Friday, July 12, 2013
Fairlington Residents Put Tejada on Defensive in Advance of July 16th Pike Streetcar Vote
County Board Chairman Walther Tejada attended the Fairlington civic association's meeting on July 10th in advance of the June 16th County Board meeting where the County Board will consider appropriations for Columbia Pike streetcar project management (consent agenda item 25). Mr. Tejada was accompanied by non-resident County Staff and a small contingent of 'facilitators' from the Arlington Democratic Party. The pro-transit choice group, Arlingtonians for Sensible Transit, also attended. The purpose of the meeting was to rebut the anti-streetcar presentation County Board member Libby Garvey made at the May civic association meeting.
Fairlington residents repeatedly challenged Mr. Tejada and County transportation staff regarding the proposed streetcar system's cost and safety, and other aspects of Columbia Pike redevelopment, such as affordable housing, traffic, and population growth. Mr. Tejada blamed WMATA for the $1 million bus shelter fiasco at Walter Reed and Columbia Pike, and admitted that "we're always going to have cars" when asked why the County is spending millions to promote a "car free diet" while approving site plans for thousands of new parking spaces under new buildings. Pro-streetcar facilitators from ACDC blamed County Board member Libby Garvey for obstructing streetcar system construction.
Mr. Tejada stated that the County Board majority may not seek Federal funding for the Pike streetcar but may use dedicated real estate tax revenues and revenues from new state sales taxes instead.
The next County Board vote on the matter of Pike streetcar appropriations will occur at the recessed County Board meeting on July 16th, which will commence at 6:30 PM, in the County Board Room, 2100 Clarendon Boulevard, Third Floor.
(Photo - a recent collision between a streetcar and city bus in San Francisco that sent 15 people to hospitals)