The Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization issued this statement in October following a series of Arlington County Board candidate debates. Click here to watch the Patch-Arlington Independent Media forum for county board candidates.
Recent publications suggest that Bus Rapid System would be superior to a Streetcar serving the transit needs of our area. The Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization takes this opportunity to reaffirm support for a modern Streetcar.
In July 2012, the Arlington County Board and Fairfax County Board chose a modern Streetcar as the preferred transit alternative in our corridor. This decision was correct and well informed.
The rationale in support of a BRT alternative has been exhaustively discussed during the many years of public process preceding the aforementioned decisions.
Among many other benefits, a modern streetcar system:
- Commits the land use and economic development for decades to come. The sense of permanency and the corresponding growth dynamics that rail based transportation conveys to investors and businesses cannot be matched by a BRT system.
- Serves important destinations that focuses on corridors, connectors and regional development nodes. By contrast, BRT would serve a constellation of ever changing destinations and routes, leaving the network design, scope and functionality at the whim of political and market changes.
- Offers superior passenger capacity and superior economies of scale in the network both on Columbia Pike and on top-capacity corridors (like Route 1) where streetcar trains outperform BRT.
- Provides superior comfort to passengers. Comfort is not an optional luxury. It is a critical parameter that determines the level of ridership.
- Improves traffic safety in mixed traffic by keeping the largest vehicles on predictable tracks free from random lane-changes, which, combined with the narrower width of streetcars improves overall flow in a congested corridor.
- Supports our community’s goal to preserve affordable housing by having the proven potential to create enough real estate value to cross-subsidize committed affordable units.
The Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization applauds the Arlington County Board and the Fairfax County Board for upholding their commitment to the community’s long standing vision for Columbia Pike. The decision has been made. It is time to move forward.