train lines are supposed to interconnect in Falls Church.

        Next, improve other rail options in the area, including high speed rail. We need this in this country, period. Lastly, encourage more people to bike and walk if they can. If more businesses supported it, and people got it out their head that car is king (all the time) and fashion all that, we might be healthier and less congested in a lot of ways.

        Building the HOT lanes merely puts money in some private company’s pocket and does little to ease traffic issues. VA bent over on this one and I have no doubt some politicians wallets got bigger. Widening I-66 west from Ffx Dr. to the toll route is not a bad idea. Its hard for me to say I grew up living directly next to the roar of the highway, as my father still does. But widening this section would help. As a friend in urban planning once pointed out… this stretch of the hwy was flawed from the beginning because it is a known fact in traffic engineering that placing on-ramps at curves in the road slows traffic down, even in the best of conditions. This road is at capacity during rush hours so this situation in magnified.

        Its not a simple issue with a simple solution… and unfortunately it would take planning out the entire region. Will that ever happen? If Metro is an example…

        • cj


        • Burger


          Let’s go through each of your options

          Increase telecommuting – DC is already the leader in telecommuting because of the government does a good job of promoting its use but at some point you reach a maximum level where telecommuting impacts traffic though I agree that more telecommuting would help. However, traffic jams occur at all times of the day on 66 (inbound and outbound at any time of day from 5 on a Sunday night to 8 PM on a Saturday). In fact, it is only when 66 is HOV restricted does it run smoothly. 66 needs to be expanded because, gee shocker, there are more people and 66 has kept up with demand even with increased metro availability.

          NYC as a model. Please compare the population density of NYC to DC. I’m not going to argue but NYC also still has a number of highways running through it and around is periphery to get people from NJ to Connecticut or maybe you haven’t driven no the Belt parkway in rush hour. Though I agree overall that increase local rail options should be a priority. There is a big stigma about the bus and its not likely to change. Further, buses get in just as much traffic as driving and there is no real inside the Beltway room to build dedicated lanes.

          HSR is a white elephant and should never be an option. First, HSR doesn’t address the issue of people in cars where most driving miles is done – locally and, thus, HSR has no impact on those drivers. It doesn’t create nearly the benefit for its costs. Billions of dollars to get 1% of long distance driving cars off the highways would make no impact on the overall widening of roads like 66 which is mostly a commuter highway. I’m not evening getting into the subsidies needed to keep it afloat but just the costs to get enough cars off the road. Further, there is not the local transit available in other cities for it to make sense. Also, HSR rail is completely inflexible when compared to airplanes. Once an HSR line is built it can’t be moved to compensate for change in populations nor changes related to seasonal travel like airlines which just move planes around.

          HSR is like building a house starting on with the roof and ignoring foundation – local transit issues. Generally, HSR rail is loved by Europhiles that want to wistfully drink coffee as they stare at the Alps flying by and ignore the costs associated with it.

        • SamsontheCat


          Widening 66 might not be a bad idea (along with maybe providing some opportunities to fix some of the on and off ranp problems you noted)

          If they are going to put in these toll roads then 99% of the money should go to Arlington County and a significant part of that should be put towards alternatives, like light rail and expanded Metro access. Also expanded bike routes.

          The DC centered spider model of the Metro needs to be fixed with either an outer ring to gove people between metro areas more access and keep them off the roads or build intermodal centers in high growth areas in Fairfax or Loudoun and Montgomery County with metro access feeding into them from the outlying areas. Use these as hubs with a high speed train shooting directly into DC.

        • charlie

          people drive because mass transit in this area stinks. it simply stinks. it is horrible. it is late. it is overcrowded. the staff are all overpaid.
          i would LOVE to take it to work. Bus: 55 minutes; Bike: 35 minutes; Car: 10 min.

          Clean up and have a true Mass transit system and 66 can be closed. Until then…

          • JamesE

            This first metro stop on the silver line will be right outside my office in McLean, I also live on the same block as the ballston metro, however I will probably still drive to work.

          • G

            I agree. I have a bus stop right next to my condo that goes straight to work. I run or bike everyday to save money, and get to work faster, with less frustration… not that I live that far away anyway. I shouldn’t be able to get to my destination faster by foot than by bus, but it’s true.
            Bus = 20 min
            Run = 15 min
            Bike = 10 min
            Drive = 5 min

      • Green Taylor Simms

        Divide the residents into Daytimers and Nighttimers, enforced by strict curfew and restrictions on Daytimers selling goods and services to Nighttimers and vice versa.

        Problem solved.

      • BoredHouseWife

        If you build it, they will drive on it. Metro and buses are one way to solve the highway issue.

  • rft

    How can arlington oppose both 66 and 395 projects with a straight face?

    The argument against HOT lanes is it would divert traffic onto local roads. That may be true, but wouldn’t expanding 66 divert traffic off of (different) local roads and onto the highway? If the concern is local traffic, it seems the county would have to support 66 while fighting 395.

    A more cynical view is probably this: the harder it is to commute into DC from the outer suburbs, the more valuable Arlington real estate becomes. Thus, fight all projects that ease the commute for Fairfax, Loudon, etc.

  • MB

    Widen 66 for what? To move the bottleneck all of a couple of miles? Ridiculous. Untold amounts of $$$ for near zero decongestion.

    And the HOT lanes contract is a crime against the public. It has provisions whereby Virginia *pays* Transurban (the private provider) if Virginia ever widens parallel routes. Or if carpooling on the Beltway grows past a certain point.

