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Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com August 3, 2011 at 8:05 am 2,511 22 Comments

Rush Hour Accident on the Pike — A two-car accident on Columbia Pike, between S. Scott Street and S. Rolfe Street, caused some minor delays during last night’s rush hour. One woman, whose car was rear-ended, was brought to the hospital for reported back pain.

Old Guard Horses Used For Soldier Therapy — Fort Myer’s Caisson Platoon, the horses that bring the caskets of fallen heroes to their final resting place at Arlington National Cemetery, are also being used to rehabilitate soldiers suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. [Examiner.com]

Arlington Defends Streetcar Project — In response to a Washington Post editorial that suggested the Columbia Pike/Crystal City streetcar project should be delayed, Arlington County has sent reporters a link to an explanation of why it’s planning to build the more than $140 million streetcar line. The county has also pushed back on the Post’s suggestion that streetcar funds could be redirected to add capacity to public schools — insisting that the funds come from a tax that can only be used for transportation projects. [Arlington County]

Centenarian Recalls Old Arlington — Martha Ann Miller, who turns 100 on Aug. 6, recounts the changes that have taken place in Arlington over the 74 years she has lived her. [Sun Gazette]

  • charlie

    i found the County press release to be silly. almost like a bully warranting why they beat some one up.
    i don’t see why Arlington thinks it needs to defend itself against the WashPost. It isn’t like people read papers anymore.

  • ArlingtonDweller

    @ClarendonCultur Some drunk guy puked on the bench. Police and paramedics showed up to help him out. – 14 hours ago

    Yeah, police showed up to help him out I bet. By “help” that probably means issued him a drunk in public citation.

    • NPGMBR

      That comment just made my day! LMBO

  • Arlington Bug

    The narrowness of Columbia Pike coupled with the closeness of new construction to the roadway makes the notion of the streetcars crazy. You think the Pike is congested now, just wait until they add in the streetcars. Talk to people that own along the Pike and they are divided, with a very LARGE percentage either NOT wanting the streetcars or highly skeptical of the added value to the neighborhood. If those that live in the neighborhood do not want it, why is this idea still be pushed forward? Shoved down our throats by a small, vocal group.

    • SArl

      I agree. Most people I speak with that live in the corridor are against the streetcar. The Pike is already too narrow in places for moving vans, garbage trucks and all large vehicles to share with a “car” lane. BTW, I still read newspapers.

      • Josh S

        Did it ever occur to those who write “most people I speak with” that of course most people you speak with share your view? Isn’t this natural? People tend to hang around like-minded people. To turn around and assign your point of view to a majority of any larger population is dangerous and often a fallacy.

    • G

      I would guess that probably at least 50% of local residents are in favor of putting in a streetcar. I think you have it backwards, the vocal minority is the people coming out against the streetcar. It was the same situation at the public meetings. Several people complained they didn’t want a streetcar in the neighborhood, but then when one guy said he thought it was a great idea, the whole room erupted in applause.

      The road may be narrow, but often I see several buses along the pike holding up traffic in the right lane. Not only can a streetcar accelerate much faster than a bus, it will reduce the number of buses needed along the pike.

      A lot of people are missing the point. I agree, that buses can pretty much do the same function as the streetcar (in the short term at least), but the fact of the matter is, a lot more people will be willing to leave their car behind and hop on a streetcar than they will be for a bus. No doubt, a streetcar line will definitely bring business to places along the pike, like the Drafthouse. Friends from DC, Pentagon City, or Crystal City never want to go because they don’t feel like figuring out or dealing with the bus system (as easy as it is).

      And for those who keep complaining that the streetcar will bring in more development and make Columbia pike too “loud” and “busy”… Columbia pike already is loud and busy, and ugly to boot. In my opinion the constant noise and exhaust from the never-ending sea of cars is already incredibly displeasing. Not only will streetcars make it look better (even with the single wire above the tracks), but it will likely take some of those cars off the road.

      I really hope Arlington sticks to their plan and gets this project done.

      • G

        I meant to add the following to my statement above about buses doing the same function as streetcars: even though buses may be cheaper in the short term, in the long term the streetcars are cheaper to maintain, and spur economic activity bringing more money to local businesses and the county.

        • RosRes


        • FrenchyB

          Well said.

        • John

          …and streetcars are much quieter than buses, although I am aware that the streetcar won’t eliminate buses on the pike. A rail line, however slow, will also provide a better psychological and physical connection between Crystal/Pentagon City and the rest of South Arlington across Shirley Hwy and along the pike. I agree with G about the low maintenance costs: Streetcars last for decades–the streetcars in cities like Philadelphia and Toronto date to the 1970s. Arlington’s streetcars will hopefully tie into DC’s nascent streetcar network.

          • G

            Supposedly some of America’s old streetcars from before the 1950s are still in use in Eastern Europe

          • Tabby

            I’m pretty sure that my school district’s buses from the 1970s are in use in Costa Rica as local buses.

          • YTK

            Not far from the truth– I had a friend who went traveling thru the backroads of South America and found that the “train” in some areas was an old schoolbus with train wheels, on a track. Whenever the “train” derailed”, all the passengers got out and lifted it back onto the track.

        • NPGMBR


        • SomeGuy

          A brand new bus costs about $600K (read it in the Post a few months ago). Let’s exaggerate the per-bus maintenance cost to be $100K/year. And let’s assume a fleet of 30 such buses to serve the streetcar line on a dedicated route that never deviates from the exact streetcar route. That’s $18M to purchase buses, and about $4M/year to maintain the fleet (assuming one replacement bus each year).

          RESULT: $18M initial cost and $4M annual upkeep for buses (lots of maintenance slush built into that)

          It’d take a long time to get to $140M on that schedule, even if streetcars cost ZERO to maintain. Therefore, I’m not sure how the $140M project being pursued by the board is cheaper than bus line, as G argues.

  • cya

    And how else should they ‘help’ him? It was his fault, ACPD didn’t drink too much, he did. So what do they do with him? ACPD is not a taxi service. If they take him home and drop him off alone, they are liable cause he falls down at home or chokes on his own vomit. Or worse, he is home with access to a car. Even more worse, the drunk has access to arlnow.com and posts dumb messages.

  • CW

    Ms. Miller has only been here 74 years out of 100? Damn twenty-something out-of-town transplants, coming in with their leased German-made horseless carriages, eating their frozen custard and strawberry shortcakes, playing their phonographs too loud, and bulldozing the nice log cabins to build shoddy tenement buildings. Why, I remember back when Arlington was a nice, quiet place to live, back before the war. And by that, I mean the Civil War.

  • John

    Don’t you mean “War Between the States.”

  • John

    …Frozen custard is/was a Northern Virginia pastime. Although I realize Shake Shack is getting all the attention these days. damn Yankees haha

    • CW

      When I think of frozen custard, I think of the midwest. Maybe that’s because Culver’s is such a big (and delicious!) chain?

  • MC

    The streetcar will encourage more density along Columbia Pike, which is needed. Too many blocks are taken by car dealers, fast food restaurants and decrepit strip shopping centers that could be turned into higher density that would yield significant property tax revenues. The Washington Post no longer has experienced staff who would understand such matters. Their staff is so clueless they report stories about Arlington National Cemetery as if it were an Arlington County local news story.


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