Arlington Seeking ‘Streetcar System Manager’

by ARLnow.com February 28, 2012 at 11:47 am 9,745 117 Comments

Arlington County is looking to hire a “Streetcar System Manager,” to help with the county’s $250 million Columbia Pike streetcar project. The full-time position is advertised as paying between $72,000 and $119,000 annually.

From a job posting on the county’s website:

Exciting, unique opportunity to be on the ground floor of a new multi-jurisdictional Streetcar System. Over the next decade, Arlington County, in partnership with Fairfax County and the City of Alexandria, will develop two streetcar corridors, which will ultimately operate as a unified streetcar system. The Streetcar System Manager will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the County’s effort to design, finance, and construct the streetcar system including a wide variety of planning, project management and program management duties:

  • Leading the day-to-day development process within the County and coordinating legal and public processes required by jurisdictional partners and state and federal funding and oversight agencies;
  • Providing financial oversight to ensure that millions of dollars in public investment are spent in a responsible, cost-effective manner to ensure maximum grant-fund reimbursement, preparing budget requests for funding, and investigating additional funding sources;
  • Researching, analyzing, and recommending alternative methodologies, for funding, constructing, operating and maintaining the streetcar system;
  • Managing the contracting, contract administration and contract monitoring processes, including developing bid and proposal packages;
  • Directing and/or managing the work of, architectural and engineering consultants, construction management firms, and construction contractors ;
  • Building partner relationships and serving as primary spokesperson with news media and the general public; and
  • Developing systems, maintaining records and preparing written reports that provide for the proper evaluation, control and documentation of project activities.

Besides local funding, the project will also be funded through grants from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT). The Streetcar System Manager shall have a thorough understanding of the requirements and processes of the FTA for project approval, funding and oversight. This employee leads the Streetcar Section within the Transit Bureau where project development and streetcar program work will be accomplished using internal and external matrix teams, including County employees and a wide variety of contractors. Depending upon the eventual partnership agreements, organizational structure, and federal requirements associated with funding streams, it is likely that the section will grow to include permanent county staff, especially as development moves toward the construction and operation stages.

The position reports to the Transit Bureau Chief within the Transportation Division of the Department of Environmental Services. The County’s proposed streetcar system is multi-jurisdictional and depending upon the evolution and development of the system, at some time in the future this position and its functions may be transferred to a separate entity created to manage the streetcar system.

As of September, county officials were hoping to begin construction on the Columbia Pike streetcar system in 2015 and have it up and running in 2017. Earlier this month officials gave a community presentation in which they discussed a number of alternative options to the streetcar, including building an articulated bus system along Columbia Pike.

  • novasteve

    Why don’t they just change it to a Monorail and we can go full Simpsons here?

    • Ren

      That just doesn’t seem “exciting” or “unique” enough. I want to be on the “ground floor” of any transportation boondoggles we might undertake as a muncipal entity.

    • Swag

      Why use 1980’s technology when you can use 1880’s tech instead?

      • drax

        And hey, let’s get rid of sidewalks already! Walking is caveman technology!

    • Barfington

      Will the winning applicant get to wear railroad engineer overalls to work every day? And one of those cool hats with the blue mattress-ticking stripes?

  • Matt in Lyon Park

    If Arlington really goes through with this ridiculous street car plan, I’m moving out of Arlington.

    Hell, a monorail is a better waste of money.

    • novasteve

      What about us braindead slobs?

      You’ll be given cushy jobs..

    • Teyo

      Maybe you should move to DC… oh wait, they have a streetcar plan as well. What about Maryland? Oh wait, they have streetcars too!

    • spaghetti

      So you get to use our tax dollars from South Arlington to enjoy metro up in Lyon Park and we’re stuck with buses down in South Arlington?

      • Josh S

        I live in South Arlington and ride the Metro almost every day. I don’t even have to pack a change of underwear or a first aid kit.

        • Richard Cranium

          Not everyone can be a daredevil.


      • rob

        judging by real estate prices in N v S Arlington, N Arlington is certainly paying its share.

    • drax

      Don’t get stuck in traffic on your way out.

