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Examiner Blasts Arlington’s Streetcar Project

by ARLnow.com July 7, 2011 at 9:36 am 14,969 178 Comments

The plan to build a rapid bus line in Crystal City and Potomac Yard, and then eventually replace it with a streetcar line, is drawing criticism from the Washington Examiner’s editorial board.

“This colossal, unjustified waste of tax dollars has been deliberately concealed from the public,” the Examiner alleges. However, the plan to convert the transitway into a streetcar line has been discussed in public meetings.

The Examiner editorial also alleges that the planned streetcar line along Columbia Pike will hinder traffic, especially during rush hour. The paper says the county should release the results of a simulation that attempted to find out how much vehicle travel times would be affected by the streetcar.

“A previous study showed that streetcars on the pike will turn an easy 15-minute commute to a 50-minute marathon,” the editorial board wrote, adding that the planned narrowing of traffic lanes along the Pike will present a safety hazard for drivers and cyclists.

  • Josh S

    Ooo Ooo Ooo –

    we can beat the 300 comment barrier, I know we can!!

  • Shirlingtonguy

    Any project blasted by the Examiner must have some merit. They are still lamenting the passing of the horse and buggy days.

    • YoBimbo


    • Stan


    • Burger


      just because they are right side of the equation doesn’t mean they are wrong on this issue.

      • danielobvt

        Even a stopped clock is right twice a day…

      • the native

        The Examiner has no credability. Never has.

        • Truthi

          Sadly from one who sits on the Transit Advisory Committee the editorial was dead on. Even the biggest County sycophant has to agree that building the transit way to terr it up three years alter for the trolley folly is a waste

          The trolley is artisphere 2.

  • samsonite

    Gee, that’s shocking news. The Examiner is about as right-wing and idiotic as it gets. This is the same editorial board that thinks carbon dioxide can’t possibly cause global warming because, after all, we breathe it, so it must be harmless.

  • YTK

    When we lived in Arlington in the mid 70’s– there was a GREAT transit system — NOW with budget cuts, we face a miserable commute every day with more pollution — no small thanks to all the hi rises that have been built on Columbia Pike and the attendant cars that now travel the Pike all hours of the day and night — there is NO WAY the Streetcars are going to make anyone’s commute any better!! So unless you WIDEN Columbia Pike to be 8 lanes, your LEAST expensive and MOST effective way to deal with this is a better-run and schedule-efficient (ie, ON TIME) BUS transit system, and adding more trains to the Metro routes.

    • Thes

      I was going to DISAGREE with your desire to DEMOLISH buildings to WIDEN Columbia Pike. This tactic, would DESTROY much of the established commercial VALUE of properties along the Pike. But since you used CAPITAL LETTERS in your post, I have NO CHOICE but to agree with you.

      • YoBimbo

        Actually, I think YTK is not advocating that at all.

        >> So unless you WIDEN Columbia Pike to be 8 lanes <<

        . . . your LEAST expensive and MOST effective way to deal with this is a better-run and schedule-efficient (ie, ON TIME) BUS transit system, and adding more trains to the Metro routes."

        Perhaps it might have been more clear if METRO had been in all caps. 😉

        • Thes

          You’re RIGHT, with ALL THE CAPS, it was hard to FOLLOW ytk’s train of thought. It’s ALMOST as if the CAPS were put on RANDOM WORDS, which though it FORCES us to agree with the argument, it does not make EASIER TO UNDERSTAND.

          • What?

            rAnDOm LEtTeR cAPitaLIZatIoN iS eVEn haRDer tO fOlLoW aNd IS a bIt cReEpY !

          • LVGuy

            ɹɐǝ|ɔ ǝɹoɯ ʇuıod ʎɯ sǝʞɐɯ sıɥʇ .noʎ ɥʇıʍ ǝǝɹbɐsıp ı

          • YoBimbo

            haha! ::golf clap::

          • YTK


            Calm down Thes. I was being SARCAAASTIC!! WHO wants MORE of Columbia Pike????

