AST Press Release on Ending Streetcar Development

November 24, 2014. Peter Rousselot, spokesman for Arlingtonians for Sensible Transit (AST),
issued the following statement:
With the commendable decision of the County Board to end streetcar development,
Arlingtonians for Sensible Transit (AST) reaffirms its support for world-class mass transit on
Columbia Pike and in the Crystal City/Potomac Yards corridor. Whether it is called Bus Rapid
Transit (BRT) or perhaps “BRT Lite” for the absence of dedicated lanes, the vision is of an
integrated, high quality transit system at a fraction of the cost of fixed-rail streetcars. The
system should offer speed, reliability, safety, comfort, flexibility and rider information. AST is
pleased to dedicate itself, as a group and/or as individuals, to supporting this effort.
Arlington’s goals for public transportation have not changed. We continue to seek more transit
capacity, improved reliability and comfort, reductions in travel times, and high quality placemaking around transit stations. What has changed is the primary transit technology that will
achieve these goals. AST is confident that this system will provide an outstanding opportunity
to realize our collective vision, and much sooner than would have been possible with a
To take advantage of this opportunity, AST believes that the following features are important:
high-capacity vehicles with multiple door, platform-level boarding, like Metrorail;
off-vehicle fare collection, such as a proof of payment system;
high frequency service, eliminating the need for schedules during peak periods;
high speed service, including traffic signal priority;
an operating plan that maximizes opportunities for one-seat rides and minimizes
forced transfers;
a simple, easy to understand route structure;
real-time system information available at stations and remotely;
unique branding to strongly identify the service;
stations that are attractive, that provide shelter from the weather, and that are
integrated into a broader plan for high quality public spaces and transit-oriented
development; and
collaboration with Fairfax County, Alexandria and the District on a regional network.
Fortunately, we are not starting with a blank slate. Cities across the United States and around
the world have proven that this system can be very successful. Moreover, the County
extensively studied this system as “TSM 2” in its 2012 alternatives analysis for Columbia
Pike. AST believes that this document provides a good starting point.
AST looks forward to working with the entire community to ensure that this system
supports our goals and serves our needs for generations to come.
For more information, contact Peter Rousselot at 202-285-5365.