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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Fairfax County approves agreement to begin design of Columbia Pike Streetcar

An artist's conception of what the Colulmbia Pike Streetcar could look like. [Fairfax County photo]
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved an agreement with Arlington County July 30 to take the next step to plan and design the Columbia Pike Streetcar.

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.

13 comments:

  1. GOD HELP OUR AREA!!! I just saw a bunch of pictures of Detriot - and guess what.... they look like our district.

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  2. There are practically no parallels between close-in Fairfax county and Detroit, on the basis of local industry, demographics, property values, diversified economy, you name it. Go peddle that "sky is falling" message somewhere else.

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    1. The streetcar will revive Mason District. Have you been over the FFX/Arlington boarder line on Columbia Pike, Its like one has gone from hell to paradise? Investors are already reviving Columbia Pike in Arlington knowing that the County is fully on board with the streetcar. Columbia Pike on the Arlington side is once again a vibrant pedestrian way with new mixed-use centers, housing, retail, restaurants and a historic landmark theater.
      Fairfax, one of the richest counties in the US has no excuse for sitting on the sidelines while its inner beltway neighborhoods falter. A streetcar down Columbia Pike, although disappointingly not going into Annandale will be a shot in the arm for the Baileys Crossroads area. This vibrant but neglected commercial area needs new urban development to attract people that work, not peddle their junk. Bring it on and let’s show the metro area that Fairfax can do better than Detroit, maybe even better than Arlington!

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    2. The transition is not really at the county line - its more like at Walter Reed and Col Pike.

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    3. Not sure why the 3:30 comment is a reply to my comment, because I agree completely with the value of the streetcar, even not in Annandale.

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  3. Why would anybody in their right mind from the Baileys Crossroads area want to spend 10 to 15 minutes taking a bus to the streetcar station, wait five or ten minutes for the streetcar then spend one half hour trundling along Columbia Pike at 5 to 10 mph to the Pentagon City area so that you can have the chance to wait ten or fifteen minutes for a Blue or Yellow Line Metrorail train to DC?

    Arlington County Supervisors have suckered the Fairfax County Dimocrat supervisors into a bottomless financial disaster agreement.

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    1. It is not a perfect solution, merely a stepping stone. The streetcar should go to Annandale, as there should be one that connects Skyline with Mark Center, Landmark and the Van Dorn Station. But this would make too much sense to a transportation system and County that is as deadlocked in making decisions as is our Congress.

      It will as it already has in Arlington bring investments opportunities to Baileys Crossroads and east through Arlington. It is clearly a greater advantage for Arlington. Fairfax got it half baked (20%) and as usual FFX County will not experience all the benefits. Fairfax always has one foot in and one foot out when it comes to its older neighborhoods.

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    2. Yes, to the comment above. We have to start somewhere and Arlington has already started reviving the Columbia Pike area where the streetcar will go. Arlington is keeping affordable housing too while revitalizing the area. Baileys Crossroads and Seven Corners has nothing yet going on. The streetcar can also go to Annandale. Hopefully people will keep their minds open to a good form of mass transit and not just want to add more buses.

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  4. I think the idea is you will WALK the street car, not take a bus to it. It goes right near Skyline, which is pretty dense. From there its no worse than taking the 16 bus, which lots of people do. It just might be a more comfortable ride.

    But yes to give coverage to more distant areas it will need to run up Rte7 to Seven Corners - that is under study - in fact the entire rte 7 corridor from Tysons to King Street Station is under study for additional transit.

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  5. As Penny Gross said (and I hate to admit I agree with a Democrat) let's get it to Bailey's first and then worry about getting it to Annandale. It will eventually make it to Annandale, just be patient. It will help revitalize the corridor, and thank goodness the liberal/socialist suckers in Arlington will foot most of the bill for us in Fairfax! We're right to take a wait and see approach. Bring on da train!

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    1. Trust me, that liberal Arlington has more money than they know what to do with because people want to live there and they pay taxes. All the despos left Arlington and are now squatting in Fairfax.

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    2. it will make it to Seven Corners long before it makes it to Annandale. The section between Baileys and central Annandale is too low density to justify rail. Annandale is more likely to get an extension of the transit corridor Alexandria is building down Beauregard to Landmark - and that will be buses in a seperate lane, not rail.

      And no, Arlington will not pay for the tracks in Fairfax, only for the tracks in Arlington

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  6. Perhaps 7C, but redevelopment of the Pike is coming Annandale's way eventually. No more buses in Annandale.

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