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Arlington County = Smart Growth

Posted by calwinston , in Business, Virginia 19 May 2010 · 2,066 views

urban virginia mass transit subway arlington smart growth washington dc city automobile
Arlington County, Virginia! The county that so many municipalities should emulate. Arlington was the one that defied the odds when it was growing back in the 1960's and 1970's by incorporating Smart Growth(a bad word back then). During this time Americas love for the automobile trumpeted more than the expansion of mass transit into the suburbs. Many people back then (same as today) did not want mass transit coming to the suburbs because they felt they left the crime, less fortunate and hoodlums of city life behind and did not want a way for "those type of people" to travel with their ills to their town. Today we know that most of this is false but many people still have that 1960's notion that crime comes with mass-transit.

After WWII Arlington County expanded at a record pace doubling its size in one decade. This was largely due to the influx of the exansion of the federal government into area suburbs. During this same time plans for a mass-transit sytem was taking place. Many Arlington county residents did not want Metro expanding into the county, because they just moved out of Washington DC leaving the ills behind. But Arlington County officials had a vision of having 11 stops on the subway in the county. (sound familair). Their where many meetings and studies, but against many residents will Metro was expanded into the county. Instead of bringing the crime to the county the Metro did the opposite effect by bringing companies, restaurants, businesses, retail, and most important people to these walkable neighborhoods. What you had was a community centered around mass transit instead of people having to buy a car or risk their life to cross a major highway with a car oriented development.

Arlington County has 5 major urban centers.
Crystal City, Penatgon City, Courthouse, Rosslyn, Ballston
Each one having a stop on the subway. Around these subway stops Arlington County officials had a vision of minature downtowns. The people around that urban center would walk, bike, to their shopping destination, business, eatery, movie, local bar, work, etc. Also traveling on the subway to outside destinations was a hop or skip away.

If counties today implemented smart growth much of the population would not need to use cars to get around. What you create is a culture of healthy individuals force to get out and interact, walk, and are more community oriented. Today you have far flung subdivisions that isolate families from all outside life.Who wants this and is is this what life is? Even rural communities have small towns where people gather and interact with their neighbors and they are also centered mostly around train stops. In the suburbs people gather at Wal-Mart where your only interaction is Sue the cashier which she is one of a like 200 cashing you out then you leave back to your isolated home.

Smart growth also lowers the cost of infrastructure on the county to support people. Lets say you have 10,000 resident living in 10 sq miles. These people need roads to get to their destination, water lines, electricity, cable lines, school buses to pick up their kids for school, the list goes on. Now you have 10,000 people living in 1 sq mile. Everything that was listed above but 9sq miles less of it, plus no school buses the kids would walk too school. This takes the burden off of the municipality and they can use the extra money for services like police, fire, sidewalks, libraries, schools, etc. and in the long run lower taxes.

Smart Growth is the answer to many budget problems being faced today! Arlington County residents are loving it today and is a prime example! Use it and see what comes about.

"Arlington's: Smart Growth Journey" Documentary

Smart Growth in Arlington Video

Arlington Rap

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Jun 23 2010 05:11 AM
The prettier the better urban development
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