|An artist's conception of what the Colulmbia Pike Streetcar could look like. [Fairfax County photo]|
The agreement allows the project to move forward with additional environmental planning and conceptual design, which needs to be done before the project can move into the engineering and construction phases. The Arlington County Board approved the agreement earlier this month.
The streetcar is expected to spur redevelopment in the Bailey’s Crossroads area, as well as along its route along Columbia Pike in Arlington. There will be three stations in Fairfax County, all in Bailey’s Crossroads: the Goodwin House, Jefferson Street, and the Skyline Center. It will extend for nearly five miles from Skyline to Pentagon City.
Meanwhile, the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission has begun a study of transit alternatives for Route 7, which could eventually connect to the Columbia Pike Streetcar.
Because the majority of the line is in Arlington County, Arlington will pay 80.4 percent of the nearly $1 million projected cost of the planning and design phase. Fairfax County’s share will be $195,830. Construction of the streetcar line is expected to be financed with a mix of local, state, and federal funds.
Under the terms of the agreement, Arlington will be the lead partner for this phase of the transit project, and Fairfax will act as participating partner. This will allow a single jurisdiction to apply for federal funding if both counties agree to apply for it. The Federal Transit Administration rejected a grant proposal under the Small Starts program earlier this year, but the FTA could be more willing to fund it under the New Starts program.
Arlington has already hired a consultant to create a conceptual design to move the streetcar platform closer to the entrance of the Skyline complex; develop a conceptual design for an operations, maintenance, and storage facility in Arlington; update ridership projections; refine the streetcar’s operational plans; assess the kind and number of streetcars needed to meet peak demand; and carry out archeological testing and evaluation as required by the federal National Historic Preservation Act.
According to a 2012 Return on Investment Study prepared by both counties, the streetcar will lead to a projected 4 to 10 percent increase in property values within a quarter mile of the transit line. This amounts to a $126 to $315 million spike in values along the corridor.