            PS- MetroMetroMetroMetro

    • Josh S

      Yes, the GREAT transit system was called about 30,000 fewer people living in the county. It’s a LOT EASIER to get around when there are FEWER people.
      (JUST to correct the record, I’d like to point out that POLLUTION is actually much lower these days, thanks to the Clean Air Act, catalytic converters, etc. Also, if your concern was really pollution, you’d be in favor of increased public transportation since it moves more people per gallon and thus causes LESS pollution than cars)
      Also, I’m wondering if you ever TAKE THE BUS along Columbia Pike? They actually run fairly often and are VERY POPULAR. This is perhaps evidence that they are IN DEMAND and maybe more public transit would be a GOOD INVESTMENT.

      • NPGMBR

        THANK YOU Josh.

      • samsonite


        • Josh S

          +1 fuh nee

      • Zoning Victim

        If public transit was a good investment, it wouldn’t be public transit.

        • samsonite

          If public roads were a good investment, they wouldn’t be public roads.

          Just as stupid.

          • Jim

            yes but road are largely paid for out of user-fees, where transit is largely paid for out of general tax revenue. i know liberals have problems with facts… but whatever. how’s that global warming thing going for you… i mean global cooling… i mean climate change?

          • Edjey

            Huh? Roads are paid for by user fees?

          • TooEasy


          • Nick

            It’s called the gas tax. But, since it hasn’t been raised in about 17 years, it now covers about half of the cost of building and maintaining roads.

      • Truthi

        Josh the bus does work well but will the trolley where one delivery truck can shut down the transit system. the other thing you all have to remember is that the cars are not going away and in fact they will increase as the population increases.

        • Josh S

          What you have to ask is what is the frequency of one delivery truck shutting down the system? Horses and sleighs are better at negotiating the snow than cars are but no one argues against roads, do they? All of the “what if this happens” arguments against the trolley are the same – red herrings. Yes, life happens in inconvenient ways sometimes. So what? If the one delivery truck argument held water then trolley systems around the world would have been shut down long ago. Instead, they trundle along, delivering passengers daily.
          And why do we have to remember that cars aren’t going away? Yes, I do remember that. Now what?
          Well, hmmm, single-occupancy cars are a very inefficient mode of transportation. So maybe we’d want to discourage over-reliance on them. I know, let’s build more public transit, uh, let’s encourage greater density so that people can walk and bike where they want to go, etc. Maybe something like a trolley.

    • ConstantCritic

      we ALL had better commutes in the mid-70’s. Americans were just then adding a 2nd car to the line-up. The station wagon was being supplemented by a new Datsun or Honda Civic. Now even a family of 4 has 7 cars! We’ve added more cars to the road for same household size.

      • Arlington, Northside

        Hasn’t household sizes actually shrunk, while we still add cars? My siblings and I had one car to share among the four of us in what was then an outer suburb during the 80’s, while right around the corner from me, in our “urban village” a family with two teenagers has a car for each family member, plus dad’s weekend car in the garage.

        • Thes

          Not in Arlington. Census figures show that despite increases in wealth in the last 20 years, Arlington’s number of cars per household has remained close to steady. This is not necessarily true outside of Arlington, however.

    • tph

      Ditto ditto. Those of us who recall the trolleys in downtown DC also well remember the traffic jams, even way back then, as cars tried to move around the trains. We also remember trying to drive over the trolley tracks, which were a continuing maintenance problem. Cities that have successfully invested in trolleys have indeed widened their roads to accommodate dedicated trolley lanes.

      Instead of bashing The Examiner, how about looking critically at what they are saying? The fact that Arlington is going to establish one type of transit system and then in just a few years ditch it for another, more “picturesque” form, is ludicrous in these times of fiscal constraint. Don’t we all think we’d like Arlington to move the most people in the most effective and least expensive way? And, since we all are paying for it, don’t we want to see our County Board spend our tax dollars in a well reasoned and carefully thought out way, with lots of public input? Don’t we??

      • Arlington, Northside

        Kennedy, the second half of the last century God of the Left, essentially ordered the shut down of the Trolly system after one broke down in front of the enterance to the White House. This whole idea is going to slap some well intentioned folks in the face.

      • Josh S

        The transitway in Potomac Yards hardly merits the categorization as a “transit system.” I’m not sure that anything would need to be demolished to make way for a trolley should one ever be added. The bus transitway simply consists of improvements to the streetscape and, in some places, dedicated bus lanes, for the express bus between Crystal City and the Braddock Rd station. The Examiner is Chicken Little here.

