49°Partly Cloudy

Group Forms to Question Streetcar Plan

by Katie Pyzyk January 17, 2013 at 4:00 pm 108 Comments

Arlingtonians for Sensible Transit logoA citizens group has formed to push for more investigation into a proposed Columbia Pike streetcar system before the county moves forward with the plan.

The Arlingtonians for Sensible Transit (AST) website lists its goals as educating residents about the streetcar, offering a bus rapid transit (BRT) system as a streetcar alternative and encouraging community discussion about a BRT versus a streetcar system. The group contends the County Board didn’t hire “truly independent contractors” to do a cost-benefit analysis of the two systems, and didn’t engage in a community conversation about whether the streetcar is the best transit choice. It’s asking the Board to perform both of those tasks.

“The CP streetcar was conceived many years ago in a rosier economy. Since then, the CP streetcar’s price tag has soared,” AST spokesman Peter Rousselot said in a statement. “We now have substantial new experience and data regarding the relative economic and operating performance of both modern streetcars and modern BRT systems. In light of these changed circumstances, our community needs to examine and discuss this new information before making an irrevocable commitment to a project now estimated to cost over a quarter of a billion dollars.”

AST reports having the support of more than 125 citizens, business owners and community leaders from all points along the political spectrum.

“We are Democrats, Republicans, independents and those with no political affiliation,” Rousselot’s written statement said. “We are united by our desire to improve our community and to make sensible budget choices.”

County Board members participated in a work session last month to discuss the specifications of the streetcar design. At that time, it was noted that the county expects to initially purchase 13 streetcar vehicles to run along Columbia Pike. Each streetcar is expected to cost between $3.5 and $4 million, compared with $700,000 to $800,000 for a 40-foot, natural gas-powered Metrobus. Streetcars have an operating life expectancy between 30 and 35 years, compared to about 12 years for a bus.

The county is currently waiting to hear if it will receive up to $75 million in federal funding for the streetcar project. Some county staff members have suggested that a referendum may be necessary to fund the $250 million project.

  • Zimmerman

    Who? Who questions the streetcar?

  • APS

    Why can’t we just use the Alexandria Old Town trolley model for Columbia Pike, in Arlington, with fewer stops?

  • Tim

    I’d be interested to see who their members are and who’s funding it. I suspect it might be Astroturf. Looks like they used a private registry for the domain, so nothing there.

    Anyone know?

  • Not True

    The community did participate in discussions about transit and street cars, however it was a decade ago. There was a community process where ‘The people’ clearly stated that they favored Street Cars over other options. It is just revisionist history to say that we haven’t had that discussion. Like it or not that was the path Arlington decided to go down 10 years ago. It takes time to make transportation happen.

    • Hollywood

      This should be decided by referendum and not a group of board members. Let’s vote on it. Let’s vote on the homeless shelter too.

      • DaGruffalo

        I thought that was what we did during elections. Wasn’t it nicely bundled up and tucked under some other issue on the ballot?

      • Not True

        There were community meetings, study groups, planning groups, etc. It wasn’t just the board handing down a decision. Although, ultimately it does fall on that body to move it forward, which is what they did after using ‘The Arlington Way’.

        • DaGruffalo

          Oh wait. i’m thinking the water park thing in crystal city. That was somewhere on the ballot with some parks thing. Can we have a referendum on that too?

      • Josh S

        Why should it be by referendum? Because you are opposed to these items? What other specific decisions have ever been made by referendum in Arlington? In my recollection, there have been none. What makes these two items so different or special that they would require referenda but no other decisions have required them? If you had referenda for these two decisions, how would you know whether other decisions needed them, too?
        It’s called representative democracy and that is what we have had for 200+ years. Even in states where propositions are common, there is a structure. One of the key components of that structure is that propositions are not used to overturn decisions made be the legislature. Instead, they are often used when passage of a given law has been denied by the legislature or not allowed to come for a vote.
        I think that just randomly calling for these two items to be decided by referendum is not useful since it seemingly ignores the significant implications of what you are saying.

