Monday, December 31, 2012

Excellent Pike Bus Service Will Get Better, Why Waste $200 Million for a Streetcar System?

Hello Yupette,

I checked out WMATA's latest quarterly survey of customers (riders), the Voices of Customers Report for both bus service and rail service on WMATA's Website. Northern Virginia Metrobus riders gave WMATA an overall satisfaction rating of 94%, an 82% satisfaction rating for reliability, and 85% of surveyed riders stated they would recommend Metrobus to others.

The news will get better for bus commuters. General Electric has developed an advanced battery - fuel cell bus that will have zero emissions from the vehicle.

Why is Arlington County proceeding with a wasteful, extravagant, unnecessary streetcar system for Columbia Pike?

Susan 22204

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Epidemic of Streetcar-Related Injuries Continues

Hello, Yupette,

Thanks for your blog. I absolutely oppose spending anymore money on Zimmerman's ridiculous streetcar system.

A few weeks I visited San Diego to attend a conference about preventing epidemics. You will be interested to know that there is an epidemic of streetcar-related injuries in San Diego. If you search the Web you'll find the same is occurring in Portland and other cities where in-fill development and re-development are occurring. There are too many vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists packed into too small an area. Then streetcar tracks and streetcars are added. Recipe for serious accidents and injuries involving streetcars and streetcar tracks. Perhaps streetcar safety programs are preventing some accidents. But too many people are being encouraged to buy and ride bicycles everywhere, whether they want to obey the rules of the road or not. Same thing with pedestrians and, to some extent,  motor vehicles.

It appears the people elected to promote our best interests could care less about who is hurt by streetcars and streetcar tracks. That's why the law firms that represent streetcar-related accident victims are thriving.

Kathy, 22205

Friday, December 21, 2012

Alexandria, Montgomery County, Moving Forward With Bus Rapid Transit


While Arlington County pursues planning and funding an obsolete, expensive, inflexible, and dangerous transit alternative for Columbia Pike - streetcars - adjacent jurisdictions, Alexandria and Montgomery County, are moving forward with bus rapid transit.

Although the Northern Virginia news media won't feature bus rapid transit you can read how BRT is being planned elsewhere by searching the Patch news blogs "Patch news bus rapid transit".

Here's another photo of a state-of-the-art bus rapid transit vehcile that's currently in service. No dangerous tracks, no overhead wires.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

DES: "Water Main Breaks Like This, Streetcars Going Nowhere for Days"


A.Y. was on-the-scene at the water main breaks on the Pike today, between George Mason Drive and S. Four Mile Run Drive. Pike was totally blocked to traffic. DES repair crews had excavated down at least 10 feet in two places on the Pike to reach the broken water main. We spoke with a DES crew and some contractors and they stated that a streetcar system would be out of service for days if a similar water main breaks occurred with streetcar tracks in place.

Metrobuses were rerouted around the closed section of the Pike.


Friday, December 14, 2012

Canadian Police Investigation of AECOM Indicates Corruption Beyond Canada

Hello, Yupette,

Thank you for your e-mail regarding the ongoing investigation of AECOM by the Surete de Quebec.

Latest about the investigation of AECOM and other engineering and construction companies is it appears the collusion, bribes, payments of "consulting fees" to elected officials to obtain no-bid and sole-source contracts, and other activities extend way beyond the Province of Quebec and Canada.

Much of the investigation here in PQ involves collusion, i.e., elected officials award contracts to one or two engineering and construction corporations, excluding all others.

If you do a Web search on "AECOM Montreal corruption investigation" and "Charbonneau Commssion" you will learn a lot about what is occurring in PQ with regard to corruption in the engineering and construction sectors.



Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Zimmy's Newest Pike Streetcar Facilitator - Amtrak Joe Biden

Hey Yupette,

Think the reason Amtrak Joe Biden visited Arlington last Friday was to meet ordinary residents in a diner on Lee Highway? Nope. Real reason was to help Zimmy get his Pike streetcar through bottlenecks like a U.S. Department of Transportation IG investigation of Zimmy's corrupt streetcar alternatives analysis and grant application process and facilitate approval by the Federal Transit Administration.

Meanwhile, in beautiful Quebec, the Canadian Feds have launched a major anti-corruption campaign against big engineering and construction corporations, including Zimmy's consultant cronies at AECOM.

This streetcar mess is getting to smell like a garbage truck in July.

Thanks for your blog.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Quebec Anti-Corruption Police Raided AECOM Offices on November 6th

Hey Yupette,

Check out this article from Canada's Financial Post national news blog ( published on November 6th.

"Anti Corruption police raid Genivar, other engineering firms in Quebec

MONTREAL - Police raided the Laval, Que. offices of U.S. Fortune 500 company Aecom and TSX-traded Genivar Inc. as allegations of kickbacks and corruption that have shaken the province seep into the capital markets.

The companies were among four targeted by investigators with Quebec's anti-corruption police squad Tuesday in Laval, a city bordering Montreal to the north. Local offices of privately held engineering firms Dessau and Cima+ were also searched."

The report was written by Financial Post reporter Nicholas Van Praet.

Ted 22204

Saturday, December 8, 2012

County Must Prepare for Serious Streetcar and Streetcar Track Accidents

Hello Yupette,

I  searched 'streetcar accidents' and 'streetcar bicycle accidents" on the Internet. It's obvious there will be many serious accidents involving streetcars and streetcar tracks on the Pike, and in Crystal City if there are at-grade crossings for streets, sidewalks, trails, and so on.