        “Cities that have successfully invested in trolleys have indeed widened their roads…” Again, I’m not sure the facts support such a blanket generalization. San Francisco, for example, runs trolleys down the same tracks that have existed for many, many decades. Same with many of the European trolleys.

  • Ugh

    It’s not clear to me why a very expensive streetcar system would be more effective than a reliable bus system. Especially since the cars are sharing the streetcar lane. If it’s merely a snobby perception issue, maybe half of the savings on the bus-based approach could be put toward making the buses really chic and launching one hell of a marketing campaign.

    Am I missing something?

    • NPGMBR

      I don’t understand how a street car is any more of an obstruction than three or four Metro Busses arriving all at the same time.

      • South Arlington

        Plus the streetcar has a predictable route and won’t veer into adjacent lanes, cut off drivers while suddenly changing lanes and piling up at stops with multiple redundant buses.

      • Burger

        Street car can only service 1 specific line of people – those travelling and living along Columbia Pike.

        more than likely those 3 or 4 buses branch off and serve numerous other areas meaning an expanded area of coverage.

        • Ugh

          Burger, my point is that if the county wants a fixed route system, it can impose a fixed route for the few buses it dedicates to the “streetcar” route.

          • Zoning Victim

            Which is exactly what they do in Old Town.

        • Josh S

          “more than likely?” You’re jumping into a discussion about the local transit system and you’re not even familiar with it?

          Leaving that aside….let’s try this–

          The Orange Line can only serve 1 specific line of people – those traveling and living along its path.

          I-95 can only serve 1 specific line of people – those traveling and living along its path.

          Less relevant now, but you get the point — The Erie Canal can only service 1 specific line of people – those traveling and living along its path.

          These are arguments against these transportation systems / routes?

          • Zoning Victim

            That’s not really a valid argument since those other types of transportation systems do not equate to the bus versus trolley equation.

          • Arlwhenever

            No these are arguments in favor of bus systems. Use of public transportation was more intensive in Northern Virginia before MetroRail because bus routes were more numerous and unbiquitous and trips were more frequent. Forcing people to accomodate to fixed rail transportation pushed tens of thousands of people out of buses and into cars.

          • Josh S

            Citations, please?

            How do you define “more intensive?”
            How does this definition accommodate the fact that the metro area is quite a bit more populous now than it was forty years ago?
            Would your definition of “public transportation” include trolleys? Because trolleys existed before Metrorail and got a lot of use then. Despite the fact that they couldn’t decide to turn left HERE today and THERE tomorrow.
            Your argument seems to boil down to: Metrorail forced people to drive more than they before. How is this logical? A subargument seems to be Metrorail caused bus lines to be disbanded. Where is the evidence of this? If bus lines were discontinued, wouldn’t it be reasonable to assume that some of the people on those lines started taking Metrorail instead?
            In no way would I deny that a bus line is much more flexible than a fixed rail line. However, two things come to mind – 1) there is already quite a bit of bus service on the Pike. 2) If the question is: what additional services can we provide to enable people to move smoothly along the Pike, and one is then comparing the advantages/disadvantages of bus versus trolley as an answer, I don’t think the flexibility of a bus line is very high up on the list of important factors.

          • DCChughes

            Except that the bus lines are still in place. There are at least three different bus routes that I know of running through the center of Arlington that essentially mimic the below-ground Orange or Blue line routes, plus all the others that go elsewhere. Metro’s trains did not push people out of buses.

          • Burger


            Who will be using the trolley system. People that live in the area of the trolleys stops – I’ll give you about a mile radius from those stops. But, once those tracks are down, you can’t pick up the trolley and move it to meet new demand or demographic changes.

            Buses are not tied to anything but the route the county needs. It can easily be moved around to meet changing population shifts. Buses have different routes they take but might clump up on certain roads – like columbia pike because it is a densely high-trafficked road – but they spread out as they move off Columbia Pike in different directions to different parts of the area. just looking at a WMATA Bus map shows 17 different buses routes travel down Columbia Pike.

            This is the same reason that air travel is superior to high-speed rail simply because of air travel’s flexibility and, of, yeah, it doesn’t take as long.

          • Arlington, Northside

            Yep, A trolley line will work for a long distance or through a long commercial district. I just don’t see it building up that big of a commercial district in that area. Otherwise the thing is just not long enough to be worth the massive capital expenditure.

