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Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com October 3, 2011 at 8:34 am 3,228 125 Comments

Furniture Store Opens in Shirlington — Furniture store Hardwood Artisans opened in Shirlington Village on Saturday with a “first ever log cutting ceremony.” [Shirlington Village Blog]

Couple Goes (Nearly) Car-Free in Shirlington — The Post profiles a couple who recently moved to Shirlington and discovered that they now rarely use their car. “We sometimes wonder if we need it,” said Tina Chovanec, one half of the couple. [Washington Post]

Yorktown Still Undefeated — The Yorktown High School football team defeated JEB Stuart on Friday to improve to 5-0, thanks in part to a five-touchdown effort from running back Marvin Stewart. Yorktown faces an away game at Edison High School on Thursday night. [Sun Gazette]

  • Thes

    Someone needs to warn that couple that city planning and transportation infrastructure efforts that have made their car largely unnecessary are not *really* making them happy but instead are merely brainwashing them into giving up their God-giving freedom to find a free parking space wherever they want to burn fossil fuels to travel to. /s

  • CW

    Seems that this couple is taking the route of pragmatism rather than any sort of county-sponsored effort to go car-free. If I lived 3 blocks from work, I’d probably walk too!

    That said, being able to live in Shirlington and get to work without driving OR without putting forth a massive pain-in-the-butt effort (e.g. bus to metro, ride downtown) is the exception, not the rule.

    • Jezebel

      You can call it pragmatism, but the key is partly the ‘simple’ fact of work being close to where they live is one of the fundamental elements of smart growth planning. It is not all about transit-oriented development; smart growth also calls for mixed-use development (live, work, play, shop) to be successful. Thus, it is very much about the “county-sponsored effort” to have mixed-use development that enables the far below average vehicle miles traveled by Arlingtonians.

    • drax

      The fact that they can live three blocks from work is a county-sponsored effort.

      • UnlimitedCustoms

        There are many more residents than there are jobs within a 3 blocks of these people in Shirlington.

        • drax

          Sure, but my point was that the county’s development plans made it possible for them, as it does for many others.

        • CW

          I agree with UC that thats’ the current state of things, and I agree with Jezebel that that’s the ideal situation. It’s a chicken-and-egg problem – you either need a lot of people living in an area where there are no jobs, and then the jobs come, or you need jobs in an area with no people. It’s tough to just make it so that…poof! Places to live and jobs right next to each other.

          • drax

            You can have a few jobs, and then a few people, and then a few more jobs, and a few more people…you know, how cities grow.

  • I can imagine moving from Oregon is quite a change……

    Let’s hope this couple doesn’t have business, friends, or family outside of the walking/cab/bike area of Northern VA. While minimal use of a car is achievable, you limit your life by not having one at all. A sacrifice, yes, but not necessarily a positive admirable one for those who know you. There is nothing more annoying than trying to coordinate with someone on something and then you hear “I don’t have a car, can you come get me?”

    • CW

      “I can imagine moving from Oregon is quite a change……”

      For the last month or so, they’ve probably felt right at home every time they step outside!!

      Anybody else remember that big yellow thing that used to be in the sky? I wonder what happened to it?

      • All this rain is getting very old. We were cheated out of the nice September this area usually has.

      • JamesE

        it has been pretty atrocious, I want some nice brisk fall driving weather, no more wet roads.

        • Don’t you want to do some nice brisk car-free walking? Isn’t that what you mean?

      • Plunkitt of Clarendon Blvd

        “Anybody else remember that big yellow thing that used to be in the sky? I wonder what happened to it?”

        The owners have had to leave it garaged due to an inability to pay the personal property tax …..but the neighbors are on the look out for it and will report it to the county the moment it is spotted……

  • Stu Pendus

    I’m pretty sure I live a much better life than the people in that article, and I never have to use public transportation, thank God. When will the Post feature an article about me?

    • JoshS

      “I’m pretty sure I live a much better life than the people in that article” – with that attitude, I’m pretty sure you don’t.

      • Stu Pendus

        Well, you are entitled to your opinion.

        • JimPB

          Stu — I’m interested (seriously, really) — please tell about your life.

          • Stu Pendus

            Where do you want me to start?