Where is the discussion of additional fire, EMS, and police personnel and equipment that will be required when streetcars share busy streets with vehicles of all kinds? I have seen no discussion thus far during the County Board's work sessions with its corporate transportation cronies..

This is what we get from having Zimmerman and Hynes on the County Board. Zimmerman didn't care about safety when he was on the WMATA Board and Hynes doesn't care about safety now, or Metrorail wouldn't be running overcrowded trains through the Orange-Blue Line Potomac tunnel, which should have been double-tracked a decade ago.

Last thing we need is streetcars and tracks in Arlington. What we need is a federal grand jury looking at how the County Board and its corporate transportation and developer cronies totally corrupted the public transit evaluation process for the Pike and Crystal City.

Jerry, 22204  

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

County Board Streetcar Charade Continues - December 4th, 6:30 PM


County Board Work Session With Transit Representatives 
on Streetcar Vehicle Design Considerations

December 4, 2012  6:30 - 8:30 PM

2100 Clarendon Boulevard
County Board Room
Arlington VA  22201

                1.  Work Session Overview and Introductions

                2.  Presentations

                     APTA Streetcar Design Guidelines
                     Columbia Pike Operating Environment
                     Streetcar Vehicle Considerations
                     Streetcar Vehicle Market Survey

                 3. Questions and Answers - Work Session Participants
                      and Presenters
                 4. Staff Summary

Monday, November 26, 2012

Pro-Streetcar Law Firms Stand to Win Big Streetcar Accident Damages

Hi, Yupette,

Thanks for your blog.

Have you Googled "streetcar accidents" and "trolley accidents" lately? Check out all the ads by the ambulance chasing law firms. You can also Google the names of the DC-area firms that are pro-streetcar to see which ones have practice areas that include negligence and personal injury.

If you want to see how much Arlington taxpayers and local health insurers are going to pay out from streetcar accidents you should read the ambulance chasers' ads. Some of the cases settle for more than $1 million.

Another reason we don't need streetcars in Arlington.

Larry, 22204

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Who Will Pay for Streetcar Accidents?


We have reviewed reports of recent streetcar accidents and streetcar injuries from around the United States and Canada. It's evident that streetcars and streetcar tracks are inherently dangerous and cannot be made safe. Shared-street streetcars and streetcar tracks have caused numerous injuries to pedestrians and operators of all types of vehicles for over 100 years.

Based upon what's occurring in Toronto, Portland, Seattle, and elsewhere, Arlington would see hundreds of injuries once streetcar tracks were installed on Columbia Pike. Even bicycle riders who cross streetcar tracks at a 90 degree angle will slip if tracks are slippery. And Arlington's primary 'solution' to transportation problems is building more parking for non-resident commuters, and under wherever multi-unit residential buildings are constructed, then putting more residents on  bicycles.

Who will pay for the accidents? Ultimately, insurers and taxpayers. Using Portland and Seattle as examples, local attorneys and law firms will represent bicyclists, motorists, pedestrians and others who are injured. Health insurers will pay for most injuries. How many low-wage part-time workers will be covered by national health insurance in 2014 is uncertain. Who will pay if a truck hits a streetcar, the streetcar derails, and there are dozens of injuries?

Planning Columbia Pike streetcar system has nothing to do with transportation and, like Rail to Dulles, is all about development and redevelopment. As appalling as the 'safety last' mentality of County Government is the greed of the out-of-state real estate trusts, consultants, and developers.

The legacy of current Arlington County Board will ultimately be moral responsibility for the injuries, property damage, and litigation arising from construction of an unnecessary shared-street streetcar system on Columbia Pike.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Media Sources Confirm Massive County Board Censorship Against Streetcar Alternatives

Hello, Yupette,

I worked as an intern for one of the local news blogs and the owner of the blog was repeatedly informed by the County Manager's office that he would lose his advertisers and never be given another exclusive by the County Board if anything whatever was published about bus rapid transit. So nothing has been published.

Mary Hynes is flat-out lying when she states that citizens have access to comprehensive information about Pike transit. The comprehensive information has been about streetcars and streetcar systems. The news blog where I worked received repeated requests to publish information about bus rapid transit, but the blog's owner was afraid to comply.

Arlington, 22204

Monday, November 12, 2012

County Board Transit Options Work Session - November 15th, Central Library, 6 PM


The Arlington County Board will hold a work session with "Streetcar and Transit Project Representatives" on Thursday, November 15th at 6 PM at the Arlington Central Library, 1015 North Quincy Street, at 6 PM.

According to the County Board's meeting agenda, the meeting will be a "County Board work session with representatives from jurisdictions that have implemented streetcar or other similar transit projects to discuss alternative delivery mechanisms. The public is welcome and encouraged to attend."


Friday, November 9, 2012

Minor Streetcar Accidents Will Create Major Pike Traffic Problems

Hi Yupette,

If anything this blog underestimates the traffic problems a streetcar system will create on the Pike.

I regularly visit Portland and Seattle. Takes at least an hour to clear an auto-streetcar accident without injuries, because the 4-wheel vehicle almost always cannot be driven and the streetcar has to be inspected for damage.

Also, takes an hour when a bicyclist who's thrown off his or her bicycle and breaks bones or suffers a concussion for the police and paramedics to reach the scene and take the person to the hospital.

Why is so much time, effort, and money being expended on designing more irrational shared-street streetcar systems?

Terri, 22204

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Arlington Yupette's Endorsements for 2012


Thanks for asking who A.Y. is endorsing for election and re-election next Tuesday.

So here are our endorsements:

For President and Vice-President:  Barack Obama and Joe Biden

For U.S. Senate: Tim Kaine

For U.S. House of Representatives (8th Congressional District) :  Jason Howell

For Arlington County Board:  Anyone but Libby Garvey

Arlington County Bond Referenda:  NO to Parks Bond funding aka Gerald J. Fisette Aquatics Center

For Amendments to the Virginia Constitution: YES to protecting Virginians from land grabs by developers and their local government cronies under the guise of  'Economic Development'.


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Chris Zimmerman's Legacy to Arlington: Pike Streetcar Will Injure Many


We received an e-mail from a bicyclist in Toronto alerting us to the following research paper in the current American Journal of Public Health: 'Route Infrastructure and the Risk of Injuries to Bicyclists: A Case-Crossover Study'.

Researchers at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto studied 690 bicycle accidents that occurred in Toronto and Vancouver. Of the crashes that occurred in Toronto, streetcar tracks directly accounted for 31.5% of all bike accidents in the city that led. (The study did not count collisions between bicyclists and streetcars).

The research project determined that of the accidents involving tracks, 19 cyclists (19.8 percent) said their tires slipped on the tracks and 77 (80.2 percent) said their tires got caught in the tracks.

St. Michaels' Hospital was one of four hospitals in Toronto and Vancouver whose patients were tracked in the study. (At least 20 hospitals and healthcare facilities in and around Toronto provide general medical services for bicycle accident-related injuries).

Why is Arlington going forward with this dangerous streetcar system?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Libby Garvey's Choice for the Pike: Die for Zimmerman's Streetcar


At last night's County Board meeting the County Board voted to spend $4.5 million for 'Preliminary Engineering and Design for Columbia Pike Streetcar Project' starting July 1, 2012. The State of Virginia will provide a grant of $1,755,000 and Arlington taxpayers are already providing $2,745,000.

The County Board, including Libby Garvey, were asked to defer spending for Pike streetcar system engineering and design until the Civic Federation, Transportation Commission, and other groups can discuss and debate Peter Rousselot's recent paper "A Modern Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) System is Far Superior to Streetcars in the Columbia Pike Corridor".

The County Board refused to even discuss deferring spending for Pike streetcar system design and engineering and voted unanimously to go forward with the project.

Whatever Libby Garvey may have told the Washington Post earlier this month, when confronted with the choices of  living with a modern bus rapid transit system on the Pike or dying for Zimmerman's streetcar, she chose - die for Zimmerman's streetcar.

It's obvious that Libby Garvey's present and future service on the County Board is and will be based on blatant political posturing. Whatever she may say, she's going to vote to support the status quo, as defined by Chris Zimmerman. Moreover, the promises she made when running for County Board last Spring were forgotten once she was elected. Libby has become like the rest of the County Board, prevaricating pols who have held office in Arlington way too long.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Our Choices for the Pike: Die for Zimmerman's Streetcar or Live with BRT

Hello, Yupette,

Thanks for your blog.

It's obvious we have two choices for Pike transit - we can be killed and be injured by collisions with streetcars and streetcar tracks because Chris Zimmerman is allowed to inflict his megalomaniacal streetcar system on Columbia Pike, or we can all live with bus rapid transit, like the Las Vegas Ace BRT system.

I was happy to see and read Peter Rousselot's recent paper: "A Modern Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) System is Far Superior to Streetcars in the Columbia Pike Corridor". Peter refers to a planned BRT system for Eugene Oregon and provides a YouTube video link for the proposed system -

I agree with A.Y.'s assertion that the costs from deaths, injuries, and property damage caused by a Pike streetcar system would amount to $15 million to $20 million per year. Accidents would also tie up streetcar tracks for hours causing significant economic loss for every serious accident and many accidents that are not serious.

It is beyond me why the Federal Transit Administration would even evaluate a grant application for an outrageously expensive and dangerous shared street streetcar system on a congested arterial that already has good bus service.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

It's a Regime. Why Should They Care How Many People Are Killed and Injured by Streetcars and Tracks?

Hi, Yupette,

Arlington County is run by a one-party political machine that's been in power for more than 30 years. County Board is fixated on its pet projects and could care less about the consequences. Local media won't provide information about streetcar alternatives, much less discuss the hazards of streetcars and streetcar tracks.

Almost ALL Arlington's decision makers are near or at retirment age. Most don't live in Arlington. What do THEY care if you slip, break your arm, and suffer a concussion crossing wet slippery tracks on your bicycle?

Zimmerman et. al., don't care anymore. They're so bad that they're creating a transportation "system" where non-residents get to commute to Arlington, one to a vehicle and Arlington residents get to walk and ride bicycles everywhere, four seasons a year.  How dumb is that?



Tuesday, October 2, 2012

BikePortland Releases New Non-Confrontational Multi-Modal Safety Video


My name is Mike and I live in Portland, Oregon.

I bicycle everywhere in Portland. I also own a Prius which I drive about 4,000 miles a year, often to cyclist events.

Last year I suffered a concussion and broken arm from an encounter with a slippery streetcar track on my bicycle. This year BikePortland produced a non-confrontational multi-modal safety video, "When I Ride", which I encourage everyone to watch.

To watch BikePortland's safety video please visit 

Again, BikePortland has taken a non-confrontational approach to shared-street mutimodal safety. Putting many different types of vehicles on streets means serious safety issues arise which must be responsibly resolved.