  • Lacey Forest

    I agree with Arlington’s opposition to the HOT lanes, on the basis that the contract is written almost completely for the benefit of the HOT operator and treats the taxpayer as simply a source of income for the operator.

    As a daily commuter on I-66, yes, widen it. Don’t change any of the HOV restrictions but add that lane. It’s not like expanded capacity on I-66 is going to cause developers to flock to Arlington and build a bunch of new housing developments — it’s already built out. But outbound in the morning, you can see the difference in traffic movement when that third lane gets added at the Sycamore ramp.

  • Arlington has the GW Parkway from the bridges north. Arlington has 66. Arlington has 395. Arlington has the GW Parkway South of the bridges. Arlington also has Route 50 which at rush hour supports a significant load of traffic. How much more does Arlington have to become the pavement for those who refuse to live near where they work?? Let’s take the GW Parkway N. Where does that traffic come from. A huge portion of that traffic comes from Maryland at the CJ bridge. Why?? Because Maryland has NO high capacity road into the city. Pavement through Arlington supports no highway in Montgomery county. Okay, so then traffic in N VA spills over from GW Parkway North to 66. If Montgomery had capacity into the city, it would alleviate the GW, which would alleviate 66. Likewise, traffic on 66 jams up east end because the traffic has no where to go – it gets stuck on the bridges and stop lights in Wash DC where highway capacity goes down to avenue capacity. Adding a lane to 66 wont change the fact that the traffic on the roosevelt has no where to go. WDC needs to do a better job of absorbing the traffic. Before we mindlessly add asphalt ruining communities and the environment, we need better ideas and smarter growth. People have to get it in their head that they have to live nearer to where they work. And we have to lose the idea of Arlington acting as a transportation backbone for all those jurisdictions that have refused to shoulder their load (looking at you Montgomery County)

    • SamsontheCat

      I propose VA takes over everything in DC (except for the very center with the White House and the Capitol and all) and Montgomery County then turns it all into giant 16 lane highways. MD and DC need the cash and we can laugh at them for living in a pavement wasteland.

    • jan


  • BL

    I elect my officials precisely to take a parochial view of matters. I never run into bad traffic, even during rush hours, except when I leave Arlington. Traffic on 66 is bad, traffic on 395 is bad. Boo Hoo.

    Hot lanes will inconvenience and cost Arlingtonians and only accrue negatives for the jurisdiction. The greater good of the region can kiss my ass. Let the food tubes from Prince William, Fauquier, Loudoun and Fairfax counties listen to WTOP on their car radios complain about our short-sightedness while parked on the freeway. I pay a premium on my mortgage and have a smaller house for the privileges that Arlington provides. If you merely drive through the jurisdiction on a highway, shut up and live with the increasing traffic- since you are causing it. Even better, stay off our roads and get a job where YOU live.

    • Larchmont


    • abc

      +1 million

    • G::NativeArlingtonian


      This attitude is arrogant and not well thought out. There simply is not enough housing located close to where most of these commuters work. The reverse is true as well…people have to go where the work is, especially in this economy. Very very few people have the luxury of turning down a job because its not close to their local community. Because of that, people need to commute. If a majority of jobs related to the Fed and Military are in DC or close in environs then that is where the people have to go. The idea must be to find better ways of moving people, or not moving them to a physical location for that particular job (i.e. telecommute).

      • Westover


    • SoArlRes


  • Greg

    Putting aside whether or not the HOT lanes is a good idea, the County clearly seems to be wasting money on this lawsuit. It is unfathomable to me how the bill on this thing is approaching $1.5MM.

    Either it is being poorly managed or the County needs to negotiate a discount on its legal fees (which is common).

  • PurpleFlipFlops

    Additional lanes eastbound to DC do not make much sense to me – as others have mentioned it will probably just move the bottleneck a few miles east.

    However, I can see how adding capacity westbound from DC could be of benefit. I’ll reserve full judgment until I see how the third lane between Fairfax and Sycamore works out.

    • JamesE

      I want to know how it is taking so long to put in one lane where as the metro seems to be rolling along slapping up new sections of track daily. Also I firmly believe in the death penalty for going below 55 in the left lane of 66, that would greatly reduce traffic.

  • el fat kid

    At what point do we stop building roads in our community for the dumbasses in Dumfries and Manassas? (sorry, had to) If someone chooses to build 3,000 identical, poorly-constructed townhouses on an old farm 30 miles outside the city, fine. But how it becomes our responsibility to accommodate them and lessen their 1.5 hr commute by 10 minutes is a jump in logic i don’t get.

    If every new development was forced to pay something like $10,000 per house or $5,000/bedroom into a public transportation fund, which in reality isn’t half the cost of what we end up subsidizing them for, we wouldn’t be in nearly as bad a situation.

    They can bulldoze all the trees and farms then name streets and stripmalls after them but that doesn’t mean we need to pave our community to accommodate their not so smart growth.

    • Eh?

      I like this plan.

    • jan


    • Jason S

      I don’t have the patience to sit that long in traffic, but they are paying for the roads in Virginia by way of taxes on property as well fuel taxes to the federal, state, and county jurisdictions. Like it or not, Arlington is part of Virginia and the commuters are Virginians and can expect a certain level of usability from public works.

    • South Arlington

      In all truth, California might have it somewhat right with their Mello-Roos to support all the new infrastructure that’s needed to support new developments. That way the outer suburban new developments would feed into some type of transportation/infrastructure fund.

