Life is Sweet in Arlington

Obviously, it’s crucial that we not build anymore walkable, transit-oriented communities:

While many metropolitan markets around the country are enduring steep increases in vacancies in their office and retail sectors, the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor in the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington is an oasis of stability — and even of prosperity.

ved by five Metro subway stops within four miles, the corridor continues to attract new tenants, buyers and developers in the face of the deepest recession since the Great Depression. “It’s really an anomaly, considering the tough economy we’ve been in since December 2007,” said Sigrid G. Zialcita, managing research director for Cushman & Wakefield, a global real estate services firm. […]

While Wilson Boulevard, a main artery, helps define the corridor, the key element in its success has been the subway. Planners had wanted to place it in the median of Interstate 66, on a more northerly alignment. But Arlington officials fought to have it run underground in the corridor to spur development.

It costs money to build a proper grade-separated heavy rail line with closely-packed stations. A lot of money. And consequently, it takes time for the benefits to be fully reaped. But the benefits are large. Nobody walks around London or Paris or New York and says “it’s too bad they wasted all this money building subways.” And nobody walks the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor and says it’s too bad they didn’t build park-and-ride stations and surface tracks in a highway median.