    • awh hells bells

      @Matt – If you move out soon you won’t have to suffer the injustice of the County exercising eminent domain when they raze Lyon Park to build a heliport.

  • ArlingtonChick

    I’m going to apply and take it down from the inside.

    • Kim W

      I like your style Arlington Chick!

  • G Clifford Prout


  • Agree

    Is there a dire need for people to travel from Skyline to the Pentagon area??

    • Teyo

      The 16 “Pike Ride” buses that are generally filled to capacity at rush hour indicate such a need. Hence the streetcar that will carry more people more comfortably.

      • jackson

        So why aren’t “more buses” the answer? Genuinely curious.

        • Josh S

          It’s an efficiency issue. One streetcar can carry more people than one bus.

          • Zoning Victim

            I’d love to see a CBA on that. You can buy roughly 800 CNG busses for $300 mil.

          • Burger

            How many ART buses could you buy?

          • speonjosh

            I meant efficiency on the road. Possibly from an operational standpoint as well, as fewer vehicles means presumably lower maintenance costs and certainly lower salary costs since you need fewer drivers, etc.

          • Crab

            BZZZZZ wrong. Arlington does not pay metro bus driver salaries. But they will be paying streetcar driver salaries. Switch to streetcar is a net add to the county on the driver salary issue.

            Which raises another question. Do they envision the streetcar as an Arlington municipal operation, or will they sub out the operations, like they do with the ART bus?

          • South Awwwlington

            METRO will be operating the Nova Streetcars.

          • Crab

            hahahahaha. Well then, they are doomed.

          • Burger

            Not really. As stated above it is cheaper to buy buses. Buses are also more flexible and can react to changes in demographics. once the trolley line is down – that’s it isn’t moving anywhere else.

            In all the trolley is all about the county board’s drive to fight the power of the car.

          • South Awwwlington

            Using this logic, is it your opinion that we shouldn’t have ANY heavy rail (Metro and Commuter Rail) service in the entire region?

            Should all transit be bus? Genuinely curious.

          • CourthouseChris

            Having lived next to and comuted on Portland’s streetcar line, I can tell you the loading and unloading of a streetcar is way faster than a bus, which is a direct traffic-flow efficiency improvement over simply buying more busses.

          • Then lay down unloading stations at each stop. That has to be a hell of a lot cheaper than laying all that track, line, buying the trolley cars, etc.

          • CourthouseChris

            What is an “unloading station” and how does that improve loading times (the slowest part).

          • ArlingtonWay

            Oh, by all means, let’s emulate Portland. The streetcar line you gush over is awash in red ink and if it accounts for ten percent of total employee commutes to work, I’d be shocked. Still, with the weather in Portland, having a streetcar line probably makes sense there. With 200 days of rain a year, the depressed hipsters have something to throw themselves under when they want to end it all. Here? It’s a boondoggle. And by the way, anyone SEEN Columbia Pike recently? Much of it resembles a third world ghetto. But I’m sure that 200 mil will make it all awesome. Sheesh!

          • speonjosh

            I think the flexibility argument makes sense in many cases. Not necessarily in this case. Columbia Pike is a well-established corridor with heavy traffic use. It’s also an area that the county has made a priority for future development. So far, it appears that the private sector is following along. All in all, there is little reason to believe that a streetcar would get built and then the Pike would wither away, leaving the streetcar a “trolley to nowhere.”

            It doesn’t appear that there is a need for flexibility here. Instead, it’s service level that is important and the ability to promote the continued economic development that will bring benefits to many.

          • One bigger bus fleet costs a whole lot less than $200+ million.

        • John K.

          During the Arlington Dem Primary cycle, a couple o’ the candidates I cornered on this mentioned that Feds wouldn’t pony up any cash for more buses and neither Fairfax nor Alexandria would cooperate on more buses, but they would all go in on a streetcar system. I haven’t done teh research, but I’ll spread around the uncorroborated word of a couple of local wanna-be pols!

          I still think “more buses” is the better, cheaper answer (even if I will probably profit handsomely once this boondoggle is boon-done). I like street-cars (see SF Muni Metro), but I don’t buy that we need them.

