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Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com March 8, 2011 at 7:57 am 1,682 130 Comments

Arlington’s Highway Bottlenecks — An annual report on traffic congestion is out and Arlington has claimed two of the three worst traffic bottlenecks in the region. Westbound I-66 in Arlington, northbound I-395 in Arlington ranked and eastbound I-66 in Fairfax County rounded out the top three spots. [Washington Post]

Colony House Sells to Developer — The Colony House furniture store on Lee Highway has been sold to Bethesda-based developer B.F. Saul for $5.6 million. The company, which developed the Clarendon Center project, says it hasn’t decided what to do with the site yet. In January, we reported that Colony House’s owner is hoping to find a new Arlington location for the store. [Washington Business Journal]

Columbia Pike Giant to Open This Summer — A 60,000 square foot Giant supermarket will be opening in the Penrose Square development on Columbia Pike at some point this summer, according to a store spokesperson. [TBD]

Video of President Obama’s Wakefield Visit — President Obama and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard made a jovial visit to an AP U.S. History class at Wakefield High School yesterday. During an informal question-and-answer session, students asked the leaders about “schools in Australia, the recent flooding, Australian rule football, and even Vegemite.” President Obama also led students in a rendition of “Happy Birthday to You” for their teacher, Northern Virginia Teacher of the Year Colette Fraley. [The White House Blog]

New Additions to Hillside Park — There’s a new sculpture in Rosslyn’s Hillside Park. Also, some plantings have been added. [Ode Street Tribune]

Flickr pool photo by Damiec

  • Lou

    We’re #1!!!

    • SouthArlJD

      Huzzah!! We’re number 1, we’re number 1!!

  • GMo

    Phew, bet that Colony House owner made a pretty penny on that sale!

  • SoArlRes

    Does anyone happen to know when they will begin construction on the new Wakefield HS? I think it’s supposed to be sometime this year, but I haven’t heard specifically when.

    • yorkdist

      I thought it was after the Yorktown project was finished. Given that muddy mess, with kids crammed into classes in half a school, it doesn’t look like any time soon.

      • NArl

        Wakefield will start sometime this summer and both Yorktown and Wakefield will be done around 2013.

  • NorArl Res

    Groundbreaking of WHS will start around July 1.

    • SoArlRes

      Great. Thanks for the info, NorArlRes and yorkdist!

  • Overgrown Bush

    No surprise on the worst traffic stretches in the area. Travelling the area often, I’d have to agree.

  • Burger

    But no need to add lanes…yup, nothing to see here, move along.

    • Overgrown Bush

      A couple of bike lanes and a trolley should do it.

    • mehoo

      Your first idea isn’t always your best idea, Burger. Adding lanes isn’t the only possible solution.

    • SouthArlJD

      Riigghht, just add them lanes all the way to the bridges, and then … and then … what, exactly? All adding lanes does is move the bottleneck a little farther down and you still have to get across the bridges. Besides, Arlington was PROMISED NO new lanes once I-66 went through. It was bad enough watching the whole county get sliced in half and the neighborhoods next to 66 ruined. Arlington’s paid enough for the opportunity of people from other counties and states to traverse it on their way to and from their daily destinations. Let them find some other ways of getting there.

  • JamesE

    66 West backups for no reason, it infuriates me. Coming to a complete stop when there are no obstructions, accidents, dead animals, police on the sides, etc. I fully blame this on slow drivers in the left lane causing a chain reaction of people slamming on their brakes.

    • Overgrown Bush

      At the right time of day, this happens because of sunlight. Visibility is down.

    • KArlington

      Until human beings learn how to merge (speed UP, look for openings, don’t wait until the lane ends), the 66W problem will persist. Same thing happens on 66E at Sycamore in the morning.

      • mehoo

        I think people need to learn how to let merging traffic in.

        • JamesE

          Also a problem, they bunch up and refuse to let people in. This is when you have to establish dominance and just force your way in, one will give.

          • BigSpender

            The problem is 2 lanes is not a highway. In 1972, yes, in 2011, no.

          • mehoo

            Yes, now you need at least 12 lanes to be a highway. Awesome! More noise and pollution and homes taken down, at least until the next 6 lanes are added!

