Learning from Arlington’s Example

Learning from Arlington’s Example

As I’ve noted many times, one of the beauties of White Flint planning is that we’re not really inventing many wheels with what’s being implemented.  The ideas coming to White Flint have examples bearing success in other parts of the country and world.  A nearby example is right in Arlington, one of the region’s leaders in transit-oriented development.

A recent piece in Mobility Lab highlights Arlington’s successes.  Author Paul Goodin notes:

Now, many other places are patterning themselves based on the traits Arlington perfected; that is, relatively dense and containing mixed-use, walkable, and bikeable neighborhoods that emphasize transportation choices. Meanwhile, with more localities essentially “doing Arlington,” it is ironic that forces within the county want to retreat from what made Arlington great in the first place.

He also highlights one reason this type of development makes sense:

Livable, well-connected places are “in,” but they have proven again and again to make economic sense as well. The Brookings Institution is among those finding strong correlations between public transit and economic competitiveness. Robert Puentes, senior fellow of Brookings’ Metropolitan Policy Program, has recognized the temptation to “rip the wires out of these transit systems.” Puentes has warned against this, stating, “Some people may think that transit systems are easy targets for budget savings/budget slashing, but … this is the wrong time to be doing that.” With respect to the Columbia Pike streetcar, Puentes’ warning seems particularly salient. The streetcar, while admittedly an expensive public works project in the near term, is projected to pay for itself many times over.

In the piece, the author doesn’t seem thrilled that White Flint is “nipping at Arlington’s heels,” but we don’t mind one bit.  Read the full Mobility Lab piece by clicking here.


Lindsay Hoffman


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