        • IG candidate

          The law may require them to have the referendum. You OK with that? Don’t bother answering.

          • Josh S

            Yes, of course I’m OK with that. But I was responding to what seemed to be a general call for a referendum, not one that referred to a specific kind of funding that would trigger the referendum requirement.

        • Counter Example

          We just had a referendum on a bond for 1.5 million dollar dog park. Yet, the county is going to spend 300-400 million (the minimum likely end cost) and there has not be a single bond before the people to vote on the streetcar.

          A bond referendum hasn’t lost in the county in 40+ years. Yet, the board is afraid to put the streetcar up for one…what does that tell you?

    • Economic Conditions

      Nothing has changed in the last 10 years to warrant not getting the “people’s” input?

  • Intereting article
  • Puzzled

    So let’s all jump on the bandwagon and be against the streetcar because it’s the cool thing to do. Let’s be against the county board because they are trying to wreck the county, right?

    • Hollywood


    • Mary-Austin

      Think you are confused.
      Jumping on the streetcar plan and embracing Zimmerman’s parting gift to the County is the “cool” thing to do if you are part of that crowd.
      Considering other, more cost-effective options is the smart thing to do.

      • jef

        You use this word “Cost-Effective.” I do not think it means what you think it means.

      • Josh S

        This “Zimmerman’s parting gift” business is a logical fallacy and has nothing to do with the merits of the streetcar itself or the proposal that it be voted on via voter referendum.
        I hope that your opposition to the streetcar isn’t solely based on some dislike / disapproval of Zimmerman.

        • drax

          Josh, some people will just vote for whoever doesn’t have a D next to their name.

      • littlebritches

        Mary, While BRT would be more “cost effective'” for the time being, the plain and simple fact is that dedicated bus lanes (which are needed for BRT to run effectively) are not really feasible on the Pike. With the Neighborhoods Plan from July, the Pike is going to be a much more dense corridor and 10-20 years down the road buses (no matter how sophisticated the system) are not going to be able to cut it.

        And Jef – thanks for the laugh

      • Out Of The Loop

        What is “Zimmerman’s parting gift”? Has he announced that he is leaving the County or resigning from the County Board? Please provide a link to a website that describes this announcement, if there is any.

    • b0rk

      I think a lot of people are against it because it’s an overpriced nicety. In a tough economy, spending (or wasting) money on niceties isn’t very responsible use of taxpayer money.

  • KathyInArlington

    “Streetcars have an operating life expectancy between 30 and 35 years, compared to about 12 years for a bus.” Even if you have to replace busses 3 to 1 for streetcars, busses are still less expensive and you don’t have to tear up the roads and install tracks. Given the choice, I would vote for busses.

    • Tim

      That’s very simplistic to reduce the choice down to the life expectancy of the vehicle.

      In transit planning, people have the tendency to reduce the issue down to moving people from point A to point B, until you just have a normal bus line. There’s so much more to it than that. Energy use, passenger comfort, transit time, permanence, convenience, capacity … it’s all extremely important.

      People are not freight. People care about how they’re moving.

      And please, no BRT. BRT can very easily get reduced to just adding a few buses during rush hour. Read a nice analysis here: http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/9600/brt-creep-makes-bus-rapid-transit-inferior-to-rail/

      • Julia

        I think the point others are making is that comfort and convenience are “a nicety” in tough economic times. Some families have lost some or all of their incomes. Some are treading water. This project will have a material cost – and that does matter to consumers. To invest our resources wisely, some people, including me, would forego comfort for economic efficiency.

        I don’t know what is “cool” or what Chris Zimmerman wants – as a regular citizen, for me this is not about politics. It is a matter of what is the correct decision in light of actual existing resources, without having to squeeze family budgets tighter.