          • drax

            With all the awesomeness, of course.

    • drax

      Sure, Stu. Here’s the headline:

      “Leech pollutes our air, gets little exercise, crowds roads, drives up gas prices, wastes own money, dies fat, stressed out and poor.”

      But hey, it’s Monday.

      • Stu Pendus

        Thanks for the laugh.

        • drax

          Glad you laughed.

  • charlie

    a care free life is certainly cute and utopian.
    but at some point their boss will have an office party at their home in Vienna; they’ll have to go shopping for holiday gifts; their divorce attorney is located on a metro stop but not a bus stop.
    shirlington has the best bus service in Arlington (other than Columbia PIke, for now) so it is a good place to go car-free. but it won’t last.
    you have to have a car, even if it is a bit up p.o.s. white Honda Accord to get around at times.
    I barely drive outside of my travel to work (I’d like to take transit on most days, but don’t because METRO service sucks) but i do need a car and a parking space like i need food and air.

    • CW

      Got a real good laugh out of the divorce attorney part.

      • charlie

        who will get the ZIPCAR membership, curious minds inquire.

    • Mark P.

      Agree with the idea that a car is good for those times when you need to go somewhere not transit accessible. This is why many of us Arlingtonians have zipcar. Car ownership is not for everyone.

      • charlie

        the biggest problem i have with ZIPCAR… and i’ve given it quite some consideration…
        the car isn’t in front of my house. i have to think ahead. i have to drive something someone else drove. i prefer the hidden costs of car ownership over the direct payment to actually rent a vehicle — because it seems so much.

        • drax

          We aren’t car-free, but Zipcar is one of the things that makes it easy for us to own one car instead of two.

          • R.Griffon

            How’s that working out for you? My wife and I have all but decided not to replace the next car that gives up the ghost, and do exactly that – be a 1-car family with Zipcar to round it out when necessary.

          • drax

            Works great since I never need to drive to work. 99% of the time we don’t have a car conflict. Usually, if there is a time we both would need the car outside work hours, it means we’d have a conflict anyway because one of use would have to watch the kids. So when you have kids, you get used to scheduling everything like that anyway.

          • Shellshock

            I work 2 blocks from home and 1 block from Ballston Metro. My spouse works in Rosslyn. We have been a 1 car family that only takes the car out on weekends for 5 1/2 years now. I would never consider a different job unless it was on Metro line. I will not go back to an ugly commute. We bought the car new when we moved. It now has 33k miles on it after 5 1/2 years.

            Its great to have 3 grocery stores, a mall, and the ABC store all within a few blocks of home! WHY DRIVE? I take the bus to meet friends in Reston and Tysons or Springfield.

            If you live near Metro and can get to Regan easily, I have found cheap cheap rentals from HotWire.com at $19 a day. I use a 1 day rental sometime instead of ZipCar. I am also lucky that I use the train to visit family in Richmond and Raleigh NC.

    • Malthus

      charlie is correct – at least for the vast majority of Americans in terms of a car being a necessity of life equivalent to air or food. Actually, for many it appears more critical to be able to use a car than at least having clean air or good food. For those, I would suggest not to worry, it will all work out in their End.

      • What the h**l does that mean????

        • charlie

          Bush:
          I’m not sure of MALTHUS is the economic theorist
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Robert_Malthus
          or Satan
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malthus_%28demon%29

          but Matlhus’ writings today are a bit hard to read. only when you look closer can one realize that Malthus is mocking my mocking of a car and parking spot are like air and water. Which I was just mocking Thes and rather lame attempt at sarcasm at the couple’s “happiness” and his creation of a new internet notation “/s” which won’t catch on.

          • It would seem he’s trying to be the later, with his capitalization of the word End. So he’s saying you are going to Hell if you drive. These are the kind of radicals none of us need.

            Malthus, go find a Hummer somewhere to vandalize.

          • Josh S

            Well, if it’s satire, it’s not meant to be taken literally.

            However, the statements about cars and parking spaces being as necessary to life as water and air seemed to be made rather straightforwardly. And the attitude certainly seems to be shared by many, including Cheney (or was it W, I can’t remember) who famously said that the American way of life was non-negotiable.