Have a safe ride,

Portland, OR

Monday, September 24, 2012

Pike Streetcar Accidents Would Cost $15-$20 Million Per Year


A.Y. did a survey of streetcar systems and accidents around the United States and Canada. Yes, there are thousands of accidents involving streetcars and streetcar tracks and motor vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, mopeds, scooters, and other 2-wheeled vehicles.

Based upon the types of accidents we found, it appears that accidents involving a Pike streetcar system would cost between $15 and $20 million per year for injuries and property damage.

It was disconcerting to find how expensive streetcar accidents are. Streetcars typically demolish subcompact autos. Streetcars seriously damage larger vehicles and often derail after impact. Bicyclists often suffer serious head trauma when their bicycles encounter streetcar tracks at speed.

Where was the discussion of the costs of streetcar accidents in the so-called 'alternatives analysis' of Pike transit options? Streetcars on the Pike would be by far the most costly transit option. Why is this option going forward?


Monday, September 17, 2012

Chris Zimmerman's Legacy to the Pike: A Streetcar Named Disaster

Hello, Yupette:

I did extensive Web searches on "Streetcar Accidents", "Streetcar Bicycle Accidents", and "Streetcar Tracks Accidents" and it appears there are thousands of accidents and injuries every year in the United States and Canada alone when pedestrians, bicyclists, and motor vehicles of all types are involved in collisions with streetcars and streetcar tracks.

Best I can estimate there would be one fatality per year and hundreds of accidents and injuries if a streetcar system were constructed on the Pike. I don't see any discussion anywhere (except here) of the human costs arising from constructing a streetcar system on the Pike.

Why should we all suffer because of one person's inflated ego? Streetcars are the WORST transit option, by far, for Columbia Pike.

Pike Rider
Barcroft Apts.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Toronto Bicyclists Outraged By Streetcar Accidents

Hi Yupette,

I also recently visited Toronto. Thought you should know that there are many, many accidents caused by streetcars and streetcar tracks in Toronto and bicyclists there are fed up. A bicyclist was killed last month after slipping on unused streetcar tracks. Toronto bicyclists want unused streetcar tracks torn up or paved over and want bicycle lanes physically separated from streetcar tracks.

Streetcar tracks are particularly treacherous for all vehicles when it rains. If you ride a bicycle in the winter you don't want to ride anywhere near streetcar tracks.

We don't need the safety problems streetcars would cause in Arlington. I'm all for more city buses, double deck buses, articulated buses, whatever works best in Arlington. Let Portland have its streetcars. Not here.

Judy, 22204

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Future of Pike Transportation - Autos Vs. Streetcars

Hey, Yupette,

I took your advice and took a vacation, to New York and Ontario. Spent a week in and around lovely Toronto. Yes they have a lots of streetcars. Lots of autos and bicycles. And lots of accidents involving streetcars and autos and bicycles. Lots of bicycle accidents involving streetcar tracks.

Toronto's Yuppie Elite loves streetcars. Love their autos and bicycles too. Do not like buses. Think buses are for minorities and the working class (people who are not part of the so-called "creative class").

Most Toronto residents are not in love with streetcars, want them to be replaced by modern buses. Want shared-street streetcars put underground or in transitways.

Pike's transportation '"future" is lots more 4-wheeled and 2-wheeled  vehicles, fewer buses, more and more streetcars. It's going to be streetcars vs. autos on the Pike.

Peter, Douglas Park

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

County Board's Deal With Dominion For Power Grid Upgrades - No Rooftop Solar, Pike Streetcar Approval, 'Contributions' to County Board's Pet Interests

Hello Yupette,

As you may remember the County Board recently approved a deal with Dominion whereby Dominion would spend $100 million connecting its high voltage transmission lines in Alexandria with the Ballston-Rolsslyn corridor. Much of the power delivered to the B-R corridor over these new power lines will be generated from coal, including 'mountaintop coal' from southwest Virginia.

What the County Board does not want to talk about is the deal it made with Dominion for the power grid upgrades. The County Board agreed to no renewable energy on any but a few public building rooftops, no promotion of residential renewable energy, and promotion of the streetcar option on the Pike and Potomac Yards (powered by electricity generated from burning coal). Dominion agreed to a laundry list of political contributions, a green energy program consisting of selling a miniscule amount of 'green' power generated out-of-state and heavily marked up, and grants, gifts, and consulting contracts with the County Board's pet people and special interests.

So if you wondered why rooftop solar is appearing everywhere but Virginia, there's your answer. BTW, 'Green Energy' is just another County Board charade, Dominion derives 57% of its electrical energy from burning combustible materials and 42% from nuclear reactors.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Coalfields Expressway - More Coal to Power Pike Streetcar

Hi Yupette,

If it isn't bad enough that Dominion already generates 38% of its electric power from coal check out the proposed Coalfields Expressway in SW Virginia, to be funded by Virginia taxpayers to transport even more coal to Dominion's coal-fired generators. So we are looking forward to what? Fifty percent or more of the energy used to power the Pike streetcar obtained from burning coal? While the rest of the industrialized world is going to renewable energy? Appears likely if nothing is done to stop it.


Monday, August 13, 2012

Fairfax and Arlington Transportation Staffs Did Not Review Bus Alternatives

Hello Yupette,

According to several Arlington progressive activists Fairfax and Arlington County transportation planning staff members have admitted that they did not review bus alternatives to a streetcar system that have been placed in service since 2007. Those include the Las Vegas Deuce double deck bus, Las Vegas ACE articulated bus, the new London double deck bus, various new city buses, and other bus transit vehicles placed in service over the last several years..

Arlington and Fairfax County transportation planning staffs also did not perform an adequate assessment of a streetcar system's environmental costs. Dominion will be burning coal (much of it mountaintop coal) and using nuclear reactors for decades to generate electric power for Northern Virginia. About 99% of Dominion's electric power is generated by energy provided by nuclear reactors, and by burning fossil fuel and biomass, according to Dominion's own data.

Ted - 22204

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Democrats Play Race Card Against Streetcar Alternatives

Hi Yupette,

I was shocked to see and hear Arlington Democrats play the race card against state-of-the-art cost-effective bus alternatives to the Pike streetcar Arlington and Fairfax County Democrats have been lobbying for the past 6 years.

The County Board not only cast thinly-veiled racial and ethnic slurs against the present ridership of Columbia Pike buses at it's July 24th meeting, when it voted for streetcars on the Pike, but the Democratic Machine is looking for a means of creating a racially segregated transit system on the Pike - old buses on the Pike for minority group members and new streetcars for upscale whites using exclusionary tactics like pre-payment with a major credit card required to board a Pike streetcar, and gentrification of all minorities out of the Pike corridor.

You can see the racist and elitist Democratic thinking about Pike transit summed up in the racist and elitist Falls Church News-Press  last week (no news or news photos about ethnic or minority group members appear at all in any given week). Just check out the  "Our Man in Arlington" column, written by one of ACDC's Senior Ward Heelers.

Not only will the Pike be resegregated through gentrification but Pike streetcars are going to essentially be "Whites Only".

Pike Rider
Barcroft Apts.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Fairfax Board of Supervisors Meeting Agenda - Skepticism About Streetcar, Significant Differences Compared to the Arlington County Board

Hi Yupette,

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors did not rubber stamp the Pike - Skyline streetcar on July 31st. Supervisors Frey and Herrity (Republicans) questioned the benefits versus the cost (about $50 million) of the Skyline portion of the Pike streetcar system and voted against the streetcar.

I  perused the entire agenda for the July 31st meeting. There are significant differences in the way the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors governs compared to the Arlington County Board. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is much more people-oriented and much more likely to join with state and federal agencies and other jurisdictions in joint programs that benefit residents. For example, unlike Arlington, you do not have to be a VIP Smart Growth Facilitator to be recognized by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for achievements that benefit Fairfax County and its residents. It was interesting to see that Fairfax County increases fines for speeding through designated residential neighborhoods as part of neighborhood traffic calming. Fairfax County joins in compacts and working relationships with outside agencies and organizations that benefit Fairfax County residents. But you can see for yourself if you go to

Thanks for your blog. Here's a photo of a double deck bus I would like to see on the Pike.


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Fairfax County Supervisors to Rubber Stamp Streetcar Charade Today

Hi Yupette,

Fairfax County is set to rubber stamp its part of the Pike streetcar charade today, Skyline.  As an 'action item', meaning no public comments allowed. The REITs, developers, and transportation consultants who want to redevelop Route 7 are very happy..

Having the streetcar go to Skyline will be a major engineering and construction operation, costing about $50 million. Compared to a few million required to make Skyline compatible with articulated buses. And no cost to have modern city bus upgrades, beyond purchasing the city buses.

But the Pike streetcar was never about transportation, it's all about development and redevelopment.

Pike Rider

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Viva Las Vegas - Business Leaders Want Vegas Lighting? Let's Have Vegas Buses on the Pike

Hey Yupette,

Check out the video of County Board's discussion of the proposed sign ordinance (agenda Item 50) on the County's Web site, and the push by the Economic Development Commission and Chamber of Commerce boosters for Las Vegas lighting in Rosslyn, the Pike, and on the other arterials.

If they like Vegas lighting, they'll love Vegas buses, like the ACE articulated bus in the photo. Maybe not, the lighting in the photo looks well-planned and is not facing national monuments.


Friday, July 20, 2012

Clement Asks All Pike Bus Options be Evaluated, Prefers Double Deck Buses

Hi Yupette,

I just received a press release from Audrey Clement's County Board Campaign.

Like her Republican opponent, Matt Wavro, Audrey wants to scrap the trolley and evaluate all bus transit options for the Pike. Unlike Matt, Audrey wants to see double deck buses on the Pike, like the double deck buses entering service in London.

The entire Pike transit alternatives process has been a charade and a fraud perpetrated by the County Board and its developer cronies and inflicted on citizens who are being kept clueless about what 21st Century buses even look like.

I'm attaching a photo of a new double deck bus that's entering service in London.

Pike Rider

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Mountaintop Coal Would Power Pike Streetcar

Hey, Yupette,

Who does the $ierra Club think it's fooling about "green energy" powering the Pike streetcar. The coal companies are going to be blowing the tops off mountains for decades to get at the coal to generate the electric energy to power everything in Virginia, including the Pike and Crystal City streetcars, if the County Board is foolish enough to build streetcar systems on the Pike and Crystal City. Any 'green' electric power generated in the Northeast and Southeast is miniscule compared to the power generated from mountaintop coal and nuclear reactors. The 'green' power Dominion buys and resells (almost all generated out-of-state) at a big mark up is a tiny fraction of all the electric power consumed by Dominion's customers.

Next generation of city buses will likely be powered by compressed natural gas fuel cells. Prototype CNG fuel cell buses are already being tested. Save our mountains, clean air, and water. Scrap planning for the Pike and Crystal City trolleys.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

County Board Imposes Massive Censorship on Pike Bus Alternatives Information

Hello, Yupette,

I tried to find information about articulated buses, double deck buses, hybrid city buses and other rubber-tired transit buses that the County is supposed to be evaluating for service on the Pike. Information about anything except streetcars has been totally censored by the County Board. The Columbia Pike Library had no information when I visited last week.

