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OCR for page 108
Sources: Evans, J. E., IV, and Stryker, A., TCRP Project B-12B Technical Report 1. Prepared for Richard H. Pratt, Consultant, Inc. by Jay Evans Consulting LLC and PB Consult Inc. Unpublished report (March 21, 2005). Reiff, B., and Kim, K.-H., Statistical Analysis of Urban Design Variables and Their Use in Travel Demand Models. Prepared by Lane Council of Governments, Portland Metro, and Oregon Department of Transportation for Performance Measures Subcommittee of the Oregon Modeling Steering Committee (November, 2003). Arlington County, Virginia, Transit Oriented Development Densities Situation. Arlington County is part of the Washington, DC, metropolitan region, situated in Northern Virginia just across the Potomac River from the Nation's Capital and home to the Pentagon. Prior to construction of the Washington Metrorail system, Arlington's location made it primarily a close-in bedroom suburb, offering convenient access and affordable housing for Federal government workers and military in downtown Washington or the Pentagon. Conscious planning decisions in anticipation of the construction of Metrorail into Northern Virginia, and predicated on a strong market for office construction, have accounted for significant changes in land use development patterns in Arlington. These changes have greatly shaped the economic and community activity levels of Arlington and transit ridership levels for trips beginning in or des- tined to the county. Actions. The Washington Metrorail system began operations in 1976, and its first extension out- side the city was to Arlington. The county made a conscious decision that it wanted to encourage growth, and to take maximum advantage of the opportunity presented by Metro. Rather than pushing one Metro alignment north into freeway right-of-way, it decided to bring it in subway through the heart of county areas where commercial development and multi-family housing were already established, but beginning to decline. The expressed intent was to locate the service where higher levels of activity already existed, and where new development as well as redevelopment of existing resources was wanted. The county established as its primary development goals in conjunction with this decision: (1) achieving a 50/50 tax base mix of residential and commercial development, (2) preserving existing single family and garden apartment residential areas, (3) encouraging mixed-use development, and (4) concentrating development around Metro sta- tions. Sector plans focusing on areas within about 1/4 mile of each station were developed and pursued with developers, using special exception site plans as the approval mechanism. Some 5 percent of Arlington was replanned. Analysis. A record of actions taken, the accompanying land use development and population and employment shifts, and aggregate impacts on transit use, is maintained by the Arlington County Planning Director and his staff to support furtherance of the program.26 26 A presentation error in the Metrorail ridership element of this record led to erroneous ridership data and conclusions in the "Arlington County, Virginia, Transit Oriented Development Densities" case study presented in the 2003 printing of TCRP Report 95, Chapter 15, "Land Use and Site Design," and the corresponding electronic (pdf) version of Chapter 15. Given its relevance to transit oriented development, this same case study is presented here with corrections and a Metrorail ridership update from 2002 to 2006 based on analysis of original Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority ridership survey data. 17-108

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Results. Since the 1970s and the coming of Metro, the county has experienced major growth and renewal, partly attributable to the growth of the Washington region in general, partly to the attraction of Arlington as an affordable location close-in to downtown Washington, and partly--it is believed-- to aggressive efforts to plan and market TOD. Between 1969 and 2000, office space in Arlington increased from 4.5 to 18.4 million square feet, and high density residential development expanded from 2,600 units to 14,300 units. Growth activity has occurred mainly in the vicinity of the County's 11 Metro stations, but with the most spectacular growth in relation to the Rosslyn, Ballston, and Court House stations. In 1980, 51 percent of county jobs were located within walking distance of Metro. This was with only one station not already open, and that at a primarily residential location. By 2000, the proportion reached 67 percent, and it is expected to reach 69 percent by 2020. Transit ridership has grown along with development at the three major stations. Between 1990 and 2006, weekday 24-hour Metrorail passenger entries grew from 13,600 to 16,800 at Rosslyn, from 5,300 to 7,400 at Court House, and from 9,500 to 12,300 at Ballston, a 28.5 percent 16-year growth for these three key TOD stations combined. During this same period, in comparison, ridership at the other 34 Metrorail stations that were open as of 1980 averaged 10 percent. More . . . Clearly, the extension of Metrorail into Arlington in the late 1970's and early 1980's has had a major impact on the physical appearance and economic vitality of the county, particularly in the Rosslyn-Ballston Corridor where Metro service was concentrated. Several factors are credited with the county's success with TOD. First, they developed a county plan and detailed sector plans to communicate clearly to investors and residents what type of development was planned. This was believed to create a sense of integrity in plans and policies that could be relied upon. Helping this, the government has been fairly stable throughout the growth period, meaning that there have been no political shifts to threaten TOD plans or policies. Second, land adjacent to stations was rezoned to higher density as developers came forth with acceptable plans. Initially, Floor Area Ratios (FARs) of 1.5 were the norm throughout the county, but FARs up to 3.8 have been permitted under the TOD plan. Third, county officials have worked continuously at building community consen- sus and creating value, pushing for top quality development projects and not just settling for generic office buildings. Fourth, they have attempted to make maximum use of public-private partnerships. While visibly successful, the county is still struggling with several issues, including finding the right balance of parking, achieving desired levels of retail development sufficient to support a 24-hour environment, securing a desired balance of affordable housing, obtaining a more uni- formly high quality of urban design, and engineering enough public space or green space into the mix to preserve a community feel. Sources: Brosnan, R., "Transit Oriented Development," The Smart Growth Speaker Series. Oral presentation and visuals (updated 2001). Sponsored by the U.S. EPA, ICMA, the National Building Museum, and the Smart Growth Network, Washington, DC (September 5, 2000). Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), "Metrorail Passenger Surveys: Average Weekday Passenger Boardings." Spreadsheets (June 6, 2002 and June 14, 2006b). 17-109