Monday, May 19, 2014. Zoom-zoom:
David Alpert gives some great historical perspective related to infrastructure in Arlington, VA, but his arguments have wide applicability.
Fifty years ago, Arlington was an aging suburb that progress had passed by on the way to greener pastures in Fairfax County.
County residents and leaders did not respond to this challenge by spending as little as possible in the vain hope that doing so would attract people and economic growth. Instead, they campaigned to build an expensive Metrorail subway and put it under Wilson Boulevard, with the goal of transforming it from a tired suburban strip into a new downtown. They planned walkable centers with more housing, jobs and retail, plus new streets and sidewalks, while protecting the character of older neighborhoods.
It paid off. Now Arlington is a desirable place to live. It also saved money. Half of the county’s property tax assessment value comes from only 11 percent of its land, along the Metro corridors. As a result, Arlington typically enjoys the lowest property tax rate in Northern Virginia.
The Columbia Pike line is estimated to cost $358 million, including a 20 percent contingency; the Crystal City segment will bring the total to $585 million, including the contingency. By comparison, the District is spending $663 million to replace the Frederick Douglass Bridge, which carries 77,000 vehicles per day; that’s more than the streetcar’s cost just to replace one short piece of the road system.
Dan Burden and Edward Erfurt talk about the virtues of head-out (or back-in) angled parking. Here's a good video from Dan: