Business and commercial interests are critical partners in Arlington's success. A healthy commercial sector has enabled our community to pay for investments in schools, transportation and livability projects, while minimizing the tax burden on residents. But, as our high rates of commercial vacancy have indicated, federal cuts and relocation combined with growing regional competition, will test our economic resiliency in the coming years.
Arlington needs County Board members who will steer towards an economic re-development vision that addresses our commercial vacancy rate and who are committed to making Arlington a more predictable and straightforward place to do business.
PRIORITY #1: Partner with Arlington Economic Development's aggressive marketing agenda to attract new commercial tenants and lower the commercial vacancy rate.
Arlington’s rapidly-growing school-age population creates a new imperative for the School and County Boards to plan in coordinated ways. In the immediate, as the APS seeks to find sites to build new schools and plans renovations, I believe that the County and School Boards must work with one another - and the community - on collaborative school siting processes.
As undeveloped land gets scarcer and the need for creative and multi-use facilities increases, County leaders will need to join APS leaders in working with the neighborhoods that may be home to new sites. Absent broader community engagement and strong communication between the Boards, APS and the County will be unable to move expeditiously and effectively to meet the needs for additional seats.
PARKS AND OPEN SPACE
As Arlington's population grows, so too does the demand for new and more intensive facilities and land uses. Talking with Arlingtonians across the County, I hear concerns about protecting parks and open space, in particular. And I believe our parks are the heart of our neighborhoods: They provide gathering places, encouraging us to meet our neighbors and build a community fabric. They provide respite for busy workers and families, anchoring us to something other than the two ends of our commutes.
We need to think more rigorously about how we can preserve and grow the parks and open space we love and elevate their value in our conversations about meeting the needs of our growing population.
Thoughtful planning around transit corridors in decades past has helped Arlington grow into a walkable, prosperous community, while still protecting choices and diversity of neighborhoods. I am committed to transportation strategies that start with people first: considering the needs of Arlingtonians not only as commuters, but as shoppers and neighbors.
Sustainable growth requires - first and foremost - a functioning Metro transit system. While the Arlington County Board cannot act alone to address WMATA's funding and management crises, our County's future is tied to effective resolution of current ridership and safety problems and smarter long-term planning for the system's future.
Additionally, as a Columbia Pike homeowner, I am particularly committed to addressing the transportation needs of the Pike, the busiest local corridor in Virginia. With the streetcar in Arlington’s rear-view mirror, plans for Columbia Pike redevelopment still require a transportation strategy that can move our growing neighborhoods effectively.
PRIORITY #1: Serve as a vocal advocate for Arlington's interests in addressing Metro's current crisis with permanent leadership and dedicated funding and in investing in long-term core capacity improvements like an additional river crossing.
PRIORITY #3: Support multimodal improvements that will make Columbia Pike friendlier to bikers and walkers (and drive pedestrian and cyclist traffic to local shops and restaurants).
PRIORITY #4: Preserve the diversity of transit options around the County and continue to empower neighborhood voices; for example, partnering closely with the Lee Highway Alliance as it establishes its vision for this major County thoroughfare.