          • Overgrown Bush

            Just imagine the mess now if 395 in Shirlington had not grown since 1968 as the area population continued to grow.

          • CW

            See? Heavy rail wins out over driving every time! 🙂

          • mehoo

            You’re assuming that there are no alternatives to highways again.

          • Overgrown Bush

            Just showing some history. That was then, looking out the window is now. Now would not fit into then.

          • BigSpender

            This is not 66 this morning? Could have fooled me

          • Overgrown Bush

            Let’s not forget that Arlington has developed along this stretch of road as well (with no metrorail). Just look at the changes to the left (in Shirlington) and to the right (on Glebe) to see what kind of car volume is being pumped out onto 395 by Arlington residents. Let’s not solely demonize the folks coming from Fairfax and beyond. You have to look at the core to find rot on this apple as well.

          • CW

            It was 66 this morning…the orange line was trying out a new route and new rolling stock…

  • bob

    WHat don’t I see on that list? Beltway in virginia — where we are wasting 2 billion dollars building HOT lanes that aren’t needed.

    • Overgrown Bush

      The beltway in VA is no piece of cake, that’s for sure….

    • mehoo

      It’s not on the list on this blog because it’s not in Arlington. But it is on the list in the report.

  • PikeHoo

    I can’t wait for that Giant to open. A great addition to Columbia Pike.

    • el fat kid

      we’ll see. The last Giant that was there was god awful. Gross produce, bad lighting, horrible selection and stocking… It was like Murry’s on H st opened up an Arlington location.

      Excited to see the new one. Grocery chains usually bring in the best folks from the region to help support the launch for a couple months. 60,000ft sounds like a behemoth tho. Anyone know how big the one at rt.7 and jefferson is?

      • Lou

        Just a quick measurement with Google Earth puts it at about 64,000.

        • FrenchyB

          +1 for using the Google Earth methodology.

        • el fat kid

          ah. interesting. b/c that one is massive. almost too big. you have to walk past beach balls, lawn chairs and children’s toys between picking up toilet paper and a frozen pizza (the only things i buy). Have they published the layout of the new one yet? Also, where’s there a Food Lion in the area?

      • SouthArlJD

        Aww, you’ve made me remember the Murry’s on Columbia Pike at Columbus Street South. Used to be next to Bruce Variety. Both gone now.

  • BigSpender

    Ah yes, Arlington and traffic. All part of the county’s plan to keep it safe from evil outsiders traveling through the area. “limit access, thereby creating less traffic ‘on the inside where we live’ and on our local streets” Make no mistake friends, Arlington likes to keep itself as opposite as Fairfax county as possible. Arlington is like the speed bump before DC, don’t stop through here though, or Arlingtonians we will eat your brains.

    • FrenchyB

      Well, it’s a no-brainer that Arlington has the two biggest highway choke points in the region – it’s home to the only two interstates that lead to D.C.

      • jan

        Right

      • CW

        Actually, 395 and 66 are both “intrastates”!

        • CW

          Although since 395 goes into DC, I guess you can’t call it either one. It’s partially in a state and partially in the district, so it’s neither interstate nor intrastate…

          • el fat kid

            66 technically goes into dc too, running up to K st.

        • el fat kid

          is this some joke about dc’s second class status or?

        • CW

          Dammit, you’re right.

        • mehoo

          Kinda like there are interstates in Hawaii and Alaska.

    • el fat kid

      pretty idiotic commentary.

      “Arlington likes to keep itself as opposite as Fairfax county as possible” in what way? on the surface this doesn’t sound like a bad thing.

      limiting access? oh you mean the highways aren’t wide enough for your SUV that you like to drive in from some 1 of 1,000 townhouse in burke….. pretty sure we have more metro stops per sq. mile than any jurisdiction, catch up with us there and then bitch about HOV lanes.

      • BigSpender

        Fairfax county, as you are unaware, has an entirely opposite transportation plan that affects all urban planning there, do some research.

