Opinion

One of Arlington’s greatest assets is our highly educated population and range of knowledge in various policy topics. With my last column on ARLnow, I want to encourage you to pick something that you are passionate about in our community, and participate in our local government process. As a society, we would be better off with fewer keyboard warriors and more doers.

Commissions & Advisory Groups


Opinion

It is likely the last chance to weigh in on what the future of Pentagon City and the 22202 zip code will look like for the next several decades via the Pentagon City Planning Study. Comments, which can be submitted online, are due Oct. 31.

I had the opportunity to work on the study over the past year and am generally happy with where we ended up. Mostly, I find it exciting that we were able to include a new element to this plan that other area and sector plans have excluded, which is to estimate the number of housing units to be added to the area in order to help guide infrastructure needs.


Opinion

As we continue to move forward with Plan Langston Blvd, improving the Glebe Road divide in Ballston and finding ways to mitigate the significant car collisions on Route 50 pointed out by Vision Zero, sights should be set on improving our planning process integration with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and our relationship with this large state-operated department.

Some major thoroughfares in Arlington are owned and operated by the state of Virginia including Glebe Road, Langston Blvd and Route 50, in addition to interstates 66 and 395. According to many community members and county staff members, a somewhat amorphous relationship with VDOT makes changes to these areas more difficult than most when making improvements to these roads.


Opinion

An increase in extreme weather events and community power usage has made the need to modernize our power grid’s resilience a pertinent topic of discussion.

For that reason, it is past due for Arlington to update its 15-year 2002 Underground Utility Plan and for the Virginia Legislature to have Dominion spend some Strategic Undergrounding Program funding to underground main lines in urban/suburban corridors instead of exclusively undergrounding suburban/rural tap lines as is current practice.


Opinion

Last year’s Redistricting Commissioning Constitutional Amendment approved by Virginia voters changed how we will draw lines for the Virginia Legislature and United States House of Representatives from state legislators to a process to be determined by an independent redistricting commission.

This 16-member commission composed of eight legislators and eight citizen participants has been hosting meetings since July 13 and will continue to do so through October.


Opinion

As some say, local government is primarily pothole politics. Why aren’t the water fountains working? When will the snow be removed? How do I make sure dogs are leashed in my local park? How do I fix this big crack in the sidewalk on my path to the coffee shop? Why is the crosswalk sign not working?

Some of these things like snow removal, sidewalk repair, or crosswalk sign maintenance can be done as simply as using the Service Request/Report a Problem function on the County’s website. For items that fall into this category it consistently amazes me how quickly and efficiently the system works. If all other venues don’t work, you can always tweet the Arlington Department of Environmental Services and our personal miracle worker seems to never fail.


Opinion

It is my hope that Amazon will commit a significant portion of their $2 billion Housing Equity Fund to households that are low income or have an income that is under 50% area median income (AMI).

If a fund is being created and advertised as creating affordable housing it should do that, instead of primarily providing average market rate rental housing. Amazon’s recent commitment at Crystal House was primarily for those making 60-80% AMI. That is a housing supply that we have in abundance (see image 1). Additionally, this is middle class housing, not affordable housing.


Opinion

This Sunday is the last day to provide feedback on “Plan Lee Highway“, a multi-year planning process for the corridor that has now produced specific proposals for development levels, street improvements, stormwater impact, and other significant changes.

My biggest piece of feedback on Plan Lee Highway and every ongoing area and sector plan is the lack of consideration for our schools. We should be including school generation factors in our area and sector planning process.


Opinion

For the past week I have been fuming at the ears mad about the situation at the Serrano and the impossibly difficult situation any Virginia renter that lives in poor housing conditions lives with.

Even after appreciated commitments from local leaders, systemic failures in local code enforcement and bare minimum renters rights laws in Virginia continue as a result of systemic failures. A long-term assessment of the system that has allowed this situation to happen must be taken.


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