How One D.C. Suburb Set A Gold Standard For Commuting
24 October 2013
Image: Citizens for Modern Transit
Dena Belzer (M.C.P. '83), president of San Francisco-based economic consulting firm Strategic Economics, spoke on NPR about the growing trend of transit-oriented development (TOD) in cities across the country. As communities are tackling commuting challenges and providing solutions for congestion, a successful case for TOD can be seen in Arlington, VA, just outside Washington, D.C.
Local planners designed the Washington area subway to run under a handful of Arlington neighborhoods in order to create mini-downtowns above the stations, causing a complete transformation of the 1960s car-dependent suburb into a lively city where people can interact and commute without cars.
The community has a suburb's benefits of more space and cleaner neighborhoods, but with easy access to restaurants and shopping, and the effectively designed system for commuters has created a reduction in traffic despite Arlington's growth and economic development.
However, the succesful case of Arlington, which was recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency with a Smart Growth Award, has also seen skyrocketing housing prices that could eventually undermine the purpose of changing a community without increasing traffic.