        An affordable townhouse in Arlington? There is no such thing. After all this hype about affordable housing and diversity in Arlington we are extremely fragmented with rundown areas next to meccas of engineering. Anything more than a 1-2 bedroom apartment is going to require a fairly substantial dual income check.

        Arlington’s philosophy IS to limit access because they don’t want outsiders (essentially people that live outside of DC but work in DC and don’t live in Arlington) on our local streets.

        Metro access? Sure if you live or work .25 miles from a stop, but most dense? No, this is not the case.

        Limiting access has nothing to do with the width of the roads. The number of lanes maybe, but not the width, so your insult is invalid.

        • el fat kid

          yeah, no shit…someone has been taking intro to econ! it does indeed cost more to live close in and that might mean a small apartment compared to a townhouse or detached. life is full of tough choices but don’t blame others for your bad ones.

          also, Arlington has 11 stops in 26 sq miles for a density of .42/sq mile. What’s Fairfax at? Faquier? Loudon?

          • BigSpender

            Nope DC tops them all… I’m a genius because I didn’t need google maps for that 🙂

            Affordable housing is a joke in Arlington, look at Montgomery County (just one example), if my family makes less than $53K per year I can rent a $2200 NEW apartment for $1300. No joke. Arlington just likes to say it has affordable housing to attract people here, but those slums are not what people had in mind.

          • el fat kid

            Yes, DC has more stops…aren’t we talking about Virginia? The only VA jurisdiction that comes anywhere close is Alexandria which has 4/15.6 sq miles for a density of .25/mi.

            I’m not going to defend Arlington County’s affordable housing… it is ineffective and misguided but at the end of the day what you’re complaining about is market based prices and the government not making up for your lack of income.

            Comparing Arlington to Montgomery is a pretty pointless exercise. Montgomery County is massive and spans out all the way to Sugarloaf mountain. There’s more room to build and a significant drop off in cost/acre as you get further out. So please, by all means, move to Gaithersburg. Perhaps sitting in bumper to bumper traffic in one of I-270’s ten lanes will cure your addiction to paving.

          • Overgrown Bush

            And with Metro being a regional transportation entity, you would think the Arlington contingent would support additional Metrorail to the outer burbs. Not.

          • BigSpender

            I forgot to comment on your calculation of .42/sq mile thing, you state that there are 11 stops covering 26 miles? I’d like to see you walk 2.5 miles to the metro everyday.

          • el fat kid

            oy. kind of pointless discussion here… but, the density of metro stops has a lot to do with getting cars off the road. fairfax, faquier, and loudon haven’t come to appreciate that. Well, fairfax is starting to catch on but they don’t have the political will to do enough to really make a difference.

            i’m not saying you have to connect everyone or that it’s a full substitution, but the more metro stations you have per sq. mile, the less traffic you will have. Once Fairfax, Faquier and Loudon have caught up with Arlington, then we can discuss all this widening crap. In the meantime don’t whine about making the tradeoff for more space in exchange for a longer commute. You can pout and bitch all you want on the blogs but you have only yourself to blame.

          • Overgrown Bush

            Again, Metro is a regional transportation entity of which Arlington participates. So, unless Arlington supports mass rail throughout the burbs it likely won’t happen. Too costly. Non mass rail support because of money. Non road support. Let’s stick our head in the sand and maybe they’ll all go away. Indeed.

          • el fat kid

            why is it too costly? Because a couple billion is a scary number? Government budgeting often involves scary numbers. That doesn’t mean it’s not cost effective. The Silver line isn’t even complete and that corridor is already seeing the economic benefits of having a metro line. (the traffic might suck while they’re building, but home sales and new commercial construction has skyrocketed).

            I think you’d be hard pressed to find someone in Arlington Govt who is not an advocate of expanding Metro.

          • Overgrown Bush

            They would advocate it, just not want to pay for it. Let’s see who complains when the silver line trains come full into Ballston.

          • Southeast Jerome

            insensitive and ignorant viewpoints like el fat kid’s are a reason why the income gaps in this country keep growing.

            the reality is that young couples and families cannot afford to live in dense arlington but the elite that live there want to keep it that way.

            by forcing the lower class/lower income citizens further out, the arlington elite can reinforce their dominance by forcing those that must live further out to have a poor quality of life by sitting in traffic

          • mehoo

            Enough of this crap about “the elite want to keep it that way.” That’s a slur. It’s quite clear that Arlington has done many things to try to keep housing affordable here, to the extent that’s possible.

