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Arlington

Transportation Nation

Arlington Streetcars Won't Go To Referendum. Now What?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Both sides in the battle over Arlington County's proposed streetcar lines are weighing in on a big decision by the county board.

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Transportation Nation

Price Tag of Proposed Arlington Streetcars Increase -- and So Do Ridership Projections

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Arlington County officials say that when its new streetcar line is built out, it will provide the majority of transit trips in the area. But opponents say that's overstated -- and that the increasing cost doesn't justify the project.

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Transportation Nation

Special Election In Arlington Prompts Debate Over Streetcar Plan

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

WAMU

In their final debate before two upcoming caucus votes this week, the three Democratic candidates running for their party’s nomination to fill a vacant seat on the Arlington County board laid out their positions on one of the most divisive issues in the race: the future of the $300 million Columbia Pike streetcar project.

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Transportation Nation

Debate Over Streetcars To Take Center Stage In Arlington

Friday, January 03, 2014

WAMU

Arlington County -- one of the most densely populated places in Virginia -- has already voted to move ahead with a streetcar plan. Now it must figure out how to pay for it.

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Transportation Nation

Virginia Keeps Designing Its Un-Funded Streetcar Plan

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

WAMU

They haven't figured out how to pay for the project yet, but the Arlington County Board has approved a plan to move ahead on the Columbia Pike Streetcar.

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Transportation Nation

How a D.C. Suburb Avoided the Capital's Traffic Nightmare

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Arlington's Wilson Boulevard and North Lynn Street at night. (Photo CC by Flickr user Mrs. Gernstone)

(Washington, D.C. -- WAMU) While the District of Columbia grapples with proposed changes to its parking and zoning policies, last updated in 1958, nearby Arlington County, Virginia seems to have triumphed in its effort to minimize traffic congestion. Commuters are shifting from cars to transit and bikes.

What's more, traffic volume has decreased on several major arterial roads in the county over the last two decades despite significant job and population growth, according to data compiled by researchers at Mobility Lab, a project of Arlington County Commuter Services.

Multifaceted effort to curb car-dependence

Researchers and transportation officials credit three initiatives for making the county less car-dependent: offering multiple alternatives to the automobile in the form of rail, bus, bicycling, and walking; following smart land use policies that encourage densely built, mixed-use development; and relentlessly marketing those transportation alternatives through programs that include five ‘commuter stores’ throughout the county where transit tickets, bus maps, and other information are available.

“Those three combined have brought down the percentage of people driving alone and increased the amount of transit and carpooling,” said Howard Jennings, Mobility Lab’s director of research and development.

Jennings’ research team estimates alternatives to driving alone take nearly 45,000 car trips off the county’s roads every weekday. Among those shifting modes from the automobile, 69 percent use transit, 14 percent carpool, 10 percent walk, four percent telework and three percent bike.

“Reducing traffic on key routes does make it easier for those who really need to drive. Not everybody can take an alternative,” Jennings said.

Arlington’s success in reducing car dependency is more remarkable considering it has happened as the region’s population and employment base has grown.

Since 1996 Arlington has added more than 6 million square feet of office space, a million square feet of retail, nearly 11,000 housing units and 1,100 hotel rooms in the Rosslyn-Ballston Metro corridor. Yet traffic counts have dropped major roads: on Lee Highway (-10%), Washington Boulevard (-14%), Clarendon Boulevard (-6%), Wilson Boulevard (-25%), and Glebe Road (-6%), according to county figures. Traffic counts have increased on Arlington Boulevard (11%) and George Mason Drive (14%).

“Arlington zoning hasn’t changed a great deal over the last 15 years or so. It’s been much more of a result of the services and the programs and the transportation options than it has been the zoning,” said Jennings.

Arlington serving as a regional model

Across the Potomac, the D.C. Office of Planning is considering the controversial proposal of eliminating mandatory parking space minimums in new development in transit-rich corridors and in downtown Washington to reduce traffic congestion. In Arlington, transportation officials say parking minimums have not been a focus.

“When developers come to Arlington we are finding they are building the right amount of parking,” said Chris Hamilton, the bureau chief at Arlington County Commuter Services. “Developers know they need a certain amount of parking for their tenants, but they don’t want to build too much because that’s a waste.”

Hamilton says parking is available at relatively cheap rates in the Rosslyn-Ballston Metro corridor because demand for spots has been held down by a shift to transit.