  • J. Jones

    The thing that Arlington often misses with it’s “screw the outsiders, we don’t want them on our roads,” strategy is that it screws its own residences as well. As someone who travels around the DC area, nothing is more frustrating than being “trapped” in Arlington at 5pm because I can’t get out due to the traffic caused by the “outsiders.” Every tried to leave Courthouse and get to Reston at 5:45pm? It’s overly congested roads or residential streets. I can’t even take the interstate that runs a half mile from my house because it’s HOV only… Seems like a lot of cutting off your nose to spite your face.

    • KalashniKEV

      And that’s what the “screw the outsiders crew” doesn’t understand. The other piece is that the continued viability of Arlignton as a home for these businesses depends on it’s accessability.

      Lots of large businesses have moved out to Reston Town Center and around Dulles to pay 1/3 to 1/4 the rent and enjoy more space and bigger salaries. Add easier commute and it’s a no brainer.

      The .gov has been paying full $$$ for it’s space in Crystal City, and if BRAC ever kicks off in a serious way it will be a huge dip in values… or a return to true value.

    • PurpleFlipFlops

      Interstate…Reston…Does not compute.

      • J. Jones

        66 to Toll Road.

        What’s a better route from Courthouse?
        Lee Highway to Old Dominion to 123 to Courthouse?
        50 to the Beltway to the toll road?
        Washington to Old Dominion to 123?

        Any of those routes are crazy and take me either miles out of the way or through someone’s front yard.

        • PurpleFlipFlops

          Seems intra-state to me.

          • J. Jones

            High quality snark, but low-quality discussion…

          • KalashniKEV

            Small Minds, Small Worlds… Let’s hear some snark about “outside the beltway” or better yet “flyover country.”

    • el fat kid

      I know… it’s sooooo frustrating when i have a 6:30 reservation at the Reston Applebee’s (#42) and can’t get there in time for happy hour!

    • Eh?

      To take that interstate you would either need to add another person to your vehicle or use it at a different time. If the HOV2 restrictions were removed then traffic would likely be worse. If another lane were added traffic would be the same. Sorry about your long commute.

      • J. Jones

        I’m not concerned as much about the length of the commute. If I choose to meet clients and coworkers for dinner in the Hinterlands, that’s my decision. My issue is that it’s actually illegal for me to take the roads that are supposed to get me there.

        My original point was just that the issue of roads isn’t always an “us” vs “them” (those lowly woodbridgians and leesburg-come-latelys), but also impacts Arlingtonians as well. As soon as someone wants to replicate all of the services and quality of products I can receive without having to leave Washington, Wilson, or Glebe, then i’ll stop caring.

        • Eh?

          It’s not illegal for you to drive out to Reston. If you want to take 66, you just need to find another passenger. Plenty of other people find a way to do it. Those that do get out to Reston without a passenger take other routes. From Courthouse, I’d recommend the GW Parkway out to Route 123, then the toll road.

          I was out in Fairfax on Sunday. They have traffic there too in the middle of the day but there are roads a-plenty. There’s still traffic on 66, only their commute is longer.

  • Eh?

    Arlingtonians don’t need these additional roads. Even during rush hour, I find that it’s a challenge to run into traffic if I’m travelling within Arlington, the obvious exceptions being 66 and 395. But if I’m travelling within Arlington, why would I need the interstates to begin with?

    The people who bicker about spending $1,000,000 on a dog park should be up in arms over the HOT lanes.

    • Dave

      I think you just proved the point you’re arguing against. You find it a challenge to run into traffic – except for 66 and 395. Those are the roads in question here.

      • Eh?

        Nope. 66 and 395 will always be packed during rush hour. You can make the roads 20 lanes wide in each direction and the will still be stopped. The point I was trying to make was that the drivers who take our local roads – Lee Highway, Rt. 50, Fairfax Drive, etc. – to avoid the traffic on 66/395 don’t make it impossible for cars to move around. Yeah, the roads are busy, but it’s not a traffic jam or even really “bad traffic”.

        • Dave

          I agree with you that the local roads aren’t that bad in terms of congestion (they can jam up, but it’s not every day), but more lanes on 66 will make a difference, at least in Arlington. I drive on 66 West every morning and once that third lane appears at Sycamore Street it is always clear sailing the rest of the way.

          • JamesE

            Yeah once you hit that it clears up fine usually, all the construction signs aren’t helping saying left lane closed ahead when the lane is not closed.

        • Jim

          that’s just not true. during August – when load demand is only 10-15% below peak… 395 feels empty. We need more capacity. the logic that more lanes=more traffic is a false argument.

  • Burger

    For 66 widening the best options would be to add – at least 2 lanes – inbound and out bound inside the beltway and make the permanent HOV 2 during non-rush hours and HOV3 in rush hours.

    One easy fix is to insert an off ramp at Spout Run on 66W to let drivers get off of the road and onto Lee Highway or GW parkway (where an on ramp at Spout Run should be added) to allow flexibility in the system. Currently there are 2 on-ramps (at Spout Run and at “Courthouse”) but no offramps. The worst thing about getting on to 66 is that you are stuck on there if there is a traffic jam (and no posted sign about it) with no choice but to either get off at Lee highway near the Roosevelt Bridge or ride 66 until Glebe road.

  • ArlingtonAaron

    Just wanted to note for the record that, as usual, once you actually put something up for a vote, the community reveals itself as supporting the position of the County Board…

    • Burger

      This is the correct point of the entire piece. A county board that doesn’t listen but doesn’t have to because they know people will pull the lever for the same people every election.