            This sort of rigid clinging to habit is no way to live. In light of the documented environmental, social and economic damage done by an excessive reliance on cars and all that goes with it (oil extraction, etc.), I’d say it’s also extraordinarily selfish and self-destrictive, too.

            Flame away.

          • No flames.

            The last I checked owning a car, bike, or walking shoes is not against the law. In this country we are free to do what we choose as long as it is legal. (Illegals take note.) If driving a F350 back and forth to work makes me happy, then I’m free to do it. If riding a bike to work makes me happy, I’m free to do it. If walking makes me happy, I’m free to do it. Guess what? We all have to put up with one another as long as we are all abiding by the law (and some of us who don’t). It isn’t being rigid. It is doing what works for you. I drive, I bike, and I walk. I enjoy it all. I even take public transporation when the situation dictates, FOR ME. Not for you. That’s not being rigid, that’s being sensible.

            ok…maybe a borderline flame….but not meant to be.

          • CW

            For a majority of Americans, it is indeed as vital as food and water. That is the current state of things. That is how our country happened to develop over the past decades. That doesn’t make it right. But the vast majority of people don’t like in transit-centric smart growth happylands like Arlington. Am I glad I do? Sure! But your farmers and small-town people and tradespeople who need to drive to job sites or places to work don’t currently have an option. Can we provide them with one? Well, that’s the challenge. If we want to address it, then, as a country, we’re going to need to do some hard work.

          • madisonmanor

            Josh/CW – not a flame, just an observation:

            If people can live like that, great. I’m not one of them, and I have a feeling that opportunities like that will become fewer. Other than 2100, Arlington County doesn’t have a major office on the Metro (they did have DHS at 3100 but moved them to Sequoia). So the county itself is hurting opportunities there.
            Even more importantly, the Federal government (that supplies a majority of job opportunities in the region) is migrating itself out into the hinterlands (Mark Center, Belvoir, Chantilly etc.). If the projected budget cuts come into effect, I would expect that one of the ways to save money would be for them to continue to abandon the higher-priced close-in real estate for cheaper digs further out. Just look at where the NSF is looking as a possible re-location site. . .

          • Josh S

            I’d argue that actually, opportunities to live like that are increasing. A far higher percentage of Americans (and it’s true worldwide, for that matter) are living in cities than did 50 or 100 years ago. Arlington is a perfect example of the increasing density that is becoming more and more prevalent. Especially post financial crisis and housing sector melt-down, I think the sprawl tract-home model is sort of disappearing. This apartment building, for example, features retail at the ground level. It appears that most developments in ARlington in the last ten years have been mixed use of some sort or another. Government offices are only part of the story.

            Housing prices are very expensive in ARlington and this obviously sends a major signal to the market to build more housing. I wish that we could see more office space in the RB corridor to give some of these folks a place to work so they don’t all have to jump on the Orange line (already full) or the roads (already full) to get to work.

            As to what CW said – yes, there are those who truly need a vehicle as part of their livelihood – farmers, tradespeople as you mention. But how many Americans are employed as farmers and tradespeople? 6%? 7%? The countries efforts to provide an “option” do not need to be aimed in that direction, I don’t think.

          • CW

            Josh – more than you’d think. I gave those examples – farmers, tradespeople. But what about the everyman/woman of Small Town, USA? There’s a LOT of them when you add them all up. Probably 30% of the U.S. population. Wherever Ohio, Upstate New York, Iowa..add up all the places under X thousand people (Five? Ten?). You don’t have the critical mass to build up a sophisticated public transit system. You don’t have the drivers of job growth to bring industry in. Places are just…existing, as they have for decades. Are you saying those people should all migrate to the big cities?

          • Josh S

            No, not saying they should migrate to big cities.

            Again, the response was to (someone, I couldn’t find the post just now) who said that owning and operating a car in America was as necessary as water and air. And the context was I think in sort of belittling or mocking the couple in Shirlington who live with minimal use of theirs. In a place like Arlington, insisting on that point of view is just counterproductive, reactionary, stubborn and selfish. That’s really the only point I was trying to make.

          • drax

            Yes, OB, it’s legal, but that wasn’t the issue. Not everything that is legal is responsible or moral.

