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Posts in Transportation.
Fairfax County's Plans for the Route 1 Corridor

On May 12, 2015, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to endorse a phased, multimodal approach to the future expansion and development of the Route 1 Corridor between Huntington and Fort Belvoir. This will take place in the context of eventual expansions and improvement extending further to Woodbridge.

HammerArlington County has been widely criticized for its aggressive lawsuit over the proposed Interstate 395 HOT lanes expansion, which includes allegations that individual state and federal officials committed civil rights violations in approving the project. In a time of significant economic troubles and governmental budget challenges, the county has reportedly paid over $1 million in legal fees advancing this case.

According to a good source, GSA and WMATA are working on a new policy to allow GSA to modify its rent caps for sites that meet certain transit oriented development criteria (i.e. sites within a certain proximity to Metro stations, etc.).  As many of our readers know, GSA caps its rents as a result of negotiations with OMB per rules created to implement the Budget Enforcement Act of 1990. OMB (through Circular A-11) created a set of rules which are used to determine whether a federal lease is an "Operating" or "Capital" Lease. To make a long story short, GSA and OMB have agreed to rent caps to make it easy to stay within "Operating Lease" guidelines. The current Operating Lease rent caps are $34/SF in Maryland, $38/SF in Virginia, and $49/SF in the District of Columbia.  With vacancies finally falling and rental rates starting to rise, the natural effect of these caps will be to push federal office space development away from mass transit locations, which yield the highest rental rates.  Currently, big chunks of space for federal agencies just aren't normally available below these price caps where there are mass transit services available.

This is the second posting in my station by station land use analysis of Northern Virginia's new Silver Line.  The first station (at the Silver Line's eastern terminus) is the East Falls Church Metro Station, which will serve as the transfer station from the Silver Line to the Orange Line.


With the FFW holding behind us, I thought it would be an opportune time to spend some time focusing on how the planned Silver Line Metro Station areas are planned to build out, so that we can provide a comprehensive guide to Northern Virginia's new transit corridor, station by station.  This first post is a macro-analysis of the system as a whole, which will be followed by a station by station land use, transportation and density analysis, and then probably an end-cap article summarizing the capacity of the corridor as a whole.

It is no secret that the Commonwealth of Virginia is the first choice for business in the Washington-Metro Region (being exceedingly more pro-business than the District of Columbia and Maryland), and for the past several decades, Arlington County and the City of Alexandria, with a few exceptions, have had a virtual monopoly over the Metro in Northern Virginia, access to quite a bit of DOD and other federal bucks (in part because of the access this mass transit provided to federal agencies for businesses and federal employees, etc.)  But let’s be blunt; while good urban planning has played a serious role in the urban expansion across the river from DC in Virginia, good urban planning is basically a symptom of great location, location, location.  Arlington and Alexandria have had the benefit of being immediately adjacent to the federal trough in the most business-friendly state in the region with a monopoly over mass rail transit.  These are the core reasons that they have enjoyed their prosperity and growth.  

The Virginia Supreme Court has released its opinion in the first of the pending Case Watch. Commonwealth of Virginia v. AMEC Civil, LLC, and the companion case of AMEC Civil, LLC v. Commonwealth of Virginia had twenty-two assignments of error on AMEC’s part, along with two assignments of error and seven assignments of cross-error on VDOT’s part.

As promised, just wanted to circle back with the results of yesterday's Commonwealth Transportation Board hearing.  It is official, the Commonwealth Transportation Board passed the actions necessary to transfer Columbia Pike to Arlington County, with assurances from Arlington County staff that they would preserve the functionality of Columbia Pike and that there were plans to do so in place.  This action is a major step for the Columbia Pike Revitalization Initiative, giving Arlington County the control it has wanted over streetscape, pedestrian, transportation, street and intersection alignment, and its street car planning.

All this comes despite the ongoing lawsuit between Arlington County, VDOT and others.

The Commonwealth Transportation Board is scheduled to finalize the deal and take the necessary actions to convey Columbia Pike to Arlington County tomorrow, being the culmination of many years of urban and transportation planning by Arlington County, the Columbia Pike community, and the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization.  This is in response to the Resolution passed by the Arlington County Board back in July of 2009 to acquire Columbia Pike from the Commonwealth in order to clear the way for construction of the planned street car system along Columbia Pike in Arlington County and to help realize the goals and visions of the Columbia Pike Revitalization Initiative.