      • Truthi

        Simple actually trolleys can’t get around obstacles like buses

      • Nick

        One problem is that they plan on maintaining all of the current bus service, while adding the streetcars. That means more big vehicles stopping and blocking traffic and then cutting back in.

        Second, the streetcars will hold more passengers (60-70 or so) than buses (about 40), meaning they will be longer (maybe twice as long) as a current buses; and they will thus be less maneuverable and probably slower, meaning they will block traffic worse than the buses.

        • Josh S

          Actually, I think that the plan is to cut bus service at the same time the trolley is introduced. Which I think may be a mistake and is one of the two or three things that is actually wrong with this plan (as opposed to worrying about delivery trucks, for example – although if you’re really worried about that you’d maybe think about putting the tracks in the MIDDLE lanes, which is where I think they belong and having them in the curb lanes is the other major problem with the current plan, in my opinion.).

          As far as the size. The trolleys will definitely be less maneouverable than buses owing mostly to being on tracks embedded in the ground rather than being longer than a bus. There is no reason to think that a longer trolley vehicle will be any slower than a shorter bus.

  • ArlingtonCountyTaxpayer

    construction of the streetcar line will destroy Columbia Pike. What little economic activity is occurring will be done. Examples:

    Clarendon died during Metro construction
    Ballston was destroyed by Metro construction
    Tysons is suffering by Metro construction.

    H Street is having 5+ years of economic distress because of Streetcar construction.

    The good news is that once done and all businesses have been destroyed by construction, it will be easier to comeback from a lower point.

    Construction of a streetcar will destroy economic activity on the Pike.

    • samsonite

      You’re serious, right?

      Clarendon, Ballston, and Tysons are all dead now, huh?

      • Burger

        Go reread what he posted – during construction.

        • South Arlington

          Digging a tunnel is a lot more involved than laying above ground tracks. I think H Street is a good comparison, and H Street has grown immensely since construction started.

        • samsonite

          Gee, thanks, Burger, once again you get the point and nobody else does.

          • Burger

            Have you seen any recent store openings along H Street? I travel along that road alot and most stores have existed for awhile

            Maybe there was some prior to the construction or at the initial stages but most development has come to a stand still along H st. Why?

            Because any store owner would be economic foolish and throwing his/her money away if they opened during major road construction because of lost parking spots, lost access, etc.

            Maybe a liberal that doesn’t understand the need for profit and loss would just randomly open a store during that construction but most with a basic understanding of economics would wait until H street construction is near completion.

          • South Arlington

            Burger, there are at least 15, and I’d say more than 20 new restaurants and bars that have opened on H St. in the past 5 years. Your baseless bluster isn’t based on any facts.

      • They all died “during” not before or after but during metro construction. Oh, you were joking right?

    • Josh S

      This is either incredibly well concealed sarcasm or ACT is certifiably off their rocker.

    • South Arlington

      Dude, have you been to H Street now vs H Street 5 years ago? It was a scary place back then, an investor put in a few seed bars/restaurants and a streetcar started being built, and now it’s a burgeoning and thriving area of town with new stores, restaurants, entertainment, improving crime rates, etc. I’m sure it has sucked to have the construction on H Street, but it has certainly not stopped commerce, nor stopped new investment, foot traffic, or new businesses – the area has grown in wealth and popularity in the last 5 years more than any other period in recent history.

    • ArlingtonCountyTaxpayer

      ok so i’m not real clear sometimes.
      no sarcasm intended.

      all these areas are great now (except H Street).

      BUT all of them suffered terribly during construction. And construction will take five years. No business has the economic ability to survive that about of time.

      And yes, like i pointed out, the good news is that all the areas will come back. But it won’t be easy and it won’t be pretty. And all the things you love will be gone as they cannot survive the construction.

      • samsonite

        Well, yeah, transportation construction is disruptive. Same goes for construction of new roads, or widened roads.

      • Mr. Brown

        Laying down some streetcar rails isn’t quite as involved as a metro tunnel, and there are a ton of people who live there. I think we still will be able to walk wherever we want. You make it sound like the area will be radioactive for 5 years. It’s just construction. We deal with construction and bad traffic all the time around here, and somehow the wheels haven’t fallen off Western Civilization.