  • Dave

    You can’t live somewhere with a population density of almost 8,000 people per square mile and expect it be quiet. You can’t live across the river from one of the most powerful/important/influential cities in the world and expect people not to pass through the area. Arlington may have been a quiet little hamlet on the Potomac at one time but those days are long gone – and they’re not coming back. Yes, other Virginians pass through on their way to jobs in Arlington and DC. At the same time plenty of Arlingtonians are going to jobs in Fairfax and Loudoun. You just can’t think of Arlington as this small little town where everyone has a job near their home and there’s never any reason to leave.

    • KalashniKEV

      He’s a liberal elitist who only cares about himself.

    • Tess


  • Mark

    Has anyone read the agreement around the Hot Lanes? You might want to. If they go into affect the local jurisdiction would not be allowed to improve the roads surrounding the Hot Lanes.

  • This is not a liberal/conservative issue. I have lived in Arlington for 23 years and I’m conservative (yes, one of the handful) and I totally and completely oppose any changes to 66 or the hotlanes.

    Why? I’m from Texas where there is land to spare and where cars are adored. As soon as a road is jammed, they build a new one, but it’s already a road that cannot support the traffic because more cars are added to the roads. Texas is getting paved everywhere and for what? Nothing – more congestion, pollution, cars and breathing problems.

    Expand 66? Why should Arlingtonians lose their properties to make someone from Fairfax or even West Virginia happy? The surrounding counties have been extremely happy to chop down trees and pave their land for development. Why is it Arlington’s fault that everyone out there wants mansions with room for 5 cars?

    Look at what happened to the land owners near the Springfield interchange. People had to give up properties and those who remain have had all sorts of issues to deal with.

    I agree – we need more subways, buses and other forms of transportation. Plus, we need other counties to take responsibility for what they’ve done – they have gorged on development and they are unwilling to accept it.

    As someone else noted – drive out to Fx or Loudoun counties and you’ll be stuck in traffic jams. It’s not Arlington’s fault or responsibility to fix everyone’s problem.

    • Jason S

      It’s dishonest to say that everybody who commutes wants a mansion and room for five automobiles. Many people who live in the suburbs do so because they founds jobs in the city with businesses, government, and various organizations and cannot afford to live in the inner areas of the metroplex. I have coworkers who live in Maryland, DC, and Virginia. It seems to me that most of the people who live outside of Arlington are actually decent people.

      • JD32

        Jason S,

        While it might be dishonest to say that everyone who commutes wants a mansion and room for five cars, it’s really not that far off the mark. Probably the single largest draw for living in the exurbs is cheap housing.
        Consider this: two similarly price homes, one in Chantilly, the other in Arlington. The house in Chantilly is 3,000 sqft larger, and has a two car garage, whereas the house in Arlington only has street parking. Our consumer culture dictates that bigger is better, and it fetishizes the notion of having the largest house possible. All other things being equal, many people are going to, unfortunately, pick the house in Chantilly. When making housing decisions, far too many people look at the price per square feet, and ignore quality of life issues – namely, stress and lost time due to long, arduous commutes via automobile. Further, they ignore the externalities they impose on the rest of the metropolitan area – namely, contributing to gridlock and pollution.

        There is plenty of affordable housing stock in the inner ring suburbs (and even DC, for that matter), but until people realize that they don’t need the extra 3,000 sqft and the two car garage, urban sprawl will persist.

        • Arlington, Northside

          How about the 1600sf house in Arlington that costs $550K vs the 1800sf Townhouse in Sterling that costs $330K? It is not always folks out there looking for a bigger house, in fact it is usually folks just trying to find a home that they can afford the payments on and still have the opportunity to save for retirement. There is a reason a lot of moderately paid late-20’s and 30-something Hill Staff are moving out to the outer edges of Fairfax and to Louden and Prince William Counties. It is not for McMansions, it is because they can not afford to live with an Arlington sized morgage or rent payment and raise a family while saving anything.

          • Lou

            Not to mention Wegmans.

    • CarsSuck_TakeTransit

      yea seriously, Leesburg Pike in Ashburn sucks, Tysons sucks, Gainesville sucks, it’s ridiculous.

    • S. Arl 2

      Here is a fact – Arlington lets developers chop down trees and build McMansions and the County has changed the sidewalk standard width to 60 inches. I call that paving just like the other counties pave. Look around you and all you see is concrete. Trees and greenspace are gone – Arlington only has about 200 acres of open space – sad, but true.

      Metro safety desperately needs to improve otherwise people will continue to drive to their jobs.

  • RestonRunner86

    An extra highway lane is merely tossing a band-aid onto a tiger bite. Here in Fairfax County we have some VERY wide roadways (some are 8-10 lanes wide) and yet traffic is STILL horribly congested. Virginia overall has a fetish with urban sprawl on the exurban periphery (think Gainesville as a prime example), and as more people move there and drive to or through the inner suburbs things are only going to get progressively worse. The solution for Arlington’s congestion woes are to encourage the sprawl-happy jurisdictions to your south and west to embrace the “smart growth” concepts you’ve already learned work very well. What good does adding capacity for 10,000 more vehicles per day do if 20,000 more commuters are moving to the exurbs?

    Reston has a fraction of Arlington’s population, yet at rush hour our surface streets have worse gridlock. Why is that? We haven’t embraced smart growth.

