Friday, September 29, 2006

Class Clash

The Growler has been perusing the draft of the Braddock Road Metro Small Area Plan, which was just released last Friday. There's some interesting demographic nuggets tucked away in the report and it makes the City's treatment of this neighborhood more puzzling than ever.

"In 1999, for the first time, the median household income in Census Tract 16 exceeded the median income for the City" (Draft Plan, p. 28).

"According to 2005 estimates based on the 2000 Census ... median household income is $85,043" (Draft Plan, p. 42).

"When compared to the City, there are an especially large number of households in the planning area with incomes over $100,000" (Draft Plan, p. 28).

"Not only are the area's incomes rising, but they are rising faster than the rate of inflation. When adjusted for inflation, the median household income for Census Tract 16 rose by $16,441 during the 1990s as compared to the citywide median household income that rose only marginally by $334" (Draft Plan, p. 28).

"The average value of a single family home in the Braddock area rose from $196,859 in 2000 to $466,287 in 2005. As a result, single family houses in the area were 2.4 times as expensive as they had been five years earlier. Condominium values rose 2.7 times" (Draft Plan, p. 27).

"Since 1997, assessed property values have increased by 102% in the City as a whole; within the Braddock Road study area, property values have increased by 107%" (Draft Plan, p. 74).
This appears to be the picture of a neighborhood on its way up, in fact doing better in some respects than the rest of Alexandria. So why does the City continue to treat the neighborhood as though it were still frozen in the 1970s, when a third of the residents lived in poverty?