Arlington County to Update Columbia Pike Streetcar Capacity, ROI analysis

  • Study to incorporate population, employment forecast changes
  • HR&A to perform analysis
  • Impact of streetcar network on Pike development to be assessed

ARLINGTON, Va. – Arlington County will update its analysis of the transit capacity needed on Columbia Pike, and the projected Return on Investment (ROI) of the planned streetcar, to reflect new population and employment projections for the corridor.

The County has retained HR&A Advisors, Inc., an industry-leading real estate, economic development and energy efficiency consulting firm, to complete the update by December 2013.

“The new analysis will inform the County Board's decision-making process as it updates the financial plan for the planned Columbia Pike Streetcar that is included in the County's Capital Improvement Plan,” said County Manager Barbara Donnellan.

New data available since County applied for federal funding

HR&A will use data updated since the County performed its Federal Alternatives Analysis as part of its 2012 application to the Federal Transit Administration's (FTA) Small Starts program. Based on its estimate that the project's costs would exceed the Small Starts limit, the FTA did not admit the Columbia Pike Streetcar project into the program. Arlington is now weighing whether to apply for the FTA's New Starts Program.

Among the additional data that will be assessed are new population projections by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG), and population and employment projections called for in the County-adopted Columbia Pike Neighborhoods Area Plan.

As part of its study, HR&A will synthesize existing studies, research other cities' experiences with streetcar and bus alternatives, and interview developers and retail tenants along the Pike.

Building on the Federal Alternatives Analysis

The new analysis will build on previous studies done for the County to provide more information about the effects on the Pike of the streetcar-plus-bus alternative as compared to bus-only alternatives. The County Board has adopted the streetcar-and-bus alternative as its preferred transit alternative for the Pike. View the task order on the County website.

About HR&A

HR&A has offices in Washington D.C., New York and Los Angeles. For 30 years, the firm has provided strategic advisory services for complex mixed-use, neighborhood, downtown, campus and regional development projects in North America and abroad.

HR&A is expected to complete the new study by December 2013. The County has an existing task order contract with HR&A. The total value of this assignment is $97,000. Final results of the analysis will be shared with the County Board and the public.

Arlington Va., is a world-class residential, business and tourist location that was originally part of the “10 miles square” parcel of land surveyed in 1791 to be the Nation's Capital. Slightly smaller than 26 square miles, it is the geographically smallest self-governing county in the United States, and one of only a handful with the prized Aaa/AAA/AAA bond rating. Arlington maintains a rich variety of stable neighborhoods and quality schools, and has received numerous awards for Smart Growth and transit-oriented development. Home to some of the most influential organizations in the world — including the Pentagon — Arlington stands out as one of America's preeminent places to live, visit and do business.