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FYI as to what their response will be if you write the County Board


On behalf of the County Board, thank you for sharing your concerns about Arlington's bicycle and pedestrian street improvement program within the Arlington Budget. Compared to many jurisdictions around the country, Arlington has been fortunate during the difficult economic times over the last few years. However, Arlington has not been immune to the economic pressures – while the residential real estate market is showing strong signs of recovery, our commercial office sector faces challenges as demonstrated by high office vacancy rates.

At this time, it looks like local revenues at current tax rates– coupled with the uncertainty of state and federal funding – may not be sufficient to meet the County's ongoing service demands, operating costs, and Arlington Public School enrollment needs. To remedy this, on February 21, the County Board advertised a 1.5 cent increase in the real estate property rate, which would generate approximately $10.35M. This also creates a ceiling for the tax rate which cannot be exceeded.

The County Board will hold public hearings on March 24, 2015 on expenditures and March 26, 2015 on tax rates, and we expect to adopt the budget in April. Again, thank you for sharing your concerns about the FY 2016 budget, we will keep your concerns in mind as we deliberate and stretch our resources to provide education, infrastructure, police, fire and rescue services, affordable housing, and park space to multiple generations.


Mary Hynes

FYI, Links to the Arlington BAC's letter to the County Manager, and to the Chair's testimony last night can be found here: http://commissions.arlingtonva.us/bicycle-advisory-committee/

Long story short, bike/walk lost $400k last year, and we have certain new asks: money for planning, money for maintenance, and money to address the problems created by access restrictions at Fort Myer. So the ask is (1) Don't implement the proposed cuts and (2) restore the $400k and provide the money we've asked for.

Oh, and comments from non-Arlingtonians are also welcome. You may want to note the ECONOMIC IMPACT of cycling infrastructure - i.e. you spend money in Arlington because it's a good place to bike.

WABA has sent out an advocacy email, at least to members in Arlington County. In the followup email they state that:

"The Arlington County Board is holding a public hearing on the transportation budget on Tuesday, March 24th at 7:00 pm. The public hearing will be held in County Board room at 2100 Clarendon Blvd. Suite 300, Arlington, VA 22201.There are some key folks signed up to testify early in the hearing. A speaker early on will ask all residents in attendance who supporting biking to stand up. A strong showing of support is needed. Come at 7:00 pm and stand for biking."

The proposed cuts to the bicycle infrastructure program and to the bicycle planning staff are simply misguided. At a time when cities are competing for Millennials and the creative class and more importantly for companies to fill vacant office buildings who want to attract these employees, now would be the time to double or triple the bike budget and transform Arlington into the Portland of the east. More https://urbanful.org/2015/03/02/cities-and-businesses-discover-that-cycling-pays/ and more http://www.citylab.com/cityfixer/2015/03/the-complete-business-case-for-converting-street-parking-into-bike-lanes/387595/ research is making the business case that companies and small business wants bike infrastructure. Arlington needs to compete with DC, Portland, Boston, NYC, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, Memphis and other places that are winning on bikes. Mayors from Oklahoma City to Salt Lake are competing for business on bikes. So why would Arlington, which was slowly building a case as a bike-friendly city decide that they no longer think its important? Well you'll have to ask the people that proposed those cuts. They obviously don't understand that the future prosperity of cities lies with bikes-walking and transit. And that biking is a low cost high return investment.

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