      • TooEasy

        Guess all will be dead along 66

    • G Clifford Prout

      I really have to take issue w/ Arlington Taxpayer.

      While I was only in my early 20’s when Metro came to Ballston and Clarendon, from what I remember, there were a bunch of tired old commercial buildings, surface parking lots, a putt putt course and beautiful “Parkington.” Metro put brought an end to this era, but ushered in what seems to me to be a vibrant “urban village.” (Yes it pained me to use that term.)

      Now, on to H Street. I am providing financing to that part of DC and all the only things being distressed by this project are the long abandoned and boarded up buildings. H Street died in the riots. With the many improvements (including the proposed streetcar) made to H Street, this part of the city is now poised to take off.

      Construction along the Pike will be disruptive, but doing nothing is not the answer. I wonder how much belly-aching the brickyard owners and farmers along the Pike did when developers starting building the structures in the 1930’s.

      Oh, and I own my house about 200 feet from the Pike.

    • LVGuy

      The “death” of Clarendon occurred prior to construction and Arlington’s nightlife moved to Columbia Pike. Now look at Clarendon. Tysons may be suffering, but it’s boring as it is, so Tysons has already been suffering.

      Street car construction is also much easier than subway construction, so I doubt you’ll see as much disruption as was witnessed in Clarendon or Ballston.

    • the native

      Please come “destory” our economic activity on the Pike. All your examples are in my view wildly effective ways of acheiving the desired results.

    • Jim

      H Street has exploded during the streetcar construction. there was nothing there 5 years ago.

    • ArlingtonCountyTaxpayer

      check out this article about the purple line, which pretty much applies to the Z-line too:

  • Col Pike Neighbor

    You know street cars/trams worked really well in Istanbul, Turkey. A city of 17 million. Where it runs along a massive boulevard. Surely it will work for tens of commuters in a four lane road. Hope the cars, Metro buses, Arlington buses, bikes and pedestrians don’t get in their way.

    • Josh S

      What, did you see a special on the History channel or something? You are aware that streetcars run or have run in thousands of towns and cities around the world including our very own Arlington?

      • Arlington, Northside

        What was good for the 1920-1950’s might not exactly work well today.

        • Josh S

          Perhaps, but trolleys continue to operate around the world even today and even in many US cities that are even more populous than Arlington (San Francisco, New Orleans, Baltimore, Portland, to name just a few…..)

    • Flying Spaghetti Monster

      Have you ever been to Istanbul? The trams around the Blue Mosque aren’t exactly running on “massive boulevards” – more like narrow midieval streets. And yet, they still share the road with vehicles quite successfully.

      • Col Pike Neighbor

        Yes, many times. I’m Turkish. The stretch you refer is only a couple of stops between Eminonu and the Grand Bazaar. There are no bus or subway lines there, with very limited car traffic allowed – it’s more pedestrian than anything else. I’m talking about the stretch from Besiktas to Eminonu. Those stops also are transer points to numerous Istanbul ferries and buses. It only proves the point unless your serving a large population or are allowed one mode of transport, a tram is not a good idea.

        • KalashniKEV

          AWWWWW…. SCHNAPP!!!

          Hope the Col Pike dwellers enjoy lots of honking and frustration at vehicles that can’t navigate away from obstacles and traffic conditions. Just wait until one breaks down…

          On a positive note, the streetcar does somewhat work in the modern age in NOLA because it rides on the neutral ground (median).

          • Josh S

            I thought you were supposed to be world weary, Mr. Kev. Bravo for your reference to a second city in the world with a streetcar.

  • YoBimbo

    I’ve been following the streetcar issue only through the comments on ARLnow. Does anyone know what kind of fuel they use?

    • Arlwhenever

      Electric power streetcars, which in this neck of the woods is produced predominantly by burning coal and secondarily by nuclear fission, with less than 9 percent from clean burning natural gas and less than 3 percent from renewable hydro.

      • John Snyder

        Buses and cars, on the other hand are 100% fueled by oil and gas extracted from places like the Gulf of Mexico (what could go wrong?). While electric power generation has great potential for renewable sources, buses and cars have none (unless they are electric, in which case they just use substantially more electricity per passenger).

  • Thes

    In this awesome video you can see how the streetcar caused the San Francisco earthquake. (Note, this is an 8-minute video, but it is awesome.)