Appears that the news media and blogs (except for your blog) have also been threatened in various ways. That's what one person who works for the for-profit blogs told me when I called to ask why no information about articulated or double deck buses has ever appeared on the blog.

It's totally unacceptable for us to be stuck with a $200 million transit system where the streetcars will sit for days on the Pike if the power goes out for days. We can have a great bus system on the Pike for much much less.

Thanks for your blog.

Pike Rider

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Arlington Bicycle Groups Ignore Streetcar Dangers

Hey, Yupette,

Thanks for your blog.

I ride a bicycle and have visited Portland several times recently. Portland bicyclists are up in arms about streetcars and streetcar tracks.

Where is the concern by Arlington's bicycle groups? It's bad enough there are so many bicyclists running stop signs and traffic lights and don't wear helmets. Anyone who thinks bicyclists will stay off the Pike if streetcar tracks are installed is living in a fantasy world.

I am all for rubber tired buses to provide transit on the Pike.

Marty 22204

Friday, July 13, 2012

Derailments, Prolonged Power Outages Make Streetcars An Even Worse Alternative

Hello, Yupette,

I have been looking at the four options for transit on the Pike, same bus service, improved bus service, articulated buses, streetcars, and streetcars make no sense at all.

No one has even spoken about derailments and prolonged power outages. It's a huge operation to get a derailed streetcar back on the rails, the Pike would be closed in both directions for many hours.

If there were a prolonged loss of power, and this could occur for a number of reasons, streetcars would be immobilized, possibly for days. It would take hours for power to be restored if an overhead wire providing power to streetcars were to be damaged.

I've looked at cities that have had streetcars for decades (like Toronto) and many residents of these cities are exasperated at the problems streetcars cause.

It's beyond me why anyone with common sense would want an expensive and antiquated mode of transportation in a high density corridor with a high volume of pedestrian, bicycle, and vehicle traffic.

Pike Rider

Monday, July 9, 2012

Zimmerman Contemplating Retiring from County Board

Hey Yupette,

Talk of the ACDC Insiders is that Chris Zimmerman is going to retire after his current term on the County Board. Possibly move out of Arlington. So the Streetcar is his Legacy to Arlington, Which is why he's pushing it so hard.

Thanks for your blog. I'm three years from retirement and don't want to live in a condo where the power is going to go out every Fourth of July for 3 days. Too old for that. So I'm going to be moving on myself.

Old Democrat

Thursday, July 5, 2012

You Can Have Derecho II, I'll Take Lake Placid

Hey Yupette,

I'm taking your advice and clearing out of Arlington at 5 AM tomorrow for the Adirondacks. Temps reaching 105 here this weekend? No way I'm going to stick around Arlington. Let the Urban Village Idiots (mostly non-residents) who run the County deal with Derecho II. I had enough of their stupidity this week.

Later, Gator,

Peter, 22207

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Fire County Manager Donnellan, Replace 'Emergency Preparedness' Staff


After talking with hundreds of miserable residents who were stuck in stifling homes, apartments, and condos without power for days (some still don't have power) we conclude it's time for Arlington County manager Barbara Donnellan to go. Also time to replace Arlington's top 'emergency preparedness' staff.

Like most other Arlington Government executives Barbara Donnellan lives far from Arlington and does not, and will not, suffer the consequences of her failures.

Despite massive damage to power lines from downed trees (largely caused by the County's lack of an adequate tree maintenance program) County Government was on its usual summer weekend schedule from 5 PM Friday night to 8 AM Monday morning. A few crews were out picking up downed tree limbs.

About half of Arlington's population suffered extreme heat misery until the crescendo of complaints caused County Government to expedite power restoration.

It's unconscionable that, after spending $14 million for a new emergency communications center several years ago, for 911 emergency calls to not go through. And every year Arlington receives hundreds of thousands more in grants for communications upgrades from Homeland Security.

It's unconscionable that seniors had to suffer for days in senior apartment complexes without air conditioning, when the National Guard Readiness Center for the entire USA is located 1/2 mile away.

We saw this behavior before from County Government, last Fourth of July when a severe storm hit the Palisades and the year before that, when another severe storm hit Fairlington.

Enough is enough. Barbara Donnellan has got to go, along with Arlington's so-called 'emergency preparedness' staff.

Believe it or not, we were lucky. We advised everyone struck without power and air conditioning to pack up the pets and whatever food that could be salvaged and visit family and friends, or go on vacation. Not a big deal on June 30th.

But what happens if there's a major league ice storm on December 30th and power goes out for days? Think about it.


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Mobilize the National Guard - A S A P


We have heard and seen enough reports of elderly Arlington residents dying this weekend in their homes where there is no air conditioning and the interior temperature is 90 degrees.

We have heard and seen enough reports of Arlington Public Works employees concentrating on removing as many downed tree limbs as possible, rather than helping Virginia Power restore power.

We have heard and seen enough reports of Arlington's elected and appointed VIPs treating the June 29th storm disaster as a 'usual summer inconvenience".

Consequently, we are contacting Governor McDonnell and General Craig McKinley, Commander of the United States National Guard, Headquartered at Arlington Hall, Virginia (Arlington County), to mobilize the Virginia National Guard to assist Arlington and other local governments to prevent further loss of life and, without delay, restore electric power and communications in areas of storm devastation.