        • Julia

          And just to be clear, what I mean is, if I have a choice between riding a bus or riding a cute, comfortable streetcar but having to pay more in taxes or see a decline in school quality or other Arlington services, I’m going to pick that bus every time.

    • SteveP

      You also need to compare capacity and operational costs (driver, electricity vs fuel, etc). The numbers add up differently when you take all costs into account.

      • nom de guerre

        While you are at it, don’t forget to account for the costs to preserve affordable housing with the streetcar.

  • confused

    I thought you needed articulated buses to match the capacity of streetcars, NOT 40 foot buses. Wasnt the alternate case articulated buses for that reason?

    • JohnB

      You are mostly correct. Non-articulated buses were compared to the streetcars as the “no build” alternative.

      • Not True

        It is also important to look at when the articulated buses will reach capacity vs. the street cars. Buses will start at 85% capacity with the ability only to add more buses when needed. The street car starts at a lower % capacity and is able to add another car when we reach capacity.

  • mickey_

    I am old enough to remember the trollys that they had in DC…used to take them to the old Nats ballfield. It was a PIA because they had the right of way, you would get your tires caught in the tracks and it would “throw” you to one side or the other. In short, it is a great idea that proved not to work. That said, there are ways for it to work, but there is not enough space on Columbia Pike to do it. It must run in the center like New Orleans, Hong Kong, and several other cities in the world. It would mean doubling the width of Columbia Pike, which isn’t going to happen.

    • wut

      “the old Nats” Yeah, whatever buddy.

      • Dan

        ““the old Nats” Yeah, whatever buddy”

        Would you have been happier if he had said “Senators” ??

        He is right about the tracks “throwing you”…..i grew up in Pittsburgh and had the the old trolley tracks “throw me” on many an occasion.

      • BlueLoom

        Go back & look at the sports pages of the WaPo in the 40s & 50s. Perhaps to keep headlines short, the old Senators were generally called the Nats. I grew up in DC (yup, took the McKinley St crosstown bus to the Georgia Ave streetcar and got off at Griffith Stadium), and my friends & I always called them the Nats.

        • Opie

          Hmm, my dad grew up around 15th and Harvard, went to Central High School. According to him they were always called the Senators.

          • drax

            Google is your friend.

            After the 1899 season, the Washington Senators of the National League folded in the 12-8 contraction, when the American League began play in 1901 Washington, not wanting to confuse fans with the previous franchise, began calling themselves the Nationals in 1905. However, the fans never took to the name and called them the Senators. In 1912, when Griffith was named manager, newspaper writers referred to them as the ‘Grifs’. In the early 1950s the team changed logos to one incorporating ‘NATIONALS’ within it, after the fans continued to reject the name they were officially renamed Senators in 1956.


      • DCBuff

        While I’m not sure who is correct about what to do on the Pike, it is pretty clear who knows baseball history here. (Hint: it won’t be wut) From Baseball Almanac: It’s easy to see why Washington baseball fans are a confused lot. Their original team, the Washington Senators, played in the National League until 1899. Then they became an American League team in 1901, called by the new ownership the Nationals so as not to have them confused with the old Senators. But fans kept calling them the Senators, while the team kept calling itself the Nationals, and everybody else nicknamed the team the “NATS,” although nobody was sure whether that was short for NATionals or SeNATors. It wasn’t until 50 years later the team began officially calling itself what the fans had been calling it all along. http://www.baseball-almanac.com/teams/minn.shtml

    • Josh S

      The way that rails affect car tires is not an indicator of whether a streetcar is a “great idea that failed to work.”

      Also, there are examples of cities with streetcars sharing lanes with car traffic that have continued to work for decades. Your bad memories do not disprove this. There is certainly no reason that a streetcar “must” run “in the center” (I assume you mean in a dedicated lane).

    • mick way

      Take a ride down H St, NE. The tracks have been laid there for the DC trolly. They are flush with the pavement and you can hardly notice they are there when you cross them.