          • el fat kid

            no. nice name but you’re totally off.

            Income gaps continue to grow because of nationwide macro policy that encourages disparity on a much larger scale than affordable housing in a little sliver of expensive real estate.

            And just so we’re on the same page, you’re upset because you believe you weren’t given a fair chance in this country and that the government owes you at least half your rent?

            I’m all for equal opportunity – providing increased funding for WIC to Headstart to Pell Grants, but complaining that you don’t make enough to live in the neighborhood you want to live in or that your house isn’t big enough is not the government’s problem.

          • Southeast Jerome

            And, for the record, I make plenty to live in Arlington, I live there now but I know when it comes time to start a family and I need a bigger place, I will be forced to move further out. My main problem is the entitlement of some longtime Arlington residents that expanding highways is such an issue for them. 66 and 395 need more lanes and thats where my “elitist” comment stems from.

          • mehoo

            So when you are “forced” to move way out, will you then complain when someone wants to build a highway next to your house because they are forced to move even further out? Because that’s what happens with sprawl. It eats land very quickly. I don’t consider buying a house and then expecting others not to drive over it on the way home to their McMansions to be elitist. As long as Arlington provides a mix of housing, for every one of you who feels forced to move out, someone who prefers close-in, high density housing can afford to move here and not clutter the highways.

          • Southeast Jerome

            I dont think adding an extra lane to 66 or 395 will require paving over homes. They have room to add that easily.

          • Overgrown Bush

            ok, mehoo. Let’s say everyone who lives in Fairfax, Prince William, and Loudoun “chooses” to live in Arlington and can afford it. Guess what? They don’t all fit. Not even close. That’s why there is sprawl. It isn’t a “choice”. It is what happens when there is too many people. Wrongly blame the person living further out, but correctly blame be governments and the planners for making it that way. You are pretty closed minded to think people living in the burbs all could happily “choose” to live in Arlington. Right…

          • Southeast Jerome

            Yea I cant get a read on MeHoo’s ultimate motives. You cant realistically expect people who live in Ashburn and work in DC to take public transit. Its not reliable. Public transit is a much better option for those living close in. I used to commute from Reston to DC. I tried using public transit and it would take over an hour with no delays. Add in metro delays that occur at least 1x/week and you cant trust that bs for the amount you are asked to pay.

            I would save at least 20 minutes each way by driving by myself, even with sitting in traffic on 267 and GW Parkway. Thus I decided to move to Arlington and rent for an ungodly sum of money but at least I have my time back.

            I will now need to choose between having a family or living in Arlington/close in proximity. Which many young workers will too. Housing prices have gone up 10X faster than incomes. So the new generation is priced out. We are going to slowly head the way of Japan and will into a nogrowth, declining population, deflationary society where no one wins. Its a shame.

          • mehoo

            OB:

            “Let’s say everyone who lives in Fairfax, Prince William, and Loudoun “chooses” to live in Arlington and can afford it. Guess what? They don’t all fit. Not even close. That’s why there is sprawl.”

            Of course they can’t all fit, but alot more fit than if we allowed only low-density sprawl development! Sprawl is a choice. By adding Metro and dense housing near it, alot more people can live in Arlington than otherwise. Not everyone, but alot more.

            SJ:

            “You cant realistically expect people who live in Ashburn and work in DC to take public transit. Its not reliable. Public transit is a much better option for those living close in.”

            Again, never said everyone has to. If some do – those living close in, as you say – they make room on the highways for the rest.

          • Overgrown Bush

            Well, I certainly pity the designer who designed a low-density high rise development in the middle of the country. That works great for the city, but the density tends to decline the further you go out. Counties not wanting to be overrun by commuters limit density to minimize traffic: Prince William has built up to their “rural crescent” where they have tried to limit how much development can happen by zoning 1 house per 10 acres. In Fauquier, I believe they have some areas limited to one dwelling per 35 acres. You see, that preserves a more sedate lifestyle for those who live and work there. It is not unlike Arlington not wanting wider highways, with the exception of Prince William and Fauquier have also set aside areas for more suburban development and have lagged behind in the transportation planning there.

