If you don’t read Greater Greater Washington (GGW), you definitely should; that is, if you care about transportation and growth – smart or not – in this region. In short, GGW is a “great” blog, although of course it could be even “greater,” to paraphrase their own slogan. Heh. 😉
Anyway, GGW’s “Virginia-based contributors” have some thoughts (although not GGW endorsements) up on Tuesday’s “Democratic primaries for Arlington County Board, Alexandria mayor, two Fairfax supervisor seats, and the 45th legislative district.” Here are a few highlights.
*I strongly agree with this: “[Arlington County Board members] John Vihstadt, fellow member Libby Garvey, and their political backer Peter Rousselot have built their political bases by criticizing county spending on a wide range of infrastructure projects. Perhaps some initiatives were unnecessary or overly expensive, but Arlington now needs board members who can articulate a vision to make the county better instead of simply doing less.” I urge all Arlington Democrats to think about when they go to the polls on Tuesday, and to NOT support any candidate in the Vihstadt/Garvey camp. The danger, as GGW puts it, is that Vihstadt/Garvey could gain an ally in “halting investment in the county’s future rather than continuing the kinds of policies which have made Arlington County a national model for sustainable growth.” That would be, to put it mildly, not good. Not good at all.
*For Arlington County Board, GGW’s Chris Slatt writes that “Peter Fallon and Katie Cristol are both solid pro-smart-growth candidates,” that Andrew Schneider “turned in some of the most spot-on answers in a cycling issues questionnaire, but he has taken some potentially anti-transit positions,” and that Christian Dorsey is “a passionate, compelling candidate but has the support of Peter Rousselot (publicly) and Libby Garvey (privately), which is troubling.”
*For Mayor of Alexandria, an unnamed GGW contributor says that Allison Silberberg’s “votes have been anti-growth of any kind, even to the point of voting against an Alzheimer’s care facility on busy Route 7 between a cemetery and a nursing home.” GGW says that Bill Euille “appears to strike the right balance between listening to citizen input and getting things done,” but adds that it’s possible “Donley and Euille will split the pro-growth, smart growth, fiscally responsible vote and that both will lose.” Another contributor, Jonathan Krall, says his “friends in the bicycling community…are supporting Donley,” in part due to “Euille’s abandonment of the Royal Street bike boulevard project, and Silberberg’s weak support on bicycling issues.”
*GGW doesn’t really come down on the Mason district supervisor’s race, but notes controversy over “a county plan [that] would transform Seven Corners’ big-box stores and giant parking lots into mixed-use, walkable (though perhaps only marginally transit-oriented) urban villages.”
*GGW also doesn’t take a stand on the Mt. Vernon district supervisor’s race, but asks: “Will Route 1/Richmond Highway remain a traffic sewer flanked with strip malls that divides communities? Can it be a chain of real places with real transit?” Good questions.
*Finally, for the 45th House of Delegates race, GGW contributor Jonathan Krall correctly observes that “biking, walking, transit, smart growth, etc.” were not discussed much at debates, adding that “Larry Altenburg, Mark Levine, and [Clarence] Tong lost points with me by suggesting that traffic congestion should be addressed rather than made irrelevant by adding transit.”
Personally, I wish we had heard a lot more discussion about smart growth and transit-oriented development in these campaigns. What I do not particularly want to hear more discussion about, though, is stuff that we have little if any control over, such as extending Metro (which will require Congressional funding — good luck with that!). I also could do without talk of widening roads, unless it’s done specifically to put in rail or possibly BRT, as well as bike lanes and sidewalks. Because as a gazillion studies have shown, adding more roads (or widening existing ones) not only doesn’t solve problems, it creates a lot MORE problems.