Arlington County has released a new video that makes the case for the planned Columbia Pike and Crystal City streetcar lines.
With the Columbia Pike and Crystal City areas expected to add 37,000 jobs and 21,000 residents by 2040, the video says, the streetcar is a necessary investment to reduce traffic. In addition, the streetcar will spur economic development, much like Arlington’s investment in Metro in the 1960s and 70s spurred growth along the Blue and Orange Lines, according to the video.
“We’re taking our transportation network to a new level of service by making a strategic investment in a streetcar system,” the video says. ”Arlington’s streetcar system, still in the early design stages, will put a decidedly modern twist on one of the nation’s oldest forms of mass transit. The streetcar will extend Metrorail’s reach… and help reduce traffic congestion as our community continues to grow.”
The video touts some of the benefits of the streetcar, calling it “reliable, appealing, efficient… quieter, less polluting, and easier to get on and off.” Plus, the streetcar is much cheaper than heavy rail transit, and developers are attracted to the areas around streetcar lines.
The streetcar will revitalize Columbia Pike and ”transform it into a more walkable main street,” the video said.
Arlington’s planned streetcar system will run from Skyline in Fairfax County, down a five mile stretch of Columbia Pike, to the Pentagon City Metro station. From Pentagon City, the line will run down to Crystal City then over to Potomac Yard. The system will be integrated and users will be able to have a “one-seat ride” from Skyline to Potomac Yard, according to the video.
The video makes the case that more than 40 percent of all transit rides in the entire Commonwealth of Virginia begin or end in Arlington. With the streetcar — which is expected to cost some $250 million for the Columbia Pike portion alone — Arlington will be able to continue its record of successful transit-oriented smart growth, the video says.
“Arlington is choosing to invest in streetcars, just as it invested a half century ago in Metro,” said the video.