          • Southeast Jerome

            You do realize that Loudoun County, VA is the fastest growing county in the country. A lot of those people commute into DC & Arlington.

            66 inside the beltway is the slowest growing highway in the country.

          • mehoo

            Yeah, Loudoun is growing, so what? Some people there actually want it to grow smartly.

          • Southeast Jerome

            You have got to be kidding yourself. I cannot wait until the current generation of 22-30 year olds is ready to buy houses and they all have to buy in Ashburn and Aldie and commute to job centers in Tysons, Reston, Arlington, Bethesda and DC, in their cars and it will crush traffic and the regions economic growth engine. Oh wait, thats already happening because unless you make $150K a year, you cant afford to raise a family in Arlington. Give me a break that Arlington has done enough to keep things affordable. That is just flat out not accurate.

          • mehoo

            Tes, it’s completely accurate. The county has done what it can. That doesn’t mean it can overcome market forces. The county has required developers to create low-income housing and denser housing. It’s never going to be enough to make it as cheap as the outer ‘burbs though. That’s just economics. To say the county isn’t doing anything to counter that trend is untrue and insulting.

          • Aaron

            Plenty of people around me seem to be doing just fine with half of that.

            Do you need to sell one of your Lexuses? Maybe cut back on the Starbucks a little?

          • el fat kid

            I agree… in a similar spot. Life is full of tough choices.

            What is the county supposed to do? Subsidize a couple with a household income of $75,000 with an extra $1,000 per month? I guess that’d be more cost effective than spending $600,000/unit of affordable housing in Clarendon, but really?

            Say you have a young couple with one child that’s grossing 4x the poverty line (so about $75k/yr) which is roughly enough to afford a 750sq condo on the pike past George Mason. You think that with all the priorities we have, the government should be paying them $1,000 a month so they can move to a two bedroom condo in ballston?

            Seriously, with all that’s going on in the world, that’s what we should be doing? I think Arlington overspends on schools ($100m renovation for perfectly fine buildings?) but that money is way better spent than trying to implement some ‘housing upgrade’ plan for people making several times the poverty line.

          • Southeast Jerome

            good luck trying to convince a young wife with a small child to live on the pike past george mason

          • el fat kid

            @SEJErome well then you can move to fairfax or loudon… Arlington county government shouldn’t be filling the void between convincing your wife to live somewhere and your ability to pay. It’s plenty nice enough for some families.

            Your point is understandable though, you don’t make as much as you’d like. I’m with you. But i’m not going to tell my neighbor to subsidize me or pave his backyard so i can drive in from centreville.

          • Southeast Jerome

            And Aaron- maybe many people around you are doing fine with 75K, but they are most likely seriously dilusional about their financial situation. That isnt much money in this area, especially if you have a family.

          • Overgrown Bush

            el fat kid: I’m fine with telling my neighbor to widen I66 so that I can commute from Arlington to Tysons along with many other Arlingtonians. Commuting is a way of life and it isn’t only to DC through Arlington. It is by Arlingtonians to points outside of Arlington. How dare all us Arlingtonians demand a highway so we can work in Tysons? How dare we demand a highway so we can visit our family in Pennsylvania? That road used to be somebody’s house or farm!

          • BigSpender

            Jerome, I am one of these. Sure, I make a 6 figure salary and I could afford a place in the innards of Arlington. As long as that place is a one bedroom in a semi desirable neighborhood. I moved here because of job proximity. Quickly found out that my 1br 1ba place is not good to start a family. Underwater on my mortgage 5 years later, I still can’t move out to a larger place. In part because of no equity and much of my paycheck goes to the mortgage. Not blaming the housing market on Arlington, but it is only because of its proximity to DC that the housing prices have not gone down more

          • mehoo

            al fact kid – In fact, the county HAS subsidized people at lower incomes to allow them to keep their homes, even though I agree they shouldn’t be expected to. Until recently, they had a program for rebating some property taxes based on income. This just goes to show how far the county has gone to accomodate low-income people who want to live here, contrary to the accusations that they are “elitists” who don’t want those people here.

