Photo by brittgow on Flickr.

Following John Vihstadt’s strong win in last week’s election, a race that revolved largely around the Columbia Pike streetcar, Arlington officials have voted to stop work on planning or contracts for the project.

The Post quotes County Board chairman Jay Fisette saying,

We believed that a streetcar system would provide the economic stimulation and the placemaking that would keep Arlington competitive for years to come. But we cannot ignore the political realities.

On November 4, Arlingtonians went to the polls. They rejected the candidate who supported streetcar. ... We were caught flatfooted. We did not effectively make the case [for the line].




It’s not immediately clear if the door is open for some version of the project to move forward in the future. It’s also not clear whether Arlington can shift to any other transit project the $65 million that Virginia had committed to the streetcar.

Update 1: Michael Perkins and Chris Slatt point out that we “reported” this in April 2013 as an April Fool’s joke. In the joke post, we said that Arlingtonians for Sensible Transportation, leader Peter Rousselot, and county board member Libby Garvey, all of whom have insisted they support high-quality Bus Rapid Transit, suddenly start criticizing bus plans as also “too expensive.”

If the county board now proposes spending money on bus transit on Columbia Pike, we might have the chance to see whether this comes true; hopefully, these folks are being genuine and will support other transit investments. It’s important to understand, as always, that the state of Virginia will still not allow a dedicated lane on Columbia Pike.

David Alpert is Founder and President of Greater Greater Washington and Executive Director of DC Surface Transit. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle. Unless otherwise noted, opinions here are his and not the official views of GGWash or DCST.