          • Kind of like your comments, drax. I get it.

      • drax

        Eat me, Malthus.

        • Malthus

          I hope it doesn’t come to that.

    • Josh S

      Why do you bother passing judgment on these folks? It’s their life. Why does it make you feel bad to read about it?

      And, more broadly, why call the “care free” life “cute and utopian?” Again – you want your car, great. Use it. Why try to stigmatize a different lifestyle with insults and belittling language? How does that make anything better or different?

      Finally, from a purely practical point of view – your use of “utopian” may be a bit off the mark. They are living the life, so it doesn’t appear that it is out of reach. “Utopian” usually means something that is sort of magical and only a theoretical idea, doesn’t it? And, if by “care free” you meant “car free,” the rest of your comments are nonsensical since they actually do own a car. As the article says.

      • CW

        I’d say the “care free” life would be pretty utopian. Sorry, couldn’t help myself.

    • drax

      “but at some point their boss will have an office party at their home in Vienna; they’ll have to go shopping for holiday gifts; their divorce attorney is located on a metro stop but not a bus stop.”

      Zipcar or taxi. Duh.

      • Enough taxi rides in one month and you have a car payment. Duh.

        • Josh

          Yes, but what about the insurance payment, mileage and tolls, lost revenue from renting your owned parking spot. If you’re not using a car on a daily basis, rental or taxis really may in fact be less expensive.

          • Thes

            Josh, here’s a webisite that adds it all up.

          • charlie

            took a look at the website. looks like a bunch of think tank mumbo jumbo about “national averages” and the figures are from 2006. Is there nothing more accurate out there? Something where I can use a cost calculator to see what it means to ME as opposed to what a bunch of policy wonks think up?

        • Thes

          It’s true that with *enough* taxi rides in a month you have a car payment. The question is, how many does that take? Actually, the average annual cost of owning a vehicle is about $8000. If a round-trip taxi fare is $40 including tips (which will get you from Shirlington to DC and back easily). Let’s say transit costs are half that. That means on average you could still take up to 200 taxi rides per year to supplement transit, and still come out ahead.

          • charlie

            the average cost of owning a car might be $8,000 nationwide.
            that is NOT the cost of owning a car in Arlington.
            my annual cost, using the federal mileage reimbursement: $3300.

          • Lulu

            That just means that taxpayers pick up the other $5,000 or so. The cost is still $8,000.

          • drax

            I doubt you’d spend even $3,300 on taxi fare a year.

          • charlie

            good question. most of my miles are on the road. Richmond, Williamsburg, Cville, Leesburg, Roanoke..
            Would be hard pressed to cab those.
            I just took my annual mileage, attribute half of it to work.

            LuLu: the roads are already there. If high speed rail were built to Cville, I’d still need a car when I got there and the per mile cost would be much higher for rail than 95/64.

          • I can’t imagine, Charlie, what a cab ride to/from Roanoke would cost.

          • What do you value your time at? Certainly it takes more time to take a taxi or public transportation. Add that in, and a car becomes more attractive.

            Bottom line: Convenient to take public or cab OR you don’t care about time, then a car isn’t needed. A hassle, lots of trips, or tons of time to take public or a taxi then a car IS needed and worth the money.

          • drax

            For some people, driving their own car takes longer than a taxi or public transportation. Sit on I-395 lately?

          • You have a point, but a taxi would also sit in I395. For the sake of this discussion, we first talked about having to go to Vienna to see a friend. Those kind of rides are going to take longer in a taxi and cost more. “Enough” of those and you may as well have a car. A good used car is pretty cheap to have.

          • drax

            You’re back to comparing apples and oranges. Nobody would take a taxi to commute on 395 every day. The typical car-free, or one-car household, person would commute using transit and use a taxi or Zipcar or whatever when needed for other trips.

          • drax

            Oh, forgot to mention the Vienna friend. Having used Zipcar to go visit a friend in Vienna myself, I can tell you that Zipcar is a way to visit a friend in Vienna.

          • Apples to apples….time. Take a metro. I’ll drive and beat you there, allowing me to get something else productive done. Not everything is about money. If it is, then time is money and time wins.

        • drax

          Um, no, that’s not true for most people. Do some math, genius.