  • ArlingtonSouth

    The buses are fine, except for the fact that they are not reliable.

    Express routes with almost 30 stops.
    Stopping to pick up passengers when the route says it will not.
    Stopping to drop off passengers when the route says it will not.
    Inability for buses to run on time due to the same traffic misery any driver experiences.

    I would stand for a better bus system except that the existing system is about as efficient as you are likely to get unless drivers are better trained on routes, routes are limited in stop numbers, and you find some way to pull an increasing population’s use of the road.

    • Josh S

      Actually, there are other solutions as well. Buses can be given priority at lights, for example – a transmitter on board the bus turns lights green as they approach the intersection. Allowing boarding from the back door. I would say bus-only lanes except they are routinely violated and I’m not sure where along the 16 line you would be able to do that. Etc.

  • Arlwhenever

    I wish that misleading streetcar promo picture were no longer propogated. With the Halstead the sun don’t shine on that section of the Pike — nothing breezy and airy about it. This is a visual charade produced by charette. And think there is enough breadth for the bicyclist plus five travel lanes at that intersection? Of course not, just another distortion courtesy of the coalition between the rapacious development community and your County government.

    • South Arlington

      Not saying the 5 year old artistic picture is perfectly accurate, but what bicyclists use Columbia Pike now anyways? It’s not safe to ride anywhere but the sidewalk (which isn’t that safe to begin with). Also I ate dinner at that corner last night, it was plenty airy, sunny and breezy.

    • samsonite
      • Mr. Brown

        Best reply so far…

      • Arlwhenever

        And I hope you are up at 6:00 am every day to get that view.

        • John Snyder

          I am up at 6AM for that view, and it is quite nice. And the non-shadow on the Pike was much the same at 4pm today. If you really want to go stand in a broiling patch of asphalt, the Career Center parking lot is close by. Sure it is no Wal-Mart, but you can still get the same ambiance you desire. .

    • NPGMBR

      Wow is there anything people won’t complain about!

    • the native

      Arlwhenever, You and the Examiner have the same credibility in my book.

  • ArlFoodCritik

    Complete Streets

  • Meh.

    All I know is that the guy on the bike in that picture is gonna get crushed!

  • Leafblower

    Traffic from the recent development along the Pike has caused bus trips to become longer and longer. I’m not sure how adding streetcars is going to make it any better. I’d rather have an actual express bus service for commuters going to the Pentagon and Pentagon City and local service for those traveling from one spot on the Pike to another. Right now there is one quasi-express route and 4 or 5 local routes. It doesn’t make much sense.

  • Lyle

    Streetcar is a huge boondoggle. Luckily it looks to have every chance of becoming too expensive to qualify for the FTA match. At least if they are honest about the costs.

    The FTA will also have to weigh the project against the Federally required BRT and “do nothing” option studies before federal funds are committed. Again, hopefully the FTA will rule against Arlington, since Arlington has certainly made no friends over there with their litigious attitude towards the 395 project, which would have benefited thousands more people in the region than this silly little parochial trolley.

    • samsonite

      Um, no, I don’t think Arlington pissed off anyone at FTA due to 395.

    • Tom

      Arlington will do whatever it feels it needs to do to protect its own interests. It was in the interest of Fairfax County to push for a widening if I-66, and in the interests of the surrounding jurisdictions to push the 395 project.

      To expect Arlington County residents, represented by the County Board, to happily accept being paved over to allow people living somewhere else to get there faster is to fail to understand basic human nature.

  • Lyon Park Matt

    If Arlington goes ahead with the asinine street car project, I’m moving.

    • samsonite

      Awesome! Go out to Loudoun and drive 50 miles to work each day.

    • Joe Hoya

      Well … bye.

    • Agent Michael Scarn

      I’ll buy your house. I want to live in a county where this kind of infrastructure investment takes place.

  • Society

    I think the Streetcar will be fine. All public transit is subsidized so I don’t know why this is such a shock.

    • Zoning Victim

      Arlington spending way more than they need to because they’d rather have a quaint street car instead of adding some express bus routes isn’t a shock at all. That doesn’t make it the right thing to do.

    • Burger

      WMATA is subsidized by 4 entities – MD, VA, DC and the federal government. All have deeper pocketbooks then Arlington County.