          • Brendan

            wow. It takes some a whole row of bad decisions to end up in your spot — to make six figures, be underwater on your condo’s mortgage and not have the ability to get out and move… Sounds like you either went way in over your head on the mortgage to begin with, did a crappy job of buying a place and have made such a mess of your personal finances that you’re going to have to do a long, slow dig out…

            Regardless, not sure where the government’s role in subsidizing your bad decisions comes into play. You started off criticizing income gaps and economic disparity, but that’s not what is going on here. You make six figures but are in a financial bind due to your own lack of judgment and looking for someone else to blame. Your idea of affordable housing is bailing out people who make six figs?

          • BigSpender

            Brendan, I appreciate your analysis, but bottom line is that I would be losing $700 a month just to keep up with my mortgage if I rent it out, which equals $700 less per month on a bigger place, probably NOT in Arlington.

            I didn’t say we needed more public housing assistance, just better politicians in Arlington making better decisions on where that money goes. And it doesn’t just apply to housing. Don’t get me started on taxes

          • JohnB

            Fairfax county has a higher median household income than Arlington does.

          • Overgrown Bush

            Remove McClean and Clifton and likely it doesn’t.

          • Lou

            Loudoun beats them all. Boondocks, sprawl and SUV’s, winning.

          • mehoo

            OB:

            Remove North Arlington and now it does again!

            Just throwing out the parts you don’t like isn’t allowed, sorry.

          • Overgrown Bush

            Touché, mehoo.

          • mehoo

            Thanks for the accent over the “e” – nice touch.

          • JohnB

            Also, has anyone noticed that while we have the 4th worse traffic we are the 4th largest metro area? Any thought that more people = more traffic congestion? No, no, it must be Arlington’s fault.

          • mehoo

            Yes and no. The biggest cities are top of the list, but they don’t line up perfectly with size. New York is the largest city but ranks 13th.

          • JohnB

            It also has the best transit system. Coincidence?

        • mehoo

          Yeah, people love to say how Arlington’s economic success is only due to proximity to DC, but never say the same thing about housing prices.

          • CW

            I also like it how people say that Arlington’s success is due to its proximity to D.C., but always neglect to discuss any of the other communities or areas that border D.C.

          • BigSpender

            You’re speaking of Maryland.. more specifically PG County.. need I say more?

          • mehoo

            Or the communities IN DC for that matter.

  • CW

    Since this article has some discussion of speculation regarding development, I was wondering if anyone knew the status of 1) the empty lot behind whole foods in clarendon and 2) the block on the corner of wilson and washington blvd with taste of morocco, etc? I saw a couple people looking around inside that Sam’s corner building the other day – is that whole block supposed to be razed and redeveloped?

    • Clarenguy

      You saw people INSIDE at Sam’s corner ?! Did you take a picture ?

      Most of that lot at Wilson and Washington should get underway with a ZOM construction project (The Waverly) soon. I believe the owner of Sam’s corner had held it up with a lawsuit over the use of an alley for a couple years.

    • CW

      I know, I was surprised to see people in there too!! It didn’t look like anyone scoping it out for a business, and certainly not a developer type. I am thinking it was the current owner and familiy members or something. I don’t know what they were doing – maybe drinking some of the sodas that are still in the fridge? I wonder if the fridge is still running…

    • I wonder about those two lots all the time. Anyone know anything about the area by Whole Foods on Wilson/Clarendon?
      I saw someone in Sam’s about a month ago that didnt seem to work there. How does it stay in business?!

      • CW

        Uh, I don’t think Sam’s is in business…the time I reported just now was the only time I’ve ever seen a human in there.

  • Bender

    I guess the question is — what is it that other communities do such that they are not at the top of the list for traffic congestion? Maybe we should do what they do.