          • Hence the word “enough”. I never said it was true for “most people”. You did, genius.

          • drax

            You didn’t say either way. You implied it though. For MOST people, it wouldn’t add up to that, so your blanket statement was unjustified.

      • charlie

        if you ever take a taxi back from DC late a night, you quickly realize it is easier, better and safer to sober up or have a designated driver. a cab ride from Dupont can range from $20 to $45 to my humble place in Arlington. I always pay $20.00 and get out of the cab.
        the other day i took a bus into the city. took 90 minutes door to door from Arlington to Adams Morgan. I can just about walk it that fast, but would mess up my sexy Saturday night attire.

  • NrNy2ArlVa

    I moved from Lake Ridge to Virginia Square and went 4 years without a car, when I left there I moved over by the hospital, had a car, but hardly used it. Now living on Columbia Pike the 16Y drops me off a block from my job, so far my car usage is down to approx 3,000 in the last 6-8 months, and will decrease once I start taking the bus to work on week-ends, if it wasn’t for storage I would be car-free. I honestly don’t think I am alone in this, there are plenty of fellow Arlingtonians who do not drive for one reason or another and don’t mind using the local transit system.

    • Steve

      If you are male, and want any chance with the opposite sex, you need a car.

      • NrNy2ArlVa

        For those who need a car to impress the oposite sex. Advance Car Rental 850 N. Randolph St STE 104. Located right near the Ballston Metro.

        • charlie

          It’s Arlington…
          what if we want to impress someone of the same gender?

          • NrNy2ArlVa

            maybe something smaller

          • NrNy2ArlVa

            for instance

          • drax

            Charlie,

            Someone has already compiled a list of cars for gay men. Of course.

            http://gaylife.about.com/od/entertainment/ss/topgaycars2010.htm

          • charlie

            i shoulda known.
            hysterical.

          • drax

            You needed a straight guy to help you with being gay charlie. That’s pretty sad. What’s next, light blue polo shirts with khakis?

          • charlie

            just asking, not telling.

        • R.Griffon

          If you’re trying to impress someone in Arlington, shouldn’t you be renting a Prius/Volt/Leaf?

          Most times when I see BMWs and the like I just grin on the inside. I drive a dented up old Honda Civic, but you know what I’ve got that they don’t? An extra $50K in the bank. 🙂

          • CW

            And what are you going to do with the $50k? If you’re not spending, you’re not having fun…

        • If that’s a BMW, it only says you are a DB.

      • drax

        Steve, if you’re male, and a complete loser otherwise, you need a car. The rest of us don’t have that problem even if you do.

        You may even need a penis car:

        http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=penis%20car

        • JamesE

          sweet my car is on that list!

  • Steve

    The narcissism of people in this area, or the country as a whole, really makes me sick. So these people don’t drive much so they go to the newspaper to get attention? I’ve had my car for 4 years now and I haven’t even put 7,000 miles on it. Do i deserve some award? Will I be called a “hero” by this sick society where everything is about attention? My lord.

    • Josh S

      Yes, because this old couple obviously had been working the phones day and night until they got a reporter to come out and do a story about them. And now, they are basking in the fame and riches that the story has brought them.

      • charlie

        actually i’d put dinner at Carlyle Grand Cafe on the table in that Arlington County CAR FREE diet under-worked staff did the calls and placement.

  • JimPB

    Halloween — love the picture of the pumpkins. I’m ready for Halloween. Others?

    Have already carved one pumpkin with grandson. Another one to do with granddaughter.
    Am thinking about simple but attention-getting Halloween decorations for the rambler home.
    Will offer trick-and-treaters a combination of a note about a gift to UNICEF for each visitor and a wholesome treat to stave off the tricks.

    What are others planning to do for Halloween?

    P.S. Mad Fox in City of Falls Church is brewing pumpkin beer (the pumpkins are organic, locally grown). We’re looking forward to filling our growler with to lubricate decorating.

    • charlie

      JIMPB, i expected you to be more of a purist with your beers. but issue and invite and i’m sure we can fill up your AMEX card… even it is in Falls Church, but at least the 3B goes there…

  • PhilL

    Ok, Marvin Stewart, not the most uncommon name, but does anyone know if he is a Jr, or II? Any relation to the elder Marvin or Myron Stewarts? I used to play rec league football with both of them way back.