      So this argument against the project just doesn’t hold water. But there are plenty others that do.

    • Kevin Diffily

      Or god forbid taking away two auto lanes which is never going to happen, ever.

  • Vicente Fox

    Streetcars are more affordable than buses. While it’s true that streetcars require a much larger initial capital investment than buses, that capital cost is offset by significant operational savings year-to year. In the long term, streetcars are more affordable as long as they are used on high ridership routes.
    Streetcars have higher passenger capacity than buses (even bendy ones), which means that if there are lots of riders on your route, you can move them with fewer vehicles. Fewer vehicles means more efficient use of fuel and fewer (unionized, pensioned) drivers to pay.
    Streetcar vehicles themselves are much more sturdy than buses, and last many decades longer. While buses must generally be retired and replacements purchased about every 10 years, streetcars typically last 40 years or more. For example, Philadelphia’s SEPTA transit system is still using streetcar vehicles built in 1947 (although they have been overhauled once since then).
    Streetcars are much more comfortable to ride than buses. One of the big reasons why many Americans don’t like buses is that they are so rumbly. They jerk you up, down, side to side. They’re simply not comfortable. Streetcars glide along a rail much more smoothly, offering a vastly more comfortable ride. Less motion sickness, easier to hang on. This issue isn’t often discussed in transit circles, but it is a really big deal. Passengers gravitate towards the most comfortable ride.
    Streetcar routes are easier to understand. In any big city, buses are confusing. There are so many criss-crossing and competing routes that it can be intimidating and difficult to understand. New users are turned off because they don’t want to accidentally get on the wrong bus and end up miles from their real destination. Streetcars, on the other hand, are easier to understand because the cost of constructing tracks inherently limits the size of the system. Instead of an incomprehensible jumble, you get a clean and easy to understand system map. Even if streetcar line names may be a little more complicated than “Red Line”, they’ll be a whole heckuva lot easier to figure out than “P18″.
    Streetcars attract more riders than buses. Partially because of the above points, streetcars are always used by more people than buses when all other things are equal. They attract more passengers, which after all is the whole point of public transit.
    Streetcars are economic development magnets. The presence of rail transit nearby is one of the best incentives for economic development in the world. Metro stations radically remade large swaths of the DC area, and streetcars can do the same (have done the same, in places like Portland and Toronto). Nobody ever built a condo building or shopping mall because a bus route stops nearby, but developers routinely follow rail investments with real estate ones. Indeed, the additional taxes generated by rail-oriented development can repay the initial capital investment.
    Streetcars use electricity rather than gas. Although it depends how the electricity is generated, this potentially makes streetcars much more environmentally friendly than buses. And while it’s true that electric buses exist, they are almost never used in the US, and require the same overhead wires as streetcars.
    Streetcars are much quieter than buses. Becuase they run on electricity, streetcars are very quiet vehicles. They are much less disruptive to neighborhood life than buses.

    • Ziv

      Vicente, I think you present a pretty compelling case for streetcars, but I think I can summarize it. Professionals won’t ride a bus, but if you put steel wheels on it and run it down tracks, they will make it their primary mode of commuting and spend weeks reminiscing about their summer in Prague. Most people won’t ride a bus no matter how frequent the service, but they will ride a streetcar. If you want to get people out of cars, your choices are either subways or streetcars. The streetcars may be expensive initially, but the subway option is ruinously expensive.

      • Autoexec.bat

        ^Exactly this. White people don’t ride buses. That’s the real problem.

        • Ziv

          Auto, I was going to say that “white collar people” won’t ride a bus, but I thought that that would be too evocative of racial issues, then you went and did the full monty…

        • John K

          Almost. White people won’t ride buses except when commuting to work (if subsidized).

          • littlebritches

            White girl here…ride the bus to work (on The Pike) everyday. Just sayin…BUT most of my friends wont so there’s that. . I also believe that the planned tracks for the streetcar will be flat so your tires/bikes wont get all jacked up driving/riding over them

    • Kate

      The new metro buses are actually pretty smooth riding. You should try one sometime. Nothing to be afraid of.