        • drax

          Here’s the case for streetcars vs. buses:


      • Agree

        Who knew. I guess there is a need. I don’t live near there so I could care less but I think it’ll be an eyesore with the overhead electrical wire that will power the street car.
        I think some sort of rickshaw service powered by homeless people is the way to go. It kills two birds with one stone.

        • Arlington spent a fortune to bury overhead wires, and now will spend a fortune to raise new ones. What a joke.

          • speonjosh

            Yes, it all does boil down to that.


      • Baja

        This is not the “Arlington way” of engaging the community; this is about selling the streetcar the board’s already decided on.

        The streetcar is basically identical to articulated (higher capacity) buses in terms of transit capacity, estimated travel time, transit volume to capacity ratio, and daily ridership, yet is estimated to cost about $200M more in 2015 and have ~$3M higher O&M costs in 2016. The only criteria the study claims that articulated bus (TSM-2) falls short when compared to the streetcar is unsubstantiated “support for growth and economic development” over and above the benefits of improved buses with super stops.

        I don’t see why taxpayers should support a streetcar which requires massive additional costs for marginal benefits to taxpayers and disproportionate benefits to developers.

        Moreover, the streetcar appears to be in direct conflict with Arlington’s desire to preserve affordable housing, since a large number of lower income folks live or near the Pike and the claimed development that would accompany a streetcar or metro would unquestionably lead to higher rents and push many of them out of the area (this is already happening). In contrast, articulated buses would provide major transit improvements at a fraction of the costs. This might lead to somewhat less development but might also enable folks of modest means to avoid being displaced.

        I’m also confused as to why the option of extending Metro along Columbia Pike hasn’t been examined. I’m sure this would be 5-10x more expensive than the streetcar and would likewise threaten nearby affordable housing, but it would provide much greater transit capacity, far faster travel times for cars and transit riders, and encourage even more development than a streetcar. I understand there are even stubs for Metro just south of the Pentagon station….

        • South Awwwlington

          I too have wondered why no extend the subway system under the pike and do it in a way that will be able to accommodate growth far beyond that of the streetcar.

          I would say it comes down to money. I would also venture that sometime, 40 or 50 years from now, Metro will continue under the Pike.

        • E2DAV

          Baja – I think you’re misunderstanding the argument of keeping affordable housing. It’s not an argument of keeping potential tax revenues off the table and not investing in a neighborhood to keep the housing prices depressed. It’s trying to preserve some about of affordability while maximizing revenue.

          The Columbia Pike corridor is underutilized and had a lot of potential for residential and commercial tax revenue; keeping it undervalued is not a sane affordable housing strategy.

        • South Arlington

          The benefits aren’t “marginal”. Home values will go up, new business options will open on the Pike, better consumer choices will be available. The real estate appreciation alone is a windfall for both homeowners and the County. Just ask Lyon Villagers how their home values have been since Metro was put in.

          • Baja

            @E2DAV & @South Arlington – Spoken like folks who’re *most* interested in their property values, though E2DAV’s a liberal who feels a little bad about squeezing out the poor folks.

            Let’s be clear “preserving some measure of affordability” will translate to massive net reductions in affordable housing in the Pike corridor, replaced with a handful of affordable units in high-rise condos, a couple of all-affordable developments best-case, but *largely* developer cash contributions to the County’s affordable housing fund for other cheaper (read “less desirable and less accessible to ‘nice’ mass transit…like the bus…like the Pike is today”).

            @South Arlington – The benefits of the streetcar vs. articulated bus ARE marginal for the vast majority of taxpayers, i.e. anyone who isn’t a developer, doesn’t live in the immediate proximity to the Pike like you, or isn’t the County who wants a bigger tax base…because it’s $200M more for no net transit benefit. At least lie to me with rosy forecasts based on trumped-up numbers!

            I see the streetcar as a weak half-measure. Articulated buses that are well branded and have super-stops are a no-brainer if Arlington is most concerned about the biggest transit improvement for the least money and disruption during installation, while preserving affordable housing.

            On the other hand, if Arlington wants to maximize development, property values, and transit capacity at the expense of affordable housing, then we should suck it up and go for Metro now.

            Perhaps the County should just grow a pair and say “we WANT Metro, but we’ve got to settle for the streetcar for the next 20 years”. I would appreciate the honesty.

