Monday, June 27, 2005

Down to the Nitty Gritty in Debate over Vienna Metro Station

As the Fairfax County board of supervisors figures how to squeeze a projected 500,000 people into a county of 1 million over the next 20 years, the debate is focusing on the Vienna metro station in Tysons Corner, surrounded by a vast commuter parking lot and relatively low-density development. If it makes sense to increase development density anywhere, it makes sense at a Metro stop. Supervisors are expected to consider a proposal by Pulte Homes this fall to build a high-density cluster of 2,250 housing units, plus offices and stores in the area.

Says this morning's Washington Post, "the county's goal is to shave by 47 percent the 1,356 rush-hour trips the project would generate if it were a traditional subdivision. For offices, the goal is 25 percent." The County is putting the onus on Pulte to achieve those objectives. The question raging now: Is that goal realistic? Can Pulte coax enough suburbanites out of their cars and onto trains, buses, ride sharing and sidewalks to cut car use nearly in half?

Pulte thinks it can meet the goals. Citizen groups are skeptical. We'll find out more later his week when transportation planners release their assessment of Pulte's plan.

5 Comments:

At 3:26 PM, Anonymous Paul said...

Let's not forget the real story here: Tom Davis is trying to block this plan because either he's decided that the federal government is the correct place to make land use decisions or he lives near there and is abusing power (hint: it's the latter)

 
At 11:52 AM, Blogger Ray Hyde said...

Planning metro friendly transit in Ballston in one thing. Planning it at the terminal metro stops is another. Such development at the terminal metro stops just puts access to thousands of bimodal commuters out of reach. This will either cut Metro traffic or increas highway traffic, or both.

At inner stations such development improves usage of transit because there are destinations in both directions, but at terminal stations you need massive parking lots.

 
At 12:06 PM, Anonymous Paul said...

True. But it looks increasingly likely that Vienna will soon no longer be a terminal station.

 
At 9:25 AM, Blogger Ray Hyde said...

That is a real planning pickle, isn't it. You make the best plan you can at the time, and it later turns out to be a multi-million dollar mistake.

Even if it is no longer a terminal station, what happens to all the users that are not in walking distance and no longer have parking? These people made plans based on existing infrastructure, which may be pulled out from under them to benefit the owners of land adjacent to the station.

It's exactly the kind of thing that makes me think we are not smart enough to postulate planning balanced communities, let alone build (and maintain) them.

 
At 2:46 PM, Anonymous Roger said...

The one remaining objection to the Mero-West proposal that has any substance, local trip generation, will be addressed in an upcoming Demand Managememt plan. It seems reasonable to substitute people walking to the station for some of those driving to the station, at least until Metro core capacity is improved. We need a better network of feeder buses to serve the more distant commuter.

 

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