Tonight and this coming Tuesday there will be public meetings in Arlington, Virginia about the East Falls Church development plans at the Tuckahoe Elementary School starting at 7:00 pm.
In a nutshell, the development plan is to remove all 422 Metro parking spaces in the Park and Ride lot and erect buildings up to nine stories tall in their place. The proposal provides for as many as 550 residential units and up to 150,000 square feet of retail space.
I grew up on Washington Blvd and Sycamore right across from the East Falls Church Metro station. As someone who lived in that area for nearly two decades my opinion is that this plan is overzealous. There are already significant congestion and traffic safety issues at that intersection and just the other day there was an incident that backed up traffic for hours.
Adding hundreds of new occupants, retail space and removing parking for the Metro all seems like an idea that would be a better daydream than reality.
I’m sure there are companies that may stand to benefit, jobs that may be created and it could help the local economy. On the other side, though, this plan could add to the traffic problems, crime, remove parking that Metro riders really need (East Falls Church is one of the only Metro stations in this area with so much parking available) and cause a lot of other problems for the residents that live nearby.
It’s not my backyard anymore, so I don’t have as much of a personal interest as I do a general concern about the over-development of Arlington. As someone who has been in Arlington for 29 years, I don’t recognize much of the county anymore as it rushes in to, at least in my opinion, become a city.
Cities generally have more problems with crime, pollution and traffic. Is this the direction we should be heading?
5/21/2010: Updated to reflect maximum of nine story buildings after recent developments.