Arlington, Va.’s Smart Growth Journey: Documentary on D.C. Area TOD
Within the Middle Atlantic states, some of the most interesting and successful TOD projects are in the Washington DC area near Metro stations. These include Rockville, MD, Shady Grove, MD (including King Farm), Silver Spring MD (including old renovated shopping centers), Arlington VA and Alexandria VA (including the huge complex around the King St. station).
During college, I spent a semester in Washington, D.C. Going to work, I took the Orange or Blue Metro Line east from Rosslyn, Va. (just across the Potomac River from Georgetown and immediately north of Arlington National Cemetary) to the Federal Trade Administration (Federal Triangle metro stop and just across the street from the National Museum of American History) and the trip was a very pleasant 20 minutes.
The Rosslyn Metro station anchors one of the great examples of TOD in the DC metro area that Charlie references. I recently came across a documentary (about 50 min.)
that discusses the history of TOD in the “Rosslyn-Ballston Corridor.” The video is absolutely worth watching if you are interested in both significant benefits and significant challenges associated with making TOD work.
The Rosslyn-Ballston corridor boasts numerous restaurants retail establishments, many with residential or office space above, but even more impressive is the relatively rapid transition (in a matter of blocks) from the higher (in terms of density and vertical stories) structures to lower density row/townhomes and then single family homes along tree-lined streets. It really was a wonderful place to live. Moreover, the county and its residents recieve benefits beyond the subjective quality of life and amenity benefits of the Rosslyn-Ballston Corridor. According to Philip Langdon of New Urban News:
The corridor, containing 7.6 percent of the county’s land area, generates 33 percent of its property tax revenue. The jump in the value of the corridor’s real estate — now assessed at $9 billion — has helped Arlington obtain an AAA bond rating and set its property tax rate lower than that of any other major jurisdiction in northern Virginia. (Click for full article.)
The success of TOD along the corridor has increased property values significantly. However, despite the distributional effects created by escalating rents, Arlington County is — at least in principle — in a better position to deal with those challenges, and others, given the increased revenue generated by the Corridor.