“In Arlington there are these great options. People can get here by bus, by rail, by Capital Bikeshare, and walking, and most people do that. That’s why Arlington is doing so well,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton credited a partnership with the county’s 700 employers for keeping their workers, 80 percent of whom live outside the county, from driving to work by themselves.

“Arlington Transportation Partners gives every one of those employers assistance in setting up commute benefit programs, parking programs, carpool programs, and bike incentives. Sixty-five percent of those 700 employers provide a transit benefit. That’s the highest in the region,” Hamilton said.

“There’s been a compact with the citizens since the 1960s and when Metro came to Arlington that when all the high-density development would occur in the rail corridors, we would protect the single family neighborhoods that hugged the rail corridors,” he added.

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Transportation Nation

Arlington Schools Not Backing Down On New Busing Rules

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

(image by Adam Fagen via flickr)

(Patrick Madden - Washington, DC, WAMU) Hundreds of parents in Virginia's Arlington County are appealing a new policy that will likely force more than 1,000 children who used to take the bus to school to walk instead this year.

Arlington schools plan to strictly enforce a walking zone for students, reports the Washington Post. That means elementary students living within a mile of school and secondary students within 1.5 miles of school aren't eligible for busing.

When the school system spelled out plans in August, many parents were angry, and 200 of them filed appeals. But only a few of those appeals have been successful, an ACPS spokeswoman told the Post. Donna Owens, the mother of a sixth grader, told the newspaper that many children will have to cross busy roads to get to school.

School officials argue they're addressing growing enrollment, because the bus system was reaching a crisis. There are an additional 1,000 students enrolled in the county's schools this year, according to Superintendent Patrick Murphy.

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Transportation Nation

Arlington Backing out of Transit Funding Deal

Thursday, April 26, 2012

(Washington, DC -- Michael Pope, WAMU) Leaders in Arlington County and the City of Alexandria in the Washington, DC suburbs  are moving in different directions along a high-capacity transit corridor on U.S. Route 1, and it's causing some tension among lawmakers in Alexandria.

Two years ago, Arlington asked Alexandria to join an environmental analysis for the Crystal City-Potomac Yard transit corridor. Arlington would pay $2.4 million, and Alexandria would add $1 million. Together, the neighboring jurisdictions would save money by combining efforts. Now, Arlington County is backing out of the deal, leaving Alexandria holding the bag.

"I think in fairness, Arlington should have had the courtesy of saying, 'Let's have a sit-down talk about where we are, what our dilemmas are, what our challengers are,'" says Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille. "That hasn't happened.”

Euille is now calling for a joint meeting between members of the Arlington County Board and Alexandria City Council to discuss the future of the transit corridor. At issue is $40-120 million worth of federal funds, which city officials say would be jeopardized without the study.

"If we are going to continue on this alternative, I think Arlington definitely needs to be on board because they've kind of gotten us to this point, and they can’t just walk away," says Alexandria Council member Frank Fannon.

Alexandria Council member Alicia Hughes agrees.

"I think that it is a show of bad faith on the part of the Arlington County Board to have come to the city of Alexandria and ask us enter something with them, and now that we've done it and it's time to take the next step, lo and behold it's like if you looked under a rock you could not find them," Hughes says.

Arlington County Board Chair Mary Hynes did not return phone calls, although she issued a written statement along with Mayor Euille saying the two jurisdictions have different strategies. A spokeswoman for the Arlington County government declined to answer questions.

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Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: NYC Cabbies Protest Outer-Borough Livery Cab Proposal -- Arlington Prepares for Transit Revitalization -- Win The Stanley Cup, Set Transit Ri

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Artist rendering of the Columbia Pike Transit Initiative (photo courtesy of WMATA)

Opinions are mixed over Arlington's Columbia Pike, a planned streetcar corridor. (WAMU)

Mayor Bloomberg's outer borough livery cab street hail plan goes to Albany. (Wall Street Journal)

Meanwhile, NYC cabbies are protesting that plan. (AM NY)

NJ Governor Christie's Energy Master Plan draft "barely mentions transportation," according to a columnist. (Times of Trenton)

Both Illinois senators are pushing opposing agendas over public-private partnerships for transportation. (Chicago Tribune)

Adults can learn to ride bikes, too. (New York Times)

A guest columnist in the New York Daily News -- who lost her husband in a car-on-bike collision -- writes that the city's bike lanes are "vital and corrective" and will save lives.

According to one journalist, entertainment on the NYC subway is "a combination of 'America's Got Talent,' 'The Gong Show', and 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.'" (NY Daily News)

Win the Stanley Cup, set transit ridership records. (WCVB - Boston)

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