          • E2DAV

            Baja – Never been called a liberal before; so, thanks for that. Generally I am really confused how you took my comment on expanding tax revenues via development as a liberal argument…typically a liberal argument for expanding revenues is to raise taxes and than act shocked when businesses leave. But nice namecalling. I think you can have development that coincides with some of your style of affordable housing…I don’t think that is a bad outcome. We live two miles from the capital of the free world and the best job market in the country, there is a price to be paid for that…and we can ask the developers to subsidize some affordable housing for fire, police, teachers, etc.

            I also don’t understand why you think everyone wants Metro; there a many excellent examples of streetcar/bus/subway coexisting successfully. Buses are cheaper, I will grant you that; but they are more expensive to maintain, more inefficient than a streetcar in moving people around, require more road maintenance and less investment goes next to a bus stop than a fixed metro or streetcar stop.

    • drax

      Ask the people in cars on Columbia Pike.

      • John K.

        They said they were coming from Annandale and Culmore. Those Skyline drivers went down 7 or Seminary to 395 to get to the Pentagon.

    • Funny thing

      There are shuttle systems running for many of the Skyline offices to/from the Pentagon now and truly there aren’t enough nor are they frequent enough… BUT by time any of this built the majority of the offices (that haven’t already blown smoke) will be out of those buildings at Skyline anyway as so many gov./military offices are planning to move from there further out west due to space constraints. By time this is done, all of that population that may have otherwise used this will no longer. Oh well. Haha. Terrible idea.

  • novasteve

    Can you imagine the accidents that will happen with the no doubt incompetent drivers? I’m not that worried about an incompetent driving a bus, they aren’t that heavy, you can survive if they crash into your car, but imagine getting run over by a train.

  • wow&flutter

    Coming soon to an intersection near you:

    • Josh S

      That’s awesome.

      Talk about culling the dumb driver population! A positive externality of building the trolley! We probably should be talking about more trolleys…..

    • Teyo

      Well, that video shows me two things:
      1) the overhead wires are barely visible
      2) bad drivers drive badly

      • wow&flutter

        Although there’s unquestionably a significant population of “dumb drivers” in this area, I could easily see decent drivers getting into similar accidents. Think about it: if you’re making a left turn movement as in the video, you’re looking out for oncoming traffic, not a streetcar coming up from behind. The same would apply in Arlington where the rails would be next to the curb: if you’re making a right-turn movement, you’re looking out for cross-traffic, not a streetcar coming up from behind. And most people don’t realize that a streetcar almost always has the right-of-way.

        • Suburban Not Urban

          Yea, that left turn thing really concerns me. I get the cross traffic folks being idiots. But having something that looks like a break down lane with never any cars in it on the left, and where a trolley can suddenly pass on left is pretty ugly.

        • speonjosh

          Except you shouldn’t be making a right turn from the left lane anyway.

          Actually, good catch there. It looks like Houston’s system is in a median, thus making all those left lane turning accidents possible. Arlington’s is scheduled to be in the right lane of traffic so none of those accidents would have occurred. I guess you’d still have the problem of people turning left into the oncoming streetcar, but again – you’d be coming across two lanes of traffic and the streetcar is right there – there would certainly be nothing about the fact that it’s a streetcar versus a bus in that case that would be a contributing factor to such an accident.

    • drax

      Because cars and buses never collide with anything, only streetcars.

    • bobco85

      I hope the streetcars will be designed with a pilot (also known as a cowcatcher according to Wikipedia) so they can just brush inattentive drivers aside and continue on their way!

    • Ren

      That’s amazing! Every one of those accidents made exactly the same sound – I’ll bet they built an ubercool “Crash!!!” effect into the Houston street car along with the cab video – I hope A-Town gets that too, along with an in-car video replay giving us the chance to see ourselves go flying around the cars when the accidents occur.

      Now that’s the modern transportation system I’m talking about! Priceline-style bidding for seats on the puppy.

