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Columbia Pike Streetcar Line Plans: Old Meets New

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Arlington County board member Chris Zimmerman points to the area of Columbia Pike where the streetcar line would go.
Jonathan Wilson
Arlington County board member Chris Zimmerman points to the area of Columbia Pike where the streetcar line would go.

By Jonathan Wilson

Arlington County is moving closer to finalizing plans for a five mile streetcar line along Columbia Pike and now some say streetcar lines have a place in other parts of Northern Virginia.

The images conjured by the sound of an old streetcar bell may help inspire a streetcar comeback across the country, and in the D.C. region.

But Chris Zimmerman, an Arlington County board member, says whats planned for the Columbia Pike streetcar line has little to do with the past.

"We're not looking to do a heritage trolley," Zimmerman says. "This is a 21st century, modern streetcar."

Zimmerman says the need for more transit options is clear Columbia Pike already has the busiest stretch of bus stops in the state.

Stewart Schwartz with the Coalition for Smarter Growth says streetcars are a magnet for pedestrian friendly development.

"They help you create great walkable urban communities with a mix of shops and offices and other services unlike any other technology," Schwartz says.

Arlington has spent 3 million dollars on the design phase of the streetcar line. Funding for construction is still uncertain.

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