    Of course, what everyone else has done everywhere traffic is not congested is to increase the supply of roadway. More roadway means more room for traffic. Less roadway means less room for traffic. Pretty basic logic that everyone else seems to understand. And, given that they have expanded supply and did not, as the smarter-than-us folks keep insisting, become more congested — traffic did not increase along with the increased supply so as to simply make a bigger parking lot — maybe we ought to give up on this backasswards thinking that fewer lanes leads to less traffic.

    • BigSpender

      I’d say that’s probably because Arlington is in a different situation than most other counties. Its so close to DC but yet wants to grow and separate itself. Somewhere along the line, county officials believed that creating a highway is not such a bad thing as long as you make few exits (to calm local traffic) and not widen existing roads, thereby creating the parking lots known as 66 and 395. Creating metro stops, but that does NOTHING to decrease traffic on 66 and 395. It only decreases traffic on local roads, I’m sorry if others feel otherwise.

      Now I can barely get OUT of my home in Arlington without traffic..

      • mehoo

        So, basically, you’re claiming that Metro doesn’t help traffic? Really?

        • BigSpender

          Correct, 66 and 395 are still parking lots.

        • Southeast Jerome

          mehoo doesnt ride the metro at rush hour. he doesnt realize its not reliable or if a single person sneezes at rush hour there are massive backups.

          metro is not the answer, it can only be PART of the answer.

          • BigSpender

            Tell me about it, I used to commute from Glenmont. It did nothing to shorten my commute or save me money, just less traffic headaches. Arlington always points to metrorail, but truth is, metro is failing worse than Arlington county (I know its a stretch). They can’t sustain themselves, keep raising rates, elevators frequently break, the trains are PACKED during rush hour, good luck finding parking at your stop, hmm what else, and crime is on the rise, so you might get a beat down on the way to work.

          • mehoo

            Potholes, fatal accidents almost daily, massive backups, 8-hour commutes in snowstorms, skyrocketing gas prices, huge maintenance backlogs and no money for expansion – yeah, I could write the same sad story about highways too.

            No mode is perfect. All modes are necessary. The best system has a good mix of all of them, letting people take what’s best for them.

          • BigSpender

            “what’s best for them”? In that case workers midas well telecommute from west virginia because none of these works right now thanks in part to Arlington.

          • Overgrown Bush

            Don’t forget the coal-fired power plants required to generate the electric power in this country that the train runs on. They aren’t exactly clean.

          • mehoo

            Yes, I ride the Orange line during rush hour into DC most days. Oops.

            It’s funny that you make so many assumptions. Another assumption you make is that crowds on Metro make it “unreliable” and a bad choice, yet congestion on I-66 makes you want to expand highways. I say the crowds on Metro prove it is popular and that we should expand public transit even more!

          • BigSpender

            Maybe he rides the Orange Line straight to the courthouse

          • Southeast Jerome

            Mehoo- the only expansion of metro that will fix the structural issues with the system is adding another track so when there is a broken door or sick customer, it doesnt cause delays for 30 minutes.

            I’d like to see the area secure federal funding, or any type of funding, for an infrastructure project like that. Much, much easier to add another lane or two to the highway.

          • mehoo

            Easier isn’t always better in the long run. And there are more than two choices of solutions.

            So does this mean you stopped assuming things about me? Next time just ask.

          • Southeast Jerome

            In all fairness, I thought I rememebered from another thread that you dont ride the orange line through Arlington during rush hour on a daily basis, my bad.

            And with all of your high praise of the system, that only reinforced that predisposed belief, since I cannot take anyone serious who thinks expanding Metro is an alternative to adding capacity to 66/395. Both options are badly needed.

          • borf

            Okay, I get it now. No problem.

            But I never really said we can just add capacity to Metro and never do anything else either. I’m speaking in general terms – and also including additional alternatives other than just “add lanes to I-66” or “add more cars to Metro.” It’s more complicated than that.

          • mehoo

            (But speaking as mehoo, not borf.)

          • madisonmanor

            What’s wrong with them charging the $6 or $7 each trip that it really SHOULD cost each rider if the inept Metro management actually factored in recapitalization, repairs and expansion the way other businesses do? I don’t think ‘hoping’ for additional money is a strategy, but it seems all that the Metro board has in the works. Then again, it seems to work just fine for AMTRAK.

