An Alternative Analysis/Environmental Analysis (AA/EA) was performed as part of the Columbia Pike Transit Initiative, examining transit along the five mile corridor from the Pentagon City area to the Skyline area in Fairfax. The AA/EA included three options besides the streetcar; two involved improving bus service and the final one involved taking no action. The project team recommends the County Board supports the “Streetcar Build Alternative.”
The staff report states that improved mobility along Columbia Pike would have positive economic impacts such as increased property values, an increased pace of development and additional tax revenues. It says the streetcar will attract new riders and encourage more residents to incorporate public transit into their daily lives. The report says the streetcar plan “will best achieve the vision for the Columbia Pike corridor as a vibrant, diverse, and pedestrian and transit oriented community.”
Staff members say their research indicates more residents will take rail transit over buses, and articulated buses won’t create enough ridership. They report that streetcars provide greater capacity than articulated buses, and would more easily and reasonably allow for expansion in the future.
During a 30-day information gathering process from May through June, the county collected public feedback on the AA/EA via the mail, email and at two public meetings. Results are available in the Locally Preferred Alternative Report released yesterday (Monday).
For those commenters opposed to the streetcar plan, the main reason is the cost of and funding for the project. Other opponents believe it will worsen traffic, that the current transportation system capacity along the corridor is sufficient and that it’s unclear how the streetcar would increase ridership. Proponents liked the idea of the streetcar supporting economic development, being environmentally sustainable and offering a long-term transit solution.
The report acknowledges that the streetcar development would likely add pressure to rents, raising concerns about affordable housing along the project corridor. The recently released Columbia Pike Neighborhoods Area Plan addresses some of the issues, and aims to preserve affordable housing along the streetcar route.
The staff report lists the cost for the streetcar at about $249 million, and annual operating costs at about $8.9 million. Fares are expected to be comparable to bus fares, and revenue is projected to be $2.5 million.
The County Board will take the staff report into consideration when voting on the matter at its meeting on Monday. The board needs to formally accept the information gathered in the AA/EA and adopt the streetcar plan as the locally preferred alternative in order to proceed with an application for federal funding.
Walk to Ballston and Clarendon Metro, shops, restaurants, parks, bikepath
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St. Charles offers a play-based curriculum in a welcoming, Christ-centered environment.
Our program focuses on socio-emotional development and kindergarten readiness through hands-on and engaging activities. Our programs offer different schedules ranging from 7:30 am-5:30 pm for students, ages 2-5. We feature a full-day Jr. kindergarten class for older 4’s/5’s. Our facility includes a full-sized gymnasium, school chapel, and library. All of our students enjoy music and physical education weekly. Children have an opportunity to participate in enrichment classes such as soccer, basketball, ballet, and science.
We offer Summer Camp with weekly themes and twice a week water play, including Fun Friday moon bounce. Please join us for our Open House Feb. 3 at 9:30 am and 11:00 am. Click here to sign-up.
For more information or to schedule a tour, visit us at www.stcharlesarlington.org or call (703) 527-0608.
If you are a lifelong learner over 50+ who wants to make new friends, power up your brain, and enjoy a wide-variety college-level courses, Encore Learning is for you. An Arlington based nonprofit, Encore Learning offers courses in the arts, theater, literature, history, technology and more. This semester we offer our most popular course, Global Hot Spots as well as 25 new courses. Courses are presented either online or in-person at George Mason University at Virginia Square and other Arlington locations.
Join the free presentation to learn about courses and meet the instructors. This is Encore Learning’s signature event to highlight the upcoming semester with brief presentations by each instructor.
The Spring Course Preview event is Thursday, February 2nd at 9:30 AM via Zoom:
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