In the news: Carless lifestyles are ‘in
The Washington Post is having quite the CoolTown run lately…
Out of the Driver’s Seat : Arlington Residents Increasingly Choose to Shift Into a Carless Lifestyle (Washington Post)
By Chris L. Jenkins, November 17, 2003 (link expires Dec. 1)
More and more people in Arlington County, VA are going carless – and guess what? According to the article, they’re very happy. I can vouch for that since I know a few of them myself.
Percentages of carless households in the Washington DC area:
Arlington County, VA: 12%
Metro-areas of Arlington County, VA: 20%
Fairfax County, VA: 4%
Prince William County, VA: 3.5%
Takoma Park, MD: 16.2%
Silver Spring, MD: 15.5%
Washington DC: 37%
Source: The upcoming book: The New Transit Town.
For good measure, only 50% of Manhattanites even have a driver’s license.
Even Arlington County’s government is getting into the act – they’re reimbursing residents for the $25 annual membership fee that Flexcar and Zipcar require (I wish they had that here in DC!) Here’s an article snippet: “In nearly a dozen site plans approved this year, developers have been encouraged to reduce condominium sales prices or rent to residents who won’t need a parking space, a county official said. And the county manager is set to embark on a $250,000 program that subsidizes Metro fares for residents of an apartment complex near Clarendon if they don’t have cars or limit auto ownership to one vehicle.”
Clarendon, by the way, which is Arlington County’s urban center, is regarded as one of the two ‘coolest’ neighborhoods in the Washington DC area. Coincidence? Not at all. By the way, the other is Adams Morgan, DC.
Clarendon is cool! Arlington has been busy fixing the damage done in the 60’s and 70’s to its historic “downtown/main street” by enabling more modes of transportation and encouraging more active ground floor uses and frontage forms. Clarendon is currently having its planning updated (http://www.planclarendon.com)and will be working with Arlington programs like WALKArlington (http://www.walkarlington.org). The challenge with any popular place like Clarendon is keeping, evolving and expanding the unique businesses and character that helped enable its resurgent popularity.