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. 

My priorities for ensuring Arlington's economic environment evolves to capitalize on new opportunities include:

Partner with Arlington Economic Development's aggressive marketing agenda to attract new commercial tenants and lower the commercial vacancy rate.
PRIORITY #2: Collaborate with business interests to find creative interim uses for buildings slated for redevelopment (such as the WeLive/WeWork project) to ensure that our commercial neighborhoods can thrive during transitional periods.
PRIORITY #3: Build on recent efforts - such as the hiring of a Business Ombudsman - to ensure greater predictability and ease of doing business in Arlington County. For example, engage the business community in identifying and addressing commonly-occurring barriers and obstacles in the permitting process (such as duplication in the submission of plans).


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.

My priorities for County and School collaboration:
PRIORITY #1: Learn from the emerging model of the South Arlington Elementary Working Group, jointly chaired by County and School Board members and comprised of civic association as well as PTA representatives, as a new path towards joint community engagement. Focus on continuously improving our processes, such as the Public Facilities Review, to best balance cost- and time-efficient site plans with the needs of the surrounding neighborhoods.
PRIORITY #2 In the longer term, improve sharing of land use and projection data to ensure that we are accurately forecasting the school population impacts of changes in housing and demographics. Adopt the likely forthcoming recommendation of the Arlington Community Facilities Study that the County and School Board form a standing, joint subcommittee on facilities and other resource issues to improve planning.

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.  

My priorities for parks and open space:
PRIORITY #1: Champion parks in Arlington by expanding open space, rather than treating our current map of recreational sites as fixed. Pursue the citizen Parks & Recreation Committee's recommendation of developing a strategic plan for parkland acquisition, to meet growing demands.
PRIORITY #2: Ensure that forthcoming long-range planning updates emphasize "un-programmed" green space as well as recreational playing fields throughout the County.
PRIORITY #3: In considering site proposals, prioritize protection of County-owned green space and opportunities to expand open space throughout Arlington. 

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.

My transportation priorities include:

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 #2: Get moving on the Pike by accelerating enhanced bus-service plans to relieve congestion and move commuters more efficiently, including off-vehicle fare collection, express routes and multi-door boarding and alighting.

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.



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  • Katie Cristol
    published this page in ISSUES 2015-04-06 20:36:07 -0400
  • Katie Cristol
    published this page in ISSUES 2015-02-08 13:41:22 -0500