    • Maeve

      Yes, he is Marvin Jr. The kids call him MJ. His dad is Marvin senior, but I don’t know the dad’s football history 🙂

      • PhilL

        Would not be surprised at all if I played with his dad. He was a great halfback for our Hawks teams. Good football genes in that family.

  • Shirlingtonguy

    Another advantage of Shirlington is that cabbing into DC is also a reasonable option. We usually take a bus and Metro into town on Friday night and take a cab home. The ride (for two) is less than $20.00 with tip.

    I basically use my car to go to church and the ABC store. Since my car is paid for and of no taxable value to Arlington County (thanks to PPTR) I keep it. But it would be possible to rely solely on a Zip car.

    So, while “car free” is possible, “car lite” is almost a given.

    • CW

      “I basically use my car to go to church and the ABC store.”

      So many possible jokes…

      • He hits the ABC store on the way to church.

        • Shirlingtonguy

          If you too were Episcopalian (like me) it would make perfect sense.

  • novasteve

    If everyone got rid of cars, the arlington would tax walking and bicycles. These people love to socially engineer, but they also love their taxes.

  • novasteve

    Why not do a study on single, straight men in Arlington giving up their cars. I’m sure that works wonders with women, as we know women love driving men.

    • drax

      Yeah, steve, you’ve used this pathetic argument before.

      • Pathetic, but correct.

        Kellie, I don’t have a car. Would you mind picking me up? I’d like to take you to a nice restaurant in Vienna.

        Click.

        • Thes

          Weeds out the wrong kind of girl. Saves time.

        • drax

          Correct for pathetic losers maybe.

  • Banksy

    Why are some people so angry/resentful about the nearly car-free couple? Why are some commenters so smug about not taking public transportation? Even if you’re a driver, you should be supportive of this couple. Their ability to get around on mass transit gets one more car off the road. Good for them.

    • Thes

      Haters gonna hate.

    • drax

      They’re like the motorists who get pissed a bicycles – they are trapped in metal boxes so they lash out at those who are free.

    • Same reason people who bike and walk get angry at people who have to drive. Haters without an open mind toward all personal situations.

  • TGEoA

    Why do West Virginians love Halloween?

    Pumpkin!

    • JoshS

      So you were conceived on Halloween?

  • ArlingtonCountyTaxpayer

    Arlington County has a $1 billion budget.
    Of that, 10% of the revenue comes from Personal Property Taxes.
    or $100 million.
    Personal Property Tax is the second largest revenue source for the County.
    There isn’t a chance in hell that Arlington really wants everyone to be “car free”.

    • drax

      How much could Arlington save on the spending side if it didn’t have as many cars to serve?

      • Lou

        I give up. How much?

        • drax

          42

      • You have something in mind. Make the argument.

        • drax

          I just asked the question. He seemed to have alot of numbers.

          • Lou

            Thanks Glenn Beck.

          • drax

            Um, no.

          • Lou

            You didn’t get that?

          • drax

            I got it, I just threw it back in the water.

          • Ah, you were just dangling the noose. No fair.

          • drax

            I just asked a simple rhetorical question. I didn’t ask if anyone had rape and murdered a girl in 1990. (Google that if you dont’ know it).

      • charlie

        i don’t know. how much.
        knock knock.

  • john

    my wife and I moved to DC/Arlington area (we now live in Arlington) five years back.. and we have been living since then without a car. We get everywhere including our work places (I work near the Dulles airport) using public transportation, walking, and occasional cabs. We rent a zipcar (maybe once a month) when we want to get to a place where there is no absolute modes of transportation or getting back late at night. If we leave town, we might rent a car from DC, or rent a car in the other town.

    Would we get to more places if we had a car – probably yes. Without a car do we do everything that we want to do – Nearly yes. The Metro has its own problems.. and there are days when I feel like tearing my hair out while trying to get to a place. But when you combine the metro, the 17 odd bus systems that operate in the area, little bit of planning and patience.. we pretty much reach everywhere on time, including weekends

    For us the the reason not to have a car was pure economics. and if it helps the environment .. well that too.

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