    • Jason S

      Smart growth? Such as subways? Arlington didn’t pay for the Metro themselves, it was financed by other jurisdictions and taxpayers from outside of DC/MD/VA paying into federal revenues. I live in Arlington and I find it convenient because I value my time, but I find the idea that Arlington is “successful” for no reason other than Arlington residents being smart, charming, and attractive to be laughable.

      Many people in the suburbs would like Metro access and it is finally expanding, which is really meeting the promises which were made to the suburbs long ago.

      Still, the reason many people live in the suburbs is because the federal government is so large and spends so much money that it needs more people than can live in DC and the very near suburbs. If all of those people were to move into Arlington, housing prices would skyrocket obviously as it would reach a density far higher than Manhattan.

      • RestonRunner86

        VDOT has been in the process of spending roughly a half-billion of our tax dollars to make commuting from Gainesville’s particle-board-lined cul-de-sacs more attractive by revamping the interchange of I-66 at Route 29. What will widening the roads out there do? It will ease congestion, which will encourage more developers to bring more low-density sprawl to the Gainesville area. In a decade the improvements being made today will already be outdated, and we’ll be spending another half-billion dollars to subsidize MORE sprawl. People are moving to Gainesville to escape congestion and other issues in Manassas. In 15 years you’ll see people fleeing Gainesville and paving over Warrenton. Where are nearly all of those new Gainesville residents headed? Onto I-66 East. Some get off at Route 7100 and head to Reston/Herndon. Some get off at Fairfax. Still more, though, choke Arlington.

        I really don’t see why Arlingtonians should have to endure the loss of taxable real estate to widen roads to make commuters from Winchester, Gainesville, or Fredericksburg, for that matter, happier. This nation’s love affair with autocentricity and sprawl will be its downfall if and when we ever run out of fossil fuels before we’ve successfully transitioned to alternative renewable energies. If gas hit $5/gallon tomorrow, half the people in the exurbs here would default on their mortgages trying to get to work in their SUVs. Unreal. We are leaving our posterity with such a mess. Why does nobody care?

        Transit-oriented development doesn’t have to be confined merely to Arlington. Fairfax County has well over a million people and a lower density than Arlington County, which is embarrassing. Instead of seas of tract housing in Ashburn and Gainesville we can build UP first to increase housing capacity and THEN out. Think of all the prime real estate that is being underutilized in Fairfax County. Even then, though, people here are excruciatingly NIMBY, as Restonians, for example, have never met a high-rise proposal they didn’t want to fight (to the point where I’m relocating out of Reston in two weeks to get away from this short-sightedness).

        • G::NativeArlingtonian

          Your second paragraph hits the nail on the head. Bravo.

        • Lou

          What “taxable real estate” is Arlington going to lose?

          • RestonRunner86

            If Arlington continues to widen roadways to appease those who commute to it or through it from the exurban hinterlands to its south and west, then eventually tax-generating real estate will have to be acquired to make that a reality. Would VDOT compensate Arlington annually for the tax revenues it would lose? Would you Arlingtonians like to pay higher taxes to offset the difference? Even if the current proposals to add one lane to I-66 and to add a HOT lane to I-395 don’t require a larger footprint I can guarantee future expansions WILL.

            I’m moving out of the area because I’m in a profession that would never pay me enough of a salary to comfortably afford a home in the walkable inner suburbs (like Arlington), and I’d feel like part of the problem—not the solution—by buying a place in Purcellville, Gainesville, Winchester, South Riding, etc. and then adding my vehicle to the already over-taxed infrastructure system here. I can afford a home at age 25 in the city I’m moving to while taking only a small reduction in pay. It’s worth it to me.

          • Lou

            So the answer is: none. The tax-revenue argument is DOA.

            Let me drop some knowledge on you: The 395 HOT lanes take over existing HOV lanes. 66 is ALREADY being widened inside the beltway, within the existing ROW. While you’re reading this, it’s happening. That’s a good thing; it means less people commuting through my neighborhood, which gives me a better quality of life.

          • david

            Agreed. Sorry Reston but you’re way off on your argument. Unlike the ICC, there is no loss of personal property as part of the 66 or 395 expansion. It will certainly push the traffic closer to peoples homes but they aren’t going to be losing any of their backyards.

          • Arlington, Northside

            Yeah, the widening of I-66 and the addition of the HOT lanes will not encroach on anyone’s property. They are doing this all within the existing sound barriers. I live less then a block from I-66, just the third house in in-fact. I have ZERO problem with the widening of I-66, wish they would have done it a decade ago when the back ups at the Sycamore and Washington exits were first starting. I dislike cars sitting in traffic idling along emitting exhaust, I would much rather they drive by at a much more efficient and cleaner burning speed. I also don’t like driving along smoothly, only to hit a backup for the last four miles until I get home. The I-66 Widening should eliminate that, if not forever, than at least for a decade or so.

            Now the HOT Lanes I understand in concept and support. I do not support the Board’s happiness at throwing money to lawyers to oppose it. The only thing I do not understand is how do they know which cars have the three people in it to not charge, vs the 2 or fewer cars that do need to pay the toll. Can anyone explain how that is supposed to work?