          • mehoo

            Works for highways too.

          • jan

            Jerome,
            I think NVa was foolish not to make to current extension 2 tracks.

          • Aaron

            @madisonmanor — There’s a level of inconvenience that most people are willing to accept in exchange for a $2-$4 one-way commute. If you jack the fare up to $6-7, then you will force a great number of people back onto the highway. As mehoo notes, the only way to balance things out would be to make every highway user pay for the recapitalization, repair, and expansion of the highways on a per-use basis (you know, rather than hoping that VDOT will grace us with their generosity).

          • madisonmanor

            Yes, it does – every gallon of gas I buy has taxes that should funnel back into the roads. The more I drive, the more gas I buy, the more $$ goes into the kitty. Same used to be true for the toll road (VA267) – except now much of the tolls collected there are going to the silver line, but I don’t mind that as much, since expansion that was is sorely needed. But since I never use Metro (nowhere I work or spend leisure time is convenient), why should my tax dollars be used to subsidize that mis-managed system? Would you honestly pay $15 a day to ride your orange line to/from work so that the people who used the system funded the maintenance, refurbishment of escalators, buying new cars etc.?

          • Southeast Jerome

            Would you pay $20 round trip including parking from Vienna to DC on an unreliable train system with strangers all around you when you could drive into DC from Vienna, in the same time, in your own climate controlled car, drink your coffee and eat your breakfast en route while having cell phone service the whole time, and then pay to park $10 a day?

            If you charge anymore for the metro, nobody will take it, it wouldnt be worth it.

          • madisonmanor

            expansion *there is sorely needed

          • Overgrown Bush

            The gasoline tax goes to roads. The beauty of it is those who drive lower mileage vehicle are paying a higher portion of the burden. However, as mileage standards increase the tax has remained flat. There are those who would argue this has hurt, but the number of drivers has increased with population. There should be money for roads. I have to think mismanagement is partially to blame.

          • Southeast Jerome

            oh you mean that gas tax that hasnt been increased in Virginia since 1986? That sure is doing a great job of keeping up with inflation. Get real.

          • Overgrown Bush

            I make no judgement on whether or not the tax rate on gasoline should have been raised or not since 1986. Raising tax rates certainly only serves to hurt the consumer. However, just because the tax rate has not increased does not mean the revenue generated by the gasoline tax rate hasn’t increased substantially more than inflation. I would be willing to bet it has, since the population growth in the area has, hence more people paying gas tax. The question is, is it enough?

          • Southeast Jerome

            OB: sorry my comment was more meant for our friend Madison.

            I see your point that there probably is more revenue generated now with more gas being purchased, with the lack of funding the state of virginia has had for transportation projects, I would say it needs to be increased.

            Higher gas tax—->higher gas prices—->more people use public transit—–>more funds for public transit——>more efficient public transit/less people on roads——->less time wasted in traffic—–>economic growth?

            does that hurt reaganomics re: lower taxes—>economic growth?

          • JohnB

            We need better land use planning too. If more people lived near their jobs, traffic wouldn’t be as bad.

          • PghBigDog

            I find it interesting that in the midst of all this discussion of metro vs 66/395 that nobody mentions the fact that the roads and public transit are clogged because everyone is trying to goto the same place at the same time. This taxes approximately half of our infrastructure while the other half is underutilized which situation reverses itself twice a day. Whatif more folks live AND worked in Ashburn, lived AND worked in Reston and we didn’t have to put up with the insanity on the roads. Why can’t we spend some $$ on figuring out how to NOT get people to come through Arlington twice a day. Figure out how to get them to work closer to home or live closer to work.

  • LyonSteve

    When will Arlington begin to fix the potholes? I see VDOT has announced they are beginning to fix potholes. Is that enough for Arlington to start?

    The potholes are getting worse and worse!

    • Overgrown Bush

      It is “better” to wait until spring.

  • Bender

    Expand Metro?? Won’t that only add to the problem?

    After all, it will just encourage more people to ride, and then the trains will be just as packed as they are now.

    At least, that is the twisted logic that is attempted when the subject is roads, not Metro.

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