  • yo yo ma

    this isn’t news

  • Clarendon Cruiser

    Skyline should have Skyride! Think outta da box:


  • Suburban Not Urban

    If you click through to the Job Req, that is about the worst posting I’ve seen in a long time. Absolutely no specifics and a lot of PR ignoring the fact that it’s not even a done deal. And people wonder why public transit efficiency is in question.

    • Tackleberry

      I was noticing the same thing. A few of those bullet points read like pure PR gobbledygook.

      People, anybody who can fill all of those requirements is already making $200K+ in the private sector. Offering a range of salary that dips below the county median for a job of that scope is a joke.

      • speonjosh

        It does seem a bit low.

        Private sector trolley systems? Where – Disneyland?

        But in general, it does seem a bit presumpuous to be hiring for this position at this stage. Hire when the first shovel digs the first hole. You’ll still be two years out at that point – plenty of time for a system manager to get up to speed.

        • Tackleberry

          When I said private sector, I meant the general private sector upper management realm. Most of those qualifications are applicable in all sorts of corporate positions.

          They are not seeking candidates from the nationwide pool of “streetcar systems managers”. Otherwise it would have said something about previous demonstrated experience with other streetcar systems.

          • speonjosh

            “A combination of education and experience that demonstrates: 1) thorough knowledge and understanding of public fixed-track guide-way transit, public finance, alternative delivery methodologies, urban and transportation planning, and public/private partnerships; and 2) the ability to think strategically; manage the design and construction of large-scale construction projects on time and within budget; work collaboratively with a wide range of public and private stakeholders and the community to reach consensus on highly controversial issues; manage fiscal and staffing resources; effectively convey technical and highly complex or controversial information both orally and in writing; and identify, analyze and integrate an array of data, interests and solution options to make effective decisions and produce viable outcomes.

            Typically, this combination is obtained through graduation with a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Business or Public Administration; Transportation Engineering, Urban/Public Planning or a related area and considerable highly-responsible experience designing, developing, constructing and/or managing a streetcar or light rail system.”

            So, yeah.

          • Tackleberry

            I still respectfully disagree, and it goes back to my original point about the low salary range. Anybody with a considerable background starting up a streetcar system is going to laugh at that money.

            The qualifications are broad enough that they can attract professional management types even without streetcar experience. I am not trying to say this is the only position of its kind in the world.

            Seriously, how many people in America have “Streetcar System Planning and Management” on their resumes?

          • Josh S

            I agree that the potential pool of candidates is quite small. But I do think that they will get enough applicants. There must be dozens of US cities with streetcars. Here is a chance to be the first manager of a new system in a city (OK, county) / metropolitan area with quite a bit of prestige in the public transit / Smart Growth world. And it’s a very desireable place to live. I do puzzle at the stated salary range. You’d be crazy to take that job for less than $100K.
            But I just don’t think it’s such a stretch to write the requirements to specify streetcar experience.

      • This position is a sacrificial lamb; a scapegoat to take the failure. No need to pay them much more for it.

      • Village Genius

        Or is this job announcement tailor-made for failed County Board candidate who is also a college drop-out?

        Seriously, when have you last seen any job announcement that did not require a college degree other than fast food establishments?

        • bemused bystander

          If Rick Santorum wins, there will be lots more.

  • Matt in Lyon Park

    My main concern is that any streetcar plan will make a terrible traffic situation worse. Has anybody in the county leadership noticed that Columbia Pike is rather narrow? This will effectively turn Columbia Pike into a two lane road. What does Arlington plan to do–ban cars on Columbia Pike? Good luck with that!

    They have streetcars in places like Salt Lake City, but their streets are very wide and can handle streetcars and vehicular traffic.

    And for the comments about Metro and Lyon Park, and for South Arlington only getting buses–I walk to work and most other places I need to go. I rarely take Metro. And last time I checked, Pentagon City and Crystal City are South Arlington.

    • speonjosh

      How do you figure? There are already buses and large trucks on the Pike. How would a trolley clog up things any worse? It’s not a dedicated lane. So yes, the trolley will occupy space while it is there (once every ten minutes or so). When it’s not there, it’s not occupying space.

      How is this hard?

    • CourthouseChris

      A streetcar does not require a segregated lane. The tracks are in the street with other cars. Street. Car. Streetcar.