  • Deb

    More capacity on area roads or smart growth? The noise and air pollution that vehicles on these highways generate moving people and goods through Arlington to either the District, Maryland, or other parts of Virginia is suppose to be the price Arlingtonians pay for living here. What do folks from other jurisdictions pay for? They will say their taxes! Hah…most of them are trying to duck their taxes…let some one else pay for the infrastructure they use. I really am tired of the exurbia types who just want to pave over all land between their house and where they work. Telework anyone? Carpool? Jobshare? No…many are selfish types who want to drive their own cars to where they work and back again, alone…never interacting with people along the way unless it is to give them the bird. Really…this story is just so much bull. Why not write a story about how air quality problems relate to asthma incidence in area children? Or how dangerous area highways are for children who must WALK to school because their bus routes are cut due to the economy and lower tax revenues…walk to school along roads with no sidewalks and very heavy traffic? This story is just more Arlington bashing.

    • Westover

      Additional roads are part of smarter growth. The growth is going to be there. It can’t be stopped with out really hurting our economy, and that means your standard of living. You need to have the new roads work within a plan for greater mass-transit along with the high density work/residential areas. But this is America, you can not make/force/convince everyone to live in a Ballston apartment above the Metro. Our strength comes from the diversity of thoughts,opinions, work styles, etc. If you don’t add vehicle capacity, the “smart growth” will just implode upon itself, and we will end up with another exodus of the urban areas as happened in the 60’s and 70’s to areas even further out destroying even more undeveloped land.

  • abc

    “I pay a premium on my mortgage and have a smaller house for the privileges that Arlington provides. If you merely drive through the jurisdiction on a highway, shut up and live with the increasing traffic- since you are causing it. Even better, stay off our roads and get a job where YOU live.”

    I CHOSE to buy a two bedroom townhouse in Arlington with a 3 mile commute to DC just as you CHOSE to pay the same price for your 4 bedroom house with a yard in Ashburn (or let’s call it by its real name – Chantilly), Potomac Falls (or let’s call it by its real name – Sterling) or somewhere down 95. If you CHOSE to live there and work in DC, then you must deal with the circumstances, i.e., your commute. You CHOSE to pass through Arlington instead of live there, so why should Arlington have to pay for your life choices?

    • Jim

      yes – but those 3 miles just resulted in a 45 minute commute this morning. 395 is a parking lot.

    • Arlington, Northside

      @abc Ashburn is a good 20-25 minute drive from Chantilly at 5pm, it is much more Sterling. Potomac Falls is more like East Leesburg than Sterling. Both Loudoun County, not Fairfax.

      • abc

        I’ll give you Ashburn. But Potomac Falls was called Sterling until about 5 years ago when they built all the mcmansions along algonkian parkway and those people didn’t want to be assoicated with Sterling Park or its nearby environs. So they got a new zip code and a new name and I am sure higher property values.

  • Jim

    395 is a huge mess for everyone, including Arlington residents. To go the 4 miles from Shirlington to the 14th Street bridge regularly take 30 minutes — and longer if there is rain. and maybe HOT lanes don’t solve the problem… but something has to give.

    there should be a light rail system running from 95 up 395… provide people some real options.

    • Westover

      This mornign was a prime example. More bridges and more lanes are needed. The area is going to grow, roads or not. No new road lanes just means more and more gridlock. The development unfortuantely does not follow the roads, the roads must follow and keep up with the development.

  • DT

    Arlington only wants to benefit from being across the river from D.C. but doesn’t ever want to contribute to make life easier on those very people who subsidize the county. Hike up the prepared food taxes again or charge more at the meters. Those things are purely to dig deep into the pockets of non-residents who work or play in Arlington.

  • BoredHouseWife

    I like my lungs and my air. To all the whiners about how horrible it is to drive to work. Grow up and deal. There are many alternatives, and if a car is the only way for you, you can carpool. I refuse to breathe in more exhaust so you can get caught in traffic several feet closer to the 14th st bridge, for a year. That is what it will amount to. In fact I bet it will make traffic worse.

    • Jason S

      It’ll happen, so you should start holding your breath now.

  • CarsSuck_TakeTransit

    As an Arlingtonian, we should not have to pave our paradise and accomodate people who choose to live way out in bumf*ck Egypt for their little slice of suburban heaven. Have you seen the Springfield interchange? or the stretch from Springfield to Occoquon lately? Not much of an improvement there, except that Springfield is more ghetto than it’s ever been. I don’t want that, neither do most other Arlington residents. Effective solution: Put up an express bus station in the median of Lee Highway @ N Nash St. with a turnaround. Then have Fairfax Connector and Loudoun County, and OmniRide transit agencies run express bus services from their Rosslyn connection to terminals in Vienna, Manassas, Gainesville, Centreville, Fair Oaks, Tysons Corner, Reston, Dulles TC, Leesburg… any others I miss? Those transit centers in the medians of I-66 and DTR.. WAY OUT THERE can be where all the concrete is poured, for massive parking garages. You can now accomodate more PEOPLE into the city, not more CARS. If you insist on needing your car, then sit and wait, or ride HOV, make a new friend. And make the buses frequent, at least every 15 minutes each way during peak hours. NJ Transit does that with the Port Authority Terminal in downtown Manhattan, using the Lincoln Tunnel. The LIRR shuttles most Manhattan commuters to most of Long Island. Metro North RR handles Connecticut and the Hudson Valley, and NJT also has a vast network of commuter rail. I’m from Long Island, that’s how it works, hardly anyone even CONSIDERs driving into Manhattan on a workday.

    another real solution is stop building so many damn parking garages downtown, and jack up the monthly parking rates. Monthly parking in Manhattan garages can reach as high as $400 a month.

    • Lou

      Pretty sure someone already runs express buses to some of those places. At least I see buses driving down Lynn with far-away places names on them.

