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Virginians: Don't forget to vote

Even if you don't live in Virginia, if you read the news or watch TV you can't have missed that today is Election Day.

Photo by Mrs. Gemstone.

You've already probably made up your minds, but just in case you are still on the fence about any races and plan to vote this afternoon, there are a few races we've reported on before whose outcome will affect transportation and development in Northern Virginia.

Governor: Creigh Deeds focuses much more on transit than Bob McDonnell. McDonnell will primarily try to fix Northern Virginia's congestion by building lots of roads, including HOV and HOT lanes, and will further the cycle of auto-dependence that's characterized development outside Arlington and Alexandria for decades. Deeds would probably further it as well, but to a lesser extent, and ensure that good transit is a larger part of the mix. Unless Deeds pulls an upset over the polls, that means we're probably in for a tough term on transportation in Virginia.

Delegate: Most Delegates have little to do with transportation or development policy beyond the issue of Democrats versus Republicans and how they'd approach paying for transportation. However, in Arlington, Bob Brink and Aaron Ringel have widely divergent views on widening I-66. The Post endorsed Ringel for no reason other than his desire to spend money on auto capacity; if you live in the District 48 part of Arlington, we'd suggest voting for Brink for the same reason.

Are there any other races with a significant transportation or development focus? Post your thoughts on the election in the comments.


Afternoon Links: University vs. Residents

GUTS, or just GALL? The Georgetown ANC is demanding that Georgetown University stop running most of its GUTS shuttles on Georgetown streets, except on traffic-choked Canal Road and M Street. In particular, buses on Reservoir Road, a four-lane arterial, have drawn the ire of the Commission, with some residents complaining that the buses are "wreaking havoc on Reservoir Road traffic." According to ANC commissioner Ron Lewis, "They're still in our communities and on Reservoir Road in our neighborhood and that is unacceptable." The University is considering complying, operating test-runs of its Dupont Circle shuttle along a Canal Road/Whitehurst Freeway 4.7-mile route, instead of the direct 2.1-mile route it now uses across Q Street.

By ElvertBarnes on Flickr

Major weekend street closures: With the Race for the Cure and the Unifest Celebration going on in the District this weekend, DDOT has announced a slew of street closures. For the Race, streets near the Mall, including Constitution and Independence Avenues will be closed Saturday morning at various times. Independence Avenue will be closed until 5pm. For the Unifest Celebration, a number of roads in the U Street area will be closed starting tonight at 11pm and running through early Sunday morning. (Georgetown Voice, Scott)

Comstock pops a Wiehle: Fairfax County has signed a deal with Comstock Partners to develop a mixed-use project on the site of the future Silver Line station at Wiehle Avenue in Reston. The terminus of Silver Line Phase I, to be operating by 2013, is presently a park-and-ride lot for Fairfax Connector buses. The developers will construct residential, office, and retail "atop" a 2,300-space garage for the Metro station they are also building. (WBJ, Ben)

The candidates, on I-66 The Candidates in Virginia's up-in-the-air Democratic gubernatorial primary have announced their positions on the future of I-66 inside the Beltway. All support some expansion, though to different degrees. "R. Creigh Deeds, the state senator from rural Bath County, and Terry McAuliffe, a former Democratic National Committee chairman, who lives in McLean, said they support widening I-66 through Arlington if it stays within the existing footprint." Brian Moran, brother of Congressman James Moran (D), "supports plans to make 'spot improvements' to the westbound side of I-66, but he offered no opinion on a wholesale widening from four lanes to six." Congressman Gerry Connolly (D) of Fairfax argues that with the current configuration, "it's actually the citizens of Arlington and Falls Church who suffer." (Gavin B, Post)

Rural preservation in Montgomery: Lost amidst the recent urban historic preservation debates is the relationship between rural landowners and preservationists. Montgomery County is considering altering its process for protecting farmsteads. The proposed changes include requiring that a "site would have to meet at least three criteria for historic designation instead of one, and designation would require the votes of four of five members of the Planning Board instead of three. The measure would delete 'high artistic value' as a category for protecting a property, a criterion [County Council Member Michael] Knapp considers 'highly subjective.'" (Post)

Discuss to oppose paying to oppose: The Town of Chevy Chase has announced it won't consider spending additional Town funds to oppose the Purple Line until after it holds public hearings on the question. "In the town's proposed fiscal 2010 budget, there is $14,000 for the town's consultant on the Purple Line, Sam Schwartz, compared to the estimated total of $180,000 scheduled to be paid to Schwartz during the current 2009 fiscal year, which ends June 30. During fiscal 2008, the town spent $250,000 on consultant's fees to Sam Schwartz. On behalf of the town, Schwartz detailed reasons why a rapid bus line on Jones Bridge Road would be more effective than light rail for the Purple Line." (Gazette)

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