      Salt Lake City’s system is a light rail with some at-grade transit points, there is a difference.

    • South Arlington

      Matt, you are able to walk everywhere because density has increased around the Metro stations, making Lyon Village much more walkable – that is the benefit of new transit and increased density that neighborhoods like Penrose, Arlington Village and Arlington Heights will get with streetcar development.

      • John K.

        Though I no longer live in that area of the Pike… it was walkable back in the mid-90s when I did. It doesn’t require streetcar development. Unless by walkable, you mean Starbucks and a cupcake store.

        • South Arlington

          If by walkable you mean has a few stores you can walk to, then yes, it was walkable then. Being truly walkable, like the Orange Line corridor or most of NW DC is now, means to bring in all types of development including, residential, office, retail, service and dining. Currently, the Pike has got residential, dining, retail and service (although not nearly to the extent of the Orange Line). One of the keys is bringing in offices and jobs to the area so that going to work can be a walkable option as well. Only the increased density in this corridor that the streetcar will bring will bring all facets of walkability.

          • John K.

            Fair enough. I don’t want that kind of “walkable” on Columbia Pike, even as someone who would profit handsomely. If I had wanted that, I would have moved to brown flip-flop territory.

      • drax


  • Tackleberry

    This must be some sort of joke. Even at the top end of that salary listing they are dreaming that someone with all of those qualifications would work for that.

    • Not your bro

      Didn’t they have the same problem with Artisphere? I heard the person the county initially approached to run the thing turned it down because of low salary.

      • TCE

        Welcome to government work… low paying jobs and citizen’s still complaining that you make too much. You can’t win… if you get paid the same as private sector you’re paid too much… if you get low pay but compensated by getting decent benefits, you’re a burden to the tax payer and shouldn’t get benefits because they don’t… etc…

  • Matt in Lyon Park


    Yes, let’s imitate similar plans initiated in DC and and MD–those two municipalities are experts in wasting money.

  • South Awwwlington

    I don’t agree with the County on many things, but I for one HOPE THE THING GETS BUILT. Yes, the 16 lines are packed to capacity during rush-hour and it’s only going to get worse with the on-going development.

    I don’t know off the top of my head how many additional residential units we are expecting to add to the Pike, but if we expect to serve all off those folks with buses it won’t happen. It would be nothing but a solid stream of buses on the outer lane of the Pike, attempting to board hundreds of riders. Currently, the 16 line is the most heavily used bus line in ALL of VIRGINIA.

    As for Skyline, I have heard in person MANY complaints from Federal and Private Sector employees located in the Skyline towers about their horrible commutes and their desire to use transit if better options were made available to them. This would include tying into the Mark Center development and into Alexandria via route 7 and on into Old Town.

    If you stand against this without doing your homework, you ought to be ashamed. Not one of us in South Arlington, Baileys Crossroads, Alexandria West and Old Town as well as Pentagon City and Crystal City should stand against increased mobility and tourism in this area. We will all benefit financially.

    • Zoning Victim

      “It would be nothing but a solid stream of buses on the outer lane of the Pike, attempting to board hundreds of riders.”

      How is a solid stream of street cars going to affect traffic any differently?

      • South Awwwlington

        Two very quick examples and speeding the movements of riders and and out of the vehicle: A.) Streetcars will have multiple doors to use for loading and unloading B.)fares can be collected before loading.

    • spaghetti


  • CrystalMikey

    Nothing (outside of the Artisphere) get the comments flowing around here like the streetcar.

    • South Awwwlington

      The Artisphere is a waste of money and an attempt top assuage Arlington’s little brother complex from the loss of the Newseum to DC, don’t get me wrong. Transportation infrastructure is a necessity of living in a populous area.

      • South Awwwlington

        *attempt to assuage*

        Why in the world can’t we edit our own comments on this darn site?

        • Homer


        • speonjosh


          It’s pretty bogus.

    • Tabs

      I’d like to see Senator Hank drive a streetcar. I mean, trolley. Onto the Pentagon City ice rink. People scattering everywhere.

      Toonces, nooooooooooo!

