Arlington can't forget what made it what it is
It's a truism in politics that if you repeat a statement often enough, people will believe it, regardless of whether it's true. In Arlington, a cohort of commentators and activists has been chanting that the County Board is full of profligate spenders. Now that claim has started to have currency in county politics, even though it's grounded in little at all.
Fifty years ago, Arlington was an aging suburb that progress had passed by on the way to greener pastures in Fairfax County. Outdated retail strips, struggling businesses and a declining population portended a bleak future. State and federal planners saw Arlington mostly as space to be traversed between home and work, and they proposed cutting up its neighborhoods for commuter roads.
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.
Continue reading my latest op-ed in the Washington Post.
- The war on Dana Milbank's car
- Two maps that explain what DC might look like as a state
- Have you been "walkblocked"? Are you "zonely"? New terms sprout in the urbanist lexicon
- David Catania's platform supports Metro, streetcars, bus lanes, bike lanes, transit-oriented development, and more
- This German city's monorail redefines river transportation
- Red paint keeps drivers out of San Francisco's bus lanes
- "We built this city on: hot hipsters." Cards Against Urbanity wants to make you laugh