      This is an economic boondoggle waiting to happen. If the final tab, outside of subsidies, is less than $1 billion I would be shocked.

      Considering the county is already on tenuous grounds with a $1 billion dollar debt – why add another billion to serve only a small segment of population that is already getting bus service.

  • dcbrewer

    Does anyone actually read the Examiner?

    • YoBimbo

      It took several phone calls and emails to the Examiner followed by two emails to the County to stop getting that garbage dumped on my driveway.

      • the native

        Wow, you got off easy. It took many more than that for me. I finally got an editors number and said I am going to call you three times for every paper I get. After 3 days and 9 phone calls it stopped. She got sick of hearing from me.

      • LVGuy

        LUCKY! After several phone calls I just gave up and called the police to report littering on my front yard every time I got it.

  • Flying Spaghetti Monster

    OOhhhh, i am seething as i ride on my politically correct bicycle. Why cannot I own a car like everyone else!

    • Josh S

      Yeah, I wonder what a “politically correct” bicycle looks like? How does one distinguish it from a regular ol’ bicycle?

      Since when is Columbia Pike a key arterial in congested Northern Virginia. I’d say it’s a key arterial in South Arlington, but does it really have regional significance? I wonder.

      Also, again with the false dichotomy between “oh, Arlington County supports bikes and transit but not cars. And this is a bad thing because more people are in cars.” Uh, I think that what the County is trying to do is promote alternatives so that individual human beings can get from point to point easily. You have no need to bring the 2,000 pounds of steel and plastic with you, do you? You just need to get yourself there. Usually. So here are some alternatives, especially given the fact that no one is manufacturing additional real estate. In other words, there ain’t gonna be no new roads. But, there will be more people. History shows us this. So, grow up, face the problem and attempt to deal with it. From what I can tell, the county is doing just that while those who gripe and moan about increased congestion, streetcars, bulb outs, traffic calming, etc are not.

      • samsonite

        A PC bike is a green fixie made in America by underprivileged youth out of fair trade bamboo.

      • Oldwolf

        Apparently you don’t get out of Arlington much. Columbia Pike stretches into Annadale and having gotten stuck on it in rush hour traffic I can assure you it’s a regional road, not just a South Arlington road. Folks from Annadale and west who work at the Pentagon, Pentagon City and Crystal city use this road as an alternative to 95/395.

        • Josh S

          Well, yes and no. I get out of Arlington almost every day and have even driven all the way down Columbia Pike once or twice in my day.

          I guess I’ll take your word for it that it’s a regional road but the paper called it a “key arterial.” I’m still not sure about that. Of course, we’d have to agree what “key arterial” means to even have the conversation, so…..

          Also, they brought it up as a way to argue against the trolley, saying it would clog up this key arterial. I think this language was chosen to make it sound like a bigger deal than it is. “Key arterial” sounds better than “regional road.” I think there is a distinction, but maybe I’m wrong….

      • JammingEcono


  • christiann

    Love how this project has been “deliberately concealed” from the public, according to this Examiner piece. Everyone paying attention has known about it for years.

    • G Clifford Prout

      Oh that’s just a common cop out. “We were never informed.” “We were shut out of the process.” “We only got short notice.” “Didn’t know about the hearing.” “Didn’t have an opportunity to voice our concerns.” You’ll hear them all.

      For those folks that can’t keep up with current events: Lucky Lindy made it!

      • bluemont resident

        Yeah, see the stories about the Bluemont Civic Association redevelopment vision for an example of that.

    • samsonite

      Yeah, “deliberately concealed” means “we’re such an incredibly lame media outlet that we didn’t know about it.”

  • KalashniKEV

    This streetcar boondoggle is going to make the Pike completely untrafficable. There’s just no flexability to the mode. A bus route kills it in every possible category. I might ride it out West to the ghetto every once in a while though, just to see if the Gods have chosen that I perish in battle.

    • Josh S

      Every now and then, there is this glimmer that perhaps Kev is just having a great big joke on all of us. This is one of those times.

      But the dedication required would just be too great. So, I think the right conclusion is that he really is this much of a tool.

  • (another) Greg

    Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait……

    The Examiner is *blasting* something??? Whodathunkit?!?

  • PikerShorts

    I’ve ridden some great streetcars in Graz and Vienna, Austria + Athens + Amsterdam.