      • OldTimer


  • Why

    I think the entire street car project is about perception. My thought is the county feels a street car is a “higher class” type of transportation than a bus. I’m betting they think they’ll get a more “high-end” user base if they build the street car rather than just adding buses. Sad but I think true.

    • CourthouseChris

      There’s nothing wrong with acknowledging the aesthetic benefits of a streetcar – though I agree that if that’s the only benefit sought then it would be inappropriate. However it is not the only benefit. Portland Oregon has one of the best city bus systems in the country, yet they added a streetcar downtown to serve areas where expanded bus service would not have served the city well. A streetcar offers improvements in capacity and offloading and onloading times that a bus simply cannot match.

    • speonjosh

      You don’t have to imagine you are right. And no one is hiding on this. This is exactly and explicitly part of the thinking. Perhaps slightly different vocabulary, but otherwise exactly the same sentiment – trolleys will promote economic development in a way that buses do not.

      • South Awwwlington

        Could someone please explain to desire to use the word trolley instead of streetcar?

        I am curious as to the motive here.

        • South Arlington

          Buffoons like John Antonelli think it’s clever to rhyme it with folly.

    • Corey

      Maybe that’s true, but some research has shown that branding is important when it comes to mass transit adoption. Remember when the Circulator started running in DC? There was no reason those routes couldn’t have been plied by regular old Metrobuses, but Metro and DC Transportation (correctly) realized that suburbanites, Georgetowners, tourists etc. would be less likely to ride a traditionally-branded bus.

      That’s on top of all the benefits outlined above of streetcars vs. buses.

    • drax

      That’s true – but it matters. It’s why many people drive instead of taking a bus. So if we want more people riding, we have to give them what they want.

  • Voice over of Reason

    How is this wasteful position funded? By developer fees. Where do they he the money? Density off your back.

  • Matt in Lyon Park

    South Arlington,

    FYI–I have lived in Arlington before density increased around Metro, and I walked back then. It had nothing to do development–I just walked.

    And as you may know, the people living around Clarendon, Ballston, Courthouse etc., have not given up their automobiles–every new development has garage parking. The only way you’re going to avoid a traffic nightmare on Columbia Pike with the addition to streetcars is to ban cars–not happening. Do you honestly think people living around Columbia Pike will give up cars? Look at Metro–so unreliable many people would rather drive and sit in traffic. Think these streetcars will be any more reliable?

    • Corey

      The reason all new developments in Arlington have garage parking is because garage parking is required for all new developments – not some market thing.

      • Build a high rise condo/apartment with no parking for residents. High vacancy rate. Low value/rent.

        • Corey

          We have plenty of them, at 100% vacancy just across the river in DC, so I’m not sure where you’re going with this.

          • Corey

            Sorry, 100% occupancy.

      • WunderUnder

        Why not just build a streetcar system underground?

  • Matt in Lyon Park

    So then building garages with new developments by Metro sort of defeats the purpose of “smart growth” or density around Metro–“Why should I take Metro–I’ve got my car, too.”

    • Corey

      You’re right! The parking minimum rules are pretty dumb.

  • Car-Free Dork

    without a street car, I am going to pick up my dates on bikes

  • Mickey

    Let’s name it “Desire”

  • MC

    Everyone is too quick to judge the financial merits of the streetcar. There is still a lot of financial projections that need to be done in order to get FTA funding, and the County is wildly optimistic they can start in 2015. There is actually a high hurdle to clear to get the Federal funding that would be needed to do this, so skeptics shouldn’t panic. On the other side, trolleys in car-dominated places like Phoenix have exceeded passenger forecasts. The biggest threat the the Columbia Pike trolley will come from affordable housing advocates wanted to block gentrification.

  • Truthi

    Actually Arlington did a study that found that articulated buses (bendy buses) will carry as many as far as fast for much cheaper and can be started much sooner. The trolley is only a vanity project for Zimmerman and to help his developer buddies sell condos on Columbia Pike.

    • drax

      Please post a reference to this study.

  • duke

    Here are some of the main characters in the movie
    “A Streetcar Named Desire”
    Can we match them to our current county board…

    Blanche DuBois
    Stanley Kowalski
    Harold “Mitch” Mitchell
    Shep Huntleigh
    Allan Grey


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