      • AL

        Pretty smooth riding, compared to what? A lumber wagon?

        Even if they were smooth riding (which they are not), buses are still so much noisier. Have you ever tried to talk to someone next to you on Columbia Pike when a bus is accelerating near you? North Arlington doesn’t have these problems because the sidewalks are so much wider and have a damn parking lane separating pedestrians from the flow of traffic. Also, Columbia Pike is quite steep in areas, which means that accelerating buses are doubly loud as the drivers have to really goose it to get up those grades.

        And you want to just throw more buses at the problem? Please tell me you’re joking!

        One day I hope the Orange Line gets ripped out and replaced with buses. It would be so much cheaper to maintain!

        • SoArl

          Do you ever get the feeling that some just think we don’t deserve anything nice down here on Columbia Pike?

        • drax

          You need to be INSIDE the bus. They’re only noisy on the outside.

          • Josh S

            For needless, irrelevant contrariness.

          • AL

            Yes! You understand it! Noisy on the outside! Now why would the community of people who have to LIVE next to this noisy BRT route support such a thing?

    • Dezlboy

      +1000 for the arguments in favor of streetcar. Now how much longer does this debate go on. And where’s novasteve?. This I’s right up his alley.

      • A couple of counter points

        Buses are more flexible. A streer car can only go on one route – Columbia Pike. Buses routes can be changed to reflect changing populations and development. The same places growing are not going to be the same as they are in 30 years. Once the tracks are laid down…that’s it the street car can only service that area.

        Buses will not block traffic as nearly as long or as much than a streetcar.

        The Streetcar will not tie in with the Pentagon Bus/Metro Depot stop. You will still have to walk from the last stop on the streetcar line to the Metro. Buses will tie in with Pentagon Bus Depot.

        The rest of your points are essentially inapposite since development and quieter cars are not going to change regardless of whether a streetcar is built or not. Columbia Pike is still going to be developed and buses are still going to have routes down Columbia Pike

    • Dawn Dekker

      Vicente, incredibly informative and constructive. Thank you!

  • ColFor

    Enough! These clowns make it seem as though community has not been involved…that is just FALSE! The Streetcar is truly the best option for this area of Arlington and it is foolish to think articulated buses are the superior choice. Don’t whine and complain to me about killing affordable housing either…that is happening or happened without the streetcar! Rail will have an immensely positive impact on that community and there is just no denying. Also, let’s get a list of the neighborhoods these AST supporters live in…bets on the percentage north of Rt 50??

    • AL

      I would wager 80-90%. The other 10-20% are just gullible people who read the comments on Arlnow.

    • George

      Thanks for venting and failing to add anything of value to the discussion. Now please take your meds and sit quietly while waiting for them to take effect.

  • Pentagonian

    Without dedicated lanes (or elevated tracks), I’m afraid we’ll see something like this, more often than not:


    • Tim

      That’s like posting a photo of a plane crash and claiming the future air travel industry will be be disastrous.

      • Pentagonian

        No, that would be a pic of a line of planes that can’t manuever around a broken-down luggage truck.

        • ColFor

          Cars get in accidents and break down and snarl traffic no matter what. If you don’t think that buses trying to get around accidents cause issues and further back up you don’t have a clue. Buses wreak havoc on the Pike and are a nightmare to deal with a majority of the time.

          • Deadite

            There’s a big difference between “getting around an accident” (bus) and “holy shi- we’re completely stuck and nobody can move until this car is moved” (streetcar).

          • Pentagonian

            Buses, trolleys, or even monorails wouldn’t have to get around accidents if they had their own dedicated lanes. That was the point of my earlier thread, which you missed.

        • not tim

          At least THAT vehicle wasn’t flipped over on its roof.
          The other worthwhile pic was the stock one of them working on a water main on the Pike – having excavated the lane that the trolley would use. And given how well the county maintains the Pike, the tracks replaced on a section like that would cave in again in no time.

