The Pike's Future
CPRO Columbia Pike Future Forum
More Questions than Answers
may 1, 2015
A meeting of the CPRO Columbia Pike Future Forum was yesterday.
Delegate Alfonso Lopez for the 49th District moderated the panel which included:
John Vihstadt – Arlington County Board Member
Nina Janopaul – President & CEO – APAH
David Peete – Partner BM Smith & Associates
Takis Kanantonis – Executive Director CPRO
Closing remarks by : Walter Tejada - Arlington County Board, Vice Chair.
Some of the topics covered were Columbia Pike transportation, affordable housing, new schools and a North and South Arlington divide. Although not always mentioned the cancellation of the Streetcar was pervasive regardless of the topic being discussed.
The panel was asked for suggestions as to what could replace the Streetcar. Most panel members expressed their disappointment at its cancellation but did not have specific recommendations for a replacement. John Vihstadt suggested a Circulator. (Circulator in the district)
The importance of preserving affordable housing along the Pike and in the county was stressed and that the need was greater than the supply.
Nina Janopaul said that Arlington Mill Residences received over 3000 applications for 122 affordable apartments. Carver Homes and Columbia Hills were mentioned as affordable housing that are now in the works, as was the possible redevelopment (and inclusion of affordable housing) of 4707 Columbia Pike which borders S. Buchanan Street and the Food Star lot at 950 S. George Mason drive which borders Columbia Pike. Also discussed was the disproportion of affordable housing at the West end of Columbia Pike compared to the East end.
The need for new schools or additions to existing schools due to the growing population of Arlington County was mentioned but except for the cancellation of a new school at the Thomas Jefferson site nothing specific was discussed.
North and South Arlington Divide
Basically the discussion centered on: the North gets all the goodies and the South gets much less. The cancellation of the Streetcar was the main emphasis. It was also implied that it was possible that the South did not fare as well as the North because there was only one member of the Arlngton board who lives in South Arlington.
Alfonso Lopez the panel moderator stressed in his final remarks that promises had been made and promises had been broken.
In his closing remarks Walter Tejada emphasized his disappointment that plans (which included the Streetcar) 10 to 15 years in the making were canceled. He also talked about all the citizen volunteers who had spent years attending meetings and assisting with the plans and recommendations for Columbia Pike and the Streetcar. He stated that it was his opinion that some voters had thought that Arlington schools would loose out on money if the Streetcar was financed. He explained that these moneys were separate and money that had been allocated for the Streetcar could not be used for schools.