Virginia's answer to DC's streetcars
Plans for streetcars in DC and along Arlington's Columbia Pike are well-known around the region, but they're not the only exciting plans for new surface transit inside the Beltway. Arlington, Alexandria and Fairfax have quietly identified a number of corridors for significantly enhanced transit service.
View Beltway Streetcars / BRT in a larger map.
Arlington: The Transit Element of Arlington's Master Transportation Plan identifies a "Primary Transit Network" of corridors in which the County wants to "encourage a low auto-usage lifestyle" by providing streetcar or BRT service with high frequency at all times of day. In addition to Columbia Pike, the PTN includes the Crystal City / Potomac Yard transitway, which Arlington wants to be a streetcar, as well as Lee Highway (US-29), Clarendon Boulevard, and Glebe Road. Presumably Arlington will focus on the latter three corridors once its plans for Columbia Pike and Crystal City are complete.
Alexandria: The most prominent feature of Alexandria's Transportation Master Plan is that the City identifies three "Priority Transit Corridors" on which they specifically propose to implement fully dedicated, no-cars-allowed, transitways. These transitways could be light rail or BRT, and are along US Route 1 (extending the CC/PY transitway), Duke Street, and Beauregard / Van Dorn.
Fairfax: The recently released Fairfax County Transit Development Plan calls for three "streetcar or BRT" corridors: Columbia Pike, Route 7 and Route 28. Columbia Pike is simply the western segment of Arlington's streetcar project. Route 7 is gaining momentum as a light rail corridor thanks to Congressman Moran. Route 28 (which is well outside the Beltway) appears to be a more distant goal.
Unfortunately, localities in Northern Virginia don't control their transportation budgets to the same extent that DC (which is a state equivalent) does. While DDOT can fund and build streetcars directly, Northern Virginia localities currently lack the constitutional authority to adequately fund their own projects, and therefore have to work with Virginia's state-level agencies to do so. This means Virginia won't be able to move as fast as DC, and can't be as up-front about determining streetcar versus BRT. Ultimately, these plans for Virginia are less secure than DC's. Nonetheless, taken as a whole the plans that have come together for increased priority transit in Northern Virginia are extremely impressive, and would rival DC's streetcar system if built.
Cross-posted at BeyondDC.
- Bikeshare is a gateway to private biking, not competition
- Latest Metro map drafts add Anacostia parks and other tweaks
- Short-term Washingtonians deserve a voice, too
- DC Council makes major policy changes overnight
- Judge denies injunction against closing schools
- Public land deals have both benefits and pitfalls
- Parklets give every block a little park