    • John Snyder

      We have famously fast predatory tow trucks on the Pike. I am not worried that we will be able to figure out how to move a broken down car.

      • littlebritches


  • Jake

    The Tide light rail project in Hampton Roads has proven to be a great success with excellent ridership and public approval. It also led to real economic development along the entire corridor, bringing new retail and residential development to an aging area. Sound familiar?

    • ColFor

      A streetcar that worked? Impossible according to these people…God forbid we look at cases where the streetcar is immensely popular and spurned good development and great ridership.

      • Pentagonian

        The Tide has its own dedicated lanes for most routes, so there’s that major difference.

  • jim

    i’m fiscally conservative, live near the Pike and love the street car idea. i will never take the bus — i’m probably an elitist… but facts are facts. the street car will attract a larger and more diverse number of people…. which i thought was the point — have more people take transit and encourage economic development

    • ColFor

      they like to ignore the facts about ridership and the positives that rail will bring the Columbia Pike area. BRT is more of the same and a total waste.

  • Sam

    What is this “Bus Rapid Transit” option? Isn’t that what is already there? Calling it BRT doesn’t change the fact that it is just a lot of buses constantly running up and down the Pike. As far as there not having been any citizen input, I believe that view has been discredited. Just because one doesn’t like the input, and doesn’t like the ultimate decision, doesn’t mean the process wasn’t handled properly. For the record, I moved to the Pike a year or so ago and the potential for a streetcare was a POSITIVE for me when considering future property value, etc. If the county decides to simply run more buses on the Pike this Arlingtonian will be disappointed. That’s my citizen input.

  • KalashniKEV

    They better hurry up and “approve” it 3 or 4 more times… people are starting to get restless…

  • BRT

    BRT isn’t really what they are talking about. They are talking about Articulated buses (the long buses that have an accordion in the middle so they can go around regular corners). BRT, is the 16 that does not stop at ALL stops but a few stops and then heads into DC (for example).

    • JohnB

      Actually, to elevate bus service to the level of BRT you need a dedicated right of way which is not part of their plan.

      • Wayne Kubicki

        I kind of get a kick out out the rendering on the AST website showing the proposed BRT in Eugene, OR – in a dedicated lane.

        Then again, the Pike trolley isn’t in a dedicated lane, either.

      • exactly

        Thanks, I agree with Wayne, the depiction of an at-grade, dedicated lane for BRT(between 3 vehicular lanes going in each direction!) on their home page is an over-the-top deception for Columbia Pike. They can’t be talking about anything more than articulated buses, which are a total nonstarter. Articulated buses Do Nothing More.

        • Josh S

          Well, to be fair, I think that it’s false to say that they “can’t” be talking about anything else. You could have express buses. You could give certain buses the ability to change traffic lights in their favor. You could allow boarding at all doors. You could have significantly fewer stops for certain lines. These would all allow buses to provide a greater level of service, including, possibly, the ability to be faster than regular buses.

  • Slant6

    By citizens, do they really mean a bunch of people who have been influenced in some way by the republicans?

    • nom de guerre

      That’s interesting, considering the spokesman of AST quoted in the article, Peter Rousselot, is a member of the Central Committee of the Democratic Party of Virginia and former chair of the Arlington County Democratic Committee.

      • ACDC Hack

        And a personal role model for me !!!

      • South Awwlington

        AND…he is also a well spoken, well versed attorney with specialization in transportation issues. However, he is NOT a transportation planner nor is he a transportation engineer. This fact is emphasized by his (and Libby Garvey’s) lack of attention to detail in calling this thing that they are proposing for Columbia Pike BRT because IT.IS.NOT. Period. If you think it is, you don’t know what BRT is.