    With respect to the argument that businesses adjacent to the construction will suffer, there will be no tunnel as in Ballston and Clarendon and Tysons was a mess even before (driving East on 7 from Toll Road a few times a month isn’t that much worse than it was before).


  • John K.

    I like streetcars. Muni Metro in SF is decent in my book. I don’t imagine the streetcar will make Columbia Pike traffic thaaaaat much worse. It will be like the occasional three-bus train complicated by a suprise appearance by the county bus-stop garbage trucks during morning rush. It’ll be a cluster, but one that is familiar. The real problem is that it’s a waste of money.

    Get the bus service a little better coordinated, add a few more runs on Sunday, maybe give them priority for green lights (or put back in a couple of the pull-offs that were side-walked over) and this should be fine. A few more buses would cost more money – but less than this vanity project.

  • The Examiner makes Attila the Hun look extremely warm, fuzzy, and moderate. Who cares what these nutjobs think about anything?

  • Joe

    Finally, someone is pointing out that this street car emperor has no clothes. It WILL create a huge traffic mess. As well as being completely uneconomic. A fiasco in the making.

  • Arlington, Northside

    The streetcar idea truly is a boondoggle. While they have had open meetigns to discuss, i am very skeptical that they are sharing the real numbers in terms of dollars and study results.

  • Hank Hill

    Is anyone actually going to head to Columbia Pike because of a street car? You couldn’t pay me to go to Columbia Pike.

    • Arlington, Northside

      MAybe after 20-30 years of re-development. But that will remove its current charm….

    • charlie


    • TooEasy

      I would , street cars would be a nice way to get around in the snow and in the summer.

      • SArl

        You must not have been around during the last big snowstorm when a bus at Scott St. skidded out and blocked both lanes of traffic westbound on Columbia Pike. The driver ditched the remaining passengers into the snowstorm and caused a massive traffic jam for miles behind. Cars couldn’t even make it up the Navy Annex hill and the plows couldn’t get through all the traffic. The traffic had to go around the median at Scott St. into the eastbound lanes. So you think a trolley will be better in a heavy snowstorm?

        • TooEasy

          I was out on bike and in my Jeep – no issues at all, sidewalks had no cars so I could always get around all of the non-drivers Besides trolleys are on tracks and can fit a plow.

  • MC

    Seriously, since when as the Examiner become concerned about bicyclists?

  • John Andre

    Rationale for the trolley has been that Columbia Pike is the MOST HEAVILY USED transit corridor in the entire Commonwealth of Virginia.

    Bus Rapid Transit may be an efficient and more flexible alternative to the trolley. If transit patterns change the route can be changed, something that can’t be done with a fixed-route traction [streetcar] system.

    Historically the trolley has been supported by developers, who stand to earn more moneyif the streetcar is constructed.

    • SArl


  • Nick

    A new transit option along the Pike would be nice. But, from what I can tell, most of the people currently using transit (buses) along here are going long distances, like all the way to the Pentagon/Pentagon City stops for work or to transfer to Metro.

    So, the transit improvement along the Pike should make the trip FASTER for those people. And a streetcar doesn’t do that – it’s just another slow bus-like mode, with dozens of stops in an area of just 2 or 3 miles.

    A light rail line, with few stops than the buses, and running in a new, dedicated lane (without taking away from the current traffic lanes) would accomplish this goal.

    A streetcar will not. It may help with the “vision” of redeveloping the Pike and helping people who don’t want to walk a quarter mile to some new retail or restaurant development. But it won’t help the mass of people using transit (or who are willing to use transit) along the pike get where they need to go – to the Metro at the east end of the Pike, or back home further west along the Pike.

    • Josh S

      I believe the plan actually calls for the trolley to service fewer stops than the bus. Also, if you give the trolley preference at lights, it would be faster than the bus.

      And, yes, you’ve hit the nail on the head – the trolley helps with the “vision” of redeveloping the Pike. The trolley would not be part of the conversation if there were no “vision” for redeveloping the Pike. It is being counted on the help achieve that “vision.”

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  • nota again

    In my day in Norfolk, VA, the street cars were located on elevated land between roads that did not restrict regular automobile traffic in any way except at cross roads. Columbia Poke is not structured that way and the bus/street car lanes will just be another traffic blockage. How about an underground commuter system and the color could be brown.

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