      • CarsSuck_TakeTransit

        make it an affordable option, and a frequent daily service with lots of exposure. I’d even like to see that third lane inside the beltway built, but for only the use of those “express busses” (and tour buses, we like their money). We’re all about subsizing around here, and express busses, even if they’re free rides are a great incentive to get more people to leave the car home.

    • DT

      You must have missed that there is nothing that remotely resembles the LIRR or any other mass transit in NYC. You also must have missed all the traffic in New York when you lived there.

      • CarsSuck_TakeTransit

        No I remember all the traffic in NYC, but the BQE, the Cross Bronx, the Van Wyck… they’ll never increase capacity, so we just grin and bear it. Another reason NOT to want to drive a car into the city in the first place. And you’re right, we can’t just bulldoze and put in commuter rail overnight, but we can definately put in frequent express buses, and improve commuter rail schedules, fares, and accessibility.

  • North Adams Snob

    Sorry- transit study after transit study illustrates that widening roads does NOT aleviate traffic problems. Case and point? Our Overclass neighbors in Montgomery County, who got the Feds and the State of Maryland to pour tens of millions of dollars to widen 270 to 12, countem’ 12 lanes. The result? WORSE traffic. The trolls who would want to pave over Arlington, dismissing other transit options out of hand don’t just miss the point, they’re not even in the same zip code as the point. I pay plenty of money to live in Arlington County. If the region as a whole is not going to work on alleviating our traffic woes in general, then I say, screw ’em. You wanna live in the ‘burbs in your McMansion and drive ur precious Lexus? Go right ahead- but don’t force my county to pave over our paltry 26 square miles for your convenience.

  • LPS4DL

    Many people reading this article may not be aware of the history of I-66. Arlington didn’t want it because the cost to Arlington was too high. At the time, Arlington was already developed and the highway would obliterate hundreds of private homes and businesses, destroying several neighborhoods, ruining cross county traffic patterns and reducing Arlington’s tax base. No reimbursement was ever provided and for most of the history of I66 the main benefit was for people who lived outside of the county. The county received assurances that the road would not grow wider in the future but now those promises are being broken. I66 will get wider shortly. As for I95, the county’s position has always been that the state and the road builders need to follow the rules before construction begins and the county also questioned whether the terms of the HOT lanes deal were in the best interest of the citizens of Virginia, especially those in Arlington. The state has not demonstrated that the project is in the best interests of the state from a financial perspective and has yet to perform all of the steps required to gain permission for a construction project like this. Cynics from the Sun Gazette and elsewhere have concentrated their attacks on the civil rights aspect of Arlington’s objections. This is typical of cynics who jump on inconsequential issues so that the main issues can be hidden from view.

  • TGEoA

    The same douchebags that oppose roads are the same douchebags that tell you that if you don’t like it, move in to Arlington. Then those very same douchebags will whine about the lack of affordable housing.


  • CarsSuck_TakeTransit

    While we’re at it, let’s just bulldoze all of Rosslyn and make it an overflow parking lot for federal employees.

  • Arlingtron

    I live in Arlington and often use I-66 to get into DC or out to Tysons at various times of the day. It is jammed just about any time I need to use it. I support adding lanes. If I have a chance to determine flow and it’s backed up I take Washington Blvd. Arlingtonians can decide: more capacity on I-66 or more traffic bailing out into your neighborhood bypassing the maxed out highway.

  • John Andre

    Please, no more extra cars!!! Widening I-66 could mean trashing the W&OD Trail and destroying valuable parkland. Cars are so twentieth-century. Instead of yet more cars, we should implement fuel rationing, the only way of containing expensive fuel imports.

    • Westover

      No it won’t. The additional lanes will stay within the existing sound walls. There is a lot of false infor being spread by those opposed to the additional lanes. Makes me wonder what they are really opposed to.

  • Woodbridge Traveler

    Everyone is talking about Rt 66. Try commuting from Fredericksburg, Stafford, Woodbridge… we have to leave at 5:30am to get to work ontime and that time is usually 8:00am. We need better and bigger roads… not everyone is in the position to take public transportation. Public transportation can get costly if your company does not provide assistance. For those of us who work in Alexandria, there are no slug lines… So we need better roads!

    • CarsSuck_TakeTransit

      ‘TRY COMMUTING from F’Burg, Stafford, Woodbridge’? How about you live near your job. You complain about costly public transportation, but you want Arlingtonians who do the right thing by living close to work, to have to sacrifice their quality of life for idiots like you to come charging through from your McMansions with 4Runners to your desk downtown. TAKE VRE. Pay for your little slice of heaven lifestyle out of your own damn pockets. More lanes are never the solution, it’s just a temporary bandaid. The outer suburban counties need tougher zoning laws to restrict new development. And metro needs to get up to par and pay for more engineers and less pencil pushers. What suburbanites fail to figure out when they move out to West ByGod, is that cheaper house price ends up sucking the life out of you when you have to commute. It’s abismal to think that sitting in your car for 3 hours roundtrip each day is anything productive. You’re not getting paid for that time, it’s only adding stress and another heavy expense. Americans have hard-ons for their damn cars, and it ends up being over 25% of their income wasted just to get to their jobs and back. It’s not like the price of oil will ever come down, it will only go up, and real soon. The world oil supply has PEAKED, and dumbasses continue to seek their little fortress of solitudes an hour away from their job. You’re an idiot.