Arlington County's Disaster Preparedness is a Disaster

You would think that eleven years after 9-11-01 and with the County having experienced several episodes of severe weather over the past five years and the County investing tens of millions in communications and emergency preparedness County Government would be prepared for a severe storm generated by 100 degree daytime temperatures.

Wrong. County Government is totally reactive when it comes to severe storms and prolonged loss of electric power. Consequently, hundreds of Arlingtonians with major health issues are stuck in their homes, condos and apartments, with indoor temperatures in the high 80's. The number of 911 calls from Arlington residents, or residents' friends and family, who have become seriously ill from the effects of prolonged heat exposure averaged 10 per hour yesterday afternoon and evening.

What information have Arlington residents received from County Government? Two brief announcements on the County's 1700 kilohertz public service radio station, one with a list of emergency cooling stations. The National Weather Service's 162 Megahertz weather radio stations are off the air.

Our advice to everyone who's stuck without power: visit friends and family who have electric power. Toss out the food in your refrigerator, if you haven't already done so, pack up your pets, and LEAVE.

This is what we get for electing and re-electing people who are spending an inordinate, no unconscionable, amount of time, effort, and money preparing for the next 9-11 while ignoring the real threats to our health and safety.


Friday, June 29, 2012

CIP Work Session - County Board, County Manager, County Staff Clueless About Streetcars

Hello, Yupette,

I attended the County Board - County Manager - County Staff 10-year CIP work meeting yesterday afternoon. Most of this CIP meeting was about transportation. As you might expect, the Pike transit discussion was entirely about streetcars. Total cost of Arlington portion of a streetcar system is projected to be $198 million. The County Board would seek a $65 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration through its Small Starts program.

I was appalled to hear County Manager Barbara Donnellan declare that she and her staff don't know anything about streetcars and will have to hire consultants, travel to cities that have streetcar systems, hire streetcar program managers, educate the County Board and County Staff about streetcars, and so on. Not only the County Manager but Transportation Division Chief Dennis Leach stated they are clueless about streetcars.

Oh, even though County transportation staff don't know anything about streetcars that doesn't prevent them from persuading citizens that streetcars are the 'best option' for the Pike and Crystal City. One of the members of the County Board's hand-picked Fiscal Affairs Advisory Commission described how transportation staff intensely lobbied FAAC commissioners about the 'merits' of streetcars.

'Alternatives analysis'. What alternatives analysis? Looks like the County will try to tell the FTA that after a fair and unbiased process Arlington residents chose streetcars as the 'best' transit option for the Pike and Crystal City.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

County Board Plans to Impose Censorship, Conformity on Residents, Staff, Commissions, Civic Associations, Media

Hello Yupette,

Latest news about the County Board's agenda to control everyone, in every way, all the time was the strategic planning meeting that the County Board its Department Heads and Division Chiefs held at Ft. Myer on June 25th and 26th. Purpose of the day and a half facilitated meeting was to devise ways of tightening the County Board's control over County residents, County staff, advisory commission members, and civic associations while preserving the charade of 'local democracy'.

On June 25th, County Board and County Staff frankly discussed the oncoming budget train wreck, and the $40 billion in expected cuts by federal agencies and federal contractors in our region, loss of good paying jobs to other jurisdictions, and the need for the meeting's participants to be united in order to preserve the status quo, aka 'Arlington Way'.

On June 26th, County Board and County Staff discussed ways of preventing the County Board from losing control through so-called 'end runs' when the County Board makes decisions that are unpopular with residents or groups of residents. The goal is to present an appearance of democracy while consolidating power. The method used to attain this goal is to train County Staff and recruit compliant advisory commission members and civic association 'community leaders' who will work to both market and facilitate the County Board's agenda with communities and advocacy groups. Members of the local media will be offered inducements like exclusive interviews with County Board members to increasingly censor negative news and information about work items on the County Board's agenda.

So, bottom line, if you are concerned about the County Bord throwing millions more into the Artisphere, don't, in the future, expect anyone on County Staff, advisory commissions, citizens associations, advocacy groups or the media to share your concerns.


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Streetcars Involved in Numerous Accidents with Vehicles and Bicycles in Phoenix, Portland, Seattle


We heard from a resident of Portland Oregon, who is a summer intern living in Arlington, that there are 'lots of streetcar accidents in Portland'. So we did a Web search on 'streetcar accidents'. We found an investigative report that was published in the Arizona Star newspaper on February 19th. So here are the first few paragraphs.

Streetcar tracks heighten accident concerns here

"In addition to figuring out how to engineer, build and operate a $200 million new modern streetcar through the heart of town, Tuscon faces an additional challenge: how to prevent accidents with cars and bicycles.

Phoenix's new light rail experienced more than 100 accidents with cars and pedestrians in the first three years, causing more than $2.3 million in damages to the light rail forcing officials to launch a nearly $275,000 public education campaign. The Arizona Daily Star created a database of all 106 light-rail crashes at

Meanwhile in Portland, the bicycle community has ramped up a campaign to get riders to report accidents because hundreds of cyclists have crashed on the tracks, mainly by getting their wheels stuck in the gap between the tracks and the street.

In Seattle, a group of six cyclists filed a class action lawsuit against the city, saying they crashed on the streetcar tracks and were injured.

Despite the fact only a miniscule portion of Tuscon's streetcar tracks have been installed, they have already contributed to a fatality - something that hasn't happened in Portland in its 10 years of operation."

