As your Board Member, reinvigorating the Columbia Pike Plan will be a top priority. The community vision of Columbia Pike as Arlington’s “Main Street” is languishing for lack of action. We need leadership on the Board to bring the focus and resources needed to make the future of the Pike a priority.
To diversify our economy, we must unlock the potential of each of our commercial corridors, and Columbia Pike represents enormous untapped potential. When any one part of the County lags behind its full potential, the entire County suffers. We must make Columbia Pike a success if we hope to build an economy that works for everyone.
To deliver on the community’s vision for the Pike, I will address three main policy areas:
Transit: The lack of any commitment to improving transit since 2014 has sent the market a clear message. The first thing we need to do is reverse that. For the community’s “Main Street” vision to be achieved, there must be frequent and reliable transit service 18 hours a day, 7 days a week, that connects Skyline, Crystal City, and Potomac Yard via Columbia Pike; and we can’t wait on Metro to do it. I will:
- Immediately expand Art Bus service within the County borders;
- Immediately engage with Alexandria and Fairfax to plan the regional line;
- Accelerate the rebuilding of both ends of the Pike; and
- Accelerate the installation of better bus shelters.
Economic Development: Once we have a real plan for transit backed up with actions and dollars, we will begin to regain the credibility needed to engage with the business community. I will focus economic development resources on the Pike by:
- Directing Arlington Economic Development to engage with locally-owned small businesses to provide technical assistance to ensure they grow and thrive;
- Strengthening the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization to enhance place-making, local commerce, and provide more events in all Pike neighborhoods; and
- Use crowd sourcing and other strategies to promote retail diversity while supporting minority entrepreneurship and creativity to fill vacant retail space.
Housing and Schools: We must recognize the relationship between a neighborhood’s housing stock, household income, and the reality of the achievement gap in our schools. Every student deserves the enrichment of socio-economically diverse classmates and high quality instruction. Understanding the School Board and County Board can no longer afford to make schools and land-use decisions independent from each other, I will:
- Hold my fellow Board members accountable for increasing the distribution of affordable units across the County consistent with our Affordable Housing Master Plan;
- Further diversify neighborhoods and schools throughout the entire County with “Missing Middle” market-rate housing; and
- Support efforts to maintain affordability on the Pike.
As your Board Member, I will never accept Columbia Pike as a failed planning effort. Instead, it will be Exhibit A for how we keep Arlington a progressive success story for the next half century.