      • CarsSuck_TakeTransit

        There’s a reason why Arlington County continues to be a cutting edge example of “SMART GROWTH”, yet now everyone want’s those concepts thrown down the rat-hole to accommodate people from Fredericksburg and Gainesville. It’s not up to the state or outerlying counties to try to bully policy change here, in our communities. 395 has already done enough to isolate Crystal City from most of the county and bring in more than it’s fair share of crime. The last thing we need is the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor to look anything like Crystal City.

      • Westover

        You live in a fantasy world. Cars are a way of life in America. Arlington is not some small Danish Village where we can all live together and make cheese that gets shipped out on a canal barge. Those folks living in the outer-burbs are not always there for the bigger lot and bigger house, they are there because the pay they earn here in Arlington and in Downtown DC will not allow them to afford what some better paid folks are willing to pay here in Arlington with any hope of ever retiring or sending their kids to off to college. VRE and the Commuter Buses are not an option for a lot of folks, while a lot of folks do use those options when they can. But have you ever rode VRE? Usually between 4pm and 7pm every seat on every train is taken by the time it has picked folks up in DC and it pulls out of the Old Town station. The commuter buses are pretty full too, and the lots down in Prince William County fill up almost as fast as the East Falls Church Metro lot. Most folks living down there are not in McMansions. Most are in reasonable sized homes. They travel to Arlington and into DC because that is where there jobs are, they don’t have the option to just buy in Arlington. The additional lanes help Arlington, they make sure lanes flow traffic so that we don’t have cars and trucks just idling on the road spewing exhaust without going anywhere. It is not like this is a brand new phenomenon, there have been folks coming into DC through Arlington from Fairfax and further since WWII. Crystal City exists DUE to I-395 bringing in the workers that filled the office building for the last 35 years, it is no more isolated today than it was when it was known as the Jefferson District 50 years ago. I could understand the Not In My Back Yard attitude if these lanes were cutting into peoples homes(they are not) or if they were building some sort of garbage plant in one of our parks, but the opposition to this is just snobbery at its finest.

        • Jason S

          Look, we’ve had enough of your facts and trying to examine the issue with an open mind.

  • arlingtonian

    i could not care less about convenience of centreville residents. no more stupid roads!!

    • Westover

      You should just use the screen name NIMBY

  • Lumiere

    I am very much against widening 66 because if we can’t expect the federal government to keep its promises to Arlington and its residents on this, how can we feasibly expect them to keep their promises on anything?

    • Westover

      What are you really opposed to? The footprint of the I-66 right of way is not growing. They are adding lanes within the existing sound walls, in fact in much of the lane expansion they are not even going outside the existing lanes but rather building inside of the left hand lanes closer to the Metro Tracks. This is not taking anything out of the Arlington County budget. This is eliminating the choke point between Sycamore/Washington Blvd and Glebe/Fairfax Dr. No Family Homes or Parkland will be harmed in the creation of these lanes.

  • krissyarl

    i’m a north arlington resident who lives off of 29 near glebe road. 29 is jammed in the mornings. if i ever make the mistake of running an errand in the morning and having to make a left turn back onto my street off of 29, then i have basically doomed myself to waiting 10-15 minutes for someone to be kind enough to let me through. additionally, i work in tysons corner. so the 7 mile commute home taking upwards of 45-50 minutes on 66 is ridiculous. sure, i have the option of going old dominion instead, and it still takes 45 minutes that way. (also, before we go off on take the bus instead, i did that for 6 months and the experience is so frustrating since the bus can come anywhere from 10 minutes early to 20 minutes late and then the bus has to go on old dominion as well, so it takes off maybe 5 minutes of actual time in the vehicle since it can drive down 123 faster than i can in my car but far longer overall because of the wait time. so don’t get me started on that.)

    i just don’t understand this argument that we don’t want to make our roads better for outsiders. what about for ourselves? we know there are always going to be people commuting into dc and even into arlington (hopefully for our sakes). the idea that not allowing for capacity of the commuters (including ourselves) on highways because we’re concerned it will increase traffic on our local roads is insanity to me. everyone tries to avoid 66 when they can by being on our local roads.

    if someone could please explain how continuing to have 66 minimized helps me as an arlington resident, i’d love to hear it. not one of the arguments above has been compelling in anyway whatsoever. thanks.

  • For Real

    Highway expansions haven’t been a good investment for a very long time. Literature is replete with studies that support the finding that even with new capacity, highways soon return to the former levels of congestion – or worse – within a very short amount of time, documented to be as short as three years for HOV in Washignton State (their own DOT’s performance data and finding).

    Yes, HOT is a bit different, but the fact remains – congestion can’t be “solved” by ever-continuing capacity enhancements. Not only are such strategies not effective in reducing congestion, but they also result in fewer jobs of lesser quality and of shorter longetivty than a similar transit investment while at the same time damaging national security through continued escalation of reliance on foreign and also amplifying adverse social, economic, and environmental consequences of over-reliance on highways.

    Want somehting that might really work? Try combining variable rate congestion pricing on *all existing lanes* (make all lanes HOT lanes rather than add a single new one) while at the same time creating a high quality, affordable, and reliabel transit alternative parallel to the corridor. Use the anticipated revenue to fund the major capital investment and ongoing maintenance, operations, and capital for both the converted “HOT network” and the new transit amenity, making surte the revnue is dedicated to transportation needs in the corridor of travle, not spent elsewhere. Finally, don’t sell the goose that lays the golden eggs simply to access capital. PPPs are for risky investments – new and improved transportation options in a heavily traveled corridor aren’t “risky” – they’re potential cash cows that can make a lot of positive difference for highways and transit users, alike.


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