Dennis M. McKinney, 47, was riding on East Congress Street near the Fourth Avenue Underpass when he lost control of his bike as it got caught up in the streetcar tracks, according to a police report of the July 2010 incident. He lost control of his vehicle and was struck by a truck in the next lane. He was pronounced dead at University Medical Center."


Thursday, June 21, 2012

County Board, County Manager, Chamber of Commerce Intimidating Local Media into Endorsing Pike Streetcar System


Arlington County Board, Arlington County Manager, and Arlington Chamber of Commerce are pulling out all the stops to keep the local media, (including news blogs) from featuring, or even mentioning, articulated buses on the Pike and in Crystal City, which would save Arlington taxpayers at least $400 million versus the anticipated cost of the County Board's trolley folly.

Special recognition to County Board Member Chris Zimmerman, County Manager Barbara Donnellan, Arlington Public Information Director Diana Sun, and Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee Member Scott McCaffrey for intimidating the local media into profound silence regarding the real and only transit alternative for the Pike, articulated buses. Nothing like telling local media editors that they will lose ad revenue, lose access to elected VIPs, and lose advance information from elected VIPs if they provide ANY information about articulated buses, to ensure silence from the local media.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Articulated Buses - the ONLY Transit Option for the Pike and Crystal City


The more we look at the articulated bus option for the Pike and Crystal City the more we feel articulated buses are the ONLY transit option for the Pike and Crystal City. The Wright articulated buses, also known as 'Wright streetcars', that provide transit service for Las Vegas as the 'Ace Bus' would cost Arlington taxpayers $100 million versus $500 million for streetcar systems on the Pike and in Crystal City. The 'Ace Bus' uses clean energy, not mountaintop coal, for power. The 'Ace Bus' is flexible, it uses both regular traffic lanes in downtown Las Vegas and dedicated transit lanes in outlying areas. There are no tracks to cause accidents with bicycles and pedestrians. There are no overhead wires. The 'Ace Bus' is a big hit with tourists and residents in Las Vegas. You can see for yourself by Googling 'Las Vegas ACE Bus' and 'Wright streetcar'.

We are appalled by the Arlington County Board's 'dirty tricks' aimed at anyone who might oppose its trolley folly. These ranged from telling minority groups (who heavily use Pike transit) they would be arrested if they attended the June 6th and 7th Pike Transit meetings to cutting off the audio when County Board candidate Audrey Clement spoke against the trolley folly at last Saturday's County Board meeting.

We feel our only recourse is to write both the Federal Transit Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation Inspector General detailing the outrageous manner in which the County Board has behaved.

We don't have financial interests in any corporation or organization that markets articulated buses. We need the $400 million that would be wasted on the County Board's trolley folly spent on new transit infrastructure to benefit all County residents. Therefore, the 'Ace' Wright streetcar articulated bus is the only real transit option for the Pike and Crystal City.

Cindy, and many others,
South Arlington

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Meanwhile, Back In Dumb Growth America....Can You Find the Dollar Store?

Hey Yupette,

Thanks for your blog. Last week I was visiting my daughter and her family, who live in a typical in Dumb Growth suburb far away from Arlington. Here's a couple photos of the shopping plaza where she and her family shop. It's about 35 years old, same vintage as the Safeway on Wilson Blvd. Had a nice makeover about 4 years ago.

Can you find the Dollar Store in the photos?


Monday, June 4, 2012

Arlington Fire Department Sets Off Explosives, Burns Junk Vehicles 200 Feet from Abingdon School


We wondered what the loud explosions coming from the vicinity of the Arlington Trade Center are all about. One usually hears them weekdays between 10:30 and 11:00 AM. We venture to the Trades Center to recycle our old bills and bank statements once a month. So we asked the County employees who work at the Trades Center about the explosions. Also, we noticed a strong odor in Fairlington like burning garbage or tires on a number of occasions weekdays.

"Oh" they said, "That's the Fire Department doing its thing at the Fire Training Academy." So, we stopped at the Fire Training Academy on our way out of the Trades Center. (The Fire Training Academy is where voters who lived in Shirlington Precinct voted until a few years ago).

Surprise. Surprise. A parking lot full of burned out junk vehicles. Here's a photo. WHY are explosions being set off 200 feet from Abingdon Elementary School? WHY are junk vehicles being burned 200 feet from Abingdon Elementary School? WHY is this being done weekdays when children are attending Abingdon Elementary School?

Doesn't Fairlington resident, long-time School Board member, cancer survivor, and current County Board member Libby Garvey care about the health and safety of children in her own community? Appears not.


Friday, June 1, 2012

Waste, Fraud, and Mismanagement - Pike Streetcar Planning Has Jumped the Tracks

Hello Yupette,

Didn't WMATA already conduct an alternatives analysis for the proposed Pike streetcar system? And didn't that alternatives analysis determine that articulated buses, also known as bus rapid transit, would cost taxpayers $50 million versus spending $250 million for a streetcar system? Why do we need any more meetings?

Know what these streetcars have turned into? A classic taxpayer rip-off. Not only is money being wasted on something we don't need or want, but state-of-the art bus service using double deck buses isn't being mentioned. Nor are safety and environmental issues involving construction and operation of streetcars. It's gotten so bad that Arlington County employees who don't live in Arlington are being ordered to post anonymous comments promoting streecars

to local blogs using material they are handed by County public information staff.

I don't know about anyone else, but I called and am sending an e-mail to the U.S. Department of Transportation Inspector General. The number to call to reach the DOT IG here in the D.C. area is 202-366-0377.

Pike Rider