        If you are going to challenge the County Board and their staff after 10 years of study, please at least understand what you are talking about. They understand one thing: there are cheaper options. Yet they don’t bother themselves with details like the difference between Articulated Bus and BRT.

        This is why the folks that study this stuff should pay them no mind and help get the word out that if they really should not be considered credible in this argument.

      • Eric

        Yeah, but he’s not a member of the county board and a paid consultant for the streetcar industry so what does he know?

  • CarolineC

    A trolly would be nicer than a bus and sounds great, IF Arlington had unlimited financial resources. It does not. In the past, the County Board could spend money without having to make tough choices because the county’s growth kept increasing tax receipts. Those days are over. Now the county board must chose among spending priorities. If the board spends $250m in capital, and $x million per year in operating loss, what will they spend less on to make up the difference? It’s time make tough choices in Arlington, and to make them known to the public. (Note: we face the same issues with the federal government.)

  • No Trolly

    The trolly is such a dumb idea. It only takes one broken down vehicle in the trolly lane and the whole system is shut down. Buses can drive around traffic and can branch out to different neighborhoods more dynamically as needed.

    • No Trolly

      p.s. I’m super liberal not a republican.

    • drax

      Yet trolleys seem to work fine in many other cities.

      This new group should go find out how.

  • T

    A one-sided propaganda site aiming to convince us that the more expensive BRT should be selected over the more effective and less expensive streetcar. Lots of unfounded opinion and manipulated information assertively stated. No well-established facts to be found. A good decision is just engineering and math but these ideologs are impervious to the sciences. So sad. What could possibly be their motivation to abuse us so?

    • Road Diet

      A good decision goes beyond engineering and math. Social and human aspects are important to consider.

      • T

        Streetcar wins on those counts too. See above.

  • novasteve

    IF they put up bilingual signs, won’t that make the elitist bus avoiders think it’s more like the bus and will avoid it?

    • Hank

      Wow, this one was impressive! You were able to incorporate three of your Arlington peeves in one statement!

  • Buckely

    Scrap the project. Too expensive.

  • Fay Jissette

    The heck with studies…..me and my pals wouldn’t be caught dead on a public bus !!!

  • geebee

    If you want to to just move folks up and down the same down-on-its-heels Columbia Pike, yeah, sure, use buses. Do you want to know what the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor would look like today with buses instead of rail? Well, pretty much like it did in 1970.

    Only rail will move not just the people of Columbia Pike but its future as well. Quit whining and build the damn thing.

    • Wayne Kubicki

      Any comparison between the Orange Line and the proposed Pike trolley is laughable.

      Would the R-B corridor look like it does today if streetcars (in non-dedicated lanes) were running on Wilson & Clarendon, mixed in with auto traffic, instead of the subway?

      • Sam

        Good point, Wayne. Let’s run a Metro line down the Pike and do it right!

        • Julia

          The point is, a Metro line running under the street is nothing like surface trolleys. The comparison to “the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor… today with buses instead of rail” fails.

  • drax

    Interesting, and probably deliberate, parallel name to Arlington Coalition for Sensible Transportation, the group that was formed to fight expansion of I-66.

  • Will

    Wasn’t there an article recently about how BRT systems in the US are generally terrible, and most American cities that opt for BRT options generally implement them poorly because they are simply trying to cut costs at every corner?


    As a former Boston resident who worked off the silver line and lived in Allston / Brighton and Brookline I know what I prefer. The worst option is they choose a BRT and compromise on everything to keep costs down, in which case you end up with a poorly implemented system that no one wants to use.

  • Sebastian Melmoth

    oh just build the damned thing already. let the luddites walk.

  • Kim Wharton

    OK – let me throw myself under the bus – I’ve been reading a lot on this – in reality this will probably cost way more than budgeted, cost of riding will increase and ridership will decrease. Businesses will close during (long & painful) construction. I see way more minuses than pluses and it’s just fiscally irresponsible in the current financial climate. My 2 cents. And FYI, I am an independent.


Subscribe to our mailing list